Am I still a consumerist?

A few months ago I officially pronounced myself a minimalist. I donated most of my clothes, threw out all my high school love letters and dragged nearly my entire paperback collection to the local library. I was starting anew. Or wasn’t I? Was I giving up my hectic lifestyle to embrace simplicity and inner calm, or was I just de-cluttering my room?

Since then I have continuously reduced my possessions. I hardly buy anything other than food these days. The only clothes I spend money on are workout hoodies and socks. I turn down gifts or re-direct them instantly. I haven’t left the house to see a play or a movie in months. And yet my overall consumption hasn’t changed much.

The reason?

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Yes, the Internet knows you – take advantage!

These days everyone is complaining that the Internet knows them better than their own parents. Every website we visit kindly informs us that they are storing cookies on our computer whether we like it or not and we have to accept it, or just leave. For our generation, this main point has always been true: we have always been more open online than we could ever be with our parents. And for the longest time this was not an issue. So why did we suddenly become so self-conscious? And yes, I get all the hype about security breaches, stolen private information and the hackers who know your credit card number. But let’s be honest: how many of you have actually been the victims of online identity theft? How many friends and family members you have who have experienced it?

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On the merits of being a Jack of All Trades

I spent my life trying different things, being pretty good at everything I tried, being liked by all my teachers and told by my parents that I could be anything I wanted to be. Still, the more choices I had, the more confused I became. Classic Paradox of Choice, right? I spent most of my youth trying to find the one thing I wanted to do with my life. And on the way there I found all those other things I was genuinely passionate about. Until one day I woke up to realise the road I was supposedly on had become my purpose for living. I was so inspired that I decided to record a short talk on how to feel like a royal without ruling the world.

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5 Tips on navigating the Internet sea of information

So, you have decided to use the Internet the smart way? You want to learn something new every day, to broaden your knowledge about the world, to grow as a person and, of course, to improve your career prospects. Or maybe you developed a deep fascination with a new topic you would like to explore. You have come to the right place! The Internet is not only the home of countless cute lol cats, it is also the fastest-growing information database. You can find anything here! Or can you? As Barry Schwartz discusses in his book ‘The Paradox of Choice’, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make even simple decisions when we are surrounded by endless possibilities. Here are 5 tips to make sure you don’t get sidetracked and end up just wasting your time. (more…)

How fanfiction improves your writing success

I recently read a very nice young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl [Amazon link] and it got me thinking about the nature of ideas in fiction-writing. The book tells the story of an introverted college girl who prefers to live in the world of her favourite book series and write her own version of events in that same world. Her Fiction Writing professor tries to discourage her from stealing other people’s characters and worlds and, instead, invent her own. The girl, however, is reluctant to do so. What’s the issue? It is just that it is a lot more difficult to come up with a decent character and setting by yourself, or is there more to own preference for writing fanfiction? (more…)