'Merica & Kiwiland

‘Merica; Land of the Free… and I’ll warrant the tempted and hungry. More on that later. 

Polite, kind, supportive, invested, honest, open and truthful get-up-and-goers- ‘Mericans tickle me pink. My friends here are fun, and they indulge their inner children. I love that. There is an abundance of genuine pleasantries in the United States. Doors are held open, I hear ‘thank you’s’, ‘please’s’, ‘Ma’am’s, ‘Sir’s’ and other kindnesses. I have conversations on the street corner, I stop and am invited into occurrences in passing, I am welcomed into people’s homes, businesses and places of recreation and gatherings with affection; and I experience hospitality the way it used to be. Traditional, yes, Sir, ‘Merica is traditional; it’s really refreshin’. 

It has also put into perspective how unique and diverse our family systems are in Kiwiland- we are quite avant-guard in comparison to other Western countries; we are much more unorthodox than most realise; aaand because of misinformation broadcast to us by the powers that be, it’s no wonder we have an identity crisis and lack solidarity. Our collective identity as ‘New Zelanders’ is fractured into ethnic groups and a screaming class system. We are can be very modern, we can be very relaxed in some aspects, but we are also very divisive. We have outdated impressions, stereotypical media ones and misappropriated governmental ones. I don't think as a collective we really know who or what we are or where we want to go as a group. 

New York City; one of my favourite cities, you are just a small stop on this adventure. Predominantly I have been in Florida, in Long Island and now upstate New York; Duchess County. MYYY GAWWD that last one has enraptured me. An myyyy GAWWD am I thankful to be back for a reprise in the provinces. This US experience has given me a much different perspective on the Untied citizens- and one which has made me happy with a new appreciation for this population.

It’s a different side to ‘Merica that I see this time around. It was fourteen years ago I was last here- a whipper snapper let loose in New York city for two and a half weeks to experience the Art World, visit famous galleries and meet with established and famous creatives. A lot has changed. My adventure in 2003 was 2 1/2 years after the September 11th massacre.  But rather than sadness there was a great amount of hope, a huge amount of fizz and a lot of passion directed to going forwards and recovering from what had happened. 

New York was LOUD- and really fuckin sassy- it was my kinda place at that point. It’s a much quieter city now 14 years later; actually shockingly so. It feels muzzled to me, unfortunately it kinda feels a little more like any other big city. People are plugged in; with headphones and necks bent their energies are directed internal and overwhelmingly down. There is much less chatter, there is no honking of the cabs and the mega corporations have squeezed out family owned businesses. There is a feeling.. a funny feeling of loss. That big city ache yeah, ya see it in peoples faces, ya can feel it in the air. The high’s are bigger here, but the low’s equally cavernous. Cities have a way of amplifying emotion and experience; they can be the best of places and they can be Hell on Earth- it can be a dog-eat-dog kinda world out there with a very small buffer zone. I felt last time that was moderated by people’s expressions and authenticity of behaviour. New Yorkians told it like it was. That release valve of an outburst seemed to put a place to natural order- it legitimised the complexities of living in this rat-race and lattice of high-rises. Now without this presence, it has been replaced with a simmer, with a glare. This aside, it’s addictive, a sensory explosion and a place of indulgence for the intellect, the mind and the pocket. 

Traveling – Leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
— Adeeb Alhasanat 

I’m nostalgic?- perhaps, sometimes the stories which are woven are not always of light and laughter. It can be confronting what we can see if we are able to make comparisons. Unfortunately, it is one of the sadder parts of travel I find, seeing what was and what now is; making comparisons with how things were and how they now are… maybe that’s why I’m always going places I haven't before. Familiarity makes my perspective of digging deep to look as with child’s eyes; with wonder and amusement, a little more complex. Sometimes, it can be a battle not to be jaded- it takes a lot of work to choose to look for the good in places without comparison to the past.. a technique well utilised upon ourselves and others as they grow also. 

Being a motobabe; driving and riding around the world, gives me a huge amount of experience within different culture’s driving styles and systems. America is fair with a rather accurate assessment of safe speeds to drive on their roads. Or perhaps this is explained better from the other end. In NZ, our corners are marked a particular speed. A skilled driver knows that at times they can be taken 10 or 20km faster than this with correct road positioning, acceleration and condition appraisal. It doesn’t build a sense of faith within the transport system when you know the information being provided to you is inaccurate or overly cautious. Cars are being built safer, to handle greater speeds, and humans are more skilled and trained drivers.

Overseas countries (in particular Italy) takes these considerations into account within their infrastructures. There are toll roads which allow those who want to travel at higher speeds the luxury to do so, there is ‘margin of error’ accounted for within measuring speeds, there is acceptance within drivers to keep right to let others pass if they want to. There is an educated and mature approach to human process i.e. excellerating out of a corner or overtaking another vehicle, and, thus an educated and mature approach to speeding infringements. E.g 4km (2.4 miles) over the speed limit is not warrant for a $60 fine. Adjacent to another project of mine, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with a Sherif about the strategies and systems they employ over here in New York to uphold standards yet be fair within them. * I’ll have ya note I’m not writing this because I have a problem with tickets- I’ve never been issued a speeding ticket by a police officer, I like fairness and I'm not a fan of people being set up to fail. Anxiety can be personally crippling, but it also causes other obstructions.

Post publishing this blog I came across this relevant article on the 13th of Oct '17 in the Dominion Post.

As a motorcyclist it is immensely dangerous to be nervous or panicky about being 4km over the limit. Doing stupid reactions like slamming ones brakes on after seeing a cop or camera can have catastrophic repercussions- plus it’s totally useless, they’ve already got you on radar by the time you see them- however it's not going to win you point by not shaving off that speed- it's about unfair margins. It’s not great being behind a car which decides to do shock braking either- I always have a large following distance precisely for these occurrences and because more time, gives one more space for reaction.. to annnything.

Travellers to NZ, be warned of ‘zero tolerance’. Perhaps we should look a this in a broader context eh.. I would argue we have a rather ‘zero tolerance’ to a lot of things. 

Here’s a controversial one for you. We are getting more access, experience and training within cars which are engineered for better handling and have more advanced safety features. With more people travelling internationally, and more people being exposed to driving in different environments we are all become increasingly confident and skilled, each generation improving upon the former. Why are our systems not taking this is into consideration? Why is there excessive moderation? These slogans about ‘speed kills’ are not entirely true- there are many states here in America where the speed limit has been slowly increased (75mph/ 120km.. and even up to 85mph/ 137km) with no increase in fatalities. In the US and other countries I have visited, there is an emphasis on monitoring and improving routes, roads and freeways; in NZ we upgrade infrastructure but we lack a reassessment of the quality of these new resources. Or another way to look at it is that we cater to the lowest denominator- the 1989 Corolla with no so good braking... There are many cultures around the world where people are given the respect to develop their talents and opportunity to take responsibility for them. Ok, I’m going to prod the stick further for the sake of it- You know those boy racers- instead of fining them and taking away the things they love why not offer them an opportunity to up-skill and go track?.. Out there? Well there are places where we are giving addicts a place to shoot up, providing them with needles and a nurse incase they overdose (NY, Melbourne come to mind).. bit backwards isn't it if you support one demographic excelling at a choice yet not another… 

Here in the US there are new cameras at intersections. Flashing for infringements, particularly at night, they can give ya an awful fright. Even after one knows they are there, they’re really unnerving. It’s startling, it breaks your concentration and it doesnt make anyone a better driver. Again, being nervous, edgy and fearful is counterproductive to any human in any situation. With the increases in GPS navigation, the erratic nature of people’s driving by taking directions has hit a new high in my experience also... I raise my hand to doing a precariously executed one of these in a car recently myself. I preempt you making a last minute turn cos ya’ve overshot the intersection buddy.. I empathise- it’s ok, I try to have that generous following distance to allow for erratic incidences. It’s not a catastrophic event if we miss the route- there’s a thing called ‘re-route’, oh, and there’s those old skool things called ‘signs’ and ‘sense of direction’. What’s going to happen to us without training this facet of intuition?… strangely when one thing is lost another thing grows- I'm intrigued with what this will be.

It can be fun to be lost, and I can guarantee you, Google doesn't give you the cool back routes with funky ass shyit off the main track yo. Useful for getting from A-B yes, great for people with physical and mental difficulties, anxiety issues and a plethora of other situations- but for Joe Smith? Short term benefit v long term lack of developed skill is an interesting concept to ponder. As is learning the harder option then having the easier as a back up plan. The only way to overcome anxiety and nervous disorders is to decompartmentalise the problems and chip away at them by calmly evaluating whether the panic is justified. I hate seeing things which just make this more difficult for us. 

ALL of the above is totally trivial and pathetic when it is placed next to the big issues that NZ really needs to get it's teeth into. Issues which are hidden, repressed and rarely given airtime or promoted by the government (or our communities) as fundamentals that need to be fixed and assessed. Highest infant mortality rates in the developed world, highest suicide rates in the developed world, children born of incest, domestic violence, inflated and extreme cost of living, three times the cost of anywhere else in the world to build housing, lack of housing, excessive taxes and rates and a quality of life which is low. Pathetic levels of remuneration, no appreciation for skill, corrupt business and law standards, grossly polluted waterways and land and severely behind in keeping up with new eco standards. LOOOOW and poor. Not the 'clean green' or super amazing we tell the population or advertise ourselves as at all. Oh and as a side note- a democracy is not supposed to be a duopoly- swinging back between two major parties which are only regurgitating the same bullshit year in year out will NOT ever change things.

Humm, I need to changed the topic; If we want to talk in a sense of experience and training. The former being shown something, the latter being given the tools to undertake that skill further we could bring in this example; the Dunning Kruger effect. The more we can help people recognise positive skills then they can develop these. The more we can give people direction, purpose and opportunity to develop their passions, the more likely they are to find their skillsets.

 Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

    1    tend to overestimate their own level of skill;

    2    fail to recognise genuine skill in others; 

    3    fail to recognise the extremity of their inadequacy; 

    4    recognise and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill.

Basically this states that;

The more you know, the less competent you think you are because you know there is so much you don’t know.

The less you know, the more you think you know because you don’t know what you don’t know.

There is no shortcut , there is so much you don’t know without experience.

E.g it's taken me years to hone my skills as a motorcyclist. From originally riding a trike, to a bicycle, to being a pillion, to owning increasingly powerful motorbikes, to now owning a high performance racing bike. But in order to do this, I firstly learned by observation, participated through many stages of learning at different skill levels and then continuing to up-skill and learn as a rider. I took and I take advanced rider corses, I learn about the mechanics and physics of machines and I interact with seasoned riders, racers and enthusiasts. None of this is finite, I am always learning, I am always seeking. 

That's one side of the coin, the other is the Dude or Dudette who fronts up with the cash and buys a high performance machine and feels they can do the same thing that I can without any experience or training. In other words, they don't know what they don't know, a dangerous situation and an accident waiting to happen. 

We can use this example in driving a vehicle, we could use this for making art, we could use this in understanding the finer details of human relationship, of astronomy & astrophysics, of medicine... the list is endless. Our conceptualisations are totally relative to our perceptions and current knowledge. Fundamentals of base theories are just ideas that have consensus. The most critical part of Dunning and Kruger theory is that incompetent people 'fail to recognise genuine skill in others'. This happens with employers, this happens with friends and peers... this happens with family, this happens with criticisms upon things that are radical or unconventional. It's at the kernel of 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'... it is incredibly detrimental to growth and performance from any viewpoint. 

It's also a fascinating effect that by it's nature comes hand-in-hand with being adventurous, exploring new things and taking risks. Bit of a mind bending balancing act aint it! For if one doesn't have courage and balls to push the envelope past what is established (either personal or external) then one would never find out what they don't know; if one dosen't have experience then one cannot ever be faced with ones incompetencies or shortfalls. Here's where an injection of humility is useful. In New Zealand, an island nation insulated from direct influence and moderation from neighbours (our closest one we have come to hate as the wealthier bigger brother who left us behind) there is a breeding ground for people to hold insensible ideas without being moderated by close interaction or having ease of access to experiences which show up insensibilities. NZ has laws unto it's own which although may seem on the surface to be like other places, are not; bullying, corporate mentality and oppressive tyrannical conduct is commonplace both in personal and professional spheres. As a society we are static, complacent, lack any faith in leadership, naively dutiful and lead by false information. If we keep our head buried in the sand thinking we know everything and thing's are ok; acting superior and arrogant in our assumptions, we are going to become further disillusioned, further alienated from how the rest of the world is progressing, more discontent and feel only envy. Jealousy is at the root to a lot of what is simmering in Kiwiland- when are we going to have the courage to admit this and deal with it? 

Our teeny kiwi guniea pig society gets subjected to all sorts of hair brained schemes. Often completely out of our control. Someone has a great new idea, and NZ becomes the testing ground for it. It’s not by accident that we are at the forefront of technological integration- take the implementation of Eftpos for example. We have had card cash since 1985 when The Bank of New Zealand started rolling it out in petrol stations. Pull out cold hard chachinga to pay in Aotearoa and people assume it’s from illegitimate means or you're a drug dealer because people have become so conditioned to this method- the rest of the world ain’t so unguarded towards those big banks and ‘Big Brother’s’.. neither am I. It makes me angry that because of our relative isolation and docile societal temperament we have our liberties of choice narrowed. It’s much harder to coerce a bigger population into doing a particular method by removing established practices to leave only one or two options. I could trickle into discussing the prevalence of duopolies and market cornering here too… thankfully our population is also small enough to sustain a counter-act to some of this, with boutique markets and a DIY mindset... and we are ingenious, enterprising and creative- but we're loosing the capacity to be like this because we are so repressed by the cost of living, pissed about what we are 'made to do' and bitchy to each other. It concerns me immensely how unnecessary restrictions are being enforced upon New Zealander’s liberties- and for those who choose less popular ones they are faced with inferences of shadiness. It's hard to have an open minded view point when you're living in a closed mind world. 

Money in itself is a funny thing in NZ- it's not loved, its not encouraged and it is shrouded in inferences that if you are good at making it you must be corrupt. Especially if you do so outside established systems i.e a 9-5 or one 'job title'. These restrictions; these often invisible parameters, as with diet, as with behaviour, as with social repression or idealism only creates additional problems, and when it all boils down, societal systems are never really in place for ‘safety’ or for ‘protection’ they are there to gather revenue. 

The most detrimental of these was the introduction of Tourism to NZ. It is only recently I have realised how much this has damaged our country. It is the local who has paid the price for how we have sold ourselves out to the world. We whored our land like pimps, raping Mother Nature and the unique New Zealand culture for the pennies in others pockets. The cost of living increased, the scramble for resources increased, our genuine desire to meet with other cultures dropped and it has become about revenue, hold out ya hand for more revenue… but this didn't help out the little guy. We failed to implement procedures to gather moolie form travellers as they entered the country or locations of significance i.e. Queenstown and so to make money the prices of basics and infrastructure was hiked. I’d be surprised if the average NZd’r would even consider travelling down that way anymore- it’s extremely expensive for a NZD earner to stay there because the accomodation, food and activities are out of proportion to what people can earn. If there is no fee for foreigners to see our amazing culture and sights, then it is gathered from the incidentals; food, accom, basic transport infrastructure etc- but this just additionally penalises the local who also has to pay the jumped up prices yet isn't earning foreign currency. 

Who are places for if not for the people who look after them and give their lives and love to sustaining them?

There is an exotic location I have been scoping out. There are a limited amount of tourists allowed in the country at one time. There is a $250 USD (at peak season, $200 off season) fee PER DAY for being in the country. You are only allowed to travel on pre-approved tours with licensed guides and in particular areas of the country. You are charged a ‘foreign national fee’ for entering places of religious and environmental significance and there are two prices, one for local, one for visitor. Fair deal if you ask me (although I agree this example is on the steeper side), how badly do you want to do something? How much do you value it? If it’s a ‘meh’ to either of those, don't go. If you like what they have, or if you would like to see it in person, then find a way to dig deep and pay for this luxury. NZ we were desperate, we let our leaders sell us out because we didn't know better and now WE are paying the price. We were scared to hold ourselves with integrity, we were scared of ‘loosing out’ and now we are at deficit to the choices and strategies that were implemented. This must change. We need to look after NZ and put our people first with first opportunity. We have all the behaviours of a dysfunctional family- we can do better than this. 

Below is an informative video, given to me today just before publishing this bog post. It is from a man I greatly respect, it shoots from the hip with eye opening statistics and it talks about topics close to my heart from a similar perspective. 

… ok, I’m metaphorically going back to the U.S. of A. 

Food. Food here is BIIIIG. Always has been in my experience; in mass and in obsession. Yet, there is SO much misleading information and it is extremely hard to eat well through all this temptation. I love a doggy bag though cheers ‘Merica- yet sometimes with all this stuff in-front of me, it can be hard to remember that it’s not totally necessary to have to finish it all in one go. 

The billboards, the places, the signages, the overflow of fast food drive-though outlets, the misleading labels, the constant calorie numbers on menus.. it’s a minefield. Originally those calorie numbers came from the litigation culture here, but it now encourages a much more unhealthy obsession. Humans should be encouraged to eat well rounded not by numbers- it can only end up in people feeling resentful and unfulfilled. A little of what you like does you good- or everything in moderation yeah? 

Here’s a few truths. Eating fat does not make you fat. I.e. eating a high calorie meal at the right time with whole food fats and produce is NOT bad for you. Low calorie foods will send you crazy with the chemicals in them trying to trick your mind and metabolism into thinking you have food love. The more food stuff ya see, the more any human is going to feel hungry- that’s a basic primal reaction; billboards, driving past outlets, reading cook books, or advertisements online, on telly or just ON everywhere. The nutrients within a particular fruit or whole food need all the other bits to be ingested properly and to absorb the vitamins within- i.e the whole raspberry has all sorts of goodies in it as the whole thing- it’s not the same benefits when the vitamins or elements within a product are separated out and added into something completely different. Feeling ‘bad’ about eating a treat food, or something hi cal does a huge amount of damage to a person- this only makes one feel they have ‘failed’ at eating well, or have ‘fallen off the bandwagon’ by doing something incorrect. If an entire nation is encouraged to drive everywhere, it ain’t gunna encourage a person to get out and walk to get their produce and meals AAAAAND my fuck; Eggs with added hormones to make harder shells??! Milk with additives left right and centre (read the fine-print) scary flavoured creamer… Bread with added sugar (everything with added sugar.. check out some of those chemical names #wolfinsheepsclothing), Chicken breast the length of 1/2 my forearm *largest chook I’ve ever seen- hey Arnie the Chiketo… Hummus with added sweeties and food colourings.. fresh juice? Bet you it aint… 

Here's a fact- sugar makes you hungry. Sugar in anything makes you crave more. Sugar is mostly unnecessary in our diets except in moderation through fresh fruit and other natural places, as it aids digestion. At times of illness, pregnancy and other unusual instances it can be very helpful- but for Joe Average it's totally not needed within the products we see through foodstuff manufacting. Going ‘gluten free’- umm, well what they replace those ingredients with is… Sugar was designed and is programmed primally within us to make us gorge. Fact. It’s not something an intellect can override. Adding it into an empty tummy is like setting off a panic to your metabolism. “Feed meee"… “feed meee anything” it will cry. Add it in moderation, infrequently and at the right times i.e.- within a balanced meal and it wont feel so much like shooting up. The less ya have it, the less it appeals, and after a rather small amount of time, it really does icky stuff to you if you do have it i.e- the shakes, temple migraines, that erratic sweaty eyeball feeling.. just kind of grossness really.

Therapeutic dose- it’s medical terminology referring to when the use of a substance benefits the user in the short term. Take any chemical addition into the body past this point; either natural or synthetic in form and it will have become a poison. 

Big deal? It is to those of us who these additives (sugar, colouring, preservatives, I would say even all these ‘good extras’ e.g. protein, calcium, etc) set off chemical reactions where they compel us to seek more food love, to try to fill ourselves up or which create reactions, sensitivities and allergies to some demographics. There are those of us who additionally have an emotional reaction to chemicals, both natural and synthetic.. more and more I am finding out this also has something to do with hormonal fluctuations. For others, food is simply fuel, but I think more and more we are seeing prevalence in the former examples; those who perceive food as fuel most certainly are a minority. I think some of us unconsciously like to be jacked around by sensations more than others, and this capacity, when out of balance has the propensity to lead us into also sorts of temptations and experiences. 

It’s at times like this when I’m travelling that I get twangs of longing for NZ… ‘Merica does it to me and so does Japan- it’s a sugar minefield over there. I get to a point where I miss clean air and less of this crap. I am so thankful for a lesser level of this infiltration at home. But it is there- the star ratings, the calorie lists, the ‘health food’ stands.. it’s all a creapin’ in and it’s all marketing peps. They don't give a fuck about your health- they care about your moolie. It’s fads and quick ‘fixes’… actually they are long term muck ups cos they really are just a waste of time and emotion. The mega corporations (although once in a while are taaaasty!) are filled with preservatives, fillers, fake ingredients and additives- by taking out Mr & Mrs local corner shop who is making meals from scratch and smaller quantities, we again have less access to whole produce and more access to chemicals. Nothing but three healthy meals a day with limited sugar, balanced green, fibre, carbs, fats and whole protein will sustainably do the trick for a healthy diet and weight balance in my experience. Aiming for some number? If you're doing this and it’s not the magic bingo… well then honeybee that’s not what you are supposed to be. Wouldn't you rather be glowy and happy than skinny and miserable? Do I eat shit? of course! I love food!- all varieties of food and I get the most enormous F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) if I don't have what I want or crave, but I’m careful about timing, I’m careful about portions, I’m aware of my mental state, who I am with and trigger stress related situations, and I try to not internally berate and then punish myself. Did three lifetimes worth of that in a past life- didn't get me anywhere. I need what I like, life’s too short to miss out. If I can be in an environment where I am not constantly attacked with this barrage I am a much, much happier human. Plus, the more one is worried about food, the more intense it is. If we are relaxed and at ease with it, ‘treats’ don't = ‘freaks’.... yep cheezy but true.

It’s on those notes, and by escaping that barrage that I am thankful and privileged to be currently upstate in New York. With the Hudson river close by, the open big clear sky, the sounds of the birds, fresh grass, big trees and open paddocks. It’s heaven, it’s my heaven being back in the countryside and near moving water. City life? It’s my thing for short bursts, but my happy place is of vistas green, gold, blue and pale pale eggshell. I grew up with this luxury of city to country, and it is within these juxtapositions that I love and adore them each for their own benefits, for both environments teach me appreciation for the other. If you have no measure stick, no comparison, how are you to ever know what is so wonderful or valuable about a particular thing, place, person or experience? 

There is so much opportunity within larger populations. There are so many more people of ‘kind’ to find and share similar concepts and thoughts with, there are so many more people available who see the worth in creativity, creative investment, supporting ambitious dreams and projects of desire which sometimes have no other purpose than just being fucking cool things to do. There is a societal infrastructure which loves success in America and it truly is a place where you can chisel a spot for yourself doing something rather unusual and have a customer base to support it. There is love for doing things that make you happy, helping each other get there, and finding a way to maintain being there for an extended period. 

Lets say, in addition there is the capacity for longer periods in the limelight… or at least a self made glow. In NZ this can become brief and rather unsustainable. It is also why a lot of us become very good at many things, because time on top is not continuously feasible for long, because there isn't really anything up there except for your head above a parapet lined with daggers and disesteem, unlike here, there is minimal support. There is a bulletproof ceiling of ‘fair remuneration’ and and even more repressive one that implies one should ‘be thankful for ones job or opportunity as is’. It is not the physical reality of getting to the top of your profession which is the hardest- it is the phycological barrage which is so damaging, depleting and exhausting.

A child growing up in the states might have a higher statistic of being shot in a drive by, but the chances of them taking their own life by suicide or having other emotional, mental and spiritual problems are faaaaar higher in Aotearoa. Keep in mind- there are only 4 million of us in comparison also.

Under one UNICEF heading, 'Ensuring Health and Well-Being', NZ country was placed 38th place out of 41. (41 being the worst measuer). This also covered indicators such as the neonatal mortality rate and the teenage birth rate. The comments about adolescent suicide were particularly damning. The report found New Zealand had the worst rate in the world at 15.6 per 100,000 people in the designated age bracket (15-19). This was substantially higher than the next worst countries, Lithuania, Finland, Chile and Ireland, and more than eight times worse than the best performing countries, Italy and Portugal. It was twice as bad as the American youth suicide rate and almost five times worse than Britain's.

"Youth suicide is an avoidable reality in New Zealand, but it is not being adequately tackled", mental health experts say. Really? Let me explain something from someone who's been there- it's prevalent in all striations of society and it's entirely linked into the bullying and psychological abuse we subject each other to. 

NZ struggles with people in the limelight extensively, I've talked about this before, but I want to say this again, because if we were truthful about what is happening, we can find a way to take the sting out of this and pave a way for next generations to not be subjected to this abuse. Basking in a well deserved glow is seen as hogging it, blowing your trumpet, or preventing others from having their go. Every industry is ruthless at the top- it’s human nature to want to be Top Dog; that inevitably requires a change of guard, but in NZ this mentality is exacerbated by a small population who feels marginalised. Don't get me wrong, New York is ruthless, but there are different types of this, and the variety at home is intensely malicious, rooted in envy, spiteful and incredibly vindictive… in comparsion it’s a logical type of harshness here. At home people think there is not as much to go around -or there is a greater perception of lack. This creates a lower tolerance towards people who seem to ‘sit pretty’, or even those that are ambitious and determined to achieve their goals; and a culture that lacks integrity and courage to stand and support parties in conflict or dissent. People are way too invested in other people's business also and where their lifestyles come from- it's always so refreshing for me to be overseas and not have to reply to the stock standard question after 2 minutes of meeting someone of 'what do you do?'. At home you don't find a lot of people courageous enough to put their head on the line for a cause (or a friendship either work or personal) for it affecting future prospects, current prospects, working relationships, social structure or the big one when it really comes down to it.. money. Remuneration honey- money has an evil way of swaying opinion and buying allegiance. NZ deals are not ones where two parties come out winners and walk away happy- there is a winner and there is always a big looser. 

Once we have achieved or mastered a situation within a ripple there isn't an automatic pass out card to things being easy or smooth sailing. In my experience as soon as I have felt I've got it sorted, or I am 'sitting pretty' the game changes; I can guarantee I will be thrown a life curveball. In my experience the ripples get more complex, the challenges within them more elaborate, and the skills required to keep going forwards more involved. I am often involved in helping others who are being subjected to different controls, intimidation and bullying and often I find myself advocating for the down trodden or those who are being treated unfairly. Either this 'upping of the stakes' in my life can be self made, or the Universe will kick them in for me.. especially if I have become comfortable or complacent. It can be a pretty horrific environment to live within constantly battling power-plays from all angles in NZ- not a coincidence I like to get out and explore.  

I’ll share my understandings about ruthlessness however, it only perpetrates fear and with this in prevalence, there is no freedom of exploration, freedom of expression or the playfulness of invention. There is also becomes much less honesty and openness.

Money does not and never will buy true loyalty. By nature this quality is one built between each other over time. It takes trust, it takes integrity, it take the initiative to work things out between parties face-to-face and it takes the king hitter of all- respect. For a nerdy assessment, this last one is defined in the dictionary as:

re·spect | rəˈspekt/ noun


    1    a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."the director had a lot of respect for Douglas as an actor"

    2    synonyms: esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, honour "the respect due to a great artist”

Often it is found in abundance in places you may not expect. Places and people who run their own set of rules, not ones dictated to them. Seeming chaos has unspoken rules, so do people who live unorthodox lifestyles, and in my experience their concepts of fairness and estimation are often resolute, instinctive, unwavering and built upon practical knowledge. True respect for another is not illustrated by using someone for self purpose or gain nor using them as a pawn within manipulations or a system; nor putting up with them because they serve a scheme.  

True business is not done between companies, it is done between people
— Garth Hogan

Never underestimate the power of human connection. We can soon dismiss an email but it is very hard to forget a person who we’ve dined with, laughed with or spoke in person with- for better or worse impressions. The power of intuition is apparent through interaction; that happens between people not through emails. Intimacy is corporeal; true ‘business’ is intimate. Go for a walk, go for lunch, get on an aeroplane, go try something new. 

People make their own minds up about others or situations. Some believe the hype, others their own assumptions. In my experience, humanity likes fantasy; people like to spin stories to inflate their sense of self importance and social standing- they ‘know things’, we’re all guilty of this just by having an opinion. Really at the end of the day, who cares? What another ‘knows’ when dished with cattiness and venom is of no relevance to the bigger picture- one which only the individual can paint, with or without assistance and most brilliantly with positivity.

I like to sleep at night, I have a conscience, and I’ll always defer to that bigger picture and the long game. ‘Conscience’ doesn’t mean goody-two-shoes, it means I’ll stand by my decisions. I’m happy to wait things out, I know the rewards patience and kindness brings, and more importantly how the world has a natural order to righting itself. I shut down on those who threaten my ability to focus on where I am going and try to derail my thoughts. People are special, places are special- I am remorseless in walking away from those who have malicious intent and will ferociously protect my loved ones from those who take pleasure out of spitefully attacking others for self gain. 

If we make choices which align with our fundamentals then bravely standing up for our beliefs becomes a simple decision. How someone else perceives these beliefs is up to a plethora of variables- I don't need to be in combat with people about these. We collect our own kind consciously and unconsciously through tribal behaviours, external representation, mannerisms, energies and many other associations and familiarisations and it is a natural part of this that at times we grate upon each other. How we deal with this is the true measure of ones metal- making a remorseless decision doesn’t have to psychologically or physically affect another person- we can simply decide to be honest about our position, disclose this and make actions to disengage. We always have choices toward aligning our sympathies and principles. They take but seconds to implement and some of the most powerful and profound are when choose a ‘no’ rather than a ‘yes’.