The four beliefs I binned on New Year’s Eve

I’m one of those people who always feels like a new year is a fresh start. A clean slate with no mistakes on it (okay, suddenly I’ve turned into Anne of Green Gables).



Sometimes better than making knee-jerk resolutions (I will never again eat chocolate freckles for breakfast … c’mon now, that’s just crazy talk) is the decision to bin certain beliefs or ideas that have maybe been holding you back.


I’ve got four. Four beliefs I’ve long held as truisms that I’ve decided are, well, stupid. So it’s sayonara to these old ways of seeing the world …


1. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.


What am I? A ninja?  It’s taken me 41 years but I’ve finally learned that life is too short to have negative, toxic people in your world. TOO. SHORT.  In 2014 I’m spending less time with the smiling assassins and more time with those people who want what’s best for me. The friends who call forth my best, who challenge me, inspire me and delight me. 2014 is all about boundaries.  And hanging with my tribe.


2. The louder you yell, the more likely you are to change someone’s mind.


Yeah, it’s taken me a while to get this one into my thick head.  What I finally realised this year is no matter how many facts you have, no matter how passionate you are – you really aren’t going to change someone’s mind when their mind is already made up.  You just aren’t.  They believe what they believe. And – who’s to say that they’re wrong? (Well, other than the police …).


You know what else?  Shaming people – making them feel stupid or pathetic or shit – for what they have done or believe also isn’t helping. Twitter thugs are you listening?  I learnt that this year too. Few people changed their minds about something because they were shamed into it. All that does is back people in a corner and make them more defensive.  So from now on, I’m aiming for a more balanced approach … present the facts, try to understand the opposing viewpoint (or at least why they would think the way they do) and in the end – agree to disagree. And then try and bribe the person with Mint Slice biscuits.


3. Women over 40 shouldn’t have long hair


long hair Rebecca Sparrow: The four beliefs Im binning before New Years Eve.

I am 41 and I look BETTER with long hair


I’m 41 and I look better with long hair. The end.


4. Facebook is great for maintaining friendships


This is a crock. It is.  Look Facebook is good for many things: wasting time on Wednesday afternoons when your boss is in that long meeting and you really need to see photos of your cousin’s new hairstyle that sounds suspiciously reminiscent of the Flock of Seagulls lead singer. I’m with you. I TOTALLY AM.


Facebook is also tops for keeping up and staying connected with friends who are overseas or interstate.  And sure, you’re in a feisty mood and feel like starting a debate about the superiority of Arnott’s Kingston Biscuits over Ginger Snaps.  Awesome. Gold Star. Love your work.


But as for your average, garden-variety friendships … I’m not convinced Facebook is helping. ‘Liking’ someone’s photo of their eggs Benedict is not the same as picking up a phone or seeing someone in person.  Few things are ever as good as ye olde fashioned face-to-face friendship.  Or even hearing the sound of someone’s voice and being able to detect nuance.  Facebook is great in conjunction with time IRL (in real life, y’all). But I think friendships with people in your own town that eventually only ever unfold on Facebook — not so great.


So in 2014, I’m going to do less LIKE LIKE LIKE and a bit more “Let’s have coffee”.  Or at least even up the playing field a bit.



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About Bec

Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.

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