Childlike Wonder

I have been thinking a lot lately about childlike wonder.  Not so much its occurrence in the young but more so its absence in the old…er.

To me, childlike wonder encompasses so many wonderful things.  It is first and foremost an insatiable curiosity and interest.  It is expressed in questions and found down rabbit-holes.  It does not care for your preconceptions nor expectations.  Childlike wonder quite often sets its own rules yet surprisingly, never blurs its boundaries into hurt or pain.  For childlike wonder is born out of love and purity.  It is honest and creative,  allowing itself to be expressed in both rainbows and rainclouds.  It does not pretend to be pretty yet it is not afraid to be pretty either.

My childhood wonder had unbelievable artistic merit.  It scribbled and painted, and got messy often.  It wore things in the wrong order in the wrong sizes in the wrong patterns; it was a trend forecaster.  It asked a lot of questions, read a lot of books and at times; made lots of silly jokes.  My childhood wonder was a performer but it did not always perform.  It would sing and dance and pull faces.  It would burp out loud and laugh hysterically for minutes after.  My childhood wonder was hilarious.  And confident.  And stupidly happy.

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So where the fuck did it go?

Did I lose it in the sleepy coma that was my middle teens?  Did I lend it to a friend drunkenly at some party and forget to get it back?  Did it slowly seep away from me over the course of 20 years when I stopped making time for it and acknowledging its presence?  I mean, that’s where yours went right?  It got left in our former chapters prior to corporate jobs and mortgages and parenthood planning?

The process has been so long and unconscious that mostly I think, we do not realise it.  I mean, every three months we fill in half a page in a colouring in book – so we must still have it, right?  Or last year, when we spent six months on that project at work coming up with the next “big thing” – I mean, that was pretty spontaneous?  No matter that we were beaten to market twice, we were just unlucky.  Or how about the other day when we spent a whole 20 minutes making things out of dough with the kids….a whole 20 minutes!!

We often try to reach into this mythical bag of ‘wonder’ as adults for more often than not, we find the bag is empty.  Or it is hard to find in our busy schedule.  Or perhaps we have just put it down for a while but we have every intention of picking it up tomorrow, or the next day, or just once this busy period at work is over.

But in doing so, in not finding or utilising our Wonder – we miss out.

We miss out on the messiness and the joy and the fulfillment that our Wonder brings us.  We miss out of the effects of our Wonder’s flow, how it seems to make time stop altogether.  Wonder is immersive and welcoming.  Wonder doesn’t worry about deadlines or schedules.  It doesn’t care if you’ve done your make up or had a shave that day.  Wonder is accepting and all-consuming, and Wonder really hopes you wear your gumboots or neon tutu or whatever the heck else you want to wear that day.  Because Wonder doesn’t care for material things.  Wonder just wants you to be happy in whatever sparkly outfit allows you and your Wonder to function best in.

I haven’t made any hard or fast goals for 2017 (yet) but I have made a conscious commitment to bring more childlike wonder back into my life.  I want to be more creative, more ‘artsy’, I want to write more, I want to get messy, pick up a paintbrush and maybe wear some sparkly bits on my face one day.  I want to get lost in fun activities and I don’t want to feel guilty about spending time with my Wonder.  I don’t want to be thinking about emails or deadlines or to do lists or chores or tomorrow.  I want to get absorbed in the moments spent with my Wonder where time has no meaning and we ebb and flow through works that we love, or kinda love, or don’t love at all; a time where we don’t give up on each other.

Of course I am fearful.  My material brain fears time spent on things that don’t make money.  Not for indulgence but as a basic survival instinct.  But I must train my brain to see the intangible value offered in watercolour, or the connection that 1000 words may bring, or the personal fulfilment and satisfaction found in a completed creative project.  And who knows; maybe the two are not diametrically opposed.  Maybe in fully giving in to my childlike wonder and creativity, something entrepreneurial may be born.  Lord knows of the many that have gone before and the many that are still to join the industries of freedom and spirit and letting their Wonder’s loose.

I hope I have the courage to not second guess my Wonder.  For whilst my Wonder is a brave soul, I am not so.   Together, we will sail the high waters of expectation and judgement, and crash heavily through waves of instability and self doubt; finally surpassing the storms of social expectation and magnification.  Together, we will transition into the calmer waters of childlike wonder – where we will charter all obstacles together; arm in spaghetti-bracelet arm.  For we both know that when we arrive on the other side, there will be boundless amounts of purpose leaving us with nothing but feelings of overwhelming joy and fulfilment.

Love Ziggy + her Wonder  x

The Changing Face of Success

An outline of this post has been sitting in my drafts for months now.  I’ve gone to complete it at many intervals but something has held me back.  I can’t blame time or busyness because the truth is, it has been pain that has stopped me.  A burning pain that lies deep inside in those who are not living a life akin to their ‘ikigai’.  It is funny because my passion and understanding of emotional intelligence allows me to acknowledge what is going on at each and every layer but it does not make it any less circumstantial or easier to correct at the time.

I currently wrestle with many conflicting desires.  There is a desire to hold on to everything that I have built up to be my current lifestyle, which is a comfortable one, for the first time in a very long time.  It is not indulgent nor excessive but it is financially stable and that makes it a lot more enjoyable.  On paper, it would seem to an outsider that I have some definition of success.  Two houses; one of the east coast and one on the west, a car that gets me from A to B, a paying job in a global giant, enrolment at a good university, and a trip of a lifetime to a far away place – a not so distant memory.


Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii – May 2016

As time goes on, I’m becoming more and more aware of my changing definition of success.  I’m not sure the precise time of these shifts but I assume they happened in subtle increments whilst I was busy living my ‘successful’ life.  Success is such a funny word.  To each of us it has a unique meaning which varies greatly and holds a different priority in each of our stories.  It is remiss of me not to acknowledge those for whom the word, as we know it, means absolutely nothing.  To those faced with adversity and real threats of survival; success means triumphing through another day without major harm.  Surely if we were to look up the the word, they would ironically take the definitive prize?

But it is not those who we reward a podium finish, at least not in the world I grew up in.  The literal gold medal is being fought over by those for whom material success is paramount.  It is an attainable pinnacle that dominates excessive norms,  luxe as a given and occasionally questionable behaviour can often be, well, paid to look otherwise.  I would think that the silver medal goes to the ‘resume’ crowd.  A majority of reasonable citizens  who rightfully enter a lifelong ‘pissing contest’ of graduate schools, multi-national firms and fancy titles.   Which just leaves the bronze medallion for those who are bettering the world through thankless actions, improving the lives of themselves and those around them.  Insert radiant sound clip.  I have never been one to covet designer bags, red-soled shoes or expensive wine.  I have never owned a new car nor played tennis on a court that had not been paid for.  To me, a lot of hefty price tags rarely do match the value exchange.


Yes, this is me collecting shells. A simple pleasure.

Though, I am not without charge.

As a child my desire for fame and popularity was often the driving force behind my ambitions and desires.  I cursed anyone who was gifted with unearned popularity and despite my lean upbringing, I stretched and strategised with the little I had so that most were none the wiser.  As I grew older, the thought of flashy cars and big houses suddenly began to draw appeal.  How successful were these owners of such?  Why was I so far removed from all of this and what exactly did I need to do to get a slice of the sweet cherry pie?

Fantasies began about scouts finding me on the street, they would know how talented I was and fame and fortune would follow closely behind, right?  Or there was the one where the rich royal swoops me off my feet and into his four storey beachfront, delicately placing the string of locally sourced pearls around my neck as we stare off into the ocean. Do they call that one Escapism or Disneyism nowadays?  There were thoughts of lotto, becoming a poker champion, finding a hidden suitcase full of cash buried in the garden and even the wildest one of my parents confessing we actually were rich, they just wanted to make sure I didn’t grow up a spoilt brat – good one guys!  But like all good fantasies, that’s exactly where they stayed.  Locked up in the tower of never-ending thoughts next to the angsty teenage rebellion and behind the lyrics of Coolio’s ‘Gangsters Paradise’.  Great song that, pity I wasn’t graded on it.

So I did what any kid from that comes from nothing and wants it all does – I got a fucking job.

I loved getting my first job.  Working was a pleasure, I took pride in it.  I worked hard, tried not to let the boss down and relished any opportunities for further training and experience.  I was 14 years old when I got my first job and I stayed with that company for 4 years, working part-time after school and on weekends at first and then took on some extra shifts once I graduated from high school.  When University didn’t work out (another story for another day), I took pleasure in the fact that I could now increase my work hours and continue to pay rent.  Working meant I could stay somewhere nice, drive my car places and put food on the table.  In essence, it met a very functional need in surviving my late teenage years.  It also funded a lot of fun nights out and blurred memories, semi-stored.

I got bounced through a shitty system for the next couple of years trying my best not to let the worst stuff stick.  My work ethic was high so I was rewarded with roles that were often more senior than my years but the downside was that I was young and naive.  I let my passion and emotions get the better of the situation at times.  Worst of all I came across and reported to some of the biggest assholes I have ever met in my life.  Real schmucks I tell ya.

Luckily it didn’t deter me.  After 10 years in the workplace, I took on a job that actually paid well and I made the life choice to build my first house.  Now I call it a life choice because that is exactly what it is at any age, let alone when you are 24.  What it took away from me was freedom, lack of responsibility, and the prospect of living or travelling overseas long term.  These are big things when you are in your early twenties.  But what it took away, it made up for in things I needed at the time – stability, homeliness, security, and a small step towards a big dream.  It was never even a question of if I should do this or not.  It was more so; when, how long, do you take cash?  Amusing because realistically, I still didn’t have much.

Anyway, so it went that I brought and built my first house.  Disclosure:  Have you seen Australian house prices?  I obvs wasn’t alone in this purchase.  I wasn’t earning THAT much money.  Credit where credit’s due – this dive into the property market came because I was able to go 50/50 with my partner at the time….hi Aaron!  I’m not so sure his motives were the same as mine but he signed the papers nonetheless and our journey off the cliff was done so hand in hand.  It was a proud moment for both of us.  We were ‘home owners’.  At the ripe young age of 24 – holy shit.  It was a great first house – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, split living spaces, remote control garage door (I really loved that thing, we didn’t have one growing up), and all in a nice neighbourhood a little out of the city.  It was a pleasant change and lifestyle at the time, and best of all – it was a reason for us to smile and acknowledge the hard work we had put into to making this happen.  Where am I going with this?  I am rambling, yes, but I must confess; tomorrow is a big day.

I am selling my house.


My first house. Built 2009.

My first house, my baby, my blood-sweat-and-tears.  My safe spot.  My far away place that, for a time in my life, made me feel successful for a fleeting moment.  Now, it is time to let go.  Time to let go of the physical property, of the hypothetical meaning that other people have placed on multi-home ownership.  It no longer has ties to my ego, to my importance of being.  In fact, it now has the opposite effect.  This double-mortgage lifestyle is keeping me tied to things that no longer align with my life’s purpose.  My definition of success has changed and now I must take the steps to align my assets and liabilities to change with it.  It is uncomfortable, occasionally sad, and mostly necessary.  I am ready to let go and I hope that years of sacrifice will pay back even part of the cost that has been taken.

So here is to the next chapter.  To less material wealth.  To more fulfilment and less ties to unnecessary commitments.  To happiness and freedom and travel.  To letting go of the need to be tied to titles and group think.  Here’s to breaking through one layer in a pile of many.

ZB x

Human Flourishing

Written September 1, 2016

Today I had the best case of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon that I can remember*.  The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is the cognitive bias also known as the ‘Frequency Illusion’.  It occurs when a person, after having learned some (usually obscure) fact, word, or phrase for the first time, encounters that item again, perhaps several times, shortly after having learned it.  Arnold Zwicky, a Stanford linguist, writes that, “people who are reflective about language – professional linguists, people who set themselves up as authorities on language, and ordinary people who are simply interested in language – are especially prone to the Frequency Illusion.”  I think we all know where I sit on the spectrum…but alas, I defer.

I sit at breakfast this morning in a faraway hotel on the other side of the country.  I am surrounded by ageing businessmen and a few early survivors from a sports awards dinner that took place in the complex the night before.  To my left is a young woman whose vocal phone conversation gives away more than I need to know about her daily objectives.  A voice in my head recognises an opportunity to get ‘presidential’ and offer an introduction.  I can feel her pull for face to face conversation as she sits next to me in a big and relatively empty room but my emotional incapability gets in the way and I keep my head down as I busily underline and scribble on the 70-page report in front of me.

My choice of literature this morning is not ‘news’ nor is it ‘work’.  It doesn’t even tick one of the twelve ‘homework’ projects I should be completing.  Instead I bury my mind in genuine interest and uneducated passion.  The fields of positive psychology, policy making and world socioeconomics are taking up my thoughts again, this time in the World Happiness Report 2016.  Leading experts across the fields of economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, and public policy – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. The report reviews the state of happiness in the world and reflects a recent global demand for happiness to be used as a criteria for government policy.  I will divulge my thoughts on the report at a later date but for now I must come back to the Baader-Meinhof thing.


I’m busy salivating over my apple and cinnamon pancakes as I devour the content on page 10 of the report.   A word I have never seen before sticks out amongst the mundane – ‘eudaemonic’.  I am completely unfamiliar with this term but its context piques my interest as I learn that its roots are in philosophy and its origins tied to the one and only, Aristotle.  Here is the passage paraphrased, “…eudaimonic; having such a purpose that would be central to any reflective individual’s assessment of the quality of his or her own life.”  What a fascinating thought.  I circle the word, write LU (look up) next to it and move on to the pleasures of page 11.  My ‘day job’ consumes the rest of the day and soon enough, it is time for me to collect my stray thoughts and head to the airport for my flight home.

The three and half hour flight passes by with ease, soothed by the flavours of wild black fruit in my travel-sized shiraz.  We land and the plane rolls around the airport grounds searching for its destination gate.  It is enough time to turn on our electronic devices and see what earthly delights await our returning self’s.  My emails continue to become a burden as the influx of reading material becomes almost unmanageable, or at least unenticing to become manageable.  Delete-delete-save-read-delete.  Remind me to hire an assistant when I ‘make it’, won’t you please?  Delete-read-save-save-delete-read.  I silently choke on the next email as I consider my whereabouts and the distaste for alarmed states.  The large green image above beams back at me from the screen and it is hard to pretend that I didn’t notice the ten letters calling out, “eudaimonia” from within.  This is a sure relative of ‘eudaimonic’ if I ever did see.


The scholarly culprit is an institute after my own heart; The School of Life.  The email announces the release of ‘Untranslatable Words’.  This card set is a gathering of 20 of the best words from around the world that our own language has not quite yet pinned down.  I envision the deck making its way in to my own household very soon and get back to the feast in front.  Here is the passage as it reads, ‘Eudaemonia: Ancient Greek.  Often translated as ‘happiness’, it really means the deepest kind of fulfilment, often comprising a flourishing work and love life. It’s accepted that eudaimonia can go hand in hand with lots of day-to-day frustration and pain. You can possess eudaimonia even if you are, periodically, really rather grumpy’.  Such a beautiful definition.  The word, the concept, the frequency; it is all beginning to dawn on me.  But I have bags to collect.  Class dismissed.

My luggage is unusually slow to arrive but it does so eventually and I make my way to the taxi line.  The car pulls up and I’m immediately remorseful for the weight of my bag when I see the drivers age.  The inside of the car is as musty as its owner and I struggle to hold my breath as I keep the window politely wound up in the cold weather.  I make sure we are both of understanding regarding the end point and I slip back into the systematic elimination of my emails.  Delete-delete-save-read-delete-read.  The Ethics Centre, another institution I have a great fondness for (are you noticing a theme here), survives a read in the brutal cull.  The content sparks my interest as it is the weekend of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and as per my previous post, you’ll know that if I could trade my undergraduate learning for something that looked like this, I’d do it tomorrow.  I scroll down the email scanning for anything further that keeps this communication from departing my inbox and BOOM, there’s that little fucker again.

‘Ethics Explainer – Eadaimonia or Living Your Best Life’.  Three times in one day?!  Illusion or not, it was getting a bit strange.  Here is an excerpt, ‘The closest English word for the Ancient Greek term eudaimonia (yu-day-moh-nee-ah) is probably “flourishing”. The philosopher Aristotle used it as a broad concept to describe the highest good humans could strive toward – or a life well lived’.  


For many years scholars translated eudaimonia as ‘happiness’ but there are clear differences. For Aristotle, eudaimonia was achieved through living virtuously – which you might describe as being good. But this is not guaranteed to make us ‘happy’ in the modern sense of the word. In fact, it might sometimes mean doing something that makes us unhappy, like telling an upsetting truth to a friend.

The eudaimon life is one where a person develops the excellences of being human. For Aristotle, this meant developing virtues like courage, practical reason, good humour, moderation, kindness and more’

So there you have it.  The universe/Aristotle has spoken.  Eudaemonia is demanding some of my attention and perhaps now yours too.  But where do I fit this in?  Do I have to take up a 6 year degree in psychology, philosophy, or politics?  I have not time nor desire for the outdated formal education system though it would be remiss of me not to devote more time to further deciphering this interesting way of life.  Make that thirteen projects…

ZB x

*Pun not intended.

You Can’t Say You Know Me Until…

I start this piece two days after the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp has come to an end. I’m not sure if this is the right time to download my thoughts as they continue to evolve and change daily but it is an important step towards closure as I round out my post-bootcamp ‘come down’.

It’s 1.00am; a clear indication that my circadian rhythm is still erratic post a week of 7.00am starts and 3.00am finishes. Sleep regularity was quickly replaced as a state of deprivation became the new norm. Psychologist’s and sleep experts describe the effects of sleep deprivation as comparable to the effects of alcohol; impaired judgement, reduced functionality, and a misconception that one’s alertness level has stabilised even though performance continues to worsen.

The lack of sleep did not bother me greatly. I am a night owl who can continues to function if I am passionate enough about the work I am doing. I found great difficulty staying alert during the morning lectures though which was of some disappointment. These invaluable windows of knowledge were gifted by industry experts and leaders who inspired and fascinated a room full of closed lids and zombified expressions. We did our best to look alive but the lack of available matchsticks to keep our eyes propped open meant we were not always successful.


How did I get to this place?  Who can be sure. Hundreds applied, fewer were interviewed and a small selection from around the globe were accepted. I was one of them. Faced with a burning desire to change the world and grow people’s social and emotional intelligence, I was particularly interested in the potential for disruption in education. I embarked on this journey into Disciplined Entrepreneurship to learn to scale ideas into realities and commercialise what can often feel like an uncommercial sector.  What I got was a stern lesson in anti-fragility, teamwork, self awareness and global networking. From a business sense, it was the greatest gift of all. On a personal level, I got a reawakening that both destroyed and re-enforced my original reasons for attending.

Throughout the sleepless week, we formed, stormed and performed in newly arranged teams. This was an exhaustive process as we wrestled with finding the right abilities, passions and personalities to spend an intimate week with. The obvious challenges of age, gender, language and cultural barriers were worked through at surprising pace. The harder lessons lay within individual vs collectivist thinking, varying levels of commitment to a common goal and a pressure cooker of negative, positive, and occasionally BS advice from people that were in mentor roles.

I likened a handful of them to ‘Dementors’ accurately described in the Harry Potter books as those who “..drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them”. They would push us, contort our views and debase our ideas. It was their role to ensure that we left with a robust proposition and an anti-fragile persona. They left me with a bad taste and a resistant attitude as I tried so sort the constructive messages from the bollocks.  Luckily, there were more than a handful of advisors that also offered practical advice, clear direction and even, shock horror, compassion. Between the lack of sleep and mental rollercoaster, I learnt that there are many parts of me that make up a fragile person.

At first I hid it. I had taken on the role of CEO in my team and I was there utilise my transformational leadership style. Under the circumstances this was both difficult and rewarding on a daily basis. My team of five comprised of an exceptional group of overachievers whom excelled in a multitude of different industries. An American, an Australian, a Dane, a Mexican and a Peruvian walk into a bar…it had the makings of a great joke and we certainly had many laughs throughout the week (*ho, ho, ho*). We were an eclectic mix from around the world and together we took our ideas and frustrations and formed a team, ironically named Tribe.


My fragility finally gave way on the second last day.  The amount of conflicting advice we were taking on board could no longer be taken seriously. Is this what I had paid for? To be dismantled daily?  Enough. This moment of no return could have gone two ways but thanks to some real, genuine advice from a previous bootcamper, I changed my personal strategy and the direction of the team.

With less than 20 hours to go, we threw out all of the great but slow work we had done thus far. With a fresh new perspective and a reinvigorated leader, we created a completely new business that ticked all the boxes for us to finish the week with a complete product and all the trimmings. We pitched our new incomplete draft to a room of five mentors and teachers the day before our final Demo Day and…they loved it.  We were finally on to something.  Was it a product any of us would ever bring to market?  I don’t think so. But it did teach us all an invaluable lesson on how much we can achieve when we focus and work together. It also taught me to listen to my gut instinct and question people’s intentions much earlier. Not all that glitters is gold (no matter how impressive the resume).

The day after the bootcamp wrapped up, an unofficial, non-compulsory event was added to the schedule. It was a “Fail Night”, an event where guests were invited to come and discuss a time in their entrepreneurial journey where they failed or experienced failure and could share what they learnt. I was tired, exhausted and not sure if I wanted another evening inside the MIT campus but these opportunities don’t come along every day, so I pulled myself together and got out of the cab with everyone else.

I sat and listened to an array of bootcampers, teachers, and mentors tell their stories of failure and fuck ups. For the first time this week, they revealed a different side to themselves. It was a side of rawness and vulnerability.  Drawings on the chalkboard grew as each speaker added a new perspective from their own experience. I noticed something interesting forming on the board and my heart began to pound.  Finally another speaker got up from the audience and added the missing piece in this complex venn diagram. Once drawn, the final circle revealed the ‘Ikigai’ model or as previously discussed on this site, your ‘reason for being; the thing that gets you up in the morning’.


The passion that had burned inside of me prior to coming to bootcamp had lit up once again. I felt moved that not only was someone else aware of this way of life but that it had manifested right in front of my eyes.  Without knowing about it directly; the whole room had contributed to it. The collective consciousness caught my breath and I knew right away that I must get up and say something.

For the first time this week, my heart began to race and my anxiety levels were through the roof. It was an unfamiliar feeling as I had felt relatively comfortable in my role as ‘hustler’ navigating through moments of extreme extroversion, public pitches, and large audiences.  I took the watching faces through my bootcamp experience; how strange it was to be ok with being a University drop out in the initial interview, the high of getting accepted into the course, the creation of this very site where I found solace in the ‘Ikigai’ model myself, the reality of coming to bootcamp and having a really amazing and occasionally shit time, the intimate moments of meeting some truly mind blowing people, and now; a moment of wonderful clarity, purpose and understanding.

I had come to MIT to learn how to reconnect people with themselves and each other.  Throughout the week perhaps I was searching and straining in all the wrong places. The greatest connection was around me the entire time. The people, the network, the global diversity; it was endless, nurturing, inspiring.  I walk away from this week, not with a go-to-market product.  I have been gifted something much more valuable. I walk away with lifelong friendships, priceless business connections, a selective group of wise mentors and most of all, a burning desire to continue to work on my true passion regardless of its ability to be commoditised.


I will dedicate my life to bringing us closer, making us all more vulnerable, understanding the value of emotional and social intelligence and connecting with each other on and offline as much as possible.  I met people that I will do future business with, that I will have long lasting relationships with, that I will change the world with, that will inspire me daily, that will support me unconditionally, that will open my heart and expand my mind, and that will forever and ever be connected to me via this crazy, wild and emotional bootcamp experience.

You can’t say you know me…until you know that I survived MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and came out the other side more happier and connected than ever.

B x

The Art of Being Wrong

Being wrong is an art-form that most of us are yet to master.

I don’t think I am exceptionally great at it though admission is the first step, right?  It’s not that I necessarily hate being wrong.  It’s just that I truly believe I’m right a lot of the time.  Even when there is a high chance, I’m not.  Let’s me introduce you to our ol’ friend, Motivated Reasoning.

Motivated reasoning is an emotion-biased decision making phenomenon where people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence stating the contrary.  In other words, rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe.

Julia Galef gives a great TED talk on this topic.  She explains how motivated reasoning finds it’s way into most of our lives through the decisions we make about our health, our relationships, what we think is fair and ethical, the sports teams we follow and the political parties we support.  The most troublesome part of this biased way of thinking is that we do it unconsciously, even when we think we are being objective.

This reminds me of the documentary, ‘Making A Murder’, which took the world by storm last year.  I wonder how much motivated reasoning played into the trials of the suspects in question.  What about the huge religious, political and race issues we are seeing around the world?  Is this believing your own bullshit on a mass scale?  It’s definitely got to be a factor.

Still, there is hope for change.  Julia describes an alternate way of decision making known as “Scout Mindset” as the key to this evolution.  This way of thinking is not about winning or losing but about getting the most accurate picture of what’s really happening, even when it’s unpleasant or inconvenient.  Watch her talk for the full picture.

So, do you have a Soldier or a Scout Mindset?  As Julia described, Soldiers tend to prefer defensiveness and tribalism, and can be devaluing of people who change their opinions.  Scouts are curious and open, they are intrigued with things that test their own beliefs and I think most importantly, are grounded; their self worth is not tied to being right or wrong.

I think it’s nice to imagine that we are all Scouts just going about our lives but realistically, if we crucially examine our interactions and belief systems, we may find ourselves more aligned to the Soldier mindset than we realise.  To shift this way of thinking, we must practice being proud to be wrong and continue to open our minds to information that may contradict our current belief and value systems.
Begley, Sharon. “Lies of Mass Destruction,” Newsweek (US). August 25, 2009.
Redlawsk, D. P.; Civettini, A. J. W.; Emmerson, K. M. (2010). “The Affective Tipping Point: Do Motivated Reasoners Ever “Get It”?”. Political Psychology 31 (4): 563. 

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

In 2015 I came across an email that was sprucing tickets to an intriguing event called the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.  Being the eternal rebel that I am, it was obvious that I was drawn to the mere concept of this yet unknown event.  With a bit of online research, I uncovered what was soon to be a monumental moment in my thus far, frustratingly constructed life.  The bill for this festival was a melting pot of overarching, ethically debated, boundary pushing global topics that brought me instant spouts of joy as I plugged in my preferences for a festival multi-pack (very well priced, if you were wondering).

I chose sessions that were either close to my jaded heart or high up in my fiery pit of societal passions.  It landed here:

  1. Incarceration – a VICE panel on the broken and shameful business that is, our national prison system.
  2. Big Sugar – a look into the ‘new tobacco’; the industry, the lax government regulation and the frightening health and addictive effects of this tasty, tasty treat.
  3. Ceasefire on Drugs – Johann Hari champions the factual campaign of legalisation and re-engagement programs for illicit drugs in lieu of the 100 year failed drug war.
  4. The New Satirists – a real shits ‘n’ giggles session with some of Australia’s best satirists, easy laughs at serious issues to lighten the often heavy festival tone.
  5. Bad Education – a philosophical view of the perhaps not-fit-for-purpose, modern education system.  Basically all I heard was, “exams are unnecessary”.
  6. Dying Europe – a sneak peak into the global dilemmas and impacts of the European Union.  No, at this point, there wasn’t any forethought that the UK would be exiting!

I booked some cheap flights up to Sydney, stayed in a surprisingly lovely hostel on/at/in (?!) The Rocks and had one of the best educational moments OF.MY.LIFE.

What I listened to and pondered over the next few days, quite simply, blew my world apart. I was fascinated, interested, passionate, and obsessed in a way that I had never been before.  Why didn’t I learn about these things in school?  Why was I finally learning about things that seemed more important than the crap I had been force fed in the media?  My mind had been yearning for a different, more truthful learning experience and at 30 years of age, I had finally found it.  It was these sessions that would grow me as a human being, as a global citizen, and as a person that was not constructed from an outdated manual.  I remembered to think and critique objectively.

Look, anyway, what I’m getting at is that FODI is an amazing experience.  It is back on this year at the amazing Sydney Opera House, a location which really adds to the enormity of the ideas exploding within it.  If you are in the area or can get to Sydney during the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of September, then I implore you to choose some subjects close to you heart or otherwise, put your ego back on the bottom shelf and call yourself to action during and post these sessions.

Some interesting sessions this year include; A.C. Grayling’s ‘Closing the Modern Mind’, India’s Age of Extremism, Open the Borders, Apple vs The FBI, Legalise Drugs in Sport (with Stephen Dank yikes!), The Asian Arms Race, Not Worth Living, Gender Doesn’t Matter, The Bamboo Ceiling, US Politics: Even Worse Than It Looks, Stop Fishing the High Seas, Why Don’t We Want To Talk About The Arts, Break a Rule a Day, I Was A Human Guinea Pig, Why Black Lives Matter, Freaks Like Me…and many, many more!!!

Head to Festival of Dangerous Ideas for information and ticketing.

Your future self thanks you.



NAIDOC Week 2016

I am such an advocate for indigenous cultures all over the world.  Seeing as I live in Australia though, the Aboriginal people of this country have a special place in my heart.  NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As much as the integration of indigenous culture into Australian society needs to be much more prevalent and celebrated than it has been in the past, there is no time like the present.

I was listening to Triple J this morning (a national radio station) and they had a NAIDOC Week takeover by some local indigenous musicians.  The amount of awesome music played during the show was so rad!  Here are some of my absolute favourite songs/covers featuring awesome Aboriginal artists.

Yothu Yindi – Treaty
An absolute anthem.  This song will never get old.

Dan Sultan – The Same Man
Wipes drool from keyboard. Just, yes.

A.B. Original – 2 Black 2 Strong
How good is it when our first Australian’s are making a name for themselves in our own genre of music; Aussie Hip-Hop. Also Briggs if you’re reading this, I think we should start a local version of Action Bronson’s ‘Fuck That’s Delicious’. It would be epic.

Lonely Boys – Murray Island
One to get you dancing in your seat.  If this is only their first single we are in for a real treat. A great sound and musical talent.

Wilcannia Mob – Down River
A song of the youth. Unfortunately no video but a classic sound none the less.

Exe 5 – Sunset Feeling
Heard this one for the first time this morning. A short and sweet summer track.

Warumpi Band – Black Fella / White Fella
1987! A true rock song with a message that is more relevant than ever.

Saltwater Band – Compass
Try not to think of a tropical holiday while listening to this one. What an amazing native language. What a shame we are not doing more to preserve and share it.

My Island Home – Christine Anu
Australia’s unofficial National Anthem. Make sure you check out the original by the Warumpi Band too, an absolute classic.

Dan Sultan & Ella Hooper – With A Little Help From My Friends
One of the most amazing covers you will ever listen to. Press replay.

Briggs & Gurrumul – The Children Came Back
An awesome Like A Version. Gurrumul is a spiritual gift from the music gods.

The Last Kinection – Rhythm is a Dancer
What a BANGER. Turn it up. Get up!

The Concept of Ikigai

The ‘ikigai’ concept has a lot to love.  It combines individual hopes with world needs and glaring realities.  Let’s explore it, at a very top level, in no particular order.



What an important start. It’s hard to imagine a happy life without imagining a scenario where you are doing something or being somewhere that you love. Some people instinctively know what they love because it brings them joy, happiness and flow. It is the things that you are grateful for today or wish were in your life tomorrow. It could relate to tasks, people, activities or places. Doing this thing, being with these people, completing this activity puts a smile on your face. What were you last doing when you forgot time itself?


Let’s be honest, out of the four regions, this takes last priority for a lot of us. It is for this reason that we see the modern world in disarray. We see a complete mess of global politics, lives still lost in starvation despite food wastage, and increasing layers of depression despite relatively good living conditions in much of the western world. It was JFK who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Imagine if we modernised that sentiment and as global citizens asked what we could do for our world? Have you ever asked yourself this question? If no, then why not?


Sadly this region dominates most of our lives. We have bills to pay, roofs to put over our heads and food to put on the table. Despite these basic needs being met, we have not stopped there. It is never enough. We are always looking for any opportunity to make more money, often at the expense of our health, or time with our friends and families. Whilst making money is not a shameful thing, not recognising greed in our own lifestyle is. The affects of hedonistic pursuits will only lead to a life of meaningless and unfulfillment as the precious scale of ikigai will be thrown you off balance.


This is obvious for some. You may be particularly intelligent, gifted or trained in a particular area. You have lived your whole life with these talents or you have worked hard to achieve them. It makes sense that these traits or skills will either bring you immense joy or pay you well. If you are well on your pathway of self searching, it may already bring you both – lucky you!

How else could these regions be interpreted? Feel free to leave your positive comments below.

Okinawa’s Longevity Lessons

This is an excerpt from Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest by Dan Buettner.

Embrace an ikigai
Older Okinawans can readily articulate the reason they get up in the morning. Their purpose-imbued lives gives them clear roles of responsibility and feelings of being needed well into their 100s.

Rely on a plant-based diet
Older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives. Their meals of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, and tofu are high in nutrients and low in calories. Goya, with its antioxidants and compounds that lower blood sugar, is of particular interest. While centenarian Okinawans do eat some pork, it is traditionally reserved only for infrequent ceremonial occasions and taken only in small amounts.

Get gardening
Almost all Okinawan centenarians grow or once grew a garden. It’s a source of daily physical activity that exercises the body with a wide range of motion and helps reduce stress. It’s also a near-constant source of fresh vegetables.

Eat more soy
The Okinawan diet is rich foods made with soy, like tofu and miso soup. Flavonoids in tofu may help protect the hearts and guard against breast cancer. Fermented soy foods contribute to a healthy intestinal ecology and offer even better nutritional benefits.

Maintain a moai
The Okinawan tradition of forming a moai provides secure social networks. These safety nets lend financial and emotional support in times of need and give all of their members the stress-shedding security of knowing that there is always someone there for them.

Enjoy the sunshine
Vitamin D, produced by the body when it’s exposed on a regular basis to sunlight, promotes stronger bones and healthier bodies. Spending time outside each day allows even senior Okinawans to have optimal vitamin D levels year-round.

Stay active
Older Okinawans are active walkers and gardeners. The Okinawan household has very little furniture; residents take meals and relax sitting on tatami mats on the floor. The fact that old people get up and down off the floor several dozen times daily builds lower body strength and balance, which help protect against dangerous falls.

Plant a medical garden
Mugwort, ginger, and turmeric are all staples of an Okinawan garden, and all have proven medicinal qualities. By consuming these every day, Okinawans may be protecting themselves against illness.

Have an attitude
A hardship-tempered attitude has endowed Okinawans with an affable smugness. They’re able to let difficult early years remain in the past while they enjoy today’s simple pleasures. They’ve learned to be likable and to keep younger people in their company well into their old age.

Further Resource: 
In Dan’s TED talk, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them people spry past age 100. Check it out here – Dan Buettner – How to Live to be 100+