A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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25. How Comfortable is Your Life?

Advertising almost always aims at creating discomfort. After all, why would you buy something if you weren't in some way unhappy without it? So advertisements will evoke hitherto un-thought of concerns that your mobile phone or car is out of date. They will show you pictures of very young and beautiful women worrying about their wrinkles. They will tell you that you are in danger without insurance, that you're an unattractive man unless you drink a certain brand of whiskey, that you will never be alluring unless you use a certain perfume. If they are successful in making you feel sufficiently out-moded, unattractive or unsafe, you will go out and buy their product. Because, as Freud theorise

50. Your Life: Journeying or Waiting?

The American writer and critic, John Gardner, once said that there are only two plots in all of literature - you go on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. Perhaps a bit simplistic, but if it's true, given that literature is a reflection of the society in which it is written, could it be that there are only two plots in people's lives as well? This week's reflection is about the plot of our lives, how much time we spend on a chosen journey, and how much time we spend waiting for something to happen.... I read the John Gardner quote in the introduction to The Virago Book of Women Travellers, edited by Mary Morris and Larry O'Connor. As Mary Morris says, because women, prior to the s

24. A Good Time For Networking

A recent survey reveals that a third of Londoners feel that their job is less secure than it was a month ago. The figures are slightly less in the rest of the country. We hear that many thousands of young people have failed to get a place at university because the number of places has been cut. A young person I know recently went for a job in a publishing company and was one of 320 applicants. She reached the last six but the job was given to someone who had done two years unpaid work experience. It's really tough out there, and when jobs are few and applicants are many you need to find ways of getting your head above the crowd. One way of doing this is to have contacts. It's always a goo