Success?


I almost always feel like writing when I’m about to go to bed and am actually too tired to write properly. As is the case currently…I mean, I don’t even have anything planned to write about. I have something to write in two days time, but that post really requires it to be the 31st of December.

Ah, there we go – an idea. I’ll keep it short tonight, partly as it’s a rather spontaneous, not very well thought out bit of writing here, and partly as I really need to sleep…I’ve got a train to catch in the morning after all.

I found myself in an odd position at the dinner table the other night and the conversation turned to future goals/careers/ all that jazz. Usually when you end up on a serious conversation about future goals and ‘success’, words you expect to hear may include ‘work harder’, ‘have direction and goals’, ‘take your work seriously’, among other things.

I got instead, the advice to stop working so hard and to enjoy myself a bit more. First year doesn’t count, the advice goes.

Now this suggestion is quite good fun put into context. The giver of the advice was my dad, who just happens to be a professor at Edinburgh University. In other words, the last person you would expect to hear ‘first year doesn’t count’ from.

The talk expanded into the idea of success – a concept which I often contest the meaning of. Success is in general taken to mean making money and getting to the top of a career, and is one of the roots of this ingrained norm in society: We’re born. We’re kids. We go to school. We go to work or go to university. We work up a corporate ladder. We make money. We retire. We go forever, having been ruled by money since we were kids.

Yet here I am, despite my view above on what is considered a ‘success’, working too hard, to get a top mark, to follow exactly the same chain. And the voice of reason is coming from that system.

I still hold however that success is not getting to the top of the money making machine. For me, happiness is success. Peace is success. Love is success. Knowledge is success. Experience is success.

These things can all be shared without any loss to anyone. When money is shared, one gains and one loses.

I don’t think success should contain loss. It’s idealistic, but I openly have a passion for idealism.

Of course I want success. But money and a career isn’t success.

I work hard for knowledge, not a future dream of money.

But a message from the system, of all places, is helping me to develop an image of what success really is.

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And maybe one day i’ll be able to say more clearly what that may be, for I fully accept that right now, my view is incomplete, perhaps even ignorant and confused.

Just got to…flow.

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Half way up tiger leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China. That’s a view of success.

Thanks for reading, I hoped you enjoyed it.

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full circle.


I find it strange that, despite being agnostic, every time I finish a meditation I almost invariably bow my head and say thank you…to something…

Just an odd little musing to begin my little today’s writing with.

I’m really meant to be finishing off an essay for one of my Chinese modules this evening, but as I was walking home from my weekend-ly shop and coffee shop reading stop, I decided that what really clinched a higher point on the importance ladder was actually writing something on the web again.

I’ve been at uni for around 2 months now, and i’ve spent that time breaking the rules of being a student. What on earth do I mean by that?

Firstly, there is a myth that all first years do not in fact do any work.

This is almost true.

There are however some that end up working all the time, and it appears that a happy combination of German and Chinese (with a module in Arabic on the side) kind of forces your free time to take a holiday without you.

I’m actually loving being so busy though. It feels great to never even have a chance of being bored. Sure, I’ve had no time to write this poor, ignored, blog, among other hobbies, but to spend every hour doing things that interest you is awesome.

And that thought brings me round nicely to an interesting fact…

I believe one of the first things I ever wrote about online was the importance of doing what you believe in/have interest in/ are passionate about and how empowering that is. It seems that ideas move in circles, but beautiful, expanding circles that somehow meet again points where they are poignant .

What is poignant about right now for me then?

It’s common (at least for me) for beginning uni students to be asked a difficult questions by their peers on an almost daily basis – “so what do you want to do in the future?”

Some have a clear goal. Other’s have a rough idea. Yet more have no idea whatsoever.

It’s a good question though, and one that I’ve answered with numerous answers, depending on what feels right. Sometimes the answer of “I don’t really know” seems right. Sometimes to declare my goals as “either being in academia, journalism or politics” is my response.

Other times the answer is ‘I want to be happy’.

Just so you, as the reader, know, I ‘ll interject on my own writing here and say that I didn’t begin writing today with any set goal as such on where my writing would lead, so apologies if this all seems disjointed. I will post this as soon as I’ve finished writing rather than proof-reading. It just seems right today to do so. This is therefore a semi-disclaimer for disjointed content!

The truth is, I have many loose goals, enclosed by the last one – to be happy.

and that, is perhaps why everything around me currently seems so poignant. I’m at university – it’s a big change. I’m doing something I really care about – that’s a big deal. I’ve come back from life changing experiences from living in far-western China for a year – that’s of huge important. I’m now also in the position to look back on that in retrospect – that is definitely, without a doubt a huge deal.

So yes, it seems that in hindsight to the beginnings of this blog i have come full circle. But that would suggest that i’m back at a rhetorical ‘square one’, surely?

I’m not ashamed to say that when I started writing this blog, I was in a dark dark place. I used to suffer from severe depression, which I only ever told one person the majority of. I didn’t even tell him everything, as despite not being depressed anymore, I keep some secrets to myself (as some of my friends will be aware of – trying to work out the enigma that is me!). I’m definitely not back to this point, and although I would never try to erase my days of depression – it made me who I am – I don’t want to ever go back to that abyss.

I have however held onto part of my depression – melancholy. Melancholy makes me happiest. Perhaps it’s seems totally wrong for that to be the case, but even great artists of the past have accepted melancholy as not just an interesting concept to explore, but essential for expression. In a way, I see my years of depression as now being essential to being as happy as I can be. Whether you can share this opinion or not, there is no way you can have such an intense form of happiness without melancholy. So I hold that it seems things have come full circle, but those

circles are growing wider, more open, more all-encompassing.

Like a good, deep meditation.

And so this post too comes full circle.

Which makes it the perfect time to end.

I leave you with a picture of this time last year. Near the edge of western China, where it meets the stans. Yining, Xinjiang province.

Yining, Xinjiang province China

Yining, Xinjiang province China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading, have a wonderful day.

The simplest things


The simplest things are hard to say;

Always expecting something worse

Than ever happens in reality.

But that won’t stop me being afraid;

As if that passing car’s my hearse

Come early to take me ‘way from reality

 

And every day that you become

Closer to me

You’re finding out I’m not as good

As you thought me to be

And I feel i’m not so far away

from you leaving me

Not turning round to say goodbye

As I drift out to sea

 

The simplest things are hard to say;

But left unsaid the words corrupt

And meddle with my troubled head.

So now I dream of one way trains;

And pointless words and faking laughs

I’m taken ‘way from where I felt misled

 

And every day that you become

Closer to me

You’re finding out I’m not as good

As you thought me to be

And I Feel i’m not so far away

from you leaving me

Not turning round to say goodbye

As I drift out to sea

 

 

If you liked these lyrics, feel free to follow my blog, or like me facebook page. Thanks for stopping by!

time flies


I was listening to a song called ‘time flies’ by a favourite band of mine called porcupine tree (if you don’t know them, check them out) when i realised-Time really does fly, and in the words of the song, “the best thing you can do is take whatever comes to you”.

A common phrase is “there’s no time like the present”, but when you think about it how long is the present? 5 seconds away is still technically the future. there really isn’t a present; only the future. And if you look at time like that, it really accentuates the point that time flies. Sure, everyone has to plan their future, but they also need to act their future. Even if you start something now, it won’t be finished until later. therefore whatever the most important thing for you to do is, it should be done as soon as possible, because even now is the future from when you readed the last sentence on this blog.

And back to that line i took from ‘time flies’. Think of how many opportunities you have come across that you have ignored. It could be something as big as a job opportunity or as small as smiling at someone that could really have done with a smile. For every missed opportunity, big or small, you may have had wasted time where it could have been used for something better. So lets all try to accept as many opportunities that come our way as is possible. You will probably end up being better for it, and so will many others influenced by the changes you show to the world.

Theres quite a lot of us on this planet. Just think what would happen if everyone used their time better.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment 🙂