Sunday, January 6, 2019

Things I learnt in 2018...

With 2019 now officially underway, I thought this would be a good time to jot down some of the lessons that I have taken from the past year.

A lot of the time, these lessons came in the form of daunting challenges, and only in hindsight did I realise what I actually gained from the experience.

Here are a few 2018 pearls that stuck out for me - some trivial, and some a little less so :)

Social media is not reality.

Social media can become a perceived reality, whereas it really serves as the perfect platform for escapism.

Anybody can post the following to social media, and a lot of us have done it:

  • Idyllic scenes of sun-baked beaches;
  • Selfies taken amidst utopian surroundings;
  • Ramblings of whatever sort, be it anger, joy, sadness, humour, or any one of a million other emotions that humans are capable of;

All of this is fine and good and what social media is meant for, but the fact is that we can never know the real truth behind anything that we see on social media platforms.
There is often no context, no background, no back story and no means of comparison.

What you see, is not necessarily what you get.

Viewing a perceived reality on social media also opens up a platform where we compare our own lives with the apparent lives of others that we see on social media.

Don't fall into this trap - the quality of your life does not depend on what others post on social media, be it positive or negative.

Be careful what you put out there.

A lot of people fail to realise the potential implications of posting the wrong thing on social media and chat platforms.

There seems to be a false sense of security that accompanies digital communication. People say things that they would never ordinarily say to someone in real life, as if they are somehow anonymous, protected or untouchable online.

The truth is very different. Once you hit the submit button, your post is out there for the world to see, forward, copy, like, retweet, or snap a screenshot of.

This is especially true for platforms like Whatsapp, where there are really no filters or moderating factors.

Just think of recent newsworthy incidents where content from supposed "private" Whatsapp groups, was forwarded to contacts outside of the group...

It only takes one person to hit forward, and the proverbial cat is most definitely out of the bag...

Think before you post.

Do not believe everything that you read, or everything that you are told.

I am not sure if fake news has always been a thing, but I sure as hell cannot recall anything even close to it when I was growing up.

It's as if the internet has suddenly become this fantasy land where anybody can become an instant journalist, as long as they purvey a story (true or false, doesn't matter) which is juicy enough to be lapped up by gullible souls the world over.

There are people online who make it their sole purpose to get up every morning and just create pure drivel.

The question is why? Perhaps a sad attempt by the drivel-creator to garner some attention in an otherwise desolate existence?

Who knows - the fact is that people lap it up, and they spread it faster than the The Black Death.

Some fake news is annoying, but otherwise harmless. Move along, nothing to see here.

It’s the other kind of fake news that really ticks me off.

The kind which has the potential to cause serious damage.

The kind which stirs up turmoil in political circles, and attempts to sow discord among peace-loving folk who want nothing more than to co-exist in harmony.

We see it in fake news articles on Facebook, or circulated on Whatsapp groups, where a clear political or personal agenda is being pushed by a specific group.

What the fake news authors seek here, is a knee-jerk reaction from gullible victims who prefer to immediately vent and rage in reply, rather than spend 2 minutes, fact-checking the BS that they just ingested.

Instead of applying some quick logic and quickly snuffing the flame, the fake news BS bomb is then rapidly forwarded, copied and pasted to every contact in existence.

IKAG is becoming a place where people request the impossible, for free.

Ahhhh IKAG.

I remember when I was first invited to join this wonderful group.

What a great concept!

Now if you don’t know what IKAG is, it stands for “I know a guy”, and it exists as a group on Facebook where you can post requests for service or product referrals, from other members in the community.

It’s great because it’s word of mouth, so the referrals are largely based on personal experience.

Of late though, I have found that a lot of IKAG posts read something like this:


I need someone who can do / supply (insert item) URGENTLY!!!

Must be excellent. No Chancers. URGENT DEADLINE. Low budget. Cheapest bidder will get the job. BUT MUST BE BEST QUALITY AND ABLE TO DELIVER BEFORE TOTALLY UNREALISTIC DEADLINE!!!


Ok ok so that’s a slight exaggeration… :)

My point is that IKAG needs to check itself, before it devolves from a truly useful online service, into something where cheapskates seem to think that they can make unrealistic demands on suppliers who are desperate for business.

Sure, specify a deadline or outline a budget, but don’t be silly about it.

Expect to pay a fair price, and expect a realistic turnaround time.

If it happens sooner or cheaper, bonus.

There is always shit to be done.

Pretty self-explanatory this one.

In my experience, no matter how hard you push, no matter how many tasks you tick off your to-do list today, no matter how many clients you see in a day, no matter what it is that you are busy with… there will always be more stuff to do.

If there isn’t, then it’s really just a case of priorities I guess – there will still be stuff, but it just isn’t as important as the stuff you just did :)

This one always hits me just as I am about to go on leave.

I usually have a list of priority tasks that need to get actioned, and I get through them all, as far as is practically possible.

Then, just as I think that I am on top of it all for once, and that I have completed all my to-do’s before I make my escape, another one / two / three… jump onto my list.

What usually ends up happening is that the extra tasks that try and jump the queue and barge onto my list, usually have to wait until I return because I simply have no capacity to complete them.

…and you know what?

They get done when I return, the world keeps on turning and business goes on as usual.

I think the trick is really in prioritising, and accepting that you will never truly have an empty to-do list.

Do not rely on weather reports…

I have come to believe that meteorologists are entitled to a seriously generous margin for error :)

For example, if the weather prediction for tomorrow is 26 with a 60% chance of rain in the afternoon, but in reality it turns out to be 32 with not a single drop of rain, well then I guess it’s just the weather and nobody can really predict the weather now can they?

But wait a second – our weather predictions are based on synoptic charts and scientific data which by now, surely in the year 2019, should have a fairly high degree of accuracy?

I can safely say that a large proportion of the weather predictions that I looked at in 2018 were either 100% incorrect, or when consulting multiple different weather services, greatly conflicted in their predictions.

There are paying jobs attached to this, remember – people earning salaries to produce data that we depend on, in order to plan our lives around the weather.

Perhaps there should be T’s and C’s in tiny print at the bottom of every weather report which state…:

“The views and opinions expressed in this weather report are not meant to be interpreted literally or used for any practical purpose at all. They are merely a guide and prediction of a potential future weather condition which may or may not occur in your area. If we are entirely wrong in our predictions, we take absolutely no responsibility at all, since nobody can really predict the weather anyway...”


Do not respond emotionally.

This one has actually served me rather well in the real world.

There will come a time when for whatever reason, someone will jump down your throat about something.

It may be work-related. It may be a family thing.

Whichever it is, your response to the situation is critical.

Our immediate response to any attack is defence.

We may feel emotions of rebuttal, and automatically find ourselves in a defensive stance, where any immediate response would almost certainly be an emotional one.

The trick here is to wait. Simply wait. Feelings of anger and defiance make this difficult, but give it a chance.

It may be 5 minutes, or for you it may be 10 minutes, 15 minutes – whatever works for you personally.

Give yourself the time to allow the emotion to wear off, after the initial incident.

Try it out next time you find yourself in a tough spot like this – after a period of just waiting, without responding, you may find that your logical mind has started to take control again.

Once logic kicks back in, and with emotion out of the picture, your response will most definitely be a thousand times better than if you had responded in pure emotion.

Of course, if you are just taking a constant beating like a punching bag, well that’s not ok.

You have bigger problems to sort out then :)

Here's to a 2019 full of only the very best things that life has to offer!


  1. Great wisdom Tibor! And remember ... SNOPES / HOAX SLAYER ... to the rescue so often - hahaha!

  2. Thank you for sharing


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