Tag Archives: how to

Lists, How-To’s, Surveys — Whaddya know?

A few years ago I came across an article How to write compelling headlines. Five simple suggestions.

The article itself was – naturally – a compelling example. How-To’s and Five Steps To’s are most appealing to readers. After wasting a lot of time rummaging through such posts on blogs, social media and news, I’ve taken a little time to think.

Lists come across like cooking recipes, giving the impression that if you only follow through, you’ll achieve something close to the desired result, usually depicted in glossy, mouth-watering images. That’s what a good recipe has got to do for you. And since the process is familiar – even if only moderately successful – we quickly rely on the mental effort that others have expended on our behalf. The really nasty implication here is: if you don’t achieve the desired result, something must be wrong with you.

How to get something done is an even more subtle approach, implying success with the implicit idea that certain procedures can be automated. Yet, how-to’s are faulty and incomplete expressions. The full content would read: How you can get something done. Come to think of it – – rather presumptuous. To think that someone else would tell me what I can do…

No, that isn’t the true content of that faulty statement. It really should read: How I got things done. But such a phrase would invariably make the reader come to a logical conclusion: This is true for you, in your situation, under the circumstances you were in at the time. But I’m a different person in a different setting. A conclusion the writer would want to avoid by all cost, because it won’t get him large readership. People recommend and share what seems to be relevant for them.

Now people don’t write lists and how-to’s without some expertise. Lately, with the vast potential the Internet offers, more and more surveys and polls are taken. Naturally those must be valid for a majority, that’s how they are laid out to be. Exactly… have you ever taken part in a survey and the questions seem to give you rather narrow options of expressing our opinion? In a survey, queries streamline people’s opinions as to facilitate the evaluation of the whole darn thing. Data is the raw material for statistics, but the real work of art is the sense-making of it all, in the process of which reality inevitably gets warped.

Let’s say, lists, how-to’s and surveys are the best we can do in the way of making statements that are possibly valid for many folks. But let’s not cover up the fact that we’re talking about approximations that are far from fool-proof.


Ten upsides to being a single mom

In the old days there were plenty of women who opted out of marriage for reasons as varied as: nursing sick loved-ones, devotion to their parents or siblings, intellectual incompatiblility, pride, professionalism, excellence in different fields. For them, a relationship was a choice among many. If they didn’t choose marriage, they forewent motherhood. We have more options nowadays.

Bearing a child is a woman’s fulfillment. A woman’s body clock ticks away and those who don’t heed it, can’t ever shake the feeling of having missed something. Just look at the efforts people make to have offspring. You’ve made it.

Raising a child takes commitment. If the father didn’t commit himself, you’re better off doing the job single-handedly, cutting out a good many discrepancies and disagreements on moral standards, money, education. It’s a battle and you’re better off not having to fight on two fronts.

You’re in a position to maintain your integrity. And you’ll have all the reason in the world to strive for it: those little eyes that believe in you. You are forced to expand your own personality, when before you might have just adapted to a man.

You’re better off than a married mother who doesn’t have the support of her husband. There is a lot of pressure to conform and cover up. Friends and relatives don’t want to meddle. Loneliness in marriage is the worst kind, because it goes undetected.

You don’t have to choose between pleasing your man and caring for your child. As soon as you have that baby, your natural instincts are upped and if a man can’t cope, it’s hell. It’s the most difficult choice to make and many women go sick or bonkers trying to do both.

As tough as it sounds, when women are in a relationship, they don’t really take care of their souls. They expect happiness to come from their man. It’s a byproduct of the “we”-feeling. Which is fine if you have a good guy. But if you don’t…

You don’t have to keep house to please a guy. Honestly, c’mon, how many chores do we do, thinking: let’s get this done before my guy gets home. You’d do anything to avoid him being grumpy or upset. All your housekeeping goes towards your well-being.

You don’t have to dress or doll yourself up to please a guy. So much time and effort saved that can go to your kid. Keeping neat and trim is something you’re doing for yourself to improve your self esteem.

You’re part of a force that will shape the future of the next male generation. It’s obvious that past standards in gender roles don’t meet the challenges of today. When given the same chances, women excel. Men will have to rethink their position and you are part of this process. Don’t let anything get you down.

It takes two to tango, in a good and a bad sense. It’s wonderful to share your life with a man. But it’s not the only option to live a life, especially if you can’t live it decently. If you haven’t managed after giving it a few shots, perhaps it’s time to refocus for a while.

Disappointment is always a matter of what you appointed to be true in the first place. We’re brainwashed into romance, girls. Always ask yourself: who stands to profit? Cui bono?

image source

Juggling three balls

No philosophy here, I’ve been practising to juggle three balls. And for the amount of time I have invested, the results are measly. I manage to keep three balls in the air for about five to ten seconds, after two months of trying. Standing in front of a bed (to keep me from moving forward) I haven’t been able to throw the balls in a consistent manner. My son (19) has a natural knack of doing almost anything he puts his mind to, and he easily came to the same level within a week and is now outdoing me.

And… he gives out good advice (without ever having taken any), and… he’s right.

“Mom, you can’t juggle well, if you catch the balls with a grip. You have to throw them right back into the air, without ever holding on to them…”

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