I’m Trying to Get My Life in Gear But I Keep Releasing the Clutch Too Quickly and Stalling.

I turn 23 in a couple of weeks and, although I physically resemble an adult, I often feel much younger on the inside.

As a result, I am always looking around for things to confirm my status as an official grown-up in the hope that I will eventually be able to convince my inner self that I actually I am one.

In his iconic song ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Bob Dylan asks the question ‘How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?’

Whilst I do not know the exact answer to Bob’s question and have no ambitions of becoming a man, I imagine that the whole process of becoming an adult would be a lot quicker if you just drove there instead.

So, last year, I decided to learn how to drive.

Driving lessons are quite expensive so I decided to try and accelerate the learning process by asking my mum to help me practice in between them.

I thought that my mum would be a good candidate for the job because she had previously taught me to ride a bike as a child.

However, for some reason, she seemed reluctant to resume her role as instructor.

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(N.B. – My mum did make me wear a helmet, I just forgot to draw it. I thought I’d mention that just in case any of you were concerned for my safety – although I think my decision to ride down a steep hill with complete faith in my legs’ ability to act as an effective breaking system proves that no amount of protective gear would have prevented me from being a danger to myself…)

My mum is a very cautious driver with a high regard for motoring safety.

14 (3)_LI141As a result, the prospect of giving me complete control of a moving vehicle made her incredibly anxious.

In an attempt to ease her nerves, I decided to demonstrate my ability to control the car by driving at 10 mph around a suburban cul-de-sac.

However, by the way my mum was reacting, I may as well have been trying to set a world speed record on the salt flats of Utah.

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When I first started driving with my mum, I was initially quite calm.

I had taken nine driving lessons with a qualified instructor and was confident in my ability to control the car.

I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

However, my mum’s anxiety was so high in relation to mine that it began to diffuse along a concentration gradient until the panic was evenly spread between us and we were both infused with the same sense of impending doom.

11_LI12_LI13910In order to diffuse some of the tension, I decided to put some calming music on but its effect was limited by the sounds of my mum having a panic attack over the soundtrack at regular intervals.

In the end, it was a bit like an episode James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke except, instead of a celebrity singing their iconic hits, there was just my mum periodically shouting ‘easy on the clutch’ and ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ over the Relax and Unwind playlist on Spotify.

Driving can be a stressful experience all round.

In everyday life, the majority of people tend to be quite considerate and respectful towards other people.

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However, when driving, our tolerance for others drastically decreases.

Any sense of social convention rapidly disintegrates, something which is magnified by the fact that the car itself provides a physical barrier behind which the driver is able to conceal their identity.

This allows drivers to feel comfortable expressing what would otherwise be a socially inappropriate level of rage with the same sense of anonymity as an internet troll.

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Many people try to make the experience of driving less stressful by investing in a Sat Nav to help them navigate.

Like most technology, a Sat Nav is the best thing ever until it stops working properly, at which point it immediately becomes the worst thing in existence.

Normally, a Sat Nav will give you precise directions to help you get to your destination in the fastest time possible.

However, occasionally the GPS system will malfunction and it will start instructing you to complete manoeuvres that the physical set up of the road renders impossible.

When this happens, it is easy to become frustrated.

In contrast, the Sat Nav’s voice remains completely calm and serene, blissfully ignorant of your own increasing levels of irritation.

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Getting Things Done: An Unofficial Guide That REALLY DOES WORK!

Modern life can be quite complicated and, like most people, I often have a lot of things that I need to get done on a daily basis.

Sometimes, however, I find it hard to motivate myself to get things done in a productive and efficient manner.

Even completing simple everyday tasks can be a struggle.

Instead of addressing a task properly, I often come up with temporary solutions that allow me to extend the amount of time that I can remain in denial about the task’s existence.

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However, what initially began as a small manageable task eventually transforms into a monumental obstacle and the pressure of directly engaging with it can be overwhelming.

hRecently, I have been asking around for advice on how to be more consistently productive.

One of my friends told me that I should try reading a self-help book which suggested that they cared about my wellbeing but considered the challenge of transforming me into a functioning human being so huge and intimidating that they were reluctant to become directly involved.

i_LINevertheless, a few days later, I went to a bookshop and sought out the self-help section.

The first book that caught my eye looked like this.

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I hadn’t been feeling particularly worried when I had first entered the bookshop but looking at the book immediately made me worried about whether I was the sort of person who should be worried about whether I was living or not.

I picked up the book, turned it over and read the blurb.

11_LI In the back of my mind, I knew that the blurb was referring to common issues that many people experience on a regular basis.

However, because it was doing so within the guise of individuality, I felt that it was speaking directly to me.

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In addition, the prospect of overcoming anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of motivation appealed to me.

It was as if I was a protagonist from a book or movie on a mission to overcome great evil…

4Except I was fighting against the most underwhelming antagonist in existence – my own epic laziness.

44_LI (2)I reasoned that spending £8.99 on a book that felt it necessary to boldly assert the fact that it ‘really does work’ was a totally logical idea.

I thought that maybe one day I could help other people to help themselves by writing my own self-help book about how somebody else’s self-help book had helped me to help myself.

‘Stop Worrying and Start Living’ presented several strategies to help me stop procrastinating and start getting things done.

Reading about how I was going to get things done in the future made me feel very productive.

As a result, I was less bothered by the fact that I had things that I needed to get done.

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By the time I had finished the book, I was felt thoroughly prepared to start living my life to the fullest.

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However, it was getting quite late.

7_li.jpgSo I decided that it was probably best to seize the day another day.

 

 

I guess what we can learn from this is that a significant part of self-improvement is learning the art of self-control.

It is important to limit the amount of time that we spend doing instantly gratifying activities and invest the more satisfying, longer-term benefits of sustained hard work.

On that note, if you enjoyed this post, here are some more posts that may provide you with fleeting sense of satisfaction:

Interview Advice – Just Be Yourself… As Long You’re Being A More Organised, Eloquent, Functioning Version Of Yourself That Is Better Than Your Actual Self In Pretty Much Every Single Way…

How To Deal With Everyday Problems – An Unofficial Guide.

Mice and Other More Legitimately Scary Animals That I Am Afraid Of.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

 

Interview Advice – Just Be Yourself… As Long You’re Being A More Organised, Eloquent, Functioning Version Of Yourself That Is Better Than Your Actual Self In Pretty Much Every Single Way…

Growing up and entering the real world can be a confusing and overwhelming process.

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A big part of becoming a fully-functioning adult is finding a job, which would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that finding a job can be quite hard.

Sometimes, looking for a job can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack and, when you finally locate the needle, another slightly more qualified person comes along with a big massive magnet.

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Other times, it can feel like trying to find Wally in a ‘Where’s Wally?’ book.

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But you’re up against a guy who already has contacts in the business.

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I have been looking for a graduate job for a while now and am therefore quite familiar with the application process.

A lot of job applications begin with a CV.

A CV is a summary of professional and academic achievements but it might be better described as a Verification of Awesomeness.

Sometimes, the pressure of living up to the sheer magnificence of your on-paper personality in an interview can be overwhelming.

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When I first started doing interviews, I used to get quite nervous, something that manifested itself in a somewhat debilitating tendency to panic and say the first thing that came into my head.

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Occasionally, I would find myself on the verge of an existential breakdown.

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I would practice questions for hours before an interview.

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Only to completely lose my grasp of the English language once the interview actually commenced.

dRecently, I have been actively trying to improve my interview technique, something that has enabled me to answer a wide range of questions more effectively.

However, I still encounter questions that completely throw me.

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Due to the increasingly saturated nature of the graduate job market, the hiring process is more complex than it has been in the past.

Modern technology has enabled the traditional face-to-face interview to mutate and evolve into various different subspecies.

As a candidate, you have to be highly flexible and ready to make a good first impression in any of these mediums.

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In addition, many companies now implement a multi-stage application process in order to gradually whittle down the high numbers of applications that they receive.

In order to access their suitability for the job, applicants have to face several tasks which is a bit like competing in the Triwizard Tournament but with less mortal peril and more collaborative group-based assessments.

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Due to the competitive nature of the graduate job market, it is important to remain resilient in the face of rejection.

Over the past few months, I have developed some coping mechanisms which have really helped me deal with some of the setbacks that I have encountered.

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Despite this, it is sometimes quite difficult to remain positive.

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How To Deal With Everyday Problems – An Unofficial Guide

Life is full of problems.

A few weeks ago, I was cooking dinner when I encountered a problem.

My Uncle Ben’s rice packet was too tall to fit inside the microwave.

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The problematic size of my Uncle Ben’s rice packet in relation to the size of my microwave was very upsetting for me.

This was completely irrational because the inconvenience that it caused me was relatively small.

However, small everyday problems can often be extremely frustrating and I think this is because, on some level, they reflect larger ongoing issues in our lives.

However, the immediate frustration that we experience when we encounter one of these problems means that we become so emotionally involved with the situation that we neglect to think clearly about exactly why it is frustrating us.

As a result, our approach to the problem becomes more reactive as opposed to perceptive.

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In order to prevent everyday problems from becoming irrationally overwhelming, it is important to keep them in perspective.

A good way of putting a problem into perspective is to try and visualise it within the context of the sheer magnitude of time and space.

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However, because humans are naturally introspective, it is easy for us to become immersed in our own issues as opposed to considering the wider picture.

As a result, our perspective of what is actually important can become distorted.

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Although my Uncle Ben’s rice packet was relatively large in comparison to my microwave, when related to the entire history of Planet Earth it is actually very small.

In fact, when compared to the vast expanse of the universe, my entire life is basically irrelevant.

However, this did not stop the inconvenient size of my Uncle Ben’s rice packet being a significant issue in my insignificant existence.

I am aware of the fact that the dinosaurs were around for 160 million years and modern man has only been present on Earth for 200,000 years and I have only been alive for 22 of those years but I was trying to ram my Uncle Ben’s rice packet into the microwave for 30 seconds and that bothers me.

In addition, whilst I was relating my problem to time and space, my brain began making associations between the two, meaning that the image of my Uncle Ben’s rice packet became integrated into my vision of dinosaur times.

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When solving a problem, it is important to adopt a proactive, solution-focused approach.

However, this can be quite hard to do if you do not have a lot of confidence in your ability to come up with effective solutions to problems.

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If you are unable to come up with an effective solution to a problem, it can be frustrating.

It is often tempting to complain order to release some of this tension.

Complaining is a completely illogical way to deal with a problem because it exhausts energy levels that could otherwise have been used to take productive action against it.

However, this is why complaining is so great.

Complaining allows you to engage with a problem whilst simultaneously procrastinating from actually attempting to solve it.

In addition, complaining often involves interacting with other people which enables you to make them aware of the problem’s existence in the hope that they will solve it for you.

If you are unable to solve your problem or find someone else to fix it for you, it is tempting to bury the problem under a mass of hardcore denial.

However, denying the existence of the problem all together can be a problem in itself as the problem often consequently resurfaces in an even more powerful state than when you initially buried it.

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