The Things I've Learnt From Russell Brand

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Whilst on my travels I've been watching a few Russell Brand YouTube videos recommended by a friend. Russell has got deeply bearded and philosophical about life, like we all do when we encroach on middle age. 

I thought I'd share with you some of the things I've picked up from listening to his podcast, Under the Skin, and his counselling sessions on YouTube. 

ON ATTACHMENT 

From Russell..

"People forming attachments to people. We only notice the negative ones. Negative attachment suggests that you're drawn to people that don't make you feel good about yourself. 

We then get involved in a cycle of relationships that you're unable to break often through fear. 'If I leave this relationship I won’t survive'. You need support from your need mentors that have been there and have overcome it. You need to help cultivate your sense that you have the resources in you to overcome it. A bit of self-belief, a bit of intestinal fortitude." 

What I did

It was an eye opener for me. I've been drawn to the wrong flame for a while. Constantly going back for more hurt, like I know it awaits. Like it has a welcome mat laid out for me alone. 

So I took Russell's advice. I called on some people I knew that had been through this. Asked them what kind of resources did they call upon to get over such mental hurdles. One friend said he forced himself to write down 100 things about himself that made him unique. 

He then made a list every day of ten positive things he had done. Even if they were little things like 10 press ups. Or called an old friend. It filling out that list it would make him look for positive and productive actions. 

That's what you need to turn things around. Change your mental landscape. 

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HOLDING A GRUDGE 

What Russell says.. 

"Holding a grudge. It's a resentment, its serious thing. If you have a grudge, loads of people in my past, the relationships I had, didn't end it the way I wanted it to. 

People live in a world with instincts, people have collisions. 

We forgive them. It's our job to forgive them. We forgive them. Don't say it to them, say it to yourself. 

Got a grudge you used to be in a relationship with, did I do anything to them, was I negligent? If you're willing to make amends, then you'll find you move forward in your ability to forgive." 

What I did.. 

I have been thinking recently of people that have done me a 'disservice'. People have come after me this year, I've spoken about that in previous blogs. I have to forgive them. I can't waste any more energy on bitter thoughts. 

I am capable of forgiveness so I've employed that facet of my nature. Conversely I've also talked openly about my misgivings. My flaws and the things I've done wrong that might have invite this level of hatred. I feel like I've forgiven myself in the process. Time to move on. I'm a shark baby, need to keep moving forward. 

LAZYNESS

What Russell says.. 

"What about the Rock and Mark Wahlberg getting up at 3am to do push ups in cryo chambers. 

It’s hard to get up at 7am. I'd like to stay in bed. I love to be cosy and snug. Don't we all. But then those feelings are always followed by anxiety and depression that you should be doing something else. 

There's moral attachment to actions and objects. The work ethic is intrinsically linked to morality, the dream of individualism from inner self you manifest these great lives, the apex of human achievements. It's very American isn't it. 

But then you look at cats and dogs doing nothing bugger all. And they're doing as good as you.

Laziness a nihilism. A personal nihilism. What's the point in doing anything. It's ok to rest, relax, important to have discipline. Find your own standards, abide by them. 

Laziness is only relevant if you feel you're not fulfilling your potential."

What I Did.. 

I've learned to accept that I can't get around to doing everything. I've made my peace with that. I wanted to release a podcast last year. Bought all the gear, did all the research. even interviewed my first guest. But there are only a certain amount of hours in the day. I couldn't allocate any time to it. 

This isn't because I'm lazy. I didn't do it because I couldn't be arsed. Similarly I'm not on holiday to avoid work. I'm working believe me. I just post the idyllic Instagram posts to throw you all off the scent. 

What I learned from Russell Brand was to abide by my own rules. Implement my own disciplines. I won't ever be lazy, but I need to learn that it's ok to sleep in once in a while. Not all of us want to get up at 3am. Screw that. 

 

Mental Health | Why Social Media Can be the Catalyst

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It's been a whirlwind few weeks for me. Most of you may have guessed that something was afoot from the dogged-dour undertones in my latest stories and Instagram posts. As the old adage goes, you never really know you're on top of the mountain until you're sliding down, and conversely, never know you're in a pit, until you're forced to climb your way out. 

This past week the eyes of the world have turned to Mental Health. It seems weird that as a society we only allocate one day of the year to focus on this blithe. I've developed my entire brand around social media. In a way it defines me, it emboldens me, whilst simultaneously being a saboteur of my sanity. 

I'm sure we all know that feeling of needing attention, but there is no catharsis for the out-bleeding of emotions on social media. Although we've come to depend on that short-sweet spike of attention that comes with a flurry of likes and comments, it pales in comparison to an arm around the shoulder.

It lacks any form of nourishment and in the end, the virtual family we've become so heavily dependent on to prop us up with that false sense of appreciation, eviscerates. It compounds our hollowness as we're constantly looking for it to satiate something illusory.

Put simply, Social Media is purely a crux, a servitude for our boundless narcissism. It's not equipped to tackle nor cure such complex personal issues such as depression, heartbreak or loneliness. 

That's not to say that Social Media doesn't have it's upticks. Who's to say a simple comment or like can't be anodyne to ones insecurities or loneliness? I've carved out a career around Social Media. It keeps the lights on here in the Thompson household and both Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege (founders of Instagram) can sit at the head of my dinner table anytime. 

For the greater good we must appreciate the very essence of what Social Media has imbued into our day to day lives. People are less likely to slip through the cracks of life now that we have a more connected society.

For example, how many times have you seen someone post or share news on a missing person or pet? I love the quote a criminologist from Florida used citing Social Media as the new milk carton campaign to find missing teens.

As a business tool it of course helps my outreach, but it also inspires me to do better. It's a fine balance, somedays social media makes my life feel a little anaemic that I'm not in that perfect relationship, on that amazing holiday, wearing that awesome coat. But conversely, we all need things to aspire to. So long as those aspirations and expectations are realistic. 

 

Christ this supposed to be a blog on positivity and gratitude Carl! 

I'll get to that at the bottom. My five things that have helped me but first I'd like to refer you to a video that has been doing the rounds, all the words in this video have resonated with me so thank you Steven Bartlett. 

Steve talks pointedly about social media being the biggest killer of relationships today. It was simpler times for our parents and grandparents that never had to combat the perils of having a thousand and one 'keenly filtered faces' being one coquettish DM away from having your partners knickers down. It's something that Steve so aptly names 'the illusion of choice'. 

The choice is another thing that magically disappears once your now re-indexed from forbidden fruit to rebound-damaged goods. 

But the biggest takeaways I got from the Steven Bartlett video was how we've now mistakenly identified what a true relationship looks like. If you took a myopic-digital analysis of all relationships it would probably look like every moment was lived on a Hollywood movie set.

You'd be drowned in a cacophony of balcony shots overlooking the Eiffel Tower or Lake Como. It would sound like the constant 'clinking' of champagne flutes and every photo would be lauded with saccharin lovey-dovey sentiments. 

No wonder we're so surprised when people break up these days. No arguments are documented online, no trouble on the home front can ever be exposed to the masses. 

"I don't get it you two seemed perfect together. You were the most romantic of couples, always declaring your unbridled affection for each other, what happened?" 

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How do I turn my life around? 

Don't take it so personally

That's right snowflakes, it's not always about you. It's sometimes about the other party not having the god damn self-awareness to know they've turned you down. Oh unrequited is the worst word in the English language isn't it? Followed by, not feeling that spark. Urggggh. Girls, keep on searching for that illusive spark. Is it a thing or have you just seen it on someone else honeymoon reel? 

Find the humour

It's the best medicine, trust me. Have a glance through your rolodex, pick out your friends you know that will cheer you up. They're probably the worst listeners also, which is fine. You're not seeking to unload all your crap onto them. You call on them to do the opposite, take your mind off it. 

Absolute radio silence

In my experience the fastest and easiest way get over a breakup is to go cold-turkey. I’ve got a really stubborn side to my personality that actually makes this possible without the need for blocking but I have to be honest, I’ve cracked and it’s most often after a few too many drinks.

However as I’m offering advice here…no more back and forth on the text, checking you're ok, wishing you happiness and all that. A clean break is what you need. If you think, 'Maybe I didn't try hard enough to keep her, I should fight more for this relationship' then you've watched too many Bridget Jones Diary movies.  

Get to work - be like Liam Neeson 

Get in shape. If you're already in shape get in better shape. The exercise will tire you out so you're not watching box sets 'til 4 in the morning. If you're already making money, make more money and revel in it. Do everything and more. Liam Neeson never turned a single script after his wife died. 

Be grateful, it's not the end of the world

Someone else is having a worse day than you. Jesus Christ did you see that story from New York about that Limo crashing on the way to a birthday party, killing all 18 people inside and two pedestrians. Four sisters died in that crash, you imagine being a parent to that? I know right, your problems aren't worth sh*t in comparison to that. 

How do you Know a Relationship is Exclusive?

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Ever wondered whether you're actually going out with a girl, or just so happen to be on a string of consecutive dates? Is there any way of knowing whether it's ok to hedge your bets and date other women? How do you know if she's not going on any other dates? 

I got a move for you. On the fifth date, if it's still unclear and you have an awkward break in conversation where you're groping to find something to say that's not lecherous or borne of misogyny, ask her if it's ok to set you up on a date with her sister. Then you'll know if it's exclusive or not. Of course I jest. Or do I? Seriously, it's a minefield out there. 

I can't speak on behalf of women. So for all the ladies reading, this is how you know that a man is waiting for the go-codes on whether you’re exclusive or not.

  1. He's invited you to leave your stuff in his house. Amazingly 36 per cent of Brits have deliberately left something at a date’s house in order to give them an excuse to return. I refer you to a very incisive article in The Independent by Rachel Hosie who has done her research on this one. 
     
  2. He's added you on every available social media channel. He's probably also following you in real life or has paid someone to. He wants to know what's going on, where you are, who you're hanging with. Bless him he's crazy about you. He'll certainly tag you in a few posts.
     
  3. He's calling you by something other than your name. And I don't mean fraudulently calling you by your sister’s name in the middle of some horizontal jogging. He wants to cement some idiosyncrasies into the relationship to give its own identity. If you like him, you'll inevitably do the same.
     
  4. He'll get a little weird. Perfectly normal this. He might be winding up to tell you that he's ‘all in’ with you (poker analogy). And when dudes have something bottled up, when they're out of their comfort zone they lose composure. So look for signs of him being tuned out (he's probably rehearsing the big 'are we seeing anyone else' speech in his head), clammy hands, general nervousness.
     
  5. He’ll ask you round about questions. Like ‘what can I tell people when they ask me about you’. If he’s man enough he’ll come straight out with it. Ladies remember to be nice but ruthless. If you can see it’s an iniquitous relationship, I.E you’re not into him as much as he’s into you, then don’t tag him along.