The One And The Only- George Costanza

He is an architect who lives with his parents.
He eats snickers with his fork, because that’s so classy.
He is that type of person who makes you crazy, but probably does the same to himself.
He gets upset really fast so it is better not to confront him, unless you have enough time for his speech. If so, you will find yourself pulled to conversation you don’t want to participate in. It all starts like normal talk, but when opposed opinion towards his is expressed the yelling instantly sets in.
He can’t control himself when you don’t agree with him. But then, if you shared the same point of view, maybe exactly that would bother him. Obsessing with other people’s actions is the way he operates-analyzing is his favorite tool. You don’t even need to hear him, but just look at him to know he is that ever complaining guy. He enjoys triviality what his questions represent the best, but how he emphasizes his words you may get an impression of importance. And how wrong you would be.
He just gives too much attention to what others consider meaningless.
You never know when he is going to lose it, but you do know that it is not wise to be around when it happens. He is a true philosopher, but although he asks, he thinks he already knows.
Unpredictable he surely is. One, but scared to say not the only- it is all about George Costanza

Does Your Mind Go Blank When Speaking Of Mental Health?

Mental illnesses in today´s world are just like Spanish flu in the second decade of the 19th century.

Stressful way of living, online networks that changed our social lives including the way of interacting and many demands of modern society are some of the reasons for epidemic of those illnesses.

One in 4 people will be affected with mental illness at some point in their lives which means that almost every family will have one of its members affected.

Despite high prevalence of such diseases, they are still highly stigmatised- people tend to think that someone can just snap out of illness- because it is all in their mind.

Because of a lack of knowledge and biases about mental health- many people who could benefit from some kind of therapy don´t even reach for help.

People are hiding painful truths behind closed doors of their houses or apartments, not willing to admit that maybe they should seek treatment to help them cope with illness and- life.

Sometimes a person can think that admitting that help is needed is a sign of weakness, not knowing that the strength to accept reality as it is- is profoundly courageous.

From my experience as a nursing student- many people struggling with mental illness can be helped, but sometimes the only ingredient lacking is the willingness of the persons involved to seek for it.

Mental illnesses are special kind of diseases because they distort your way of thinking in a way that you don´t think you need help because you have too many negative thoughts or in the worst case because you lost contact with reality.

Mental illnesses can´t be seen and they are very specific in their experience so not many people truly understands them.

However they are our reality, and sometimes we can´t escape from it- or we would become delusional.

Are Some Degrees Really Useless?

A few days ago in my country we could read a news saying that a woman with a college degree from 3 different universities could not find a job.
That particular piece of news spread in an instant through many online portals and throughout social media.

Suddenly everyone wanted to share their opinion of that particular problem.
Soon 2 sides of opposite streams were created: one saying that obviously the aforementioned woman has 3 useless degrees (geography, art history, comparative literature and in short time- one in theology) and the others saying that it is impossible for anyone to find a job in Croatia and that she just wanted to secure a state job.

Some commenters said that the lady should be sending more cover letters and resumes- she already sent 30 of them.
From their point of view, she was not proactive enough in finding herself a job.
What those commenters actually don´t know is that most jobs are found through networking, presence in online media or by being active during your studies through meaningful projects. Sending cover letters is pretty outdated option nowadays.

Then, some were trying to be more helpful with advice that if she really had 3 (soon 4 diplomas) that she should start her own business and not rely on the State for her employment.
In a country where hundreds of thousands people work for the State and where taxes for having your own business are sky high- who are we to blame the unlucky lady?

Many people are blaming the government for their inability to find a job or making it possible to implement more easily their own business plan or project.
In Croatia, we witness everyday emigration of young and educated people who don’t see any perspective in staying here- they can´t find a job to cover their existential needs.

The pay checks are low and those who work are lucky to have a job.
Who should we really blame- individuals like this lady, our educational system our government- we are yet to find.

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Hi School, Bye School

Middle school and high school- places of fond memories or forgotten sorrows?

Everyone remembers endless days spent in classrooms, never ending memorization of what we considered to be nonsensical facts and answering to teachers.

Oh yes, days I wish I would never have to go back to! Fortunately, I am near the end of my formal education- and I think that now I can share some insights with you about those years that everyone has to pass through.

Years when we hung out with our friends worried if were good enough for them, years when we were under extreme pressure to succeed and have good grades, years when we thought that teachers knew everything…

I remember being in middle school when my worries about grades were filling my mind and in order to escape them I would daydream about Summer holidays. In fact, when school was nearly over (when 50 working days until the end were near), I used to make a small calendar in which I crossed every day that passed. In that way I could measure how much I have already „survived“.

I had so many activities apart from the school- ranging from learning languages to playing tennis and piano. Actually, sometimes only free time I had while I was in the middle school were those 5 minutes just before falling asleep.

Near the end of middle school I started to think over about my high school admissions and how would days in that new institution look like. I was sad to leave my old friends, but was really curious to find out what my new friendships would be.

In that search of my ideal clique I changed a couple of high schools. On the on hand I wanted to attend same classes as my old friends, but on the other hand I wanted to meet entirely new colleges.

Finally combination of bad influence and failing grades made me change high school 2 years before its end. Although it was really stressful to have changed classes in the middle of school, it was a positive change 🙂

Learning from my experience- my advice to everyone in middle school or high school is: choose your friends wisely, take care of yourself (don’t drink, smoke or go out too much), study, have fun and try not to stress too much over small stuff.

The Reader´s Dilemma: Paper Book Or E-Book?

If you are a passionate reader, apart from reading newspapers or blogs, you probably read paper books and its digital form: e-books. Here I would like to write about some advantages and disadvantages of reading former and the latter types.

Also there are many audio books on the market, but I won´t be writing about them.

Paper books give you that feeling of enjoying the moment while being immersed in reading when holding a book physically in your hand. Some people connect reading paper version of books with that cozy feeling while drinking cup of hot cocoa or coffee.

Although you can virtually turn pages on your laptop or Kindle device, it can´t really measure up with turning pages with your hand. Furthermore, the light of your computer screen may not feel as comfortable for your eyes as reading book under daylight in your armchair or in bed.

With paper books you can make your own library in tangible form, and not just have them downloaded on your screen as pdf-s.

Sometimes I like to buy e-books because I like the fact that I can have books right here, in this moment, without having to leave the house, but more often I like reading “real books”.

The other day I was talking with my boss, who is in his late forties, how he can not understand young people now days who want to have everything in an instant like purchasing e-books. He asked me then: don´t we like the anticipation of ordering books from store and then waiting for them to arrive to our homes versus having our desires immediately met?

I couldn´t give him any good answer for the reason that I read and buy both versions of books.

The one´s I prefer depend on the moment- when I find out about some great book- I usually cannot wait for the shipping to arrive, but to be honest- paperbacks have its own charm…

Make A Memory Out Of Your life

How do you archive your life?

Every day is similar, yet every day is different from the day before.

Throughout your lifetime you participate in many events, you gain many experiences and you share many memorable moments with your loved ones.

In order to recall more easily all those memories you can archive what happened to you during many hours, days, months and years that passed.

When I was attending elementary school, I used to write a diary every day.

I was mostly writing about my classmates, homework, trips and grades.

It feels funny when I read now what I used to think long time ago- lots of matter seems trivial, but I know how important that used to be to me back in the days.

With a little pause in archiving experiences in high-school (apart from facebook- if it counts), let´s go fast forward to college. Those are the days when I started to write almost every quibble that came to my mind- I wrote them in notes on my Iphone.

At the same time, during college, I started to attend photography course. At first I took photos with my mobile phone, but when my lecturer made a disappointing statement how real photographers don´t use cell phone for art, I switched to my Canon camera. I started to shoot every situation, detail or place that seemed compelling.

Soon, new memories were created which I documented on my laptop.

My creative endeavours haven’t stopped with that- I started to write a blog and I became active on twitter- which are another ways of archiving your thoughts.

I think that you should always try to capture anything that you can think of- one day you might cherish that gathered memories even more.

Start writing a journal, take photos, make videos, archive your life- because for one day: memories shall stay…

This Is Not Just Another Ad

What makes a good commercial is a question that popped to my mind today.

While preparing creative samples for admissions to an ad school, I was gaining inspiration from watching Super Bowl commercials.

I was amazed how many good ideas were showing on TV in that football period of time. Every time I watched a commercial that broadcasted on Super Bowl, I felt some strong emotion – whether happiness, sadness, anticipation or fear.

However, I mostly liked those which inspired me in some way – to start doing something new or to change thoughts about some matter. Commercials seen at Super Bowl are expensive, millions and millions of people see them and they have a big impact. I always wanted to make that type of commercials 🙂

But they are only a small portion of advertising- the best part of it. Every copywriter or art director would feel extremely proud if his creativity could be shown during that popular event.

At ad school, we had one class for which we had to search for terrible ads and explain why we think they are terrible. Then, I realised that most commercials were (using euphemism)- not quite good.

On one hand, I know what makes a bad commercials- they are boring! Not innovative, they don´t show the benefit of a product or a service. They don´t provoke emotions.

On the other hand, good commercials inspire you and make you to actually purchase that fragrance, bag, shoes or car.

Still, many public notices to sale heavily rely on stereotypes like men and bear or pretty woman and cars. Advertisers often stay in their comfort zones be it because the company which ordered a commercial wants to stick to the safe ground or because of the lack of inspiration of creative team.

Good commercials should be informative, witty, fun, they should provoke anticipation and in the end- they should make you take an action.

To put it in another words- they should make you ready, set, buy 🙂

Or you can just watch them. That works too. If it´s Super Bowl.

We Learn For School And Not For Life

Non per scholae sed vitae discimus or in other words we don’t study for school, but for life.

How true is really this statement? I finished high school 9 years ago, have been since then in the institutions of higher education and I must admit that school doesn’t prepare you well for the realities of  everyday life. What we mostly do in school these days is memorizing endless material.

We don’t get encouraged to use our creativity and if we differ in any way from the norm, we often get criticized. I was a gifted student and because no one in high school recognized my talents, I struggled a lot with school. I was way ahead of my colleagues in the terms of knowledge, but I was somehow always getting bad grades- I just could not learn all that given data by heart and present it to teachers. We also don’t learn how to follow directions, but instead we learn how to pretend that we agree with our teachers.

Skills as how to find a job in this economy or how to start a job, what career do we want to pursue or how to manage taxes are not being taught at most institutions. I didn’t even know what a cover letter was when I was looking for a job during high school, let alone how to write it.

Apart from that, I suffered from low self esteem years after high school because I was always given bad grades. I felt enormous anxiety when I would have to speak or answer teachers’ questions in front of the class. I would also compare myself to other more successful students and beat myself down for not having achieved the same „success“.

In Croatia, every couple of years we hear that our educational system will be reformed, but from my opinion no one knows which ideas to implement.

Therefore, education still stands as one big experiment and all I can say to new generations is- you’ll survive, just like we did.

Real life Cannot Be Found On Facebook

I have been using Facebook since I was about 17 years old.

My journey through social media started with Myspace, then Facebook followed (now days I like Twitter the most).

I first set up my Facebook account because it started to be very popular in my country and as I was in high school and you have to be popular in high school- therefore: Facebook!

Facebook was very much different ten years ago than it’s today, but some facts of that social network remained the same- everyone is posting about their happy and often fake lives. Everyone is partying, drinking and enjoying life. When I was younger, I often thought that my high school classmates were like that in real life, but as time passed by, I started to realize how far from the truth that was. Actually most of my colleagues were lost and depressed.

Not much of that fun postings were really true. Unfortunately I was really in a bad mood myself prior to that realization, but now I can observe their posts like a more experienced and mature adult. Actually when I realized that I don’t have to know anything about life of many of my so called „friends“ I was finally free.

While I was in high school, everyone was always gossiping so you had to stay in touch with who got drunk last night, who skipped classes, who made out with someone. Today my Facebook wall is bombarded with pictures of kids and weddings which I also don’t quite understand- shouldn’t photos of kids be kept private?

The best advice I could give myself is to quit Facebook, but unfortunately like all habits that have to be broken, it is not going to be easy. I already deactivated my account multiple times, but I always came back.

In reality today, I think you can only replace one social network with another, so perhaps I can quit Facebook and then start to write more on other platforms and connect with those people whose opinion I share with.

That’s a good start.

Through The Hard Times, Through The Limit

Sometimes I remember. The other times. The pleasant times. The sorrowful times.

Among many life situations and memories there are always some that stay imprinted in your subconscious mind. On one hand there are some memories I like to recall when I feel down, but on the other hand there are many disturbing difficulties that I wish I didn’t have to go through.

Life makes you forget or integrate in yourself events that happened to you which you found very painful.

In my example that was one illness I was diagnosed with when I was only 19 years old and for a long time I just could not accept that it was happening to me. There were so many negative emotions included, so many tears, so many -as I thought back then- missed moments which I was unlike other people of my age, spending in hospital.

When you confront death at such a young age, it pushes you to achieve things that other would never have the strengths to think of. Overcoming serious illness at first breaks your self confidence, but in the end if you survived the deepest depths of it, you can survive anything.

That’s what I remind myself of.

Illness is something most of us will get confronted with at various points of our lives, some will get better, get resilient, others perhaps aren’t going to be that „lucky“.

I have to thank my whole family for supporting me through my dark times because without them my Sun would probably not have emerged.

Through my illness, I lost contact with many friends, quit so many things I would normally do, but I also learned to cherish the people who sticked with me and who supported me.

The funny thing and at the same time the irony of the whole situation is that you have to stay strong when you are feeling the lowest. That, my reader, not many of us could accomplish, but not you my dear….

You could.

Twitter Is The New Black

Twitter is an online website for microblogging.

You don’t have to say much to be noticed there, since your message must be up to 140 characters long. It is great tool for people who like to write and connect with like minded individuals.

There are several groups of people who are using it- some of which are celebrities, influencers or just some average Joe’s who have a knack for writing. In the beginning it is a bit hard to start off, but soon as you catch the drift of how it functions, you suddenly  can’t stop from spending time on that platform.

The very best advice would be to set your own tone of voice, to make yourself distinguishable from other hundreds of millions of its users. I recommend you to write in English since most users communicate in that language.

Try to build an audience of people you would like to grab a coffee with, people with whom you know you could also talk in real life.

While you are attending elementary school, high school or even college, it is easy to find people you would like to hang out with, but once employed your social circle mostly becomes your colleagues. For the aforementioned reason, on Twitter, like you would do in real life, you can exchange ideas and opinions with similar adults.

Twitter can be used to advertise your business, blog or product. However, I get the most enjoyment from following like minded people and not getting bombarded with ads and other marketing techniques.

I like to use Twitter when I get inspiration from everyday experiences. The most of my tweets come from some funny events, things people told me or from pure observation of the world around me.

Most of our spare time these days is spent on social networks: be it Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. However, the one last mentioned is best for practicing your creativity, so-

get inspiration, tweet and connect.

Unsolicited Magical Advice

Throughout your life, you will hear a lot of useful and at times, not so useful advice.

Advices are other people´s opinions which they humbly think would apply to your life, because it served them in their´s.

People from all walks of life will hand them to you, although you never asked them in the first place.

It is up to you to decide what will you remember and what you won´t think about again.

Speaking from my experience, best piece of thought I ever heard came from my father who said that whatever was meant to happen would happen. On the other hand, the less helpful reflection came from my mother who said to me that everything will be fine with time.

These two sentences might seem similar,  but from my point of view, the pure effort to achieve that blissful happening makes them differ.

It is easier just to wait for something magically to happen, instead of taking steps to actually achieve it. But life doesn’t just happen, we create out realities everyday. We decide, we have choices, we have dreams, aspirations, habits…

The other day I saw an interesting picture posted on facebook: it showed how our success looks for the outside observer mostly like we took the painless path, like everything just clicked. In reality we made many difficult decisions, we survived many hardships, we sometimes laughed, but also cried a lot.

So the next time when you see someone who lives the life you always wanted, ask yourself what did it take him to get there. Perhaps you see only shiny moments, because you want to see the end result- happiness.

Every one of us wants to make the best our his life, but our paths on defining and accomplishing that task are not the same. We have to define our own goals, ask for guidance or believe in some Higher power to help us reveal our next step.

I realised that everything would be good in time, but only if we MAKE it happen.

Soon as you start creating your own reality, yes, everything will fall to its place.

Have fun in the meantime!