Category Archives: Idle Thoughts

Comparison is the thief of joy – thoughts on competition and happiness

In the famous Capuchin monkey experiments (Brosnan & de Waal), a monkey is perfectly content with cucumber as a reward. However, after seeing a neighbouring monkey receive grapes instead, it becomes angry and rejects the cucumber, refusing to perform any tasks for the previously accepted reward.

Are we humans the same? Without the knowledge that something better exists we cannot desire that thing in the first place or end up feeling jealous.

At the same time, as social beings it is important to learn from others and their experiences. Through observations about what others do, we can gain insight on how to achieve similar goals, learn from their past mistakes, and reflect on our own roles and approaches to life in relation to theirs. Comparison to some degree is inevitable when interacting with others and can help with growth through inspiration, but when it becomes a reason for competition, it can have negative effects.

Some people can become so consumed in gaining more wealth, accomplishments, fame, etc. than others that what they have is never enough. Overworking and constant dissatisfaction have obviously detrimental effects both physically and mentally on the body. Oppositely, seeing others achieve expectations and dreams that they themselves could not or have not can cause some people to accept their inadequacy or adopt a victim mentality, essentially giving up on striving (which is also unhealthy!).

Then again competition is not a bad thing. From an evolutionary perspective, competition is what has driven the billions of organisms alive on Earth to develop through all sorts of pressures in order to survive. Sometimes the strategy is to outcompete other species for resources, other times it is to achieve synergy with other species. I think humans are generally competitive by nature and seek out knowledge and technology from a drive to know and achieve more. Competition between individuals pushes for adaptation and growth that goes beyond physical survival. We compete for status, popularity, and even happiness.

“The grass is always greener on the other side.” This is particularly true when viewing content in social media that are the highlight reels of other people’s lives. Having an online presence is becoming more and more of a necessity for both everyday and professional lives and it has fundamentally changed the way we can control and distort presentation of ourselves to others. Through a glimpse of people’s lives from text updates on a new job, smiling photos, and videos of fun events it seems possible to measure up our social successes and happiness against others’.

Of course, comparison does not always mean to others ‘doing better’ but can also apply to those ‘doing worse’. I don’t think either are very helpful when the conclusion of the comparison is seen as objective truth. The metric for success is individual in that everyone has their own strengths, passions, and path to achieve what they can and want in life. And the metric for success is comparative in that there will always be someone who is better than you at something. These two statements do not negate each other.

So comparison fires up a competitive drive. That causes growth. Yet we all want to be winners. And that causes us to be less happy.

So what’s better, to be in ignorance and bliss as the monkey that only knows cucumbers as a possibility or to sacrifice a bit of joy for the knowledge that something better, like grapes, is out there?

Here is a video about the research on Capuchin monkeys and unequal pay.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Introductions

I never know how exactly to start introducing myself. Of course it depends on context, I wouldn’t begin by listing my academic achievements at a friend’s birthday dinner or by detailing my family background on the first day of work. But the safe option of “Hello my name is … and here’s what I do” sounds so unimaginative.

So I thought it would be fun to come up with a list: what are some unexpected ways that you can introduce yourself?

  1. State some things that you dislike.
  2. Describe yourself using adjectives you wouldn’t use for dating apps.
  3. Share some positive observations you have about the people around you. (How you see other people can reflect a lot about yourself.)
  4. Tell the story of your most recent failure. And what you learned from it.
  5. Talk about what you want to do in the future instead of what you are doing now or what you have done in the past.
  6. Sing or rap your way through your spiel. Dance moves optional.
  7. Be concise and engaging, but don’t mention your name.

And that’s all she could think of tonight! Trying to post daily, whatever content that might be.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Autumn Leaves

I know many people think of autumn colors and warm and cozy (browns, maroons, earthy greens), but sometimes autumn can be really vibrant and bold.:

Source: theglamoroushousewife.com/2013/09/inspired-by-autumn/

“When we look and enjoy the colour of autumn leaves we are admiring death.”

“The way I see it, the vibrancy is a last defiant showing against the cold of winter, it represents a sacrifice from a sheer will to survive.”

I guess it all depends on how you look at it.

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Inspiration Collage: For a Special Someone

“Rise above it” Fine Art Print by Amanda Cass

“Rise above it” Fine Art Print by Amanda Cass

Life is like a camera

keep your head up....

yesss

Adventure

"days are only as grey as you allow them to be."I really need to see this tonight.  Time to start over.

Shel Silverstein

Dedicated to that special Someone: I hope this has spread some sunshine for you and that you know  there are many who are always here for you.

—————————————————————————————————-

All these posts are taken from Pinterest, which unfortunately does not always have the best cited sources. For those that do not recognize his style, the poem on the left is written by Shel Silverstein, one of my favourite authors in elementary school. The new genre of combining images and quotes is a great way to inspire and would be fun to create, I imagine. I love collecting so I can read through them in low times.

Life can be tough, and comfort can be found in this medium. Hope some of these resonated with you the way they did to me.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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May 8, 2013 · 12:02 am

What Now?

I haven’t been writing much since the end of NaPoWriMo and to be quite honest with you, I don’t know the answer to this question myself. What I do know is that I cannot wait for summer and that I hope to continue writing in at least these ways:

1. Living up to my name
Posts regarding ballet as an art form, experiences of a dancer, and book reviews will return. An amazing week of a dance festival with 18 different ballet schools has left me inspired, and I am also working on reviews for two graphic novels as well as a funny biography.

2. Scholarly Series
Works I’ve written over the past few years in high school will be shared for anyone in the midst of studying Shakespeare, Lord of the Flies, Paradise Lost, literary devices, and things of that sort. Oh, and I just love the word scholar. I thought it a better replacement for the word ‘school’ or ‘student’.

3. A Big Awards Extravaganza!
It is exactly what it sounds like. Just to give you an idea of just how big, it will take at least 4 parts to be completed. I think it is only fair to share the support and generosity that I’ve received; I have many to thank and spotlight, so stay tuned!

4. Life is unexpectedly surprising
Since starting, I’ve realized that I am inspired to write about everyday occurrences and random thoughts as much as from dancing and reading. Each day can be wonderful, stressful, exhilarating, or serene, and I want to capture some of these moments. So some personal stuff will be scattered around. And yes, that heading title was repetitive.

5. Creativity continues
As I’ve said, my first NaPoWriMo was a lot of fun and I will be writing poems, though inconsistently. I love writing short stories but due to limited time, poems are often a more efficient and equally expressive choice. Creative writing is my favourite kind of writing, and I want to do more of it in the near future.

So as I’m rummaging through a box of themes and ideas, I thank you for your interest and patience in the meanderings of this blog. I know the closer we get to the end of the school year, the busier I will be, but I’ll do my best to write a post every few days.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, The happenings

Funny with a pinch of truth

After returning from a farmer’s market, my mother started telling us about a family obstacle course event that was being promoted there. It was a fundraiser to help kids suffering with addiction. The listeners nodded their heads, but most eagerly did the littlest sister, who with eyes bright with understanding said, “Ohhh, like to video games and computers right?”

I want my childhood back. And yet there’s something so true and foreboding in that innocent remark. It’s a good family car moment I want to remember.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Life, The happenings, Words

Bittersweet Nostalgia (NaPoWriMo #12)

At a best friend’s cottage.

I miss you.
But I don’t know
If it’s you,
Or the you I knew years, or even months, before.
You’ve changed.
Or maybe I’ve changed.
Or both of us have since taking our own risks and choices.
We said we’d keep in touch, but did we?
Every time I see you
A flood of memories flash before my eyes
And then I’m not sure if I’m really seeing you
And I wonder if you get this confused vision too.
Time has a funny way of dividing reality and memory.
Conversations, jokes, games, plain old sitting at the table,
I remember.
I know you do too,
Because best friends don’t forget that stuff.
Time moves on but we talk of past moments,
Precious but irrelevant to the stories we each write now.
Time has a funny way of dividing people sometimes.
I can see my nostalgic sadness reflected in your eyes.
And somehow our goodbyes
Are never-ending.
Because forever can last forever in your mind.
Until we meet again,
I just wanted to say that
I miss you.

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
-Helen Keller

*UPDATE: A few weeks after writing this post, I ran into my friend at a ballet awards show. It was a thrilling surprise and we got caught up for a few good hours. Funny how life can offer you the best coincidences… *

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Just another person, NaPoWriMo Challenge

Triduum (and Happy Easter!)

Enter a hall of candlelight and incense
A gentle chant emerges from a circle crowd of bowed heads
Old melodies float through smoke-enveloped prayers

Readings stir memories with hymns that haunt the heart
Minds remember a well known story brought forth from its dusty shelf
Trembling eyes watch it unfold, in awe of history and hope

Candle flames passed from hand to hand,
a sweeping tide of flickering lights
In a sea of little orbs, illuminated faces glow,
chasing cold night’s air away
As acapella voices break the silence of darkness
prayer

After long preparations of solemn reflection in Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, we can finally say, HAPPY EASTER! The biggest celebration of Christian religion is now truly joyful and we can now indulge from our Lenten restrains (churches must also heave a sigh of relief after that marathon of services). Today, I believe in miracles.

Regardless of your faith, I wish you all a wonderful Easter holiday and a great weekend to spend with family and friends!
Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Life, Poems, Essays, and Things, The happenings

Learning out of curiosity or requirement?

“It used to be money for education. Now it’s education for money.” My teacher said this in francais class the other day and the thought has hung around. Gaining insight and making new discoveries is a privilege. Growing up with universal education, sometimes it seems that it’s easy to forget.

(Illustration courtesy of Nate Williams at http://www.n8w.com/wp/5308)

My interpretation of the quote: people used to pay for a good education and now people use education to get paid. The focus of school is no longer to learn but to earn bigger paychecks. Maybe that is why many students see school as a burden instead of an opportunity.

In countries such as Canada, students have no limits to what they can learn. The joy of learning is lost when priceless knowledge is quantified to measurements of success and wealth.

Yes, we still pay money for good education, but not really for its own sake, but for the sake of more money. And I think it happens at the other end as well, with the education system providing resources, but also to generate some cha-chings.

Imagine if school was not mandatory. Children would still find ways to discover and explore, because the world is far too interesting. Maybe if education was seen through the eyes of curiosity, learning can be just as fun in senior years as it was finger painting and counting ladybugs in kindergarten.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Life, Words

Subway people

Teetering over on one sitting bone I glance up from my book for the station’s name to see baseball cap, beanie, and bed heads; cellphone, iPod, crossword handlers; lipsticked, bearded, and braced faces; eyes that are sleeping, alert, glazed, spectacled;  baby backpack and Longchamp holders; briefcase, hockey stick and guitar carriers… and realize I know nothing of each story but that.

SUBWAY

(The picture doesn’t correspond perfectly with what I’ve written, but it was a pretty little design, so enjoy.)

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Just another person, Life, Words