Journal

Building systems for yourself to achieve your goals

Setting goals is the accepted way of aiming for those achievements you want to make. Write a book; buy a house; run a marathon. While having goals is important, more time should be focused on building systems for yourself. These should be designed to help you get there rather than just focusing on the end result.

When you simply have a goal, you are essentially failing until the point at which you achieve it. Even then your success is short lived as you will probably move on to, or already have, other goals to aim for. Creating a system to achieve those goals can be hugely important and beneficial to you. Each action you take can even be treated as a mini success towards your goal.

Running a marathon

For example, I am planning to run a marathon in October. If I just had the goal, I wouldn’t actually reach it until the point at which I cross the finish line. However, with a system in place, in my example it is running every other day, I am consciously making steps towards that goal. Each run I finish is another success towards my end goal.

Writing a book

The same can be said for writing. If your goal is to write a book, then again your goal remains unmet until it is complete. But if you put in place a system to write everyday for a given amount of time, you are always moving towards that final product.

I am trying to take this approach with my blog now. I always picture my blog, like a lot of people, as having many visitors each day who I am actively interacting with. So instead of focusing of that goal alone, I am instead doing my best to publish every day. This way I know I am working towards making those thoughts  a possible reality.

Get started with your system today

Whatever it is that you want to do or achieve, work out what you can do each day to make it happen. What positive habits do you need to beat into yourself in order to get what you want? It doesn’t matter how small the action you take is – if you stick at it and make it a habit, you will soon see the benefits begin to show themselves.

Get started today.

Good luck.

Games

Until Dawn – First Impressions

Within the breathtaking landscape of the snowy mountains at night, a young couple play at snowball fighting. The pair are obviously an item and the soundtrack playing enforces the innocence and playfulness of youth.

All would be fine and dandy if it wasn’t for the impending doom that leans over all of the characters. Until Dawn has immediately drawn me in, and although the whole game thus far has a shade of terror about it, I find it hard to pull myself away.

A game of choices

Until Dawn is a game all about choices – your choices to be precise. Each decision you make throughout the game affects all future outcomes and new decisions to make. Even the little remarks made by a particular character seemed to be as a direct result of my actions as a separate character earlier.

Most choices seem to have a risky option and a safe option. I’ll admit I have been taking the safe options quite a bit, if only for the well being of the characters. However, I have started throwing some curve ball responses in just to see what happens.

Starting as you mean to go on

The opening of Until Dawn gave me a good taste of how the game is played and the sorts of choices I would need to make as the player. These opening scenes had just enough suspense to keep me wanted to know more. Whilst not laying on too much horror, so as to risk topping out at the start.

In between the main storyline I am placed in a therapy session and asked about my thoughts when given certain items. A creepy photo of a small farm; a scrapbook of ever-increasingly scary imagery (then asked to pick which images scare me more). I can’t help but feel that even these decisions, seemingly outside of the game’s main thread, will later affect how this game is played out.

Character Introductions

I really liked how the character introductions were handled. Each character is freeze-framed on, displaying their name and some of their character traits. As each new person was introduced it became obvious that a complicated web of love and relationships was unfolding.

I’ve already forgot some of the characters’ names but to be fair there are eight of them. I have faith that within a short amount of time I will have each character’s face and name committed to memory.

Must be fate

A friend of mine recommended this game to me, but it wasn’t on my list of immediate games to play. Then when I joined the Playstation Plus membership, and discovered it was one of their free games on offer, I knew it was fate. Now whenever I come to play a game after dark, Until Dawn is the one I play.

I’m really looking forward to the story unfolding and seeing where my decisions take my new friends.

Uncategorised

Opportunist racism of my morning commute

Yesterday morning I was witness to a bit of casual racism which really got me annoyed and ready to rage at the dickhead who uttered it. There were no bad words used but, nonetheless, his confused intent got to me.

The Setup

The train was pulling into the station as I was waiting to board it with my fellow commuters. I have come to recognise a few of the people who are regulars on my train. One of which is a young lady I tend to notice, as she also gets off at the same station as me at the other end.

As we were boarding, another lady squeezed herself and her travel bag between the first lady and the train in order to get on quicker. The affected lady didn’t seem bothered as she wasn’t barged or anything.

However, a man stood just behind me decided to pipe up and make his thoughts heard.

The utterings of the opportunist racist

Man to lady : “I think she wants to get on there.”

The lady smiled politely.

Man to lady : “She must be important as she’s got her bags.”

Again, the lady acknowledged him but didn’t reply.

Man to lady : “You can tell she’s not British”.

You can tell she’s not British. Like… What the fuck? The lady who squeezed ahead didn’t say a word and to be honest, didn’t seem phased at all by his comments. And while I don’t condone squeezing past people in order to get their seat on a train, I condone even less any excuse for racism.

Firstly there was nothing about the woman to indicate she wasn’t British (whether she actually was or not is completely irrelevant). Secondly, I don’t even know if this idiot knew what he meant by the term “British”. I can guess what he thinks it means though.

In Closing

It really annoys me when people who could otherwise be smart, have this unfounded ideas of “us and them”. The seeds of which are usually planted by the mainstream media or in people’s filter bubbles in Facebook, twitter et al.

We as a people can solve so many complex ideas and theories, we can put people on the moon, but we can’t all get along in an open and friendly manner.

Albums

Melodrama by Lorde

Melodrama by Lorde is an album I have been waiting for with baited breath, being one of my favourite artists over the past ten years.

I was a little worried by the sound of the album’s first single ‘Green Light’.  I liked the song well enough, however, it didn’t seem to me to have that idiosyncratic sound of Lorde’s. When compared, for example, with Tennis Court from her first album.

That was my initial thought. However, now I have come to listen to the entirety of Melodrama, every song on it is growing on me.

I loved how on this new album she seems to be bringing in a wider array of sounds and styles into her music. It feels somewhat lighter this time around, with the songs feeling much more unified across the album – feeling like a complete arrangement start to finish.

Even on first listening, some songs jumped straight up at me. ‘Writer in the Dark’ is as bare and as beautiful as they come. Her voice climbs higher than I had previously been used to hearing from her and it is glorious. She seemed to me to be channeling the essence of Kate Bush at times in this song.

I think with the huge popularity of ‘Pure Heroine’, her first album, it was always going to be a tough one to follow. There was a worry for me that she would end up pigeonholing herself into the niche that she created. She could have either given us more of the same – playing it safe and giving her fans what they loved, or tried out new things and expanded the boundaries of her sound even further. Her choosing the latter made me very happy and very relieved.

Melodrama has the hallmarks of an instant classic for me. She has taken her signature sound and style, and moved up a level; pushing her sound and our perception of what she is capable of.

You can buy Lorde’s new album on Amazon today.

Uncategorised

The house always wins

Let me preface this post with a message: I am not advising you to gamble here whatsoever. Obviously if you can afford the loss and fancy a game, the best of luck to you. But in the end the house always wins.

I have recently been getting into Matched Betting. Matched betting is a system of unlocking and extracting the free bet offers given by every bookmakers under the sun. I won’t outline the method here but Matched Betting is NOT gambling due to the fact you always lay your bet to break even. (You gain the money from breaking even on the free offer)

As a result of my matched betting I ended up with £65 of my earnings in my account at SkyBet.

With this money I thought I would have a little go on the live roulette. I’d never played proper roulette before so thought I’d give it a whirl.

As it turned out by betting small each time, I managed to bring my balance from my £65 starting up to £199.50!!! However I fell victim to the gambler’s falacy and bet £25 on black after a long streak of red.

It came up red again – I lost £25.

I repeated (the house limit was £25) – it came up red again. Now £50 gone.

To cut a long story short, I dropped my balance down to £35!!! That’s £30 lower than I’d started with. I was greedy and should have stayed on my top level.

Luckily for me, when betting small again for an hour, I managed to work back up to £150.60. And that’s where I’m gonna keep it. I’m already £79.40 up on my balance and so should just stay ahead.

The feeling of the ball bouncing around the table before it settles is such a gut-wrenching feeling. When I first started having a play for fun it felt like just that – a bit of fun, but the more I played the more I found myself trying to analyse the order of previous results. Of course there is no analysis – it’s a random result each time that is always tipped in the house’s favour.

Next Day

I stupidly thought I’d have another little go and try my luck. My balance dropped to 10p. I was gutted to say the least – can’t help but think of what I would do with that extra money. I have to keep reminding myself that all of the money was out of Matched Betting and I am still £135 up overall with it all.

I guess this is the best way of learning this lesson; with free money I’d earned from Matched Betting as opposed to using my own money.