Blog 123 – OYC Series Promo!


This week I want to go into depth about overcoming huge challenges. I’m going to use my fundraising cycle journey across the North Island of New Zealand as my example. The story will be spread out over the week into different stages.

Planning to do the solo bike ride, training for It physically, thinking about the money it all cost and making the decision that I was definitely going to go through with it, mentally preparing myself for the isolation, getting sponsorships and raising awareness, starting the ride, and ultimately finishing the ride.

Each section will be thought out in depth with respect to very specific things which seriously made an impact as to whether or not I would safely make it, and identify some very key stages when I almost believed that it was all just too much to handle.

I want to do this because I believe everyone should be encouraged and inspired to do something remarkable too. Everyone should feel a sense of accomplishment. Because if this lazy old bastard can do It, what are your excuses?

I look forward to going on this journey with you! Each blog will be slightly smaller than the rest but jam-packed with some helpful tips as to when what and how I was able to pull off this bike ride and ultimately overcome my challenges. Look for tonnes of content soon.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 122 – A Whole Pregnancy Without Drinking

It’s been nine months today since the last day I got on the piss. The last time I took out my anger on another person. The last time I almost completely lost control.

The last occasion I drank was at a party of mutual friends. My ex-girlfriend was there and the combination was enough to deflate my self-esteem.

Needless to say at the time I was completely out of control of my actions and took it out with violence by kicking holes into walls, punching dents into people’s vehicles, basically being a complete and utter jackass.

Later that same night my ex-girlfriend gave me a call asking me to come spend the night. Being the hopeless romantic I happily obliged and ten minutes later… well that’s none of your business…

That night I asked her to go out with me again. But this time I made the promise that I wouldn’t drink. That was probably the most intelligent decision I made that night and let me explain to you why.



My biological family had a history of generational domestic violence. I had a history of going off the rails when on the drink too. So for me, it made a lot of sense that alcohol played some part in that story.

It became more obvious over the few times I had lost control that there were patterns that could very well have been responsible for my actions. It was important for me to learn that alcohol was never the reason why I was so aggressive when drunk but actually I was just really emotional in general. Alcohol just brought that side out of me.

So learning to detach myself from the misery of the jail cells, to save my previous relationships, it was a smart move for me to simply give up on the beersies altogether.

So heck yes I’m proud of that. Not drinking has had a massive impact on my outlook on a few things. It has saved me an unknown amount of dollars across the year. My flatmates used to decorate our wall unit with the bottles of previous night woes. Seeing those bottles always reminded me of the huge investment I was saving by not buying a $30 bottle of Smirnoff Vodka every couple of weeks or so.

The other thing not drinking has changed is getting my relationships back. I’ve proved to those closest to me that I’m learning from the mistakes that I’ve made. They feel more comfortable knowing that I’m not going to go overboard and it has alleviated significant anxieties of those who lived with me.

The last biggest thing that has changed for me is that I’ve learnt to respect my own limits more. See the idea was never to completely abolish drinking but instead, it was to learn to have an appreciation for not needing too. If I was feeling slightly anxious before a party, which was always, the smartest thing to do was not drink. By taking proper measures to prevent certain disgrace was the most powerful management skill I’ve gained from my period of abstention.



It also goes beyond me. Not drinking over this period emits a certain kind of presence which actually inspires other people to follow in my footsteps. The maturity of respecting limits, and when not necessary, encouraging my mates not to drink either.

This way we all saved something! We all saved money, we all saved friendships and the coolest thing is that we all grew together! To feel proud of the growth that we didn’t need to drink anything. To feel a mutual respect for being the last ones standing by the end of the party and also being completely fine the next without any hangover.

By no means was I the only one in this! Some of my closest mates had never drunk at all.  Another concept that was rare and is impressive at the same time. But this means that socializing together at parties, in restaurants, or just chilling can be a sobering affair.

Every time I said no to being offered a drink, my chest was held high in the respect of knowing that a year ago my answer would have been yes. Saving a few bucks on an RTD was such a humbling experience like somebody recognised your potential or some shit…

But now It’s completely out of the question and I’m extremely proud of that.

Thanks for checking in!


Blog 120 – Appreciate The Invisible Things 

During the valedictory speeches or when accepting an award, it’s custom generally to say the words…








“I’d like to thank my mum and dad for this.”








But why do we attribute so much kaha, or so much strength into emphasizing the importance of our oldies?

Well, I think with all things growing up, you tend to go with what everyone is saying. The quick and easy way out of public speaking, the road to avoidance. But there is a side to us that takes those words with a grain of salt. There is a part of us that I believe takes that seriously, and in today’s short talk I’d love to unravel why that might be.

As a young guy still with close relations with my parents, I have learnt that it’s not easier to be in their position. Growing up you always take for granted the role your parents play. It’s only really once you start working and forging your own life that you get a real clear scope on just how hard it must be to be a mum or a day. Not to mention all the other shit that goes on in our communities.

When I was a baby I was taken away from my biological parents and put into the care of my step parents. So right off the bat, there’s an extra special connection between my step parents and me around an understanding of my whakapapa, or where I’ve come from and who I have to thank for being here, and also apparently how cute I was as a baby.

Now, this Whanau took me into their care when I was 8 months old. They weren’t financially rich at the time and had two children, my big bro and older sister, to look after and teach. So right from the onset there’s a real sense of closeness and belonging that must have been really hard to manage.

Then after reaching my school years, I developed an eye allergy which basically meant that my eyes are permanently bloodshot, and id be spending my entire childhood and teenage years visiting eye specialists and consistently medicating. So that must have been a pretty shit thing for mum and dad to realize.





Going to school it became clearer that I was really interested in maths and English, and basically all of academia in general. So there must have been a point when my parents must have decided that they were going to have to set up an account for me, just in case I decided to go to University. So that’s another really massive step to take. Not many young people have that privilege or opportunity in the first place.

Then when I reached the age of twelve, I was old enough to consent to become a Whangai adopted child to my step parents. At this time there was pretty much no question as to whether or not I’d be sticking around for the long term. My parents had stuck to their commitment to look after and love me and I in return loved them as my parents, so this process was beneficial for everybody.

Coming into my first year of intermediate school was when my brother passed away. Which was a huge scare for my whole family and community. A long time passed before any sort of movement happened and it was just shit.

The thing that came from this experience though was that it reminded us of the importance of life, and it sparked a momentum with my parents. Mum, in particular, was the one who grew from that experience the most though. To really base her entire life on supporting her kids. Myself and my sister.

Those relationships took a really long time to come back and start flourishing again. Because there are no answers to grief, loss, and tragedy so close to home. Those memories are still upsetting to deal with but what’s worth celebrating is the tremendous effort and determination it took for my family to bounce back.

As a young person, I was aware of all of the things that were going on at that time. However, because I didn’t fully understand the hardship and difficulty of building a family, I didn’t truly know the heartbreak my parents must have endured. I didn’t actually appreciate how much that must have dampened their spirits.

So there’s a lot of stuff there basically is what I’m saying. There is a whole range of huge invisible miracles my parents have performed in my life which I’m slowly learning to appreciate. It’s really humbling to be able to unpack some of what they have done for me because what it does do is actually articulate the meaning behind the words.





Just learning to appreciate the many invisible favors our parents have done for us can really help us get a scope on what value the favors other people do for us actually have. If you can’t appreciate the small things people do for you then it’s almost like you’re not really deserving of getting anything.

It goes beyond manners in the sense that if you can’t say thank you for something small that somebody does for you like take your rubbish to the bin. Even if that person is doing their job, they might be having a really hard time. So it’s really important to always be mindful of appreciating the little things people do. Another reason to appreciate those things is that actually everybody has a choice, and that person is choosing to help you.

But then that works the other way too. When you do things for other people, what you’re doing is paying it forward. It shows that you care enough to go out of your way and pick up somebodies wallet that they’ve dropped, or given the lady at the bus stop the extra $1 to get on the bus, to give a homeless guy some food because he needed it more than you did.

That’s true appreciation. It doesn’t just come from nowhere. Somebody has to step up to the occasion and offer you a hand. Raise you up as a child. Pay your medical bills. Put a roof over your head. These things don’t happen naturally they’re decided by somebody. The real way to appreciate something somebody has done for you is not necessarily shouting it out on your rooftops to your neighbors but actually, sometimes it takes just being a straight up GC. But it starts by just appreciating the invisible things.

Thanks for checking in.




Blog 119 – Love Your Sisters

I’m proud of my little sister. She has become a massive part of my family this year. From barely knowing her older brother to being totally immersed in the weirdness that is my whanau.

Younger siblings are funny ones. They resist and they push back both in words and with shotgunning the front seat. Us older sibling counterparts are left wondering “how the heck did I get told off for that, all I did was change the TV channel?”

Since I was a little baby I was always the youngest in my family. Growing up in the foster care of my aunty, then my only fully biological little sister was born. My aunt made sure to keep us both in contact every few years or so. A strange relationship for any person to have with their sibling.

There were years between catch ups. So long that it became convenient for me to feel comfortable in my own family believing I was the youngest one. My step parents had two children, both of whom were much older than me. They babied me all the way through my childhood years. I was a loved and spoilt youngster who enjoyed running around sprinklers in the nude.

But there was a realism I didn’t know back then. A truth that underpinned my life that I wasn’t aware of. I had a younger sister who didn’t live with me and I didn’t know why? Our biological parents were not fit to be parents. They weren’t ready to take on the guardianship of two young tamariki. They were not the kaitiaki we needed. Their decisions were why my sister and I were taken into the care system.




In 2016 I made a phone call to Child Youth and Family to find out where my sister was. It took a number of weeks to get in contact with her social worker but eventually, I made it through. After making disparate connections to my sister’s Foster Carer, I learnt that she was living on a farm in the middle of the North Island. It brought me huge comfort knowing she was living in a safe and understanding home.

Towards Christmas, my sister finally came and spent a holiday with our family and after numerous discussions, the decision was made that she would finally come and live with us permanently and would continue studying in our community.

It’s been almost a year since the day she came to live with us. That day was beautiful. To hear my parents coming together to support my younger sister to come and be apart of our family. That there were no judgements to be made about her past but instead that they would make that commitment out of love and understanding.

It’s pretty heavy stuff to hold in your heart. That pure admiration for the strength and coordination of not-perfect parents making the ultimate decision to take on a life for now and forever… something not many people will probably ever do…






My little sister is thriving. For sure she has days of tantrums and arguments, fighting over the TV remote but in all seriousness, she is thriving the way a rose flower blooms its petals as the radiation dances in the sunlight.

It’s weird that she has the same face as me. No, not just in the physical sense but she thinks in ways that I do. The thing I love about her so much is the way she tests the waters. She’s not afraid to challenge me or dad and is happy to say things how they are.

Her thoughts and feelings resonate to the way I felt growing up at 16 years old. Those really grouchy afternoons coming home after school tired and hungry and being confronted by an equally grouchy dad who loves to delegate chores and micromanage your progress… Oh yes… Memory lane…

But she surprises me in so many ways I never even thought of. Always being able to find something interesting to do and hardly ever getting bored. Excelling in her sports and has far better hand-eye coordination than I ever will. Already she is a better driver than I am, and she has a tremendous capacity to love others too.

One of those people she loves deeply is my older sister. My relationship with my older sister when I was younger was very strong. She would drop me off and pick me up from school, those sisterly roles. She would encourage me to do as I wanted and not get too bogged down in doing what pleased my parents.

My older sister is very independent, or co-dependent. Newly married the bro Paul. Together they live in their new home with a cute little puppy named Brick. A pretty awesome little whanau.

Joey spent the longer part of ten years finding her soulmate. She shifted cities, and countries to be with Paul. Built an entire family overseas before coming back home. At this time was some of the most progressive developmental periods of my whole life as a teenager.

We were very close when I was younger and we are still close now. But like all compromises lost connections are just another part of life. We all have to do what is best for us and we all need to love somebody. I’m just glad that our sister decided to move back home so that we can spend a whole heap of time together bow and into the future.

The greatest part about having my little sister come into my life was to hear that the connection between my older sister and younger sister was so strong. Neither of them knew each other very well beforehand but now it’s like they have known each other forever. I imagine it has something to do with my older sister continuing the familiarity of our relationship with my younger sister…





Both of my amazing sisters have taught me to put down my personality a bit. With older siblings, there’s always a card that can be played and it’s called the unsourced wisdom card. A lesson to love that no matter how big you may think you are, or how right you may believe to be, there’s no point arguing with your elders on some things.

Conversely with younger siblings, learning how to play the wisdom can be a great way to help mentor them. How to teach my younger sister the right life skills. It’s also taught me that being the older one has perks. I’ve learnt how to delegate responsibilities like asking her to do the dishes or overruling her call to shotgun the front seat in the car or which channel is to be played on the TV.

The most powerful thing about learning to love and understand my siblings had been learning how to have people skills. To adapt to new personalities. Whether big or small things for either my younger or older sister.

To learn how to ask for her to turn down shit music in the car. How to ask where the pots go after going over for dinner at my older sisters place. Laughing with her at the latest viral video on Youtube. Trying to explain to her what my new job is all about. The difference is that I have a deeper invested interest in my sisters because I love them and it shapes the person I have become the same way it shapes other families.




Having these relationships builds people skills too in a way that allows for personal development. it forces you to grow and adapt to the new landscapes, the new personalities. When my little sister challenges my request to change the channel it is a micro level argument of power dynamics and a clashing of minds.

In that space, somebody will have to make a compromise, or both, The resistance promotes a creative response, something witty to say that lightens the mood, or conversely something controversial to stamp down some authority. This is politics played out on a really small scale.

The relationships we develop with our family is the practice ground for real-world politics, whether it’s in our family, with our friends or out in our communities. I’m sure most families have their occasional domestic every now and again. One uncle disagreeing with another uncle business…

We all hear the Trump stories on a macro scale too. The compelling ridiculousness of an orange-faced man banning people from entering his country. Or a Zimbabwean President refusing to step down from power. These are examples of poorly executed community focused politics played out on a massive scale.

Power hungry individuals willing to bet it all on losing their credibility in order to maintain their status, their wealth. However, something important to remember is that sometimes it’s better to just listen instead of trying to be right all the time… Another lesson I’m still actually grappling with… Without learning the lessons of these giants builds a personality that is in many ways a deployable characteristic. It makes you replaceable because anyone can be a dick. It takes a special person who understands how people are to create roles for themselves that are indispensable.





Which.brings me to my last point that the most powerful thing to come out of relationships is love and understanding. This stuff is like Google Maps when it comes to navigating the ever-changing world of people skills and communicating. It gives us a scope on collaborating with our sisters instead of competing with them. Like taking the dog for a walk or protecting one another from hazards on the road when out driving.

A healthy sense of love and understanding grows our personalities when we know we are supported by each other. We build our confidence and learn the thin line to arrogance. Like making mistakes playing the piano, even if we are good, there are still insecurities if we fumble and can’t finish playing the song. So we stay humble to the end.

At a deeper level, showing love and understanding for your family and friends will help you become more empathetic. In that space, you can take wisdom into any situation. Whether it’s a family argument or a relationship meltdown. Having empathy for a situation shows that you care about other people, which opens pathways in places that don’t exist for people who don’t care or have the right people skills.

Having good people skills and a solid understanding of empathy towards others backed up by a lifestyle full of love and understanding ultimately makes you more employable. How often do you see in a job description phrases like: “must have good people skills” or listening skills, or is a good team player, “must be proficient at communicating.”

These are essential skills for any employment role even beyond getting a job or creating partnerships with other organisations. It builds friends with people, invites you to become apart of the larger family, our communities.

In my opinion, all this stuff can be learnt through appreciating every relationship you have. For me, those relationships include loving my sisters. (And our dog Boxer…)

But at the end of the day, the most powerful use of love and understanding is not to just make yourself more employable for others but to also help you love who you are too, and that skill cannot be overlooked.

Thanks for checking in!


Blog 116 – Start Giving A Shit.

We all have those days when we can’t be bothered. Can’t be bothered working, can’t be bothered conversating, just can’t be stuffed. Long days at work, university or after a family reunion. The day’s when we’re absolutely exhausted mentally with the endless questions about how things are going, what we are doing with our lives and listening to other people.

We have all drifted out of a conversation with someone we’ve just met and ended up wondering why in the world we were talking about Donald Trump or something random. We have to also admit that it’s not always because of tiredness that we stopped paying attention but sometimes we as people just stopped listening because we stopped caring so much. But what is the price of not caring?

For a second, imagine what life would be like if you stopped giving a shit about everything? Sounds pretty good right? But what opportunities would you miss out on if you went through every conversation half-assed and vacant? If you overheard a conversation about something you could have offered your advice on but didn’t because “you couldn’t be bothered.” How would your friends and family treat you if you didn’t give a shit about them? What would be the overriding effect if everyone didn’t care, how would that impact our world?


Actually caring about things can be as simple as being present in a conversation, participating in something we don’t usually care about. Something I’m completely guilty of is always thinking I know what is best for myself and like many things I’m often wrong.  I like to think that everything I currently believe in has always been that way but every now and again these little journeys pop up which change my opinion on things and it actually shapes what could be considered a different version of who i am, maybe like yearly iPhone upgrades, very slight changes which accumulate into significant and very sizeable changes. Being present in conversation is about as important as having lyrics in a song. It provides depth, it grows a sense of involvement, something other people can relate too.

Over the last two years, i’ve been on this journey of self-discovery. Through blogging and cycling, advocating for young people in state care, not being sure about what I want to study, considering what Christianity means to me. Having difficulty with relationships. A whole mixture of massive journeys.

All of these journeys have taught me more about myself and others, in particular, how my experience in the care system has changed my worldview. My adoptive parents fostered other kids because they clung on to something deeper than biology and sharing the same blood. They would make compromises in their own lives be it financial, social or even allow their cupboards to be raided whenever I came over willingly because they valued connection beyond just saying that they cared, they followed through with their word and actioned change into other peoples lives. Those lessons wore off on me. Moulded my persona and helped me appreciate other people. The same way a musician is influenced about what to sing, it sets the tone for everything they do.


When I was 16, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) sent out a request to all care experienced young people between the ages of 16-30 if they would like to be a part of an advisory panel that would report to the Minister for Social Development. With some convincing from my mum, I unwittingly emailed back letting them know I was keen.

With all of the right words in the correct locations, my request was denied… Lol… At the time I was still sitting my NCEA’s in high school and my passion was to get into graphical design and become an architect, so it didn’t affect me very much.

Not until one day I received an email from the same lady at the OCC who asked whether I would be interested in taking part in a focus group with a whole group of other care experienced young people living in Christchurch. The bribe was pizza and fizzy. Like all kids as soon as the words free and food are dropped, the rest of the conversation kind of doesn’t matter.

So I walked into this meeting thinking I’d be catching up with a whole lot of heaving hitting, inspirational leaders. But instead, I was confronted by a group of kids who had less than I did. These people had tattoos on their face, gang affiliations, some had even been to prison. These were people who needed a voice but didn’t believe it was even possible, they didn’t feel like they were entitled to it.

Our facilitator at the time, a lady called Tania (who is absolutely amazing), spent time with us asking what we thought would be helpful for young kids in care provided that we had all come through the system at different stages in our lives. A lot of thoughts were drawn up around knowing their rights, being able to have more freedom voicing their thoughts on things, there were so many thoughts. The entire mindmap ended up being scribbled over the entire 5 x 2-meter wall, floor to roof.

The conversations grew louder and louder, not in a nice way either. Stories were being shared about the abuse that some people went through, the horrible stories which I never believed could possibly happen in New Zealand. Sitting around the room in a messy circle each person shared their story and what they’d gone through. As each person told a bit about themselves I realized a continuous pattern that I was the only young person in that room who hadn’t been physically or sexually abused by someone.




It made me upset and pissed off. It was enough to make me question the morals of our culture. That there are people out there who do this shit to kids and leave visible scars and seem to believe that it is okay somehow. How domestic violence is such a real and living issue within New Zealand and while it didn’t affect me in my life, there are many people to whom it does affect.

This was the first step in changing my opinion around others. From there I was asked a second time to be a youth advocate, and still being salty about the first time, yes was the answer. Three years on and a new Ministry has been created and its name is Oranga Tamariki – The Ministry for Children. An overhaul of the attitude behind how New Zealand view’s the problem of young people living in poverty.

Since that day I have spoken at large conferences, with Prime Ministers and academics. I have helped at a governance level to create and raise funds for a charity organization called VOYCE-Whakarongo Mai, which stands for the voices of young care experienced, that specializes in giving young kids in care a collective voice. There are thousands of people involved in this work not just in the care experienced space but in every element of our communities. All of whom have huge roles to play.

Do you think that these services would exist if nobody cared?

What would happen if nobody could be bothered? Would these important social enterprises still operate today? Services like: The United Nations Foundation, The Rotary Foundation, Heart Foundation, Starship Foundation, Tearfund, World Vision, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, these services would not exist if people didn’t care.

It’s easy to believe that it’s somebody else’s problem and therefore somebody else will fix it. That was exactly my thinking when I was 16 years old about the care system. The thing was, I always knew that there were social problems in New Zealand. From the “It’s Not Ok” ads on TV, even to completely different initiatives like World Visions 40 hour famine. But the truth is that I never really realized how much of an impact my seemingly insignificant opinions could actually have on everything, from policies which turned into laws to changing the minds of my friends and just opening their minds up to the reality of the problem.

The fact of the matter is that change doesn’t happen if everyone waits for somebody else to fix the problem. The same way the dishes won’t get done if everyone waits for somebody else to do it. It takes leadership to get anything done. Somebody has to start a movement to encourage others to be inspired to do the same.

New Zealand’s care system has been changed 14 times over the last 20 years. It was only until this time around when some bright spark thought of the idea to actually ask young people who lived through the care system what they thought about it. I know right… Seems like a logical thing to do, ask children what they would like the Ministry for Children to look like. Can’t believe it took 20 years to figure that one out…

But that’s actually a common thing, nobody seems to remember that almost everything we like to call our world was designed by someone, built using somebodies hands and handed on to another generation.

Sometimes the most obvious solutions to things aren’t actually as obvious to other people as you think. Our worldviews are all different. We all have something different to offer to people. But it is everyone’s responsibility to give a shit, and that can start by simply paying attention to the difficult conversations we all ought to be having with other people.


Thanks for checking in!

Blog 115 – Do You Want To Change The World? 

Changing the world doesn’t have to be a big thing I don’t think. Growing up as a kid there’s such a strange power dynamic around changing the world, you always hear and learn about these great public figures who do incredible things, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Apirana Ngata, Ernest Rutherford.

As we grow into our teenage years we turn our attention to celebrities with long arrays of great feats such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Barack Obama, but to what end? Why do we care about the big stuff and why can we not celebrate the tiny alterations here and there?

Defining a changed world, in my opinion, stems from influencing any kind of adjustment in other peoples lives. It doesn’t have to be this enormous thing it could just be as simple as changing somebodies opinion.

There needs to be a realism that we don’t need to force a change to happen. We probably aren’t going to single-handedly unhinge democracy, be the first person to step foot on Mars, assassinate Trump or solve climate change. But we could indefinitely change the lives of our community and the space which we exist in, kind of like an undertow working below the surface.



I’ve made my waves here and there though. In the middle of last Winter, I rode my bike 1100km across the North Island of New Zealand to raise funds for a charity organisation called VOYCE Whakarongo Mai, which is an advocacy service for young children in state care. The money wasn’t the point though, what was more amazing was the awareness raised from it. You had people from all walks of life donating money to the cause.

A couple of weeks prior to the ride was mostly spent just spinning yarns with my barber’s, taxi and Uber drivers, schoolmates, doctors, family members just spreading the word. I think it’s once people actually know what you’re doing that their minds are changed. Sharing the word and telling people your story goes to show your humaneness, your humility. It makes you relatable, recognizable.

While other people might not share the same experiences as you do, when you humble yourself and show your previous vulnerabilities what you’re doing is inspiring people to be apart of your change. Gaining momentum kind of like where a river reaches a bottleneck.

So you’ve got some speed. That’s great, it was great. There was a time when the world was moving quicker than I was. The day before the ride it was full stress mode. Checking ten times to make sure we had everything ready, breaking a few bags trying to shove stuff into them, an absolute mess. With speed comes stress. Natural stress.



My friend Taylor came over to our flat that day, and my other friend Jayden. Together their roles were to chill me out. To make me relax. Even my arch nemesis flatmate Sophie was feeling the vibes of stress that I was spewing that night. Together they mixed up some pasta. A dish for the carb gods. They were angels that night. You can’t do this stuff by yourself. You need the help and support but it can start with you. A changed world can start with you, all you need to do is start.

The first day of my seven day tour was like a lucid dream. No, seriously I was still half asleep because I hadn’t slept enough the night before. Anxious about not having everything I needed even though I’d be planning the ride for months.

It was 6am and we were standing outside of the War Memorial site in Wellington was where the journey began. By this stage, the fundraiser had fetched over $1500 and the good luck prayers and wishes were flooding my Facebook.

After saying two prayers in Maori and English the game was on. Pitch black highway cycling watching the first signs of people heading off to work. By the time I reached my first stopover of Waikanae my legs were reduced to jelly. My front wheel had been sliced into by glass on the road and things were looking shit. About 60km into the morning and it was all still way ahead of me.

Sitting on a toilet at a service station, I checked my phone thinking that it was kind of all over but I remember checking Facebook and seeing the overwhelming support and prayers from people who had been inspired by the cause. The taxi driver that donated to the fundraiser twice what my taxi fare cost. Family living in Dubai who stayed up late into the night to watch my progress. These were the people who inspired me to get back on the bike.

It can’t be done alone. The reason you can’t do it alone is that your inner critic will tell you that you can’t achieve what you want to achieve like water stagnating in a lake. Your support networks drip feed you with the same inspiration you gave them.

The real value of getting back on my bike was knowing that I was going to make it no matter what! Even if that meant sitting in the car while it rained or getting a lift over hilly roads that were too dangerous to ride.

The view was beautiful. Both from a cycling perspective seeing New Zealand and also making an impact. Going to places I’d never seen before, meeting new people along the way who let me stay with them, and finishing the ride on day seven with family I’d never met. A truly life-changing experience shared by all.




Your change in the world doesn’t have to be by riding a bike halfway across the country though. You don’t have to advocate for millions of Pakistani girls for the right of education, or even win a Nobel Peace Prize. It could be something even more local, like encouraging your friends not to bully other people, like reminding yourself not to hurt others and where possible showing gratitude for all the blessings you have.

There’s a rippling effect that comes from changing the opinions of those around you. They won’t even know it but your existence will change a person’s worldview. They don’t even have to agree with what you’re doing.

But like everything, it takes time, hard work and the strong support of others. It’s hard work changing people’s views. But by sharing your story you can at least show them that you are just like they are, imperfect.  Through that space, you are opening yourself up to be human and maybe one day, they will do the same thing too.

Thanks for checking in!



Blog 114 – From An Outsiders Perspective

It’s always interesting meeting new friends and getting to know who they are. Those first few months of spinning yarns and slowly earning each other’s trust. Learning to see what their strengths and weaknesses are from an outsider’s perspective. Those awesome occasions once you’ve heard all their stories and share memories with them and you’re put into a position where they finally trust you enough to bring you into their home.

Call it the chapter when you introduce all of the side characters, your friend’s parents or partner, their cousins or relatives, and friends. Even the decorations around their home and the general vibe speaks novels about a person and why they are who they are. Everything that you weren’t told seems to come out after the first few times you visit a person’s home. Like opening a sandwich you bought from the bakery. It’s contents become more obvious over time.

Now it’s not to say that you could just waltz into somebodies home and figure out every nasty thought they’d ever had, although you could just read the labelling on the shelf before you became invested in the sandwich. But it means you get to see some of a person’s primary characteristics being overlaid inside the place they grew up in, inclusive of the other people they live with.

This happens to me from time to time. From friend’s whose parents are armed defenders squad soldiers to newly wedded families with a new cat. Booming business-owning families all the way to stoners with nothing better to do than drive doughnuts in their backyard to piss off their neighbours. But for the sake of this talk, I want to reflect on one particular friend whose family taught me that you can survive primarily on love. That you can survive on the warmth generated by love as if to say that same sandwich only needed one ingredient.

When I was a depressed little teenager, my family shifted cities. We moved into this neighbourhood called Cashmere in this earthquake-prone city called Christchurch. Now little did I know that being socially awkward and noticeably anxious in a school full of shaken up teens makes it really really difficult to make new mates. It would be more productive to try to make fruit bread by toasting an apple.

Long story short I eventually made a group of mates. It took them a while to realize that I was just a massive softy. The kind of bum who likes cups of tea next to an indoor water feature with a brioche bun filled with avocado and bacon probably with a yummy homemade chutney on a laid back Thursdays 3pm.

It took some time for them to adopt me as a new prospect but somehow they found a way to let me fit in. Surely enough the majority of whom I still talk to today. All of those guys have grown up with me over the last five years from being dramatic and highly reliant teenagers to becoming less dramatic independent adults.

One of my best mates was introduced to me through this group. In how all fashionably classy friendships are made, through bitching about other people we both mutually disliked. The consistent and exaggerated moaning about people we both knew and both despised. An extremely fruitful way to spend hours of cackling with another person, I would recommend.

From then on, my mate and I continued to find the funny in everything. Whether it be about a teacher’s mannerisms all the way to the problems with brands like Beats by Dre. There was a consistency there which eventuated in our friendship. A friendship strong enough to earn his trust and be invited over.

The first time I went around to my mate’s place all I remember hearing was, “mum, Mana’s here.” Like a drill sergeant announcing a captain being on deck. Like an outfit, I went into full mum-mode by putting on my innocent until proven trustworthy face.  Through the fly door screen, all I heard was a homely voice saying, “hi Mana I’m (Bob’s) mum.” Followed by a prompt to come inside and not to worry about my shoes.

Dragon’s, rock/metal band posters, ashtrays, and love. That’s all my eyes could see in those first few steps into my mate’s place. They weren’t unshaken. Their family wasn’t perfect. Like many good people, shit happens and you learn to adapt to the situation, get thicker skin, deal with things over time. My friends mum worked hard. Day in and day out both at work and in their home. In the beginning that’s all I saw, just a hard-working, no bullshit New Zealand family. From an external view, a cold and solid livelihood, period.

Meeting my friends family was during a rock bottom period for me. Weighed to the ground by my anxieties, having issues with acceptance of who I was and problems with relationship breakups. The usual teenaged angst type of stuff. A period of time that you really just need help from other people.

When things go tits up, especially as a teenager, it can be really difficult to explain why it happened to parents who don’t really know who you are. Sometimes all you need is to talk to people who you’ve not previously had very much to do with. Sometimes what you need is a second family to kind of induct you into their world.

Family dynamics can become extremely solidified especially when you’ve never known much different. In my case, there had been so much clinging going on, by which I mean it became a case of never wanting to detach from my parents or learn about how others lived. I was so worried about how others might perceive me, Scared of the hammer coming down afraid of their judgment. A cold and stark reality that others only see things from an outsiders perspective.

Meeting other people has this cool feature that gains insight into understanding how other peoples family dynamics can educate unforeseen circumstances kind of like a chef teaching how to cook your favourite dish but better by adding a special ingredient, being more time appropriate or applying some other logic. It’s really as simple as studying others but we should learn about the secret sauce for now. Getting to learn about what lies within the solid centre, or within the breaded sandwich. Trying to understand how my friends family worked was about as powerful as taking cooking lessons.


After some time of appreciating who the people my friend and his family were, eventually you see what’s inside the cold centred middle. Behind the hard-working parenting, the passive bitching between sister and brother. Beyond the no-bullshit typicality of my friend’s kiwi family. It took some time to learn that this was how their family loved each other. A transcendent and loving conversation without words like heat within a freshly minced pie.

Love and acceptance was the currency my friends family traded in. A secret sauce that other people couldn’t corrupt. It was as if they didn’t give a shit about how other people lived and that was so refreshing from a younger and far more insecure little me.

Passively learning about all of their signs from the arguing they always did to the subtle giggling afterwards all the way to the endless talking about Game of Thrones or squabbling about somebody else they didn’t like. The thing that got to me was that my friend’s family didn’t have all the things other families did.

They didn’t have all of the belongings, the fancy cars or illustrious achievements hung up on the walls of their house paraded for everyone to see. They didn’t have an array of university qualifications or even a dominant male figure walking about the house. Their home wasn’t decorated with fancy artwork, instead, there was an occasional ACDC rock band poster resting next to their dining room table.

My point is their home wasn’t rich or even slightly well off. There were no high incomes or even two parents. Instead, there was only a hard-working mother and hard-working, loving not-so-young kids.

His family endured through many shakes that I never dealt with. Literally. During 2010, 2011 and beyond there were severe earthquakes that struck the Christchurch region. Imagine growing up in a place your entire life and having the majority of its terrain, it’s infrastructure being broken and uplifted. The disgruntled unfamiliarity of your livelihood, and yes it sounds dramatic but remember when so little else besides love gels your whole life together, how much would earthquakes unsettle your home life?



Another non-physical language next to love my friends family used was music. It helped to push through the hardships of suffering thousands of earthquakes. One of my memories staying over was listening to the Rock Fm playing late into the night. I thought I’d switch off the radio but was promptly told to put it back on. Not in a police officer kind of way but like mum telling you to eat your food before it goes cold.

Music was a security. It reminded them that they were safe inside of the chords. An empowering force, something that they liked. It let them forget about the shaking, it gave them a sense of stillness. It reminded me of all the times I used music to ease the stress of a situation.

There are endless external sources which could break families apart. Economic, financial, socio-political, earthquakes, you name it. But nothing hardens a family together more or strengthens relationships like an incorruptible love, spoken or not. My mates family taught me everything about staying strong. They even taught me a lot about my friend and why he came off so staunch and concrete.

It was because it takes time and a lot of hard work to earn some peoples trust. Not because they’re unsociable but because that is how they have grown up. With a solid centre. Though from an external position it might seem like they don’t care but in reality, it’s quite literally the opposite. My friends family didn’t have all the privileges but they still had more than the richest or most powerful.

Instead of cars and material belongings, they had relationships. Instead of talking about TED talks we spoke about memories together. It taught me that not every family needed all of the salads or the fanciest meats in their sandwich but instead they could get by using their special ingredient, love.

Be more open to loving discussions. Not necessarily with the next person you meet but instead becoming a source of warmth for those closest to you. My friends family taught me to guard my heart. Not to become invested in external sources like fixating on frivolous spending but instead to be grateful for what I have.

They remind me how we all need to love our family. That we could lose everything in life from our employment to our loved ones. But at the end of the day, as long as you have love as your glue and a mean tune on the radio, nothing can break up your family. And on that note…

Thanks for checking in!



Blog 108 – Addicted to Being Busy

I sometimes think that people are genuinely just being busy for the fact that they enjoy being busy. The consistent type the ones that like to fill their schedule with everything other than making meaningful relationships with others.

It’s not just the serial extroverted either, what if somebody told you that everyone is just being busy for the sake of being that way…

I grew up in a home full of busy people. On one hand, you have a mother who has so many degrees at University neither you nor I will ever be as hot as her, and on the other, you have a dad who is soo one stroke that a roast with meat and two veg hits the plate nearly every day of the week.

Everyone in the family, asides from dad and my youngest sister, is military level martial artists, two of which were instructors, all of which are black belts. Where the tenants are:

  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self Control
  • And Indomitable Spirit.

It’s like the life motto in our house is so “go hard or go home” that the “go home” is removed from the saying entirely. The type or persistence that has you running timed runs at 12 years old training for your black belt grading. The type that has you running around in a white uniform that looks like a straight jacket for crazy people in front of kids playing basketball at school on a Saturday afternoon.

Sometimes I look at myself and think “why the heck did I say yes to that?” those moments when you full well know you’ve got something else on but the enjoyment of achieving it drives you to say yes instantaneously.

What? You don’t have those feelings? Not everybody does but maybe it’s the opposite of procrastinating? Maybe it’s a case of needing to achieve in order to feel content with oneself. That some people like myself get off on over achieving and end up doing everything but really achieving nothing. 

But is that any reason to slow down? What’s worse, being overly unproductive or achieving so much that your CV when you reach 50 years old will be longer than the bible…

I am constantly at war with myself, saying shit in my head like “am I trying hard enough” or “what more could I be doing to better equip myself for what comes next.” Perhaps all of those childhood memories of watching my mum vacuuming the top of the wall units in the lounge at 5am on a Sunday morning is what actually brought that stuff up for me.

My latest goal was to start up this new blog, the blog collects the stories of others and displays them into a narrative. Something that people could browse in their spare time. It was specifically started with the intention that it could combat mental health. That a person in need could come across it and utilize some of the tools that other people have talked about that were important for them.

This is still an amazing idea but can’t you see the problem? The holidays are over now, University is back up and running, that project is pretty hefty. On top of this, I also said yes to being on the panel for the William Wallace Awards which sits tomorrow at lunch time. There were 49 candidates, each candidate had anywhere between 4 and 80 pages of reading to go through carefully and respectfully.

Then there’s home life… The list goes on… But what is more important is recognizing the pattern. The mindset that if I don’t feel like I’m achieving enough, then there is a problem.

A capricious cycle of finding solitude in stress-infused silence. The ten-second excitement factor after pushing publish to the latest blog you’re currently reading. The bow on the stage that lasts a fleeting five minutes. Is it passion or is it problem. 

This is not a bragging session about claiming to be an over achiever. This is a confession session so that you don’t feel pressured into working tirelessly to achieve something that doesn’t really matter beyond the paycheck, beyond the certificate, beyond the bravado, beyond the bullshit.

If being busy keeps you happy, then fine, live and let live. But if you’re not achieving authentic relationships that are meaningful, whats the fucking point? Though it’s a bit of a serious reaction to over achieving something.  Sometimes striking a balance can be evidence of exercising the fourth tenant mentioned above, self-control. Learning to be at peace whilst remaining still.

In the words of Jackie Chan,”Being still & doing nothing are two very different things.”

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 107 – A New Blog!

You can visit the new blog here! WHAT WE SEE

So you may or may not know that we’ve recently started a new blog called WHAT WE SEE. It features a whole range of different voices from people within the community and shares a little bit about their stories.

The goal of the blog is to develop a wealth of opinions on topics surrounding mental well-being that we are dealing with in our local communities. Such issues include teen suicide in the state. Vulnerable youths and mental health. Ensuring quality care for care experienced young people and much more.

By constructing this new blog I hope to give the voices of the community, who are invested stakeholders in the well-being of young people throughout New Zealand, a collective vehicle that can be used to help aid those in difficulty. Specifically looking to help young people in New Zealand.

My experience in the state care system has meant that I am able to reflect on the process of the state care system as well as suggest practical ways in which we can all work together to help change the culture in New Zealand. I have been lucky enough to understand the mechanisms behind the ministries and private organizations and bodies that exist to front these social issues.

Perhaps another young person suffering from depression, anxiety or a young person who just needs to hear about a story from another young person or somebody they’ve never met.

The attitude of this new blog WHAT WE SEE is all about drawing from experiences that other people have faced in their lives. That they can give these little taonga back to their community to help somebody we’ve never met, without expecting anything in return. 

– – – – – –

So how could you get involved?

It;s really simple! All you need to do is write in via the contact page or by getting in touch over Facebook and gauging your interest in being part of the collective voice as well as a little bit about your personal background.

From there somebody will get in touch with you quickly as possible and hear a little bit more about your story. You can be super loud! Or you can be anonymous. This is all about sharing your experiences with young people in our community.

– – – – – –

How long’s this been running?

Since August actually… The best thing ever has been thus far getting to hear other peoples stories just flourish and shine on their own without any moderation, without any changing because they are so real.

The blog will continue to remain this real into the future. The goal is to start small and develop a network of people. But the opportunity is to grow so large that the blog becomes its own service.

– – – – – –

If you have any other questions about how you can get involved or if you just want to know more please feel free to email me or leave a comment at the end of the blog!

Thanks for checking in!

You can visit the new blog here! WHAT WE SEE

Blog 106 – Spring to Life

In this discussion, I summarize what the first half of this year’s blogging has been about. What the experience has contained and what lessons have been learned on my part and what ideas are to come.

There are a dozen reasons why I started this blog. At first, it was all about putting tabs on important moments in my life. The blog manifested itself within experiences I went through. Looked at reviewing different places I had seen and been to. Talked about the international community and some of the atrocities being committed against people.

It talked about moments of inhumanity when everything was bad about our world, especially the economy. I hated the economy. The attitude of arbitrary leaders to treat people like dirt, raise the rate of inflation, flat-lined the raising of wages. Create laws to scare people away from misbehaving. They call it freedom but I saw institutional stereotyping/racism/fascism/sexism and general dickheadedness.

Yes… The blog was a ranting platform.

The blog also discussed my personal hobbies and interests like architecture and cycling. It also talked about what it’s like to live in Wellington. The various opportunities I was able to seize like becoming a youth advocate or helping to build a new children’s ministry. Becoming a voice for other young people in a non-governmental agency.

We shared a heck of a lot of memories on the blog. Like moving cities, studying at university, relationship melt downs, going to church, doing a charity bike ride across half the country, flatmate politics.

Then it became more about understanding how I work as an individual. What peeved me off about things I did. What frustrated me about things other people did, how I responded to those negative emotions, how to balance those out with positive reflections.

Then the blog became about what’s real and authentic about people. It became about looking for the balance in actions, the way people were and how I shaped up against them. How others could learn from the examples I could set and vice versa.

it evolved into this forum of self-reflection, a place where I could go and vent about myself, what I wasn’t doing, what I was doing really well. It was almost a celebratory place.

But it’s time to change.

The next step for me is to start focusing more about what other people think. There’s a kind of evolutionary thing about starting with one blog and moving into two. Like a tree in some ways, I guess. The idea is to start getting more people into the flow of building their blog alongside this one. TO encourage others to participate in the conversations.

WHAT WE SEE is the new outlet for other people to share what they feel about various topics. The focus is to be drawn on what makes people tick. The focus will be on character building and what people think is important to them and their freedom. What they know from their experience is important to them and could never be unhinged by anything that happens in their life.

This space needs to be used to help people re-motivate themselves and reconnect with their sense of belonging or Turangawaewae. To establish their foundation and find their roots again, be a bit more centered. The beauty about asking people what they find most important is knowing that no one answer is ever going to be the same.

The beauty of WHAT WE SEE is that it is a community space that I hope will develop over spring to become this blossoming embodiment of commune and respect.Over the next three months, I will be trialing this product to see how it can manifest itself best within other peoples time frames as well as building relationships with others.

The blog is only a vehicle. The blog is only the vehicle on which messages can be delivered to other people. It’s like a tree bearing fruit. But the fruit is not for the tree (Because since when does a tree eat an apple). The fruit is for other people to enjoy and read. To take away it’s wisdom and knowledge to empower others to do the same and to be inspired to create change where possible.

It’s all a bit deep. But why is the blog changing? 

The point in the changing of seasons is to respect that we have been through a season. Like everything when seasons change we need to adapt and create new opportunities. Time to shed some fur and begin to evolve into something else that is more relevant.

The blog is adapting by changing up a gear. Removing some of the temporary stilts used to keep the tree growing upwards instead of outwards. But now it’s time to start growing upwards without the confines of being stuck in my own space writing about my own life and it’s time to start sharing the microphone.

I would like the blog to start talking about important issues in New Zealand that so many people face every day. That we could create a narrative to help other people in our community in need of advice, with personal stories that we are willing to share.

What would I like to talk about? 

The first thing I want to focus on is introducing the community. A quick way to do this is by asking some big questions like, “What is the most important thing in your life on one page.” Other questions might be,” What are three things in life that you are extremely grateful for.” By asking a series of questions we can introduce the people who are writing in. By doing so we are introducing a community of people.

I would like to talk about teen suicide in New Zealand and I would like to highlight mental health in New Zealand also. It would mean a lot to me if the blog would grow into this forest of trees where everyone is given space to grow and develop their own sense of identity and freedom. By sharing their opinions on these matters would in many ways grow the tree into this unbreakable structure that would encourage others to speak up as well.

The blog would also focus on positive things in our community that people are doing. This to balance the bad weather and acknowledging that we accept there have been many struggles through the coolness of winter but now that we have changed seasons we can begin to grow in the warmth of society and offer support to others who haven’t made it through the storm unscathed.

How are we going to do this? 

I want to start growing larger than imaginable. I want the blog to start to draw strength from the community it already lives in. It’s no longer about me and my snobby opinions but it’s about you, yes you.

It’s going to take a lot of people to be loud and consistent. I am so excited to see this too. So if you are out there, and you do want to be involved, then BE INVOLVED. Get in touch, send me an email: (Ymail = Yahoo Mail). Get connected through various social media platforms, just do. Don’t even think about leaving this sloppy discussion without checking in, you’ve already got this far so you may as well!

It’s going to take a small army of people to keep this alive but I’m praying for it to stand up and be lifted high. So I ask you wherever you are, to be apart of this cool moment, and be apart of it!


Once again, we reach a new chapter in the blog and I’m glad to announce that I will continue to blog every now and again, probably just to rant about something. But there is lots of work that we need to get involved with to try and help the vulnerable young people in our country. We need to be the voice in the dark that steps in and says you’re not alone. We need to be the ones to grow community so that they know they can be nurtured from the fruit we produce for them to sustain them.

Expecting nothing in return.

Thanks for checking in! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Blog 101 – EMOTIONS

Somebody told me today that at least 600 young people in New Zealand last year took their own lives. That we have one of the highest rates of teen suicide per capita in the entire world yet we are a country known for its social diversity and positive lifestyles.

I’m here to break it to you that we aren’t doing a very good job at upholding that clean green image. Unfortunately, our country suffers from a culture where it’s still disenfranchising to talk about how you are feeling or what you’re going through.

Where the male culture is subjected to this starving dog mentality that because we are brutes we ought to be shooed outside to independently find a solution to fix our own issues but that’s bullshit.

Coming from a guy with a second degree black belt in Taekwon-Do, a double majoring student and a whole range of other tough sounding character filtering mechanisms I’m proud to admit that I have feelings.

There’s no point in trying to prove to you that I have a credible background in being as tough as nails because I’m not. There have been tougher people before me and there will be tougher guys after me. But what I’m trying to say is that wanting to be humble is something that should be encouraged not discriminated against.

All people should be able to reflect on how they are feeling, especially with guys. Look, lads… I know it’s easy to roast one another about stupid shit like not being able to admit that you genuinely care about one another or how one guy is more emotional than the rest but it’s irrelevant. Being able to connect with people from a guys perspective takes balls,

I miss my ex. It’s never easy alienating yourself from them when you’ve established such strong connections. Even for a dude, like there are clear reasons why guys need girls in their lives and it’s not about sex or about fitting into the social sphere but it’s about having someone you can bounce ideas off and cry about things with.

At the beginning, it was made clear that this chat would be a bit soppy but it’s something that we guys should be happy to talk about. It’s not natural to create a deep and intimate relationship with someone and then separate from that person. Pain and all of that other crap happen after a relationship break-up and I’m here to tell you I’m feeling those vibes every single day now even though it’s been a while.

Don’t hate on another dude because he’s struggling, let him rant about that stuff, it hurts. Humbling oneself takes courage so respect that don’t discriminate against it. There is a problem in little old New Zealand and as much as our government would love to blame the economics it’s more than that, it comes down to the way we normalise social processes, it’s how we deal with depression, anxiety and stress.

If we have no outlet then what do we do? Turn to the bottle? The bong? The cell phone? We should be able to knock on our neighbour’s door and let them know that we aren’t doing okay. There should be a premise for that but more often than not guys don’t get that opportunity.

I’m not saying girls don’t have equal footing in this discriminatory culture we live in because they do. But the statistics show that in particular, it is Maori Male men living in NZ with the highest rate of teen suicide than any other demographic, so there’s clearly an issue here.

Young people need to be able to speak out if the culture is going to change here in New Zealand and it’s clear that this isn’t the case. We should be able to feel proud about being alive and being who we are because we are people with value and were put here for a reason, male or female. Loved or ex-partnered.

Blog 100 – REST

Something that sparked up a bit of conversation between me and my friend Sam this week was the importance of rest and the power of sleep. After walking nearly 50km over three sessions of walking we kind of resorted to talking about well-being and discussed how rest was something athletes do beyond the sport.

Something I learned when I was watching this youtube blogger named Cycling Maven was about this annual bicycle ride they did across Australia called the Indi-Pac. (Indian Pacific wheel race). This race was over 5000km and went from western Australia near Perth across to eastern Australia in Sydney. The ride taking as long as it took the riders to complete it and in some instances actually race it.

Long story short the racers would have to find adequate means of resting each day after riding crazy distances of in some instances up to 550-600km in one day. (Which is ridiculous) Some riders reporting that they would only sleep up to four hours per day and In some cases less and then exercise up to fifteen hours with few breaks in-between. Pure insanity.

The riders spoke about how they would come across significant health issues. One athlete went on to explain one night, during his tour across America, when he slept on the side of the road in a disabled toilet and was woken up by a busting truck driver banging on the door wanting to use the loo. He said that he actually forgot where he was and went into a panic attack.

The real talk is that nobody is immune to rest. But defining rest is what I feel comes down to an art. I’ve spoken about rest in numerous discussions in my blog before. I don’t think that when talking about the necessity of rest we should visualise becoming a grizzly bear retreating into a cave over Wellington’s super cold winter months and do no exercise. But I feel that maybe instead it’s a call from God to actually rest in the faith sense. To be calm and gracious in both exercise and recovery by listening to the body and creating a relationship with ourselves (and God) and having faith that we will wake up fresh and be able to climb any mountain tomorrow.

I apologise if this turned biblical for you quickly. Maybe it’s not your belief personally but I feel that if you trust and have faith in your body and listen to it more you might benefit from having better rest.

In the Christian sense I guess my faith is knowing that there is nothing I can do to deserve the love of God but that the price has been paid already and the only reason I’ve been able to accomplish so much already is because there is some kind of cause that I am working towards. But in rest it means that I am able to be grateful in my recovery and am ready to grow later with God.

Anyway that’s my two cents worth. I hope you can think on that like I have. What rest means for you. It’s ironic that I write about rest now even though I am awake at 11:30pm and am coming up with excuses not to sleep. But here is my opinion on restfulness and what it means to me. Share with me, in the comments, what it means to you because I’d love to know. And as always,

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 096 – Ride On 

So these words are from a late night of both travelling and studying. Studying for what should be my economics examination but wasn’t. This is a short story of the perceived failed lifestyle that so many of us inconsistent students often face. 

You see, there is nothing liberating about studying. Some people just don’t learn shoved behind a desk listening to some guy rant on in the vast distance on the other side of a lecture theater. I know, who would have thought? 

Those people learn in other ways, such as doing and experiencing. They grow their expertise as they do things because it’s relevant to what they’re doing right now. It’s practicable. For a lot of students I know who struggle with the concept of University it’s often down to a lack of confidence. 

I’ve struggled with this too. Hitting my second year of study knowing that my track record shows D grades and A+ grades has helped me realize one thing. It’s not consistency that is as important as is passion for one thing or a few things. 

When I was sat at my desk tonight, all I could remember was being so incredibly fascinated by this bike ride that I’d planned. Not your motorcycle kind either. No, a push bike plan. A plan to cycle half the length of New Zealand across its North Island during the middle of winter to raise funds for kids in care. 

My philosophy is that when it comes down to the line what matters most to people is their satisfaction to life. Not by what credentials they have or what job they could get with their A-grades.

We are moving into the age of deep fried avocado chips and Jacinda Ardern’s. Where every system will be questioned for its familistic value under a more liberal, intelligent and practical democracy. Where children won’t feel isolated in an abusive home because there is someone out there advocating for them. A time when family traditions are pushed aside for non-sexist, relationship building communities of people who widely accept individuals as family. 

A time when a bachelor of commerce won’t be necessary to get a job in selling shirts at K-Mart. A time when a bachelor of business communications wouldn’t be needed to work as a Journalist in Syria but instead let you prove your worth by showing the work you have accomplished. 

I’m talking about higher education becoming less relevant to employment, which I’m sure 90% of students and 100% of their parents want. Is to become employed with a job that provides, or better still, allows that person to buy their first home. Get a nice car, start a family. Erect a white picket fence…

I’m not saying the white picket fence cookie cutter lifestyle trend is bad. I’m saying it’s boring. Where is the life in that? 

My point is that if you want to get the most marginal utility, or satisfaction – something I’ve learnt in economics tonight, you need to make sure you’re doing what you’re passionate about. Good old fashioned, do what makes you happy mantra. Instead of being passionate about university, tonight I chose to arrange my bike ride. Not because I hate my parents for funding my education but because it was something that made me happy. It gives me purpose. 

Excuses Excuses… 

The immediate assumption leople could make is that students come up with every excuse to avoid studying at all costs. But what kind of a student doesn’t avoid studenting? 

I have a close friend who has had difficulty this year trying to find his way through university. Not because he isn’t smart or isn’t capable because in many ways he’s gifted and talented. He has all the right qualities going for him and is genuinely an intelligent guy, like so many students out there. 

He’s not doing very well because the pressure of his parents to achieve great things swallows the pride he gets from doing what he loves. In turn he blames the system for not letting him walk into a job just because he’s gauged interest.

When people ask kids the question what they want to be when they grow up they always expect half of them to be jobs requiring higher education. The thing is that only some of those jobs really “need” an education. The British Navy had unqualified doctors during the world war mending wounded people back to life. Stammering King George VI of England hired an unqualified speech therapist to help him become the first live broadcasting Monarch to The British Empire during a time of war. The therapist was an actor who had experience in the field of speech therapy also during the war. No qualification, no APA referencing expectations.

What I’m getting at here is that not all students should be forced to do well in school. They shouldn’t feel like cogs in a machine because there shouldn’t be pressure to do well in something because it’s probably not going to work out that way, especially if it’s not liberating. 

I think it’s important for everyone to know that liberation is not the American type, but the type who can prioritise family, health and happiness above money, A-grades and white picket fences. 
Obviously, that student who is up late at night pondering whether to organize a bike ride or study for his exam tomorrow is going to pick bike ride. And there will be consequences for that, he probably won’t do very well. Will go onto failing the course and will probably sit it next semester. The consequence is not the time wasted, it’s the money it will cost to repair the damage done. 

The cost will be to resit those papers. 

The cost will be to ask for forgiveness from your parents. 

The cost will be thinking about how hard they had to work for that failed examination. 

It’s a real stress that a lot of students face. 

So there is absolutely a level of accountability from the student to their parents. But there is also a level of support a parent needs to provide that isn’t financial to encourage their child to do the best they can without asking any more from them because they love their child endlessly because that’s what families do and that’s the most important thing. 

I guess when it comes to living you need to be sure you know what you’re passionate about and gravitate to it like water to the Earth. 

Mine is cycling and spinning yarns at six in the morning… 


Today’s discussion is about giving up drinking alcohol. Not your regular alcoholic confession story but better worded as a design direction statement more than anything. The reason I say design direction is because I see myself as a product of a whole lot of successes and mistakes. Not all necessarily all my own fault but I see things as if you can start a habit you can stop a habit. It’s better looking at things from a conceptual standpoint because you can get to know yourself at a structural timeframe level and get to understand where it all went wrong.

So let’s go back a few years and figure all this shit out. Get to know me better and understand where I’m coming from. This conversation is not set up to convince you that I’m a good person. It’s setup so that we can both be better. That you can hopefully feel proud to say “no” everytime somebody else says “yes.” Let’s get to the bottom of this in a big way so that we can both get on with our day.

I was pretty late to the party getting started with the whole drinking thing. Reached the age of sixteen never having had any real interest in the world of alcoholism or ever really finding any value in brown water. My parents reached out to me one day. My dad handed me a double brown and a spoon then said, “if you can open this beer, you can have it.” Being the stupid prideful snob the opportunity seemed too easy to say no to so I smashed it back.

Cracking my first beer was like earning some kind of noteworthy badge or something. Being a teenage kiwi boy from a rural neighborhood, it all seemed like I’d just ran my first marathon or built my first shed, a huge achievement. There was something about it that seemed unnecessarily normal. As if my parents were comfortable with it. Because they were!

I’m not blaming anyone but myself for drinking. My parents have always been conservative and intelligible people. But the concern was that it was socially acceptable and that was a part of the problem. Like when an architect designs a home for a family. A home is supposed to represent the values of that family and it’s crazy to assume that the accumulation of wealth in which the family has created would ever be influenced by external sources but they often are. A home, a place of sanctuary can so easily be affected by social norms that influence what the building ends up looking like. Say for the box-like design that we often see in residential houses these days. Or the internal makeup with the bathrooms usually separated from the lounge.

That’s not to assume that influence is always bad. But normality allows people to do things which make no sense or have any real value, like drinking. It doesn’t give us anything good. All of my happiest moments were spent sober so why the fuck should drinking be a part of that?

About a year after my first sip saw that it was time to have my first major piss up. I made a promise to myself to get wasted with good company at least once so that I could say that I’d done it. Any opportunity to make good on that promise and I’d take it. One day my friends held a party and it got a lot crazier than it needed to. A dozen Mavericks, a splash of cider. A few shots from my friend’s dads Whiskey bottle, the whole bottle. It snowballed into this late night rigmarole of hellish partying.

By no means is that a complaint though. It was one of the best nights of my life. A messy night of alcohol infused melodrama mixed with relationship issues, which we’ll talk about in just a second, and self-destructive friends. It ended with one of my friends leaking off the balcony and getting smacked over by the person he leaked on standing below the balcony, and rightly so. I guess for the main part drinking back then was all about learning who the right people are to be drinking with and getting to know what my limits were.

So what’s the problem?

I had a lot of relationship anxieties. Call it weird, call it whatever you would like. My relationship issues didn’t spark from a lack of love or a lack of laughter with my ex’s but instead because I was lonely and afraid of being rejected. With this new found substance it gave me opportunities to express how I was feeling better than if I was filtering them out sober. Drinking was my outlet to treat other people like shit, a very unnecessary and tiresome fact. There wasn’t much of an opportunity to realize it at the time but it was the start of a two-year period which would cause me a couple of major problems.

A little backstory:

Relationship issues were something compounded into my early childhood. With my biological parents never having raised me, returning to my life when I reached the age of five and then finally disappearing again was the first mistake made during my earliest childhood foundation building stages. It was when they came back and stuffed everything up again like ripping off a bandage and stabbing around the first cut holes.

Reaching those early pubescent years thinking about acceptance from my peers was a big deal for me having lost some of that at an earlier stage. Coming to grips with experimenting and learning how to love others was another major design flaw for me. I knew how to love others because I’d been treated properly growing up but my problem was a lack of feeling accepted.

Fast forward into my late teenage years where I discovered alcohol, sex, and money. The problem with rejection was still very entrenched in things. Call it a growing period, call it melodrama. Nobody needs that stuff. If the problem is with me then I guess the solution lies with me also. Time to learn how the wood meets the nail and where it all fits together. Perforated eves on my rooftops. Water tight to shelter from the rain. My later teenage years were and have been a time of significant stuff ups. This is where some backstory is really necessary.

Seventeen was the magic number when it all went tits up. Still coming to terms with sexual orientation and also struggling with relationship issues. I guess turning seventeen was the moment of chaos and madness. During my friends eighteenth, after a morning, afternoon and evening of binge drinking. I’d only recently learned that I was cheated on and so I ended up using alcohol as my scapegoat. Running away from my friends through a river in my brand new blazer, swearing at the police in the back of the police car and spending a while in jail. My friends who were upset were forced to call the police on me and it was the first really big wake up call to sort things out at a structural level. It was like having an earthquake testing the integrity of a building and it all coming tumbling down.

It wasn’t the drinking, it wasn’t the cheating, it wasn’t my age or a lack of support from my friends. They only helped push things over. The problem was a design error. My rejection issues and how they affected my ability to withstand social pressures were to blame. This stuff might be pretty dramatic for you but having lived through it and knowing what it was all about (and this blog being about what I see) I guess what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It was hard for me then and let’s use it as a big learning opportunity for us both.

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I just wish I’d learned earlier…

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The year after my first major breakdown was the second series of incidents which didn’t need to happen either. A real judgment moment I guess. In my first year at university, I’d overwhelmed myself. With a long distance relationship on the go, studying architecture full time and pretty much working three jobs at once there was way too much for any one person to be juggling. Mix that with some significant rejection indifferences and one evening of hard drinking after thinking that you’d been cheated on the second time and voila!

The second time I broke down, everyone around me let me know that it was time to do something significant about it. Some of my best friends no longer felt comfortable around me. Some felt anxious when I was in the room. One Monday about a month after I’d learned my girlfriend had got with someone else at a party, sick from not sleeping, taking antibiotics, drunk on life,  eventuated with punching walls, head out the window and a two-minute wrestle with a couple of bulky police officers saw me again in a police cell with hell to pay the day after.

I’d lose friendships. I’d lose trust. My parents would have felt anxious not knowing what state I was in. My halls of residence would quickly kick me out and there’d be no more room for my bull shit. But most importantly, I’d get the opportunity to grow from my mistakes. I’d get the chance to change which way I was going. This was the last time I’d drunk to the point of non-remembrance. The last time I would see red and decide that other people were to blame for my issues and actually do something about it.

The months after were a whole lot of petty nights out until I came to the stage where I could see how drinking only catalyzed issues with other people my age it was never the cause for the shit. I learned that the real problem was always deeper if there ever was any. So it was like this big moment of realizing after ages that it doesn’t even matter. That drinking is completely pointless. That it’s never going to help me in any significant way, therefore, it should never be treated as a highlight of my day.

When people ask why I gave up drinking it’s not because I had problems with drinking it’s that I have problems full stop. That alcohol is just making my life much more difficult and that I should definitely treat it as if I were a 49-year-old alcoholic. As if I did have mental health issues. Not living in fear of drinking but instead coming to terms with the fact that I don’t need to drink and there’s never any premise that makes drinking necessary.


Since then: 

Every occasion where my friends, family members or girlfriend would drink I’d always feel privileged to be the sober one. There is a lot of reward in deciding not to drink. For one, being a poor student it saves me a whole pile of money deciding not to drink. If there’s one thing I notice with my friends and flatmates it’s that the ones who drink spend a considerable amount on purchasing drinks for nights out and it’s something I can always appreciate to a high degree.

My next big gripe is that I’ve probably lost weight thus far this year. I used to be into all of the sugary stuff like espresso martinis and gelo shots, but In general my drinking used to be pretty unhealthy. So it was another huge advantage for me was improving my health, I might have made up for that one in eating cheese but at the same time, it’s always something else you can feel really proud of.

The night I gave up drinking was the night I got back with my beautiful girlfriend. It wasn’t the decision to love her that made me want to give up drinking. It was to improve on myself and stay in control of my actions and remain totally accountable for things that inspired me and encouraged me to make some significant design refinements.

My love for her has only become stronger over these last few months and every time I’m with her enriches our relationship. Which brings me to my lucky last proud moment is that giving up drinking has improved my relationships with people. I am able to communicate with my family and friends that I feel proud to be a part of their lives humbled sober.

There are always rejection issues. Unfortunately, it’s a product of poor design. I think it’s worth noting that there are significant steps which have been taken to reduce the risk of feeling anxious in social situations but there are always a few moments of random madness during a confrontation that drive a bit of upset.

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What does this mean for you? 

The reason why I started this blog was to advocate for those who don’t know how to voice their concerns for particular issues. There is always a reason to improve somewhere because nobody knows everything and wisdom is the opposite of knowledge. Wisdom is knowing that I know nothing. That the glass is never full. In that space, you can always take on board something new. You can always lend somebody a hand.

To some kids or young adults out there, and even some who are older might find that my journey resonates with them at some stage. The point is to use that for good. The change didn’t happen the first time I realized that drinking was a problem. The change happened when I made the same mistake a whole bunch of times.

But this isn’t all about me, any more than it is about you. If we can get to the crux of things we can notice that if we give up drinking we can improve on a lot of things.  We can improve Friday night because we’ll get tired more early, sleep earlier and feel better in the days after the party. We can look after friends and loved ones when they need our help most. We can improve our well-being and ultimately improve our general health. Save money and save lives when deciding not to drive drunk, legend.

Mate, there’s literally tons of opportunity for development and improvement when you decide that drinking is a big waste of time. Because when you build a house upwards from the foundation up and you do a solid job, without getting a cowboy builder in to do a shitty job, minus the drinking and all the bull shit, you end up getting a solid person.


Stay tuned for my last week of blogs.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 092 Givealittle – Why Is It Such a Big Deal?!

So all over the world, there are online kick-starter, charity fund organisations set up by local philanthropies and large organisations to effectively become a part of making a change. These networks of good humans basically go around and let people post on their site all of these great causes and it mostly started about fifteen years ago and the first sort of known online charitable trusts was the likes of ACET, UNICEF, World Vision and Tear Fund. These really massive organisations work globally to restore massive amounts of aid to those in need.

The evolvement of the charitable donator pages’ sort of fled to the likes of cancer research until eventually, they started asking out for support on individual levels. People started looking for ways in which they could ask the community for support to get help to raise funds for things like hospital expenses, recovery aid led by community groups and it didn’t really stop. It sort of just got bigger overtime until now we have thousands of causes all for similar reasons. The likes of the 40-hour famine raising funds for individuals who are participating, there are pages setup to raise funds for kids going into Outward bound who need to raise money, all sorts.

The reason why it’s important is because it allows people to do things that they wouldn’t necessarily have any individual prospect in doing. So it does become a question for the readers whether or not they actually see a tangible benefit in donating in the first place. If you think about how hard it is out there for people to earn the sorts of money that is required of them in such low decile communities and how hard it is for families around New Zealand to even put bread on the table you do get a picture that things are tough out there. It makes me feel gross when I ask people for money, even if the cause is great because it means that people who are on the bones of the bums and having to fork out for something they don’t necessarily have any invested interest in.

The next step to this is that asking people for money is never an easy task. People have questions about where the money is going, they become suspicious when they learn that the money is going to an individuals account rather than an organisational account and it becomes this back and forth blow for blow situation where you get people who want to donate for a good cause out of their own pockets but cannot trust the person running the cause.

The problem is that it’s easy to sit and say that the money is going into a charities back pockets and that the resourcing won’t go towards any tangible or meaningful change. This is the problem because you get a lot of people who are actively seeking out resourcing for these important projects but instead receive little support from those who say they will support them, and they feel down about doing it in the first place.

My angle here is not to say that this bike ride will not be funded by the money raised from my page but instead to assure that the funds will be used to help put children who are in care into educational facilities and provide them with opportunities that supercede that in which they currently receive because they are worth the time and they are worth the effort. I have for years benefitted from having parents who love me and I think that every child should receive that same care and I believe in what VOYCE is doing and I believe in their approach because I am apart of it and I will continue to be apart of it until I feel that the balance has been met. That may take four years that could take a lifetime but my point is that the facilitation should always be met for those who have been failed by a system and parents who show little accountability. These kids deserve far better than what they have received in a country which claims to be developed.

It reminds me of earlier in the year when I was going around with my cousin doing the food bank run which is a community based project taken part around the country to find food for those who were homeless or otherwise impoverished by a lack of food and a lack of shelter. What we found that evening was that there were so many people donating the food which they didn’t need. Even if it was just a can of spaghetti people were contributing so much to such a good cause. What baffled me the most was that there were some people who would scoff from their dining room tables and carry on reading their newspaper while we ran by, and their were other families with five-six children who obviously looked like they were in hardship themselves to afford shoes for their children who were giving what they had in order to help feed others who were in need.

That really stirkes a chord with me, I think that it takes a certain type of courage to give that in which you cannot afford to give. When others are in need and you put your own wellbeing at risk of a similar situation. When you give ten dollars even though you only have ten dollars. The giving is not the part when you put a dollar into the thanks box at the end of a church service but the true courtesy is giving when you have nothing to give. Those people who sat in their chairs and continued reading the letters to the editor section in The Herald, though they may not have had any food to give, their orange tree sure did!

The point is not to be a stick in the mud and say that you were involved when you weren’t. It’s not to participate in the supporting but it is to show committed support that means something and sees the whole thing through. Humans have this natural urge to want to see something come to the end, to want to see the thing through and watch it finish. They want to know in themselves that they helped accomplish something. That their input had a valid response in the end and that it wasn’t all for nothing.  There is a certain amount of respite in knowing that one day I will reach Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand, shivering in my boots knowing that I’ve completed the ride. But it will haunt me knowing that the only thing standing between myself and my goal of raising $5000 to ring fence funds for children in care. Knowing that the only thing keeping me from achieving that goal was down to those who scoffed and said they didn’t want to be apart of the process because they were wary of the funds uses and questioned whether their participation would have any real value at the end of the day. If my only resolve is to raise suspicion in regards to the matter, that people couldn’t put to the side their tall poppiest expectations.

My natural reaction will likely be to turn around, start a new page, in a literal sense, and ride the bloody South Island of New Zealand. Until it gets through to people that this really isn’t just a stunt to raise funds to get me a new pair of pants, or to get me some sort of coverage but instead is a real and tangible bike ride that will be one of my most exciting challenges yet. That it will be more than just another charity.

So in essence, if you’re interested in helping the ride then that’s awesome. Please feel free to get in touch with me either on the phone or on the bike. My number is 0223681411 extension for New Zealand is +64. If you just want to chat then that’s fine. I still have classes most days between 9am-6pm so anywhere outside of that time would be appreciated.

Just come at me bro. I’m over the moon that you are being a part of this journey with me. Stay tuned for updates along the way, there will be many. Please, if you haven’t already, go and visit my Givealittle page, see what areas you might be able to help in. See where the course is going. Understand what my riding style is like and just get up lose and personal because the more support I receive the more effort I will be able to put in at the end of the day!

My Givealittle page: Here
My Strava account: Here
My Facebook Page: Here
Daily Instagram: Here

This is officially the last week of blogging consecutively for me too! This is the last week of the daily blogging series; I’ll update next Wednesday on D100 what the future of the blog holds. But for now this is me signing off for another day, and as always…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 088 Life is Beautiful 

Today’s challenge is to focus on the good stuff going on. Not to focus on how horrible hard work is, not to think about persistence and commitment. But to only focus on how fantastic things are. To only remember what is good in life. Today’s challenge is to be focused on the thing that makes you tick. The thing that makes you want to commit to finishing a job. What makes you want to get to the next post. 

  • Focus on one thing that motivates you to do good.

Tonight I spent time with some of my flatmates going through all the small markets in Wellington city. Typical Friday night festivities with random people scattered down and along Cuba Street. The inconsistent gatherings of people washed along Lambton Quay. The many picturesque meandering parking lot viewpoints along The Terrace. It was like a festival in everyday routine the Friday evening continuity and a few thousand people heading to nowhere quickly or anywhere important.

Amongst the ruckus was met with tantrums and upset. A university student drama scene met with alcoholism and plenty of unintelligible mistakes. Where relationship conflicts occur beyond sporadic decision making. It’s like open warfare with words and kissing. Sat in  behind the scenes for the most part it became a little more noticeable that the idea of lusting relationships at a young age has massive and real effects on people my age. Having seen the whole show go down for me is really one of the things which sparked the need to have this discussion.

To focus on how amazing life is beyond the sadness, beyond the mistakes, beyond the relationships. To remember and reflect on the shear luck that we’ve receive to be alive as well as free to do what we want without any rules or constrictions. So institutionalised by the matter of fact that we must study, we must find love, we must earn money. It’s not an existential crisis so much as it is the concept of learning that at no stage are you ever forced to be something you don’t want to be. At no stage should you ever feel worthless or ever fall to your knees over something dumb like love or acceptance.

I guess it’s a discussion on accepting who we are as people and what we represent. Knowing that at any stage we can simply walk away from all the bull shit. That we can up and leave whatever conflict we have been put into. It’s finding a safe balance between entrenching ourselves in routine obligation and deciding when to make space for ourselves and tell people to get out. Learning to focus on positive reinforcements when pessimism messes with our happiness.

It sucks that we forget how lucky we are. I’m blessed with the family who raised me. Who took me on when I was eight months old and adopted my ass put me through my paces with looking after myself for a time and then doing the big move away to University. To think of the support they still provide me is something i’ll never be able to afford to forsake. That it’s those people who are the foundation of everything that I am and have become.

Love is the key to unlocking everything not shit in our lives. It recharges others, it inspires life. As soppy and typical it sounds there is a reason why it’s true and that’s because it’s the outlying impact that we have no power over. It’s the one thing the government can’t manipulate it’s the one thing we cannot change is our love for one another is our love for family and friends.

Some people say it’s a concept we created as humans but that doesn’t explain why ducks become protective over their ducklings and why magpies attack road cyclists’ helmets during breeding season because they look like other birds. Is it instinctive or is it love at a natural non-scientific matter of fact? When I say life is beautiful I mean that it’s so improbable that we would even exist. That we have the love that surrounds us, infects our lives. That we can say the sun will rise in the morning, that we are intricately unique in a million different ways. It saddens me when people cry over people because they lust the idea of being accepted. When you see them pried from their individuality over something as inconsistent as a relationship or a one-night stand. It’s not pathetic but instead it’s illogical.

my interpretation of why there is so much drama at a young age is that we invest in a thing called lust in the hopes of finding acceptance. But lust is the cheaper knock off of love. It manipulates us into investing cheaply into something that is insignificant and false. When we try to navigate through our daily life with a fake key it breaks relationships we think we deserve to feel acceptance from. When we run around thinking lust is the same as love we end up treating people badly and have a lower sense of identity.

It’s like feeding a car with Fanta, or like drinking fizzy over water. We’re not doing anyone any favours and it’s sad that we end up lost and upset when the shit hits the fan. It’s easy to achieve short term happiness when you put your mind to looking for lust but long term we have nothing to show for it and it leaves us poorer in the emotions bank. So to put things simply, it doesn’t work unless you’re looking for a cheap fix. Don’t come crying when the engine doesn’t start, you were told, now you know.

Love is a long term thing. It’s costly, it’s almost like trading in bitcoin. It’s worth much more than the everyday dollar and people individually have very little to give. Thankfully they go a long way and can be traded in for high quantity purchases such as acceptance and love in return. Love is the key and we are taught it from our parents, well at least I received that support. Whenever things get bad for me it’s not hard to turn to my parents and recognise the million sacrifices they’ve had to make in order to achieve love and remind me that life is beautiful.

In that essence, life truly is beautiful.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 087 Hard Work & Lots Of Noise

The next challenge I want you to set for yourself is to do whatever chore you decided you couldn’t do from last time. Take that chore and do everything in your power to talk yourself into doing it. I want you to time yourself. Look at the clock at the top right hand corner of your screen and remember those digits. Remember the date because that was the day you decided to do something practical about it.

From there remind yourself of your impossible goal and convince yourself that you can do it. That it is possible and that you will be able to reach a point where you can. With all of your strength and wisdom, focus on that goal. Remembering the time, tell yourself to keep pushing and keep getting through all of the nerves and beyond all reasonable doubts. 

  • Convince Yourself to do the impossible chore. 
  • Remember the time and date.

The next discussion is in regards to working really hard to achieve daily life stuff, like getting to University on time. Like making it through your work day shift. Like hiking across a lofty mountain, whatever it may be. We’ll look into hard work through a discussion surrounding consistency and decide what makes us tick.

Let’s face it, nobody actually wants to do hard work. But we know that if we want to get anywhere it takes a dash of talent and heaps of hard work. Everything tells us that it takes work to get anywhere. In physics, the definition of work is to impose a force on a system causing it to move. So in layman’s terms, we’ve grown up to the tune that it takes a lot of energy to get anywhere. But what is the conversion factor and why do we regard hard as being the all to end all?

When something seems really impossible it’s generally because we think that a tonne of hard work needs to be done to accomplish it. Like solving poverty, child abuse, racism, religious indifferences and you would be right, it takes a lot of guts and a gumption for hard work from more than one person to overcome these things. But where do we compromise to still make a sizeable difference or at least try to do something about them?

We have to do something about it. These chores, like the dishes, training for some big thing we’re doing, it’s important to us that we do actually accomplish them and we know that. It isn’t a case of thinking to ourselves that we can get by with not doing anything because that’s procrastinating. If you think of any piece of work you have ever done in your life that you were proud of. A drawing, building a retaining wall, becoming more flexible, you would know that it takes some focus and a lot of hard work.

It’s also a question of commitment and how much you’re willing to commit to it. Soo many people say that it’s hard to find a job out there and that there are so many people looking to find work and that’s true. There are a lot of people trying to find work. But it’s never the finding the job that actually stops people from getting a job. It’s a whole lot of other things such as looking for a job that earns lots of money, looking for a job that is actually meaningful to us. We spend a lot of time gauging how much we might be willing to commit to the job.

It’s no different than doing chores or doing a huge bike ride. Asking yourself how willing you might be to commit yourself to accomplishing these projects actually shows the level of hard work you are willing to give. The attitude that needs to change is realising the task is too big and being realistic about it. Choosing a job that might be a little easy because it still pays and it still gets the rent paid. Washing rather than drying the dishes because you don’t have enough time to do both. Pushing back the time of your huge sporting event to allow yourself more room to train and prepare.

There’s’ a multitude of lines that can be drawn when you realise the task is something you might not be able to do by yourself and you need more help. When the project is going to take too long so you push the date back. The priority is not in recognising that you want to work but it is in realising you want to work hard and commit yourself to whatever project you have going on. And it takes a lot of effort and plenty of noise in order to do that.

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Just yesterday morning I was eavesdropping on the construction workers outside my room ploughing away into the cement work in the parking lot behind our complex. The whole time I could hear complaint after complaint from the workers talking about how they hated working so early, how their manager was being a jerk and I couldn’t stop thinking about the noise. This inconsiderate 6 am prodding to my eardrums was like a drum and bass concert at wrong o’clock.

The considerate side of me was saying how those workers were the better half of all people. The one’s who get the ass out of bed at the crack of dawn without breakfast to stand metres away from this gigantic drill with a shitty boss and whiny neighbours yaking that it’s 6 am. So in essence what you could say is that these guys were the doers. The one’s not afraid to work hard in order to get paid. The one’s who weren’t looking for acknowledgement and weren’t asking for a reason of meaningfulness. They were committing to the task.

These workers couldn’t give a shit about their job. It was evident in the complaining. They were only interested in sleeping, eating and bitching about their boss. So what commitment do they have to the job? What meaningful cause were they looking for in drilling a hole in a parking lot at 6 am? None mate, they were doing it to pay their way. To earn money, pay for rent, pay for food and work tomorrow.

The argument is that not everything is easy. Not everything has to have the meaningfulness that you want to achieve but instead, it serves a purpose. If you want to go out there and accomplish anything significant it takes a significant compromise. That if you want a good job then you better bloody be good at working hard. If you want to run a marathon you need to be good at running marathons. If you commit yourself to hard work and are willing to make a lot of noise in the process then nothing will stop you from getting there.


Thanks heaps again for catching up! I appreciate the support. Tomorrow’s blog will be a little bit more specific than today’s we’ll talk current affairs.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 086 Bravery & Persistence

Today’s Challenge:

I want you to think about what one thing that challenges you physically from doing that you have always wanted to do whether that’s running a marathon, swimming an ocean mile etc. The next thing I want is for you to actually ask yourself if you can do it or not. 

  • What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to do?
  • Can you actually do it? 

The aim is to find out whether you’re actually brave enough and persistent enough to create a plan to do something that pushes your boundaries. That other people might tell you is a bad idea. These apart of a new series for the last two weeks of blogging. There is no goal, only that you participate and that it helps us both learn something.


I think there’s a stage when you realise that you couldn’t care less how well or how badly something is going to go. When you’re working on an assignment late into the night and you notice that you’ve passed the point of no return and decide to carry on. Tonight’s discussion concerns persisting through the rubbish we have to put up with every day to remain and achieve things before thought not possible. We’ll also go into some depth regarding bravery and what that sort of means to me and how it’s usually operating in tandem with persistence.

Today’s weather was absolutely shocking. With a north westerly wind howling through like a flicked towel made it hard to walk straight or in my case close the door of the Uber. No shade. There was a stage in the afternoon when I was heading to my only lecture for the day and then a fire caused the whole building to be evacuated. A couple thousand antsy students between the ages of 18 and 30 all crammed on the side of a hill.

The biggest concern was that the class was only 50 minutes long and because the fire alarm happened moments before class was supposed to start more than half of the lesson was overruled by somebodies overcooked lunch. Like it’s not as if all of these students and staff hustled their way up the lofty mountain, Kelburn Campus, in shit weather or anything.

Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram

But when I missed my class out of no fault of my own, I thought it might be a good idea to get out on the old bike and get some kilometres in. But at the time it never occurred to me that there was a storm coming in. After the point of realising “oh man how will I get out there safely!” Your brain sort of shuts down at a certain point when it notices that you might be putting your body at risk by going out into bad weather.

It takes a lot to convince the brain of something it doesn’t want to do. It’s always most difficult when you haven’t pushed the boundaries in a while. Kind of like stretching old muscles for the first time in a while. Because when you do something that your brain doesn’t want to it pretty much goes against every order your brain has ever had. To keep you safe and to make sure that every crisis is averted to ensure your health stays balanced.

Just like riding your bike in 80km winds, hail, and 10mm of rain in one hour just as it’s getting dark during peak hour traffic. I think for me this was a bit of an excitement factor to get out there and just ride regardless of the weather. Had enough of not doing what makes me happiest. Persisting and being persistent to get out there in the deluge, head down and just go. Admittedly it was extremely cold but i’d never say that i’ve felt as much liberated when you reach that moment of no return. When you’re balls deep and it’s all going tit’s up you learn to keep going.

I guess that process is applicable to everyone. You can actually accomplish those ridiculous goals you come up with it just takes a lot of hard work and a tonne of persistence to keep getting out there no matter the weather. If you want to walk the length of Earth then you can there are clubs for that. If you want to climb Mount Everest on a bike but you can’t get yourself to Nepal, you can there is a Strava challenge called Everesting which is a challenge where you have to climb one climb as many times until you’ve climbed up to the altitude of the peak of Mount Everest at 8848m.

While i’m obviously trying to be motivational and all of that soppy stuff, at the end of the day if you’re just practical and realistic with yourself about what you can and cannot do then it makes everything easier. Rather the elephant is in about 75 bit chunks and it’s your goal to pass one or two chunks each week until it’s finished.

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Bravery is like colour. Everyone has their own perception of what that might look like. When we apply it to our daily lifestyle is changes the tone and mood of our day. When we cave after our boss asks us to do an extra shift on the same day and we say yes when we don’t want to it makes us feel shit. When we don’t get our questions asked in a lecture or tutorial because we were too anxious to ask a question we feel bad about it.

But when we tell our boss that we can’t be bothered and that life exists for us outside of our 7-4pm shift work, that’s confidence. When we raise our hand to ask a question in front of three hundred people in a lecture, that’s confidence. It allows us to be there for our mates improve on the banter. It allows us to be there for those we love, and rip them out when they say something dumb.

When you make time for yourself and you make time for others then essentially what you’ve created is colour. Bravery in the form of confidence. To achieve what you didn’t think was possible takes bravery because if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll never get what you’ve never had. Learning to confide in yourself that you’re not going to be around to make art with all your colour is not immaturity, it’s growing up,

For me, learning to become more persistent with my working efforts and doing what is right rather than what i’m told is right has been my biggest struggle. Pushing past the boundaries that my brain has created because the biggest critic in your life is yourself. You can say you have your own back because that’s easy. The reality is that most people and sayer’s and not doers.

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Getting out on that bike for some might be getting to work on time. For others it might be getting married to the person they love. It could be handing in an assignment the day before it’s due and having set that goal three weeks ago. It could even be something mundane like doing the damn dishes.

It doesn’t mean you have the right to be a dick about it. Other people can be brave to and you should respect that and give them space they need to grow. it’s called tall-poppy syndrome buddy, look it up.


I’ve decided that i’m going to start up a daily challenge for us both to push ourselves on. It could be absolutely anything. There is no goal asides from asking yourself a basic 2-second question. The aim is to improve on reasoning skills and self confidence levels. But aside from that thank you for reading along today I truly appreciate that. And as always…


Thanks for checking in!

Blog 084 Cycle for Children 2017 – Update Three!

This July i’m doing a charity bike ride from Wellington to the top of the North Island of new Zealand which is roughly 1100km in length. These updates are a measure of training progression as well as updates on general stuff like planning and preparing. The ride itself will take 7 days to achieve and it will also require a lot of money in order to do so. New tubes, new tyres and plenty of chamois cream. For those of you who don;t know what chamois cream is it’s when you apply an ointment to your backside because cycling is a pain on the ass. So whats new?

Since our last catch up I have moved back to Wellington and have started my training. I’m deciding between riding a certain number of kilometres per week and getting in plenty of rest days. The problem with training for really long distance tours is that there is no clear cut way of doing so.

  • A Fresh Bike.
  • A New Training Regime.
  • Adapting To The Environment.

A nice tidy and well kept bike I have found makes miles of difference because at the end of the day how you’re feeling defines how well you ride. It’s important to have a well maintained bike so I took it into the shop last week to have a few things checked over. Turns out my chain was nowhere near safe! Nor was my three spokes not enough rear wheel which was pulling to one side! Who would’ve known?

The bearings in the old wheel were replaced too and theres a high chance that i’ll put smaller gears on the rear cassette to make it easier to climb hills at a slow pace seeing as i’m not training to ride the Tour De France this winter. I’ve also been using my cellphone to record my rides. I’m using an app called Strava which i’ve had for years but is an extremely wicked tool which measures pretty much everything about a bike ride.

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So let’s talk about Strava for a second.

Strava lets me record my bike rides in a really organised and well presented way that I can pull off, study and analyse to make sure that my ride’s are all well balanced so that when I get out onto State highway one on the 10th of July I don’t run out of gas before i leave Wellington. By using Strava I can track my riding progression and decide how much work needs to be done to improve and prepare better for the long haul.

Strava tracks and captures a few different measurements such as speed, cadence, heart rate and power output. it also tracks the weather on the day as well as the elevation of the ride which is really useful when looking over the rides at the end of day. it also has a feature which has segments that allow me to rate against other riders. But at the end of the day this is all about having fun and not necessarily training to win the Giro D’Italia.

Strava also includes how much riding i have been doing week on week which is really good for donors of my Givealittle page to view and track how much work is being done. That feature will also serve as a reciprocal device for future rides. these blogs will also be extremely useful if i decide in future ventures that may pop up over the year, which i’m hoping they do.

You can visit my Strava page: Here

What training am I putting in before the big ride?

I’m no road cycling coach nor am I a professional rider in any way. But I know what my body needs and I understand what tired means. So my training is purely based around my health and the needs that pop up over time. Those many 6 am starts to the day waking up my girlfriend on the way out of bed.

Theres a few important factors that i’m considering as i’m learning over time. The first is environment, it’s going to be really damn cold. Training in the cold and getting plenty of good cycling jerseys is pretty much going to be the biggest deciding factor for me to consider when riding over the North Island.

The second big concern is the elevations. What sort of terrain are we talking about here. Most of the west coast of the North Island is relatively flat so i’m not hugely concerned for most of the time. However, on my first and third days heading along the coast i’ll be faced with a lot of really tall climbs that i’m going to have to train for in length. Baby steps though…

My next big worry is my general fitness level. I’ve never trained for something as big and as scary as this before. So getting a million base kilometres in now and not the day before the ride is going to be pretty much life saving. I don’t want to be sat at the top of Mount Messenger 100km away from any significant settlement and run out of steam.

The next big thing is hydration and lots of it. Even riding in the cold weather here in Wellington i’ve found that most of the time i’m still gasping at the top of each climb needing a lot of fluid to replace all of the sweat flying out in all directions. There haven’t been any spectacular rides for me yet but food is going to be the next concern. Using the information from my rides a couple years back I kind of remember having to eat a tonne in order to stay upright on the bike most of the time.

But that was only a few hours. This rides going to take around 60 at a moderate pace. This means that it’s probably going to be a case of expect the unexpected because shits going to go down and it can’t be me from my bike.


Check it out below!
My Youtube Channel – WHATMANASEES Video Logs

With the video logs taking precedence it makes reporting on the overall ride even easier! ,Most of the videos are going to be taken during the middle of the ride because it’s just easy and life is all about easy.

That’s another quick update for the week. Keep involved! I appreciate all of your support.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 083 Back To School

Today’s discussion comes from a different light. With the traffic returning to the city as students swarm in the thousands to their flats/apartments and halls of residences. The stress factor is reintroduced as assignments and hand-in’s are usually due the two weeks beyond the holidays.

Coming with these are seeing friends again, catching up with the washing and the latest episodes of The bachelor. For others it might be a reuniting with their partners, doing the romantic thing with the flowers and the chocolate gift givings. While those things are great, I didn’t want to bring you here in this cold wintery evening just on pure positivity.

Lets be realistic. It sucks being back at university. With exams on the not too distant horizon and a pile of hand in’s this week, it’s easy to suggest that it might be a bit more than stress central around here. With the dishes piling up, bills to pay. Missing family seems to be number four in our priorities checklist.

Today I want to talk about student mental health and refer to, in particular, student suicide. This is not to mess with loose feathers for other students but it does need to be talked about more often. In reflection of the hit new teen TV series, Thirteen Reasons Why, maybe it’s useful that we look into the concern again coming into what looks like a cold month of May in preparation for the examinations in June/July.

Though it has never plagued my life as a student, it can be said for me that these months are usually a little bit more emotional in comparison to the likes of Summertime and Spring. Easter is the last major holiday for a lot of people carrying across the seasons so it does need to be talked about and applied to many people that suicide should never be the option.

We need to talk about suicide and the only way to do that is by taking a journey down suicide lane. The TV series aforementioned has been reported to romanticise the idea of suicide by encapsulating the death of a teenage girl and making up thirteen reasons why she ended her life. In some respects it is true that the idea was brutalist but in no way do I see that as being an accurate representation of what the director/producer was trying to portray.

First and foremost was that they wanted to raise awareness for something controversial. With all things controversial, like gender equality, sexual orientation, race, religion and abortion. There are always differences of opinion. The only way to raise awareness for something as horrible as suicide is by doing it in a way that would capture peoples attention and the way in which they did that was extremely successful.

You can visit my full in-depth review of 13 Reasons Why Here

But that’s not the point. In relation to the upcoming weather patterns, being winter. I just wanted to raise the point that things can get pretty miserable through winter and that it’s important to focus on what does matter like family, friends and making sure that you don’t forget to buy your girlfriend plenty of gifts over that period.

While getting back into school is really significant it needs to be said that from a males perspective. You never feel more isolated than when you’re cold, have exams to study for and your friends are busy with their assignments. I’d forgotten how amazing it is to learn stuff at school and remember that forward progress is always happening when studying.

For some people studying in itself can seem overwhelming, as i’ve grown i’ve learnt to understand that as a second year student, university doesn’t always correlate to getting work because it doesn’t. In the words of one of my architecture professors, “I don’t know how students are finding jobs out there, it’s such a cutthroat industry.” When taken into context University only teaches you what the job is and where it came from. Not necessarily how to actually do the job.

So there is this cognitive shift for me knowing that university won’t necessarily provide me with tangible work experience but that what I am doing is teaching me new skills which I can accumulate and use in many different situations. Basically, if you’re studying you’re doing it for yourself and not for a client.

Always important to remember that when things get tougher during these upcoming winter months that you’re doing this for you and nobody else. That you can pace yourself and take your time. If you’re worried that it’s not where your heart is and that you’ve wasted your money then make sure you get everything you need from it, accept that it has happened and move on from it next semester.

If you’re otherwise finding that the work load is really hard and you might not make it to your deadline, then apply for an extension and be honest that you need more time and say that it is affecting your mental health. Universities are to comply with The mental Health Act by law to ensure that your health in every aspect is kept more important than your school work. Because at the end of the day the positive you will always overwhelm that bastard inside that says not to. How will you work if you’ve contracted ebola?

I want to conclude on the note that while it’s cold outside and a bit rainy that when you go out of winter and into spring it is always going to be sunny. Your family loves you now and they will continue to do so even if you rack up a shit load of debt. Money is a man made currency that loses it’s value over time, love is forever bro.

While today’s conversation was a little less focused but it’s more of a general roundup of all things happening. Tonight will also be another blog updating on my upcoming charity bike ride so stay involved for that one!

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 082 Shit at doing Vlogs!

Yesterday I was riding my bike around Wellington city looking to find somewhere with good light and great location so that I could shoot my first video to reflect on my training progressions in preparation for my charity bike ride this coming winter. It was raining, getting dark and traffic was busier than usual. The whole time I was super excitable because it was one of my first ever personal video logs taken to reflect on my training and it was even more exciting because it represented the next stage of my new personal interest recording my days.

As I made my way up Kelburn Hill, it dawned on me that I really had no idea what it was that I was going to be shooting. No concept of image stabilisation, no idea what I was doing. I’ve been following all sorts of daily YouTubers from all over the world. The old Casey Neistat video logs, Gary Vaynerchuk’s daily vee, Cycling Maven’s cycling videos, and MKBHD tech reviews. Now I’m no media mogul nor am I barely an amateur video maker. In reality, the work I’m capable of is doing still shots for Instagram and the occasional snap chat story.

But making media for a large video streaming service to me seems a little bit more serious and correct me if I’m wrong but does content define the quality of a video or is it the editing that alone can make a crap video watchable? Today you are my teacher, today’s blog is about what you see. I need to learn how to get better at doing video blogs because it’s something that I’ve begun to learn is an important tool to engage with wider audiences.

Blogging will always be a powerful tool because it feels more anonymous and appeals to a certain demographic of people who value words over visuals. However, living in a technological age that is advancing in the media production industry. With the rapid improvement in local body media through fantastic smartphone cameras, 360-degree shooting lens’ and the production of recreational drones hitting the mass market. No longer is it just the big budget movie production companies holding the monopoly over creating successful and professional looking videos.

I don’t see creating videos as being my primary concern but it does seem like a logical development for this charity bike ride in July. It lets donors for my Givealittle with a quick two-minute update on how my riding is going, what I need help with, and just cool content along those late Autumn months. There’s a lot of cool developments in creating media through videos for this blog.

My aim is to create media that is reflective of how my training is going so that I create a bigger base. But in order to achieve that I need to get better at creating videos in the first place. From the camera to the distribution of the media. Some tips on editing videos or just some philosophical wisdom would be extremely helpful. Hopefully, this side project of another side project will teach me a skill that I can utilise for future stuff too like making videos for other things.

Areas I could use some advice in.

  • Camera Quality.
  • Editing Software & Tips.
  • Distribution and Final Touches.

A bit of back story. So my ride is from Wellington to the top of the North Island of New Zealand (1100km) over seven days. The ride itself is to raise funds for children in care to have a voice and the money is going to an independent advocacy service called VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. VOYCE’s Website.

The side goal is to ride with GoPro cameras mounted to my helmet as well as on the front bonnet of my support car as well as a drone to capture some epic shots of New Zealand! So every tip I can get is hugely valuable information that I can get better at for the next two months!

That’s another little chat for today.

Thanks for checking in!


Blog 075 Why Rest When You Could Create?

NOTE: A bit of late night ESSAY motivation!

Tonight’s late night conversation concerns mostly us night owls. The kinds of people who don’t value sleep as much as they value doing whatever random thing people do at 2 in the morning. I want to talk about the importance of resting properly and the exposure of getting the right amount of sleep in regards to creativity and general health with an upcoming charity bike ride that I’m doing this July in mind.

Well, it’s not going to be a long discussion tonight, as most people are probably tucked neatly folded between their sheets and long unwashed duvet inners, I want to reflect on my sleeping patterns as a teenager and how I was never an early riser in the morning. So just stay with me for about ten minutes.

When I was thirteen-years-old, I made the realisation that bedtime was completely down to what time you woke up in the morning. That as long as I got a minimum of six-seven hours of sleep time there was a healthy chance that I would still perform to an appropriate amount each day. Going through high school I would have assignments due in on the following Monday. During the weekends I would draw houses, dig holes into my parents vegetable gardens, bike around to my friend’s places and get up to lots of mischief. But I would always sit down at 9:00 pm on a Sunday’s evening and press into the work due in on Monday morning. A part of me learnt that a time of day in which rest occurred was never as important as the job itself. That I could be productive at late o’clock on a Sunday and still have plenty to show for it.

After a couple of years of consecutive practising of random sleep cycles, my body became more equipped for hard nights studying and working through whatever it was I was doing, assigned or not. I had effectively taught myself how to work around the clock to complete any task that came my way. While some might argue that it’s having no life that did that, it was more a huge part of my personality to want to work hard in order to achieve what is thought impossible.

While this chat is probably more designed for somebody who is highly strung up on the small details or a high school student who is cramming in for his physics internal hand-in. Or even someone trying to smash out a personal project on a Sunday night because they have work off for the next couple of days. My advice is to just do it. Regardless of the hour.

While most people would say not to sleep beyond a certain time or that you should always sleep at a certain time. It’s more important that if you have an idea that might change the world that you capture that the moment it reaches your clutches. Get onboard and do something about it. Don’t let your brain overwhelm that idea you had swirling around in your brain. Dreams are the ones made in the first five seconds an idea comes to mind.

From a physical point of view, yes. It’s not healthy to stay up all hours of the morning because it alters your circadian rhythm and alters things such as your immune system which prevents you from getting sick, good digestive health, and general focus during the day. But I guess that’s why so many creatives love this word coffee. Coffee is absolutely your friend. it loves you, and you love coffee.

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 103

Find a balance that works for you. If you have an idea, make it and stop complaining how late it is. Creativity comes from those moments when you’re not reading my blogs when you’re not scrolling Facebook when you’re not watching TV. Creativity comes when you stop numbing your emotions and start feeling the flow of the vibe. When you start seeing things and think how you might be able to do something with those things.

Creativity does need sleep though. In relation to my upcoming charity bike ride, lack of sleep is probably one of the biggest deterrents from me completing it successfully. What I’m saying is that at a physical level, if you’re training to become a professional athlete then it’s wiser to go to bed before 11:00 pm because you need to conserve energy for the right time of the day, and it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be playing soccer at 11:15 pm on a Sunday night, so find a good balance.

The line between doing too much work and getting not enough sleep and rest is incredibly thin but immeasurably significant. If I don’t get into a relevant sleeping pattern before I decide to ride my bike 1100km across six days in July, my body will shut down in the first four hours of each day because my rides start at 6:00 am. That my bodies sleeping pattern is not setup for those early morning endeavours. That I’m going to still be sleeping when it matters the most that I’m on my bike.

This conversation is raising the concern of sleep deprivation in endurance sporting exercises but also encouraging creativity to blossom to whatever hour suits the creator. Those sleep hours shouldn’t barricade the flow of ideas, but that a realistic approach and plan is put in motion to ensure that the creator has both a reliable system and a maximised effort. For me, today’s chat represents the first biggest recognition in preparation for the beginning of my training for this long haul journey, and that’s my resting routine.

The only thing that is more important than training, or working hard to create, is to sleep and rest the mind, body and what’s a bit of psychology without talking about the soul. Who needs jealousy when you slept to your primary number of sleep hours?

Be your own person and learn to grow within yourself, never doubt your own resolve especially if somebody tells you that you can’t achieve it. And as always…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 074 Jealousy & Paranoia

NOTE: Another long conversation, and yes I know, another heavy topic.

Sitting in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday afternoon, I thought today might be a good day to reflect on two of the most vicious feelings we ever go through as individuals. Jealousy and paranoia. While this is not in reflection of anything in particular. It is something I’ve struggled with on many occasions. So I thought why not take the opportunity while I am camping, surrounded by family who loves me, and write something that is very painful to chat about.

Today’s heavy chat is in relation to overcoming paranoia and jealousy. To do that we will go into detail defining what the two mean and discussing the underlying assumptions we make and how these assumptions eventually turn into jealousy and paranoia. I want to analyse how these two feelings affect how we socialise and why we might become anxious. If we can accomplish this hopefully we can then relate these issues to bigger world applications and that we can both learn something from it.

So what is jealousy to me? I suppose it’s when there is a moment where my own interests conflict with decisions made by somebody else. There are a few circumstances where jealousy could be the resulting emotion. Lack of involvement or being missed out. When another person’s feelings don’t correlate to my expectations. When somebody else has something that I don’t have and attracts the attention of people I do care about. Jealousy is when control is vulnerable. It’s when we don’t have the access to somebody else’s decisions. When you cannot control somebody else for whatever reason.

The most important assumption here is the assumption that we had any control of other people in the first place. We can’t control what other people do all the time. Not even some of the time. Therefore, we cannot protect ourselves from all the bad things that happen. We can’t force our partners to never have eyes for another person. We can’t make our teachers teach in a way that only works for us. We can’t have total control of cars on the road and prevent crashes from happening all the time. We can never have enough food in the pantry to never have to fill up again. People change and food goes off, shit happens. Jealousy and conflict prevention can only be moderated by making sure that we are putting our energy towards healthy solutions. That we are monitoring close and prudently how we are as singularities. By running a tight ship we can be sure to minimise conflicts and crisis’ from occurring.

But that’s not jealousy. Jealousy to me is the tight feeling that makes me stress harder. Not a healthy stress either. It’s the feeling you get the days before Met-service states there is going to be a massive storm. A build up of anticipation for something we have little need to actually worry about or even any control over. We could probably take small steps to ensure we aren’t directly affected. However, jealousy is loosely definable as an illogical emotion. Kind of like being tickled, the fear of not knowing how long it will go on for, how long the storm will last, and not knowing if we will be able to maintain a constant level of balance and health. Not knowing if the people we love and care about will continue to do so once they invest into whatever another person has that we don’t.

For me, jealousy is a symptom of the fear of rejection and failure of succeeding. I don’t know about you but every time I’ve failed something and another person turns around and tells me about their success. I already feel like I’m good enough, not holding the mana, not being worth the attention. The immediate assumption that whatever value I considered holding within myself has been compromised because the train of thought that I had was wrong and derailed. That other people’s perception of me has somehow changed, that the mirror on the wall will show a different version of me, one that is somehow weaker than the first.

Rejection to me is like spinning out of control and aquaplaning across a teary highway. Drastic measures seem to be needed because if I don’t then it’s likely a crash is going to happen, right? Jealousy is easily caused when you learn that somebody else has something that you don’t. In some ways, you believe that the only way to get back to how things were before is by forcing the steering wheel in the opposite direction to where you are drifting too.

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But simple physics will teach that the crash nearly never happens when there is a loss of control but it’s when you try to reverse the situation by doing the opposite of what you were doing which actually causes an accident. Instead of feeling vulnerable and learning from it by going forwards, when we try hard to reverse the problem we only set ourselves up for more failure and the likelihood of going backwards. Take a Moto-GP rider at full swing riding across The isle of Mann TT for example. When in speed wobble the only way to stay balanced is to press down on the centre of gravity instead of resisting the wobble. Rejection is the wobble, correction is jealousy, stress is falling flat on your ass.

I used to always switch to jealousy because it motivated me to work harder to achieve beyond that level next time. Kind of unhealthy I know, but the anticipation of failing or being rejected is enough to spark jealousy and stressfulness all at the same time. This must affect other people, surely…

I think at a deeper level we all know that we don’t have control over other people’s lives. That it’s not really a reality that’s ever applicable or ever should be. We can try to make ourselves believe that we can but in really is all a part of an illusion that as kids, we slowly learn through trial and error that we aren’t always right, that we make plenty of mistakes and we are told left right and centre that nobody is perfect.

So we know that we don’t know everything and that we don’t deserve to have control over anybody asides from ourselves and the decisions that we make as individuals. I’m totally on board with that, shit I know that if I was the leader of a country that after a long period of time we’d probably fall into some sort of hardship. That it might work fine for a while but it will never be perfect forever because humans are dumb (I’m a human) and it’s absolutely going to turn to shit eventually. No organisation or government has ever worked forever.

We set up all of these micro-management gauges, like bank account balance checking applications on our smartphones, organised roading systems to prevent car crashes from happening, and fridges so we can see at a glance how much food we need to stay alive. We have fences up to tell other people where public land meets private lands, we have settings on Facebook which let us decide who can see our posts, there is a battery sensor at the top right-hand side of our monitors to tell us how much longer we can read Mana’s blogs. All of these micro-management gauges give us a sense of control so that we can feel in power, and jealousy is remembering we ain’t got shit.

So what I’m getting at here is that we already knew that there is nothing we can do to be perfect but through making all of these gauges we might be able to maintain the little dignity that we think we might have to rescue the lost power. I reckon that within everyone is a period of time where something has happened where we have lost control over a situation. It might be very big or it could be pretty small. Where we have felt a little bit of rejection that has made us at the time effectively shit the bed. When mum tells us we can’t afford something because there is not enough money in the account. When our teacher says that grades are a direct reflection of what we are capable of and then we get a bad grade. When we are rejected by the person we liked. When somebody tells us about our friend’s party we weren’t invited to. When our boss tells us that we are doing a terrible job. When you find out your girlfriend got with somebody else. When a business partner leaves you because they found a better partnership elsewhere. The applcations of jealousy are pretty much universal.

A build up of small moments where we feel rejected for no reason is like a mould build up on a bathroom roof. While this might be a lecture of avoidance, it’s more of an annoying notifier to get used to the pain and get used to feeling the unbearable feelings in order to feel stronger as an individual. Get used to feeling jealous and rejected so that we both become stronger as individuals. The hope is so that we can then help others through the same thing when they reach those moments.

Nobody likes to be paranoid but everybody likes to be in control, to some degree. So what level of control is healthy? What would happen if we decided that control wasn’t our priority and that we could get by without feeling the need to be in control of anything. Who sets the standard for the practicality of control?

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 108

If we could make a healthy compromise in what control we’re willing to give up and what control we believe is absolutely essential to our everyday routine like what time we wake, how much food we consume, what emotional bullshit we get involved in. What common medium exists where we could evenly portion a healthy control over our routine and how aware we are of our weaknesses, such as being able to react to the decisions people make that directly affect us.

The current state of affairs for social situations is that there are three bubbles of control that we use to protect ourselves when we have to deal with things so that we can prioritise our general health and equalise when needed. The third and outermost layer focuses on wider social impacts such as poverty, child abuse, the sex worker industry, and natural disasters or the weather. Stuff that we know is really important to help fix but we will only help change them if we have dealt with the inner layers and have any energy left over.

The second layer is the decisions that people make that might affect us, but not necessarily. These sorts of social happenings are the likes of group events, work timetables, exam deadlines, family reunions, somebody knocking on our door, a message from somebody we don’t know on Facebook, etc. The second layer is also the control we try to create over other people. This is the layer we will talk about in depth in just a moment.

The innermost layer is the stuff we should always be on top of because they immediately affect our lives. Like spiritual health, mental health, physical health. Just health in general is the most important thing in our lives but I would argue that health is different from well-being. That our well-being, or Hauora in Maori, is a direct affiliation of how we are as a singularity. How we perform by ourselves naturally. But there is nothing natural about a person after they are put in social situations, you have to consider how people react when they are under pressure, this we could refer to as health.

The second layer is where jealousy lies. Jealousy takes two people to tangle with becausre it’s an unnatural emotion that only exists when we give other people the control over us. When we spend too much time exerting energy on less relevant things like what other people have that we don’t have because we live in a society that tells us that those things matter.

Can you see the problem? Can you see that valuing the outer layers is less important for our own emotional health because we are effectively wasting time and energy worrying about other people’s stuff and less time focusing on our innermost priority, ourselves. It doesn’t just stop there either. What happens when you get a broken person helping another broken person? Did the safety video in-flight not teach you to put your face mask on before helping others? Taking for granted our own health by not spending enough time re-applying support within ourselves is something too many of us do.

But it doesn’t even stop there! Paranoia as an emotion is like… Mate… Go another level deeper than jealousy and the long-term personality characteristics that result from prolonged jealousy equate to paranoia. When you get cheated on by your girlfriend you become paranoid that your next girlfriend is going to the same. It’s hard to find the courage to allow them to go to parties without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’re not going to make out with another guy, that they’re not going to cheat on you too. Right? So it’s a process that you have to think about very clearly and work on building the from the foundations up to ensure that you are as stable as can be.

That’s something I’m dealing with now! Admittedly I’ve been cheated on twice and I still struggle trusting my girlfriend because of it. Luckily I spent a long time considering myself as being the most important person in my life, and this entire blog pays homage to that. Loving myself and putting a lot of energy into focusing on my own spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health empowers me to write and compels me to help others without considering anything in return, not money, not gifts, I don’t even expect people to read this. So long as somebody finds it useful and utilises it to some degree.

Jealousy and paranoia are vicious relationship wreckers. Nobody needs them. It is never our fault that we naturally care about other people. It’s not even our fault that other people suck and do things that compromise our relationships. But it is our fault what actions we take to resolve those conflicts. We as individuals are responsible for the actions that we take against jealousy and rejection. That’s why it’s so important that when we do crash. That we make sure we react in a way that focuses on our individualistic growth, that explores looking into relevant means of building our own support systems that accurately represent our health being a top priority, not somebody else’s achievements.

Through the love that we deserve and require of other people we can be encouraged to love ourselves and treat our own concerns as our best resolve. That no girl or boy should be worth the upset we try putting ourselves through regardless of being cheated on. That no storm is strong enough to make us feel undervalued. Through these beliefs that we deserve to be cared about, we recognise other people’s claims as well. That through birth we are all born as natural singularities, and through our adult years should always remain as natural singularities. While other people may achieve great feats we in our own rights hold characteristics which are completely admirable, which includes the respect we have for ourselves.

That is something worth being jealous over.


While I know that I didn’t go into much detail what paranoia means, I think that the definition can be discovered through figuring out what jealousy means. Thank you for reading this epically long and tiresome conversation and…

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Blog 073 Letting People Down

On A Lighter Note…

You know, it’s not so great to think sometimes that all of your problems might be central to your belief systems. How you treat other people, how you draw pictures, what you perceive to be morally right, what clothes you decide to wear when there’s a formal occasion. This conversation covers this idea of letting other people down. The concern that you have to work to solve other people’s interests. I think this conversation exists to help out some millennials who think there is no hope in bothering to seek out help with issues like depression. I think this discussion was made to unhinge all of the underlying assumptions that we might believe when something happens in our lives in which we cannot control but become upset when we think that we’ve let somebody down.

I hate that, letting somebody down. It could be anything! Being late for my new boss, getting an average grade on something and letting my family down, forgetting to do the dishes and letting my flatmates down. It’s all connected. This slate of trust between you and another person makes you comfortable, it makes you scared to lose that trust. A feeling that you care about another person’s opinions about you because that’s where you garner a lot of what you perceive to be your personality. Like your reflection in the mirror or off the water. You believe that image to be you but how do you really know what you actually look like? Is that not just a shell that vessels the being inside you? Isn’t that what we are usually afraid of? That people might mistake us for being something we’re not by something that we’ve said or done or not done and then we think people evaluate their trust in our resolve every time we mess up, based on the shell that we perceive to be our personality?

I don’t claim to be right by any means, but for me, it seems like every time somebody is let down by one of my decisions it’s the immediate relationship which I’m most concerned about. My most degrading moment is when I’m doing something heavy like chopping up a rump stake balancing a phone on my shoulder and trying to make conversation with two people at once that the let down occurs whilst there’s nothing I can do to prevent that from happening. That my anxiety and stress are a part of my personality so much so that I couldn’t stop, think and prioritise one thing at a time. It’s maddening! That it wasn’t enough how anxious I was about being misunderstood but that I was letting somebody down and couldn’t do anything about it because I was too busy chopping a steak trying to be careful not to chop my fingers off, such a debacle I tell ya…

But I guess letting people down can be useful sometimes. In the words of my amazing sister, sometimes it’s worth not looking at the glass being half empty all the time and consider that sometimes there’s nothing we can do to change the way something is and change our perspective. I think for me tonight this lesson is really apparent. It’s concerning to me that something so bluntly obvious can cause drama in the most sacred of places, my home. That I could not control how I was feeling and so I felt the need to take that out on others.

I guess this lesson really highlights the fact that there are a million different pathways to which a person could feel threatened not to ask for help but instead turn to blaming others for their hostility. I guess tonight’s lesson shed light on a certain topic that can be interrelated to other known problems like rejection and the fear of failing. Well, I guess the fear of being misunderstood also slips into this equation. it’s never nice feeling that you’ve let somebody down because you couldn’t get passed your feelings of anxiety. Like sitting in a cafeteria not being able to hold the door open for an elderly person because you’re too afraid you might hit them in the head with it, even though they’re struggling to get it open. All of these small but significant anxieties are all connected to similar tensions that occur pretty much all over the place. The above situation happened with one of my friends, and after I yelled at her for not helping the man in the wheelchair gain access to the cafe, it was only then apparent that she was suffering from anxiety after she burst into tears.

So while my last post was very doom and gloom, I just want to emphasise how important it is that people recognise how much support is out there for them. Above all, they notice there is always a direct and logical reasoning behind we feel certain things about certain subjects. Though there might be a million different reasons why we a certain way about a subject. There is always a reason…

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram – Day 102

One of the ways to remove this reason is to alleviate the tension leading to those assumptions. Learning to notice that nobody should ever have more power over our lives than ourselves, learning to feel that our opinions are valued by ourselves, and learning to take away the powers that other people hold aginst us. Three extremely solid solutions to a very diminishable problem. Another thing I’ve noticed is that it’s really easy to wallow in self-pity and look for reasons to feel upset about ourselves. We predict that we might be misunderstood and may let somebody down just through simply being anxious about it! Yep, humans are weird, can confirm.

It’s something that you and I both need to work on heaps. Learning to value ourselves more, take the pressure away and learn to remove the temptation by not feeling anxious in the process. Making sure that in our heads we know there is always a logical reason for why we are feeling like shit prior to letting somebody down and in response, learning to understand people without seeing them for their hair style, their shoes or just in general what they look like. Removing the judgment factor releases the tension and allows you understand where they’re actually coming from. I wonder If i could have solved racism with that last statement?

Anyway, you do you. But at the end of the day what is most important is that you remain informed through careful reconsideration that you were right in your head and that the pressure you’ve felt is nothing more than the remnants of power that somebody else had over you. That you are valued deeply, and that others around you, particularly at home, really do love you.

Here’s to another one!

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 070 How Not To Be A Dick?


I guess this conversation covers family values and what that looks like for Generation Y (The Millennials) and how they are in many ways less confined by social normativity’s like getting a trade before 20, starting a family by 30, working to resolve a mortgage by 40, grandkids by 55, calling it a day by 80 or so.

You could almost look at the old traditional ways as being boring. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that theses methods were a bit outdated and old fashioned. With the advancement of technology, medical supplies are more effective so we worry less about living like our lives depend on it, and the introduction of digital social media tell us that we are entitled to all of these things. So when you take your grandpa, imagine him at your age and think to yourself and wonder if he had as much confidence at your age do you really think he would be as much of a dick as you, would he expect all of the amenities that you receive, would he be as ungrateful for the good health of family members?

In comparison to today’s generation the traditionalists of yesterday were much more grateful and a lot more disciplined in social situations. But now, kids are more accustomed to blurring those lines. Creating their own natural life-course because they are more aligned to making decisions with their emotions and, to be honest, make less of an effort using their brains. Bare in mind that I’m a nineteen-year-old, so I’m pretty much a classic example of this.

What if you took a thousand metro-sexual men from the bureaucratic streets of Central London and dropped them in the same place 50-years ago. If life would be any harder for them if some of the thousand would have been discriminated against because of their ethnic backgrounds. If the homosexuals in the group struggled to maintain their identity. Ultimately, my main interests would be if the disciplining factors of traditional times like respecting your elders, referring to parents as sir and ma’am. Being a decent human when on a date with your partner by going to their house bearing flowers. Offering to do the dishes at home, telling your family you love them without needing a prompt bi-monthly. These little signs of gratification are easily overlooked and greatly under appreciated by youth today.

Being nice to other people now is like trying to listen to music through broken headphones. The connection isn’t there anymore. Frayed, twisted and ripped apart because they weren’t maintained or looked after. We neglect relationships by showing no signs of gratification and expect to be given hand outs because we were born with privileges no generation ever before had been given. Grown up in a lazy environment and too often fail to see how much shit is going on. Taught to believe in Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy. So disillusioned by all the shit that’s going on around the world. Then when we reach adulthood we freak out and realise how “weird” everything is and notice how many feet we’re standing on each day.

People are today brought up being dick heads. Told that there is nothing they couldn’t do, given certificates for coming last in school. Then when they go out into the world flatting and begin to study at university they freak out when they get bills which can’t be paid, get average grades that they cannot erase and when their emotions are compromised by something that happened in their day they take the easy road because they lack social discipline and decide that it’s easier to shit on those closest to them like their friend’s and family. A classic example of showing minimal respect for those around them and lacking any sense of gratitude.

Last Easter weekend I came home from university, though it was a huge relief not having to be so independent all the time, having food to come home to, not worrying about turning the lights off, knowing that the dishes were always going to be done by bedtime. At first, this old reality was overwhelming, coming home to a house that was full of people who could never be replaced. Family values and a neutral environment where almost anything could be said. Even though dad can be a dick, mum’s very stressful and my sisters, well I’m not at liberty to discuss them. It ideally should always be a place where I can feel comfortable voicing my opinions.

But it wasn’t like that when I came home this Easter. It was like coming home without any pants on, something was seriously missing. I later realized that it was the emotional baggage that I’d taken on during the two months I’d spent away from. This after recalling memories from my flat where a job wasn’t done such as the dishes or an unwashed tea towel setting me off and making me think of everything that’s negative without considering how amazing my family is. Without noticing how my sister is doing at school or how my other siblings house renovations are going. That when one person would come home upset, or if a shop owner told us the shop we were looking for was three doors down and that we hadn’t enough money to shop in his establishment. Just one tiny pessimistic moment is enough to create ripples that then make waves with others. That by showing ungratefulness can easily offend others who offer to help voluntarily. Those who offer a hand can’t help but feel neglected when they are ridiculed simply because the other person is going through a tough time and feel the itch to take it out on those around them. It’s not just a millennial problem either, it’s everywhere.

My reasoning behind advocating against urbanism was born through this natural chemistry that where there is people there is drama. Drama in the form of social politics which create these barriers which we are brought up believing we are suppose to converge to. Then when we realize we’ve been ripped off by the system we turn around and try to take it out on others, who then take their problems out on others and it’s this giant shit show we all like to refer to as “society.”

Moreover, on the above issue next time but for now I think it’s best that I say the only way to stop being a dick is to realize your insecurities and doing everything in your power to get used to them, become your insecurities to the state where people see your weaknesses, try and use them against you only to find that you can still show gratitude in the face of benevolent power and your relationship is stable and untangled to the bitter end. It both sets a good example and proves that you are loyal to a fault. By showing love to those small miracles all around will provide warmth that is worth the emotional investment.


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Blog 065 Biking To New Plymouth 

So begins the next challenge. A challenge to myself to try and see if it’s possible that my little legs can manage to squeeze through a mammoth distance on a bike with pedals. The challenge is to bike from Wellington all the way up to New Plymouth using nothing but my legs, about ten coffees, a few litres of water, about 10,000 calories of food, three days and a lot of Coldplay. Today’s conversation is in regarding this bike ride and the discussions of setting goals as a means of finding myself. Doing things not many my age would dream of doing, let alone by themselves.

The trip itself is around 365kilometres. Without fault, the entire trip will take approximately 20 hours and five minutes on the bike non-stop at an assumed estimated moving speed of 16km/h (10mph). Which can I say is probably a really nice estimation because, with a head of my size, climbing hills can be a slow and arduous journey.

So what gear would be needed? Well beyond the obvious unprecedented motivational concentration, the endless supply of coffee shop visits, taking an invested interest in making sure that there were stores and stores of food supplies kept in bike mounted saddle and frame bags, the overall journey would be a thing of surviving with plenty of food – and I love food! My next biggest concern would be making sure that I had sufficient water to hydrate the exhaustion. The large amounts of sweat loss through the heavy anaerobic exercising would require plenty of water to make sure that I never became dehydrated.

Bike rides require a hydrating period of around 200ml per 30 minutes of consistent efforts. But I know that from my own experience doing races and tours that I can survive off around a 500ml bottle every 90 minutes. So I’d really need to make sure that if my day was around the distance of 200km per day then I’d need to be carrying around 10 hours’ worth of water, per day. So then that would be around 5 litres of water per day. Definitely something essential. I would much rather have a lot more water than not enough. So finding passages in which these water bottles could be held, such as extra water bottle holders would be ideal.

The next concern is the weight on the bike. I’d need to make sure that there wasn’t too much on the bike because it makes it harder to ride up hills. Thankfully there are plenty of places to stop along the way during state highway one which will give me plenty of opportunities to stop in and reloaded. It’s only once turning west bound heading for Wanganui which will have any extended period of nowhere to refuel, and it will be a case of making sure that I have plenty of water and food with me. With extra water bottles, and extra food stores will make the bike heavier, as expected. But it will be about rationing out everything to make sure that I don’t run dry.

So I’d start from Wellington City and ride across Hutt Valley City, to then hook back around the hills of Upper Hutt via Haywards Hill Road. After stopping for a morning break in Paraparaumu I’d continue travelling north along State Highway One and travel northwards passed Levin and Sanson where I’d make the turnoff to Whanganui in Bulls. It’s around 100 further kilometers before the west bound region where I’d stay the night.

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On the second day I would continue travelling north-west to Mount Taranaki where I’d then rest in the surrounding township. Apparently, there is significant climbing involved near the mountain so this day will likely take longer than the first. Noting that it is more hilly through this region I’d likely take a lot more water on the second day because there are less places to stop and more terrain to take on. Once I’ve met the Taranaki mountain reserve I’d then turn right to then continue riding down into New Plymouth where I’d catch up with Aaron and the lads, hopefully!

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With the overall journey well within my capabilities at approximately 20-25km/h speeds maintained across the two days should see me through in a reasonable time. My only concern is bike mechanicals. water depletion and extreme changes in weather. My other main concerns are the likes of health and warmth. As this ride will occur during the winter time, it will be cold at 360m above sea level heading across the Taranaki region. So a nice warm set of gears will be essential.

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A Long Time!

But what is all this for? Why is it important for me to even bother trying to push through two days of hell and for what reason? Well for a starter I really genuinely enjoy riding my bike. The feeling of independence, and the weird things that you see along your way that make me laugh really hard. But I’m mostly setting this goal so that I can be challenged. To challenge my brain in a way that I cannot pull out of. I cannot back down to. Stuck in the middle of nowhere on a bike is very isolating. I love cycling because it forces you to rely on yourself. It forces you to focus on things that actually matter like family and friends. It’s hard to lie to yourself when your pushing a headwind.

For me, the aim is to create a space where I can get out of the shit that urban life creates. A space where I can be reliant on nobody but myself, where nobody but I can define how the journey goes. It will be a really great journey as well because I come from the South Island of New Zealand, so I’m basically becoming a tourist for three days. Sight seeing, suffering, looking at the different features of the country, suffering, seeing what the people are life and suffering. I’m incredibly excited by this but mostly because it means I will get the opportunity to meditate, to think about nothing but my own thoughts.

It’s something we don’t really do enough as a people is reflect on what we have. What we’ve got to actually be grateful for. The fact that I have the opportunity to do something like this is incredible. That so many people don’t have the luxury to take a few days off to ride their bike. So I will setup a fundraiser over the following month to assign an invested interest in others and garner support to accomplish this. Because ultimately it’s those who are around you who define how far you go.

Looking at practical times there are two main holidays this year where I will have the opportunity to accomplish this ride:

  • Mid Year University Break (Post Exam Period Dependent)
    – 11 Days, Monday 06/07 until 17/07.
  • Trimester Two Break (Post Exam Period Dependent)
    – 14 Days, Monday 28/08 until Monday 11/09.
  • There is also the Summer Holidays but that’s too easy!

Ultimately it’s a goal that I am extremely enthused to complete. Stay tuned for more information regarding this in the near future. Never stop moving, always keep growing. Even if it’s completely ridiculous and entirely crazy like going for a bike ride, doing it easy mate…

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 054 Children of New Zealand Vulnerable No Longer

Last Friday, March the 31st, was the last day that Child Youth and Family ever existed. It sparked the newly designed Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Vulnerable Children to be launched. I thought it significant to make mention of the entire process of creating this new ministry. As is how it will change the course of historic dealings with the vulnerable children of New Zealand that is actually meaningful in some way. In many ways, this chat is an account of how significant this new ministry is from the perspective of a care experienced individual. My own experience is what have given me the incentive to advocate for the youth of New Zealand.

My experience with the system began when I was eight months old when I was taken out of the care of my parents. I was fortunate enough to be taken in by an incredible family who has been able to provide me with the most significant opportunities that any child could have possibly received. At the age of twelve, I was legally given the right to accept adoption as a means of my care and I’ve never looked back since. So that’s pretty cool. But what wasn’t cool was the consistent losses of the voice of children in the care experience. Fortunately, the social workers that looked after the younger me, by reports from my parents, were actually pretty cool. They were the right people for the job, who understood and respected my own culture on the basis of my Maori background but my social workers also placed me with my biological aunty on my dad’s side. So that’s pretty cool too.

But my story is not all great and glamourous. At the beginning was the fundamental basis that a traumatic situation had occurred where I was taken from my parents. That no child should have to experience that level of severity. But I guess where it becomes more serious is the idea that many children do not nearly get the same level of luck that I had. To land with people who were able to project the highest level of opportunities imaginable is truly a miracle. To have been provided with simple basics such as coming home to a loving, caring home that has the strategic expertise to respond to any situation that could have possibly come up. Such as providing me with opportunities as I was growing up to meet my biological parents, to meet my biological sister. To have those connections made was of huge benefit to me, even if I rejected them. They allowed me to move on with my life and not become restricted or constrained without some kind of idea of what happened when I was 8 months old that warranted being taken away in the first place.

Collectively, my experience in the system was pretty good. I was given the right social worker who cared and understood my own personal needs. I was placed in a home that had everything necessary to be humbler and honest and be loving and caring in a way that grew me into the person I am today. I was also given the opportunity to mend broken bridges within my biological family, and lastly, I was provided with the education to be able to go and find out more about my family and find out what the world looks like. The entire story finishes where I acknowledge my step mother for being the one who curated my entire life story thus far, having given me the education that is so intertwined with the person I am today, and giving me constant reason to grow and to fight my battles from a mature and intelligent way, even when there are spelling mistakes.

When you boil it all down, even through my story, the fact is that I was taken away from my family. Regardless of how amazing the recovery is, I have learnt that it is simply not good enough. Those other children shouldn’t have to be lucky in order for their experience in care to be successful. Every child should be given what I was given, at the bare minimum. They shouldn’t be abused, throw around like a rag doll and stigmatised as a vulnerable child. They should quite simply be consulted by the right social worker who provides the child with a voice that they can trust will give them hope to one day reconnect with their parents or at the bare minimum be given peace of mind that none of what happened was in any way their fault. That the child can grow up with a fair understanding of what happened and can happily move on with their life. Period.

So the newly constructed Ministry Oranga Tamariki is a breath of fresh air for an old child like myself. Having been a part of the creation of this whole network designed for children like me of tomorrow. I was head over heels when the network was released. The bi-monthly meetups of our youth advisory panel existed to keep every single bureaucratic member within the Ministry of Social Development and beyond to keep the thoughts and the Mana, authority over identity, with the child at the forefront of the entire ministry. That no adults opinions would ever overrule the needs of the children. At a basic understanding that the ministry would be designed to work ‘with’ children, not ‘for’ children. The hugely massive distinction being that the decisions made would be primarily focused on ensuring that children were being consulted about the choices made for them so that they never ever felt that it was their fault. That they never blamed themselves for the shortcomings of adults who knew what they were doing. A system of macroeconomics where one decision for legislative changes affected the incomes and socio-economics of thousands of families. Where small decisions make massive changes on the well-being of your everyday person, huge consequences can sometimes cause massive impacts on how people manage themselves. A system of inflation, whatever the reason might have been to lead my parents to not successfully being able to look after me to the degree that was needed when I was eight months old. It is simply not good enough.

One of the major changes implicated by the new ministry is that the complaints system is made more abundantly clear. That a child would have a clear pathway to contact Oranga Tamariki, who would be urgently accountable regardless of the significance of the complaint, that the child would know that they have rights in the first place. A previously unrecognised problem is that so many youths, including myself, were not aware that we even had rights. More important measures included youth justice. In the case of youth justice where a person who has been in care would be understood rather than empathised with in a degrading manner. That an advocate would be present at the time of the police officer making an arrest of a child, or where not possible, police officers would be made to understand the voices of youths from care experience so that they, the police officer themselves, would actually be the child’s advocate, would treat the child as if they were their own. That the police officer would be present throughout the child’s entire remand. That they would be present during the entire process to remind all other adults, the child’s parents, a judge, everyone would be aware that this child has a story, that they are being listened to, that they are not the only one who made mistakes. That this would help enrich the child who is in question to grow within themselves, that their support grows also and treats this child as a taonga, a precious treasure. This validation would give them the tools and the knowledge to feel empowered by a figure that usually looks intimidating but instead comes down from its high horse to give these children the understanding that they deserve.

A complaints system that recognises the rights of children in care. A new insight into how children are taken into remand within the new youth justice system. Staff who are more accountable for the decisions made for the child. The last biggest change to Oranga Tamariki versus the previous network includes transition funding. That the new ministry funds children in care from the age of 17-18-years-old. A massive game changer that recognises that most of the children in care do not have financial guarantors who can sign them a lease to a new home, can give them financial literacy like understanding IRD, paying taxes, gaining a passport, applying for a university. All of these micro-dimensions were intimately checked over by the voices of young people like myself and were raised long ago by previous youth advisory panels to help the new ministry grow and to provide a service that more effectively deals with the needs of children who are taken away from their families. that they are given the tools needed to get to where they need to go from a governing body that actually gives a shit.

Beyond the care and experience within a new children’s ministry exists the support of engaging with all New Zealanders. That iwi and government both acknowledge that our country has a problem with child abuse.

That each and every person in New Zealand is responsible for the shortcomings of children within the system who have been dealt a bad hand by the adults who raised them up, but also from a government who is responsible for looking after them. This issue was most notably raised when the Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Bill English when he was present last Friday, the 31st of March, at the launching of Oranga Tamariki. That he spoke with us regarding the entire ministry trying to listen to our voices, trying to take on the significance of the new ministry. And that in itself is evidence enough that this is a change which is necessary. More importantly are the voices of young people who are and have for years been looking for the help that they deserve. That they are no longer vulnerable children but children of us.


Below is a link to my interview with the media regarding the coverage of the launch of Oranga Tamariki.

My interview on Stuff

As always 😉

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 050! Who doesn’t like Sleeping In?

By Mana Williams Eade  15 Minutes

So today I slept in. Missed my morning class, missed a non-important hand-in session, which sucks. Missed the five milk-bathed weet bix that were on the menu for breakfast, such a travesty. But even after this whole ordeal, I could still describe how I feel in three words. “I don’t care.” In today’s wee blog lets chat about how important it is to take time out for yourself when everything all gets a bit panicky and gross. When you’ve got a mountain load of work in front of you and only a coffee mug of motivation. When you can’t be bothered because you haven’t given your brain the food that it deserves.

Who came up with this thing called sleep? 

Sleep is for the weak, apparently. We all need roughly 6-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day to function correctly. That’s what we’ve been told by our teachers, that’s what our parents said our whole childhood, that’s what the professors at Harvard University said so it must be true right?

They all keep saying that this small sleep period, based on scientific evidence, proves that our bodies need REM sleep in order for our circadian rhythm to be healthy and let our body function properly. Such as sending the right chemicals to the brain, make sure our immune system is well balanced, basically reset our day. All of this information tells us one thing. That we only have half of our day to do shit.

So what’s your argument Mana? 

What if relaxing our brains improved our sleep quality and occupied less sleep time? No, I don’t mean pills or coffee, I mean real tangible fulfilment in doing something you really enjoy and are able to find a balance and manipulate so that you don’t have to sleep as much each day.

I’m referring to “YOU-TIME”.

The time of your day where you put aside the few notifications that are important but actually when put down on a piece of paper and perspectivised could actually be solved in 20 minutes or an hour later rather than right now.

I hate the idea that something is due and I haven’t done it, out of the fear of failure and the fear of shame. These are real emotions for me. When somebody tells me that there was something due mid-lecture that I didn’t know about, panic is a relaxed way of putting it.

When I woke up this morning it was a process of thinking why it really mattered if I missed breakfast if my assignment couldn’t be done in twenty minutes time, why I was so super stressed and only seconds into my new day.

All of these cocktail-party professors force these daily living schedules onto us so hard that they crush the shit out of how people live their lives. You can’t do this, you can’t eat that. Everywhere! It’s like we subscribed to wives tales just because the wife has a PHD.

The marketplace even takes grasp of this stuff. Promote the use of the word “organic” or “homemade” and “gourmet” then up the price of something by 30%. It’s all a big scandal and I won’t be able to expose it in one 1500 word essay styled blog piece.

While many things are true, that we should sleep, that we should eat food, that we should allow our bodies these natural resets. It shouldn’t be pressured down on us to live our lives orientated to one grumpy guy’s expectation. Power is something that we give to other people, right?

So it shouldn’t be too much to ask then to have that power back. It shouldn’t be too hard to say you took time out for yourself when people ask why you didn’t do something. When you think of the shame, it’s always in your head that maybe if I didn’t sleep enough last night then that is why I wasn’t on-time. That it was because I had poor routine skills that it wasn’t handed in.

My argument is that there are so many people out there driven by the fear of failing. The idea of shaming themselves in public or at school or within their social circles. My point is that taking time out for yourself is so much more important than anything else.

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

Example Time.

Imagine if you failed everything. Imagine if you slept in because you wanted that extra hours sleep, or even two hours sleep because you knew in yourself that your body wasn’t ready for it physically, and you weren’t ready for it mentally. That you missed your 50% course contribution assignment hand-in without late exceptions, that you were an hour late picking up your grandparents from the airport, that you missed having breakfast with your loved one before she flew away to a different city in the morning.

Imagine if all that shit happened. You failed your core-course, your girlfriend is upset with you for the next month while she’s in a different country and your parents won’t look at you whilst around the dinner table because you left nana and grandpop in the rain at gate three, Wellington International Airport.

What sort of shame would bear on your shoulders? Would you wake up that morning, look at your cell phone and have a mental breakdown? Because I know I would. It’d suck majorly. I’d probably compose myself and act like it’s all okay when deep down inside it’d be killing me the vision of my grandmother looking around for me in the rain, cold, searching for my car to roll up. Or my girlfriend, waiting at the coffee shop, trying to get me over the phone. Or the invisible clock on the hand-in box via the University server ticking over 9:01 am.

In my head, i’d be dying to know how to change it all, how to make myself feel better about stuffing up so massively. So much so that I’d probably down on myself for a while. So much so that it’s probably going to change the way I talk to my friends, my best mates. That I’d probably call them out for doing really small things wrong, that I’d probably stress even more when the next occasion arose where I was late again.

What does it all mean?

It means that in my opinion, nobody likes to feel shame. Nobody likes to feel the guilt associated with stuffing up. It affects the way we engage with the ones we love because we make the assumption that even under the most extreme circumstances we assume they’ll never be able to forgive us for what we did, but they will… People recover…

One of the strongest human characteristics next to blaming someone is forgiving them for it. Forgiving you for taking time out for yourself. We get it, things are tough. As long as I take ownerships for my lateness, take ownership for the mistakes I’ve made, email the course coordinator and tell them I was a bit late in completing my assignment, that I was up all night writing my blogs, doing what I love and so I slept in and couldn’t make it in time. Under the most extreme cases, these justifications won’t result in the loss of your life. Nobodies going to die. The truth is everybody likes to sleep in. But it’s time taken out for you to do what you want to do and not living to a socially barricaded way that matters most.

That’s another thought from my day. This is my 50th daily blog, which is halfway to one hundred! Happy days mate. There’s so much more coming and I’m really excited to share them with you! I’ve thought about applying to Salient Magazine to become a writer, which is Victoria University of Wellington’s local magazine, which is an outfit run by students just posting political and other interesting pieces. Will keep that in mind and will think on it over these next few weeks.

And as always!

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 047 What Are Some Solid Study Habits?

By Mana Williams  10 Minutes

We all have our own way of getting a study done. Some people’s ways work better than others when you take them on board. Stepping back from the rigmarole of University life. This talk strips down some healthier study tips than the ones I’m currently practising. In the hopes that it serves as a personal reminder of how to set aside a few hours before kicking into gear and plan out a way that works for you. In today’s chat, we’ll explore the different goals I’ve set and how those fell over really quickly, but will also talk about social expectations and how it contributes to the need for procrastination.

You can do it without using your weekend.

My first major assumption when starting into my first-year architecture was that I would be able to get through university without once using my weekend time. I was hell bent on making sure that I didn’t use the weekend for school work because it was simply not an option whilst working a part time job. You’d get home from the long haul at work at 10 pm on a Sunday evening and then kick back into some solid Netflix only to realise you have an assignment due in at 12:30 pm the next afternoon.

The horrendously steep struggle street marathon to get through a sustainability project over the line quickly saw to it that my weekend-less school-work goal was a reality no longer. I know it’s harsh but try to give up on that idea. University is designed to test your ability to learn. But the ability to learn isn’t in the devil’s detail it’s in its font style and word count. They make it hard practically by setting these ridiculous assignments during ridiculous periods of time to make you prove that you are willing to push the bar between what is and isn’t comfortable.

I later found that working on projects through my weekend was almost expected. That’s because it was. There is an expectation that you work for 2 hours of every lecture attended, or thereabouts. If you had 4 lectures in one day, then you would be required to sit 8 hours of study time.

That’s a 12 hour day, without food, without making money at work, without a life. Combine that with Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the same sort of tempo and you could understand that studying is almost a full-time job that requires a whole week entirely dedicated to this predetermined realization that you really don’t have a weekend to use to go for a surf or to go for a bike ride.

I’m intentionally being a drama queen. because it’s tough out there. When you have three assignments due, in a space of two days, you and everyone around you are sick to the bone whilst a southerly breeze busts down the street during winter, you’re stressed out by the lecturers cheek of pulling a cheeky one-liner, it starts to make sense to you that it’s not or ever will be a walk in the park.

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Above fig.  WHATMANASEES Instagram

Take Some Time Out For Yourself.

It’s not this way in the real world. Establishing some healthy study habits, like time management, and resting often made a huge difference for me. But the biggest difference is that I’m noticing that I get way more productive when I focus on things that matter to me, like this blog.

I remember when I was out on a careers open day last year. I was talking with an architect about his typical week and how his days are constructed. His answer was that his weeks were only 40 hours long because he was only paid for 40 hours of work per week. After his 5 pm beer with his boss, he was commissioned home and that was that. He explained that his university years were a real struggle, particularly towards the end. But in the real marketplace and in corporations, staff who earn a salary and contracted to work a particular amount of hours in a week. He urged the importance of taking time out for himself during the really tough periods of work because they gave him fresh ideas and new knowledge.

What we’re getting at here is basically is simmer down. That it is important to carefully plan out your study habits with a fine toothed comb but to also take the study with a grain of salt that the workload will be different in business but without you time what even is the point?

Being yourself is more important because life is more beautiful that way…

That’s the end of this little rant. it’s ironic because I’m writing this piece at 3:12 am on a Tuesday after having missed an assignment deadline… Go figures. Asides from that I just want to say…

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 040 Social Stigma 

By Mana Williams Eade   20-25 Minutes

Today’s lengthy chat is about social politics but looks at identifying the key relationship differences between making a judgment call by stigmatizing versus giving a person special treatment. With a few examples and with relevance in the hopes of evaluating a little bit more about the massive dust cloud that is way too often used as an excuse for something to be right or okay when in reality both need to be understood and separated.

What does it mean?
Stigmatize – describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or great disapproval.

Special Treatment – distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind.
Judgment – the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.

Let’s talk about making a judgment call on a person.

Instead of writing up a whole blog about judging somebody I thought I’d make an entire paragraph dedicated to explaining my interpretation of making a judgment call on someone, so apologies for not having content out yesterday. When it comes to judging a person, there is a difference between stigmatizing and giving someone the benefit of the doubt by allowing them special privileges when appropriate. The act of making a judgment call, in my opinion, is just a way of protecting yourself from getting hurt in social situations. Recognizing a person’s caliber will let you know how many barriers you need to put up in order to stay level headed.

Time for an analogy.

Like a fortified castle, judging someone is the curation of the outer walls. Walls put up to protect yourself from other people’s shit, or vice versa. But it doesn’t change the reality that you shut people out whenever you erect walls. So why are we afraid of people’s shit? Is it memory conditioning? Is it a reaction from traumatizing childhood memories? Is it reactionary as an outlet for us or do we have to make assumptions to make ourselves feel better? For whatever reason, there are a few categories of judgment that can come out for ‘whatever reason.’ But for the relevance of the chat, I’ll focus on what I feel are the most important contrasting reactionaries which are stigmatizing and giving special treatment.

When is it ever okay to stigmatize?

Stigma is never nice, it’s easy to build your life around, it’s almost an excuse to be racially biased. This chat takes a really quick look at stigma and a couple examples of when it can really affect someone. To put it short and sweet, it’s never okay to stigmatize. The definition of stigmatizing is to recognize a negative change or characteristic of a person or to enlighten that they are different in a bad way. It’s when you use their indifferences against them to call them out on something or convince someone else that this somebody is bad without reason.


I was sitting in the university library last week when I struck up a conversation with a dude who lived outside of the city. It started off really nicely and we talked about what most students talked about, what degree they were taking, what year they were in and if they lived in a hall, whereabouts their parents live etc. The whole time was pretty casual in general. Until we started talking about socio-economics. We started discussing why certain areas of Wellington were really nasty in comparison to others. After discussing why certain areas within the city might not be very nice, he alluded to one area being very impoverished by the presence of the mongrel mob and the problems that they cause. But it hit me when he was talking about it, he made the assumption that just because an area has a low socio-economic rating it’s only due to the presence of gangs and drugs. In reality, any area everywhere is affected by drugs. It made me think about why he would comment on the presence of a gang. To assume that each individual within a gang is to blame for every ounce of heroin or cocaine in a particular suburb. To assume that the intimidation is real and that each gang member has no personality or no story to be told about why they are so inclined to create ripples in society in the first place. Who’s right is it to stigmatize against a group of people simply because they choose to live in a particular way that opposes the belief systems of others? Where in our constitution does it state that we have the right to stigmatize against a collection of people simply because their beliefs are indifferent to ours? Mate… To put simply, nobody has that authority. Sure we have the right to build our own opinions, but we have no claims to convince those opinions as fact or any authority to impose them onto somebody else.

Time to pull it apart.

Everyone has their own shit to deal with, whether that’s a mongrel mob member or my new library friend. It doesn’t give us the right to stigmatize them. Sure, don’t go out and wave your bum at them because that’s never respectful. We have no authority to say that an area is impoverished due to a particular group of people being present. What worries me most about my friend’s opinion of a certain area being really dodgy is probably because he told me that he gained his knowledge from the word of mouth from somebody else, who probably learned that from another person who may have had some sort of running in with a gang member at one stage in their life. But who knows? That gang member might have just lost their mum or dad to a car crash. They may have been going through some really tough times. Only after calling him out about it was it actually apparent to me that he was stigmatizing.

So how does giving special privileges differ from stigmatizing?

When something has happened to somebody and we are informed about it like if a lady is widowed by her husband’s passing, it’s usually normal for people to change their tone of voice or their way of communicating to this person. Conditioning our way of treating that person because they are grieving, because they deserve to be treated with more respect. I was recently at a funeral of a person who meant something to me, spending time at her funeral service and then spending time with her husband. It was obvious that he was grieving, so I and everyone else went out of their way to treat him with extra respect because he had just lost his loved one. Equally, if we learn about somebodies birthday we all of a sudden treat them nicer than usual regardless of what role they are in, whether they’re our waitress or if they are our parent. Giving special privileges, regardless if they are wanted, actually are appropriate in certain situations. They aren’t used against a person they are used for the person’s benefit. To lend a hand and bring them up to speed. it’s our most human contribution. To bring down a drawbridge to invite a person in and go out of our way to be there for them. Giving somebody special treatment is the opposite of stigmatizing. It is giving somebody the benefit of the doubt. I think it’s really sad that we are conditioned to only lend a hand when we are made aware of a problem. That we are only comfortable letting down our walls during a special occasion.

It’s almost like we are sitting behind the reigns of a high horse, only willing to come down when society expects us to. We should be able to do this any moment of the day. To show love and affection to our friends without needing a prompt, without somebody dying. That we don’t have to make assumptions around a certain gang of people, that we don’t have to stigmatize. Our families are closer than ever when we provide them with positive reinforcement, not stigmatic judgment. So how’s about we spend a bit more time treating everyone a bit more special?

And I guess that’s my talk for today! It was something pretty heavy on my shoulders so apologies for taking an extra day to deliver this one out there. Tonight’s talk is going to be pretty exciting! I’m interviewing a really impressive advocate and talking about the new child based New Zealand Ministry, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. So stay tuned for that!

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 038 What Does Stress Do?

By Mana Williams. 20 Minutes

In contrast to limbic interruptions comes the opposing frustration, rushing. Among the ranks of corporations, schools, airports and train stations, exists a process of rushing. Something that looks like stress and messes with everything we do even if we don’t want it too. Today’s little chat is in regards to the concept of rushing and the wider impacts rushing can have on really important systems that live actually depend on. The price of stress at a people level within governmental agencies and takes a lens on the mismanagement within making public policy and what the effects of this could be.

What is stress?

It’s the brother emotion to shame. It’s the dragon under the mountain. It’s our brains nitrous oxide that can be confused with positive reinforcement and if not managed properly can be really irrational. Stress is physically defined as the exaggeration of pressure onto a system or load bearing network. It is a home made brain fart that can be defined as a cognitive coffee. Stress is initially helpful but gradually loses its touch and creates more damage than good. When we feel anxious about a result, stress is the first feeling out the door to address the problem. It’s like having a noisy chihuahua yapping in your head. Nobody needs it, it’s novel for a while, but the novelty wears off. Stress is not your friend. When we perceive that we are running out of time our brain works harder to find a resolve that we can rest on. The act of rushing is a physical translation of the feeling of stress.

So what can be done about it?

Government systems, corporate expectations, school assignments, parental rules all operate in routines. Terms used like deadlines, due dates, time frames all designed for general reinforcement. But since when have we ever perceived a deadline as being a good thing? You could argue that it’s a great thing to see that once that deadline arrives you are free from the grasp of whatever is due. But this is where elements like stress and the anxiety of failure come into play and that irrational stress Chihuahua come to answer the door. It’s never ending. Or so it seems. Meditation is key. I know it’s a bit soppy. But when people ask me why I am able to produce so much writing in my blogs without being concerned by the constraints of my work I say because I am able to disconnect from the urgency and create boundaries to achieve what I need to do.

So how is stress dangerous?

Within the wraps of bureaucracy, within governmental agencies and structures exists thousands of hard working individuals who all have to get to work in the morning, who are scrupulously moderated and multiple different amplitudes. Where there are deadlines and agencies that say you can and you can’t. Within government agencies work people, it is at a people level that we can all relate to. We could create any issue or visualise any situation that relates to us and imagine how that might cause a person in a powerful position to make a mistake that might affect thousands of people. The likes of an economic development minister who comes into work and creates a policy on how businesses in New Zealand must meet new criteria that small businesses can’t adhere to because it undermines their business and out-prices the consumer. Or when a Chief Executive of a new government-funded children’s ministry fails to take into consideration the opinions of children and creates a design around the voices and opinions of adults because they were bureaucratized by adults in an adults world to conform in a way that suits big money enterprises and creates a system that doesn’t work or is no different from the last faculty, un-ironed and mismanaged system that could damage the lives of thousands of children. It happens far too often where we get caught up in our daily race to be first to the lecture and we forget that our time should matter more than an assignment.

Stress is dependent on your sense of urgency, it feeds off of your need to do well, to accomplish as much as possible or to catch up on something missed. This in regards to a current essay that I’m supposed to be doing but instead am writing this blog to quantify the stress that’s going through my head. It’s crazy how easy our brains can become accustomed to feeling like shit when we are told to get to bed or to hurry up. It’s scary that even when someone encourages us to get the work done, whether it be in school or at work, that we can assume that it’s negative enforcement. If we are tooted at by a car it’s quite rattling and disgruntling, it’s easy to feel stressed out by it. If we are given an assignment and a lecturer reminds us that our essay is due in two days and you realise you’ve done zero of the readings. When a chief executive of a child-focused ministry is stressed out by her boss to discourage the use of multi-cultural involvement in future child based ministries because certain cultural aspects are being taken out of legislation because it is “too difficult to define” in a formulated and westernized legal way without recognizing that the needs of all people should be considered rather than just the majority. (We will talk about this in another chat) Then it’s easy to show why stress can be so volatile and ill-informed. When people wonder why something didn’t work even if every operational flaw is ironed out, it’s stuff like human error that provokes a miscarriage. Small human misjudgements like stress which leads to a rushed patch job that merely bandages the problem instead of actually solving it. The concern of not spending enough time necessary to see things through a different lens and notice the humongous effect it has on our lives.

What are some tangible ways of dealing with stress? 

These are the two angles that I use to tackle two different situations. The first is time dependent stress. The pressure on a load bearing system which is my brain’s ability to actually operate without fizzing out and realising how screwed I am. This stress can be managed by realising that it’s going to be hard work getting to where I need to be. Not telling myself that it’s going to be okay no matter what because that’s a false belief. Knowing in myself that it’s really a case of stringing out everything that needs doing or has happened and giving myself enough time to appropriately deal with that. Without proper conditioning to stress and learning how to support yourself when times are tough is like never sailing your boat out of a harbour. Growing the support of your loved one’s constantly and building up a relationship with those closest to you will give you little boosts here and there that will take off some of the load, things like doing the washing for your flatmates might, in turn, provide that extra support when you need it. Maybe helping out at church when there is a barbeque might bring back good karma and someone from church might drop you off at home when your mid-week life group finishes and you need to get home because your essay is due tomorrow. Solid foundations will be able to bare heavier loads in the long term and provide the rigidity needed in tough situations.

The second situation is unexpected stress or relinquished faith that happens faster than anticipated or when everything is super sudden without deadlines, like a boss asking you to do something that goes against your beliefs.

Similar to the first situation, know that you are supported and that in yourself you are loved first. Then take the time to reflect on how your beliefs or your routine is compromised by what they have said. Think from their perspective and compare it to your process of thinking. Find a common medium that allows you to stress less and not make stupid decisions.

So that’s today’s chat, they don’t always end with a long winded cello strum but as long as the point has taken flight that’s all I care about.

I think it’s really important that I say I’m not a qualified counsellor and I don’t claim to know more than anyone else. I guess from my perspective this work is just relevant to my emotions and experiences. So by my sharing, I hope to provide a different insight because no two points of views are ever completely the same. So I guess from my perspective this work is just to help someone through their tough patch of work, I know for me it’s certainly fresh in my head.

But again, I am really grateful to any readers out there still reading this stuff! It’s massively appreciated. Tomorrow’s blog will be delayed due to my essay being due. So wish me luck I get those readings done prior. And as always!

Thanks for checking in…

Daily Blogs: 10:00 pm NZT (Adjusted from 11:00 am NZT)

Blog 037 Lectures

By Mana Williams  15 Minutes

How confident are you that you could actively ask a question in a lecture of three hundred? I’m sure you could. But could you do it every day? How many times have you done it in the past? Can you count that number on two hands? Maybe one? It’s never easy asking a question at a lecture of three hundred, especially if the question isn’t a smart one. Lecturers can encourage questions at the start of a course and say that no question are silly ones. But the reality is, you do need to have a certain kind of confidence to be able to raise to that level and interrupt an auditorium full of grumpy humans. Today’s talk looks at the negative reinforcement that having lectures of this size can be and the relationship that should exist between a lecturer and a student. In the hopes that someone stuck out, there might be able to conjure up that level of confidence or get their questions answered in an alternative way.

What is a lecture?

The word lecture has two different definitions that both reflect a one-sided relationship. The defined answer is an educational talk to an audience, usually students. The second defined answer is a long serious speech, especially one to scold somebody. The power in a lecture is definitely one sided, which makes it really difficult to communicate on the same level and understand the message. The assumption made is that a lecturer knows more than the student. This is normally true but the reasoning behind why this methodology is used is to communicate as to suggest that if the message was delivered to an alien or somebody with no knowledge then the lesson needs to be easily consumed. But this takes away from the student their control of the situation. A lecture of three hundred is not a conversation, it’s a talking to. A place where a lesson could be taught to a multitude of people without taking into account the needs of the individual. Making it really hard for an individual to have one on ones. If a person wanted a questioned answered mid-lecture then the questions themselves would be clarified on an open source so that everyone would get their question answered.

So what’s changed?

We no longer live in a learning environment that big questions could only be asked in front of everyone. Unfortunately, some lecturers won’t answer too many questions after the lecture as they have lives and other classes to teach, so this is not a hugely valuable way of squeezing everything out of the lemon. We now have online forums to ask questions, using our University communications web pages. It seems easy but this is a great place to ask stupid questions. Online forums are tomorrow’s auditoriums. They still share the same lesson but the added role of anonymity is something of a breath of fresh air.

So is a lecture important?

We all have those horrible memories of trudging our daily slog to our 8:00 am first class, whether in school, course or to university. Those dreadful half-asleep brain marathons drawing on the theater desks. Watching the motivation at the start of a class slowly dwindle until it turns into a woeful can’t be bothered-ness. They say it is for our learning, they say it is to engage us in an appropriate way so that we are able to take in the lessons easier. They say it is good for us. So they say... Some cheeky lecturers even set lecture journals as if to suggest that we are to be forced to attend their wee chats and humorous one-liners that, they say, are extremely important for us to know if we are going to learn something significant that can definitely not be taught online. So they say…

What if you don’t have the internet?

Imagine if you didn’t have to pay for expensive levy fees for University and instead paid a company to hook your farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with the internet. It’s a real travesty why we even have to attend a gigantic facility when libraries are free. When the books we require can easily be handed to us using a little aunty named google. (It’s not uncle google, males have never known more than females). When administrators and Dean’s can be met with an email and interviewed with FaceTime or Skype media. A time where you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the operational costs of big heavy, ugly buildings and be treated like a know-nothing alien.

The point I’m trying to get across.

I know it sounds like a massive yarn just to get out of going to lectures, because it is. But for a second consider how important spending thousands of dollars operating hundreds of gigantic theaters all across the world every weekday costs. How much electrical energy would we be able to save if we had windows that brought in natural light? How many beautiful morning walks have we missed out on sitting in a theater listening to a middle-aged man yak on about the font style of his presentation? How much banter with loved ones have we missed out on because we are living in a city our family is not in? We deprive our livelihood to be spoken down to on a shitty Tuesday morning. I mean it makes sense to spend thousands of dollars to do that right? Yeah, of course, it does bro you’ve got it. Imagine how many awesome memories we would have with our loved one’s if the image of going to a huge University changed and we were able to gain the knowledge we needed without even shifting away from our hometown or lived with our parents. I for one miss my parents like crazy! So what does sitting in a crowd full of three hundred other grumpy morning slugs have to offer me that would warrant the biggest priority in my entire life, the love of family, to be second best.

Whatever question you have, it should be answerable without forcing yourself into a jam packed brick walled building on a miserable wet/windy morning. We shouldn’t have to, the dichotomy of going to lectures versus using online media doesn’t actually add up in a 2017 climate.

This is today’s chat. I’m really enjoying these rants about things that shouldn’t be the same way as they used to be a hundred years ago. Be sure to check in each day at 11:00 am NZT. And as always!

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 036 Failure to Me

By Mana Williams  15 Minutes

Let’s stop real quick and think about failure and what it actually means to fail from my point of view. Think about what it does to us and how it affects our lives for a second. Take time out from our heavy Monday to reflect again because Saturday and Sunday are not the only day’s of the week we need to stop and think. Our shit is on flowing so we need to step it up every day of the week. In this chat, I’m going to share a few insights into failing and really get down to the guts of it and decide whether a failure is a bad thing or a good thing, and how it can be used for positive reinforcement. In the hopes that at least somebody out there will be able to benefit from these words in some way shape or form.

What is failure?

Take a step back from an occasion you failed something and ask whether it was your fault. Now stop. It’s so easy to get caught up in that feeling because it’s like juggling a monkey and three banana’s, you’re starting at the produce department trying to find the milk section. Failing something is never a bad thing. The word fail is to not yet have successfully achieved something. It’s meaning is opportunistic, you can get there. Without letting this turn into a self-motivational talk, let’s be real about this and actually look into how failure contends with my belief systems.

When I took year 12, 6th form or 11th grade, Chemistry in school. There was nothing I liked about the class apart from the idea that I would be able to take engineering in University. It was a pretty cushy class but for some unknown reason, I found myself hugely anxious when it came to sitting assessments or indeed exams. The whole class was ruined because I wasn’t able to find the courage within myself to just simply study and reach a state where it was comfortable to sit in an environment and feel confident enough to know that it was possible to pass. But it wasn’t a reality for me. In hindsight, my perception of why it was such a massive challenge basically comes down to the shame of failing the exam. That analytically it was never the failing that caused the limbo but it was more the anticipation of the shame it would cause, failure was just the figment in front of it. Low and behold it wasn’t long thereafter until failure occurred, and it really struck me this anxiety that started out from nothing which developed into real and tangible results. It was such a massive learning curve for me.

So what does the fear of failing look like?

When I woke up this morning, went to my classes and came home to begin studying, I felt this overwhelming anxiety kind of like writer’s block and I just didn’t feel like working. I’m always usually in work mode but today was a bit bleaker than yesterday. That if I didn’t complete my work it might somehow lead to the failure of an entire class, that this failure would be met with unrelenting shame on my achievements and everything goes pear shaped relatively quickly. Shame is the ultimate fallacy that urges us to fear failure. it inhabits our lifestyle if we let it grow on us, like a mold on the roof of a bathroom. It won’t go away unless you are actively minimizing the fear of it.  The shame your parents might bare if you don’t pass a course, the shame your friends might have towards you if you didn’t manage the try. It’s the shame that is psychologically disabling some people from achieving success. Fearing failure is like being scared of boarding a bus to go somewhere and learn something.

Here’s a quick analogy.

The fear of failure is the anticipation of shit weather. Shame is the rain, wind, and lightning that weather brings. Rather than concerning yourself with the rain, learn how to be content within yourself and know that you have got what it takes to ride out the bad weather. Like a little bungalow I guess, some kind of ranch built out of hard work and nails. To be bold and strong under the thick and dense weather. So much so that you hardly even take notice to it. There was one time when I was flying out of Christchurch and we had this whole week of persistent rain. I remember feeling real crap about my whole day and that nothing was going to make things better, but as soon as we flew above all of the clouds into all of the blue fresh skies I couldn’t help but feel how stupid the whole situation was. Just to be able to really zoom out of all of the drama, all of the anxiety and feel way better about me. I guess, in essence, that is the imagery I’m trying to get across. That simple effortless perspective change is all that is needed to overcome the fear of stuffing up. Subsequently, the fear of shaming yourself in front of your friends and family. To be able to say, “Well actually there’s no shame in what I’m doing, I’m so much better than this.”

There’s usually more to the story.

It’s got something to do with our other friend, rejection. The fear to be shunted operates in tandem with shame. But that’s a talk had for another day… At the end of the day what matters is that you actively engage yourself in these sorts of perspective changes. That you recognize the significance of not taking ownership for the battles that go on in your head. it can be as simple as the weather pattern making you feel upset or antsy. Ultimately, it’s down to you to make your change, but in my experience, finding positivity in every opportunity even if that is failing at something is a huge learning curve.

That’s today’s little chat, it’s not been a great day but I’m super stoked to get this content out there because it’s my first relevant post about some symptoms I’ve been experiencing lately. I hope this in some way has helped someone, but if not I’ll try again harder tomorrow. And as always…

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 035 Rejection

By Mana Williams.  15-20 Minutes

It’s something we don’t usually like to think we have any problems with. But the truth is, so many people like myself struggle with the gunk-on-the-shoe that is rejection. In tonight’s wee chat I would like to evaluate my battle with rejection and offer up some tangible ways of resolving the problem at a basic level in the hopes that hopefully one person can get something out of it.

So where’s my analogy?

It’s more than just gunk on a shoe. It follows you around every which way until it’s physically pried off with a fork and some elbow grease. Rejection is a problem so many people actively choose to ignore rather than deal with and I totally understand where they’re coming from! It’s painfully hard to admit that you have rejection issues. But looking into the core outlines of why it is that way or digging through the muck to find some leeway is really powerful. So like gunk on your shoe, it can become stuck but it can also become unstuck if you’re willing to spend enough time applying some effort looking into why it is that way.

It’s easy to get frustrated.

Looking back at some history it’s clear to me that when I felt left out of a given situation or didn’t feel empowered by my daily interactions with people it was easy for me to escalate things far beyond where they needed to be. As a coping mechanism, it was easier for me to simply blame others for their shortcomings without taking ownership for my problems because I was frustrated by everything. If we are particular about it, I really struggled with the concept of lust. Not love, It’s not possible at that age that this little brown boy was able to sense anything passed banter within the graphics class.

At a deeper level, certain traumatic situations that happen when we are kids are kind of like booby traps. They trip us up in our development and stunt the growth we deserve. Without functioning evenly we are so consumed by the realization that we need to feel the love our parents can provide. Usually from someone external like a girlfriend or a partner. This was a huge challenge for me in many ways, but it also helped me become the strong headed individual I am today. Having battled with some new information recently that when I was a kid and was taken away from my parents and placed into the custody of Child Youth and Family. Never before had I ever believed that this had ever defined the person I have become, until today… Some kids lose their parents at a young age, others lose their parents at an older age, and some lucky kids don’t lose their parents at all. With these little incremental situations happening even at an age before remembrance it was clear to my step-mum that the rejection concerns would later develop into bigger more widespread issues. It’s not clear to me if she really knew how much or how true it really was…

How bad could it possibly be?

Without getting into specific contextual memories, my experience with rejection is very reactive. The need to always be first, or the constant issue with staying still to have time to think about my feelings or prioritize in an intelligent or logical way. A couple of the feelings that I tended to use when faced with rejection was usually anxiety or depression. These two corrosive inhabitants generally dislike optimism so it’s not hard to feel negative in social situations when battling with this sort of stuff. Whether it’s at church helping on the barbecue, or in a flat party with your ex-girlfriend nearby. Forgetting something in a supermarket line then trying the shit house shuffle technique to ninja your way back to the produce department without other customers noticing, or when you’re meeting with a minister to inform her that she isn’t doing a good enough job. Even if you are in some sort of power role in a martial arts club and need to teach students how to respect people with words instead of fighting them with feet and fists. Almost every situation is affected by how we are feeling. Rejection compromises our mindset and therefore affects us and our way of treating others, but more importantly, how we treat ourselves. It’s not simply the case of applying a band aid to the problem and hoping it goes away. It takes consistent effort that is never fun and is always challenging.

So what’s some solid advice?

Who doesn’t like to see something through till the end? It’s basic human qualities. Once you recognize that you have a real problem with rejection, you know there are truths within various moments that caused you to feel that way. Once you have the capacity to take on your brain in the biggest battle of your life, then every day is a battlefield you need to be ruthless in.

Just kidding…

It’s not hard at all. The answer is simply to love yourself and value yourself more than you value the opposing acceptance of your peers then you won’t feel rejected. Your second port of call is to actively engage and reverse engineer how you feel about a certain situation and managing those emotions in a way that makes you understand that everything is going to be okay. The third reinforcement is to seek the support of others, not in an externally lustful relationship kind of way, but more in a loving and supportive way of those around you to boost you back up to the front lines of the great fight against yourself and your old way of dealing with things.

Hopefully through this way of thinking you might experience a personality shift. Give it some salt, it deserves it because the problems we hide cause others grief and that matters…

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty pumped to evaluate on this issue.It’s definitely a concern of mine that shares so much valuable light onto my strengths and weaknesses. I’m super fortunate to have the support that I’ve grown up with and I really value their time and energy. I’m also hugely grateful to you guys for reading my blogs, it’s hugely important to myself that you guys are here, so thanks, and as always…

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 034 What is Music to Me?

By Mana Williams.  15 Minutes

From Minaj to Beethoven, what is it that makes music so seamlessly a part of who we are and how we get through our daily slog? What does it do? What is it’s purpose? What even is it? Today’s chat focuses on something a little lighter, it talks about how I feel about music and what it’s been able to change in my life and gives a little lens into one or two examples of where it’s made a significant difference in my daily.

I remember when I was struggling with rejection issues as a kid, not really sure what my fit was. The pre-pubescent years when a few reality curtains got pulled down. The very first steps I took on my journey of growing up I guess. Music was an ideal way for me to express how I was feeling at a particular time. The way I could speak without speaking. Affirmation in the artistical sense. You could say it was the tussock grass on a distant beach that provided enough coverage and privacy for me to build a boat and set sail to this ridiculous rollercoaster life that I’ve had so far! Which is pretty epic.

So what does music do?

Now I’m not qualified in instrumental acoustics so you can’t quote me on any of this stuff. But I’m still going to say it. Music is the vibrations our ears pick up on. In no particular order, we grow in an atmosphere buzzing with music. Even with unpropagated stuff, like bird song, like the noise rain makes on a tin shed rooftop. It’s all music to our ears. As we grow up it becomes easier for us to manipulate how we listen to music. From the car stereo to the volume of the television. Music is a drug for broken people, and we all have scars especially if we aren’t aware of them. That’s not a bad thing, though. It has become something we can rely on and know we have privacy consoling in. Something to feel at ease in, whether that’s after a hard days work, or if you are struggling with your homework assignment due in on Monday morning. That three and a half minute ‘you-track’ is there in your pocket waiting.

It’s more than just a way of expressing how you’re feeling.

Music is a way for us to reflect on an occasion or a moment. When one of my close family members passed away, I remember the song that was playing at his funeral and the message that was reflective of what he would have been saying. When the memorial video played in front of all of his loved ones and friends, I still remember the curtains in the mortuary, the people who spoke on his behalf. I still remember everything that was important to him in my life and that song really enlightens our relationship. Music is a memory, it gives us something to celebrate about even if we forget. In conjunction with appealing to all people, it also gives us a way of recovery lost files.

When it’s a rainy day…

Something we can use to reflect on our week, that can take us out of the mess of our day. It’s been used this way for hundreds of years. In church, singing is a form of worshipping God as a means of expressionism and prayer. Every week I go to church because I can feel the realness in the words people sing. Even if they struggle to mean what they preach I still know that in that space, the emotion behind wanting to sing and wanting to express how they’re feeling male or female is a way for that person to relax within themselves and reflect for that one little tiny moment and become more content with themselves. I’m certainly like that! Sure, I struggle with the meaning behind the worship song but we will talk about religion and God another time. Having faith in myself to know that music is expressive of how I feel and the indifferences that I’m challenged by in my week.

What is it’s purpose?

Genre-language based communication. Some songs are about love and affection, others are about death and the destruction of the establishment. Some can be more passive like the love of Jesus, others might be more reclusive and solemn like classical instrumentals. These different categories are a way for people to align what they are listening to with how they are feeling. Like Spotify, which is an open sourced online music channel, can be searched using a genre filtering navigation tool. it allows us to search up songs based on what kick we need. In essence, that is the purpose of music. To give us the kick that we need in different emotional situations. 

But it’s not always doom and gloom!

It doesn’t always have to be for broken people either! Saturday night flat parties with all of your friends and a few extended mutuals dancing on tables and laughing about nothing can be fun too. Using music to enjoy others company. I remember when my friends and I were in Intermediate School at our school ball listening to Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party in the USA’ blaring out from the speakers. Now I will admit it’s not a memory that I am hugely proud of… But it was still so much fun and it’s hard to take anything away from it. Just because it was so much fun!

I guess that point I’m trying to get across here is that we use music as a source of enlightenment. Something to connect us up to how we want to be feeling or a tool to learn something we didn’t already know. To celebrate a memory we had once or one of loved ones. To worship in church or to get crazy on the dance floor with. Music in many capacities is something that’s become people of all sorts.

This is today’s melancholic chat, I’m really loving the support that I’m receiving through this work. So again I have to say a massive thank you to everyone! As always…

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 031 The Swing of Things 

By Mana Williams  15-20 Minutes

Early morning slogs uphill after missing breakfast in the rain without a pen, without sufficient sleep, without any money for food, this year I’ve taken on two separate degrees, Architecture and Public Policy. It sounds crazy and ridiculous, that’s because it is! This week is the first week back at University. It’s been nearly five months since last year’s study finished. I can remember and reflect on how under prepared and underslept I was through that entire experience. In the sense that I wasn’t quite taking things seriously enough to fully embody the stress and the expected workload that going to University has. This chat looks at getting back to University and getting back into the swing of things.

So what happened last year?

I’ve quickly learned last year that university isn’t a place to be going if you’re not treating it as your priority. I would choose to work on a few different occasions which later stressed my ability to work functionally or reach my full capacity in the work that I was doing. I made a promise to myself last year that I would go through the entire year in Architecture and never have to use the weekend to finish any assignment. I can announce, that not one weekend went by, where I stuck to my promise… Every weekend during the semester was used to catch up on something the week before. Not rare was a late night completing an assignment due in the morning. Not uncommon was a missed 8:00 am lecture at the top of the hill. Whenever a significant hand in was coming up, all of the architecture student’s would convert into banter less stress monkey’s carrying a pile of sketches and a Macbook Pro in a bag down the busy streets of Wellington. Occasions where we had to calculate how much electricity an elevator used, how much water our shower and washing machine used, how much energy our food had. A ridiculous amount of money spent on an interior architecture exhibition project that ended up being thrown out or cut down into itsy pieces and divided out among the crew. Days spent putting together paper cubes, spent stressing out over computer aided design programs and figuring out how to build a wall. If there’s a lesson to be taught about first-year architecture, it would be to expect everything.

So what’s changed?

Spent a long time towards the end of last year by myself. Kind of like meditating at work, just doing the daily, getting through issues, dealing with my anxieties that put a dampener on my productivity earlier in the year. One of the actions I thought was clever was using Instagram to take daily snapshots to record how I was feeling each day, how the weather was looking and a rating out of ten. A really simple but effective way of quantifying productivity in the long term.

Building family relationships up was also a significant change over last year. I’m really reliant on the support of those around me, probably not dissimilar to many of you. So it seemed logical to go through and really build up any lost connections with my family and my friends. one pretty epic little adventure was getting my biological little sister, as I’m adopted,  to come and live with me at home. None of which was possible with the highest amount of love and support from my two amazing step parents. But to have these reconnections gradually strengthened my grasp on who I was and what I needed to accomplish in order to feel like I have direction, have a purpose for doing what I am doing. Also to give me a whack in the head if I slack off at any stage.

Getting back into Martial Arts also helped me recognize some deeper analytical thinking and teach young ones and old how to protect themselves from confrontation without having to throw a punch or block a kick. Hobbies are really important getaways from the viscosity of University and life stress. Martial Arts really helped me distract myself from thinking about University or work stress. A really powerful but simple tool that I feel if used correctly and routinely would be a huge asset to the way I deal with stress when my head goes below the water.

Religion didn’t use to be a priority for me until I realized how significant it can be to help you find answers and be in a safe and open environment. Heading back to church was a conscious decision I made to feel more structured and work towards discovering God more and know what all the hype is about. It’s an ongoing journey. I really enjoy church because it’s grounding, it’s confronting and it’s difficult to hide.

How can all this be applied into your daily?

Routine is a hugely valuable tool, once I get into a habit of posting stuff to Instagram without having to make an effort of doing so and recording how my day is going in a public forum, where I can receive support and feedback, will make a huge impact on knowing entirely how my year went. Knowing and understanding that I am not invincible will keep me focused in on recognizing how important having good supports can be. Having a solid base at home and in the flat will ensure that the ship stays afloat in many ways. Applying time for Church and Hobbies into my weekly schedule is like gains to a gym junkie. The most important lesson is to remain sure about me. Continue to make conscious efforts to make time to reflect no matter how busy I am, and in a big way.

Getting back into the swing of things at University for me is reflecting on all that happened earlier and reminding myself of ways in which I can combat each daily challenge, one Instagram photo at a time.

This was today’s chat for you. I’m trying to make sure I can keep each blog posted at around 10:30 pm/am at NZT  each day, but I get excited, post two in one day, then it really messes with my system. Anyway, tomorrow will be a surprise blog topic so look forward!

Thanks for checking in.

Blog 028 The Weekend

By Mana Williams 20 Minutes

I visited Auckland this weekend, headed to the Coromandel Peninsula for a quick getaway and a catch up with some friends. The whole occasion though was mostly spent offline. Which for most people of my generation is completely taboo, which I feel is stupid. So this chat is in discussion with some of the psychological ties created by our media devices at a social level and looks for some answers that people might be able to try.

Imagine you’re going on holiday. Spending time with people you’ve never met before on a beach in the top of the North Island of New Zealand. A nice holiday home with large open rooms and modern decor. Food and drink of all kinds available to you and you are comfortable with the people around.

But there’s one catch. There’s no Internet or cell phone coverage!

This happened last weekend. Within two hours there were a few lost lambs holding their devices up like the Liberty Statue in New York holding her torch into the sky trying to get reception. It’s almost like they expected to get data in the middle of nowhere. I remember one time when I was biking on the top of a hill in Christchurch, New Zealand, looking for a decent photo when it hit me that my entire life was basically a photo book. Wasting around looking for reasons to consume my time on social media like Snapchat or Facebook.

It’s sad that we acclimatize ourselves to become used to natural beauty or adapt our way of living to find pessimism in our own climate that it’s honestly disturbing! We have access to unlimited natural beauty yet we moan and complain about ICloud updates and Facebook posts about Donald Trump that too often we miss what is really important. New or existing connections with friends and the love of our family are the most significant things we will ever have.

So why do we care so much about communicating with the outside world?

I can’t speak for other people because someone might have something important going on, but I can suggest a few things that might shed some coverage on the phony addiction. Reading from a scientific point of view, when we receive text messages or a little red notification number on Facebook, our brain receives a shockwave that releases a chemical dopamine in our body. Yeah, dopamine, one of the many drugs Lance Armstrong used to win the Tour De France seven times. To put it bluntly, it’s a drug which induces addiction. The same kind of chemical reaction that is caused by drinking alcohol and smoking Marijuana.

But by all means, take that call in the middle of our conversation. By all means, sit outside a neighboring house with WiFi. I should rephrase by all means into by any means. Because by any means necessary we look for reasons to sit on our phones. Dinner tables, Funerals, Graduations, in the hospital, mid-conversation on our date, it’s shocking.

So what can we do to change?

Not much is accomplished without a lot of effort. As time ticks over we look at ways to make our lives easier by letting go of stress and self-anxiety. Like watching TV, cell phones offer us some lazy time. But you’re on holiday, spending time with new people who are actually interested in your business, so get off your phone, stop looking for reception, and live a bit better. We are all so consumed by social media, the aspect to socializing and a need for politics and information or communication erodes our time spent with others. It’s corrosive attributes bleed out when other people want our attention. When your little sister is wanting to talk with you or when a parent is trying to spend some quality time with you, when your lover is trying to gaze into your eyes. We are all catalyzed by our lust for social mediums that it’s noticeable when we are addicted.

Why the fuss?

Wouldn’t it be great if airports were not a warehouse full of anxious people and overpriced Powerade’s? I was sitting in an airport last night next to a power outlet charging my phone, and I was looking around the airport terminal thinking about all of the people with their cell phones out and how nobody was talking to each other. It was like we all had this predisposition that we were all traumatized by the idea of missing out or the idea of being late for something, even if that something wasn’t really that important. This made up fear like a whip forces us to converge into this way of living and keeps us in a state of anxiety. It shocked me that so many people were in one room and you could literally hear a coin hit the floor. Almost like sheep in a slaughter house waiting for the chop.

What would be a reasonable change?

Sitting in church last weekend was one of the first churches where all of the new students had arrived. Looking around I could see a lot of faces old and new. I was triggered to go and socialize. After chewing a guys ear off, I got an overlay on the significance of properly socializing. Going out of my way to make a new connection with a guy who I had a ridiculous amount in common with showed me how important it is to open your eyes and get out of your comfort zone. Or should I say cell phone zone? Anything to disconnect. Being able to get off the grid helps you find moments of randomness where you learn something new.

So what does it all look like?

If you were on holiday, your cell phone was disconnected, sat in an airport hangar sitting next to your family, what would you talk about? You would gain some rich connections that’s for sure. Precious moments where you might talk about the good old days with your mum or something stupid you did on your first day of high school. These little moments is what it really looks like. I’m not saying you’ll get cheaper Powerade’s at airports but you’d certainly feel less anxious if everyone was talking about something.

This is today’s blog for you guys, I hope it wasn’t too long as I had a long time to put this one down into words. Tonight I will be writing up my monthly talk to check in and see how I’m feeling and see how I’m doing. Would like to say again how thankful I am that you are still here, and as always…

Thanks for checking in.

Day 022. Sleeping in. 

By Mana Williams. 7-10 Minutes 

Today’s chat is about letting you let yourself have a decent sleep in. Who doesn’t love to sleep in? It’s liberating, especially if you have a job or someone is expecting you to be somewhere but you took that extra “ten minutes” (hour) to gain some more sleep hours and then you were late, all because you were busy reading blogs the night before, right?

It’s good for you. In a big way.

I think it’s super important to take time out for yourself. I’m not appealing to my inner procrastinator either, I genuinely feel that by taking the time to sleep in improves your daily attitude. By getting to bed at a reasonable time and starting off the new day a little bit off the beaten track is good for you.

So why do we routine so much?

The working 8 am till 5 pm workforce conditions people to align their schedules to an early wake-up and sleep pattern because they think that it will let them beat the traffic and give them enough time to have a cheeky cup of coffee in the morning. But you’re trying to beat societies flow, not your flow. If everyone slept in, would the roads be as blocked? We are all different and we all have different body patterns.

Five o’clock in the morning is my favourite hour. When everything is still and only a trickle of cars lick the feet of the motorway. Everyone’s resting, and there are no standards. Trudging down to Macdonalds in bum pants and jandals without giving a single McMuffin about what anyone thinks. The difference is, at five in the morning, nobody cares.

If we all sleep a little longer in our mornings, we will more likely grow up feeling more energetic, more enthusiastic, with a healthier outlook on matters of life, and we might probably be less grumpy in the morning.

How cool is that?

To improve our relationship with other people all we needed to do was sleep a little longer, wake when our body says wake, even if the compromise is being late to work, late for lectures, late for an appointment, just late for anything.

But let’s talk about being late. Late for who? You’re not late for yourself, go and apologise to the people who were affected by your apparent lateness but don’t take it out on yourself. It’s not helping at all by caving in on yourself whenever you are late to something, it just breeds more of a need for liberating. I’m not usually on time. That’s because I’m not stressing myself out trying to race through traffic just to go out for a coffee, just for a man to lecture me at the front of an auditorium, just for a customer to ask silly questions. I would much rather spend my time sleeping in.

That Sunday morning feeling, like Maroon Fives old song. “Driving slow on Sunday morning,” granted it’s a song about waking up in bed with someone on Sunday, but we all have those feels when we take time out for ourselves at least on Sunday, like father’s day! When we are well rested and wake up with a better attitude, incrementally more energy and have lower expectations for our day and thus lower standards.

What impact would that have?

Our relationships with other people would be less stressed, we would be more inclined to say yes to random opportunities, and we would be more productive.

That is this morning’s random thought for you.
Thanks for checking in.

Blog 008. You know what Grinds my Gears?

By Mana Williams.

Every morning at around 8:00 am I ride my bike to work. It’s not a far stretch between home and work but it’s a Tour De France sprint that’s for sure. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always loved riding bikes. From the cheap kid’s type to the bespoke fixie handed down from generation to generation. But something that has caught my attention over time is the necessity of cycling and the cheap marketing that businesses gain from it.

Like many sports, what drives professionalism is money. The way we look at sports today is significantly different to how we looked at sports ten years ago… While the technology is incredibly fascinating, it is also interesting to see how cycling has evolved as a sport into a science.

The lycra game is strong with this one, but it is tactical branding in the media and on the roads. With big brand names like Giant, Shimano and Specialized all getting their noses in the money with passive pedal strokes. You can be sure that marketing has grown in conjunction with the technology.

About four years ago I rode my bike between Christchurch to Akaroa in a sportive dubbed “Le Race.” A 6: am wake up ride to the starting line, got into the first hill, and all I clearly remember was bums flying all over the place. You heard it first folks, bums. But on most a gluteus Maximus’ were company names as aforementioned. Whose business is it to put sans serif font on someone’s backside?

Adopting the prejudice towards women cyclists, companies take it upon themselves to promote their brands in this way.

The psychological expectations set by these business modules is ridiculous! Born from this, of course, are standards in equipment. Like the world of motorsport, comes pedal sport? They deem “entry-level performance bikes” to be within the price range of $1000 – $2500 NZD… The term ‘entry’ as to insist that if you ever amount to anything you might one day have money for another engine-less marketing ploy with pedals…

A market exists where you could spend $20 000 for a standard issue pro team sports bike. Last year Italian-born company Pinarello sold their flagship road bike, The Dogma F8, for a meaty $18 999 NZD.  AND THAT WAS LAST YEARS BIKE! When you get to the crux of it, how is a twelve-year-old boy from a middle-income family supposed to catch up with the competition when they have a competitive advantage of $16000?

Each to their own of course! But when it comes to snobbery, cycling knows a thing or two on ways in which to grind people’s gears.

Just a thought… I hope you enjoyed the imagery…

Today’s blog was late as I attended a Funeral so am home tired.

Blog 007! The balance talk… 

By Mana Williams.
Today I want to talk about Balance. My experience with fighting for this idea of balance and trying to accomplish it in some form.

Take a seesaw for example. Some crazy optimists out there like to think that balance is a destination when it’s really a way of living.
What we lust is the desire to better ourselves in the hopes that one day we might come out three steps ahead of the next person. It is a form of competing against others when it shouldn’t be. This is a classic example of pushing others down to better yourself.

Jealousy is the end to a civilized humanity. The term civilized is to be civil or to work. Hard work is the access we earn to give us reason and pay us with purpose. Jealousy is the lack of purpose as a currency. It inhibits itself within a person who has lost their balance In some way. The greater the persona, the more significant their imbalance can be.

Take a friend for example, both In a night club on a Saturday. A person walks in with their friends and you notice they get isolated from their group. You quite fancy this person but your friend, at last minute, steps in front and offers them a drink. In that moment, this spike of Jealousy kicks in. This need to have the talking stick rips in and you don’t feel great about yourself. You decide to join in conversation rather than feel weak by showing that you’re hurt.

By fighting for balance, we exert a force. Like physics,  the conservation of energy rule states that “Energy cannot be destroyed, only transferred or transformed.” When we fight against Jealousy, we look to administer the blame on others. Like exhaust fumes from a car, when something isn’t going our way we feel the need to make ripples. These ripples can create ripples with others. By treating other people like shit, makes other people feel like shit. Jealousy is a by product of unfairness. It isn’t a natural emotion.

To put it simply. When we fight for balance we create imbalance elsewhere. We usually step on other people’s feelings when we have to compromise.

Social status is like a hierarchy without stripes or badges. We live in an age where social media is intertwined with our everyday lifestyle. A photo or tag can induce mixed emotions from a person you’ve never met who lives in India. Our acquaintance list has grown to the stage where we could probably only count our real friends on two hands. Yet so many people will fight to earn the honor of an invisible badge. Social status equally breeds people who feel they need to live up to the hype by buying the right clothes and using the right filters and hash tags. In effect we have an invisible hierarchy that informs us that we need to compare amd contrast ourselves to a common medium. If we blur the lines between normal and appear wobbly people say that we are weird or queer. People feel the urge to state their differences with other people by using themselves as being defined as “normal.”

“Being ordinary is a blessing.”

Looking at humbleness and self refuge, you can see that by living large or using energy on silly things like Jealousy and social status we lose out on what matters. When we set the table for dinner at a family reunion with all of our loved ones gathered, in today’s environment isn’t it sad that half of our family members are sitting on their phones, tablets or in some cases in their room playing Playstation? It matters that we can’t experience as many moments that are important when we fight battles that mean nothing long term.

It falls back to you how you respond to unfairness. The battle is not important, so much as the battle of love, compassion and experiencing life in a way that is meaningful without the benevolence of Jealousy and inequality being present. The fight for balance is insignificant when sitting at a dinner table with your family.

And that’s todays thought for you!

I was late to the party though so I’ll likely post a second entry this evening. Thank you for reading!

Blog 002! Green Ink

Why do people think the grass is greener on the other side? By Mana Williams. 10-15 Minutes. 

I remember having conversations with my fifteen-year-old sister, the age of closed bedroom doors and hoodies at the beach… She was wearing a navy blue shirt with the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower on the front and the title “P A R I S” in green ink. The typical hipster-town girl trend and an attitude to boot. The Doc Martens ripped jeans and Reggie-wear community versus the no sleeved white shirt with short black shorts and converses with ankle string bracelets. The Nike labelled shoes, socks, duffel bags, shorts, running shirts and probably even underwear…

I asked my sister why she loved Paris so much and her answer was because she “just does…” I wasn’t able to figure out what subliminal propaganda would have been administered through her lifespan to gauge a lust for escargot. A teenagers portfolio of life goals likely includes; becoming a trillionaire in three weeks, owning a mansion, having a French husband and living across the road from the Cathedral of Notre Dame De Paris. A generation I have grown in where the line between materialism and imagination have been blurred to grow an unhealthy expectation. Apart from its romantic undertones, three-star Michelin restaurants, a gigantic metal monument (Eiffel Tower), the end of a 21-day bike race and the Champs Elysees (Tour De France)… What does Paris actually have that out of any place in the world, a fifteen-year-old girl living in a small town in New Zealand would have any interest in?

Five-year-olds in school are questioned about what they want to be when they grow up. You would anticipate that they would say “Doctor, Artist, Fireman, Police Officer.” As they grow up to 12 years old they might say “Gymnast, Professional Rugby Player, Professional Video Gamer, Lawyer, Architect, Engineer.” So they are encouraged to set themselves up for a successful career by choosing the right classes, completing homework on time and having perfect attendance in class. They enter College with a pre-determined expectation that if they are able to complete university and gain a degree they will be guaranteed a job in their desired field and will have that instant gratification they desired and apparenty deserved…

So why do we do homework over the weekend?

The answer isn’t linear. In my high school years, I was torn between studying Architecture and Engineering. I had been informed by a family friend that there wasn’t a lot of money in architecture and that Civil Engineering was a better field to get into.

“A Senior Architect is capable of earning around $100 000 whilst a Civil Engineer is capable of earning upwards of $220 000 per annum.” – Said by a Jealous Nobody. 

Based on one man’s comparisons I was provoked into believing Civil Engineering was the better option. I changed classes to suit pre-requisite requirements to gain entrance into University under a Bachelor of Engineering. One of the courses I had to choose was Chemistry… Needless to say, my relationship with Chemistry was not all rosy or a positive enforcement of learning development. Worst of all I chose to do Chemistry because of one man’s comparison. Choosing to give up my dream for a reality that maybe the grass is greener on the other side.

After re-aligning myself to Architecture and wiping the shit, that was Chemistry, off of my shoe, apologies to any Chemist’s reading, I began studying with my hopes and expectations set high. Why does University present classes without stating the difficulty of learning and that the practical applications of learnt materials in University are actually minimal and in some cases irrelevant?

Students set out after the March intake orientation learning who they are and wondering how their career might pan out. Classes are set where for every credit you earn at University you are expected to complete 10 hours of study. When students turn into professionals who run businesses or have other priorities like family or relationships. They are not tutored on ways in which they can develop during the weekend because they are up to all hours of the night stressing out about study time.

“Imagine if students were treated like Professionals and tutors had appointments with students and would have to teach students within their allotted timeslot without failure or grading.”

During my year I visited a number of start-up businesses and Architecture firms through family and friend connections with an embedded interest in finding out what it was like being a professional. One Architect claimed that a typical working week would consist of the maximum of 40 hours because they were on Salary. He claimed that there was no overtime pay due to restrictions created by his firm. As a result, the Architect refused to work during the weekends. So why should we be forced to study during the weekend and equally why should school children have to complete homework projects during the weekend? This is not a plea to get out of work during the weekends. It is aimed at independent growth and time for self and psychological development.

What is the point in studying something you are passionate about if you lose your personal time to figure out what you are actually passionate about?

We drive safest when we are not fumbling with our phones or eating food. We focus better when we are not distracted. Obviously… If a student studies 40 hours in a week there should be nothing they cannot accomplish. Months into my degree there was not a single student studying architecture who was not buried in sketch books or CAD programs on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings. That’s sad.

We are so consumed by the realities of the cost of our personal ambitions that we fail to see how we are losing out on significant moments and opportunities. But it isn’t our fault because we are blinded by social pressures from the age of five to perform and reach these expected levels. We are bred to feel that the grass is greener on the other side like a dog is bred to think food has magical powers. The consistent propaganda whether it’s through social media about how incroyable Paris is or through jealous word of mouth that Engineering is better than Architecture. We are all made to read green ink.

Develop a routine that prioritises YOU not what is expected of you. The expectation lies with somebody ELSE.

“Develop a can-do-spirit and be sure you are not suppressed by the naysayers whose daily actions are meant to discourage you from achieving what you believe.”
Israelmore Ayivor