Snippet – No.15: Risk-taking

Snippet – No.15: Risk-taking

Six snippets ago I talked about lock-down without my phone. It meant I noticed things I would otherwise have missed – the sounds, smells, sites of my hometown.

The ‘Fix’ suggested that week was to delete an app that you use on a daily basis and notice what you feel, think and do differently. After initially noticing what was around me, my other-awareness turned internal and I started to notice my Self. I wanted more of this feeling, a sort of freedom from my phone and I now want to expand on this and be in touch with my choices.

So, I’ve decided to ride with it. I am leaving CharacterScope, London and lockdown to brave it in the wind, rain (and hopefully sun) of Scotland. More specifically Benbecula, the windiest and most remote location in the British Isles (kind-of). If there is a message from this realisation that I want to pass on, it’s not for everyone to leave their job and pack a bag, but to understand the potential of a small action like giving up your phone. It starts you on a journey that could end with you deleting Facebook or in my case almost everything. I feel compelled to follow my gut and take a risk on my life.

Angus Hopper
Marketing Lead CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Risk-taking is about being prepared to risk the known for the unknown. People high in Risk-taking do not put themselves on the line for an adrenaline rush or to appear a hero in others’ eyes but in order to achieve some higher goal.

Reflect
Often when we think about making changes in our lives, we do a faulty risk-benefit analysis and talk ourselves out of it. Is there something you want to change in your life? It could be a small change or something much bigger. 

Fix
Ask yourself, what could the benefits of making this change be for me? Then ask yourself, what are the risks? Then ask yourself, what are the benefits of not making the change? And finally, what are the risks of not making the change? Look at your 4 answers together and weighing up all the risks and benefits decide what you will do.

Snippet – No.14: Appetite

Snippet – No.14: Appetite

I have been trying to support some of Useful and Kind Unlimited’s cohort of young people (18-25) through these times of enormous uncertainty, challenge and frustration, and so in the last few weeks I have asked myself the same question I always ask my clients, namely to reflect on their 18 year-old selves and remember what they were like then.

When I remember back to being 18, just before going to university, where I met Mark Loftus, I had no real sense of the world, thought I was going to conduct the Last Night of the Proms before I was 30, and make music, all music, available to everyone. In other words, believing I could change the world. I had no idea where it would actually lead and as I look back I am really proud of the way I have adapted to challenges and opportunities, not all of them welcome at the time.

Yet I now reflect on the white privilege I enjoyed and how my generation have failed to change the world enough, so I wonder who I am to advise and support young people who will be faced with far greater challenges than I was.

In a sense lockdown is a pause, a reset, a preparation for what is to come next, for responsibility, action, compassion, tenderness and grace. We are all effectively 18 again, not knowing what is coming and doing all we can to be #Usefulandkind to ourselves, others and the world. So, I cannot plan, I can only go forward in good faith that I can help others to be the best they can be, drawing again on the same resilience and creativity that I had when I was 18.

Duncan Fraser
Guest CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Appetite is about having a strong inner conviction of the value of progressing some cause or goal and a desire to play a key part in bringing the goal to life.

Reflect
Take a pause today, imagine your 18-year-old self sitting in front of you: picture how they are dressed and their energy. Then become them and look at your current self. What are they proud of you for? Finally, come back to your current self, thank them and offer them some advice – something from your hard-won experience.

Fix
Now listen to the advice you just gave your younger self – it will likely be good advice for you to take to heart right now!

Snippet – No.11: Open-minded

Snippet – No.11: Open-minded

As an habitual optimist, I am drawn to all the new and exciting possibilities in any situation, so when lockdown began my thoughts were “there is so much potential to harness here.”

But my temporary openness and its accompanying high has so often come crashing down fast. A public figure falling from grace or a big company making a short-sighted decision, or even a friend adopting the narrative of ‘the enemy’ on whichever of the many public dramas was around, has surprisingly often catapulted me from a mindset of openness to one of harsh judgement in the flick of a browser screen!

Despite thinking of myself as an open-minded, compassionate individual, I have learned that especially when emotions run high, I too jump to premature conclusions and can be fixed in my judgements.

Clare Cohen
Consultant, Fan & Collaborator CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
People who are open-minded are receptive to new and different ideas and the views of others. They care about reducing the bias or distortion in their own views and beliefs and are good at listening to others with an unprejudiced mind and respecting their views and beliefs.
 
Reflect
How can you suspend your own judgement for a little while longer? How could you invoke more of your curiosity whenever you feel you are “so right” about something?
 
Fix
Experiment with assuming that ‘the other side’ has something important for you to hear – whether you agree with it or not. Your job is simply to seek that out from the rest of the ‘noise’ in their argument that could be distracting you.

Snippet – No.9: Other awareness

Snippet – No.9: Other awareness

What I learned from 5 days off in lockdown with a broken phone!

Could I really keep sane without all the distractions I’m used to: 9am check-ins, 2x weekly Zoom pub quizzes and an endless stream of WhatsApp video suggestions, all out of access for the foreseeable future and all normal day-out activities closed down during lockdown.

Walking around the empty streets of central London without music, podcasts and the ability to instantly connect or share my experience with other people felt alien, but after a while I guess I found it refreshing.

I began to notice what was around me: on one particular day when I was walking on Primrose Hill, I am convinced an escaped rare parrot landed next to me. I didn’t and couldn’t take a photo and the parrot flew away. Was this a missed opportunity? Or maybe the image sent to my 25-person chat, would have confirmed “It’s just a Parakeet. Did anyone see the Bundasliga yesterday?”

Angus Hopper
Marketing Lead CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Lock-down without my phone meant I noticed things I would otherwise have missed – the sounds, smells, sites of my hometown. There is so much to like in these simple daily pleasures.

Reflect
What details of your life have you noticed recently that you may have taken for granted before? Is it the sound of birds, or the crack in the plaster that needs fixing, or something else?

Fix
Choose an app that you use on a daily basis. Don’t open it for 24hrs and notice what you feel, think and do differently.

Snippet – No.3: Perseverance

Snippet – No.3: Perseverance

I didn’t have whatever skills and behaviours I needed for working from home, and I needed to learn fast. Having struggled with English at school, communicating online was always a struggle, and it’s something I avoided. Lockdown has forced me to accept my fate.
 
Let’s bring in some of my stats: 33% more screen time over the last 7 days, 30-minute daily average on Netflix (50% increase), more facetime calls in the last 2 weeks than in my whole life, 4 new family WhatsApp groups! Having now accepted my fate I’m starting to get used to it, and dare I say good. My screen time is now my quality time, a paradigm shift.
 
If I think about it, returning to working in person may now be the problem. We’ve all adapted, but more than that the practicalities of work have shifted, or at least personally my own hang-ups have evaporated. I’m even having house parties through an app.
 
Angus Hopper
Marketing Lead CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Changing our habits and developing strengths requires being able to pursue change and growth in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue and anxiety. As we hit the point where our actions no longer feel inspiring or fun, most people give up. It is here that the right effort is key.
 
Reflect
If there’s something that you want to change, first imagine how things will look once you’ve reached that goal (vision)?
What could stop you reaching the vision (obstacles)?   
How could you plan to overcome these obstacles (plans)?
 
Fix
You need to persevere if you are going to be successful in changing a habit. Pick one thing that you would like to change and have the courage to see it through (persevere).