Fuck Authority…

Apologies to our beloved fans and friends, we’ve been incommunicado for a couple of weeks now and you have all been very patient while you’ve waited for you next installment of A Mind of Its Own. Well we have some good news and we guess some bad news. The good news is you’ll no longer have to hear about the gorgeous weather of Queensland and Northern NSW or our team outings to the beach. And the bad news we are now in the thick of it, we are in the Nation’s Capital where it all happens and we’ll be able to keep you updated with all things legislation, legal and political as well as our usual anything goes twist on the topics that no one wants to talk about but everyone wants to hear about.

It’s not often we go on a rant but when people start attempting to jam values down our throats you can be sure it gets our goats. They say anger should be tamed and is the rawest of emotions well when you start to talk to the team at A Mind of Its Own about values and what you want to see from them. It certainly makes for an interesting conversation as well as an interesting blog that we put together outlining all the contradictions against the values that are being set out in which we should follow. For those that personally know anyone who has put time an effort into writing for this blog, you know that we have our own set of values, our own code that we live by. As a coach that we didn’t really get along with once said to us “You are only as good as your word”.

What made us start to write this was a little injustice, a little anger and a little in the fact that we feel we have and are good at what we do whether it is writing this blog or our day to day job that pays the bills and keeps the lights on here. You can tell us what to do, you can micromanage us but at the same time we work best when we are left to get along with whatever it is we are doing. Values to us are going to be different for each and everyone, they are a personal choice and they are compass on the path to morality in our eyes. A guiding light if you will, what you value, who you value and how you value those those things in your eyes reflects on you as a person. So it’s safe to say when we see someone talk about values only to steer clear of following any of them or completely ignoring them in the face of greed and corruption we tend to become a little irate.

Companies do it all the time, they’ll create corporate values employees are to follow as part of their contracts and yet the higher up that corporate ladder you climb the less likely you are to actually follow any of them. Call it corruption, call it greed, call it whatever you want but let’s be honest most of us aren’t great a wielding the power that comes with being a corporate bigwig working for multimillion dollar company. As you can imagine there are some passionate and potentially ego driven thoughts on this as we watch all these companies with a corporate responsibility to make the world a little better for those less fortunate. However most people running these companies tend to have some narcissistic traits that allow them to only think of themselves and the bonuses that will come their way. Do they then take these values into their personal lives?

One could only assume that would be the case, however the psychology behind it all it quite interesting to say the least. We can only assume and we all know assumptions tend to make and ass out of you and me as they say. So how do you go about working out what is important to you in terms of what you value in life. In a way this all ties back to the choices that you will be faced with throughout your life. What we fail to realise is that a lot of the choices we make will be underpinned our core values. These values tell us what kind of people we are, or want to be and provide us with guidelines or imperatives for our actions. We are somewhat governed by our values as they influence our decisions. But how do we choose our values and align them to to our lives, and all that we do?. Well let’s attempt to answer that for you, as well as outlining how big corporates shit all over their own values all day, every day in the quest of dollars.

Firstly what is a value? Well there is the dictionary definition but we are much happier with the definition given by Barb Markway and Celia Ampel in the ‘Self Confidence Workbook’. “Values are the principles that give our lives meaning and allow us to persevere through adversity,”. A lot of our values are handed down to us from our parents, our teachers, if you are religious than we guess religious leaders and finally from our societal environments we live in. Over time you will have somewhat rebelled and turned your back against those values or changed your mind on having some of them at your core as you’ve learnt about yourself and the world around you in which you are continuing to grow. Most people will decide on 6 to 8 core values which will steer them through life. They may change some of these throughout time as they reassess life but for the most part they will remain the same.

If you are unsure about your list of values or would like to clarify them, the first thing you need to do is create a list of values and for your sake make it wide ranging. The broader the list the better or you can just go on the internet and hit Google up for a list of values in order to help work out what your core values are. Dr Russ Harris has kindly provided such free lists on his website. From here you can pick your 6 to 8 values and hey by all means change them if you change your mind, it’s a good activity to do every now and then. Words on your list could be as following as an example, Financial Security; Compassion; Health/Fitness; Nature; Accomplishment; Creativity; Dependability; Loyalty; Beauty; Bravery; Gratitude; Love; Connection/Relationships; Learning; Leadership; Survival; Self-Preservation; Security; Adventure; Family; Work; Success; Calm; Freedom.

There are several other ways of working out what your core values are and labelling them, another way is to look at people you admire or love the most and why they are so important to you. By doing this you think of the values they embody most. You could also see a career counselor or life coach seeing as our values are a defining factor in our career choices. There is also online inventories and looking at yourself and learning, we also have the good and bad in life to look at that will help us with deciding on our core values. Most of you will already know what you value the most. It’s often just the reminder or prompting we need to remember them and solidify them in our minds. What we don’t remember though is we’ll often have values conflicting at any given time throughout our lives. At any given moment our values can be called into question, many of us often pay lip service to values or lose sight of our values as new and exciting things come into our lives.

Sometimes you’ll have to defend your values against difficult people, such as psychopaths, extreme narcissists, and master manipulators, who seem to be guided by negative values. With such people, it can be a challenge to stick to the positive values in your life. But that’s what will ultimately define your own set of values when you are faced with challenges that require you to block out all the outside noise and negativity to make your own choices in which people will want you to follow their behaviour and actions. It’s all part of not being the sheep and part of the flock and standing as a lone wolf on the periphery of the field watching and waiting to act. But when we look at organisations who define their values, they tend to want sheep, no wolves allowed because apparently being a good corporate citizen means you can’t and shouldn’t have an opinion or act on your own. You can think it, just don’t show it as it will no doubt shine a light on the values that are never upheld.

Take corporate company, we’ll call them Corporation A, they decided they needed 7 core values in which all they wanted their staff to abide by and demonstrate. There is just one small problem which you will soon see as we outline the values. Now there is no rule to how many values you should or shouldn’t have. Each of us will find our core values and priorities them based on what we want and or need in our lives at any given time. In a way we have our core values followed by our subsidiary values that will interchange when we require. Well that’s our take on it anyway now back to corporation A.

According to the company website “Values are the behaviours we want to see” sits above there Seven (7) core values. The seven values in no particular order along with their little spiel about each of the values are as follows:

  1. Trust – Building a trusting environment through being open, honest and transparent with each other.
  2. Respect – Through showing respect, we remain genuine and act with integrity towards each other and our customers.
  3. Simplicity – Simplicity means being straightforward, clear and focussed in all we do in the workplace.
  4. Focus on the Customer – We demonstrate value by listening, collaborating and delivering personalised and innovative solutions to enable shared success.
  5. Accountability – We each own our results and feel empowered and trusted to deliver required outcomes for us and our customers.
  6. Purposeful – We are passionate and driven to deliver with purpose for our customers and ourself.
  7. Learning – We are empowered through learning to continually develop insight and knowledge to add value to our customers.

Written like this they seem fairly reasonable and like values most good corporate citizens would want to get behind and support but when put into place would most corporations actually live up to and follow their own core values. Maybe from the outside looking in, they are and when speaking to clients it will look like the values are followed and supported but that is often far from the truth. Big corporates are in the business of making money. As such they will say and do whatever they can to win your business. They will paint you a picture of a wholesome, supportive, inclusive organisation that has equality at the forefront of everything they do for you and your company. The sad truth though, behind that mask is a different beast who’s greed doesn’t align with their values at all. The values above start to look a little like this:

  1. Trust – Building a trusting environment through being open, honest and transparent with each other. People will tell you that Trust is earnt and not given which we completely agree with however we do feel tenure and revenue generation should be taken into account when trusting your staff to do their jobs autonomously and with empowerment. Communicating openly with your staff at all levels is a sign of trust, empowering your staff is a sign of trust and doing what you say is a sign of trust. All things that are often overlooked by big corporate.
  2. Respect – Through showing respect, we remain genuine and act with integrity towards each other and our customers. Respect like trust is earnt and the harder you work, the more you give, the more you should be respected in an organisation. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Respect in Multi-million dollar corporation often hangs on the price tag of your suit or the amount of money you make for the company in question. The more you make the more you are respected until you aren’t because you choose to speak up or think outside the corporate box.Your ideas may not gel with the big wigs and their thoughts about the bottom line.
  3. Simplicity – Simplicity means being straightforward, clear and focussed in all we do in the workplace. In order for things to be simple it requires respect, trust and communicating with staff and clients, when we don’t do this, things tend to become rather convoluted and far from simplistic. People lose focus, nothing is ever clear and the workplace becomes an environment in which people do not thrive.
  4. Focus on the Customer – We demonstrate value by listening, collaborating and delivering personalised and innovative solutions to enable shared success. This is often overlooked by big corporations as they see value in doing what is going to make them the most money, not what is in the clients best interests. As long as they are making us money and decent margin there will be little collaborating and personalisation until it comes time to negotiate an extension to the contract..
  5. Accountability – We each own our results and feel empowered and trusted to deliver required outcomes for us and our customers. Owning your results would mean being empowered and you might have started to see a pattern here? All your values whether they are in the workplace or personal are interlinked. Organisations need to be trusting of their staff to empower them and allow them to become accountable.
  6. Purposeful – We are passionate and driven to deliver with purpose for our customers and ourself. While this should be the crux of delivery to all clients across all industries the all mighty dollar tends to drive whether or not a company is passionate about the delivery and purpose of said delivery to a client.
  7. Learning – We are empowered through learning to continually develop insight and knowledge to add value to our customers. Linked to all of the above and the fact that we are continually learn throughout our lives it saddens us when organisations are only willing to invest in their staff and empower them as long as they can see the dollar signs flying back at them in the short term. We are all responsible for our own learning however working for a multimillion dollar corporation they should be putting in place learning and development plans for all of their staff no matter what level they are within the organisation. As they say you have to spend money to make money.

Unfortunately it’s not just Corporation A who have values and seem to only follow them when they are trying to sell themselves. There are those people who will continually pay lip service to their own values as they feel that they are what society wants them to value and show in their lives. It’s those people who often tend to also fit somewhere on the narcissistic scale and always have an excuse or someone to blame as to why they are the way they are. But enough about people and companies disregarding their values. You are the Captain of your ship and master of your soul so it is on you to decide what’s right for you in terms of your goals, values and morals. They’ll influence each other but at the end of the day you are responsible for you and you make the decisions that set you on the path you are now headed down. The next step is the right step, value yourself and chase those dreams.

Well that will just about do it for another week and our return to regular broadcasting. We are back and now settled amongst the politicians, fireworks, porn and now weed. Canberra the place where all things illegal become legal at some point after all the biggest hypocrites always tend to be the people running a country. Don’t forget if there is a topic you’d love to see us cover you can leave a comment of contact us via the contact page. We’ll make it special and give you a shout out for doing so and it’ll be given that Mind of Its Own attention and detail. So for another week we bid you a fond farewell and good tidings, speaking of Christmas is fast approaching and the multi million dollar consumer industry is already pumping out the hype and decorations. Adios Amigos…

You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave…

Whilst there are those of us who look at dreams from a spiritual perspective the team here tend to look at them from the Psychological aspect. We thought since everyone dreams, despite the fact that over 80% of people don’t remember dreaming or more than 5% of their dreams, that we throw on a nightcap and sleeping gown to explore the dream state and look at the psychology behind them. If we have time we might get some spiritual mumbo jumbo for everyone to have a look at, you know to give you both sides of the proverbial coin. Clearly we’ve landed on the psychological side of the coin having watched it spin through the air for several years. Yes there are still things that science can’t explain but for most things there is a logical explanation available.

For the rest though there is always the whack job conspiracy theorist to help brighten up our days. Forward to dreamland we march. We would have liked to do an immersion study into Dreams however someone had to stay awake in order to write this blog for you. A screen full of Zzzz’s whilst looking quite interesting isn’t a very good read, last time we checked. So where does one start a dream blog and what is the appropriate response when someone asks you to interpret their dreams? Hopefully we’ll be able to answer that for you and more in the coming paragraphs. And if not well at least we’ve managed to somewhat entertain you for a couple of minutes with or unique blend of silly fact driven dribble.

Well firstly they say you learn something new everyday and if you haven’t for the day we’ll share with you what we just learnt. The study of dreams, more importantly the scientific study of dreams has its own name. Yep it’s got a scientific term, Oneirology (pronounced On-ear-ology, well at least that’s what the lady on youtube sounded like) which, yeah means the scientific study of dreams. So if you didn’t already know that you now do and potentially learnt something new for the day. Don’t say we’ve never taught you anything here at A Mind of Its Own. After all, sharing is caring as they say and we are all about educating our readers and promoting discussion of our topics. What is knowledge they say? That’s right its power!

According to reputable online forum Psychology Today, the most important scientific findings about dreams can be summarized into 9 key points. They could have made it an even number it would of looked a little tidier. Before we go into those though maybe we should answer the main question burning in our little brains. What is a dream? Well according to the not so reputable website where a lot of university students go to get their information these days. Wikipedia. A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Why we dream is a little harder to explain and is not yet fully understood from a scientific standpoint. But it hasn’t stopped the shrinks around the globe coming up with theories around dreams and we’ll cover some of these off a little later.

The catalyst for the blog was a conversation with one of our close friends who has had some weird dreams and well the team being who they are the research light bulb sparked and we thought we’d try and help everyone understand why they dream and how dreams happen, why we dream what we dream. So the team will embark on a journey through the synapses to understand the how, what, where and why of it all. After all the whole premise of this here blog to answer questions and create conversation isn’t? Or are we just writing for the fun of it and people have slowly started to join in and read the rubbish that gets post each week while they are sitting on the can voiding their bowels?

A little graphic from the writers but we are trying to paint a picture here and speaking of pictures did you know that not everyone dreams in colour? Studies have found that people who predominantly grew up watching black and white TV tend to dream in black white, what colours they do see are said to represent feelings. Those who grew up in the 21st century tend to dream in colour and rarely have black and white dreams or colours that represent feelings. Speaking of thoughts and feelings it is believed and scientists are working on proving it that you dream when your thoughts and memories are being reorganised. You also tend to express your hidden desires when you dream. Your mental schema is also modified when you dream. Most dreams we witness things happening through visual or auditory perception.

And yeah someone asked the question Do Blind people dream? Silly of course they do, their dreams are more auditory than visual and they images they “see” have been described as a blur or non-existant or even created from their memories that have been built with touch and sound. It made us wonder whether someone could input images into a blind person minds and they would then know what a lot of things look like and be able to experience and see colours for the first time. Science has no doubt had a few things in the pipeline for years, heck he CIA used to experiment with mind altering drugs in the 70’s. It’s not a far leap to think they may have started experiments to make the blind see and experience in their dreams.

For those of you who wish to understand the meaning of your dreams well that’s dependant on what you link your dream images to and how you wish to interpret them altogether. There is no science behind how to interpret your dreams it is purely up to the individual to work out their own dreams. The surprising fact that has been scientifically proven is that the average person spends around six whole years of their lives dreaming, on average that’s two hours per night. Early studies led to the belief that we only dream during the earliest phases of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. However, more recent studies have shown that we dream through all the various sleep phases. When it comes to remembering our dreams though that’s where the lightest REM phase comes into play. According to scientists anyway and we tend to trust those guys given they do these studies for a living.

The anatomy of the sleep cycle is actually quite interesting and helps to explain why we remember dreams during the various phases of REM and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement). Over the course of the night the body goes through the five stages of sleep 4-6 times spending an average of 90 minutes in each stage. As we spend so much of our lives sleeping it’s no wonder that we dream and dream often. It’s our dreams that can inspire others or lead us to individual greatness. They say dream big, or to go big or go home and well we have to agree with them. Whilst dreams are often our subconscious coming through and pulling with it the things we want and need in our lives.

Ok now that we know sleep is broken down into 5 phases or four phases depending on which school of thought you come from, we now know we dream throughout those 5 or 4 phases. We can now take a deeper look into the breakdown and psychology of our dreams. Yes we’ll try to answer the questions for you as to whether your dreams are a presentation of the future, past of present, our just our hopes and dreams playing out in the dreamstate? Hopefully we can answer that for you in the next couple of paragraphs before you fall asleep and start dreaming about the day we write a blog that keeps you awake and doesn’t bore you to sleep. We are kidding we know you can’t stop once you pick up our blog each week.

Ok so we thought the best way to do this would be to pick out some facts that have been scientifically proven, queue the anti-vaxxers, flat earthers and conspiracy theorists to argue the point just because they can and they will. They are a little like a mosquito flying around your room when you are trying to sleep. Ok, we kid, we kid they are ok and they are entitled to their opinions, even if they go against science. So some of this we have covered already above and some of it is new to us but we thought we’d give you some of the psychological effects and reasons behind our dreams. We picked thirteen to be annoying and because the boss keeps telling us that everything has to be an even number and it’s annoying us.

1. In Our Dreams, We Only See Faces That We Know

When you first hear this fact, you might think it surely doesn’t sound right… But in our dreams, the faces we see are faces that we know! Experts insist that our brains cannot invent new faces to feature in our dreams. This means that any face we see in our dreams is one we’ve seen before. This doesn’t mean that you personally know that person. Since most of us encounter “extras” in our dreams, this information may come as a surprise.

However, consider that we constantly encounter faces that we don’t necessarily log as important. So, a newsreader on a TV segment and a stranger on your commute to work can feature in your later dreams, and we may not recognise them as people we’ve already seen.

Most of the major players in our dreams are likely to be people we know quite well, or at least used to know. In some cases, our brains can also present a strange hybrid of people we know and those we don’t. For example, you might believe you’re interacting with an old friend in a dream, and their personality may fit perfectly. However, when you wake up you, might suddenly notice that they were “played” by a person with a different face, sometimes someone you’ve only encountered in passing.

2. Not Everybody Dreams In Colour

Surprisingly, not everyone dreams in color. In fact, a full 12% of sighted people will dream in black and white. Studies which were conducted from 1915 to the 1950’s supported that a majority of dreams had been in black and white. However, after the 1960’s the numbers did shift over to color. Further, the number of people who dream in black and white is dropping as the years’ pass. Research suggests that this could be linked to the fact that this was around the time that TV switched from black and white to color, so there may be a correlation.

3. Your Mind Is More Active During a Dream Than When You’re Awake

Most of us associate the idea of sleep with a slowing down of the mind and body. This makes sense, given that being asleep is all about resting, recharging and getting ready for a new day. Plus, a good sleep is profoundly relaxing and refreshing, giving you the impression you’re your brain has been working more slowly. However, don’t assume that your mind is less active during dreams. In fact, it’s more active then than it is when you’re awake! You can see this in the concrete data provided by sleep studies that track electrical activity in the brain. The above fact may not make sense to you at first glance, but it has a lot to do with the variety and significance of waking life. This appears to be because your brain is busy learning from what you did over the preceding hours, processing problems that remain, and making sense of everything you’ve seen and felt during the day. Some research hints that the brain is even more active during sleep when you’ve had a novel experience in the last 24 hours, or when you’ve been through a major change of some sort, whether positive or negative.

4. Animals Dream Too

Have you ever noticed that when your pet is asleep, they sometimes make noises, or twitch their paws as though they are running? This is because animals also dream. Studies have been conducted which showed that when animals are in the REM stage of sleep, they all show the same brain waves as we do when we are dreaming. The studies have included chimps, dolphins, dogs, and cats. It’s fair to speculate that most mammals (at the very least) dream, just like we do. This means that they can also be unsettled by their experiences of dreams. So, keep an eye on your pet after sleep to make sure they aren’t feeling out of sorts after a nightmare. We can all relate to that feeling of discomfort and disorientation after a dream!

5. Blind People Can Also Dream

It’s not only people who can see that can dream. Blind people can also dream. Those who had become blind after birth can still see in their dreams, however, those who have been born blind cannot see in their dreams. Those who cannot see in their dreams, still experience dreams in a different way: through smell, sound, touch and other senses.

6. Dreams Speak Through Our Subconscious

Now, if you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered “What do dreams mean when you dream about someone specific?”. As mentioned at the outset, there’s still a prominent school of thought according to which dreaming of someone or something can tell you something useful about how you feel, and about what you want from life. So, what does it mean when you dream of someone repeatedly? Psychological facts about dreams of someone suggest that it can indicate a range of things. In some cases, you repeatedly dream about someone because you care a lot about them and have some kind of unresolved issues with them. This could be a romantic interest, or it could be about losing touch with an old friend. It could just as easily indicate an ongoing conflict under the surface of your dynamic with a family member.

7. Dreams Are Often Forgotten

Everyone has dreams when they sleep, it’s just that a lot of us don’t remember them when we wake up. It is simply not easy to hold onto the bulk of the content of your dreams. Up to 60% of people do not remember their dreams at all, especially after the first 5 minutes of waking up. In addition, for the average person, 90% of the details from dreams have vanished within a mere ten minutes. This means you can really only remember a fraction of your dreams. The exception to this is if something ways you during the rapid eye movement stage of your dreams (i.e. REM sleep). When this happens, you’re typically more capable of recalling dream information. The downside is that you will also feel startled, and will miss out on one of the most important, healing parts of the sleep process. Of course, dreams are also more likely to stick with you if they repeat or have emotional resonance. However, if you have a general interest in remembering dreams, try keeping a notepad by your bed and noting down an outline as soon as you wake. This means you can regularly come back to your dreams and see if you notice overlapping themes or can figure out any potential messages from your subconscious mind.

8. Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is where you have a temporary inability to move or speak. This can occur either when you are waking up or when you are falling asleep. Most people will experience sleep paralysis once or twice in their life, whilst others can experience it more regularly.

Sleep paralysis does not feel like you are in a dream, it feels real. Some people have said that during their experience, they feel a sensation that someone or something is in the room with them. Sleep Paralysis normally lasts from a few seconds to several minutes.

9. Some Dreams Could Be Premonitions

There have been some cases where people have claimed to have dreamt things that turned out to actually happen later. Some say it is coincidence, while others say they can see the future and experience premonitions. The cases recorded include: Abraham Lincoln dreaming of his assassination, many victims of the 9/11 had dreams warning them, and there have also been 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic, to name a few.

10. You Can Act Out Your Dreams When Sleepwalking (And Worse!)

Sleepwalking is known as an extreme form of REM sleep disorder. For some, sleepwalking can be mild and for others, more serious. Some cases could be where you walk around your room or talk to others, whilst sleeping. However, there have been cases where people have left their homes, or drawn gorgeous paintings that they cannot paint when they are awake.

11. Dreams Recharge Your Creativity

You may have thought that apart from any subconscious messages they contain, dreams must be quite useless. That’s not so much the case. They can actually improve your performance in seemingly unrelated areas of your everyday life. According to research reported by the American Psychological Society on the psychology of dreams, they work wonders for your creative faculties in particular. If you’re an artist, you might have already spotted this, but the type of creativity we’re talking about here also applies to things like creative problem-solving. Apparently, this is because the process of dreaming is a lot like using your imagination to be creative. When your brain analyses and tackles problems during your sleep, it’s activity parallels that witnessed when you’re being creative in waking life. This means that no matter what your preferred artistic mode of expression might be, you’re likely to be better at it after a night of vivid dreaming. And, as a bonus, you may find direct inspiration in your dreams. For example, if you dream about a fantastical scenario, go through a challenging experience or revisit a moving aspect of your past, this can help you “tune into” the types of intense emotions that boost creative output.

12. Men And Women Dream Differently

When women dream there are normally an almost equal amount of both men and women that are involved in their dreams. However, for men, around 70% of the people in their dreams are other men. As well as this, men have been known to have more aggressive dreams than women too. Women also tend to have slightly longer dreams.

13. 50% Of Dreams Are Negative

Research has found that most dreams include negative emotions. 50% of all dreams are normally negative. In a study that was conducted, the common emotions that people experienced during their dreams were sadness, anger, fear, and anxiety.

So we aren’t too sure as to whether we answered any questions or all questions or just wasted a lot of our time and your time this week as we dreamed away 5 pages of what would no doubt be some of the most boring material we have come up with to date. The adventure into dreamland wasn’t as exciting as we had hoped it was even a little mind numbing and boring to us which is probably why it took so long to write and edit. That and we’ve actually been busy at the job that pays the bills so we thought rather than getting sacked and sitting around coffee shops all day writing books and blogs we should make some actual money and stop eating two minute noodles. Ok to be the struggling writer when you have nothing to actually do but it’s not ok when you have a job that pays you quite well.

Anyway that’s enough from us for another week, we’ll leave you in peace and wish you a fond farewell until the next piece of literary genius hits your inbox and dances across your screen like a burlesque dancer at a show on a friday night in northern siberia. Like always we’ll love you and leave you, thanks for being the ever faithful fans and supporting us like you have from day one on this amazing journey into the blogosphere. Yeah we just dropped blogosphere after saying we never would. And on that note we’ve been A Mind of Its Own and it’s been our pleasure have a good day or night wherever you may be.

Timberwolves at New Jersey…

It’s funny how people will come in and out of your life. They drift from one Dunbar number to next and often back and forth between the various different social groups in your life. If you are wondering what we are talking about you’ll need to go back to last weeks post and have a read. But it does help us lead into this weeks A Mind of Its Own, yep plug an old piece and get a segway into this weeks blog well played by us. Anyway, we used to have a mate and this week’s blog goes out to him. Yep we had a mate just one! I’d say he sat most of the time in between our clan and tribe level on the Dunbar matrix. He was never a really good close mate that we’d confide in but someone that we hang out with on regular occasion when we were younger.

We’ll call him Abe because it was the worst name we could come up with and he was often a bit of a knob to people in his younger immature years but who wasn’t right? Abe had this argument he’d bring up whenever he’d had a couple of beers and was well on his way to being obnoxious and annoying. The argument we’ve presented before but we’ve never really gone into detail and explained the why or how. So the premise of the argument is that it’s not a sport unless it involves a ball. Over the years it has provided hours of fun and conversation around the pub, club or bar as people try to disprove the theory that it’s not a sport unless it involves a ball.

Already the cogs are ticking away in your head as you think about so called ‘sports’ that don’t involve a ball. It’s at this point that obnoxious Abe would start shooting down peoples suggestions of sports left, right and centre. Like a gunslinger from the wild west he was first to draw and quick to blow a hole in his challengers arguments no matter how good a point they made that their sport was indeed a sport. It’s usually a lot of the individual sports that were the first to be shot down in flames. From there things progressed to some team based sports that even as sensible human beings we struggled to comprehend how they had become sports. But if it can be commercialised you can guarantee our allies in the US of A will have turned it into a money making scheme.

According to the definition, A sport is an activity that is competitive and athletic, and which requires some particular set of skills or physical abilities to be carried out. But good old Abe could never be swayed on his sports stance. The man even had a book planned but quickly gave up on the idea when he realised the title “Balls and All” was already taken and that he’d actually have to write it himself.

So what’s a sport, well the following is a list of some sports according to Abe:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Dodgeball
  • Football (Soccer, Gridiron, AFL, Rugby Union, Rugby League)
  • Tennis (Including Table)
  • Quidditch
  • Lawn Bowls
  • Lacrosse
  • Polo
  • Field Hockey
  • Bowling
  • Billiards
  • Cricket

The list goes on and there are so many derivatives of sports that we could literally list pages upon pages of them. But we aren’t here to talk about what is a sport we want to focus on what isn’t. If it doesn’t involve a ball it’s not a sport, plain and simple. What’s that athletics is a sport? No sorry it isn’t athletics is a bunch of life skills we all need and here is why. In the wild you need to be able to run away from big game so running is not a sport. Huddles is not a sport, when you are running away from the police you need to be able to leap over fences without stopping and high jump well that’s just even bigger fences. Javelin you say, nope another life skills that’s just hunting skills. Discus is just a heavy frisby, the only two athletics events that are actual sports are shot put and hammer throw. Yes the hammer is a ball on a chain a little like paddle tennis in your backyard.

Swimming is also not a sport and the most easy to argue. If you don’t swim you drown! It’s really a no brainer. Most water sports fall into the it’s not a sport category and can be classified as recreation activities. That includes synchronised swimming, diving, fishing, surfing, water skiing, wakeboarding or water pistol fights. Boxing, MMA, wrestling and any of the martial arts are not sports they are additional survival skills you may one day need when and if the zombie apocalypse comes or your country is invaded. Horse racing, motor racing and boat racing are not sports either they are activities, recreational or otherwise and none of them involve a ball unless its car soccer that’s a sport. The prevalent rise of gaming is also another recreational activity that is not a sport even if you are playing a sport on the screen.

We then move on to all the adventure sports like rock climbing, base jumping, hang gliding, street luge, white water rafting or kayaking, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, kite surfing and anything else that has a high likelihood of injury are all not sports. Rock climbing like tree climbing is something you did when you were a kid, cliff diving with or without a parachute is just silly. Laying on a skateboard and flying down a hill is also not a sport and something you did when you were 12 years old. The rest all just fall into recreational activities or modes of transportation.

Then there are those sports that just become questionable like hockey, played on the field it’s a sport, on ice the argument becomes a little dodgy as it’s a puck and not a ball however many a bar brawl has almost started over this one and apparently it is a sport because the ball was originally used however some genius came up with the idea to slice it in half as it travelled better over the ice. Over the years the ball was just flattened down into the puck we now know. So Abe’s argument on this one is that it’s just a squashed ball. Badminton is another questionable sport but again it’s a ball shaped object with wings a little like the golden snitch from the Harry Potter invented game of Quidditch, which has geeks running around on broomsticks across ovals all around the globe.

Anything that requires firing a weapon that was once used to kill other humans can not be classified as a sport on the premise that if it kills it’s not a sport. Archery, shooting, ice skating are all hunting skills and help put food on the fire when the world goes to shit or you just don’t have time to make it to Coles or Woolworths. Like fishing is not a sport, if you don’t catch a fish you don’t eat. What’s the saying ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’ It’s a part of the survival skill set that we all need to have in our lives. Heck you can combine it with as many other activities as you like and it still doesn’t make it a sport, yeah we are calling you out Biathlon, skiing and shooting has been done to hunt and kill in snow covered countries for centuries that doesn’t make it sport.

Dancing is something that you do in nightclub and therefore is not a sport even when you add ribbons or some batons and call it rhythmic gymnastics. Even when you throw in a pole and the man or woman does some acrobatic stuff on the pole and gets paid money to do so, it’s not a sport despite the guy having balls. And there’s another group of activities that aren’t sports. Gymnastics isn’t a sport either, except for that one floor event where they throw the bowling ball around that’s a sport. The balance beam, rings, uneven bars, trampoline and other floor events are all things that belong in a circus or a children’s jungle gym. Some of those skills could be used for survival though. Another so called sport to rise over the past decade is CrossFit and even the smart people here at A Mind of Its Own question whether that’s a sport.

We’ve decided that CrossFit is not a sport unless there is a medicine ball carrying event that is the only portion of this so called sport that is actually a sport. The rest is a bunch of fitness fanatics jumping over boxes, lifting weights, climbing ropes and doing all the things the military seem to do. To take it one step further it’s not a sport but do people try and classify bodybuilding as a sport? We know there is a lot of doping in professional sports but professional modeling competitions where you need to look like a triangle seems to have more Anabolic Steroids than the Bombers medical unit before James Hird was sacked. It’s a peptide party and only Essendon are invited but the coach didn’t know a thing about it… Hmm we think not!

As you can see there is an argument that can go with every example and if we wanted to we could take up a lot more of your time with what isn’t a sport but we’ve provided you with some of Abe’s best examples of what isn’t a sport. The man has an argument or come back for every example of a sport that he would have declassified from being a sport and the whole Idea started over a beer or two which funnily enough has now become part of a sport that has its own world championships. And yes ladies and gentlemen it’s a sport, Beer Pong the sport in which drunk men and women throw, you guessed it a ball into plastic red cups to make the other team get drunker and drunker. Run out of cups on the table and you lose. It’s a simple sport but nevertheless it is a sport.

Abe has been arguing for at least the last decade and no doubt has started a campaign or two for the rights of real sports. The problem though with Abe’s argument is that a lot of real sports are starting to die. With our interconnected world more and more children are staying inside and playing video games or chatting away to friends on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or any other online instant messaging system available. Heck even text messages are instantaneous these days unless you are on network Vodafone oh noooo. But in all seriousness, where did the kids go that had great imaginations and would play outside for hours on end until they were called inside for dinner. Oh that’s right the world changed and creeps roam the streets praying on women and small children like the monsters of myths, legends and fairytales.

So no matter where you fall on the great is it a sport debate, just remember the words of Abe the great. If it doesn’t have a ball it’s not a sport, if you can drive it, ride it or kill with it, it’s not a sport. The great sport debate will rage on throughout drinking holes around the globe for years to come. The Future of sports is unknown but we’ll no doubt see more and more technology involved in our favourite sports. From drones for viewing to GPS and heat mapping of players movements around the sporting field to no doubt robots taking the place of humans at some point in time throughout the future. It’s a scary new world for sports, those with balls anyways.

Yet another chapter to be filed away in the A Mind of Its Own chronicles. As the sun dips beyond the horizon on another day we’ll close this blog by saying the following. If you are a professional athlete and have taken offense to this because you don’t have a ball in your sport, take it up with Abe you can find him at the Raiders club in Canberra. The gungahlin one just FYI, for those looking to spark up the great debate over a beer or two and a slap on the pokies. I hear he’s a big fan of Where’s the Gold these days! On that note and the no doubt several calls we may get from Abe we’ll say goodbye and wish you all a pleasant week wherever you may be in this wonderful world.

Oh and if something doesn’t make sense there is a good chance Google can answer it for you, it’s helped us to research a lot of the things we write about here.

Things We Lost In the Fire…

After last weeks foray into self-help books and people not being able to be themselves or needing to wear a mask to the world. We thought we’d dive a little deeper into the study of evolutionary anthropology and look at one of only a handful of men who have a number named after him. Once we’ve done all that we’ll attempt to make light of why we struggle when presented with so much choice and why our choices often lead to what is more commonly known as the ‘fear of missing out’ or as the kids tend to say these days FOMO. So as we kick of another week of A Mind of Its Own we welcome old friends and new friends alike to yet another addition of Australia’s favourite blog. The country just doesn’t know it yet…

Being a topic that has piqued our interest us for quite some time now we thought it was only prudent that we lend our hand to spreading the message that is the study of evolutionary anthropology and psychology. It’s only fitting that we start with the man that introduced us to some of the studies that captured our imagination. It was Mark Manson who pointed out Professor Robin Dunbar and his now famous number in a talk he gave about his most recent self help book ‘Everything is F#cked’ at the Brisbane Powerhouse. The team attended as part of our exploration into the self help world and it’s so called gurus. (See previous blog for more context around the topic). So who is Robin Dunbar?, What is the Dunbar number and how did he come up with it? All will be revealed below along with some of our own observations, calculations and salutations.

Robin Ian McDonald Dunbar, born 28th of June 1947, for those that are into Astrology he’s a cancer, yep a crab. The man hails from our motherland, yes England and we wonder whether he’s ever thrown out the convict title when referring to all of us in the land down under. An anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist by trade he specialises in primate behaviour. However when asked what his research is all about Professor Dunbar usually responds with the following. He’s written multiple books on psychology, evolution, anthropology as well as scientific and research journals. Been interviewed on several occasions regarding the Dunbar number as well as had several people try to disprove his theory only to come back to the magic number around 150.

“My research is concerned with trying to understand the behavioural, cognitive and neuroendocrinological mechanisms that underpin social bonding in primates (in general) and humans (in particular). Understanding these mechanisms, and the functions that relationships serve, will give us insights on how humans have managed to create large scale societies using a form of psychological that is evolutionarily adapted to very small scale societies, and why these mechanisms are less than perfect in the modern world. This has implications for the design of social networking sites as well as mobile technology. We use conventional behavioural and cognitive experimental approaches, combined with network analysis, agent based modelling, comparative studies of primate brain evolution, neuroimaging and neuroendocrinology to explore explicit and implicit processes at both the dyadic and the group level. An important feature of our behavioural studies has been the constraints that time places on an individual’s ability to manage their relationships, and the cognitive tricks used to overcome these”.

So how did he come up with the Dunbar number and what is it? There is a complex answer and a simple answer to what is the Dunbar number and if you read on we’ll explain how Professor Dunbar came up with it. But First things first. The Dunbar number, what is it? It is the number of people you can have a relationship with involving trust and obligation. There is some personal history and not just names and faces. That’s the simple answer, the more complex answer goes a little something like this. The way our social world is constructed is part and parcel of our biological inheritance. Together with apes and monkeys, we form part of the primate family. Within that family there is a general relationship between the size of the brain and the size of the social group. We fit within a pattern. There are social circles beyond it and layers within it but there is a natural grouping that averages around 150. The Dunbar number is actually a series of them. The best known, a hundred and fifty, is the number of people we call casual friends—the people, say, you’d invite to a large party. (In reality, it’s a range: a hundred at the low end and two hundred for the more social of us.)

From there, through qualitative interviews coupled with analysis of experimental and survey data, Dunbar discovered that the number grows and decreases according to a precise formula, roughly a “rule of three.” The next step down, fifty, is the number of people we call close friends—perhaps the people you’d invite to a group dinner. You see them often, but not so much that you consider them to be true intimates. Then there’s the circle of fifteen: the friends that you can turn to for sympathy when you need it, the ones you can confide in about most things. The most intimate Dunbar number, five, is your close support group. These are your best friends (and often family members). On the flipside, groups can extend to five hundred, the acquaintance level, and to fifteen hundred, the absolute limit—the people for whom you can put a name to a face. While the group sizes are relatively stable, their composition can be fluid. Your five today may not be your five next week; people drift among layers and sometimes fall out of them altogether.

Firstly, it’s a little confusing as there is no specific number actually assigned as the ‘Dunbar number’, as previously stated above however 150 is a common number which is associated and the answer as to why will become more apparent as we explain how Professor Dunbar came across his numbering during a study. As to how the study came about well thanks to our cousins in the animal kingdom. Yes primates, whilst working on why primates spend so much time grooming each other he wanted to test a hypothesis that says primates have big brains and the reason why is because they live in a complex social world. Grooming being social, he hypothesised that all these things should be able to be mapped together. He started plotting brain size, group size and grooming time against one another in which he came out with a nice set of relationships.

According to the good professor, he had a light bulb moment rather early one morning around 3am where he wondered what would happen if he plugged humans into the study. After doing so he got a number of 150 connections, on first glance it looked implausibly small given that most people now live in cities. It turns out the number was the typical size of hunter gatherer societies. It was also the average size of a village in the Domesday Book (A manuscript record of the “Great Survey” conducted in much of England and parts of Wales in 1086 by order of King William The Conqueror).

The number turns out to be much the same when you have better data available. An example of this is parish registers in the 18th century. County by county the average village size was once again 150, except for Kent which was 100. Professor Dunbar has no idea why it is smaller but hypothesized that perhaps there was a higher density of people with bigger brains in Kent throughout the 18th century. Unfortunately the records available can not prove or disprove this theory. A quick google search though did tell us that the population in England exploded throughout the 18th century which is contrary to the Dunbar number and the parish records that state the average size of the village was 100 people.

The professor further hypothesized that the number most likely dates back to the appearance of anatomically modern humans around 250,000 years ago and by going back in time and estimating brain size we can see community sizes on the decline. Through evolutionary strategy we evolved and adapted as a social species. Most animal species aren’t as intensely social as humans, apes and monkeys. They tend to pair up and mate for life unlike primates, who whilst they tend to mate monogamously it’s not always for life or the same partner. We guess the lesson behind that is there is something computationally demanding about maintaining close relationships over a very long period of time as we all know.

Ok so when we started out on this little exploration into the Dunbar Number we were under the assumption that it was a number based on connections you could have in your life, which is correct but we being the A Mind of Its Own team thought it was a little simpler than it has turned out to be. Like most topics we tackle it’s just raising more and more questions but slowly the pieces of the puzzle are coming together to create the picture. So before we wrap it up for another week, we’ll answer two more burning questions and for once try to tie it all together in a nice neat bow for you, rather than leaving it ambiguous and unfinished as we’ve so often done.

The first of the final two questions is can we grow the Dunbar Number? Again there is a simple answer and complicated answer. In modern times we are caught in a somewhat of a bind as community sizes were designed for hunter-gatherer type societies, when people weren’t living on top of one another. Days gone by your 150 would be scattered over a wide area but everyone shared the same 150. It made for a dense interconnected community that policed itself. You didn’t need lawyers and policemen. If you stepped out of line you more than likely had granny to answer to. For the last twenty-two years, Dunbar has been “unpacking and exploring” what that number actually means—and whether our ever-expanding social networks have done anything to change it.

The problem we face is the sheer density of people, it stretches our networks rather than keeping them compact. Most people will have friends scattered around the world who don’t know one another. This in turn means we no longer have interwoven networks, therefore leading to less well integrated societies. So the question now becomes how do we recreate that old sense of community. That’s a social engineers problem that needs to be worked around. The alternative is that we evolve bigger brains, they’d have to be much bigger and that would take a long time.

The second of our final two questions actually started out our interest in all this and we have written about technology and whether it has killed off social interaction on several occasions in the past. What role does the internet and social media play in the Dunbar Number? Like an onion there are multiple layers to this question. Can you have meaningful relationships online with the old number of 150? Well the answer is yes according to Professor Dunbar. Using the example of Twitter, we can find out what you had for breakfast from a mere tweet. Can we really get to know one another better though? Digital developments have helped us to keep in touch when in the past a relationship might have died through distance of various other circumstances, however due to our biology in the end we actually have to get together to make a relationship work.

As humans we still rely heavily on touch and as hard as the crazy science guys have tried we still have worked out how to do virtual touch, perhaps when we cracked that big nut it may lead to a true Dunbar Number? The last and final piece to our puzzle is where does choice come into all of this? Living in an interconnected world we have an abundance of choice at our fingertips. We have everything we could possibly need at the palm of our hands. Every aspect of our lives can be managed from a device and for every aspect there are multiple choices. If we look at social media and the amount of connections people have on average, most people would say they have more than the average Dunbar Number. Most of the A Mind of its Own team certainly have more than 150 followers or are following 150 people whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any of the other social media platforms.

Ask yourself this question though, out of all those people who you follow or are following, how many of those people do you truly trust and feel an obligation towards to maintain your friendship. We can guarantee you that number won’t match the number you follow or thought. You may be able to arrange them into the various patterns of Dunbar Numbers but there will be some that float in between groups. So here’s our take on the whole Dunbar Number, the internet why the world is so ridiculously F#cked at present. Whilst many people will blame social media it was the internet that ruined the world. We (Humanbeings) thought that by providing each other with as much information as possible at our fingertips the truth would float to the top. That’s not the case our brains aren’t developed or evolved enough, if you will to compute that amount of data and work out whats fact from fiction.

The internet has provided us with freedom of choice when it comes to deciding what’s truth and what is a lie. The fact our thinking brain and feeling brain can’t make an educated decision due to the amount of data available has led us down the garden path in more ways than one. Unsubstantiated facts have have become the truth for many around the world as their feeling brains take over and that fact whilst not having any truth or in most cases science behind it, it now becomes their truth and the knock on effect is that each time they relay that fact if becomes more and more the truth they believe. Give someone too many choices whether it be selecting one festival to attend out of all them across a year, you are guaranteed that person will have some from of regret or FOMO.

In societal aspects this can be related to dating and the rise of online dating platforms like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Plenty of Fish and eHarmony. The fact that divorce is on the rise, polygamy and polyamory are now both acceptable in society leads one to believe we now have too much choice when it comes to finding a mate. In a society of swiping left and right, we no longer base our connections on more than just looks and are we truly getting to know people? An example of this are the boys and girls who are seeing multiple people at once as they can’t decide on just one person through fear of missing out that someone better might come along. Again we have too much choice and aren’t making the strong connections we would have made back in the day before we lived in an interconnected world. In relation to Dunbars numbers a lot of these people would start in the acquaintance group and depending on whether a relationship developed or not they could move up or out of the larger number.

On an even deeper level, there may be a physiological aspect of friendship that virtual connections can never replace.

So as we gift wrap this latest blog for you we can sum it up by saying, the internet killed the world and gave rise to anti-vaxxers, flat earthers and a lot of the internet’s other whack jobs. It’s responsible for providing a platform or soapbox to every man and its dog to play their violin and whinge their woe is me story. Or spew their hateful rhetoric across the internet. Whilst we are more interconnected than ever, we are not as interwoven as we have been throughout history and therefore our Dunbar Numbers stay relatively the same. Social media and internet dating sites and applications have given us too much choice and therefore we are not happy with the choices we are making. People no longer try to work things out due to this and sexually transmitted infections, apparently people didn’t like catching a disease are on the rise in 1st world countries. So all in all as Mark Manson put it, “Everything is Fucked” until next week do some thinking and work out who your 5 are. We know ours.

“Words are slippery, a touch is worth a 1,000 words any day”.

Love The Way You Lie…

We all have a past that’s the thing we need to understand, we need to work through and sometimes more than not we need to move past. That’s the thing about the past though it’s in the past, it has already happened and unless you’ve found a way to bend time and travel through it into the past there is not a goddamn thing we can do about it. What we can do though, is live in the gift that is now and make it so great that we have a grasp on what will become of the future, what we can do is make the most of the now as it will greatly impact what the future holds for us. As many a great philosopher and scholar has written we are able to mould the future to an image that most suits us, most suits our purpose.

With all the self help books and gurus in the world you would think by now that someone would have written a survival guide for getting through the day to day. We all experience things throughout our lives. Pain, death, loss, trauma, you name it and you will no doubt experience it at some point in your life. You’ll try to fix what you think is wrong with you or wrong with your life through various different means. You might try to fix it through reading the latest self help book about boosting your confidence or being a better person. Or opening up to pain, opening up to new ideas, new ways of thinking, a new you as all the guru’s books and bloggers will tell you and make you believe. Funny how a little bit of marketing can make you pick up a book, read a magazine and more importantly make you want to improve yourself.

Here at A Mind of Its Own we are all for the betterment of oneself and we encourage learning but does that need to come at the cost of who we truly are? Do we need to change who we are? Do we need to become someone different, someone we really aren’t or is it more a case that we don’t like who we truly are as a person and therefore are always searching to become a better person, a different person, a person that is as far away from our true self. A mask if you will to the public, a front that is put on to hide the real you, the one that stares back at you in the mirror that you lie about because the truth might just hurt you a little too much to accept. Where are the self help books that talk about that, that talk about how it’s ok being yourself and not needing to change.

Scouring the internet we searched and searched for a voice of truth, a voice that would say it’s ok but what we found were that people even the writers of these self help books don’t want to be themselves they found an excuse to believe in their own spin, their own hyperbole. Don’t get us wrong we’ve read our fair share around the office and the closest we’ve got to actually accepting some of the self help is Mark Manson. His style of writing and spin on the self help industry is somewhat refreshing in the fact he basically tells you not to give a fuck subtely. In his most recent book he tells us everything is fucked so in terms of telling it like it is he the closest we’ve come to someone telling us that its ok to be who you are and that things won’t change but here’s some tips and techniques on how to get around it all.

With social media and blog post everyone has become an expert on giving out advice about what and how people should live their lives. Every second person will give you their opinion on what you should do if your life falls into a heap, which books to read, which podcasts to listen to youtube videos that helped them get through a tough time in their lives. They tell you what you should eat, how much exercise you should do, how you should look after your mental health and the lack of educational degrees they have. Oh wait they won’t tell us about that as that would result in less followers and we couldn’t have that. Add to this we have the ramblers.

The social media ramblers who lives are posted across the internet and feel the need to document their entire life as well as telling you what you should be doing to be your best self and get yourself into that frame of mind to become that person you really want to be. These are the people that tend to flip and flop from one cause to another. They go through life bouncing from one place to another with little understanding of who they are and what they truly want. But they have a place in the self help guru guidance arena. Again, opinions are like arseholes everyone has one and the internet has allowed everyone to voice theirs.

So when someone writes the perfect self help book which is to tell everyone that it is more than ok to be yourself and that you are going to have good days and bad days, it’s called life. And life ladies and gentleman is always going to test you to make sure you know you are alive and that you will not be able to float through it, you will have to fight and sometimes you’ll have to get bloody both physically and mentally. You’ll want to give in from time to time but you’ll push through and you’ll actually learn a few truths about yourself that you hadn’t expected to learn or even knew about yourself. Had life not happened and you were forced to take a path and not know what could have happened would have learnt these lessons and things about yourself? Chances are highly unlikely.

After writing most of this blog we sent the team on a mission of exploration to watch the self help guru himself Mark Manson give a talk around his books and the inspiration and research that goes into writing a book for others. If this was a newspaper we may of had to write a retraction and eat our words. After reading his books and diving further into the research behind them it’s quite quickly apparent that the man has a good handle on the fact that life is F*#ked. It’s what you make of it right? We’ll yes and no, a lot of it has to do with psychology and the way we react to things that happen. A lot of it has to do with how we were raised, some of it is even genetic but what it all boils down to is the fact that as human beings we aren’t necessarily mentally equipped for the 21st century and all it has to offer.

We’ll talk about it a little more in next week’s blog but a lot of it has to freedom of choice and living standards alongside the fact that we now live in an interconnected world. All of this creates a social anxiety in which we aren’t often prepared for or know how to deal with on a day to day basis. We only see people on their perfect holidays, with their model girlfriends, having babies, buying a house or car and living out the lives in front of everyone else.

So we asked some hard questions of the team in an attempt to understand why we lie to ourselves and those around us, particularly when we’ve gone through something life changing. Something painful, soul crushing, soul destroying that changes us to be something we aren’t, someone we aren’t and wear a mask to the world. A lot of us choose to run, to hide and further mask our pain and discomfort with the world but for what benefit? A few minutes, hours or days of relief from the pain? Whatever it may be we all choose the path in which we walk and how we choose to react to a situation or event in our lives. Who’s to say it’s right or wrong other than you, we all decide what’s right for us in that moment but if we are going away from who we truly are at some point we’ll call ourselves out on it.

Or we’ll fall too far to save ourselves and become confused with what is reality and what is a lie. We’ll no longer wear the mask but the mask will wear us. We will have become that person we were trying so desperately to be instead of the person that we are because we are either scared of ourselves or so insecure in our own skin that we feel we need to be someone else altogether. By now we are just rambling but the point is this, throughout our lives we will all do it at some point, whether to impress people or make ourselves feel better. The key is to not get lost or entrenched so deep in the lie that it starts to become your reality and something that is far from the truth.

Just so you are aware this is not a self-help blog or the beginnings of a best seller this is and always will be A Mind of Its Own, a blog that will tell you all about the things people don’t want to tell you. We’ll write about the hard stuff, the political stuff, the down right dirty stuff and yeah from time to time we’ll provide you with some advice. Whether you choose to take it on board is up to you. The things we write and the opinions expressed throughout these posts are ours and ours alone. We will always try to be fair and give a voice to both sides of the story in order to let you make your own mind up. That’s part of the reasoning why we started A Mind of Its Own, we wanted to give a voice to the people who don’t have one and the topics that people would prefer are swept under the rug and not discussed.

We are a little public service announcement that no one really wants but everyone really needs. Our readers come from all walks of life and all have their own stories to tell. So when it comes to self-help and wanting to better your life. Leave it to the psychologists and people who have been to university to take advice from when it comes to bettering yourself. As for diet and exercise advice we also recommend you take it from someone trained not the local instagram lady who looks good in active wear who stole her program from her trainer and is now selling it for likes on the world wide web. We might often be a cynical bunch over here but we say a lot in jest we just feel strongly that things should be left to the professionals when it comes to matters of mental health and health in general.

So we’ll leave you for yet another week and remind you that next week’s blog will flow on from this weeks as we dive a little deeper into the psychology behind freedom of choice and how modern life gives us way too much choice that we just can’t cope with due to our brains not being able to process all the information we provide it. But that’s a story for next week’s a mind of it’s own. For now we’ll leave you with some lyrics from Passenger and wish you all a great weekend. Look after yourselves and take it easy hombres. From all of us here we wish you all the best in your weekend endeavours and make sure that if you decide to misbehave make sure you do it well. Ok peace out…

“When I was a kid the things I did were hidden under the grid, Young and naive I never believed that love could be so well hid, With regret I’m willing to bet and say the older you get, It gets harder to forgive and harder to forget, It gets under your shirt like a dagger at work,The first cut is the deepest but the rest still flipping hurt,You build your heart of plastic,Get cynical and sarcastic And end up in the corner on your own. Cause I’d love to feel love but I can’t stand the rejection, I hide behind my jokes as a form of protection, I thought I was close but under further inspection, It seems I’ve been running in the wrong direction”. – Passenger – The Wrong Direction.

Shredding The Balloon…

Many people have asked why the space between posts as the team was well on track to deliver one blog a week for the year. Well to be honest the team pushed themselves to the extreme the last couple of weeks and really found their limits both mentally and physically. What is something that they normally wouldn’t consider doing the team decided to challenge themselves and raise a little cash for a good cause at the same time. Enter the Oxfam Trailwalker Series. A bunch of hikes designed to raise money to combat poverty around the globe as well as test those participating in the walk.

To start with the fundraising model is actually quite smart ensuring that each team raises a certain amount of cash before they do the walk. Not to mention the entry fee you need to pay as well. So before you even start the walk you need to come up with $500 and once that’s done you need to raise $1600 before you can actually start walking. Anything on top of that is a bonus and the more you raise the more things become accessible to you. Like what you ask well to start with there’s names instead of numbers on your race bibs, the opportunity to have your own portaloo at each checkpoint, the chance to win a GPS device for your team. Oh did we mention it was a team based charity walk? Well it’s a team based event consisting of 4 team members which we’ll introduce to you over the next couple of chapters.

With two options in length, of the walk people! Come on we aren’t talking about wood so get your mind out of the Bunnings catalogue. It was only natural we’d pick the longer of the two as our superman complex kicked in and we saw a need to prove a point to the doubters in our world. So straight off the bat the 55km was scratch off the list and 100km was signed, sealed and, hopefully delivered. By the end of this blog you’ll see whether we actually made it or not. Now to pick a team of suitable pundits to embark on this silly journey with. Here’s where the hilarity ensued as we tried to screen suitable candidates. Our criteria wasn’t as strenuous as some of the interviews we’ve attended in the past consisting of two main criteria.

The first being that they need to be able to at least make the majority of the distance, the second being that we needed to be able to put up with them for an extended period of time up to 48hrs. So with the hunt for team mates well under way it wasn’t long before we filled our first slot. For privacy reasons we’ll call him the ‘Legal Beagle’, part super lawyer, part dad, he was an easy pick for the team given his natural fitness and ability to entertain with his random fun facts. He is often referred to as Captain Google in close friend circles. The Beagles analytical nature and want to win all the time made the number pick in the draft to walk with, pun possibly intended there we aren’t 100% sure.

As the weeks dragged closer and closer it looked highly unlikely that we would be entering the walk as the Beagle and Boss struggle to find the third and fourth members of their team. No foursome meant no walk and no walk would mean, well they would both have a weekend to do whatever they damn liked without having to stress out about how they would make it through 100kms of walking. As other teams grew around them the twosome wondered whether they would indeed to the walk. Alas someone heard their pleas and came to their rescue. In the aid of what would be two unlikely heroes we’ll call them the Receptionist and the Accountant fitting names to round out the team.

In what sounds like a group of misfit vigilantes ready to keep the criminals off the streets of Brisbane the team of walkers were formed. Each one brought something different to the team, each one had a unique character that would come out and entertain the others at some point during the 100km walk. There would be moments throughout the walk in which they would need to lean on one another, draw strength and most all encourage each other to continue putting one foot in front of the other over and over again until they reached the finishing line. So with the team now assembled, they began training, well the majority did the Boss was a little busy re-living yesteryear on the hockey pitch and isn’t the biggest fan of early mornings walk around a mountain.

Lists were made, provisions purchased, maps read and supplies stockpiled. Many a review was read about the best shoes, walking poles, power gels, hydration and packs before they were purchased and apartment tested for the big day. So back to the two newest members of the squad the receptionist well he’s a character all in himself. He’s a contradiction of a man who loves fine things and yet has hippyish free spirit about him that fights with his want to be rich and have nice things. The accountant on the other hand seems to like to have a little bit of fun, enjoys a drink or two but has his head screwed on. So while the Boss frolicked around the hockey field the rest of the team trained most weekends in preparation for the walk.

With two of the team having already attempted to complete the 100km beast, there were no illusions about how hard it was going to be. But there is a difference between knowing something is going to be hard and actually experiencing just how hard it is. Which was a lesson that all team would learn over the of the 2nd last weekend in June. They would each have a different build up to the day but they would bind together once they started on a journey that would be mind changing and mind blowing well for some of them, that’s the thing with experiences and journeys everyone takes something different from them. They walk awaying with something that is everlasting, always a memory that they can reflect back on in years to come.

As the morning dawned the team were all up early and preparing to take on the challenge as best they could. Running late the Boss and the Beagle missed breakfast after planning a Maccas coffee and McMuffin but instead had to settle on a petrol station sausage rolls and pies. Discussing this down the track with the Legal Beagle it may have led to some complications for the Boss during the walk which provided the team with a lot of laughs throughout the walk but we’ll get to that later down the line and no doubt introduce you all to the wonderful world of walking. Walking you say that’s easy well that’s what our four friends thought before that buzzer sounded at 8:30am on Friday the 21st of June.

The team were a little delayed and ended at the back of the pack with plenty of people to wade past on there way to the finish line. This was due to the receptionist come Team leader giving a command despite the teams questioning of said command. So they finally crossed the start line and began a game that would last all day and through the night. Little did they know this game would actually spur them on and lift their spirits at the lowest of times throughout the walk. Along with the Boss’s need for a tune or two about walking or with walking lyrics and they were set with fun and games. If you throw in the Legal Beagle’s love of a good statistic or knowledge dump about science then they had the entertainment portion of the walk covered.

Set in amongst the national parks and reserves of Brisbane’s Mt Glorious, Mt Nebo and Mt Cootha the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker is like being on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight well at least that’s how it’s been described to us. Taking a look at the topographical maps we can see that there are a fair few hills to ascend and descend along the route with some dramatic changes in altitude as you start your walk through D’Aguilar National Park and wind your way towards Lake Manchester but before we get there we’ll give you an insight into the mindset and bodies of the team as they trek to waypoint three which is just under half way (45km). To start with the team were setting a cracking pace between the startline and checkpoint one walking a very decent clip of 6km p/hr.

Making their way to checkpoint two they were still setting a reasonable pace and had worked out they were faster up the hills than going down them. The minds were still strong and the legs were feeling great, spirits were high as they entered their second checkpoint for the day passing by a happy volunteer dressed as Zorro, with a foam finger motioning them towards the checkpoint, well we think it was Zorro but then again dehydration may have started to set in. They could fill up on water, get some food and recharge for a couple of minutes before setting out on the trail again. It was at this point that things started to get interesting for the Boss and hilarious for the rest of the team. Just a kilometer past the check the Boss started sweating profusely, yes the hills were strenuous but this was something else entirely.

Gut cramps wreaked havoc as he staggered along the trail. His team mates a little concerned at the amount of sweat pouring out of him. Finding a tree he urinated relieving some tension on his stomach but it still wasn’t enough another 500 meters down the track and he was wrench with more gut craps. Within seconds he was on the side of the track pants around his ankles releasing the demons from within. The nausea and pain he’d been feeling were now replaced by the pungent smell that covered the ground below him that he quickly tried to cover up with biodegradable baby wipes after cleaning his bottom. Oh and you thought this was over it was the beginning of what was dubbed the “Gascapades” and a severe case of swamparse. Feeling better well moderately better he trudged on with the rest of the team embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d just done.

With checkpoint three insight and the legs starting to tire, blisters and bruising starting to grace their feet the team strode into the checkpoint well ahead of the time they thought they would. The dinner was the best thing they’d had to eat in a long time and who would have thought a simple tuna pasta bake could taste so delicious. The Boss had rekindled his love of Tuna and the team were energized and ready to continue what was now starting to feel like a vietnamese concentration camp death march. Three BBB cream was applied to prevent chafe and aid those who already had chafe, massages were given, blisters lanced and water refilled. Off into the night they set head torches lighting the way as they stumbled towards the finish line.

With tired legs, chaffed arse cheeks, blistered feet and a range of other ailments the team found the second half hard going but surprises were a foot and swamparse, so was the methane power needed to get them up and down the hills. As they crossed a small creek a slithering friend reared its head as the accountant stepped right over it, kicked it and then ran for the hills while the receptionist decided to play Steve Irwin and attempt to flick the snake away. The rest of the team skirted around it as quickly as possible before the little slithering snake could take a chunk out of them or poison them. Although at the time they were probably hoping the snake would bite them and put them out of their misery.

Checkpoints passed and water packs were refilled filled, delirium began to set in and the Boss was not making a lot of sense as they stumbled along into the darkness. Foot after foot they continued minds and bodies fighting with one another. The body slowly getting ready to keel over at the first possible option and assume the fetal position. The mind willing on the body to finish to reach that finish line to cross the pain barrier and achieve something that people didn’t think they could or would achieve. As morale dimmed they leant on each other to provide a boost to the team that was sorely needed. Along with the cuppa soups and hot chocolates the sugar boosts were helping push the team along.

With the sun beginning to rise they climbed the last peak of the hike. The excitement grew knowing that once they reached the summit it was all downhill into the finish line. At least they could all roll downhill to make it home. According to the team whilst there was excitement that they were going to make it to the finish line and actually walk 100km in under 24 hours there was still the pain and ongoing internal struggle. Silence washed over the team as they ascended the peak and descended down the other side. A euphoria washing over them as they saw the finish line below, the green of the inflatable line like the lushest grass they had ever seen and actual grass. The shoes would be coming off and the wet grass felt between their toes.

Twenty three hours and twelve minutes later they had completed a course of 100km that wound up and down mountains, across creeks, over uneven terrain, having to use ropes and deal with both physical pain and mental pain including blisters, chafing, bruising and muscular cramping. When asked later what the toughest part of the walk was most of the walkers would agree it was the mental fight with themselves. The internal struggle of whether to give in to the pain or put one foot in front of the other and continue on. Whether to keel over and just sleep where their body fell the cold engulfing them as they rocked themselves to sleep. Literally what happened to most of the team once they made it home and had a shower.

So as we tally up the walk on an individual level there were over 25 litres of water consumed, over 8 sandwiches, 8 coffees, 2 cuppa noodle soups, 2 energy gels, half a box of glucose tablets, 5 muesli bars, a couple of bags of lollies and two bowls of Tuna pasta bake with croutons. That’s how much food was consumed on an individual level by each member of the not so funny titled team of Four Guys one Trek, some may of eaten more than others and some may have had more gut cramps and had to the crap on the side of the trail more than others. They had made it! The physical pain was over for the time being until delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) kicked in a couple of days later. They joy and elation felt as they crossed the finish line mixed in with other emotions.

As we close this chapter of A Mind of Its Own we take our hats off to the boys and the effort to raise some funds for a good cause and soldier on through 100km of torment. Those physical and mental pain barriers that were pushed through, the self doubt, the self loathing and self chafing. Well done guys, it’s an achievement and one done in a great time with a great bunch of blokes who pushed each other through to the end. If you are looking for a challenge and a good way to raise some money we recommend you look into doing this or just jump on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight.

Boys On The Docks…

Welcome back, we are halfway through the year and on track to deliver you another exciting piece of writing. We think we’ve finally found the answer to why those Mexicans south of the border are officially the worst. Aside from being the home of great coffee, Australian Football and Australia’s underbelly of crime. So slowly you are starting to get a picture of why Victorians are the worst Australians. We say that in jest having lived there for a short period of time however and it would go against all our morales to tar everyone who lives down there with the same brush but we just can’t escape the evidence mounting up against the southern state of Australia.

You know by now the team here like to read and we like to be as up to date on recent events as possible. We are big fans of free press and appreciate a good investigative journalist article. Hence why when we were doing a quick social media scan an article on Vice caught our interest. The guys over at Vice have been doing some of the most hard hitting, insightful and explosive journalism for years now. They are the guys that will bring you the pieces that people don’t want to know about but will read and left wanting more at the end. So getting back to our mexican friends with a little help from the lovely folks at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). We were quite interested in a couple of reports written by the commission regarding waste water. You heard right wastewater and we bet you didn’t know they were testing your toilet water for drugs.

Might make you think twice about what you are putting in your body as well as what goes down your toilet. But then again if you are putting things into your body that aren’t really meant to go in their then you are obviously not too worried about what’s coming out of you and going into the sewers beneath our cities. So let’s backtrack as the sampling of sewer water has us intrigued and we wonder how long it’s been going on right under our noses or in this case our arses. And just FYI they are only testing the water not your poo. Why don’t we start from the beginning because after all every story needs a beginning, middle and end. We have the end, that’s the toilet water that contains all your drug infested urine and feces but where did it all begin? And no we aren’t talking about the jungles of Colombia or Peru, or a caravan in some trailer park with a pill press or myth lab in it.

We are talking about the waste water testing scheme. Starting in 2017 the scheme tests wastewater. The studies and results are shared and sponsored by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. Now in it’s 7th iteration the reports ran twice a year provide ACIC with a wide range of information regarding the drugs and alcohol being consumed and used throughout Australia. The program provides statistically valid datasets of drug use and distribution patterns across a large number of sites in capital cities and regional Australia, which are being used to build a comprehensive and increasingly detailed picture of national drug consumption. That last sentence was directly lifted from the ACIC CEO’s forward in the report. The aim of the reports and the data obtained is for ACIC to explore how they can use the data in the long run to combat the war on drugs.

What statistics are pertinent to the average everyday joe blow aussie you ask? Well considering the report covers over 54% of the nation, roughly some 12.6 million Australians, wastewater has been sampled. Spare a thought for the poor men and women who had to stick a vial in the shit infested wastewater to get a sample. That’s a job I don’t think we would want but someone has to do it. The statistics will surprise you, well we think they will surprise you, we were certainly surprised by some of the statistics. Surprised but not shocked because let’s be honest the war on drugs is somewhat of a failing. Governments try to fight the cartels and syndicates across the globe but at the end of the day money speaks to those in power and corruption riddles every government from the lowest levels right through to the top.

Here in Australia whilst we are somewhat lucky to be so isolated from the rest of the world, we also have our friends in the five eyes community to help us fight the war on drugs. From our customs and border protection teams to our navy patrolling the waters in which we are surrounded right through the police working at the street level working to stop the spread of drugs. We guess the teams at ACIC are also involved now with their shit water samples and universities who test said samples to see what Australians are shoving into their bodies on a daily basis.

There are 25 countries involved in sharing data from the wastewater and well guess what ladies and gentleman our fine land ranks quite high on the list despite our isolation from the main continents. When it comes to beating everyone we may as well be last because like Ricky Bobby said, “If you’re not first, you are last” and well ladies and gentlemen we only come in 2nd behind the US for combined use of stimulants behind the United States and well they are on the doorstep of Mexico who we all know love some feed and cocaine so they should be first. So what’s our excuse oh and if you wanted to know our number most used stimulant of choice around the country after alcohol and tobacco which we all know are both legal is Methylamphetamine.

After Meth its cocaine followed by MDMA so really that isolation isn’t helping us but keep in mind we are number out of the 25 participating nations, most of which are European and Canada. So if you included South America and Asia we may not rank as highly but we still take a lot of drugs whether that started out as band aid solution for people and morphed into a full blown addiction or you got caught up in the wrong crowd. Or you just do them recreationally when you are out and about or to relax from time to time, the long and short of it not is that your toilet water is now being tested and given the scientific advancements of the last 5 years it won’t be long till they can track it right to your toilet and the arse that drug residue came from.

Looking at the states it safe to say that our friends in NSW, Sydney in particular are paid too much as they seem to be doing the most Cocaine, while South Australia took out the Methylamphetamine award,Tasmania does the most MDMA, Northern Territory does the most MDA, the dirty mexicans aka Victoria has the highest consumption of Heroin, Tasmania make the list for a second time with the highest consumption of Oxycodone. The banana benders and South Australians share a love of Fentanyl. Northern Territory gets a second hit with it’s people consuming 5-7 cigarettes on average a day and if you are looking for who consumes the most booze stay in the top end because those mother fuckers love a drink in both their capital city and regional areas. Sorry for swearing kids, out bad.

We aren’t done yet, the South Aussies love the Mephedrone better known as Bath salts, drone, M-CAT, White Magic and meow, meow. We had to google its a synthetic amphetamine. New South Wales and Queensland share a love of synthetic psychoactives in Methylone recording the highest averages. And once again the South Australians love a bong or joint or two recording yet another high in the intake of Cannabis. Safe to say that Australia is a country that likes to sample a variety of legal and illegal drugs. Our cities tend to do the majority of them but the regional areas aren’t too far behind.

What can we take away from this little insight into Australia’s drug intake? South Australians love drugs, Sydneysiders do a lot of blow and Queenslanders love prescription drugs and well the Northern territory loves cigarettes and drink. The two really go hand in hand and big tobacco would be loving life should the industry not be in a steady decline already due to killing hundreds of millions over the centuries just as alcohol has. The only difference is they are both now regulated and heavily taxed in most countries but particularly ours. One thing the report doesn’t go into detail about is how law enforcement and the government are going to combat the war on drugs with their new data and information.

We did get some sweet acronyms out of the report though and a new love for the people that come up with these acronyms. Like SCORE which is short for the Sewage Core Group Europe, the group of countries that wade through their peoples wastewater to come up with the results for the continent. Which are then shared with the other participating countries who also share their shit and piss results contaminated with drugs. The next report from the ACIC is due out in the 3rd quarter of the and we are hoping that it’s just as fascinating the last seven reports have been. Will there be an increase or a decline across the states in drug intake will South Australia still be a hotspot on the map for drugs and alcohol?

We’ll have to wait and see and no doubt we’ll keep you in the loop and our friends over at Vice will no doubt have something to say about it all. We are always interested in seeing what our fellow Australians are doing along with the rest of the world when it comes to all things illegal. We’ll watch on with baited breath as we wait for the results and research the next steps to the war on drugs. It’s been one of the more interesting topics we’ve looked into over the years since we started A Mind of Its Own and we are appreciative of the fact that the ladies and gentleman over at Vice brought the ACIC report to our attention. We hope they continue to enlighten us and provide the intelligence needed to combat the war on drugs.

Below is the link to the ACIC wastewater report as promised by us:

https://www.acic.gov.au/publications/intelligence-products/national-wastewater-drug-monitoring-program-report

If you are enjoying the blog please leave us a comment or hit us up on social media, we’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and yes we don’t mind shameless plug every now and then plus besides you our fine fans, how are we supposed to spread the word and grow the following for A Mind of Its Own and bring you more and more pieces that fill the void in your week and allow you to escape. Yes we know its not the same for everyone and that we each have our reasons for reading this fine blog but we know that for most of you it’s a little bit of a time waster and we enjoy writing it for you.

As we close on what has been yet another piece of time wasting, toilet reading material we’ll leave you to think about the ACIC report on your toilet water and the drugs. Until next week we’ll leave you with a riddle, what black and white and read all over? Yeah you know it, you know the answer and it’s a great place to start if you want to understand what’s going on in the world. There are plenty of things we are always unaware of until we read a paper or watch TV, most of the time the details are polished over. The world around us is full of education and answers you just have to open your eyes, ears and most of all your mind. So without further deliberation we wish you a warm week and you’ll no doubt hear from us again shortly.

Golden Years…

As a children our minds are at always curious, they are always questioning, always wondering and forever exploring. Our imaginations run wild as we play and develop, but over time we are able to determine what is real and what is make believe. Yet there are still things that even as adults still intrigue us and have us asking questions and believing in things that may or may not be real or exist. So with that said ladies and gentlemen it’s time to put down your laptops, phones and whatever else you are doing head out to the shed and grab a shovel, bucket and anything else you might think will help, if someone has a metal detector that would be great and head off with us on a real life treasure hunt. Yep treasure hunt, like children intrigued by tall tales and legends passed down from generation to generation the idea of buried treasure has grasped us by the balls and got us hooked.

Like many people we are fascinated with history, learning about the past is always interesting, but when you throw in mystery, intrigue and a treasure hunt you’ve got us hook, line and sinker. Well we’ve managed to find a treasure hunt that continues to trouble people and only raise more and more questions over time. To us it seems to be the ultimate treasure hunt with more twist and turns and just the right amount of mystery to keep you wanting more and more. With theories involving pirates, the knights templar, the British, the French, Portuguese and a few well known people throughout history the mystery behind the treasure will draw in even the most doubtful of people. Now before we lay it all out and get you all excited about a treasure hunt we do need to point out that some of the theories behind the stories are a little wild and outlandish.

Having been warned lets sink our teeth into the mystery that is Oak Island. Sitting in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, Canada. The privately owned island in Lunenburg county sits 200 metres from the shore of mainland Canada and is connected by a causeway. The tree covered island has been the setting for treasure hunters for over 200 years. As far back as 1700 people have searched the island for treasure. With links to the Knights Templar, Marie Antoinette, Blackbeard, The British Army fighting the American revolution there is no shortage to the amount of theories surrounding what treasure is buried on the island. When we first heard of the mystery of Oak Island we were somewhat a little dubious with a few of the theories around the treasure. The more we read and the more we researched, oh ok there was also a show about it that we just happened to stumble on that made us go wow this is cool. Modern day treasure hunters that’s something we can get our heads around.

The Oak Island mystery refers to stories of buried treasure and unexplained objects on Oak Island in Nova Scotia. Since the 19th century, a number of attempts have been made to locate treasure and artifacts. Theories about artifacts present on the island range anywhere from pirate treasure, to Shakespearean manuscripts, or religious objects of great importance. Various items have surfaced over the years that were found on the island, some of which have since been carbon dated and found to be hundreds of years old. Although these items can be considered treasure in their own right, the significant main treasure site has since been lost. The site consisted of an original shaft which was dug by early explorers, now known as “the money pit”. Oak Island has been a subject for treasure hunters ever since the late 1700s, with rumors that Captain Kidd’s treasure was buried there. While there is little evidence to support what went on during the early excavations, stories began to be published and documented as early as 1856.

Since that time there have been many theories that extend beyond that of Captain Kidd which include among others religious artifacts, manuscripts, and Marie Antoinette’s jewels. The “treasure” has also been prone to criticism by those who have dismissed search areas as natural phenomenon. Areas of interest on the island with regard to treasure hunters include a location known as the “Money Pit”, which is allegedly the original searchers spot. There is also a formation of boulders called “Nolan’s Cross”, named after a former treasure hunter with a theory on it, and a triangle-shaped swamp. Lastly, there has been searcher activity on a beach at a place called “Smith’s Cove”. Various objects including non native coconut fiber have been found there.

As Legend goes 7 people must lose their lives before the island will reveal the treasure. To date six people have lost their lives hunting for the Oak Island treasure in what can only be described as accidents. The mystery as to who and why it was put there on the Island still eludes us to this day. For over two hundred years people have explored, drilled, dug, dived and even blown up the Island in an effort to find the so called treasures buried beneath its surface. To tell you the full story and really get you hooked we should go back to the beginning and give you as much information as possible. We’ll say it now, if you are more of a visual person there’s a History Channel show called the Curse of Oak Island that documents and follows a group of modern day treasure hunters who have been captivated by the story for years. There goes half if not more of our readers, let’s face it if people can watch something rather than read they are going to take the easy option. Humans have become inherently lazy.

According to the earliest theory, there is a pit on Oak Island that holds a pirate treasure buried by now other than the infamous pirate Captain Kidd himself. Kidd reportedly conspired with Henry Avery(we had to google who he was), and Oak Island became their community pirate bank, wonder what there customer service would have been like. Another pirate theory involved Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, who said that he buried his treasure “where none but Satan and myself can find it”. An additional proposed explanation is that the pit was dug by Spanish sailors to hold treasure from a wrecked galleon or British troops stationed there during the American Revolution. Others claim that British marines dug the pit to store the loot acquired from the British invasion of Cuba, valued at about £1,000,000 pounds (about $180,000,000 in 2015). John Godwin wrote that given the apparent size and complexity of the pit, it was probably dug by French Army engineers hoping to hide the treasury of the Fortress of Louisbourg after it fell to the British during the Seven Years’ War.

Yet another theory for what is hidden beneath the Island lends it hands to Marie Antoinette’s jewels, missing except for specimens already in museum collections, there are theories the rest were reportedly hidden on the island. On October 5, 1789, an angry mob of Parisian working women, incited by revolutionaries marched on the Palace of Versailles. According to the undocumented (so it’s hearsay?) story, Marie Antoinette instructed her maid (or a lady-in-waiting) to take the jewels and flee. The maid fled to London with the jewels and (perhaps) other treasures, such as artwork or documents, secreted on her person or in her luggage. The woman then said to have fled from London to Nova Scotia. Using royal connections, she contracted with the French Navy to construct the Oak Island pit. In late 2017 the first possible evidence of this theory seemed to have been validated by the discovery of a 500-year-old brooch containing a large garnet.

In his 1953 book, The Oak Island Enigma: A History and Inquiry Into the Origin of the Money Pit, Penn Leary wrote that the pit was used to hide manuscripts indicating that Francis Bacon was the author of William Shakespeare’s works and a leader of the Rosicrucians.Leary’s “The Second Cryptographic Shakespeare”, published in 1990, identified ciphers in Shakespeare’s plays and poems which pointed to Bacon’s authorship. Author and researcher Mark Finnan elaborated on Leary’s Oak Island theory, which was also used in the Norwegian book Organisten (The Seven Steps to Mercy) by Erlend Loe and Petter Amundsen and the TV series Sweet Swan of Avon.

In his book, Oak Island Secrets, Mark Finnan noted that many Masonic markings were found on Oak Island, and the shaft (or pit) and its mysterious contents seemed to replicate aspects of a Masonic initiation rite involving a hidden vault with a sacred treasure. Joe Nickell identifies parallels between Oak Island accounts, the “Secret Vault” allegory in York Rite Freemasonry and the Chase Vault on Barbados. Freemason Dennis King examines the Masonic aspects of the Oak Island legend in his article, “The Oak Island Legend: The Masonic Angle”. Steven Sora speculated that the pit could have been dug by exiled Knights Templar and might be the final resting place of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

Another theory holds that the Rosicrucians and their reported leader, Francis Bacon, organized a secret project to make Oak Island the home of its legendary vault with ingenious means to conceal ancient manuscripts and artifacts. Researchers and cryptographers such as Petter Amundsen and Daniel Ronnstam claim to have found codes hidden in Shakespeare, rock formations on the island, and clues hidden in other 16th- and 17th-century art and historical documents. According to Daniel Ronnstam, the stone found at 90 feet (27 m) contains a dual cipher created by Bacon.

Author Joy Steele suggests that the money pit is actually a tar kiln dating to the historical period when “Oak Island served as a tar-making location as part of the British naval stores industry”. When marine biologist Barry Fell attempted to have the symbols on the stone translated during the late 1970s, he said that the symbols resembled the Coptic alphabet and read: “To escape contagion of plague and winter hardships, he is to pray for an end or mitigation the Arif: The people will perish in misery if they forget the Lord, alas”. According to Fell’s theory, Coptic migrants sailed from North Africa to Oak Island and constructed the pit. However, Fell is not considered to be credible by most mainstream academics.

So with abundant theories and mysteries surround what if anything is buried its not lost on this this here blog that even some of history’s well known faces would get involved in the Oak Island mystery. Not only was he a major investor in some of the digs performed on the island but a young Franklin D. Roosevelt himself participated in a dig on the island. Famous actors Errol Flynn and John Wayne had both sunk money into the island over the years as an attempt to uncover or in this case unearth the mystery that is Oak Island. Vincent Astor heir to the Astor family fortune, his father was the man you all laughed at the first time you saw Titanic who falls off the back of the ship and hits the propellers on the way down. After Daddy died aboard the Titanic young Vincent sunk some of the family fortune into finding fame and further fortune on Oak Island.

We come full circle to our modern day treasure hunters, Oak Island now has several different owners which include treasure hunter named Dan Blankenship, who partnered with “Oak Island Tours Inc.” run by David Tobias. Oak Island Tours eventually dissolved, and in February 2019, it was announced that a new partnership had been formed with a company called the “Michigan Group”. This group consists of brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, and Alan Kostrzewa who had been purchasing lots from Tobias. It is unclear who is involved to what degree as Blankenship only revealed Kostrzewa’s name to the press saying he was “on board”. Blankenship owns 78% of the island with the Michigan Group, while the remaining 22% is owned by private parties. There are two permanent homes and two cottages occupied part-time on the island.

What does all this mean well it means the Lagina brothers and Craig Tester along with the Blankenships are digging in the ‘Money Pit’ sinking over $2 million into the mystery on top of what they have already sent they are building sand castles in Smith’s Cove while putting some divers down into the Money pit and couple of other holes they’ll dig in an attempt to unearth the treasure. We here at a mind of its own are hoping for maybe some connection to the Knight Templar or at least some pirate treasure at a bare minimum. Whatever they unearth will no doubt be exciting as the Island slowly reveals its mysteries to the world. We just hope that no one else has to die in order for the treasure to show its shiny self. Wouldn’t it be exciting if the Francis Bacon theories were true or the Ark of the Covenant was unearthed, it would certainly change some of the way history has been viewed.

There is so much more to the story of the island and the treasure, we’ve briefly skimmed over the top of it for you in order to give you a taste of the island and its rich history. A history that if true could make someone a very rich person indeed. The answers are out they they just require people brave enough to go and find them. The Lagina’s have been intrigued by the Oak Island mystery since they were young boys. Now successful businessmen they are able to try and shed some light on the theories surrounding the Island, its treasure and the overall history of the Island itself throughout time. The team will continue to track the story and any developments on the island as they hunt for the treasure in the key locations that have become the focus of many hunters throughout history.

As we hang our pith helmets and place our shovels, metal detectors and shifting trays back in the shed for another night. We leaf back through the pages of history and wonder what other great treasure mysteries are yet to be solved. What great mysteries await those who seek to find answers and what in our own country can we dig up to make us rich and famous in the world. That’s something we’ll explore for another day but leave it with us we’ll no doubt unearth some goodness over the coming weeks in which we’ll be able to keep you entertained with. Until next week happy hunting! Oh and kids don’t go and dig up the backyard and if you do perhaps ask your parents first! Adios amigos!

With Friends like you, Who needs Friends…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, there’s toys in every store if you head to the toy section all year round not just at christmas and if we go to the butcher we can guaranteed unless you are going to play with your Christmas Ham they aren’t going to have toys so the song is doing a little false advertising but that’s ok. Like Easter though as soon as one major event is over it’s time to roll out the next. In this case most shopping centres have been rolling out their christmas decorations since October. Christmas tunes are blasting our years as of November and come the start of December there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is well and truly upon us, followed very closely by new years and then before you know it Australia (Invasion) Day. After Australia/invasion Day you can finally relax and enjoy some down time until easter but you will start to see easter eggs as of the 27th of January.

We’ve lit the candles on another cake and started the macarena in order to celebrate in style. The padlock has come off the drinks fridge and someone has said it’s time to party like it’s nineteen ninety nine. Does that mean we should all hide and worry about the Y2K bug or channel our inner Prince throw on our best purple velvet suit and rock out? Who knows but for the team here it’s GO time and time to celebrate all the good things that came with the year. Time to let the hair down and time to throw the rule book out the window along with all our cares in the world. So tip your head back, throw back a drink or two and settle in with us to celebrate. By the way the title has nothing to do with the Blog as per usual and we are still waiting for someone to tell us what they all have in common…

So with the year creeping rapidly towards a close and A Mind of Its Own reaching yet another major milestone with this post. We thought why not look back on the best of the blog through 2018. With the half century now posted on the scoreboard we are waving our bat and saluting the crowd unlike the Australian cricket team who are still suffering from the ball tampering incident earlier in the year and are coping it from the Indian’s currently tourning. As we salute the stadium and our fans (that’s you guys) from being such good sports and being so patient with us throughout the year. We thank you for providing us with some great feedback, your continued support and your viewership on a weekly basis. Without you guys this blog wouldn’t work and we certainly wouldn’t have managed to write about some of the more stranger topics that we have covered over the year like Trump’s Space Force which we are still super excited about if it ever grows legs. It’ll be the best thing he’s done since the apprentice.

We also wouldn’t have entered contests like shit blog weekly and dunny readers anonymous or the Australian Blog awards. Saving that last one for our 2019 debut into the blogosphere. Truth be told we’ve loved every minute and every edition on of A Mind of Its Own in 2019. We’ve grown the family and added two office dogs who do very little to contribute other than tearing up the cease and desist letters we fail to receive on a weekly basis as our mail clerks seem to spend more time chewing them, than reading them. In some ways we are lucky that we are a totally digital platform otherwise I can guarantee a lot of these blogs wouldn’t have made it to print with those to furballs.

In what was a big year we managed to make a mockery of the Commonwealth Games, attack the plastic fantastics on the Gold Coast on more than one occasion, Harass Trump on several occasions, find the infamous owl statue in Canberra that looks more like a penis, no we are not joking about that just google owl+penis statue+Canberra and laugh continually at the bosses run of misfortune when it came to travelling for the job that keeps the doors open to this fine establishment. The writing was superfluous, we handed over the reigns on more than one occasion and even let the office pooches have there say or two. We put ourselves at the edge of our comfort zones and pushed our bodies to the limit to give you what we call life in a nutshell. There were diets and fads, gym sessions and drinking, fashion and travel. There wasn’t a topic too big or too small that couldn’t take on A Mind of Its Own…

From bumper stickers to ball tampering we covered it all and gave it that special twist that you’ve come to love and respect from the team. There have been heartfelt moments, tears, more than a few tantrums and on the odd occasion a little blood in our endeavour to bring a voice to the topics our fans want covered. A lot pain goes into finding things that people don’t want to talk about. We are raw, open and honest with our thoughts, feelings and often criticism as we poke fun and holes in things throughout each blog. Inspiration has been found through various different mediums whether it be an event, a situation or a person, something has inspired us to write the 49 blogs that have come before this one and the however many that will certainly follow. The team are not done yet unravelling the mysteries of the world around us. With a new year there will certainly be a whole heap of new topics coping our no holds bar approach.

So what did we cover over the year? We started out with Music and discussing everyone’s theme songs before moving onto Arsegate The Commonwealth Games greatest shame, the bunnings sandpaper bonanza, a look at Australia’s most favourite and endeared bird that should replace the emu on the coat of arms. We touched on questionable tattoos, athletes decisions, man’s need to fuck things up. There wasn’t a topic that didn’t make it to the drawing board in the office before some bright spark in legal told us it was a big no, no to write about that or unethical, in fact the works politically correct were used on more than one occasion forcing us to stop, look and listen like we were crossing a mental road. We continue to advocate that it is ok to talk about mental health issues particularly if you are a man and we even reviewed a video game or two.

We’ve renewed our free subscription to Google in order to search for any information we don’t have on hardfile or can’t get off the streets or our trusty informants who continually drop knowledge bombs like red spots specials at your local supermarket. We are also entering into the PodCast arena with a sweet little doozy that will be called ‘Blankety, Blank, Blank powered by A Mind of Its Own’ Your favourite blog gets a real voice unfortunately both James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman were way too expensive and also unavailable so you’ll be stuck with the not so dulcet tones of the boss as he nasals his way through a different topic each week with hopefully some special guests and hosts otherwise it may not be a long living podcast that you will all grow tired of fairly quickly.

From year to year we’ve set goals, this year was all about discovering our style and setting up a fan base. In the new year we’ll set some big goals and like Buddy Franklin wheel around to our left and let fly from fifty through the middle. Why will we achieve our goals? That’s simple because of the people that read this blog week in week out. It’s you guys that make this blog, it’s you guys that we’ll continue to write for and continue to work hard at bringing you the topics that really matter both home and abroad. So with our 50th blog we thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read our weekly post. Our fans are our biggest source of inspiration.

Without further adieu happy 50th blog post to us, at the beginning of the year had someone asked us if we’d write almost a post a week we probably would have said NO, but it’s become a religious thing for us by which we feel extremely bad if we haven’t posted for the week. We have some amazing fans who continually leave us comments on the website or for those that know the writers and personally comment to them about one of the posts or a specific line. Again we thank all of the fans from the casual readers to the die hard never miss a post fans.

To the next milestone we are thinking we’ll do it in quarters but who knows we might just let you all know once we’ve cracked the ton and can wave the bat around for the second time proudly knowing we’ve achieved another major milestone. But like they say you have to celebrate the wins no matter how big so we’ll celebrate when we can. In the office we’ve cracked open a nice bottle of scotch shared a dram or two and stumbled out to celebrate with friends and family. Or in some cases on our own or with the office hounds.

Until next week and another new post we bid you farewell and hope you’ve cracked a can or two in our honor. If you don’t read next week blogs we wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate this time of year. It’s a time for family and friends. And as a side note we don’t condone drinking, we do condone celebrating, enjoying yourselves, having fun and by all means being safe! As long as it’s in moderation! Adios Amigos!

West Coast Smoker…

We’ve all read an article about travel or a blog or two from an inspiring young writer about their trip to some exotic island where they sipped mai tais and lounged in the sun on a picturesque beach where blue waters lap at the shore. All the while wearing a tiny bikini or budgie smugglers and ruining the view that’s popped into our head. Well if you haven’t, we’ve just painted a beautiful beach scene in your mind. You are most welcome!.

At a Mind of It’s Own we prefer to do the opposite, we prefer to tell you about all the not so nice places to travel, or the nightmarish trips that white-collar workers are forced to take in aid of their company making another couple of bucks so the high-flying CEO can receive there million dollar bonuses all off the back of the little guys hard work. Yes workplace equality is alive and well across Australia, employees are more engaged and opportunities for career progression are running rampant like a dog on heat humping everything in sight. No that is not true equality still has a long way to go on the shores of this stolen land.

So this journey starts with a hundred-dollar juicer and ends with a rather long day to get into the nation’s capital. Do we start with the juicer or head straight into what will go down as the best corporate travel blunder to hit Australia since the politicians started getting caught taking personal trips on the taxpayers dollar. If you are a long time fan or reader of our blog you may have come across a couple of earlier blogs about work related travel. We get to go to all the most exciting places and meet some of the most interestingly mind numbing people you will ever meet.

In the past we’ve discussed the weird shaped owl statue that looks more like Penis in Canberra than an actual Owl. We’ve recounted stories about flights but what we haven’t actually done is given you a real life version of the John Candy classic Trains, Planes and automobiles. We apologise in advance to the train aficionados as this blog contains no train related material including stories about trains, actual train rides or the benefits of getting a train. There’s not even a guy wearing a train drivers cap directing people around like he owns the place.

However like the movie there were several modes of transport utilised to ensure that we reached our final destination. We would say we arrived at a suitable hour but as this blog started being written in transit and the clock ticked over to a new day before we’d reached where we needed to be. Unlike the movie there was no fat guy spouting comedic one liners to ensure it was a pleasurably funny journey from the outset due to travel issues. There was still some very good comedy errors that will keep out readers in stitches.

When one travels for work often they become quite accustomed to flying and the ins and outs of their journey. If you do it often enough it becomes routine and somewhat mundane. You know where the emergency exits are located and could probably put on your life jacket blindfolded with one hand while the other ensures your oxygen mask is on before helping others. Your seat belt is fastened low and tight and your tray table is away with your seat in the upright position for takeoff. The point Is you begin to become used to the little things like delayed flights and rude passengers on your flight but we’ll get to that later. It all becomes water off a duck’s back and part of the routine.

Still asking yourself why the juicer is significant in this retelling of actual events? Well it’s not but it did set off a chain reaction of events that lead to this blog being written. We started the afternoon getting a juicer no big deal everyone loves juice right and should have one in their home? Ok maybe not but that’s not the point. The point is that getting the juicer on the way to the airport made sense, plus we were doing the right thing by the company and save them some money not having to pay for an uber or taxi.

That was our first mistake and would continue to be compounded, we left the house early to stop and get the juicer there by saving the company money they would normally pay on parking or a cab. The knock on effect was that we were really early for the flight. A further knock on effect the flight is now delayed thirty minutes. Again no big deal and nothing that can’t be cured by a nice amber ale at the bar. Ok maybe two or three when you’ve got time to kill.

So having finally boarded and discovered what it’s like to be a sardine all stuffed into a tin can unless you’re lucky enough to be in business class where you seem to have a heap of leg and arm room to flap those wings around as much as you like.For the rest of the paupers however having to sit as still as possible in case they disturb the person next to them trying to sleep is a constant battle for flights longer than 45 minutes. The third class passengers on the titanic had more room to move around than today’s average flyer.

The flight crew go through the usual rig moral and safety demonstrations. Before the pilot gives his or her little introduction and before you know it you’re are zipping through the sky at 15000 feet or more. After a mini nap which was well needed, the guy down in 8D is making a dick of himself abusing the attendants. Credit where credit is due and we salute you and take our hat off to the young attendant who not only managed the situation but also the client as he continued being rude to her.

It’s about this time that most if not all of the flight are praying that the federal police storm the plane upon arrival to the gate, taser the bloke and drag him from the plane to a standing ovation. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen and the said gentleman will continue to abuse flight attendants for flights to come. So we toddle off the plane onto the long walk from one gate to another looking for some food in between the second flight of the day. With only an hour to kill while we wait time should fly, no pun intended.

Fed and feeling refreshed we headed to the gate ready to board our forty minute flight to the nation’s capital. That ripple effect continued chasing us, this flight two was delayed. No biggy, nothing to get upset about it’s only twenty minutes. Time continues tick by as patrons start to become increasingly frustrated at what is now an hour delay on a forty-five minute flight at the most.Finally we are asked to come forward using the lanes provided and board. Of course it’s one of those twin prop little things and can only be boarded via rear stairs which causes a further delay to having everyone safely in their seats ready for take off.

Thankfully everyone was keen to get going and take their seats as fast as they could in order to get the plane in the air and on its way. Now safely seat with our belts fastened low and tight, we once again sat waiting. Waiting is ok if you are told why you are waiting. As we clocked watched for the third time that day the pilot comes over the cabin and tells the now frustrated sardines that there is a slight technical problem and they need to reset the environmental control system. There was nothing to be alarmed about and the cabin lights may dim. Well they didn’t just dim they went completely out for about 30 seconds.

Safe to say all the passengers aboard the plane were now starting to think that they were not going to make it their final destination tonight. There was still hope though that they’d left enough time to organise a replacement aircraft but as we now stood around the terminal waiting for an update an update the possibility of that happening became slimmer and slimmer by the minute. The staff was extremely helpful and made sure all patrons were hydrated as they handed out bottles of water while assuring everyone that it wouldn’t be much long now.

They say a watched pot never boils well that may just be the case but we couldn’t help but check out watches as we waited. With the time creeping closer and closer towards a new day they finally offered up some flights in the morning and accommodation. As we lined up to get our accomodation and flights sorted slowly marching towards the desk now manned by four airline staff busy trying to sort out customers. Getting to the front of the line we are greeted by a friendly smile and told we are the lucky last person they have run out of accomodation after us and the only flights available are via Melbourne.

Listening to the small newborn cry in the ladies arms behind us it was an easy decision as we asked what was happening to the remaining people only to be told they would be taking a bus to Canberra. A bus a three and half hour bus ride. There was no way we could let the young couple with their small child ride a bus all the way to Canberra. If anything was to come out of this day it was a good deed done. With the bus due to depart at 11pm the calculations were done and preparations made for the long journey. As has been the theme through the whole journey the bus didn’t arrive until just after 11:30pm and start the journey until quarter to twelve.

Have you ever tried to sleep on a bus? All that vibrating, clanking, bumping and pumping of the ice-cold air conditioning do not make for an easy sleep. Even the most elite of special forces soldiers who literally train themselves to catch sleep whenever they can would have trouble sleeping on the bus. Like a flightless bird the bus hugged the road straining to gain as much speed as if could while 40 odd people tried their hardest to get some much-needed shuteye.

Finally in our hotel room after having to pay for our own accommodation which should have been sorted out by work, we looked at the clock once more. It was 4am as we jumped into bed to close out what had been the longest journey to the nation’s capital. Having thought that travel couldn’t get any worse all week our return flights a day later were both delayed by an hour and to make matters worse we are turning around to do it all again this week.

As we said we don’t like to give you the everything is awesome song and dance all the time, there is a downside to travel that those pesky bloggers won’t tell and that is quite often your flights will be delayed, cancelled or your plane turns out to be a bus. So from all the team at A Mind of it’s own we wish you safe travels and make the most of a bad situation like we did, write about it.