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It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer

It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer
    Photo credit: Lindley Ashline (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    I remember that there were some little kids in my outdoor pool this past summer while I was doing my swim workout. They must have been from about five to eight years old and unlike other kids who usually just play around in the shallow end, these kids were diving all over the deep end like they were mini-torpedoes. I was actually quite impressed with their swimming abilities especially given their young ages.

    I like the idea of doing great cardiovascular exercise without sweating like a hog, which is why I take as much advantage of the outdoor pool season as possible when it is in full swing. So during the summer, I’m swimming at least three times per week all season long.

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    As I was watching these kids through my swim goggles while doing my laps, I was also thinking about how my own swimming skills were like when I was their age — or to be more accurate, the lack of swimming skills. When I was their age, all I could do was the starfish float, in shallow water.

    I had not really learned how to swim yet. Oh, I would try but I would just end up doing some feeble flapping of my arms, which did not propel me anywhere in the pool. I then proceeded to sink like a battleship that took a direct hit.

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    The Turning Point for a Late Bloomer

    In fact, this was the extent of my swimming ability even up to my high school years. During my first year of high school, I was lucky enough (or unlucky as I saw it back then) to get the swim team coach as my gym teacher. It was not surprising that we were going to get double the amount of swim days compared to other students at the school. And for some reason, most students hated swimming.

    I knew that I was in for a major embarrassment each time we had those swim days because of my poor swimming abilities. But this teacher, who we nicknamed ‘Duckie’ because of his obsession with water, forced us to keep doing laps in the pool.

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    Somehow through those forced laps, I actually started to be able to swim the entire length of the high school pool, even though I would usually drag behind most other students. By the end of my high school years, I became a proficient swimmer. During university, I even occasionally went to the campus Olympic size pool to do laps.

    Another World Opens Up

    Years later while on vacation, I took a ride in a tourist submarine in the Virgin Islands. I saw just how beautiful the Caribbean coral reefs were and I wanted to experience this magical underwater world as a scuba diver. When I got home, I soon decided to take a certification course in scuba diving and at age 38, I become a fully certified scuba diver.

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    Being a certified scuba diver opened up a whole new world for me as over the years, I have dived in Costa Rica, the Red Sea and all over the Caribbean. I have had close encounters with all sorts of marine life including stingrays, dolphins and sharks. Some of my dives were even caught on video which I have used to entertain my website visitors, especially the ‘landlubbers’.

    Being able to experience the underwater world and its wonderful marine life has enabled me to really appreciate our planet better. This has also boosted my own personal growth in a way that was not possible before.

    Never Too Late to Learn New Skills

    This is why I totally believe that it is never too late to learn new skills. I was a late bloomer as a swimmer unlike those little kids at my outdoor pool this summer. By finally learning how to swim, I was able to become a certified scuba diver even if I did these later in life. But that is okay because I am now enjoying experiences and personal growth that I would never have imagined when I was young.

    If you have always wanted to do something like swimming or other sports or perhaps learning other new skills such as a new language, it is NEVER too late. Just do some research to find qualified instruction and go for it. Learning new skills is part of personal development. You will not regret learning even as a late bloomer.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

    Reference

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