Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Kindle: How It Has Changed the Face of Reading

Kindle Fire pic for Kindle article
In 2011, for the first time, Amazon, the world’s biggest bookseller, sold more books in electronic format (Kindle) than in paper formats.  How did this happen ? A number of things came together to make this possible – the increasing availability of, and acceptance and use of, smartphones and tablets has created a social culture that, more and more, wants to do things on the move.  This happened at the same point that the technology advanced to the point where products such as the Kindle, or the apps for Kindle reading used on phones, became possible. Traditional books are great, but they are bulky.  If you are already carrying a phone or Ipad, or you choose a dedicated Kindle reader, you can carry hundreds of books with you, in less than the space of one paperback.
The appeal was instantaneous and obvious. Concurrently, Amazon made it possible for anyone to self publish for Kindle, and have their book visible for sale on Amazon – so, over a three year period, the number of books available in electronic format has increased exponentially.  Add to that a royalty structure and rules that ensure that most Kindle books are priced very cheaply, and everyone (but especially Amazon!) wins.
All this is fairly visible – what is less visible is how Kindle has changed the way in which we read, and what we read.  When you had to carry a paperback around with you to read, this introduced certain constraints – you generally only carried one at a time, for a start, you paid a fair bit for it, so you wanted a sizeable read for your money, and if you carry a book, people always say “what’s that you are reading”, whilst curiously picking it up, or taking a long look at the cover.  That last one rather tends to limit what you read in public, or take to work to read at lunchtime.  Sometimes you just don’t want others to know what you are reading, whether its erotica (although 50 Shades of Grey has rather shifted the ‘acceptable’ boundaries on that one recently!), or your secret addiction to children’s horse stories, or trashy tell-all celebrity biographies.
But with Kindle, all that changed – now you have immense choice – carry a couple of hundred books if you want (they are cheap enough after all – at $2.99 each not $29.99 it’s a very different budget equation!) – change from one to another depending on your mood.  Read your erotica, or feed your embarrassing secret addictions – no one can see what you are reading unless you show them, and you can get it closed to an innocent home screen with the push of one button, if someone is trying to be persistently nosy.  Its quick and easy to pull out your phone, Kindle reader or your Ipad in all sorts of places, if you have a minute to spare – they are usually just in your pocket, or the top layer of your handbag.  So many people actually read much much more now than they ever did before.
kindle paperwhite picture_But what they read is different in structure and format, not just topic and price.  When you can read in short stolen moments, you are more likely to want something short to read – no ongoing concentration needed, rip through it fast on the bus for immediate satisfaction. When it only costs $2.99 you don’t mind if its short – a 20 page story can be quite satisfying for that sort of money.  And that way, if it turns out that you don’t like that author’s work, no great loss, no book to dispose of either.  And with Kindle, there are none of those “oh god, I left my book at work” moments – your book is always with you – just use your Kindle app on your phone, Ipad, or PC even if you left your Kindle reader at work, or at home – the Amazon cloud will keep them all synchronised for you, and even know where in the book you were up to!
Kindle Fire shot 2So authors are publishing more and more ‘little books’ – the sort of thing that traditional publishers would never have considered as a standalone product – way too much cost and not enough return to be worthwhile.  And consumers are buying them, in their millions, because they are cheap and easy to consume. This trend is likely to accelerate, in all topic areas, making the electronic book market a multi, multi billion dollar economy that did not even exist 6 years ago.
What does this mean about the way in which people view books now ?  More of us read, we read a much more varied selection of topics, we are less likely to read a great ‘epic novel’ (in fact, many just do not have that sort of concentration span these days), we spend just as much if not more on ‘books’ but get a lot more of them for our money, traditional bookshops are going out of business, and traditional publishers are struggling, and are trying to mandate prices for Kindle books which are similar to the pricing of their physical books (and Amazon tells you quite clearly on the book listing that the publisher set that price, not them! – their marketing people have got that one right…) and, lastly, millions of ordinary people, who would never have been able to get their work published in the past, have become published authors, and many have become outstanding bestsellers, with their works also made into film and TV.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Perfectionism places limitations on our self worth, our self-belief system and holds us back from achieving our goals.

Perfectionism can be the way that we look at ourselves in the mirror with body image, wondering why our body and looks don’t match certain criteria that we hold for ourselves. In our home the way we place everything in a certain way. At work rechecking everything multiple times before submitting your latest report. Perfectionists are usually over-achievers and have extremely high values that they place on themselves in their daily lives. Often a perfectionist’s goals are too high to be achievable but failure is not an option, because this thought doesn’t exist in the perfectionist’s mind.

So I want to dive in and look at what perfectionism really is and see if this is you?
As a life coach I have learnt all about what happens with our belief systems as part of my coach training, which included working on my own belief system. Perfectionism is a belief system and something that we have learnt from a young age, through sources like our parents. As children we are like sponges so we pick up, and learn, beliefs from others that surround us. When we become adults these beliefs are carried with us and the impacts of these don’t get addressed until we start our personal development journey.
If you are a perfectionist, and things don’t go “perfectly” for you this leads to judgemental thoughts within yourself. This, in turn, affects your self worth, creating thinking like I’m not good enough, smart enough, worthy enough and many others too numerous to list here. Everyone has some perfectionist tendencies, as that’s part of been human, but I’m talking about when this is taking over your life.
Perfectionism can also be described as the situation where, underneath everything, we are looking for approval from external sources – from our partners, family, friends, colleagues and people we meet. This is building our self worth based on things outside of ourselves, which isn’t healthy.
The aim is to change our belief system to look inward instead, which is much healthier. Then we can start to address how our current belief system works. We want to be choosing self-love, self-acceptance and happiness within.
Transformation can be fun, so lets embrace this and find a few things that you can do to get started on your discovery journey today!
  • Grab a journal or computer and have a belief discovering exercise. Start by journaling things that are currently holding you back. Here are a few suggested questions to get the ball rolling.
    • What do you currently control in your life and, if control was taken away, what would your life look like?
  • We need to recognize the expectations that we currently have of ourselves.
    • What expectations have we placed on ourselves? Is this realistic for what is achievable? If not what is achievable instead?
  • Accepting where we  currently are in our journey with no judgement –
    • we are all at different points in our journey so just have a look where you currently are, with no judgement, and be accepting of yourself.
  • Be realistic with your thoughts and actions.
    • Accept what is within your control and recognize what you can’t control, acknowledge that, and let it go.
  • Be kind to yourself during your discovery journey
Embrace your imperfections, you will start seeing your life change for the better and you will have a lot more fun in the process too. I would love to hear from you what can you do today to start flipping your perfectionism to embracing imperfection instead?