3 Realizations About ‘Being Fit’ That Turned My Lifestyle Upside Down

Fit

But Be Aware, This Is Not Another 5-Step Beach Body Guide

The Moroccan sun was hitting the small surfer town Taghazout hard this afternoon. ‘You lookin’ really fit’, a blond English girl tells me, while we were sipping our wine on the rooftop of our hostel. I had to laugh. Fit? Me? Definitely not. I had not seen the inside of a gym in months, maybe went for a run twice this whole year and my favorite walks have been to the donut shops in Melbourne downtown.

The term fit has been defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “sound physically and mentally: healthy“. However, my motivation to work out, to be fit physically and mentally, simply to be healthy, had seen better days.

If you are reading this article, chances are, you’ve been there yourself:  The couch calls your name in the evenings, your bed does not let you go early in the morning, especially not for a run and only the thought of going to the gym is nothing but torture.

That has been me, for basically the whole year. Until about two weeks ago.

Thinking about the role of media, different types of motivation and mindfulness have turned my lifestyle upside down.

The realizations I have made recently will not give you a six pack in 2 weeks, will not make you run a marathon and most definitely will not make you loose 10kg.

They might, however, make you think differently about ‘being fit’. And maybe, they will also turn your lifestyle upside down.

The media tells us how to be physically fit

fit
Photo by Cristian Baron on Unsplash

Shockingly, almost 80% of U.S. women and 34% of men are dissatisfied with their own bodies, according to a study conducted by Park Nicollet Merlrose Center.

Most commonly, women strive for weight loss while men tend to focus on building strong muscles and a six pack.

But why is it, that we think skinny women and big men are fit?

The answer is simple: Because we are told so from all sides: magazines, social media and our peers.

Fit girls lifting dumbbells in leggings in NY warehouse
Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

The Men’s Health Magazine which reaches over 21 million men worldwide, claims to be able to tell all men whether they are weak or strong. One article states: ‘you’ll find our definition of fit—10 simple (though by no means easy) things every man must be able to do before he stamps himself “in shape.” Says who? Says us.’ It is no surprise that men feel a pressure to lift heavy and squat low, when they are confronted with such made up benchmarks.

However, the definition of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, brings a little twist to our notion of fit. Their definition of physical fitness says, it is “a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.”

At this point I would like to shortly introduce you to Ismail, a 23-year-old surf instructor from Morocco. He is no taller than me, if you count his blond curly hair, he might be as tall as 1.70m. His body is skinny and it is impressive how he jumps over the rocks with a surf board that is far too big and probably weighs as much as he does. He paddles strongly, moves quickly through the ocean, catches every wave. Going to the gym was never an option for him. He would probably not be able to satisfy the author of the Men’s Health article, but he has taught himself the needed attributes that relate to the ability to surf like a pro. Ismail is physically fit in surfing.

What does fit even mean?

Jen Sinkler, a writer and personal trainer, poses an interesting question in one of her articles: ‘What is your personal definition of fit?’. She explains how she is personally very fit lifting weights, but due to personal conditions, very unfit when it comes to hiking.

When we talk about physical fitness, we should move away from asking: Are you fit? And instead, as Jen Sinkler recommends, ask: What are you fit in?

I realized that the media cannot tell me how fit I am. They cannot tell me what I should look like.

It is a matter of our very own perception and feeling of well-being.

We do not need the media to determine our personal fit.

Fitness is not just about your motivation

Fit
Photo by Tommy Lisbin

If a little motivation were the key, we would all be active regularly. But how often have you found yourself in the evening on the couch with the option of binge watching some Netflix with a glass of wine, or hitting the gym, going for a run or doing some yoga? More than once I assume. Lately, I have found great excuses: No time, no energy and my favorite one, no motivation. I kept telling myself, the motivation would come back eventually and then I will start being active again.

Fact is, that mindset did not get me off of the couch and before I knew it, seven months had passed.

When it comes to motivation, it is important to be aware of two different types: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Ryan and Deci have studied the scale of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, explaining the drives of human behavior.

fit

To sum it up: working towards that beach body, fitting into those new jeans or wanting approval from your peers, all fall into extrinsic motivation. It is an award from the outside which is out of our control. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from the pure joy of doing it. It is a matter of personal fulfilment, which is entirely up to us and our mind.

I asked Ismail, the surf instructor, why he spent so much time surfing. ‘It’s only happiness. You go in the water with a problem in your head but come out with nothing but happy feelings. I just love to surf, always have.’

Talking to various people who have continuously advanced their fitness level in a certain area, it seems like passion and consistency are the key factors, rather than relying solely on extrinsic motivators.

At the end of the day, it is up to each one of us to find out what works best. Most common seems to be a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations to keep us going.

The magic link of mindfulness and fitness

Fit
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Brian Grasso, author of Mindset Matters Most, says that mindset “refers to the stories you tell yourself, about yourself”.

While our mind can be our greatest fan, it can also be our greatest hurdle. We decide the role it plays and how it shapes our perception of reality.

As Buddha once said:

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

So how will mindfulness lead our way to a fit lifestyle?

If goals such as a number on the scale, fitting into jeans again or decreasing our body-fat-percentage do not motivate us, we should take a closer look at our mindset.

We must move away from numbers and towards the goal of making workouts a time of pleasure and most importantly, a habit.

If you hate the sticky air at the local gym, try and go for a run. If you do not enjoy the exhaustion, try a dance course with some friends. And if you feel like no workout has brought you any joy, try something new. The options are countless: climbing, cycling, swimming, volleyball, soccer, basketball, hockey…

We should spend some time on figuring out what we enjoy doing, what we do not, and why.

Once you have found one or more sports, make it a habit to work out regularly.

Believe in yourself and find joy in the exercises. Being mindful during your training will help you to identify moments of happiness. They might be a runner’s high, your team winning a match, or lifting that extra weight that seemed impossible a week ago.

When we are mindful about our feelings while working out, we can consciously create a joyful habit.

Suddenly, we will actually look forward to getting off of the couch and becoming our personal fit.

Tell yourself the right stories. Tell yourself: You are fit.

How these realizations turned my lifestyle upside down?

fit
Photo by Allison Heidrich

Out of frustration with myself, I felt like I needed a drastic change. I was sick of being lazy and thus came the spontaneous decision to go to Morocco for one week.

Seven days of surfing and yoga.

Forcing myself into this new situation, I finally found joy in working out again.

Now that I am back home, I still do yoga every day, my love for running is suddenly back and I am even hitting the gym again.

Realizing that I was doing it for myself and not with the goal to please anyone else, was the first step. Then realizing that I had to find joy in the actual exercise was the next step.

And now, I am making it a happy habit. I am becoming my own fit.

What are your thoughts on ‘being fit’? How would you describe the role of media when it comes to body image? How do you motivate yourself to keep going? What kind of sports do you enjoy?

Share your thoughts, spread some knowledge and be a motivation 🙂

The Battle of Feminism and Why I Never Called Myself a Feminist

Feminism

Strong. Powerful. Overrated. Necessary. Equality. Confusing. Future. Truth. Unpleasant. Empowerment. Brilliant. Reasonable. Change. Rights. Judging. Cool.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apfuqpFQPmg[/embedyt]

Misunderstood.

Feminism – One term, many emotions, many associations, too much confusion. I won’t try to give you a definition of this term, because frankly, I don’t have one, I’m not even sure if there is one right definition.

But here is my story: an attempt to raise awareness, to spark discussions, to get people thinking.

It was a windy Tuesday afternoon in Melbourne. With a cup of coffee in front of me, I found myself amongst hundreds of students, waiting for a speech on equality. A young woman stepped behind the microphone and the room went silent. She introduced herself and started to give a talk that would open my eyes in ways I never thought possible.

Before I continue, you have to know this: For a very long time, I would not talk about feminism. I didn’t know enough about it to raise my voice, I thought. It would only be a pointless discussion, I thought. I was not a feminist anyway, I thought.

But that day, something inside me changed.

On that Tuesday, a young women shared her experience as a leader in a ‘male-dominated’ industry and the inequalities that are still part of our everyday lives. I came to the realization that it was time to learn and to speak up.

I want to talk about this misleading term “feminism”, about equality, about the truth, for men and women.

And above all, about freedom.

Where The Term ‘Feminism’ Came From

Before going into the discussion of what the term means today, I’d like to take you back in history. It’s a brief journey through three waves of feminism, each reflecting different ‘feminist goals’, struggles and directions of the movement.

First Wave – The Right to Vote

In the 19thcentury women in the UK and the United States started to raise their voices: They wanted equal contract and property rights. By the end of the 19thcentury, however, their activism focus turned towards political power and they started fighting for equal rights to vote. Although women in the United States were granted the right to vote in 1919, women in Saudi Arabia have only had the right since 2015.

Second Wave – Women’s Liberation

Feminism
Photo by Sam Burriss on Unsplash

In the 1960s and 1970s, people started to question traditional power structures of society. Equal rights on paper existed in some countries but oppression was still present in reality: Women earned less and faced immense difficulties entering a career. While learning more about the second wave feminism, the writings of Simone de Beauvoir caught my attention. One quote in particular:

“The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands, since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.”

People strove for a movement towards true equality. It wasn’t about putting anyone on the throne, it was about getting rid of the throne that had caused discrimination and oppression in the past decades.

A new argument that was raised during this wave, was the lack of minority voices in the women’s movement. Gloria Jean Watkins pointed out that feminism has simply ignored influences such as race and class, failing to address diversity amongst women.

Third Wave – Freedom of Choice

Feminism

The wave from the 1990s to the present is also considered a response to perceived failures of the second wave. The discussion of wage gap, as well as the inclusion of minorities is still present.

But in general, women are now encouraged to define feminism for themselves – they should do whatever they think is right, instead of feeling pressured by the old feminist movement. Want to stay home with the children? Go for it. Want to become a leading CEO? Go for it. Want to bake cupcakes for a living and live with 8 cats? Go for it.

It’s about freedom of choice. It’s about the equal right for everyone to live the life that makes them happy. If it were only that easy…

Everyone seems to know better than the other what feminism is about today. There is not a single definition, not an agreement about the ‘goals’ and sadly, plenty stereotypes about the ‘perfect feminist’.

Feminism – Beyond Gender

Feminism

In some countries, women only have partial access to financial services and are not allowed to drive. As mentioned before, Saudi Arabian women have only had the right to vote since 2015!

It is important to realize that equality is still far away for many individuals.

Another important fact is that gender is not the only factor which causes different treatment of people. Our skin color, our religion, the language we speak, where we are from, who our parents are and even the way we look will influence the way we are treated, depending on where in the world we are.

In the book ‘The Second Sex’ Simone de Beauvoir shares a dream she has:

“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.”

Personally, I can’t begin to imagine the restrictions millions of women and men still face in the world and the inequalities they are confronted with every single day. I now know, that I will learn more about them though in order to support a movement towards a ‘free’ future. You can call it a feminist future, an equal future, an empowered future; the term we use doesn’t matter as long as we know what we believe in and what we stand up for

Today’s Misperception/ Why I never called myself a Feminist

Feminism

Feminism, to me, meant a lot of things, but not necessarily equality. I never called myself a feminist due to numerous misperceptions the media had created.

I thought I couldn’t be a feminist – I don’t go protesting, I don’t hate men, I don’t agree that the future should be female, I love to wear make-up and high heels, I just don’t fit into the box of today’s feminists.

But hold on, this box for the perfect feminist is absolutely ridiculous.

The media has done a pretty good job of creating it: throwing images at us of women protesting, burning their bras, wearing T-Shirts with quite offending slogans.

I wanted to learn more about this ‘movement’. So I did my homework and here is what I learned:

Emma Watson’s talk in front of the UN opened my eyes. Feminism is not about putting labels on people, it’s not about hating men and it’s most definitely not about treating women better than men. It is about the progress towards an equal world. It is about empowering each individual to live freely, despite gender, race or sexual orientation.

I don’t care what you call it. But fact is, we need a movement that works towards equality. Call it what you want.

3 Myths That Need to be Talked About

Men are not affected.

Feminism

Again, I would like to refer to Emma Watson’s talk at the UN. She made an important point: Men suffer from gender stereotypes too. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the number one killer of young men! The reasons can be argued about but how often are men looked down on when they seek help? How often do men not even dare to seek help because of the fear of society’s judgement? How often do men feel like they have to live up to certain standards?

Men are stuck in gender boxes, differently than women for sure, but they are affected.

So this goes out to the male readers in particular: Ask yourself, what is your role in this movement towards a more equal world? How will you work towards a future of freedom?

Wage gaps are not real.

Feminism

Getting less money than a person who is doing the exact same job is not fair. That is a simple fact. While factors such as age, experience and education are used by some people to explain or even justify this gap, I would like to give you some tough facts at this point. (I just want to note that these statistics focus on women of specific countries and do not even take into account minorities specifically or women in less developed countries!)

In 2017, women working full-time, year-round in Louisiana only earned 70% of what men were paid! In Australia, the full-time gender pay gap is still as high as 15.3%, equaling $253,70 less per week.

There has been progress, but if it continues to move at this speed, women will have to wait until 2119 for equal pay in the United States.

However, there is hope. Countries such as Iceland and Finland have scored above 0.84 on the Global Gender Gap Index in 2016 (where the highest possible score is 1 – equality).

Wage gaps are real though. All over the world.

We’ve made enough progress towards an equal world.

feminism

 

Yes, there has been a lot of progress and a strong movement towards an equal world.

Have we arrived at an end? After reading this article, I hope your answer is no.

There is a great need for education about this topic. Myths have to be clarified and above all, every single individual, women and men from every country, should find their role in this movement. We should learn about the problems others are facing, raise awareness, start discussions, be brave and thought provoking if we have the freedom to do so!

What now?

feminism

I won’t tell you what to believe in or what to call yourself. What I do ask everyone out there is to open your eyes to the issues people around the world are facing – men and women. Different cultures have different problems, different genders have different problems, every single individual faces different problems.

A problem none of us should be facing, is equality. And it is up to us, each and every one of us, to shape a future of freedom.

 

 

Big thank you to Jennifer Hinrichs for editing!

 

Why FOMO is Real – 3 Impacts It Has On Your Life

FOMO

For a long time, I thought FOMO was nothing but a hyped word among teens. I thought it was just a rather silly, over-used acronym – Fear Of Missing Out? Not me… One Saturday night, I realized that I was just as affected by it as a majority of us, especially millennials.

I had decided to stay in that night, it was raining and the thought of leaving the apartment did not make me happy. I was actually looking forward to finally having an evening off in my busy schedule. A break from my days that were made up of coffee with friends, uni assignments, work, gym, and the list goes on. I got myself a nice cup of tea, snuggled into bed and was ready for Netflix. I quickly picked a movie that seemed good enough and was ready to do absolutely nothing.

Ten minutes into the movie (which wasn’t as good as I had hoped), I got out my phone and found myself scrolling through Instagram. When that got boring, it was time to check out people’s stories. The movie was forgotten and I was lost in social media, thinking that everyone else in the world was having the time of their lives.

I know it’s ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there: we feel frustrated. Why are we not doing those fun things? How come are we not part of that event? Why are we missing out?

FOMO is real. Social media triggers it and many people are not aware of the anxieties that come with it.

In order to make a change, we have to understand where the fear of missing out comes from and what we can do about it.

FOMO is an Ancient Fear Retriggered

FOMO

FOMO is short for ‘The Fear of Missing out’. It is a feeling that people of all ages and cultures experience in various situations. While the term FOMO was only coined roughly 15 years ago by a Harvard Business School MBA student, the actual fear has been around for longer.

Back in the days, when people roamed around to hunt, they had to know what was going on around them, around their families and the villages they lived in. It wasn’t about gossip or the latest deals, it was a matter of survival.

Not knowing the nearest source of water or the newest food source could lead to death. The fear of missing out, meant the fear of losing one’s life. The process of gathering information was of great importance.

This ancient fear or FOMO has been retriggered by a rather new addition to human life: Social media. Channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have developed into our main form of connection to our social network – we rely on it. Missing out on a whole day of Facebook will leave many of us stressed, anxious and with a feeling of not being in the know.

The Psychological View on Today’s FOMO

FOMO

Generally speaking, fear is nothing but our response to a threat or danger. In regards to FOMO, it is the response to the threat of missing out on something.

There is a part of our brain that triggers the feeling of being left out: the amygdala, a part of our limbic system. It decides whether a situation could pose a threat and makes us feel stressed whenever we feel like we’re not part of something.

Social media plays right into these feelings: we scroll, we compare, we are left frustrated. Competitive thoughts emerge and often leave us unwillingly stressed and restless. It thus has a great impact on our general well-being and our happiness.

Constantly comparing ourselves, our actions and decisions have become toxic hobbies for many of us. FOMO is part of our everyday thinking and our everyday lives. Our obsessive preoccupation with checking social media only increases these negative emotions.

This leads to an important issue: We spend more and more time focusing on online content of others, instead of our own present. We lose touch with the relationships that are right in front of us. Most importantly, we no longer take time to reflect on ourselves – our thoughts, behaviors and actions.

3 Ways FOMO Impacts Our Lives

We should have all come to a realization by now: FOMO is real. It is more than just a hyped acronym and we have to understand the impact it has on every one of us. The fear of missing out affects more than 50% of social media users and the effects are severe.

1. Anxious Mindset

FOMO

FOMO has a great impact on the way we think. It fuels the feeling of not being good enough, making wrong choices and leaves many people stressed or even depressed. Numerous studies on social media usage have argued that especially among teens, the fear of judgement is increasing while their self-confidence is shockingly low.

2. Life Dissatisfaction

FOMO

We start questioning our own decisions when we are constantly confronted with other people’s lives. It doesn’t just leave us with an anxious mindset, it decreases our overall satisfaction with life. We end up disappointed with our life, regret our decisions and get caught up in pure unhappiness. We are no longer grateful for the people we know, our job we thought we loved or the places we’ve been.

3. Commitment Problems

FOMO

We always feel like a better option might come around the corner. A house party on Friday? Great but there’s also a festival going on. Oh and this other friend is having a goodbye dinner that very same day. It takes forever to decide which ‘party’ to commit to and no matter which one we go for, we will question whether that was the best choice.

So what can we do?

FOMO

Especially through my travels, I have learned about the joy of missing out. The outback, where there is no phone reception, forced me to miss out. And guess what – I survived. I even enjoyed it.

I know it’s unrealistic to advise you to get off of all social media channels. That’s not going to happen. That’s not what has to happen in order to combat FOMO.

Instead, I encourage you to be aware of your feelings – the frustrations, the stress, the unhappiness when scrolling through your feed.

Do you notice a pattern? Great! Write it down and turn it into personal goals and motivations instead of letting it drag you down. Frustrated with all the travel bloggers? Maybe it’s time to save up for a dream adventure. Envious of the cool restaurants your friends went to? Get a group together and find a fun, new place.

The Joy of Missing Out

FOMO

We won’t stop sharing our personal lives on social media and our access to every second of what others are doing will most probably only increase over time. People want the world to know what they eat, where they go, who they are with. The degree of transparency on social media is scary and yet, something we cannot ignore,  change, or often resist.

In order to find joy in missing out, we should reduce our negative feelings and if possible, reduce the time we spend on social media. Put our phones to the side once in a while and invest some time into ourselves: drawing something, reading, going for a run. The goal is to stop for a moment. Step back and take a break from the toxic FOMO environment.

We’ve been looking around us for happiness for too long, it’s time to turn inwards and realize that it all comes from within.

FOMO is real, but it doesn’t have to be part of your reality.

 

 

 

 

Food Waste – How We’re Destroying Our Planet and Why We Have to Change

Food Waste

When we think of factors that harm the planet, cars, oil spills, power plants, and maybe even CO2 emissions from cows come to our mind. It seems obvious that these aspects speed up the process of global warming. But there is another, often overlooked cause that we should all be concerned about: food waste.

Food WasteAccording to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 6.7% of all global greenhouse gases come from food wastage.

Doesn’t sound like much? Imagine this:

If food waste were a country, it would be the number 3 emitter of greenhouse gas in the world, right after China and the United States!

 

We overlook, ignore and don’t pay enough attention to the negative impacts. It’s time to raise awareness before it’s too late.

The Biggest Food Wasters

It’s easy to point a finger at others, blaming restaurants and farms, but just take a moment to realize that there are three other fingers pointing at yourself. We, the consumers, have the power to make a change. Our impact is greater than we think.

Farms

Food Waste

My sister spent a few months on a small farm, just an hour out of Perth. ‘It was a little orange farm in the middle of nowhere, the first time I worked as a fruit picker.’ She remembers, ‘The first days were not easy. The sun was either burning or rain was pouring down heavily, it didn’t matter, we had to clear the trees of every single fruit. After eight hours of hard work, 8 bins, the size of big dining room tables, had to be filled.’ Her features clouded with anger, ‘1/3 of the oranges went straight to the garbage!’ This waste of food occurs even before we have the chance to buy it. In fact, almost half of all vegetables and fruits produced go, just like the oranges, straight to the garbage (I’ll talk about the reason for this later on in the article).

Restaurants

Food Waste

I have worked in several restaurants and the amount of perfectly edible food I’ve seen landing in the garbage has been extreme. But surprisingly, restaurants are not the number 1 food wasters. While 40% of waste occurs here, it is still less than in our homes. However, this waste costs the American industries alone 57$ billion annually.

Homes

Food Waste

We, at home, waste the most food of all. 43% of food waste occurs in our own four walls! While it has a massive impact on the environment, our wallets also suffer: According to Selina Jull, a typical European household loses 900€ per year on wasted food and a US household over 1000$.

What Damage Do We Cause by Wasting Food?

While different types of damage are  caused when we throw away immense amounts of food, there are two points I would like to highlight.

Humans

Food Waste

Two facts stand out when looking at the world’s population.

  1. 3 metric giga-tons of edible food are wasted each year.
  2. At least 795 million people suffer from hunger.

So while 1 out of 9 people in the world are undernourished, we continue to waste food on a large scale.

The connection between those in need, and those that have too much, seems to be missing completely. There is an obvious distribution problem but luckily, companies such as copia are attempting to help us and make it easier for us to tackle the issue.

Environment

Food Waste
But the damage goes even beyond hunger and starvation:

we damage our planet in ways that cannot be reversed. The climate pollution caused by food waste is explained easily. Let’s just picture our typical Saturday supermarket stroll.

We’ve worked through most of the list. Next stop, bananas. Three, four? Maybe just a dozen, they’re on special and they’ll get eaten eventually, right? Into the basked they go.

But hold on.

What is needed to produce them?

Land, water, hard work, time and other resources.

How do they get to the supermarket?

Depending on where they are from, they have probably travelled more kilometers than we have in the past year.

And what about the 3 left over bananas ?

Turns out, 12 bananas were too many. Three of them end up on the counter, slowly but surely turning into brown mush. The thing is, they produce methane, which is 25 times more aggressive than carbon dioxide. What actually happens here is that the gas absorbs the heat of the sun, thus heating up the entire atmosphere – simply said: it speeds up global warming.

How Can We Waste Less Food?

Food Waste

The damage we are causing is extreme. But luckily, food waste is a problem that is comparatively easy to tackle for each one of us.

1. Know The Labels

Shockingly, 90% of America’s food waste is due to confusion about products’ expiry date. So here is a little reminder:

Best Before: This is NOT when you should toss food away. Until this day, the producer guaranties highest quality. After that, it’s up to you to decide whether a product is still enjoyable.

 Use By: You should eat it before this date! After, the consumption is no longer advisable due to health risks.

2. Conquer Fridge Confusion

We often don’t know what’s in the mysterious depths of our fridge. Try to stay on top of it. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you’ve probably heard of the FIFO rule. First in, first out. It’s a simple food rotation system: label your food products with dates and store the older items in front (what went in first, will go out first). Don’t let that good piece of cheese disappear into the dark corners of your fridge where you’ll forget it and eventually toss it into the bin.

3. Susceptible in Supermarkets

Food Waste

I do this all the time – I go to the supermarket with no list, an empty stomach and am susceptible to every special. The result? A basket full of things I like to eat BUT which will definitely not  add up to a proper meal .Also, I simply buy way too much. We should all try to shop in a smarter way. How? With a meal plan for the week, a shopping list and definitely a full stomach.

4. The Odd Bunch

When my sister told me about all the oranges that landed in the bin, the main reason was that they weren’t good enough for the market – too small, too big or not perfectly round.

Many supermarkets in Australia are now offering the “odd bunch” at lower prices. It is a bunch of imperfectly formed fruits and vegetables -the ones that should have e landed in the garbage, according to the guidelines.

We should support this, show some love for the odd bunches in the supermarkets and see if our local farmers have some odd bunches ‘to waste’. (We can save money AND contribute to reducing food waste.)

What Will You Change?

Food Waste

Food waste is destroying our planet. It is clear that a change needs to happen. Each one of us is part of the problem and can be part of the solution. I hope you will keep some of these things in mind when you go shopping the next time, when you go through your cluttered fridge and when you toss those brown bananas in the bin.

The damage is done, but it is not too late to turn things around.

We can change the world

We can fight hunger and slow down global warming.

We can stop wasting food.

 

Millennials: The 5 Paradoxes We Face

Paradoxes of Millennials

The other day on the tram, it was rather empty, there wasn’t much noise except for the voices of a complaining couple. They were in their fifties, the age of my parents. I couldn’t help but listen when I heard them talk about Millennials. He went on and on about the fact that all these young people were glued to their phones. She agreed, saying that it seemed as if they were addicted and full of themselves, sharing their whole lives on social media.

paradoxes of millennials

I am 22 years old. If you’ve done the math, you’ll realize that I was born in 1995. I’m one of those young people. I’m a Millennial.

One thing is for sure, we are more than the generation that is addicted to phones. We face issues no other generation had to deal with before. The paradoxes that are part of our everyday life, need some explanation. But before we look at our side of the situation, it is crucial to understand the development and characteristics of past generations.

What is a Millennial?

Roughly saying, a millennial is a person that was born between 1981 and 2001. However, it seems important to first take a closer look at the demographic cohorts of the past years. Their aim is to describe cultural groups and their characteristics which were shaped by the time they grew up in.

It all started with the Baby Boomers – the term originated from the immensely increased birth rate after the second world war. People born between the year of 1946 up to early/mid 1960 fall into this generation which is known for its strong work ethic. As they grew up in a time of history that was rather turbulent, they learned to work hard and independently for success. Their goal-oriented mindset and competitive work ethic have led to their significant impact on the economy.

Paradoxes of millennials

What followed was Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1976. They were the first ‘latchkey’ kids, coming home to empty houses after school, having daycare and dealing with divorce. Especially divorce was an experience that shaped many kids’ lives: they grew up with a strong sense of responsibility, trying to make their families work, maturity was a necessity and education was highly valued.

Millennial Generations

Generation Y was the first generation confronted with radical development of technology. The people born between 1977 and 1994 grew up with a constant access to internet, cellphones and computers during their years of youth. Especially the fast pace of the internet had a significant impact on this early group of Millennials. It formed flexible characters, moving quickly along with trends in fashion and communication.

Now we come to my generation – Generation Z, the latter group of Millennials. The young people that the couple on the tram was complaining about. Born between 1995 and 2001, we cannot begin to imagine a life without internet, smartphones and a constant connection to the entire world.

While some call us internet savvy and optimistic, others call us selfish and narcissistic. Millennials seem to be a major point of discussion among all other generations, criticized and praised on various levels. Growing up as Millennial, it is time to talk about 5 major paradoxes we face, other generations might not understand at the first glance.

Top 5 Paradoxes

1. Our Social/Unsocial Nightmare

Paradoxes of Millennials

Technology has been a great advantage to us. It has made our lives easy and fast, especially, in terms of communication and connection. So yes, we do spend a lot ( a lot a lot a lot) of time on our phones.

Social media is a big thing to us Millennials, a life without? Hardly imaginable.

Our phones are with us at all times, we stay in touch via Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, you name it. As soon as we notice it buzzing, a red notification sign pops up and our reward system is activated – the happiness chemical dopamine is released.

This so called internet addiction, brings some problems: while we spend so much time on social media, we sometimes lose track of our real social lives. We’re very social on the phone, we will like your photos, share funny links, invite you to events but when you see Millennials together out for dinner, you might notice each one of them glued to their phone. Taking care of stuff, staying in touch with people, scrolling through endless feeds. Being social, yes, but unsocial at the same time.

It is difficult to keep a healthy balance and we are still learning.

2. Knowledge vs Information Overload

Millennials

Every  day, we produce massive amounts of data – 2.5 quintillion bytes to be a bit more specific. Can’t imagine how much that is?

This will make it easier to grasp: ninety percent of all data in the world, was produced within the last 2 years!

While it has never been easier to share knowledge on the internet, it has never been more difficult to find relevant information in the online world.

Whatever we want to know, we have at our fingertips within seconds. But Google doesn’t provide us with THE answer, no, we will be confronted with thousands of matches to our search. It is up to us, to figure out what really matters, without losing ourselves in the information overload.

3. Relationships – Big Opportunities, Little Success

paradoxes of millennials

Relationships is a tricky topic, not easy to generalize and yet, there are some trends we’re facing that cannot be denied.

Online platforms and mobile apps give us the opportunity to meet a partner anywhere in the world. Simply selecting some personality characteristics, matching future plans and hitting the search button and voilà, there is the online catalogue of perfect partners. The paradox of this simple concept? Instead of finding perfect partners, many Millennials end up with trust issues and low self-esteem. Relationships don’t last long anymore. The thought of finding THE one is shrinking by the second even though we have a world of options only a click away.

4. Millennials Want It All. They Want It Now.

If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek, I highly recommend watching the following video, before reading on. Although I don’t agree with every single aspect he mentions, he makes some very good points.

When it comes to Millennials’ expectations, believe me, they are high. We want the best, and we want it now. As Sinek points out, it is not our fault alone though. Our parents tend to tell us that anything is possible, that we can achieve our wildest dreams, if only we believe in ourselves.

We often learn the hard way, that without hard work, nothing will happen. And yet, our high expectations function as a great motor once we learn how the real world works. Here is the point I disagree with Sinek: Many of us Millennials do know how to work hard. We fall a few times but get back up, taller than before. Start-ups would not happen if there weren’t people with high expectations, innovations would take longer and most importantly, people wouldn’t dare to go beyond the limits they were taught.

We want it all and we do want it now, but that only means that we will start today, fulfilling expectations we have towards ourselves and towards our work.

5. Somewhere Between Narcissism and Low Self Esteem

paradoxes of millennials

Millennials love to present themselves. You’ll see our photos all over Instagram and Facebook. You’ll see what we had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which gym we go to, who our friends are and you can basically be part of our holiday, following every second of our travels. It sure does seem like we love ourselves at the first glance.

Did you know, that many of us suffer of low self-esteem? While we put ourselves out there, we fall into a trap of constantly comparing ourselves to everyone; To the photo shopped models, to the gym freaks, to the guy that has 7 Maseratis in his garage, to the girl that does nothing but blogging about her new clothes. We are constantly confronted with people that seem to have better lives than us. We end up feeling frustrated and simply not good enough.

To give you a few numbers:

  • 7 in 10 girls think they aren’t good enough
  • 63% of boys feel a pressure from outside to look a certain way
  • 85% of the world’s population is affected by low self esteem

It might seem as if we were a very narcissist generation. We seem to present ourselves constantly, but there is more behind pretty pictures and happy smiles that no one talks about.

millennials

We are the generation of technology, thus confronted to a number of paradoxes no other generation had faced before. While it is always easier to judge and blame, it is from great importance to look at the other side of the story, at the bigger picture. I hope the couple in the tram will realize that one day. I hope that they will be able to understand our generation a bit differently at some point. If you’re a millennial reading this, I hope you find some time to add your thoughts in the comments below. We are the generation, and if we don’t explain paradoxes we deal with every day to the rest of the world, we will be confronted with criticism and little understanding continuously.

Rick and Morty Are Loved by Billionaire Elon Musk

Rick and Morty loved by Elon Musk

Rick and Morty have been entertaining their fans ever since December 2013. Currently, there are three seasons of the American animated sitcom. They follow the crazy scientist Rick and his grandson Morty on adventures through all galaxies. A short film parody of Back to The Future inspired the series. Roiland created it for the short-film festival, co-founded by Harmon, called Channel101. After Adult Swim asked Harmon for a new TV show idea, he came together with Roiland. Shortly after, the idea for Rick and Morty was born. Although some people say that it seems like a combination of The Simpsons and Futurama, many praise the series Rick and Morty for its originality and creativity. The fans love the show for its absurdity and of course the unique characters. After the sitcom’s final episode of season three, even a famous billionaire shared his love for Rick and Morty on Twitter.

Rick and MortyIf you haven’t heard of the guy that is trying to get human life on to mars while developing technologies that integrate human brains with artificial intelligence, teaching cars how to drive themselves and on top of that finds time to enjoy a good laugh watching Rick and Morty, it’s about time!

We’re talking about THE billionaire tech entrepreneur – Elon Musk.

Who Is Elon Musk?

Rick and Morty

Elon Musk was born in 1971 in the South African Capital, Pretoria. At the young age of twelve, he taught himself computer programming and went to Canada with 17 to attend University. After receiving a physics, as well as economics degree, he decided to start his PhD in applied physics and material sciences. Not even one month into it, he dropped out to follow his entrepreneurial visions. From 1995 until the present, he has been founding, co-founding and managing various projects and companies. To give you an idea about his achievements of the past years, here is a compact summary.

Elon Musk’s Life in a Nutshell

1995 – Zip2, is a software company founded by Elon and Kimbal Musk. It gave advertisers and consumers the opportunity to communicate with each other.

1999 – x.com and PayPal were introduced to the market, offering financial services and e-mail payments.

2002 – SpaceX was brought to life. It is a project with the goal to make space transportation more affordable. Elon Musk’s greater vision, however, is to make human life possible on different planets. (Currently, Elon Musk’s Roadster is up in space, has passed Mars and his heading towards Jupiter.)

2006 – Elon Musk took over a position at Tesla, a company that strives to create an entire sustainable energy ecosystems.  He is currently the CEO and also works as product architect.

2006 – Solar City, is a subsidiary of Tesla with a focus on solar power systems.

2013 – Hyperloop is a concept for high-speed transportation systems by SpaceX.

2015 – OpenAI is a non-profit AI research company. Their mission is to build safe artificial general intelligence (AGI) and spread the benefits as widely as possible.

2016 – Neuralink’s  was founded by Elon Musk and eight others. The team is trying to connect humans and computers by developing implantable brain-computer interfaces.

2016 – The Boring Company was introduced on Twitter when Musk tweeted “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”.

Rick And Morty in Musk’s Life

As you can see, it’s a pretty busy genius we’re looking at. And yet, he finds time with his kids to follow the spacey adventures of Rick and Morty. He shared on Twitter that he finds the show ‘kinda disgusting’ but him and his boys love it. Rick and Morty’s Twitter responded quickly, promising to ‘fully disgust’ the whole Musk family by the end of season three. With such a promise made, you’re probably curious of the outcome…

Rick and Morty

So here’s what Elon Musk had to say about the science-fiction sitcom’s final episode of season three:

Rick and Morty

The Plot of The Series

Rick went missing for a few years and suddenly turned up out of nowhere at his daughter’s (Beth’s) doorstep. Her husband Jerry worries because he thinks Rick is a sociopathic scientist that does insane things in their little garage. On top of that, he takes his grandchildren Morty and Summer on adventures across the whole universe, putting himself and them into crazy dangers.

Why You’ll love Rick and Morty

It’s about science, but you don’t have to be a scientist to get the jokes

Although each episode brings up a number of scientific theories, the extreme presentation will make anyone laugh. With the exaggerations of theory, emotions and storyline, Rick and Morty is not just for the science experts. Anyone will get the jokes.

Rick and Morty is creative and unique – you won’t find a show that compares

As mentioned in the beginning, some people like to describe the series as a combination of Futurama and The Simpsons. However, take some time to see it for yourself. Rick and Morty’s fans praise the sitcom for its creativity and uniqueness.

Rick and Morty’s adventures never lack action

One thing is for sure – there will not be a single episode with a boring storyline. Action and a little bit of drama will always are a guarantee.

You won’t see the end coming – always expect a twist!

With all the action, scientific craziness, a sociopathic grandpa and a not-so smart grandson, you can never predict where the story is going to end.

And now?

Grab some popcorn, watch some Rick and Morty and find out if you’ll love it as much as Elon Musk.