Tag Archives: self-awareness

Offline does not exist

We were driving in our car the other day and there was a commercial on the radio saying something about discounts available both online and offline. It was then that our daughter asked: “but, mom, offline doesn’t exist, does it?”…

Yeah… Almost, kiddo, almost.

Aside from putting a large smile on my face, this comment of hers made me wonder about the future.

Are we truly moving to “offline doesn’t exist” kind of story?

Looking at myself: I do 90% (if not 99%) of my purchases online. I largely work remotely. Provided that I live a bit in the middle of nowhere, far away from where I grew up, I mostly communicate with my mom and close friends via Skype, Whatsapp and all the other online communication means. 

Even though I am not a digital native and I am a millennial, not a GenZeer, my online life is at least as large as (if not larger than) the offline one. That’s crazy if I think about it, but it is what it is. 

Our online life matters. Alarmingly more and more compared to the offline one.

It is a normal practice that one checks out what Google “Allmighty” knows about a job candidate, a potential business connection, acquaintance, date, etc. Even those who tend to avoid social networks still leave some digital traces. Of course, for those actually active online, such traces are plenty, very informative and… they better be managed really well (but that is another discussion. I have an online reputation management service, by the way, so reach out if that is of an interest).

Every public comment one makes, every ”like” one presses, every picture, description, engagement, e-ve-ry-thing is there to stay: cached and easily discoverable if needed. Thus, a stupid, thoughtless comment might cost one a job; a provocative picture from student times can lead to some other undesired consequences… In other words, the online can have very tangible effects on the offline. 

But all of that is known and those who care about their image take the online one at least as seriously as the offline one.

The question now is: does the Online still require the Offline at all? Or will offline soon cease to exist?

Unconscious habits passed through generations

One of my habits which my husband finds annoying is that I never finish my tea. Usually, I would leave a teabag in to get my tea strong enough, yet by the moment I reach the very bottom of the cup, those last drops are already way too strong and no longer tasty. So I leave them. It actually never occurred to me that it was something weird. Moreover, before recently I had no idea why do I actually do it like I do. It dawned on me, when my mother was visiting us recently and I made her a cup of tea. The puzzle pieces fell in place… 

There is a story I heard in several iterations, where a kid is asking her mother why does she always cut off the ends of the sausage before baking. The mother couldn’t answer anything else, but that her own mother was doing it like that as well. So the kid goes to her granny, who is likewise ignorant of the reasons and encourages to ask the great-granny. The old lady three generations up replies with the question: ”Oh, you are not still frying on that small pan, do you?”.

That story and revelation about my tea drinking habit origins made me think about habits in general, or better about unconscious habits passed through generations. The way we do laundry, brush our teeth, fold clothes, or boil eggs (I had a separate post on the last one – check it out here: Understanding people and what hard-boiled eggs have to do with it ) is something we probably do without much thinking. We learned it by mimicking our parents, who probably learned it from theirs and so on. Nevertheless, the “pan” we use might already be significantly different. I wonder how many other habits have we acquired unconsciously? What if we ask a question of whether they are still relevant? What if we ask the proverbial “why”? What if the underlying assumptions no longer hold? 

Another facet is, of course, to which extent should we go in our questioning spree? The beauty of a habit is that it saves us, let’s call it, brain battery. If we would do absolutely all things consciously by the end of the day we would probably just be depleted. Nevertheless, some degree (and I am still convinced that higher is better than lower) of consciousness and inquisitiveness is good to have. At least then we would be able to spot the “changed pan” situations and make timely changes.

What do you think? Do you have habits it is time to question?

Spotting an illusion of choice

I like the philosophy of choice the school of our kids lives by. Kids are working around projects. From as early as 2,5-3 years they are encouraged to pick the theme which interests them and then explore it, learning a whole bunch of things along the way. That all sounds nice in theory, however then the reality strikes: I am hearing the same songs about exactly the same themes for the second round already. It is surely possible that the interests of the group where our daughter was perfectly coincide with those of our son’s group two years later, but let’s be realistic — what’s the chance of such a coincidence?

Continue reading Spotting an illusion of choice

Traps on the way to solutions

We encounter problems of a different scale on an everyday basis. Sometimes we succeed at finding desirable solutions, yet more than often the road to them turns out to be bumpy. In this short article, I would like to explore three common traps that make a problem-solving exercise very complicated at best.

To begin with, the trap number one is overthinking a problem. Continue reading Traps on the way to solutions

Understanding emotions

Why do we need to understand emotions in the first place? The short answer would be: to better understand ourselves, our triggers, motivation, reservations and ultimately even dreams. They say that there are only six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. Each of the six, however, is a whole spectrum, not just a single state. Are we able to spot these emotions in ourselves? Do we know when we are angry or sad? Can we unambiguously tell fear from disgust? Even more so: are we sure we can recognize happiness?…  Continue reading Understanding emotions