Create Conflict and Disagree

Conflict is something that, like most people, I’m very fond of avoiding. Conflict is exhausting and makes most people very uncomfortable. Because conflict is rejection. And humans aren’t great at rejection. We like to believe we are absolutely fantastic in every way and get a bit cranky, to say the least, when someone dares to shatter that illusion.

If you’re at a dinner party, it’s not common practice to go around disagreeing with everyone's opinions. People don’t like being told their idea is stupid, who would have guessed?

But if we have an idea that has never been challenged, how do we know that it’s a worthy idea. We naturally assume it is majestic because nobody has ever bothered to tell us it isn’t.

I’m slowly coming around to what I like to call ‘positive conflict’. Actively seeking out conflict around my theories. Finding people that disagree with my ideas, opinions, and beliefs and getting them to argue their contradictory viewpoint.

I say argue but I mean it in the most philosophical way. This kind of conflict isn’t malicious

Malicious conflict isn’t worth anyone's time. And it’s important to understand the difference between malicious conflict and positive conflict.

Malicious conflict is when somebody wants to pick apart your idea without offering a constructive argument against it.

It’s like destroying that kids tower of blocks, then just leaving all the pieces on the floor and walking away laughing and rubbing your hands together basking in the glory of your evilness.

Positive conflict is destroying the tower of blocks so that you can show them how to build what you believe, is a better tower.

As soon as they’ve gone, we decide to knock the tower down. But maybe their tower has a really structurally sound base, so we keep that and use it in our next tower.

Positive conflict is a way of thinking something through, in a way you couldn’t by yourself.

This means looking for people who have different belief systems, thought processes, upbringings and past experiences who understand what you need from them. Who understand the difference between positive and malicious conflict.

It means resisting the urge to gravitate towards the people that are very similar to you at that dinner party. Instead, striking up a conversation with the crazy, eccentric, old uncle.

Because it is only through the process of having our ideas and opinions deconstructed and proved wrong, that we can see what can’t be proved wrong.

Thanks for reading..!

Writing Reviews For Money

I’m no stranger to the blogging world thanks to my Dad. Back in the good old days when blogs first started to become a thing he was already fully on the bandwagon.

We sat down together at the kitchen table and used one of those horribly slow ‘Build Your Website’ internet apps to customize my very own blog.

I tried to find the original blog so that I could link it here, but I think it’s been lost to the sands of the internet.

At the time, I was probably about eight or nine and I was obsessed with reading. I had moved into the realm of chapter books and have devoured all the Famous Five, Secret Seven, Hardy Boys, Three Detectives and Trixie Belden books.

Dad had started to buy me thicker and thicker books so that it was worth his money to purchase the book in the first place.

So we decided that my blog should be centered around book reviews.

He helped me with formulating a structure for my reviews, little did I know he was training me on how to write essays

I think I only managed to write three or four but around the third one, we realised we could hook up the reviews to Amazon or Fishpond. I can’t actually remember which one it was.

Anyway, we hooked it up and I wrote another few reviews then moved on to something else and forgot about my book review blog.

A couple of months later a actual real life check showed up in the mail, made out to a Miss T Smith for $34.40.

I don’t think I ever managed to write another review and my account with whoever was paying me has long expired, but I still remember that day as one of the proudest days of my life.


Grand Cookie Selling Escapade

After selling bookmarks for a two dollars each to my grandparents, and writing book reviews for Amazon I decided I needed to expand my enterprise somewhat.

So ten year old me set to work researching. My research involved sitting, cross legged, in my room with my arms folded stubbornly waiting for my billion dollar idea.

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Brainstorming In A Bus

I’ve been doing a lot of travelling and probably will be doing even more these next coming weeks. And I’m someone who used to find the lack of productivity involved in travelling irritating.

I envy the people who can type on a bus and read in the car.

So here's a list of some ways that I maximise my productivity while traveling, without feeling nauseous the whole time.

Podcast or Audiobook

A four hour trip through winding hills is a great excuse to listen to that audiobook that you never make time for at home.

I’ve been listening to The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman on Audible.

A great podcast worth a listen is Tim Ferris’s Michael Pollan - Exploring The New Science of Psychedelics.

And if you just wanted to sooth the nasua with some gentle fiction you should definitely go for Neil Gaiman's American Gods. It’s not exactly gentle, but his voice will calm even the most anxious of flyers.


I find I can usually journal on a train or a plane. So I will take the time to brainstorm, plot and scheme my future plans.

Or take notes on my current listening material.


If you are in an airport or train station, have some time to kill and don’t really mind looking like a bit of a doofus you can do a subtle traveling workout.

  • Lift your bags up and down. The heavier the better. If anyone asks, just say you were checking the bottom of the bag to make sure your drink bottle hasn’t spilled.

  • Stretching. ‘Just working out the an advanced yoga pose on the airport floor.’

  • Pretend you're late for your flight, plane, train whatever and run up and down the station wildly for a few laps.

Thanks for reading!

How To Stop Failing And Start Winning

I firmly believe every new project I start that it is going to be ‘The One’. It doesn’t matter if it's a blog, a novel, or an online course on something random that I’ve decided there is a niche for.

With every new project, I’m certain that one day I will walk towards them down the aisle of success. I shall be wearing the white dress of ‘Young Female Entrepreneur’. And all the guests shall cheer as the officiator states, 'I now pronounce you a financially stable startup’.

I started young on my journey towards business management. Six years old and I was selling handmade “bespoke” bookmarks to my poor grandparents charging two bucks apiece. As I got older the projects got more advanced. I wrote book reviews and linked them to Amazon, sold cookies and negotiated with my parents about the value of my time if spent cleaning their windows. That was the project my dad taught me how to write an invoice.

Then I started getting into blogging, when I checked my old Wordpress account a couple of days ago, I had twenty-seven active blogs. I haven’t touched any of them in at least a year.

I became a YouTuber for a bit but never reached enough subscribers that I could monetize my videos and set up a merch shop. Apparently, YouTube doesn’t care if you only have forty-three subscribers. I even wrote a quarter of a course, that I made my mum and sister do, that was supposed to train you to be beautiful and beguiling but also a bit ninja and badass. At the end of the course you were supposed to have all the skills it took to be like those old Hollywood movie spies. Needless to say, I wasn't overly qualified to teach that course.

All of these projects have failed. Some failed quite dramatically and some just puttered out and got forgotten. But every single one of these projects, for at least a little while, had my unfailing faith.

Over the course of all these failures, I collected a toolbox of skills. When I was a YouTuber I needed to learn how to operate a camera, how to light a subject and how to edit sound and footage. When I was going to be a freelance blogger, I had to learn how to write a blog post somebody actually wanted to read.

And now I feel as though all my failures and the things I’ve learned from them are reaching a tipping point.

Obviously, there are still many experiences that I need to fail at in the future. I’m by no means a fail expert yet. And I can’t wait to get failing at the next thing!

But what I’m slowly learning, is that you need to be fully invested in your project, so that you can suck it dry of knowledge and skills. Knowledge and skills you can use to fail in the next project. Until one day, you’ve failed so much that you have enough skills, knowledge, and experiences to stop failing and start winning. 

Design Thinking: Small Wins (Part Three)

In the last blog from this series, I want to touch on a idea Evans and Burnett mention in passing, the idea of setting the bar for success really low and building on small wins.

It’s advice everyone has probably heard, ‘Start small’, but I think it’s important to keep coming back to it. Because, as a society I think we forget. We are quite hard on ourselves. Especially if you are a young woman in business. Naturally we feel as though we have to have something to prove and a comprehensive portfolio of things like ‘Oh yeah I invented the Facebook equivalent and the twitter equivalent, see I deserve to be here’.

But If we keep raising that bar on the portfolio of experiences particularly around business, we are never going to actually achieve anything. And that's okay.

So instead, set the bar really low. Achieve something mediocre. Then something else mediocre. Eventually, all these little tiny wins will amount to something, with only 10% of the mental stress you would have originally had.

Design Thinking: The Way Forward (Part Two)

The next part of the Design Thinking course on Creative Live explores the ever current topic of work-life balance. They argue that it's impossible to simplify work and life down so much.

So they broke the concept down into four categories:

  • Love

  • Play

  • Work

  • Health

We then had to shade them in on a scale depending on how well we felt we were doing in each category. One being dismally and ten being superbly.

They then asked us which of these categories, if we could only choose one, would we like to improve. A few minutes later we were brainstorming actionable steps that we could take either right now or in the coming week to make a significant change to that category.

The interesting thing that stood out to me from this exercise was the idea that not all these categories need to be functioning perfectly all the time. They don’t all have to be at a ten on the scale.

If you’re in the process of starting a business maybe the love, health, and play categories are going to be at threes or fours but the work category is going to be at a ten. And no, that's probably not healthy but it is the balance you need to get the job done.

So to sum up, the idea of a work-life balance is unachievable. Throw that concept out the window and forget about it.

However, if you are feeling overrun or something feels not quite right, you can use these categories to examine where you are lacking and make steps towards improving.

Thanks for reading..!