The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

This Post Will Save You A Fortune …
October 25, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Youth

Nice long weekend for me.

I appreciate you didn’t have one, but surely an extra day free from this blog helped?

Well, regardless … I’m about to ruin it all for you.

So at some point in your life, you realise age is winning.

You look in the mirror and you don’t recognise what’s staring back at you.

It’s scary. It’s confronting. It’s deeply, deeply disturbing.

And it’s at this point you tend to consider one of 3 things:

+ Plastic surgery.

+ Radical fitness program.

+ A mid-life crisis.

And while they may all seem perfectly acceptable at the time … the risk, cost and sheer exhaustion of it all probably makes it counter productive.

But no one can say I don’t care about your wellbeing … because if you find yourself in this position, I can help you feel younger without ay damage to your skin, heart or marriage.

I know, I know … I’m so generous.

Because rather than spend copious amounts of time and money on that other stuff, just spend a bit of money and a bit of time on this …

Introducing Pop It Pal.

Pop It Pal is a technology that takes you back to your youth.

Those days where everything was carefree, exciting and firm.

Where you’d look in the mirror and instead of seeing the old haggard version of yourself, you’d see a young, healthy version staring back.

A young healthy version with zits staring back.

And while back then zits were the worst thing that could happen in your life, they were undeniable proof of adolescence and youthfulness … and that’s what Pop It Pal does for you, because it allows you to pop [fake] zits.

No, I’m not joking.

Squeeze your fingers and you can be taken back to when you were young.

Where you can feel the glory of erupting that spot.

That instantaneous feeling of going from monster to beauty.

And all this can be yours by simply purchasing Pop It Pal.

Much cheaper and safer that all that other stuff.

You’re welcome.

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The Cost Of Living Is Dying …

The cost of living is insane everywhere.




The prices are going up faster than we can blink.

And while there is definitely the suspicion some industries are using this as an excuse to elevate their profits – I’m looking at you fossil fuel and supermarket industries – the reality is for many people, life is becoming more about survival than living.

Here in NZ, the conversation often relates back to the price of food.

Part of the reason for that is because the dairy industry is so influential and economically important.

But right now, you can’t turn on a talkback radio show without hearing people complain about the price of cheese … milk … or vegetables.

Sure, it’s not as bad as it is in the UK at the moment – where supermarkets are putting ‘anti-theft’ devices on cheese, but it’s not far off.

Just recently I heard a 10 minute segment about the price of cauliflowers.

Apparently they’re $12 each in some places and one person interviewed said:

“There’s no cauliflower in the world worth $12”

It’s fair to say it’s a sentence I’ve never heard in my life.

But while the cauliflower conversation may raise a smile … what it indicates is nothing but.

More and more people will struggle.

Will be taken advantage of.

Will wonder if they can cope.

While I hold real concern for a number of groups, one I’m particularly concerned for is youth.

As I wrote yesterday – and all the photos in this post are from our book, Dream Small – many kids in NZ already feel oppressed by the lack of opportunity and the pressure of complicity they face … but now, their situation could be even more tested.

Less possibilities.

More expectations.

Even less consideration.

Even more demands and judgement.

Given NZ already has one of the worst youth suicide rates – per capita – in the world, what could this do to the mental health and wellbeing of the young?

What is this going to do to the dreams they have?

I get it’s hard.

I get there will be many more communities that will require help.

But for all the companies that go on about how proud they are to be from New Zealand, maybe this is the moment they prove it by what they do rather than what they say.

Last year I judged the Effies and read a bunch of entries from supermarkets.

They talked about how their ‘strategy’ had helped them overcome the huge barrier of covid.

All of them … every last one … claimed covid had been a barrier to growth rather than their fast track.

It was an insult to my intelligence.

I would love it if this year, I read submissions from NZ brands who talked about how they used this time to enable a generation. That they recognised the countries future was dependent on the young feeling they could bring their wild hopes, ideas and energy to the fore. That instead of being told to dream small, they were supported to dream big. So the country can evolve and develop so if situations like this happen again, then the nation will be in a better position because it will be stronger thanks to the brains and ideas the young have brought.

I don’t even really care how they do it.

More pay.

Government funded flights for their OE.

A youth venture fund that kids can call upon to help with their ideas.

Tax breaks for youth focused, foreign brands to come into the country.

Fighting against Tall Poppy – or any of the other issues that hold youth back through fear.

And while I know there are a few brands doing it – some of my clients for a start – I doubt I’ll be reading many papers that celebrate that shift, because too many of these ‘proud Kiwi brands’ are more focused on perpetuating and controlling the stereotype than liberating the people who are forced to live by it.

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It’s Not Escape, It’s Reset …

I saw this picture recently and it made me laugh …

However while it was made for amusement purposes, there’s a lot of truth in it.

Especially that Tuesday afternoon picture.

Which leads me to my point.

There’s a lot of talk about ‘the great resignation’.

How people – predominantly the young – are leaving their jobs in unprecedented numbers.

Even Beyonce is referenced because she touches on it in her lyrics to ‘Break My Soul’ …

Now, I just fell in love
And I just quit my job
I’m gonna find new drive
Damn, they work me so damn hard
Work by nine, then off past five
And they work my nerves
That’s why I cannot sleep at night
I’m lookin’ for motivation
I’m lookin’ for a new foundation, yeah
And I’m on that new vibration
I’m buildin’ my own foundation, yeah

But what I find interesting is how many companies seem to be missing the point.

That they seem to think that youth are basically retiring.

That they must have untold millions in the bank to fall back on.

But that’s not the case.

They’re over being treated the way they are by companies.

Being told ‘you matter’, but get worked to fuck.

Or not given training or growth.

Or simply seeing racism, sexism, favouritism.

That’s why they’re resigning.

It’s not that they don’t want to work … or earn money or grow … they just don’t want to be broken or feel they are sacrificing life for hell.

Recently I sent a bunch of people around New Zealand to listen to what youth culture thought about their life.

For a nation seen by the rest of the World as almost perfect, their view was quite different.

We’ve turned this into a book called, Dream Small.

It’s a collection of stories and opinions from across the nation by a generation who feel more tolerated than welcomed.

Similar to America In The Raw, there’s no hype, no judgement, just people being allowed to speak about how they see life.

When you read it, you realise the great resignation should actually be labeled, ‘the great reset’.

Though for some, it could also be called ‘the last hope’.

Youth get a bad rap.

They’ve been dealt a pretty shit hand.

Promised so much until they realise it was all a lie.

Where to survive you have two choices … comply or escape.

For many, escape is not an option.

Too many responsibilities or too little opportunities.

So they are left with the realisation their life is one where they can only dream small.

How wrong is that?

How terrible is that?

But I’ll tell you what’s worse …

The ‘adults’ know all this but pretend they don’t. At least in public.

Preferring to maintain silence to either maintain control or to not have to accept their role in it.

Which leaves me with this …

If this is happening to youth in NZ, imagine what is happening elsewhere.

And yet I still have more faith in their ability to make a better world than I do with the majority of members of my generation.

I’m very proud of what we’ve done, which is why we will be doing a bunch of presentations and talks about what we heard and why we believe everyone in NZ – and beyond – should care about this issue. However if you want to know more – or more specifically, the impact it will have on your future – drop me a line as we’d love to chat, regardless where you’re located.

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Money Over Morals …
December 2, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: Apathy, Culture, Death, New Zealand, Youth

A couple of days ago, a New Zealand research company – one used by a huge array of big business here – gave a speech to a broad marketing audience and said the concept of ‘tall poppy’ was dead.

They had the audacity to say this the day after Jake Millar committed suicide. The arrogance to say this when they reside in a country that continues to have one of the worst – if not the worst – youth suicide rates per capita on earth.

There are many reasons that contribute to the terrible suicide rate, but ‘tall poppy’ is, without doubt, one of them.

A significant one of them.

The biggest open – yet oppressed – secret in the country.

So to that company, I want to say this.

You are not just complicit to the problem, you are playing an active role in it.

By making statements like that, you’re placing all the blame on the people who felt they had no other choice. You’re telling parents their kids situation & context didn’t exist. You’re telling NZ, they can continue to look the other way. You’re telling the friends, family and colleagues of 26 year old Jake Millar, pictured at the top of this post, that the media who revelled in getting the nation to celebrate his business failure – and then attached all manner of additional negative personal narratives to his name = are blameless.

Do you realise what you’ve done?

Do you understand the implications of your actions?

You’ve just told the nation they can carry on as they are. That their perpetual and persistent judgement and abuse is simply ‘banter’.

How fucking malicious of you.

Be grateful I’m not calling out your name because what you did is shameless.

But let me reassure you, we will be chatting and I’ll be reminding you of your responsibility to the truth, not to making money from reinforcing a cultural narrative of denial.

When You Destroy Their Hope, You Destroy Their Will To Keep Trying …
November 30, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: Apathy, Colenso, Culture, Death, New Zealand, Youth

A 26 year old Kiwi killed himself yesterday.

That’s him in the photo at the top of this post.

His name is Jake Millar.

Of course the press refer to Jake’s death by saying ‘he died’ … due to some twisted logic about not wanting to encourage more people to die by suicide when that strategy has obviously failed given NZ continues to have one of the highest death by suicide rates for youth per capita in the world.

And what was the probable cause of Jake’s terribly sad decision?

The joyous pile-on the press did on him for having his second business fail.

They accused him of terrible things.

Theft. Arrogance. Exploitation. Purposefully ignoring – or devaluing – the amazing success this young man had achieved prior to this situation.

Hell, he felt he had to move to Kenya to be able to get away from the judgement and sniggers.

And even that wasn’t far enough away for him.

NZ is in danger of robbing kids of their right to try. To fail. To explore. To dream.

The ramifications on the future of NZ for acting this way is huge. But not as much as it is on the youth of the country.

For a nation that loves to talk about being ‘pioneers’, we are openly and actively oppressing that spirit under the guise of ‘staying humble’. It is nothing of the sort. It’s control and fear.

New Zealand is a brilliant, amazing, beautiful country.

I feel truly honoured and grateful to be able to live here with my family.

But this continual situation, is nothing short of a national disgrace.

In March, Colenso bring out a book about the lack of hope youth feel living here, following interviews with kids all across NZ.

It’s utterly terrifying … scarier than pretty much all the places I’ve lived before and done this work before.

But what makes it even worse is it won’t come to a surprise to anyone.

Not really. Not if they’re honest, rather than being culturally complicit.

I’ve been in this country 8 months and it has been as clear as day to me.

A lot of people don’t like me saying that. They think I should shut up and be grateful to be here. In fact I’ve faced a bunch of abuse for talking about it.

Yep … rather than be angry at this terrible, on-going reality, some have chosen to be angry at me for talking about a situation everyone knows but few talk about. Especially in public.

I’ve been told I should keep quiet. That I don’t know enough about the situation. That I am unaware of all the things contributing to the situation or the ways the country is trying to change the situation.

And they’re right, I don’t know enough.

I’m trying to learn as fast as I can, but I don’t know enough.

But I tell you what I do know …

This country has a terrible youth suicide rate.
This country has a terrible Maori suicide rate.
This country has a terrible farmer suicide rate.

And for all the solutions in place, they are either not enough or not working well enough.

I’m not speaking out because I want to cause offence.
I’m not speaking out because I think it makes me look smart.
I’m speaking out because I am thankful to this country for the generosity it has shown me and my family and I want to repay that gift by actively trying to help address a situation that cannot continue to be overlooked or brushed under the carpet as some sort of inconvenience.

Thankfully there are a great many people in this country who are speaking up. Who are doing things to try and ensure no kid will feel they have no other choice they can make. Who listen rather than judge.

But we need more.

We need the government to deal with the situation, not be political about the situation..We need the media to write about the situation, not be complicit to hiding it – or worse, igniting it. And we need companies in NZ to stop demanding conformity and encouraging individuality.

That’s not going to solve the issue, but it will likely help it. Because the youth are amazing when they’re backed, encouraged and supported.

Yes they will make mistakes – like we all make mistakes – but they’re not trying to destroy anything or hurt anyone so why the hell are we doing exactly that to them?

It may not be intentional.
It may not always be overt.
But it’s happening. Jake Millar is living proof of that..

There will be a lot of people talking and writing about the tragic loss of Virgil Abloh.

Please don’t let that drown out the name and loss of Jake Millar.

You can read more about him here and I offer nothing but my deepest condolences to Jake’s family, friends and colleagues – past and present.