Blog of Sara Jakša

Why I Am Thankful To Experts Column?

I was surprised at the reactions of people here, after the latest announcement. I mean, I am not a writer on EC for long (about 3 months), but that reaction seems to be too strong. The community, that before boomed with helping was suddenly attacking the people behind this site. It was unravelling.

Some people came forward afterwards, with words of encouragement and hope. So I hope that this piece can help with appreciation of the people, that have given us a place to express ourselves.

I am thankful to EC, for giving me the place to express myself. Where I do not have to worry about the layout of the pages or where to get any pictures or what to write about or limiting me in any way (except with the minimum number of words), but I can just write.

I am thankful to EC for giving me the platform to publish my writing, indirectly making me start to finish my pieces of writing. Before I had written every day, but I had almost nothing finished. The EC gave the push I needed to start finishing the posts and publish them.

I am thankful to EC for the mental clearness that I got. When I start to finish my pieces, the mental clutter really started to go down. Not just temporary, or at least since that, the old clutter had not come back.

I am thankful to EC for all the new ideas, that I got thanks to the mental clearness. It was like, my thinking was clearer, so all the other ideas could came forward. Since I had a way to channel them out, they did not become the mental clutter, but made room for even more ideas.

Last but not least, I am thankful to EC for all the support that I got. I remember when I came to the site for the first time. When the first person that left the comment introduced me to the comment function. To all the different opinions, that I have seen, either in the comments or in the other posts. The helpful advice, when I had forgotten about the rule in the writing guidelines. The petitions, that people had with my questions.

I had not been paid before, but if I managed to reach 5$ before the end of May, I am going to be thankful for that as well. If not, that is alright with me as well.

So I am going to be staying here for a while, seeing the path that EC is going to go next.

Who is the Person, you Would Most Like to Have Dinner With?

I heard this question once, and it got me thinking. Who do I really want to have dinner with, if I had no limitations. And after that, I realized, that having limitation might be even cooler. So here is my list.

The Collective Conscious/God

If I could have the dinner with anybody, then I would like to have the dinner with the energy/mind or whatever created the universe. The person, that was the one to make all the rules. To create a miracle like that. The beauty of the night sky, the sound of the waterfall, the smell of flowers, the taste of figs and the touch of the cold sea. I would really like to be just in the presence of it.

Mycroft Holmes

If I have to limit myself to people, than I choose Mycroft Holmes, the character in Sherlock Holmes's short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. A person with mind so precise, to be able to remember all the information from different departments in the government and synthese them. A person with no ambition, who managed to become one of the most important people in the British government. I would have bakes something, maybe muffins, and they we could enjoy the quiet meal.

Richard Feynman

Here I am limiting myself to the real people. I guess I would have probably chosen Richard Feynman. The person, whose thinking process I have come to appreciate, ever since reading his autobiography. The person, that was not conformist and made great advancement, in science and in the learning field.

My Family

If I had to choose among the people living in the present, then I choose my family. They are the one that always supported me and took care of me. I do not think, there is anybody on earth now, that I would rather spent my time with.

Plus, as long as people are alive, I can always invite them for dinner. What answer would you give, to the question: ‘Who is the Person, you Would Most Like to Have Dinner With?'.

Why do we Procrastinate?

I am a procrastinator, and I actually see it as the negative personal trait. So in order to find other ways, not only how to get through it, but also who to stop it for good, I was researching the underlying reasons, why do we procrastinate, to figure out, why do I procrastinate. Here are my findings.

  1. Fear

My most strongest reason for procrastination is always fear. Usually the fear of other people's reaction. So I am afraid of the result, and I just not do it. Well, I ended up doing it, when the worrying becomes stronger than my fear. But I tend to spend days, before even starting on the task, even if it is a simple one, like composing a mail.

I was afraid of reaction on my mistake, so I procrastinated on reading the mail from the person that I stood up.

  1. Boredom

The feeling of boredom. I know I never want to do anything that is boring (especially if I can't see the point, but even if I do, I am reluctant to do it). If I find on enjoyment in even the possibility of doing the task, I am never going to do it. No matter how important it is.

I know that the school work, that I always procrastinated on was the ones, where there was not creativity or learning involved, so I found them boring. Like copying text from the textbook.

  1. Being Overwhelmed

Ever had the feeling, that there is too much on your shoulders and you want to throw you hands in the air? I have that feeling from time to time. I noticed, that I tend to procrastinate more, than other time, when feeling like that. Possibly, because the feeling makes us doubt, that we are contributing to anything at all and the questioning starts, if this is really the task, a person should work on (spending time with the thinking and not the tasks).

I used to be the kind of person, to want to try everything and always saying yes. And I ended up with the week, where I had every evening planned, most afternoons planned, there was school in the mornings, and I had 5 exams on the end of the week. I didn't do almost anything.

  1. Not Having Enough To Do

But then I learned that having too many thing on the plate was bad, so I tried to make sure, I never had the week like that again. But then the next problem started. I had too little to do every week, and I did get anything done.

Most of my weeks in first year of University were like that.

Procrastination is one of the reason, why some of us are still not where we want to be. But by understanding the underlying principles, we can finally make peace with that part of ourselves, make it feel loved and start working with him, to beat the procrastination for good.

Is Added Fructose the Reason, Why People are Getting Fat?

Fructose is mostly known as the sugar inside the fruits, but it is not exactly true. The sugar inside the fruits is called levulose, which is a fructose, bounded by different minerals, vitamin, fibre and other different stuff. The fructose sugar is just one part of it.

The fructose, that is normal added to the products, is refined, going through numerous chemical processes, to become the single molecule on the end. I would rank it about the same as margarine in terms of how processed it is.

We, as the normal consumers, do not really know, what is happening with the food during all the processing stuff. What do they add? What chemicals do they mix in? What temperature do the use? How long does it take?

On the other hand, the levulose is made by plants, that use the sun and the minerals in the ground to create the piece of fruit. It needs days, sometimes months, for the process to finish, and after that, the only thing left to do is to eat it. Do does not like the sweet taste of the fruit?

But there are also differences inside our bodies, once the two ingredients enter our digestion system.

The levulose is digested in the bowel track, with most of the other natural food. On the other side, fructose is digested in the liver.

That can have one positive effect. Since it is digested in the liver, it does not cause the spike in the blood sugar, like most of the other sugary substances, making them safer for diabetics. Or at least that is what they are trying to tell you.

But being digested inside the liver means, that it gets transformed into the body storage almost immediately. First there are sugar reserves inside the liver, but if they are full, the remainder is going to be transformed into a body fat.

Also, the fructose inhibits the feeling of fullness. By stopping the normal functioning of the enzyme named leptin, you could continue to eat and eat, but the feeling of fullness would not come. Some studies indicate it could have a reverse effect. The more it is consumed, the more the body gives signals for more food.

There are also some indications, that consuming fructose on the long run can hurt liver, mineral balance,...

Our bodies are more complex, than just one substance could have an effect on the body. But give it in too much quantities, or consume some other similar acting substances, and the end result could be obesity, or even something worse.

What Really Is Catch 22?

Recently, somebody mentioned on one of my columns, that I described the catch 22. Not knowing, what does it mean, I decided to investigate and see, what is behind this phrase.

Catch 22 is a phrase, that came from the novel with the same title (from Joseph Heller). It can describe either the bureaucratic operations or impossible situation.

The number was chosen arbitrary. 14 didn't sound like they wanted, the 11 was used before in Ocean 11 and so on. The 22 in just some publisher's idea, and the whole idea of catch and number was some book author's idea.

But it started to get used in the language more and more, indicating the decision, where both of the outcome were unfavourable.

There are other words that I prefer to use for situation like that, but some of them have different meaning as well, making this phrase possibly more suitable for use.

Like the word no-win situation. It is possibly the term, that can be used the easiest instead of the Catch 22. Dilemma could already meant, that there could be two positive possible choices, but only one could be chosen. Paradox usually described the situation, that is not possible under the known rules, but can also mean a choice between two negative decisions.

So to apply that to the comment on my column. It referred to the laws concerning pot. Because reducing the restriction on the drugs could stop some people from getting addicted (eliminating the forbidden fruit effect), but not the others. And some people, that otherwise would never tries pot might try it, because it is not forbidden anymore.

So any action potentially leads to negative effects. And we also have a bureaucratic situation, reminding us on the original Catch 22, that made the bureaucracy work and people were obedient, but it did not really exist, so it could not be destroyed.

Let hope that the usage of drugs will not have the same fate.

How Hard it is to Write an Article?

To me, writing articles has become kind of procrastination tactics. I enjoy writing articles so much, that I started to procrastinate on a lot of other things because of that. It is a joy, to sit in front of the computer, and empty the brain of all the clutter, making the words appear on the screen. It is almost like a meditation session for me.

But I guess it is not the same for other writers.

I actually read a couple of columns about the recent Experts Column's decision about discontinuing the paying program. The one thing, that I had noticed, was that some of the people complained about the possibility to delete or edit articles.

The main reason that I read about, was that they are unable to delete them here, and publish them elsewhere.

I was actually surprised at that. Just thinking about even attempting to transfer over 100 articles between sites is giving me a headache. Maybe, if would take the time to write a program and let the algorithm take care of that, but definitely not otherwise.

I prefer to spend my time on the things, I really enjoy. I would probably be able to write one article in time, that I would spent transferring 5-10 articles. Since article writing give me the mental freedom, that I need, the decision is really easy.

Also, I always have an ideas for at least 20 new articles inside my head. It is a lot better to write them down as articles, since the more I write, the more ideas I get and I use the positive spiral to be able to write a lot.

I admit, that I always write about the topics, that are inside my head. But if I would want to start writing about different topic, all I would have to do, is spent about an hour reading on the topic. And I would have the first 10 ideas to write an article about. Using the positive spiral again, I would never run out of something to write about.

But I guess, if the people find article writing harder, than they might prefer to control their own content, and would be really upset, if that choice would be taken away from them.

How do you Define a Family?

For some people, the family are their parents and siblings. To others the family represents their spouse and their kids. Some include both of their family. For some, the family is even bigger, since they include all the other relatives, to different extent. Some people include people, that are not blood related in their family as well.

For me, family had always been the people, that I felt are the family. I started by including all my immediate family and the relatives in the first circle (my grandparents and their family, my aunts and uncles and their families).

I later become more estranged from some of the relatives, since we had radically different view on some things, and they couldn’t back it up, while expecting me to have the same view as them. I stopped visiting them so often, until I was no longer feeling, that they are my family.

I got a friend in the end of higher primary school, and I spent so much time with him, that I started considered him my family as well. It probably helped, that my younger sister was spending a lot of time with them.

But he became uncomfortable in my company and we slowly drifted apart (but we are still friends). He later told me, that he thought that I was in love with him, and he didn’t know, how to reject me. Thinking back, I was feeling connecting to him, that could be defined as love, but not in the way, that teenagers normally use the word.

Then my sister started dating and her boyfriends started staying in our house. Her last boyfriend was in our house so much, that I started to change my cooking completely, even when I was not cooking for him as well. He was allergic to some of the milk proteins, and could die from just cross contamination. Then I realized, that I started to treat him as a family as well, because I felt he was a part of it.

Now that I moved away from the house for the first time, I stopped the feeling of family for him. It is mostly concentrated on my parents and my sister right now. I still feel my grandparents are my family, but not anybody else.

As you could see, I define family as a fluent feeling of love, that connect me to other people. I do not care, if they are blood related to me or not.

But my way of defining a family is just one way. But I like it, because it have a possibility of choosing the family and the dream, that maybe one day, we could live as one big family on this world, not divided by the blood of countries border.

Would You go to the University, if it Would be Free?

About two months ago, I meet one of my former classmates from primary school. He used to be one of the most intelligent and the most lazy person in our year group. Even if first year, he already manipulated the writings in his notebook, so he could do a smaller amount of homework. But he was one of the smartest people on school. The same subject, that all the people had to study for days, he got it in a little more than an hour (and he didn't listen at all during class). He also created some of the theories on the personalities of people, while in primary school.

So seeing him after a couple of years, I enjoyed talking to him. We talked about school reunion, and it ended up, what kind of schools did we chose.

He surprised me by telling me he never applied for the university, but started working at the local shop for clothes. I was so surprised, that I had forgotten to ask for the reason.

Before that, I was thinking that going to the university was more or less just prolonging the decision, what am I going to do in my life. But when trying to get some perspective and searching the internet, the most commonly cited reason to not go to university is debt.

But here, students do not acquire any debt at all. The enrolling costs are around 30 EUR, and that are all necessary costs, to visit the university.

There are additional costs, like living cost, the costs of book, transportation costs and so on. But most of the students in our country live with their parents, and most of the students just copy the books, instead of buying them.

But since we have a highly developed student work opportunities (so much, that they lower the number or regularly employed people), there is always the possibility to earn the money and cover all the expenses.

Since it is easier to get the job as a student as opposed to someone who graduated, but is not a student anymore, that a number of people enrol in the university just to get the student's status, so they could work in the student's jobs.

In situations like that, meeting a person, who decided to not go to the university is rare. That is why I find even more fascinating. I am sure, he has some really logical answer, that makes complete sense, when told. Looking back, I do not know, if I would not choose the same, if I would go back in time.

Cleaning As A Way To Beat Procrastination

What do I do, when I have something really uncomfortable to do in front of me, and I do not want to do it? I start procrastinating, since there is always one more interesting thing, that I could do before.

I have written before about the way I use list, to beat procrastination. But sometimes it is not necessary. Sometimes, I only need to create a better environment and get reminded, that the task is not so bad.

So I start cleaning my room (with my working place). I start at the table and clean everything on it, putting back only what I really need. Then I continued with the shelf above it, then bookshelf opposite it,...

...and really quickly I ended up doing the thing, that I procrastinated on before.

I don't know why that happens. It is just, as I am cleaning, I usually get a lot of ideas, how to either make the task more pleasing or simply get more motivated to do it.

I assume, that is has to do with the brain activity. The brain is probably using some other centre while cleaning, that I do not use, in my regular life.

The cleaning does have a lot to do with details. Also, I found out, that the less I think about the implications of cleaning, and just concentrate on the practical side of the things, the better do I advance in my cleaning.

On the other side, my day-to-day thinking tends to be abstract, with questioning the meaning of everything and seeing all the different paths from each decision.

Unlike my other method, it doesn't work every single time, but it does work most of the time. And I don't really waste any time. I know I have to clean my room eventually, so there is nothing wrong in doing some pre-work.

You can find my article on my list method to beat procrastination here: http://expertscolumn.com/content/one-method-helps-me-beat-procrastination

One Way of How to Introduce your Child to Vegetables

The following have been the standard picture of the picky children. The whole thing happened in the kitchen. The mother prepares a meal for the child, and the child eats it, but he leaves the peas on the plate. The mother tries to get him to eat them, but he is stubborn, and he ends up in tears, hoping to get his parent to understand. But they still try to force him to eat his vegetables.

The more I listen to the parents with children, the more the common problem arises. The most problematic food group, at least according to the parents I talked about, seems to be vegetables. For some reason their children to not like to eat them.

So that got me thinking; why it that?

I think the reason is most likely, that they just aren't used to the vegetables. Some of the parents are the type, to also not eat any vegetables so why do they even think, that their children are going to embrace it.

The studies indicate, that the more a child is exposed to the vegetables, especially if it doesn't involve any negative feeling, the more likely he is to eventually try it.

So the one way to introduce the vegetables to children is to actually eat more vegetables yourself. Start eating vegetables in front of your children. Maybe even take him to the market and let him choose a vegetable, he want to eat. Or let him help you cook the meal, and see, what is inside of it.

The last way is probably also useful for any picky eater. Just make sure, you are actually making something good-looking. If the ingredients look horrible, it might make him even more picky.

But first of all, embrace the vegetables yourself. Do not be like overweight doctor, who tried to get you to lose weight. It doesn't work that way, and the child might even found you contradictory.