October 22, 2017

Talk Is Tough, But It's Gotta Be Done

This post has been contributed.

We live in a world that is becoming more open, free and inclusive as the years go on. There are currently parts of the world that exist in the past, where time has seemingly stood still and men and women are not all equal to one another. However, for the most part in the developed world, we are becoming more even. There is one thing in the world that most people can agree on, and this is that some topics in life are still largely untouched and are taboo to talk about. We don’t openly speak about these topics, for fear of offending or causing upset to others. The problem with this, is that topics can never move on from being taboo if we’re silent about them, and so the catch-22 continues.
The fact that in 2017 there are still subjects we shy away from addressing shows that, as a society, we do still have an awfully long way to go! If you rewind time by 100 years, you’ll find a plethora of taboo topics that are now brought up in common conversation. Homosexuality, death, sexism, racism and gender norms are some of the topics that were once forbidden to be addressed in civilised conversation. Thankfully, in the last two decades we have become far more awake to these issues and we discuss them more. Of course, not everyone is going to have the same opinion on each topic out there; we’d be a pretty boring species if we all believed in the exact same way of living. If you’ve ever watched movies like this one, you’ll know what could happen in a society where we all think the same!
There are a lot of topics out there that we do still need to speak about, however, and that is exactly the point of this article. We need to break the silence and become comfortable with talking about the uncomfortable things in life. The generations that come behind us need to come into a world that is open to talking about the hard things – it makes it far easier to have a conversation with someone if you know you can be comfortable in what you’re talking about. We’ve put together some of the taboo topics that we still avoid in current society, and why we should be breaking down barriers and getting the real issues the awareness they deserve.
Dying
Death is one of the biggest topics in the world to debate about, but it’s one that never gets spoken about enough. It’s a funny concept, given that one of the only things – aside from birth -  that is equal and guaranteed to every single human being on earth is death itself. It remains a topic of taboo, causing awkwardness, embarrassment and in some cases, denial.  As humans, we don’t like to talk about things that could potentially hurt feelings or upset, but the practicality behind it means that death is something that must be addressed before it happens and not afterward. Being practical about death means ensuring you live a life that keeps you secure; setting up a will, setting up life insurance, arranging obituaries and making a point to learn about Afterlife.co are all things that we should be doing before we die. No one wants to leave a mess behind for their family, and death can be messy. It’s emotional, upsetting and knowing how to grieve is often hard. The thing is, if we don’t discuss death with our loved ones, we can’t know how to gather our support systems that help us to cope. Open up about fears surrounding death, and you’ll find other people equally willing to discuss it, it’s just that no one wants to go first!
Disabilities
Generally, conversations that surround disabilities are about the inspiring subjects. We talk about which Paralympian is an inspiration to their generation. We talk about the person we know with a hidden illness who is soldiering on regardless. The rights surrounding disabilities, discussions about ableism and broaching the subject of accessibility – and the lack of it – are all topics that get touched upon but not discussed in depth. Those who are able talk about disability though they have no real idea about how to handle a disability and how to live with one. The trouble with disability being a taboo topic, is that no one knows how to bring it up or discuss it, meaning there is always going to be offence caused. Is it offensive to ask the reason a wheelchair is required? Probably, but learning about disability can only be done if questions are asked in the first place. For the good of those who deal with a disability – be it physical or a learning difficulty – we need to learn how to broach the topic in a way to help others understand.
Mental Health
It is only in recent years that society has moved from hiding away people with mental health issues and facing the topic itself head on. Mental health issues come in many forms, from depression, anxiety and eating disorders like anorexia, to ADHD, Asperger’s and Autism. We have only begun to scratch the surface of understanding how the human brain works, and it’s because of this that mental health is a topic to be reckoned with. The stigma that surrounds mental health issues is huge, and while we are thirty years ahead of an age we would employ electroconvulsive therapy for postnatal depression, we still do not discuss it. The main feeling with mental health issues is that they are to be shamed. We all want to be able to put on a front and show the world we can cope with whatever is thrown our way. When we cannot put on that front, we are supposed to stay hidden away and not show the world we aren’t dealing very well. It may be hard to talk about, but we need to so that we can better understand the issues.
Sex
It’s long been a topic of shame, but sex is still a highly taboo topic around the world. We publish magazines and posters with sexual content and we make new films that are increasingly racy, but when it comes to discussion, sex is off the table – so to speak. Teenagers are taught to avoid sex rather than teach them the consequences, and not just pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. No one wants to discuss the emotional consequences of sex and how such an act can affect your mental health. It’s the most natural thing in the world and without it, we wouldn’t be here. But we keep quiet and stoic about it, because it’s still viewed as a dirty topic. We need to break down that barrier and get comfortable talking about it – otherwise having children is going to be an issue!
War
Our world has been in a constant cycle of war for many years now. Countries are at each other’s throats over oil, land, gold and other issues but we often turn the other cheek and ignore it. The birth of the internet has meant that we are more in tune when the world is in conflict, as the news is given to us minute by minute. However, we support troops and cheer on our armies and commend bravery without thinking about the cost. The lives lost in war are often not the lives of the people that are being targeted, but innocent people that have nothing to do with the conflict itself and just happen to be collateral damage. We don’t discuss that part of the war, as generally it wouldn’t be in the agenda of those who fuel war. It would be nice to live in a society of total peace, but it’s not discussed enough from both sides to realise that we are all human and we can all live in one place without the fighting.
Religion
One of the biggest topics of taboo is religion. There are many of them in the world and everyone believes theirs is the ‘correct’ one. Debates always end up heated when religion is involved, because the passion of belief is very strong. Learning about the religions of others is a good way to be open and accepting of other cultures and how things are done, but opinion and ego generally win the conversation instead.

Taboo topics can only stay taboo if people refuse to open their eyes, minds and mouths and discuss them. The world itself is a work in progress, with countries still developing and opinions still taking time to become current and equal. If we all made a point of opening our mouths about the tough topics, they would no longer be tough and the barriers that are always up can be broken down. Society as a whole would be far happier if they were brave enough to be open with each other, and if you believe that your opinion is all that counts it’s time to realise you can hold more than one opinion in your mind, even if you don’t agree with it. Be bold and break the silence – goodness knows we all need to.

October 18, 2017

The Dirty Stains in Your Life That Are Difficult to Wash Out

This post has been contributed.

Dirty stains in your laundry are hard to wash out. No matter how much you scrub your clothes and apply detergent, it’s going to take a while for them to disappear. Sadly, if you try too hard to clean them out, you’ll start to damage your clothes and there will be irreparable damage. Unfortunately, this also applies to the stains we have in life too.

People do stupid things all the time. Whether it’s arguing over a disagreement, creating a misunderstanding or developing bad habits, it’s all too common to get into trouble and forever make a stain on your life.

Source: Pexels

Bad Health Habits

Smoking, drinking and stuffing yourself with fast food can all lead to an early death. Even worse, it’s usually the small unnoticeable things that cause your quality of life to lower. The problem with unhealthy habits is that you don’t notice them. For some people, it’s normal to cough all the time because their lungs are filled with tar from smoking. For people that eat too much junk food, it’s normal to have stomach problems all the time or have difficulty moving around due to their weight. These aren’t normal things, and the later you realise that you have a bad health habit, the harder it will be to erase that stain from your life. Practice healthy habits, stomp out bad habits and you’ll be able to live a long and carefree life.

Criminal Record

Whether it’s a DUI that landed you in hot water or an argument that got personal, it’s surprisingly easy to get a criminal record. This can have a serious effect on your ability to find work in the future, and you may feel guilty for something you’ve done that was ultimately your fault. It’s best to try and get out of these situations as early as possible, but there are times when you get into trouble with the authorities due to someone else’s negligence. Don’t let these people push the blame onto you, call a defense lawyer to fight in your corner so you don’t end up with a criminal record for no reason. If you’re adamant that something wasn’t your fault, there’s no reason not to argue your case. A criminal record can become a deep stain on your life, so wash it out early to prevent it from settling in.

Poor Credit History

Are you good with money? Do you get a lot of extra income from hobbies in addition to your main job? Then you’re probably financially secure and have no real troubles managing your money. However, for the rest of us, money can become a struggle. Whether it’s low wages or bad budgeting, it’s important to take your financial situation seriously. If you have poor credit history, then you’ll have trouble securing loans in the future or funding for a business venture. Poor credit sticks with you for a long time, so make sure you erase it early by managing your money properly.

September 21, 2017

Making Reading Into Something You Love

This post has been contributed.

Close-up of Woman Hand With Coffee Cup on Table

A lot of people wish that they could consider themselves to be a book person. The idea of spending sunny afternoons outside and reading a good book sounds very romantic, and most people will enjoy the idea of it. Of course, though, when it actually comes to it, reading can often be a chore. People will buy books with intention of reading them, and they will never leave the bookshelf. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. With the right methods, you can build yourself into a true bookworm, and this post is here to help you out.

Before you start working on something like this, it can be worth thinking about the reasons for doing it in the first place. In a lot of cases, people want to read because they like the idea of taking on a new form of entertainment. Along with this, though, reading can provide some excellent benefits. For one, it will promote brain health, while also increasing your own vocabulary and creative abilities. Of course, this is without even considering that most people find reading fun once they get into it.

To start off, the main aim you should have on your mind is making reading nice and easy for yourself. Most people won’t want to do something which they find hard for leisure, instead choosing things which come very naturally to them. Finding reading hard can make it very boring. So, to help you out, you could consider looking for help from a company like EffortlessEnglishClub.com. With the resources to improve your reading skills, options like these will be plenty to get most people on the right track.

A lot of people find that their biggest reason for ignoring books is that they don’t have time for them. In reality, though, you have as much time as you’re willing to spare for something like this. In most cases, people spend a lot of their free time indulging in entertainment like television or browsing the web. By replacing things like this with reading, you can slowly build habits which bring it into your normal life. It might be hard to alter the things you enjoy, but, eventually, reading will take over.

Finally, it’s time to think about one of the biggest reasons people get put off from reading a book; they don’t like what they’re reading. There are loads of different genres and styles of writing out there. Often, it can be a simple matter of finding the books you love before you can start getting immersed in them. To do this, try reading book reviews and looking at different authors. Eventually, you’ll find something you like.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what can be done when you’re trying to encourage your inner bookworm to come out and play. In a lot of cases, not wanting to read is just a simple matter of not knowing what to read. But, with the work above, you should find it a lot easier.

July 03, 2017

You can't kill our myths, without replacing them.

Modern thinkers are quick to try and extinguish the myths of our pasts, but often do so without replacing these stories with new ones for us to believe in. Today’s science fiction, media and literature leans far more dystopian than utopian. Far more Orwellian than Platonic. Far more fearful about the horror humans may inevitably create than excited about what our collective human ingenuity will inevitably engineer. If your goal is to get us to separate ourselves from archaic and antiquated stories, you must give us a new one to enter. One that gets us excited for what’s to come. A vision for a heaven we can all start building together.

July 02, 2017

Jesus was not America's Founding Father

If you see American flags in your church service today, be wary. For today is a day all too many American churches mistakenly conflate Jesus with a Founding Father, and attribute America's prosperity to its cultural christianity. When the global correlation between Christian populations and national prosperity is weak at best. America is rich because of World War II, uniquely amazing agricultural conditions, and unfortunately, slavery. So let's wave our flags this weekend, but not toward Jesus. His is a different freedom.

May 20, 2017

The VOID Ghostbusters: Dimension - A Review

She ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

About a year ago, Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired, said the most profound Virtual Reality he’s ever experienced was a private prototype at the headquarters of The VOID in Lindon, Utah (just 20 miles from our house). Through the next week, they’ve opened their Ghostbusters: Dimension experience to the public. Slimer and Stay Puft make an appearance, and the sensory experience is absolutely wild. From the pulsing and mist of ghosts flying through you, to balancing on a shaky rig outside a skyscraper. I’ve never experienced anything like that, except maybe real life. I’ve drunk the Ecto Cool-Aid. VR, I’m in.

May 17, 2017

No. There Is No Way YOU Should Write A Book.

This post has been contributed.

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Everyone has a book in them. That’s how the infamous phrase reads. Unfortunately, most people stop reading there and fail to read the second half that sentence; everyone has a book in them, but that’s where it should stay. We know, we know, we’re supposed to encourage people to write books, to tell their story and add to the culture of this world. But the truth is, most people who want to write a book should not.

It’s not so much that the idea of the book is bad. It may well be genius, the next 1984 or Casino Royale or, maybe even, The Great Gatsby. Even so, the reason why most people shouldn’t write a book is the motivation behind wanting to because most people want to write for extremely bad reasons.

So, if you are thinking about putting your fingertips to keyboard, please pause for a moment to consider whether you are writing for a bad reason before doing so. This is for your benefit because writing for bad reasons tends to lead to bad writing, and bad writing leads to bad books.

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You Want To Be A Famous Author
We have all wanted to be Charles Bukowski or Hunter S Thompson or Virginia Woolf, but this isn’t the right mentality to have when writing a book. These people are icons because of who they are and they time in which they wrote what they wrote. They were in a sentence far more than you can ever know. They changed social thinking with each and every sentence they threw themselves into. This isn’t the whole reason, though. Yeah, sure, there are famous authors, like those we mentioned, but the majority of famous authors are dead and the majority of living authors are unknown. The bottom line is this, writing doesn’t make you famous, even a best-seller doesn’t make you famous. So it is time to rethink your goal.

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You Want To Live The Life Of A Writer
What does that even mean? Most writers we know, the ones that have been doing it steadily for years and years, haven’t been on holiday since they picked up a pen and still rely on the bank of mum and dad. They are in their late 40s and early 50s. Writing because you have seen someone put #writerslife on Instagram while at the beach, or because you want to wear a tweed jacket and get drunk on whisky and ice is a foolish reason to start writing. You will only suffer a miserable existence if this is your goal, and you will deserve that suffering. To live the writer’s life of success and freedom requires serious hard work and dedication, and it relies on you writing something of value, that others will find interesting. A life is what you make it, and that starts with you. So figure out who you are first.

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You Are Writing For You And You Alone
Don’t get us wrong, when you write a book you need to write the book you want to read. It is simple as that. If you don’t love what you have written then you can’t expect anyone else to love it. However, if you are simply writing for you, then you are confusing a book with a diary. There is nothing wrong with this. Writing for you is a wonderful way to expand as a person and to meditate and heal, but that’s all it should be. Don’t release your words. If you are just writing for you, then leave it at that. Write, put it in a drawer, and keep it for you. Or you can write a book that is actually a book that people will want to read, which is different to a diary. Trust us on that.