Information is everything

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Last weekend, I sat down to tinker with my thoughts; to evaluate how the past month went. After a while, I discovered that every important decision I made was dependent on the information I had at the time.

Information is the lifeblood of every decision. It is at the root of everything. We depend on information to make decisions, solve problems and resolve uncertainty.

In this Information Age, information is ubiquitous and more accessible to virtually everyone. We are overwhelmed by the abundance of information at our disposal.

Everything that informs our world – music, writing, movies, news etc – can be described as information. According to Business Dictionary, Information is described as data that is accurate and timely, specific and organized for a purpose, presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance, and can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty.

For instance, if you don’t read the instructions on your exam paper (information given by the examiners) before proceeding to answer the questions, you are likely to misunderstand the questions.

Information is an integral part of our lives; it can affect a behaviour or an outcome. Those with accurate, reliable and timely information have an advantage over others.

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Scientifically, information defines who we are. Every individual possesses a genetic code, which is the biochemical basis of heredity. This genetic code serves as biochemical instructions that translates the genetic information in one’s DNA or messenger RNA sequences into amino acids for synthesis of protein. Pardon my use of medical jargon.

Information can be facts, opinions and/or assertions. Our relationships, including marriage, is based on facts and/or opinions. It is hard to know everything about an individual so one tries to make a smart judgement based on facts and opinions and not a risky one based only on opinions.

Information provides knowledge. Knowledge is a prequisite for success and power. I am yet to see a rich man that doesn’t have information/knowledge. By sharing his/her knowledge, he acquires more wealth and power.

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However, information can be disastrous when there is an overload. Differentiating between good and bad information requires skill, patience and practice.

In this school of life, everybody is a researcher and every researcher is in dire need of information for his/her research to be successful. When you find this information, evaluate if it is good information. Successful research is based on having good information and then using it to make the right decisions.

Information is everywhere; the challenge is to make good use of it.

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Desperation

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Every football fan looks forward to transfer deadline day as varied teams make last-ditch efforts to save their season. European clubs scamper to get certain deals over the line before midnight of September 1 (this year the times varied).

The transfer deadline day gives one a practical insight into desperation. Fans/managers are desperate to see new players walk through the door at their respective clubs.

This year, we saw Manchester United break the transfer record for a teenager as they coughed out £36m (which could rise to €58m) for 19-year-old Anthony Martial from AS Monaco. This may sound like a calculated risk to the management of Manchester United due to the huge potential of young Martial but the truth is that he is a panic buy, purchased to solve United’s striking problem – an act of desperation.

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Desperation is marked by despair and a strong desire. It is unattractive to most people..maybe everyone. It is easy to decipher; it can be spotted from miles away.

Once you appear desperate, you become an easy prey. Desperation often impairs one’s rational and critical thoughts hence affecting his/her judgement. No wonder the Irish describe ‘desperate’ as something very bad.

To be fair, it is hard for one not to be desperate in this clime after some period of anguish and despair. Our economy is in a worrisome state; corruption rules the day, unemployment is at all-time high and most of the employed ones are underemployed and underpaid.

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For example, you just married the love of your life and have a baby on the way but you have no job because you were sacked from your last job. You have bills to pay, responsibilities to meet but you don’t have money to pay or meet them. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t get desperate after a while?

Also, just like job search, quest for true love can often result in desperation. It is that time for you to settle down so you attend every wedding and register on every dating site till you give into desperation. Being too eager and needy can backfire and creep people out.

Desperation often leads to self-destruction. Desperate people rarely make good decisions. They lower their value in the eyes of others and tend to settle for anything.

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Desperation is never a good negotiating tactic. It makes one over-react and over-price a product or service just like Manchester United. It is okay to be desperate for a job/love/product/service – whatever it may be – but it is important to maintain your cool. You don’t have to act like you are.

Tottenham Hotspur supremo David Levy is known for his calm and collected approach to transfer negotiations. In the end, his counterparts become frustrated and buy his players at an inflated price.

On the contrary, desperation can also be a good thing – like a springboard to productivity. This may sound weird to many but believe it. Some people develop overnight courage and spring to action when they are desperate. After all, you know what they say “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

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About 3,000 Syrian migrants have already died this year in the Mediterranean as they try to escape the violence in Syria but that hasn’t stopped others from migrating to Europe. When you are desperate, you leave your comfort zone and embrace your last resort.

Nothing matters to you other than this moment. You can’t second guess yourself when you have run out of options. This can give one a certain kind of power. It shows us who we really are; whether we are complacent or willing to go far. Hear Evan Esar, “Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, DESPERATION, perspiration, and inspiration.”

It is good to be full of zing but moderation is key. Once you act cool and collected, your confidence will rub off on people hence making you attractive. Desperation is like a dirt on the wall – cover it up with paint and it’s all good!

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Overthinking kills

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As humans, we think all the time, consciously and subconsciously. Thinking is a wonderful tool for education. It helps us generate information that can motivate and inspire us.

However, sometimes we get stuck worrying about something that happened or something that will happen. Some are constantly worrying about posting the perfect picture on social media, analyzing people’s statuses, spend much time thinking about to tweet or wondering why someone just unfollowed them on Instagram.

We all over-think in one way or another. Whether it is general worries about the future, self-worth, decisions or regrets, we are often overwhelmed by our own thoughts as we try to analyse our steps from every angle imaginable.

As we over-think, we become stuck in our heads; we fear being wrong. We become rooted in fear, doubt and uncertainty. The human mind abhors uncertainty.

Uncertainty implies danger so we try to take cover and protect ourselves. Over-thinking often comes with paranoia. Everything seems more dangerous than it actually is.

For instance, you have a crush on someone but you are afraid to make the move because you are uncertain of what his/her response would be. So you over-think approaching the person and making your feelings known and in the end, convince yourself it is best not to say anything.

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Also, when one is diagnosed with certain ailments or has certain symptoms, s/he over-thinks and believes the wall is closing in on him/her. One fears the uncertainty surrounding his/her future because of the sickness. As a result, over-thinking kills faster than the sickness itself.

When we over-think, we focus on what if instead of what is and this can have  a devastating effect on our health. We become engrossed in our own thoughts and emotions that we zone out and become numb to people, places, and things around us. We lose our identity; we forget who we are.

Knowledge is a wonderful tool but too much of it can make one over-think and paranoid. When faced with difficult decisions, we try to acquire information from our environment, friends and family. We generate many possible solutions to a particular problem that we succumb to over-thinking.

Over-thinking gets you nowhere. It can kill your happiness. If you are over-thinking an experience, limiting the number of people you talk with can help you think soundly. The best thing you can do if/when you over-think is take action and take a step forward.

Everybody is going to over-think and over-analyse once in a while but it is best to minimise these thoughts and make them productive.

Are you an over-thinker?

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Procrastination: Good And Bad

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I have been trying to write this article since my last post but procrastination got the best of me and I’ve found myself giving excuses why I shouldn’t.

Sounds familiar? I guess so. You have something important to get done but you keep putting it off till the very last minute.

We are all guilty of procrastination – one way or another. Everybody procrastinates at some point for a variety of reasons, some of which are unconvincing to anyone including ourselves.

Procrastination is a bad habit that can prevent one from meeting his/her deadline or preparing well for an exam/meeting/interview. As a result, it is a basic tool for prioritisation and time management.

As students, we procrastinate for assignments, dissertation, thesis and/or exam at some point. For instance, it’s exam time and you’ve planned to make most of your day but at the end of the day you find out that you’ve actually read for just an hour and wasted time sleeping, watching television, cleaning your room, calling your friends/family, surfing the net, chatting or whatever other diversion you can devise.

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We try to avoid doing an important task by becoming involved with less important tasks. In the end, we feel guilty, race against time and thence put ourselves under unnecessary pressure/stress due to our fire-brigade approach to things.

Fear may be the reason why we procrastinate. The fear of failure or success can prevent one from doing a task even when s/he knows s/he should. We are often afraid to start a task because it appears tedious, or don’t know how/where to start, or feel our effort will not be appreciated.

Fear can make one anxious when faced with a task but imagine the adrenaline rush one feels when a deadline for an important task (that will not be completed because of procrastination) is around the corner. We often procrastinate to avoid stress but are faced with even more stress, anxiety, shame and guilt in the long run.

Completing your work on time gives one a sense of strength, peace of mind and self-control. It saves you from receiving an earful from your boss and also, mental stress which be harmful to your health.

However, procrastination isn’t always a bad thing; it can be a good thing. It is sometimes good to procrastinate. Sometimes it is good to delay life decisions; take a step back, relax and think the whole thing through.

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Sometimes we can get too emotionally attached to a problem and become psychologically drained to come up with a solution. For instance, replying a mail or SMS when one is angry can make one regret his/her actions but procrastination can help one come up with the most useful answer.

Procrastination can give you a break from work which is actually a good thing. Being glued to your work can leave you stressed and out of ideas. Procrastination helps you to take some time out to re-energise thereby improving the quality of your work.

During my Master’s degree, I found my dissertation hectic. I spent months trying to find the solution to a problem. Surprisingly, the solution came to me when/where I least expected it. I took my foot off the pedal, travelled and came up with a solution whilst taking a shower.

Procrastination is a natural phenomenon. Some tasks will always be more important than others on our scale of preference. We have to purposefully prioritise the important ones and defer the less important ones.

Procrastination becomes a problem when it is used as a form of escape from reality or when it diminishes productivity. Learn to procrastinate well.

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Choices & Consequences

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As human beings, we are given the mantle to decipher and choose between good and evil. Everyday, we try to sense what’s right and what’s wrong and make a choice between the two.

Making a choice is one of the most difficult tasks we face. For instance, imagine you are trying to decide whether to marry that man or woman, decide whether to resign from your current job and further your education abroad or continue with the job, choose between two careers/jobs, these choices can be very hard to make.

Even if one chooses to seek the advice of a friend/loved one or ally, in the end it is up to YOU to make the final decision. Life choices are hard to make because of the uncertainty that accompanies them.

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We try to evaluate the options available to us before making a decision. We make choices based on the information at our disposal at that particular time. Life choices are like investments; one tries not to make a risky investment based on opinions but a smart one based on facts & opinions.

Choice and consequences are the central concepts affecting decision making. To every action, there is equal and opposite reaction. Every choice we make in life, whether good or bad, right or wrong, wise or foolish carries maximum consequences.

Our choices have a huge impact on our lives; they can either make or mar us. Our choices determine who and what we are in life whether in the short or long run. We are forced to live with the consequences of our choices.

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However, accepting consequences of our actions can be a bitter pill to swallow for some. Rather than blame themselves, many prefer to blame others for their woes after all it is much easier to do so. Taking responsibility of the consequences of our choices says a lot about one’s character.

We all make choices but in the end, our choices make or mar us. No one is immune to the consequences of his/her actions.

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