It may sound very unlikely but I have just finished my first attempt at needlepoint. For those who don’t know this is when you do very small stitches to create an image and it is really labour intensive and time-consuming. It sounded like a good idea to undertaken this huge task as a special anniversary present for loved ones. But I don’t think I really understood the one thing it needed above all – patience.
We all need to be able to show patience in our lives, with work, with relationships and with events that we want to make happen. It is true that the best things are worth the wait but in that waiting time you need to keep your cool which may not be easy.
Modern life has brought us much. The ability to be able to keep in touch with people when we are on the go, fresh food whenever we want it, ever-increasing healthcare, the list is endless. But in this fast paced world where we can get so much at our fingertips it is becoming ever more difficult to be able to remain patient.
I believe patience is a really important asset for us all. It helps us to remain focused on what we want, but also to enjoy where we are at the moment. It encourages us to save up for the items we want to buy knowing we can own them without our debt growing. It allows us to build happiness today, now in a mindful way.
Things may have to happen at a slower speed. We may need to invest years to get to where we ultimately would like to be. For example, we have to invest three or more years at university to secure the relevant qualification, or we may need to build our knowledge and experience within work to get that management job we want to have. Neither of those things are going to happen overnight so if we can be patient we will have a more rewarding time on the journey ahead.
I may not take up needlepoint as an everyday pastime but it has reminded me that patience is a key part of modern life, and something we should not forget.
When we are busy and have a lot to do being able to rely on simple processes and systems can be helpful. It speeds things up and means we can stop thinking and just follow the 1, 2, 3 and get things done. This serves us well but should be treated with huge caution as it can become the default position.
I spent the week struggling to make any impact on my ‘to do’ list at work. It is a job I have done for many years and while every day is different there are some elements that reappear on a regular basis. Being comfortable with things brings its own challenges. It is vital to bring an open mind to every situation and for communication professionals following the system can be flawed.
There are many ‘how to’ books, blogs and systems that people try to promote. ‘Do x and y and you will have communication success, the simple system to gain 100,000 followers’ I am sure you will have seen similar. While there are some things that can be done by rote it certainly can’t be a way to achieve innovation or creativity.
Successful communication and the best communicators have to be looking to step outside of systems and processes and to move into uncharted territory that brings creativity. Doing things differently, trying new things and taking a fresh look at the issue or problem is the way to develop and improve what we do.
I have a personal hatred of spreadsheets and also of treading the same well-worn path. The warning is clear for all of us, check what you are doing and make sure you are still thinking about things and are not doing communication by numbers.
The pages of the newspapers are full of stories about criminals and those that have done wrong in some way. It seems we all like to read about their activities, probably because it makes us feel superior in some way. This has been the case for many years and now more than ever the actions of those transgressing the law are given time both in the media and on social media.
It has led me to question whether this is really a worthwhile thing. What is the reason that we justify this publicity for those doing wrong? Is it supposed to act as a deterrent? It can really only do that if there is a suitable result when the offender appears before court. Is it to understand what makes people transgress? I don’t think the media coverage that we have really ever gets to that level of analysis. Is it because we like to be viewers of the events in our lifetimes? Possibly, although the more we learn about crime the more we worry ourselves about the impact of it.
Whatever the reason it is clear that the media believe people want to follow the lives of criminals. This focus is unhealthy and it has the potential to glorify the criminal behaviour. I believe the time is more than right for this to become something we move to the history books.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that we need to highlight crimes in order for people to come forward and help providing information, and I know that people want to learn about the punishments that are given to those caught breaking the law and negatively impacting on the wider society. However, for me that is where it should end. The more we continue to focus on those career criminals as some form of celebrity the more we risk damaging society.
Now is the time that we should choose to share the stories of those people who do good and helpful things. We should fill our media and social media with the details of those who are doing things to benefit society, those doing good deeds and working to make life better for people.
Choose the positive path and let us all make criminal celebrities a thing of the past.
I have waded through the very long document that is aiming to prompt discussion about the future of the BBC. It was a challenge to go through the many pages dissecting the organisation and its output but I felt as a communication professional it was important to do.
The green paper was a clinical review of the organisation and it felt as though it was working from a starting point that change was necessary regardless of the feedback. The language is at times incredibly negative and is being developed to skew the discussion in my opinion. There appears to be a distrust of anything that is popular with the paper suggesting that if it is liked by many people then it shouldn’t be created by a public broadcaster.
Believe me I don’t have some rosy view of the BBC. They have caused me many problems at work over the years and I have often queried some of their journalistic priorities. Despite all this I value having a broadcaster that isn’t dictated to by the advertisers and has the opportunity to do things a bit differently. I don’t mind that I pay into it provided that the maximum amount is being spent on delivering quality programmes.
I agree that, as with any large organisation, the BBC should review how and where it spends the money it has. But I don’t believe that we should start from a wholesale cull of the channels and the output. The variety should be valued and protected. It is the BBC that were able to support some amazing documentaries that my team have been involved in developing including the recent one The Detectives. I worry that this may not be something that happens in the future.
The BBC News Channel must remain. If we end up with only paid for news channels perhaps we will see a more Fox News style than we have been used to. Again the variety is what we must protect. The same must be said for the BBC news website, just because it is successful does not mean that it has some monopoly that must be broken up. Value the quality journalism that exists.
I would recommend that everyone takes the time to read through the Government’s green paper and make comments about what they believe the future should look like. If we don’t speak up then whatever happens we will have to live with it.