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Advice to the young

1 1 The River Tame

Today’s picture is of the River Tame. The bridleway runs along side of the river for a few miles and comes to Forge Mill lake. When I was young I would have walked along there or cycled. It’s a bit more of a struggle now, but I can still enjoy the scenery. Our behaviour and our ideas change as we get older.

I do talk to young people and they ask for my advice.  Explaining the important things in life is harder though. Life is so complicated. If I was going to give one important piece of advice to young people it would be not to believe everything they see or hear. Perceptions can be deceptive. My picture looks like the beautiful English countryside, but what you can’t see is the road that was yards away. You can’t see all the speed cameras or the traffic. Always think about what you can’t see.

We can do things to influence the perceptions of others. In this online world we live in, even our Facebook page sends out an image of who we are. People share their religious beliefs, political beliefs and even their beliefs about sport on Facebook. This can reflect well on us or badly. It can also influence whether we get a job or do business successfully.

LinkedIn is another social media site that is more important if you’re in business or looking for a job. Doing a profile on LinkedIn is a skill people go on courses to learn now. There are also many groups both on Facebook and on LinkedIn that people join, in order to make new friends and contacts. Many believe networking is the name of the game now.

I like this online world, but I am a little old fashioned in other ways. I like my smart phone, my computer and digital cameras are great compared to the film cameras that we had when I was younger. Typing on a laptop is true touch typing compared to typing on a typewriter. It’s a skill more and more people need to learn to survive in the modern world. Many young people use virtual keyboards on tablets and smart phones, but they aren’t anywhere near as fast as being proficient on a standard keyboard.

Modern life can be stressful and can isolate people. Perhaps we communicate too much by phone and computer? We do need personal contact too. I think we need contact with nature and so gardens, parks and nature reserves are important. So my advice to young people is often to walk in the park to wind down from the stresses of modern life.

I would also advise the young not to allow themselves to be brainwashed by the media. Decide for yourself what you like. I saw kids on TV yesterday trying different fruit and they liked it! They had never tried it before because of the example set by their parents and the brainwashing of the media. Try different things and decide for yourself what you like and don’t like. Consider not just the taste, but the effect it will have on your life. You can choose to be healthier or to be slimmer; it just means choosing different foods.

I would also advise young people to avoid anything that might become addictive, like tobacco products, alcohol, drugs or gambling. Addiction makes people slaves to the addiction and quite often economic slaves. Choose a better life style.

What advice would you give to someone younger than yourself? Maybe to learn from their mistakes? Please share your thoughts in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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