Professor Gilbert is a brave soul. After years of listening to his mother’s advice about how to be happy, he conducted an experiment that proved her “partially” wrong.
Apparently Mrs Gilbert was always banging on about how money, marriage and kids were the secret to a happy life.
But Professor Gilbert, now a father and grandfather, had quite enough of that kind of talk.
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David Attenborough teaches us about the birds and the bees, Four Corners reveals what’s happening in the world, but for real lessons in life, I reckon you can’t go past MKR.
Yes, it’s over-produced and the cross-marketing is shameless and the catty contestants always [itals] say[end itals] they’re misrepresented and the ads go on forever ... but there’s nothing this show can’t teach us about self-respect, teamwork and how to get ahead.
Be humble, first and foremost.
Today is World Cancer Day. This year’s theme is “Cancer Myths – Did you know?”, so it’s timely for me to put one prevalent cancer myth to rest.
Whether it’s someone on our Cancer Council Facebook page, our iheard myth-busting website, someone at a dinner party or a chatty taxi driver on the weekend, most of us at Cancer Council have at one time or another been asked the million dollar question: why haven’t we found a cure for cancer?
Taking it a step further are the conspiracy theorists who claim there is a cure for cancer but that the “cancer industry” covers it up. We would be delighted if cancer was eradicated overnight. Most people know someone who has had cancer – it affects one in two Australians by the age of 85 – and indeed personal experience of cancer is often a factor in people wanting to work for a cancer charity.
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Have you ever just switched off? You know completely shut down. I know it sounds strange but for me it’s a rather remarkable feat as I’m notorious for never being able to completely let go.
I’m always the one getting a crooked fringe from the hairdresser as I’m too impatient to sit still and like a lot of parents, am forever multitasking onto the next meeting/meal/load of washing etc etc etc.
Add to that I’m a complete newshound who absolutely LOVES the drama and intrigue of the world around me and am forever looking for the next and the next and the next thing. This must be a challenge to work alongside of and I’d imagine no scratch that I’ve been told, incredibly trying to live with.
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IF a picture says 1000 words then 2013 is the time for me to say a great deal. Some people begin the new year with resolutions. I’m beginning the new year with a regimented campaign.
This will be the year that I record each day one image at a time. Well, this will be the second year that I stop each day to take a picture.
Back in 2011, I began my first 365, inspired by the power of my then new iPhone 4 and the vague idea that I should do something with it. The old rule for photographers is that the best camera is the one you have with you. One of the unexpected results of the smartphone explosion is that if you give people a simple camera to take with them everywhere, then everywhere they go they will simply want to take pictures.
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Two weeks ago today I was dead. Literally. A complete stranger pulled me out of the surf at Coogee beach. I had no pulse. I was blue. My lips were deep purple.
Two other strangers came to assist, one with piercings, the other in a soccer jumper. Another stranger, whose second language was English, yelled, “Blue Lady! Blue Lady!”, pointing to me. These strangers worked together, lying me on my side, clearing my mouth and pumping my lungs.
Luke, a lifeguard on the job for just six weeks, ran towards us. The stranger who had pulled me from the water was by my side, his name was Neil. Luke knelt down and began CPR. Still no pulse. Luke kept pressing my chest, never faltering, counting and breathing all the way. Neil used Luke’s radio to call an ambulance. Another lifeguard, Matt, joined the group to help.
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The best-selling novelist Bryce Courtenay is dead at 79, after a battle with stomach cancer.
The acclaimed author has sold more than 20 million copies of his novels. He’ll particularly be remembered for The Power of One, the story of South African boy Peekay growing up under apartheid.
April Fool’s Day, Courtenay’s 1993 foray into non-fiction, was another of his best reads. Fools told the story of his son Damon, who had haemophilia, and Damon’s partner Celeste.
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You really only need two friends in life. The first friend is honest and loyal. They’ll be there when you need them, offer great advice and steer you away from danger when you ask them to.
It’s a reciprocal arrangement, based on balance, respect and shared values of some kind.
The other friendship is less complicated. You don’t see them much and the times that you do are guaranteed to be fun and frivolous.
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“If it has to happen, it has to happen first.” That’s the advice of Lauren Vanderkam, an American journalist who’s written an e-book about what the world’s most successful people do before breakfast.
Her point is clear, do the most important thing in your life within an hour of waking up and you’ll be happier and more successful.
Vanderberg is a terrific counterpoint to yesterday’s great piece by my News Ltd colleague, Sarah Michael who revealed what successful people do in their first hour of the working day.
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Remember when ‘happy’ was just something you were? Or weren’t. Good days, bad days, happy days, sad days – all jumbled in a life you lived rather than thought about too much.
Today happiness is a commodity; a ‘goal’, a ‘revolution’, a ‘project’. It’s what we want for ourselves and our children. “Yes, please,” we’d say to the doctor if she could vaccinate against sadness, along with the usual measles and mumps. Anything to immunise ourselves against pain and unease.
I write this because I’ve had an awful week – made somewhat worse by the book I’m reading (for work, not pleasure) called The Happiness Project. Ironically, as my world filled with woes, I read chapter after chapter about one woman’s attempt to “lighten up”, “be serious about play” and “keep a contented heart”. “I am happy,” writes Gretchen Rubin in her mega-selling memoir, “but I’m not as happy as I should be.”
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Welcome to the sixth edition of Dr Tinman’s Ignorant Remedies for the Aching Soul. I am Dr Tinman, life-doctor and former builder of tiny Scandinavian model houses.
Over the past month and a half, I have been providing you with exceptional pieces of advice to help you escape the existential filth-pit that is your life.
This week is no exception. And while I have been told that writing out “prescriptions” on post-it notes does, in fact, break several laws (except Newton’s Three Laws of Motion – which are only violated if a lavender-coloured note is used), I shall continue to metaphorically bathe your emotional sores with my sponges of understanding. And so, we move on to this week’s question:
Dusty plastic flowers. Droning dirges. A cut-and-paste eulogy that uses the phrase ‘member of the community’. Instant coffee. Squeezed into twee rooms with bad carpet where there’s no room to talk properly and hushed tones are preferred over cataclysmic crying.
I’ll have a cookie cutter funeral over my dead body.
It’s so crushingly depressing that the most marvellous people can still have the grimmest send off.
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How would you feel if you found out that your mere existence is such a burden on your parents they want $10 million compensation?
It’s not clear whether 11-year-old Keeden, who has severe brain damage after a rare genetic condition caused a massive stroke, will ever understand what his parents are doing.
Debbie and Lawrence Waller are suing their IVF specialist for “wrongful birth”, claiming he breached his duty of care by failing to take proper care that Lawrence’s genetic blood clotting condition would not be passed on. They say they love Keeden, but wouldn’t have gone ahead with the birth if they’d known because of his suffering.
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Recently my husband and I went whitewater rafting. No lazy river for us, we love those rapids that dump you into icy water or spin you into rocks.
After a particularly perilous stretch, our guide mentioned that a woman had drowned after becoming trapped underwater between a rock and the raft. “Drowned, as in died?” I asked incredulously.
We always sign disclaimers but – rather stupidly, in hindsight – I’d forgotten these occasional adventures could actually kill us.
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If people didn’t donate their tissue and organs to others, the following people wouldn’t have contributed nearly as much to the Australia we know: Kevin Rudd, Derryn Hinch, Kerry Packer, Jimmy Little, Fiona Coote…
We’d be a lot poorer for it. But Australia is already a poorer country than it could be. There are plenty of sick people who need organ transplants but can’t get them. Australia has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the developed world. There are some 1,566 Australians on the waiting list for a transplant right now and every week an Aussie dies waiting for a kidney transplant.
The way to ease this crippling shortage is breathtakingly obvious. When you die, your organs should automatically go to someone who needs them. End of story.
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With a total absence of intelligent life in the Capital Hill region of Canberra, we thought we’d ask a Canberra-based academic, the ANU’s Dr Paul Francis, if there’s any hope of something with a pulse up there…
The search for extraterrestrial life has been going on in earnest for decades now. Are we any closer to finding intelligent life?
It’s pretty clear that there is no intelligent life elsewhere in our own solar system. But what about on planets orbiting other stars? If you go out on a starry night, it could be that every star you see has planets with intelligent life, and that aliens are staring back at you from every star. Or it could be that there is no other life in the universe and all those planets are dead and dusty.
Will we ever be able to learn more about those distant worlds?
Going to visit these other stars is far beyond current technology, so the only thing we can do it listen for radio signals from them. Until now nothing has been detected. But our current surveys could only pick something up if one of the nearest few stars had a highly advanced technological race on a planet orbiting it, and this race was broadcasting enormously powerful radio signals in our direction. So it’s not really conclusive.
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Four friends were dining over lunch in a swish Adelaide restaurant last weekend when a woman at the next table pulled out her chair and proceeded to change her baby’s nappy on the floor.
Can you believe that? The four friends couldn’t. They were so stunned they decided to phone The Sunday Mail.
“It was just so unhygienic and inappropriate,” said one. “Luckily it was only a wet nappy – imagine if it had been really messy.”
No thanks, ladies. Might put me off my own lunch. But talk about taking the new mums’ cause back 20 years.
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What do you do with your life when what is left can be counted in years, rather than decades?
When the realisation hits that you are sliding into oblivion?
This new fear is aided and abetted by the overwhelming attitude of the community towards the elderly.
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When it comes to managing “the stuff” in your life, what kind of person are you?
Are you a) the type of person who would think nothing of holding onto files or banking receipts for 10 years and shudder at the thought of a spring clean?
Or are you b) more likely to throw out Christmas and birthday cards the day after they arrive and manage your household with a cleaning system of which Shannon Lush would be proud?
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Excuse me for a moment while I prepare for my mid-life crisis - apparently it’s due sooner than I thought.
No more waiting for mid-to-late-40s, the new done thing is to freak out when you’re 35. According to a new study (British, but also cited by an expert as relevant here), those aged 35 to 44 are the lonliest, most miserable bunch of all the age groups.
We’re (actually, they’re, I’m still a few months off the magical age of misery yet) lacking in our relationships, insecure about our jobs, wish we had more time with our families and think we spend too many hours at work. Are all these people waiting for someone to come along and fix everything for them?
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Please, don’t regard me warmly. I’m not that nice. And why are you offering your best wishes? It’s not my birthday. I enjoy ‘cheers’, but it makes me feel like a drink, even in the morning (and that can’t be good).
How you sign off your emails shows more about your personality than you realise.
‘Warm regarders’ tend to be touchy-feely types who used to watch Oprah (but are now ‘turning’ for Ellen), do scrapbooking and believe in reiki.
If aged over 40, she’s an eccentric middle-aged lady, draped in purple, muttering quietly to herself.