Self Improvement


The quiz is the oldest TV format of them all; the earliest TV shows were quizzes adapted from the radio.

There are probably four rules to a good quizshow:

  • The game’s got to work; there’s got to be something intrinsic about it that sustains itself, day in, day out. 
  • It has to have an element of proper jeopardy: lots of the best ones hinge around a single decision – to play on or not, to take the money or not take the money?
  • The hosts are key.
  • There’s got to be something familiar yet slightly different about them.
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Self Improvement

 2020: the year of the quiz

There was the Zoom quiz, of course: a staple of the first lockdown during which many of us combined video-conferencing technology and general knowledge in order to stay both vaguely sane and in touch with our friends. But also, TV quiz shows seem to have colonised greater chunks of the schedules.

There is an obvious practical element to this: the quiz show is filmed in a controlled and contained environment and was, therefore, from a logistical point of view, easier to bring back under pandemic conditions than drama.

Nostalgia is an important part of the pandemic. This helps to explain the appeal of Quiz and it helps to explain the appeal of quiz shows, too. 

Pre-internet, there was a premium on knowing things. And there still is. But there was also the reborn sense of television as a collective event; something people did together. Isolation has led to viewers grasping on to any form of connection with others, either virtually or within a domestic unit. Quizshows – the original interactive TV – feed into this perfectly.

  • Dealing with the anxiety of a global crisis: at a time when many of us have learned to doubt anything claiming to represent objective fact, there is a certain truth about quizzes: you are either right or wrong.
  • The certainty of knowledge: Quizshows are a reminder of something we are in danger of losing. We can all search for an answer on the phone, but having the knowledge of something is affirmation (more necessary than ever because when everything seems uncertain). 

The catch to the dilemma of non-attachment is the way we define our desires and attachments.

If we begin from a basic understanding that in life, everything is lost in the end, everything, as nothing was truly ours, the concept of non-attachment comes to light. We must be willing to accommodate the inevitable loss.

The Zen Dilemma of Non Attachment

The Eastern philosophy, which includes Zen, teaches us about desiring nothing and being attached to nothing or no one.

Being unattached to our pleasures, family and the good things in life was easy thousands of years ago, when there were few material possessions for the average person.

The dilemma is that by being actively unattached to anything, the person is attached to the belief and desire for non-attachment.

Being present isn’t something we do intentionally, but is the only state we can ever be in. What changes is how we identify ourselves, or our self. Once we detach our identity with our goals, hopes, dreams and thoughts, we begin to realize that we are just a witness, and nothing was ever truly ours.

Our clinging to our identification, or the ego, is the main problem, and we need to understand that life is a game we are playing, and there is no need to identify with our character.

The first American reality TV show

The 1973 "An American Family" was the first reality show aired on PBS. *It offered an intimate examination of a single family alongside a powerful critique of American society.

The show was aired from January to March, but it was too realistic for a TV audience accustomed to sitcom perfection.

The producer, Graig Gilbert of "An American Family", explained that the project originated in desperation. Short on work, drinking heavily and trapped in a troubled marriage, he used the idea of using the medium of a "normal" family to explain societal issues Americans faced in the early 1970s.

Viewers watched as Pat and Bill divorces and their son Lance refused to hide his homosexuality. The realisation that a "normal" family had these issues shocked critics and viewers. It survived only 12 episodes and then disappeared, only to be rediscovered by scholars later.

  • The Laud family on "An American Family" loudly complained after reviewers cast the Lauds' as hollow and problematic.
  • Viewers experienced the shock of recognition. Some viewers wrote how much they appreciated a "real" family on TV that made them feel "not alone".
  • The Lauds accused the producer of being manipulative and staging events, even though the Lauds reviewed the footage with him before each episode was aired.

While the program attracted millions of viewers, the criticism from critics and condemnation from the Lauds served to discredit producer Gilbert's work.

Today's viewers mostly understand the exaggerated and contrived aspects of reality TV, flooded with manipulative and staged dramas designed to delight or shock audiences. They feature celebrities and offer an escape from reality.

But "An American Family" was different. The producer wanted to force audiences to engage with issues that affected the American condition. He knew an accurate portrayal of an American family would shock audiences.

Bruce Lee

“Action is a high road to self-confidence and self-esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow toward it. It comes readily to most people and its rewards are tangible.”

Bruce Lee

“The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection.”

The Legend Of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, the legendary martial artist whose brief existence on planet earth spawned a cult following due to a hidden aspect of his personality: A Zen Master in disguise. His insights on the nature of life made him stand out as a unique philosopher and an integrated individual.
Bruce Lee’s private letters, notes, poems and essays provide an inside view of his mind, and are available in the book Bruce Lee: Artist For Life. He wrote about self-awareness, self-esteem, and provides original insights on the oft-heard term: Resilience.

Bruce Lee

“The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task that taxes all of the individual’s power and inner resources. We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day.”

According to Bruce Lee, our misguided grasping at our self-worth is a confusion due to us mistaking pride for self-esteem. Pride is feeling worthy for an external object, position, or accomplishment, but self-esteem is derived from our own achievements.

Pride forms due to self-rejection, and we can acquire self-worth by examining ourselves and attaining self-awareness.

Bruce Lee explains that we need to be like water and shape-shift to be able to grow in an obstacle-filled world.

We also lack self-awareness and have to rely on others to tell us who we are. Our impulse towards conformity and rigidness is our greatest mistake.

Bruce Lee

"We have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate. We cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything that has its roots in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone; we are not alone when we imitate. It is thus with most of us! We are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay."

Names are easier to remember than numbers and technical terms. It is easier for the media to report on, and for people to pay attention to, than if a hurricane was named, for example, Hurrican Two.

  • The names come in alphabetical order from a set of six lists.
  • The names used in 2020 (Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, etc.) will come around again in 2026.
  • The letters beginning with Q, U, X, Y, Z are omitted.
  • If forecasters run out of the alphabet, they turn to the Greek alphabet.
  • If a storm was particularly devastating, then those names are retired, such as Hurrican Andrew, Hugo, and Katrina.
Naming Hurricanes

Hurricanes used to be tagged with random numbers, sometimes latitude and longitude numbers, and other times they were named after the place where they came ashore.

Now, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) coordinates with the National Hurricane Center and give every tropical cyclone (hurricanes and typhoons) short, simple names.

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