Self Improvement


Wellington - the capital city of New Zealand

The bayside city has a population of about 200,000 people. It has red cable cars and its Old Government Building - constructed in 1876 - is still one of the world's largest wooden structures. Wellington is known as one of the easiest places in the world to start a business.

Legend has it that the Māori chief Kupe first discovered the city's site in the late 10th century. After noticing the location for trade, an English colonel purchased the land in 1839 for the British settlers.



Self Improvement

New Zealand has no agreed-upon "Independence Day." The country's sovereignty came about gradually, with main events in 1857, 1907, 1947, and 1987. In 1987, New Zealand revoked all residual UK legislative power.

By 1886, most of the non-Māori residents were New Zealand-born and not British immigrants. By 1896, New Zealand had over 700,000 British immigrants and descendants, and about 40,000 Māori.

Political power used to be concentrated mainly among the royal family, while most people, male and female, lacked a voice in political decisions. When a wave of democratisation in the 19th century expanded to include men, women were denied the right to vote because it was believed that they were suited only to the domestic sphere.

But, by the late 19th century, as more women entered professional fields, women were seen as more able to participate in the public sphere.

In 1891 - 1893, suffragettes such as Kate Sheppard gathered signatures and compiled a series of massive petitions calling on parliament to enact female suffrage. The 1893 petition for female suffrage gained over 24,000 signatures that were submitted to the parliament in Wellington.

New Zealand's men supported the suffrage movement. As a "colonial frontier" country, New Zealand had far more men than women and believed that an influx of women would stabilise the society. Women were thought to be morally superior, and that a society where women could vote would increase morality.

In 1893, New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. It was revolutionary at the time.

Since then, New Zealand has had three female prime ministers. Women have held each of New Zealand's key constitutional positions in government. New Zealand has also had a female governor-general, speaker of the House of Representatives, attorney general, and chief justice.

Hip Hop Education

In The US, there is a growing movement towards Hip Hop education, with the music style which is generally associated with breakdance and graffiti being used for self-expression, better social life, fitness and professional development.

Hip hop music has mostly been a patchwork of sample tracks from other songs, and the same philosophy has been a part of various schools and universities in the US, where it is encouraged to pick and choose ideas from other places rather than sticking to a rigid formula.

Engaging critically in sociological concepts (like female genital mutilation, honour killings, forced marriage) using spoken word, rap, dialogue and similar mediums of expression is the staple of many workshops.

Political and cultural discussions can be taught and discussed using hip hop, as many pop artists and activists use this catchy medium to garner attention to causes that are relevant in today’s world.

Beyoncé, for instance, used her Super Bowl performance to highlight issues faced by black people. Young adults learn much faster if the medium of expression and style used is familiar and entertaining.

Paris: Home of the Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was a movement that promoted values of reason, evidence-based knowledge, free inquiry, individual liberty, humanism, limited government, and the separation of church and state.

18th century Paris served as a place for intellectual discourse where philosophes birthed the Age of Enlightenment. Paris earned the nickname "the City of Light."

Paris is France's capital. With over two million residents, it is the most populous city today.

Since the 17th century, Paris continues to serve as a significant centre of diplomacy, commerce, high fashion, cuisine, science, and the arts. It is known as a top tourist destination, famed for its architectural landmarks, museums, restaurants, and atmosphere. Paris is also a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons.

  • Paris began as a small settlement on the Seine river banks. Paris gets its name from the Parisii, an Iron Age Celtic tribe, who fortified the area around 225BCE.
  • In 52 BCE, the Romans conquered the site and named it March of the Parisii.
  • By the 5th century CE, the Franks took control over Paris and made it their capital.
  • In 843 CE, the kingdom of Francia split. East Francia became the predecessor state to Germany while West Francia became the early version of the Kingdom of France.

In the 18th century, intellectual discourse moved from universities to coffeehouses and salons where debate of politics and philosophy took place.

Here, nobles and other wealthy financiers intermingled with artists, writers, and philosophers seeking patronage and opportunities to discuss their work. Controversial philosophers who were denied the intellectual freedom to explore their ideas could gather here and develop their critiques of existing norms and institutions.

During the 1760s, the first modern restaurants emerged in France. In 1782, Antoine Beauvilliers (1754–1817), the pastry chef to the future Louis XVIII, opened the first fine-dining establishment in Paris.

French cuisine remains a significant cultural achievement.

Funding and feedback by salon patrons encouraged philosophers to put their ideas on paper.

  • In 1748, Montesquieu published Spirit of the Laws, which advocated a separation of governmental powers.
  • In 1751, Diderot helped create the Encyclopédie, among the first modern, general-purpose encyclopedias.
  • In 1759, Voltaire published Candide, a sarcastic novella banned for its criticisms of religious and political institutions.
  • In 1762, Rousseau published The Social Contract, a censored work which argued that laws should reflect the "will of the people" and that monarchs have no "divine right" to rule.
  • Paris became among the first cities to install gas street lighting in the 19th century.
  • During the19th century artistic achievements reached new highs with marvels such as the Eiffel Tower, impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.
  • Influential painters include Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Henri Rousseau, and Vincent Van Gogh.
  • Well-known writers of that era include Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas.
Experiencing social anxiety on social media

Social media has many good qualities but is also fraught with challenges for people who are socially anxious. They may feel as self-conscious as they would face to face. They may think that they don't have anything to say, that they come across as boring, or that people may think they're stupid.

These fears affect how people behave, causing them to hold back and hide their true selves. In turn, it makes them feel even more boring or quiet, making them share even less about themselves.

Rather than attending to the conversation at hand, socially anxious people are focused on themselves and continually monitor how they're coming across. They assume the worst about themselves.

When chatting to someone online, try to focus on the other person. Actively listen rather than thinking about how you look or sound. Actively enjoy what is out there. When on a video call, minimise your own image to help you focus more on the conversation.

Don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others on social media. You may think they have endless fun or seem very popular, but, in reality, social media gives a small glimpse into somebody else's life.

When you find yourself playing comparison games, stop and ask yourself if it is helping you. Do you see the whole picture or just a small fraction of their life? Then try to focus your attention away from social media.

If you find yourself holding back from taking part in social media, ask what you would tell friends who have the same concern. You'd probably encourage them to give it a go. The same is true for you.

Join in a bit more during group chats. Try share something on social media, even if you just share somebody else's post. Try not to monitor how many 'likes' you've received. Move forward and focus on something else.

If you post something online and wonder why nobody 'like' it, or worry that what you wrote was stupid, try to think about it differently

People might have missed your post because of the sheer volume of content they scrolled through, not because there was anything wrong with your post. Remember that your self-critical thoughts are your thoughts, not what others think of you.

There is an attention-training exercise that can reduce the feeling of anxiety.

Spend a few minutes each day practising the following:

  • Listen to all the sound around you - the people chattering, birds singing, the sound of traffic.
  • Look around you and try to notice colours and shadows. You may notice different shades of green or interesting shapes of shadows.
  • Play a music track and practice listening to one instrument at a time.

These small practices can help you move your attention to something different, rather than being focused on yourself.

When Socializing Is A Chore

Social interaction takes up many cognitive resources and is depleting.

Studies find that extroverted behaviour makes people happier but fatigued after just a few hours.

Introverts don’t like to spend their precious energy on people they don’t get along with anyway and may have a certain social group where they are as active as extroverts.

This makes the case of no one really being a stereotypical introvert or extrovert, but just a complex human being with varied behaviour.

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