Why we should avoid trying to fit in

I have been wanting to publish a post on this picture since it went viral online. I am not sure if you have seen it, a Reddit user under the name of Lewy-G was taking a picture of his girlfriend for Instagram and he realised that everyone around him was doing the same thing. The post can be seen by clicking here.

So far this picture has gained 133,000 upvotes and 5,700 comments. Ironically, this will be much, much more popular than the planned original picture of a girl gazing out to sea alongside the other tourists. How can someone taking a picture of people taking pictures go viral? The reason is pretty simple but rarely used to our advantage.

People love taking selfies. It is a huge worldwide phenomenon. People also love their selfies receiving likes and attention. One of the reasons for this is that social media has increased our desire to fit in and keep up with the rest of society. Fitting in has had benefits throughout human history and evolution, whether it was hunting in packs to increase survival rates to gaining followers online to improve our social life and status. It makes sense. This primitive desire has spread into the digital world and we have a constant need to receive the same amount of likes as our friends and an ever increasing standard of photo to post to keep our head above the water. And with that, scenes like these are born.



I visited Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and visited Christ the Redeemer and everyone (including myself) stopped to pose like JC himself. It was funny to look around and take it in. In fact, this link demonstrates very well (and hilariously) how using the desire to fit in can be manipulated and actually be used as a creative rocket boost and help us stand out from the crowds we try to keep up with.

What I have learned from blogging is that in order to gain in popularity and build an audience, readers need it to relate to themselves in some way. A blog purely about myself will be very hard to build on and attract readers. If I have blog posts that readers can relate to and gain something from, it will have a much higher chance of success. I enjoy the nature of posting something that people could potentially learn from or find meaning in, and for this reason my blog isn’t filled with selfies. That, and I don’t take selfies very well.

Also, anything that is different to the norm will often attract attention if done correctly. Some kind of thinking outside the box or at least a new way of thinking can be very rewarding as much as it can seem a risk. This is evident in so many ways in life. Look at our heroes and inspirations. Many of these people are known for doing things their way and often in unique fashion. Maybe it is focusing on working on their art relentlessly instead of putting energy into the average daily selfie consisting of a similar pose but with slightly different backdrops. I don’t believe for a second that Banksy spends huge amounts of time devoted to random pictures of people gazing out to sea, but I know for a fact an incredible amount of people will spend their time appreciating his artwork. This is how I try to think about what I want to do and why I should do it. Do I want to be another person getting a handful of likes keeping up with everyone else, or do I want to spend my time trying to think outside of the box any way that I can and being creative? The latter sounds much more exciting and in the long term, will be much more beneficial and rewarding.

Selfies are easy. That is why every single person we know does it. And success is rarely a reward for anything that is easy or rewarded for trying to fit in. That is how one simple picture taken of people taking photos will become more popular than every one of the individual beach selfies combined. And this is why we should take pride in not trying to fit in, but escaping that mentality.

Of course, I want people to do what they want and if this means asking your partner to take a photo as you gaze out at an incredible landscape, please go for it. You do you, always. But because I know so many people strive for followers and some degree of popularity online, this is more often than not the way to succeed.

Take these photos, have these memories but work on your strengths and take pride in individuality.

Seeing pictures like the one that went viral is for me a beautiful reminder that whilst we are all trying to get the upper hand and stay relevant, we are forced into being average. Life is too short to be average and everyone looking in the same direction isn’t necessarily the right direction. After all, a group gazing out into the same direction is a group bored of themselves. This doesn’t have to be the case.



Don’t let age decide your fate!

I was browsing LinkedIn recently. I don’t often use the site as I was peer pressured into making a page for my own personal development in a job I didn’t really want to develop in. Maybe one day I will use it with a little more optimism, for now it will remain rather dormant as I travel and blog daily. That is so much more fun.

I get emails from the site and the other day decided to have a browse. This headline popped up.

This may be true, although I didn’t click the link. There is just something about this kind of article that bores the shit out of me. As a millennial I could moan and groan about the news, but what is the point? I only want to associate as a millennial by age. Not my potential, not my financial status, not my limits. As soon as I begin to complain that my prospects are hindered by external factors, I’m on the path to proving it right. To be successful in anything we need to be different. Possess increased work ethic and be different from the rest. Reading the papers or a news article online like some crystal ball deciding our fate will hurl us into mediocrity.

Now of course the are some inequality battles that I will fight for. Equal pay for example. If it is downright discrimination benefiting a bigoted few then I will put my foot down. But it isn’t always that. Some people prefer to moan than be the difference they want to see in the world.

So that is my ten cents. I won’t bother clicking the link as it is a lazier option. It is easier to complain about our lack of opportunity than it is to create opportunity. I would give more than ten cents of course if I wasn’t such a poor millennial with no prospects thanks to every other generation. Damn you all.

Last image: Mike Wilson- Unsplash

Relearning everything

Although I am a Brit living in Australia, news has spread that it has been Thanksgiving for some of you guys. This has been met with open arms and made me feel better about giving in to beer and chicken wings at a bar after a hectic day at work.

Turkey would have been more appropriate I guess.

This national holiday had me thinking. Holidays like Thanksgiving are a great opportunities to take a moment out of our hectic lives to think of how fortunate we are, but like New Years Resolutions these moments can be very short lived. I think the secret to my personal growth and a good dose of mental health is to reflect as often as possible. When I was a goalkeeper playing for my local football team every Sunday, what I learned is that I had to keep looking around whenever I had the chance. If I didn’t, my location on the pitch could change quite a bit. If I only kept my eyes on the ball, I would slowly end up drifting away from the goal and before I knew it, the goal could be completely exposed. By glancing over my shoulders every now and then I would realise and had the chance to get back into position before it was too late. I still use this technique in life.

Whenever I feel like life is drifting away from me, I look around. I look at those that may consider my issues small, people that may see my issues as opportunities they never had. An example of this occurred Thursday. I was at work and I met a lovely couple, I am guessing in their 60’s. The lady asked how long I had been in Australia for, I told her since September. She looked at her husband and analysed my answer.

‘S..E..P..T… Oh September, that is a month!’ She looked at her husband for clarification.

He then turned to me and told me that his wife had suffered a stroke and that she has had to learn to do pretty much everything again. Learn to walk, learn to speak, learn to live with sight in only one eye. I cannot imagine how stressful this event must have been for both of them, in particular for her as this wasn’t a one time incident. The effects are still present today. He tried to see the funny side of it, joking that for the first two weeks she was perfect to live with as she lost her speech. It was hard for me to say anything worthwhile after being told this there and then, I just tried to be as compassionate and understanding as possible. I said it fascinates me that the brain like a muscle, takes work for it to improved again but it seems like it is certainly possible. I also said the sun is shining and that they were going to have a great day which I am sure they did.

This is the kind of story I am referring to. One that puts my small headache or boring day at work into perspective. As the days go by and my memory fades of this interaction, no doubt will I begin to slowly forget just how lucky I am and many of us are. I am hoping that by blogging I will keep a permanent reminder to reflect on, so I can see where those goalposts are in relation to where I am and remember that I am currently in a good place even if I doubt it. If a football result is the worst thing about my day, that is just the tip of a very beautiful iceberg.


Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

Morning motivation

I recently read a post from a blogger that highlighted a lack of personal growth despite the fact that all his friends were getting married and finding careers. For me, there is a huge advantage to being stuck at the start line.

The only way to move from here is forward and upward. Ground can be gained and will be in due time. People get divorced, people lose jobs, these milestones although personal achievements doesn’t guarantee us a fixed spot high on that cliff face. We can all end up back at the bottom with one slip. This gives me confidence to climb it… If the only way is up, the only path is progress!

Featured image: Matt Cannon

Anonymous acts of kindness 

I was about to leave work today when I was handed this.

It is an early Christmas present from someone, a $100 gift card for the local Westfield department store in Sydney. I heard the name of the person that bought me the gift and it is a name I am convinced I have never heard before. It turns out the very generous lady has bought 16 of these for the team I work with, meaning she has forked out $1600 altogether. Despite not really knowing me, she decided that I was part of the team and that I shouldn’t be left out. I can safely say I have never received such a big pressie from anyone that I know so little. 

If I didn’t show my gratitude here, I wouldn’t have anywhere to show it as this person is currently a mystery to me. A lovely mystery that shows kindness is alive and well in the world.

When something makes you tremble

I experienced a very first-world problem roughly four hours ago. That was around midday here for you international readers- and western Australians. I forget that this nation is so big that it isn’t just neighbouring countries that populate different time zones, it is other Aussies. Crazy.

I drove a Porsche today. It needed bringing up from our car park and it was a manual. None of my colleagues could drive manual so I went down to get it, trying to forget it was a Porsche as to keep my nerves in check. Since I have been in Sydney 99% of cars have been automatic, so going back to manual has been a little problematic. I learned to drive fairly recently, so my experience of manual driving is very limited. Constantly driving a much easier automatic car makes manual a much tougher challenge.

As I sat in the drivers seat and started the engine, the seat moved forward, the steering wheel lowered. I felt like I was experiencing my money’s worth, not that I paid a penny towards this beast. That was what worried me. I didn’t pay a penny towards it, yet the condition and fate of the car was in my hands for the next few minutes. Will I stall? Will I sent or scratch it due to overthinking? I would be lying to say my heart didn’t start to race a little. In my head I didn’t want to stall a car that would inevitably catch the gaze of every onlooker walking and driving by. What people like to see more than someone stalling a car is someone stalling a nice car, especially right here just hundreds of meters away from the Opera House, where almost everyone is a tourist.

I must have stalled that fucker ten times.

One car even honked, I’m sure in glee. I kept my cool and realised those passing by would never see me again. This helped me keep my cool and drive to a much higher standard. By the time my colleagues watched me arrive from the car park on the other side of the property, I was steady and in control. A good climax to a terrifying drive.

Lesson learned, I am capable of doing things that freak me out a little. I am capable of driving a great car. I am capable of buying that car, as we all are, if we put our minds to it. Driving that car made me realise what I would love to have one day and doing one thing a day that scares me reminds me that stepping out of that comfort zone will get us there.

Time for a beer.

Featured image: Dan Freeman

My 1000th blog post!

This blog post brings me a mix of emotions. Firstly, I cannot believe I have typed up one thousand blog posts on WordPress to get my thoughts, frustrations and opinions out there to the world. It has been a great platform for me to do so and I thank each and every one of you for following me whether it has been years, months or days. For me to dedicate my time to anything for a prolonged period is a challenge, so this achievement seems pretty surreal. It just shows that if you have a passion for something, you gain a work ethic.


Coincidentally, this is also four years to the day of my fathers passing. I woke up to the reminder as a relative posted a compassionate message on Facebook to my mother, sending her love and thoughts. It would have also been my uncles birthday Wednesday, we lost him to suicide two years before my dads passing. I am not very good with remembering such dates, which to me isn’t needed as I remember daily anyway. My mum, she stores these dates as well as a computer does.

Now I don’t like to bring up such events too often, however it would seem very strange if I didn’t given the timing. I can recall two occasions I have posted about losing my dad, Has a Star Ever Told You it Loves You? and Fathers Day Reflections. Today over Skype I had a chat to my mum regarding many things and one was a pact that my parents made when they were younger. They decided to live their retirement days in their twenties and travel around the UK and Europe. This is something I choose to do as my dad did not make it to see his retirement. Life is too short and the world is too amazing.


I cannot imagine having to work a lifetime in hope that I reach my retirement age. Why should I wait so long? If I have the energy now, isn’t today a better time to see the world? It is a gamble that I would rather not take and if today is a guarantee, I would rather do it now than risk saving it for a tomorrow that may never come. I am so grateful to learn this lesson from my parents and sadly, losing a loved one is often the catalyst in making decisions that were once considered ‘risky’ or ‘overly adventurous’. I would be lying if didn’t admit there are occasions when I feel like I have less reason to travel. On the other hand I have more reason now than ever. Right now, my sister is travelling through Spain, we both share a very similar mentality to what our parents adopted in their youth. Travel now, find a career later. Time is precious and we don’t get it back. I am tired of being told to wait for the right time or that good things are coming to those that wait. They don’t. Good things come to those that go out and achieve what they want to achieve.

My advice to anyone is that tomorrow is overrated. Treat today with a little more urgency as the potential you possess today won’t always be there. The sun will set tonight, make sure you do as much as you can to achieve your dreams before it sets as although it will rise in the morning, there is never the guarantee that we will be there to witness it.


It’s cool to act stupid

I see there is a big trend online for people to either pretend they are more stupid than they are, or boast about it.

I stumble (pun very much intended) upon images and memes all the time, people sharing them proudly to glorify how they should have been brought up with bubble wrap.

Why boast about being stupid or clumsy? I’m all for admitting flaws and that I am not the perfect person, it just seems a waste of valuable time to make sure the Internet knows my weaknesses instead of strengths. They don’t even have to be strengths, just something a little more optimistic and moral boosting. 

It’s hard enough for us mortals to be heard and find a job that utilities our strengths, I am trying more than ever to use such opportunities as a boost and not a put-me-down. 

Monday motivation

What could lift that Monday morning mood more than a giant yellow poodle?

Spotted in the entrance to a store in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mondays don’t have to be hated. In fact, I feel if I am ever in a job that requires me to hate a Monday, I am not in a job that I enjoy. And if I am not in a job that I enjoy, I will try to find a job that I enjoy.

Blogging is that job for me. I love getting up on a Monday knowing that I can put a post out there and if I enjoy it more than my full time job that actually pays me, I am going to keep doing it. Too many people moan. I know that is what I did right there, sometimes we have to fight fire with fire. If you are in a job that you hate, find something outside of that job that will inspire you to get up and look forward to the day. We are here against incredible odds, we are way too fortunate to hate the opportunity we get to get out of bed every day.

Sunday evening shouldn’t feel like staring down the barrel of a cannon. It should feel like the cannonball being launched into another incredible week of discovery, opportunity and happiness.


Have a fantastic week!