How do we fix this problem?

How do we fix this problem? If you ever sit down and talk to someone about any number of topics, this question will inevitably come up. How do we fix government? How do we fix education? How do we fix society (yes, I have been asked this!)?

It’s a tough question. A lot of the systems we have in place were designed and implemented for a different time, a different world. Take education for example; the current education system was designed to train kids to become productive factory workers. Teachers today do their best to train kids for a modern work in an archaic system.

Can a system such as this be fixed? Or does it need to be completely redesigned from the ground up? If we were to completely redesign it, how would we do it, who would do it and why should we let them?

There are no easy answers to these questions, and over the next few posts, I’m going to try and explore some ideas I have. Will they be solutions? Almost definitely not, I will probably end up asking more questions that I answer, but such is the nature of how I think.

Return

Yes, ThNoughts is returning.

I know the blog was especially popular or have many followers on it’s first iteration, and it was quickly abandoned. But now I’m back, and dedicated to improve not only myself, but also the blog .

Look forward to more updates in the future.

Meaning of employment

I’ve been unemployed for coming up on three weeks now. This unemployment period is not one I foresaw coming. I thought I was onto a good thing, but suddenly there was a quick change in company direction and my office was closed. I had a week’s notice.

I’m not bitter. I think the decision was the right one for the company. I don’t hold the owners responsible, they are good people and have to act with the best intentions of their business, their product.

What really strikes me, though, is the impact the job search can have on you. In my previous spells of unemployment, as with this one, I have swung from supreme optimism and believe in myself and my skills, to plumbing the depths of despair, self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. Like a sine wave, I often hit the peaks and dips in succession, sometimes multiple times in a day.

I wonder about this, and why this happens. Is it societal pressure? We often judge people by their job. People working in an old fashioned industry strike us as old fashioned and conservative, people who work in Google or Facebook are cool, cutting edge while baristas are clearly hipsters.

This experience is really trying to tell me something. I need to figure out what I want from my job, what employment means to me and if I’m willing to work in a “crappy” job in order to achieve my goals outside of work. For me, is a job a means to an end, or is it a central pillar of my life that I need to enjoy in order to feel content?

Responsibility of artists?

Last Tuesday night I was at a concert in Dublin. The artist was a major international recording artist, with millions of fans worldwide. I had bought the tickets for my wife for Christmas, and I thought she would take someone else, but she didn’t. I was lucky; she choose to take me, I was able to see this incredible performer live and in person, and I know many of her fans will never be able to afford the (quite high) ticket price to go see her.

With that in mind, I want to bring something up. Our tickets said the performance start at 8:00pm. At 7:45pm a “warm-up” act came on and finished by 8:15pm. It was about 9:35pm before the main act started. 95 minutes late, nearly 80 minutes after the “warm-up” act finished.

There was no communication from either the artist or the venue about the delay. Why was she so late? Why not apologise? Why didn’t she apologise once she actually got on stage? Why didn’t someone, anyone, explain or so something?

I think this shows an arrogance. A lack of respect for her fans. Sure, I’m a drop in a sea of fans, but I can’t have been the only one annoyed by the events of that evening. These artists are where they are because of their fans, fans who have paid a lot of money to see them, to buy their tshirts, buy their music and promote them.

Is it a lack of gratitude on behalf of the artist? Is it a lack of respect? A disconnectedness from the fans? Arrogance? I don’t know what it is. But from now on, every time I hear this artist (even during her performance) say thanks guys, you mean so much to me, and profess to love her fans, I will think back to this night, remember what happened, and I won’t believe her.

Data & Analytics

I like data. Sometimes I think of myself as a “data guy”, but I know I’m not really. My understanding is rudimentary at best, non-existent at worse. Having said that, I know that most people could be given data and from that data extrapolate some kind of meaning.

Take the proliferation of wearable fitness devices. Some measure only simple things, like the number of steps taken. I would like to think that most people would be able to look at the data generated by these devices and make semi-informed decisions. For example, they see the number of steps they’ve walked everyday has decreased, so they push themselves to walk more.

A rather simplistic example.

Recently I read an article about data and analytics in the only sport I watch regularly; football (or soccer for American readers). Players have GPS data taken, heart rate monitors for the whole time they’re on a pitch. Incredible use of technology. But what if this technology was brought into your office, your place of work? The company could theoretically see how much time you spend at your desk, or away from it in the kitchen. Could this inform their promotion decisions? Do they see your heart rate rise when your around a particularly attractive employee of the opposite sex? Maybe they move you to a different department to prevent the distraction.

I don’t know if that’s exciting or scary. Probably a bit of both.

Context

For some reason, context has been in my mind a lot, and is increasingly becoming an answer to many questions.

I think it all started when I began exploring exercise and nutrition. Robb Wolf often answers questions on his podcast with a simple phrase; “Who are you, and what do you want to do?”

This answer looks deceptively easy. But really, it’s key to many things. How so? Let’s take a look at some simple examples.

Free weights vs machines: Who are you? I don’t think I would recommend free weights to a massively obese person who can barely move without pain.

Is rice better than potatoes? What are your goals, your budget, which is cheaper or more readily available, what’s your workout schedule like?

Books or eBooks? Where do you live? How many books do you read? Do you need to travel a lot?

I’ll go into some of these in more depth in the future. In addition I have one or two examples from other fields that are too long to go into here. But it’s a start.

Why?

Why start a blog?

Simple.

I want to work my way through various issues, ideas and thoughts as they come to me, or even things that I have fully thought through. I want to explore how my thought process works, and try to come to some conclusions. Writing will help me do that.

Why publish it in a blog?

Well, to create some accountability. Hopefully to encourage people to question me and how I think.

Will I always respond to comments? Maybe, maybe not. What might happen is your comment will force me to go back to rethink and issue, and I might revisit it. Where else can I do that?

This is why I started a blog.

Who am I?

I don’t think this is a necessarily important question for the purpose of this blog. Do you need a name to identify me? Does a series of weird noises you make with your mouth change the way you read these words? Maybe some of you know who I am, because we’re friends in real life and I asked you to visit.

Perhaps, over time my personality will come through what I write. Perhaps not. But for now, here’s some information about me that might help set the stage:

I am under 30.
I am married.
I have lived overseas for a number of years and have just returned home.
I studied business in college.
I currently work in the tech industry.

In time, I will explore different thoughts that will expand on these things. Perhaps you’ll be able to see how this background has influenced my way of thinking. Perhaps not. Only time will tell.

Who are you?