Opinions

Let's talk about this.

I’m not going to talk about me, I’m going to talk about my opinions.

But for the sake of you understanding these opinions, and also because I believe that when you know absolutely nothing about someone, this someone is immediately less believable, I’m going to introduce myself.

So, I am Francesca, Swiss, turning seventeen next month. I presently live in Zürich, to learn to speak German. Normally, I live in Lausanne, so I usually speak French. Thus, I hope you will excuse any English mistakes that could sneak into my posts. I live with my father (in Lausanne, not right now). My mother died about three years ago. The only reason why I talk about this in my first post is that it changed my vision of the world quite radically, and that you might understand my opinions better if you know about it. I study maths and physics, and I’m rather nerdy, to be honest. I love science-fiction, video games, rock music (and music in general), drawing, robotics, and some other random stuff. You will probably find out about this if you read this blog.

I’d like to repeat that this site is not about my life or about me, but about my opinion on stuff, and topics that I find interesting. However, I am pretty sure I will use some examples in my posts, probably situations that I lived through. Sooo I guess you will have to read through some rambling about random things that happened (or are happening) to me, even if it isn’t the primary function of this blog. Also, I want you to tell me if you don’t agree with me. I created this page to discuss, not just to expose what I think. Constructive criticism is also welcome. Just avoid comments like “dis iz stupid lolol!!1!!1!one”. Thanks.

If you already know me, maybe you should not be reading this. I guess I’m going to be quite honest on here, and if you’re an important part of my life, I might talk about you. I won’t mention any names, obviously, but you might recognize yourself. If you think you can handle it, go ahead! If not, well you will have to give up on reading this really entertaining site! How sad. (If you are this cousin of mine who encouraged me to write about politics and polemical stuff on here, keep on reading! It’s partly your fault if this page of boring walls of text exists, and you’re probably the only person who’s going to read it, so enjoy.)

That’s it! Hope you’ll like my blog. See you in my next post.

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Opportunities

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately. About self-improvement, making the best out of what you have, et cetera et cetera. And basically, I’ve been trying to figure out ways of boosting your chances to take advantage of the right opportunities. To take advantage of a lot of them. I’ve been reading about it too. There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there on the internet if you just peep around, actually!

I’ve always had problems taking advantage of opportunities. Not big ones, but just the average, everyday opportunity, if I can put it that way. I always spend time doing absolutely nothing, or just messing around on Youtube or any social network out there. I’ve been trying to change this for a while, but I was never really active about it.

Some time ago, though, I self-slapped myself in the face quite unexpectedly. While talking to some guy I don’t really know. I simply caught myself being ashamed of my lifestyle and habits. People I meet are always quite impressed by my „curriculum vitae“, mainly because I only talk about what I’ve done and not about what I haven’t (obviously, right? :-P). I mean, telling people you’ve been in a robotics club since you were ten, and that you’re the one who got all the people together to create it sounds kind of cool to me. But recently, I realized I don’t really think I deserve to impress people.

For most people, getting their first diploma is something to be proud of. As of myself…I just feel like someone took a piece of paper and wrote „Congratulations, you’ve been sitting on this chair in your class for five years not giving a damn! Now you get a certificate for it.“ on it. I understood I don’t feel rewarded because I wasn’t satisfied with my own work. It doesn’t matter if the Swiss educational system was. You should always try to be happy with yourself, no matter if other people say you’ve already done enough or you should do more. Of course, if you need a certain grade to pass and you’re satisfied with an inferior one, it might be wise to try just a little harder. But I think if you want to be happy, regardless of being successful, your own opinion matters more than that of others.

And to be happy, you should set a goal and take all the opportunities that will lead you to fulfill it. For me, it would mean trying to take part in all the possible activities in my free time so I wouldn’t be left doing nothing. I would probably just be happier with myself then. For you, it might be going to the gym to lose weight (commonplace example), or to take up a class to get good in a certain domain. It all depends on the goal you set yourself.

I probably make it sound easy when, actually, it can be very complicated to get out of a routine and do something new. It can be frightening, or basically require more of an effort than just staying the same (this is true in most cases, if not all cases).

First, to set a goal you want to reach, you need to be aware that you need to change. You might feel unhappy but have no idea why. You might think your misery is caused by social or financial factors, but most of the time, it’s just because you’re not happy with yourself. Not to forget that the factors themselves are influenced by what you do.

We’re humans, and thus always going to try to convince ourselves we’re fine and something else needs to change, even if we can have moments of „lucidity“, where we see we need to do something about it. I have to say that being too hard on yourself won’t help you at all. You’ll just feel unsatisfied no matter what happens, and end up being even more depressed than at the beginning.

I’m the kind of person that always tries to do too much at once, and that (of course) always turns out to be unable to achieve my unrealistic goals. You should start small and go from there. I once read that auto-discipline builds up just like a muscle. You need to lift „weights“ that are near your limit, but not above it to actually progress. (I’m borrowing this metaphor from Steve Pavlina, a link to his website will be included below.)

You need to be open and looking to and for opportunities to take advantage of them. If you don’t see an opportunity, it won’t lead you to much. Keep looking for things that could lead you one step closer to your goal, and don’t hesitate too much to take advantage of them. Most of the time, if you wait for some time, the opportunity will simply disappear. The period of time varies, but it can’t be a bad thing to be able to make decisions quickly, right?

But how are you supposed to take decisions quickly if they’re important? Well, some guys (mainly Dan Gilbert) have lead some research, and said that we overestimate the impact of our choices on our happiness massively. I was pretty impressed when some guy I barely knew sent me the link to the speech (which will be included below) Gilbert gave about the subject. It’s a really interesting study. I personally also think that we always have a possibility to change our mind (or at least the
outcome of our choice) if we really want to, even if it takes a lot of time and effort. So don’t be afraid!

The last piece of advice I can give you is to actually create opportunities yourself. If there’s something you want to do, actively try to get to do it. I mean, if you want to take part in an event, and never ask the organizers about it, you’ll never know if you could’ve been a part of it. You need to take risks, even if the risk in my example is practically zero. What’s the worst that could happen? You could get disappointed. And that’s a risk worth taking.

With all of that said, advice never really quite works. You need to figure things out by yourself to really apply them. The thing is, said advice can make you think about the problem in different ways, or just think about it more. And I’m glad if I can do just that. There’s some great writers out there that can make you truly understand things. If I can get you even a little closer to the person you want to be, I’m happy.

Take care, people. Thanks for reading.

Want someone else’s opinion?

Steve Pavlina’s opinion (on self-discipline and willpower, and using them correctly)

Dan Gilbert’s opinion (and speech about happiness)

Steve(of Do Something Cool)’s opinion (and guide to taking advantage of opportunities)

David Wong(of Cracked)’s opinion

Brb.

I didn’t write in a long time, but I’ll come back to it soon. I think about posting everyday and I have ideas and drafts. I just don’t really want to rush things, because I think my posts could be genuinely interesting if I take the necessary amount of time to write them. I document myself before writing, and plan on adding some kind of a “read more” part to every post… I hope the few people who read my blog will like it. 🙂 I will also not have my computer for a while, the screen is broken (whoops.) so I’ll have to send it to the customer service or something like that.

Have a nice day everyone, you’ll hear from me again soon!

Hi dad, I’m writing this instead of cooking. Heh.

Willpower

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Since I started this other page (advertisement never hurts, does it ), people started looking at this one again. I can’t help but see the emptiness that’s filling it (clever oxymora eh?) and the fact that I don’t know how to make up for that. I think I’m just not that good with keeping up something consistent. I constantly change subjects and never managed to, as an example, write any kind of a story.

The only kind of texts I keep getting back to are diaries. And I recently found out about this theory about happiness. Somebody, somewhere over the Internet, said that keeping a journal of only good things helps you feel happier.

And, obviously, I tried it.

I found out day after day that I wrote down more and more into my “journal of nice things”. It made me really glad to see how many good things happened to me in one day. And it made time pass by slower too. At the end of the day, I would just spend ten minutes sitting there and thinking back at every enjoyable moment of the past 12 hours. It would go from “Today I got up with the first ring of my alarm clock” to “I realized how lucky I am in my life“. I really recommend trying this.

The problem is, I’m just the kind of person that lacks auto-discipline, and that, as mentioned earlier, doesn’t manage to be consistent with anything. After just a week of keeping this diary, I got kind of bored by it, and just stopped writing stuff down.

If writing down nice things isn’t nice anymore, it kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Anyway, all of this was just to say that I think auto-discipline is one of the most useful qualities over-all. I really envy people who have a strong willpower, to be honest.

We probably all were in a situation where we felt like we really wanted or needed to do something, but never actually got around to doing it. I, for example, find it really satisfying to master the maths subjects I study at school, but it requires quite a lot of effort. And after 20 minutes of work, I just think “f*ck it” and leave it all as it is.

I think everyone of us needs some kind of goal to strive for, some kind of dream, of motivation. I have dreams, but they never seem to be important enough in my eyes for me to really fight for them.

I hope all of you out there have a dream worth fighting for, wether it’s getting to marry a beautiful woman or becoming a respected scientist, or just being happy.

Whenever you feel lost, just think about this dream, this very reason you keep on going. (I’m getting all inspirational there ;-)!) And hopefully, you will find your path again.

Take care folks.

Clichés and prejudices

Oh, the irony. This is a very cliché subject, isn’t it?

I dislike premade ideas, clichés and prejudices. At least, that’s what I like to say. When I really think about it, I realise how many things seem obvious to me when they aren’t. I try not to judge people just because of how they look, but to what extent can that work? I believe our mind is conditioned by the world we live in, and that it’s really hard to avoid having prejudices. I’m not talking about anything in particular, prejudices can be positive as well as negative, and concern different aspects : skin color, haircut, style of dress, number of languages spoken, home country, taste in beer, number of unicorns owned. (Because why the hell not?) I, for example, tend to think that black people have a greater chance of being good singers (that might be true as well…), tend to have a bigger empathy for Anglophones, tend to dislike superficial looking girls. I don’t know why. I guess most people have their own prejudices, but I still think we should try to fight them and to give everyone a chance. You can dislike someone, but only when you’ve tried to like him/her first. That’s more or less the way I see things, but I don’t always manage to act like this, unfortunately.

Anyway, I have a good example to prove my point, I think. So here goes. I have been in some conventions about video games, mangas and Japan. I’ve met loads of different people there, but a majority of this kind of… “goth” community. I don’t really like using this term to define them, because, again, it’s a bit of a cliché. But I just want people to know what I talk about, and I hope it works this way. So, most of the “goth” people I met get angry at “douchebags” because they have prejudices and judge “goth” people because of their style. And then they make fun of the “douchebags”. Because of how they dress and behave. I always thought this was very ironic. “These people are so mean, they make fun of our style, they don’t even know us and think we’re stupid. Besides, look at their dumb shoes! I’m sure they’re retarded or something.” I don’t think there’s anything to add to that, it just speaks for itself to me.

All I want to say is don’t let prejudices get the better of you, try to get to know people before forming an opinion on them. This was the rosy-cuty message for today. Short post but I’m kind of tired. And I wanted to write about that, but didn’t really plan any content. Anyhow, I’ll try to write more soon, see you next time! And thanks for reading.

 

Dreams vs. Reality

Have you already traded an enjoyable but real situation for perfect dreams? I have. And I will probably regret it forever.

The best example is the perfect guy/girl syndrome. You meet this person, he/she is perfect. But you have someone already. Then you surprise yourself thinking about how much better it could be with the person you just met. Then you don’t want to stay with your boyfriend/girlfriend anymore. Then you regret it, either because the dream guy/girl isn’t that perfect after all, or because he/she isn’t interested in you.

There’s a quote about that in the film “500 days of Summer”. At some point, some of the characters answer questions about love, in a sort of little interview-type thing. Paul starts describing how the girl of his dreams would be different from his girlfriend. Then he simply says : “Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She’s real.

This is the simplest and most obvious example that comes to my head when I think about the dreams vs. reality thing. But it works for a lot of other things. You could move into a new house and end up regretting the old one, because you had illusions over how great the new place was, and because you realize it has no real advantages over the old one.

There is another meaning for the title of the article. Not only it could mean the trade between dreams and reality. It could also mean the illusions you have about something, and the disappointment you get when you realize what you imagined isn’t true. This happened to me, although I’m quite sure it happened to pretty much everybody on earth.

Have you ever seen some food that looked extremely delicious and actually tasted disgusting? That’s exactly what I mean.

The thing you have to remember is : If something is hidden, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Most humans have a tendency to imagine that what they wish to see is true. Illusions make us take decisions that we could regret afterwards. Useful tip? You decide. Pretty obvious one, that’s all I know.

Ideals are like that too. I have very exaggerated ideals, for example a completely even repartition of resources on planet Earth. I know this would be completely impossible, but it’s still something that I would consider perfect.

Sorry if this article doesn’t really have a point, but I am just throwing random thought on here to reduce the emptiness that filled this blog for too long. I also wrote it like an interpretation tentative of the title. The thing is, I wrote something that was (kind of) interesting, and it didn’t get saved, so I got annoyed. Anyway, will write something a bit more constructive soon. Don’t worry. (Not like anybody is following this blog avidly, anyway. Just trying to make it feel a bit professional… And probably failing.)

See you!