Self Improvement


The pandemic has changed the way we look at the world. It renewed a love of indoor glamour and outdoor spaces. It also changed the way we relate to our homes.

Homes have become multifunctional. For some, that meant clearing away the extras, but for others, that meant surrounding themselves with beautiful things that make them feel safe and comfortable.



Self Improvement

Cluttercore is creative chaos

Cluttercore is a new interior design movement. It is not associated with mess and untidiness but rather an intentional approach to organised clutter.

Cluttercore is about loving all the beautiful things that you already own. The objects capture a story and are a reflection of who you are. This joyful maximalism offers vibrant colour and texture, patterns and prints.

Minimalism has dominated design media, where people are advised to get rid of items from their homes that don't "spark joy". But it couldn't last forever. Many people feel that they can't live that way.

In contrast, cluttercore proponents admit that they have a lot of stuff they have collected and take pleasure in arranging them in interesting ways.

Wealthier nations are prone to rid themselves of tons of unwanted stuff every year, often dumping the items on poorer countries that lack the infrastructure to deal with it. Cluttercore counters the explosion of "stuff."

Just because an item doesn't spark joy now doesn't mean that you won't like it in the future. It gives us a reason to keep it as each item has a story. They are part of our lives.

Overt Social Curiosity

  • It means having an underlying interest in knowing what makes other people tick and other people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
  • Having OSC is a link to healthy psychological outcomes such as open-mindedness and agreeableness.

Covert Social Curiosity

  • The information gathered about other people with CSC is through indirect means of discovering what other people are like such as gossiping or snooping.
  • Those who have CSC have less adaptive psychological outcomes.
The Four Types of Curious People
  1. The Fascinated - These are people who scored high on all dimensions of curiosity, most especially joyous exploration.
  2. The Problem Solvers - They are high on deprivation sensitivity while medium on other dimensions.
  3. The Empathizers - They are high on social curiosity while being medium on other dimensions; and
  4. The Avoiders - which are low on all dimensions, particularly stress tolerance.
  1. Joyous Exploration: It is a dimension where an individual recognizes the desire to seek out new knowledge and information with a subsequent joy of learning.
  2. Deprivation Sensitivity: This dimension has a distinct emotional tone where anxiety and tension are more prominent than joy. We often ponder abstract and complex ideas, create solutions for problems, and reduce the gaps in our knowledge.
  3. Stress Tolerance: This dimension is all about the willingness of an individual to embrace the distressing feelings that come with exploring new and unexpected events.
  4. Social Curiosity: This dimension is an individual's interest in knowing about what other people are thinking and doing through observation, making social gestures, or listening to conversations.
  5. Thrill Seeking: This dimension shows the willingness of a person to take the physical, social, and financial risks in order to acquire experiences they are curious about.
Before MTV: Video milestones

In the years that followed MTV, hit songs and their accompanying music videos would become linked in the minds of music fans.

But the format of music videos precedes MTV. There is an evolutionary chart that dates back nearly a century.

1894: "The little lost child"

In 1894, two clothing salesmen, that also had a side business as songwriters, came up with a novel way to sell the sheet music to "The Little Lost Child."

They hired an electrician to create a series of "magic lantern" slide projections of photos to accompany performances of the song. They sold two million copies of the sheet music.

1929-1938: "Screen songs"

Fleischer Studios produced a series of "Screen Songs" from 1929 - 1938. It was the first short films created to illustrate popular songs.

The animated shorts featured the frolics of funny animals and other cartoon archetypes set to songs. Many included a bouncing ball above the lyrics that encouraged theatre-goers to sing along.

1929: "St. Louis Blues"

With the advent of "the talkies" in the late 1920s, musical numbers became part of cinema.

"St. Louis Blues" was one of the first short films made to showcase a preexisting song, starring Bessie Smith. While "Screen Songs" introduced the idea of pairing a song with a visual sequence, "St. Louis Blues" pushed the idea along that a singer's aura can be encased in a short, music-driven film.

1956: "Stranger in Paradise"

In 1956, Tony Bennett's record label filmed the first music video of the golden-voiced vocalist walking through Hyde Park in London.

He set the footage to the hit version of "Stranger in Paradise" and distributed the clip to TV stations in the U.K. and U.S.

1959: The video jukebox

The video jukebox that played Technicolor films were installed in bars across the world.

Two rival companies began selling similar "video jukebox" devices at the same time. The one was a Cinebox in Italy - the other the Scopitone in France. Both had three-minute films of famous musicians that guaranteed to get people's attention in a bar.

The Beatles' promotional videos 1965

The Beatles started producing promotional videos in 1965 for their singles to fulfil the demands of every Top of the Pops or American Bandstand-style show across the world that wanted to book them.

They started with "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" but improved over time, with "Penny Lane" using horses across a grand city scene.

1970: The Now Explosion

In the 1970s, The Now Explosion was a 28-hour, free-wheeling TV program in Atlanta that seemed to pioneer MTV and the YouTube mashup edit.

The idea was to try and replicate Top 40 radio on a UHF station. For a brief period, The Now Explosion was very successful, but later the idea proved to be financially unsustainable.

1974-1987: Countdown

In Australia, the government-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) introduced Countdown, a weekly showcase of lip-synched performances and music videos.

Countdown could promptly make a song a hit. The show lasted until 1987 when competitors like the imported MTV, overwhelmed it in the marketplace.

1975: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

The promotional video that accompanied Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' single was probably the start of the music video. Previous promo clips were mostly about the band, but "Bohemian Rhapsody" was about the song.

The video spared the band from trying to recreate the complex composition live on TV. The band controlled how their song was presented on TV, something an MTV-era musician would take for granted.

1978: "Video Concert Hall"

USA Network, one of the first cable channels, began using the library of music material from record labels to fill its programming hours. The network started a segment called "Video Concert Hall" in 1978 where they simply played promotional videos and concert clips.

Another early cable network, Nickelodeon, tried a music video show called PopClips.

Why We Fail To Finish Projects

There are many reasons why we begin projects but never finish them, and many of them actually have nothing to do with laziness, a lack of dedication, or an inability to follow through on something.

A lot of us probably fall into another category: those who struggle with the middle parts of a task.

The first part is never the hardest part: the middle is way harder than the beginning.

We almost always talk about the start (of a project, a habit, a diet etc.) and ignore the finish. We have popular phrases like, “Well begun is half-done,” or “The hardest part of any journey is the first step,” but that’s not even a little true.

A lot of people set goals that are too big. And most people judge their goals as an all-or-nothing process.

So start by setting a realistic goal that you know how to reach. If and after you achieve it, nothing’s stopping you from taking it to the next level, with all the extra confidence boost that comes with completing something.

Career changes are daunting

Career changes are some of the biggest shifts we will make. They often involve some retraining and will impact your personal life.

When you manage the situation through the lens of a few mental models, you can clarify which direction to go and find a path to get there.

Change will never be right unless it aligns with what you want to get out of life.

Do you know where you want to go? There's no point just moving at speed without knowing where you want to go. When you articulate your desired direction, you give yourself a clear purpose in your career.

Once you know where you want to be, work backwards to where you are now. Carefully consider all the steps in-between in reverse order.

Once you identify your requirements, you can use that list to evaluate opportunities.

Knowing what skills you already have will reveal what you can repurpose.

We often fail to realize how versatile our existing experience is. Being good at presenting the monthly status update doesn't mean that you're good at presenting monthly status updates. It means you can articulate yourself well, analyze information for a diverse audience, and build networks to get the correct information. Consider what else those skills can be used for.

To find out what your dream job will be like, try to get an accurate picture of what the day-to-day is like. No job is 100% fulfilling all of the time.

Talk to people doing the job you want. Talk to people in the organization. Talk to the ones that enjoy it and to the ones who quit.

Once you know what direction you want, planning for change is vital.

Two models are useful to help us identify what we need to plan.

  • Global and local maxima. It refers to the high values in a mathematical function and can be applied in switching careers. Sometimes you have to go down a hill to climb up a new one. To move from a local maximum to a higher peak, you have to go through a valley. This means that sometimes steps down can also be steps forward.
  • Activation energy. It requires you to think about what you need between now and your desired result. Then consider the effort needed for sustained change.

Once you have narrowed down your options for a new career,, consider these questions: Which one would you bet on for being the better choice one year later? How much are you willing to bet on it?

Doing this exercise will not guarantee that any choice will be the right one. It helps you quantify your thinking based on the knowledge you do have available.

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