Fresh wounds and evanescent scars

When a cut is fresh, your perception of everything else is blunted by the acuteness of pain. In pain, your foremost need is that the cut be tended to, with care. Everything else is non-existent—your attention is focused on the immediate. Shallow cuts may do with a bandage, while deeper cuts require a more thorough treatment. The same is true of the wounds underneath, the cuts to the soul.

Grieving is a sign of life. It is a natural reaction to the loss of a part of you. It is the realisation that the cut was unnecessary. Losing someone you love is always a cut too deep to stop the bleeding alone. You need someone close to help you treat the wound. A host of neighbours.

When I lost my father to brain cancer 19 years ago, my world was shattered. He was the rock I stood on, and suddenly the ground shifted and my foundation was no more, leaving me hanging by a thread. The unforgettable moments I spent with my father during the first eleven years of my live could not compare to anything I have experienced since his passing.

Grieving is the realisation that the wound is going to leave a mark. Sometimes the scar is dim. Sometimes it is ready to burst at the minute impulse. But the pain fades. Reluctantly, it makes it easier to breathe, it makes room for a tearless start.

In grieving, we learn to adopt what has been taken from us. Peace, energy, joy. We learn to resolve to live a life worthy of the ones we lost, forming and shaping it into an eternal tribute. Because we know they would be blessed if we did.

Weeping with neighbours

My father died of cancer when I was 11, my siblings younger and my mother embarking on a heavy journey of raising three children on her own. So, I sometimes think that it is natural for me to complain about life being unfair.

I am aware that complaining about what life throws my way is pointless. However, I find myself worrying about futile things every now and again. Lacking substance, they aim to fill my mind and heart, crippling my senses and preventing me from living.

Then come cold and sharp reminders of the finiteness of life, which make me be grateful for what I have.

Rebecca Alison Meyer died of cancer on the 7th of June, the the day she turned 6. She was called Little Spark by her father Eric A. Meyer. He shared the troubles his family has been going through on his blog and Twitter.

I have never met Eric or Rebecca. We are strangers. And yet, during the past week, the world has not been weeping with strangers. We have all become neighbours, brought closer by this little spark. (In honour of Rebecca, many people used hashtag #663399Becca on Twitter and elsewhere, to show support to the Meyer family.)

When I see purple, I think of Rebecca. I do not think it is ever going to change. Purple was her favourite colour. For me, purple is Rebecca now.

Rest in peace, sweet child!

Throwing in the sponge

For the past three weeks, I’ve written 2,100 words for the #blogg100 challenge trying to repeat the feat of last year. I’ve even “tightened the rules” this time: one 100-word blog post a day—no shorter, no longer.

Both satisfied and with a heavy heart, I am throwing in the sponge. Hey, I’ve had my moment of happy (thank you, @beep!). But everyday blogging does not suit me after all. It’s not that I have nothing to say. It’s the regular commitment that I’m unable to maintain for now.

Instead, I will be focusing on longer, more thought-out occasional posts. Cheers!

This is the final post as part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

There should not be a need for

I get many e-mails from applications I’d signed up for and forgot about. If I don’t use a service regularly, I like to delete my account. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Forth comes is a directory of direct links to delete your account from web services.

Built by Robb Lewis and Ed Poole, it’s a handy directory of links to pages where you can delete your account from web services. Moreover, the tool provides colour codes to indicate the difficulty level of account deletion. shouldn’t exist. Deleting an account from web services shouldn’t be that big of an issue. Unfortunately, it is. And the popularity of the tool is undeniable.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Building a product the users’ way

So I did a quick test on my youngest daughter yesterday. I wanted to test her preference of hand to hold a toy rattle in. Left is wrong, I learned, and right is right—she’d switch hands every time I placed the toy in her “wrong” hand. After a while though, she got tired of the experiment and refused to take the toy at all.

Users will always try doing things their way, not yours. If you don’t heed their way, they will become disinterested, frustrated, or worse yet, hostile.

Place your product in users’ lap and observe. Act thenceforth accordingly.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

All links should be blue

Blue links

Photo cropped. Original: Links. by C/N N/G (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The less effort it takes for users to recognise an element on a web site the better. If a button looks like a button, the users are more likely to associate it with something pushable and to actually push it. Right?

It’s only partially true. What users recognise, and subsequently take for granted, is patterns. All patterns are culturally fabricated. The target audience is the key to decisions on both aesthetics and functionality.

If users expect links to be blue, they’ll look for blue to click. Building on what rocks their boat is the surest way to get it right.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Be prepared for the unpredictable

Cold Shower

Cold Shower by Steve (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The other day, when my daughter and I were on our way to the kindergarten, she told me she didn’t want to play with one of the girls there. She was clearly upset about something. After lunch, as I picked her up, she told me she loved the girl. The same girl!

Your customers are like that. Their feelings are unpredictable, their actions are irrational, their mood is fluctuant. You may try to prepare a response to every situation. However, you must prepare for the sudden change as well.

The best response to this kind of situations is authentic empathy.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Perseverance against aspirations

One warm August afternoon I arrived in Örebro with two huge suitcases and ambitions set on studying to become a teacher. Quickly realising that teaching was’t my cup of tea, I switched to Media and Communication Studies, which I never completed.

During the past 6.5 years, I’ve moved thrice, got married to the girl of my dreams, fathered two beautiful daughters and got a job I love.

My aspirations and plans for the future help me but move forward. The closer I get to the goal, the easier it is to make out the shape of it. And, in faith, persevere.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Bullying always starts at home

Photo coutesy of Jürgen

Photo coutesy of Jürgen

Bullying seems to be a game of popularity and domination. Children bullying their peers are in it to win it. Their low self-esteem may be the reason they yearn for attention and dominance.

Self-esteem isn’t a product of peer influence. Even if the negative effects of it being low do not appear until a child starts interacting with other children, it all starts at a younger age, at home, with parents.

Parents must teach their children their worth: “Look, how good you are at ______ !” However, the sense of one’s worthlessness needs but a “You could never ______ !” to rocket.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

The beautiful mind of creators

Photo courtesy of Jeff Daly

Photo courtesy of Jeff Daly

According to Alex Griendling, we often praise work because of who made it, not necessarily because of its quality. He claims that follower counts and likes—the superficial measures of “success”—encourage “exclusion of the creative majority”.

His statement may be a crude generalisation. In any case, your follower count is usually based on something praiseworthy you’ve done. I want to hope so anyway.

What goes unnoticed is the beauty of creators’ mind, dimmed by the light of their creation. Sometimes, we ought to shift our praise from creation to the creators. Whether they are widely respected or “relegated to the fringes”.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.