Quote of the day

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath –  The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plathwho was born 83 years ago today.

34 Responses to Quote of the day

  1. TraceyS says:

    Self-doubt is the worst enemy to EVERYTHING!


  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    I agree with you up to a point, Tracey. There are lots of people who have over-inflated views of their capability and who have no self-doubt who have caused all sorts of problems. Rob Muldoon’s over confidence in his ability to run the NZ economy and his refusal to accept advice was dangerous and there are lots of examples of where inflated egos has caused problems. A little bit of self doubt is useful if it causes us to consult with others and realistically assess our true capability to do something.


  3. TraceyS says:

    Dave, why do you need to turn every subject into a personalised attack on one person or another?

    Are you so consumed with others that you cannot examine your own self?


  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    Oh dear, Tracey, no personal attack intended. It was just my own view that a little bit of self-doubt can be healthy, but not to the extent of stopping one from doing stuff. If you took the last sentence as something directed at you then I am sorry as it was never intended as such 😛


  5. TraceyS says:

    Oh dear, oh dear, at least you answered my second question.

    Yet the first question remains; why you can’t respond without taking a personal swipe at someone.

    Go on, give it another go Dave, break the habit!


  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I apologised for creating the potential for misunderstanding as it was intended as a general statement. It appears it is you who wishes continue to personalise the discussion. I actually supported your comment with but with one reservation. I was addressing the idea and not your own personal situation. I’m not sure what else I can say in regard to this other than I guess you accept my word or not. 😛


  7. TraceyS says:

    “It appears it is you who wishes continue to personalise the discussion.”

    No, not at all. I never took your comment in the way you presumed in your later comment at 5:53pm. I took your words at face-value, for what they were, ie. a personal snide (not at me silly!) sandwiched between two more general sentences as if no one would really notice or care.

    How was that called for given the topic? It was about writing and creativity and didn’t have anything to do with politics.

    Perhaps there are times when the exercise of a little self-doubt would be well advised, for example, when assuming you know the minds and motivations of other individuals.

    If you can’t manage that then just stop. And ask more questions.

    As the creative mind does.


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Then I withdraw political example (I admit is is my mindset at times) if that is a barrier to discussion for you then perhaps regard something like X Factor where some contestants have an inflated self-belief.

    Even for a writer, it is good to seek advice or appraisal. Self-belief allows one to give something a go and a little bit of self-doubt leaves one open to constructive criticism. Bill Manhire’s writing course has produce lots of internationally recognised writers and I’m sure he encouraged self belief and tempered it with the ability to accept advice. Cameron Slater is an example of a writer who has an abundance of self belief but I struggle to see him as a great journalist.

    I am happy to discuss your interpretation of the quote, but you seem keen to lecture to me again about what I should and shouldn’t do and it does get tiresome.


  9. TraceyS says:

    Oh Dave, you started off so well and then fell down in the last sentence of the middle paragraph! That’s personal – presuming you know how another feels about himself. Quite personal.

    I can’t agree, either, that overconfident X-Factor contestants exude inflated self-belief. They’re actors, whether paid or not, present for the purpose of entertainment. They’re not artists. Therefore, I concede to having no idea of how, or what, they truly feel.

    You cannot possibly know how someone feels about themselves in the two dimensions of a computer screen, TV, or even a book necessarily. I mean, have you ever even met an X-Factor contestant or Cameron Slater.

    I’m sorry if you feel that it’s lecturing but people aren’t transparent objects you can look into and see what makes them tick. If you think you know, and it was easy, then you’re almost certainly wrong.


  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, Surely someone who puts themselves forward in a singing competition thinking they have a chance of winning, but can’t sing in tune and has terrible timing has a self-belief in their ability that is unjustified? Cameron Slater calls himself a journalist and yet follows few of the ethical constraints that most journalists abide by. I don’t have to meet people personally to be aware of how they regard themselves and how they present themselves to the public as they openly share this information. Just like you regularly make assumptions about me, in the same way, based on what you interpret I am saying 😉


  11. TraceyS says:

    “I don’t have to meet people personally to be aware of how they regard themselves…”

    Dave, I’ll leave others to decide what (if any) assumptions to make about you based on that response! If you don’t mind, I’ll keep mine to myself. Yet you can probably access them anyway with your mind-reading abilities.


  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, it is almost impossible to survive in this world without making assumptions about people based on how they present themselves.

    This is what happens when people are interviewed for jobs, judged in performance competitions and what people do when trying to keep themselves safe when traveling or choosing partners. I have had many roles requiring interviewing people for jobs and in my counseling roles where it is important to establish levels of self confidence and resilience.

    Of course one can never read another’s mind but with public figures a lot is revealed over time. As regards Slater, he is a pretty open book and is hardly a shrinking violet and he has made direct personal attacks on me. I think I am more than entitled to comment on his attitude and behaviour.

    You must enjoy arguing with me because a fairly innocent general comment about having a little bit of self-doubt is healthy has turned into the Spanish Inquisition regarding my motives and judgement 😉


  13. Mr E says:

    Interesting you selected Cameron Slater for your slurs around confidence and self belief.
    You do realise that he has had an ongoing battle with depression?


    It is possible your assessment is correct, but I think it is also very possible that your assessment is wrong.

    Tracey is right you can’t absolutely know what another person is thinking.

    And speaking of sayings – there is one about assumption. I think you know it.


  14. TraceyS says:

    ” I think I am more than entitled…”

    I don’t have to presume what you think Dave. You’ve told us right there.


  15. TraceyS says:

    “You must enjoy arguing with me because a fairly innocent general comment about having a little bit of self-doubt is healthy has turned into the Spanish Inquisition regarding my motives and judgement.”

    And I stand by that. There was nothing innocent about your comment overall. Yes, it had innocent bits. They were used to disguise an attack.

    Any fool could see that.

    But for some reason you can’t.


  16. TraceyS says:

    Mr E, it appears that open books and un-shrunk violets are fair game and tit-for-tat rules, OK?


  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you may know that mental health impacts a huge percentage of the population and a good number of my own family suffer from minor to severe mental health issues. The suicide rate amongst farmers is also of huge concern.

    Cameron Slater’s brash and unethical approach to what he calls journalism is even called “shock jock” by the PM. There is nothing in Slater’s approach that indicates self-doubt in his writing style, otherwise it would be tempered with more compassion and self-awareness. Slaters mental health may explain some of his behaviour, but it doesn’t excuse it (I was aware of it). If others like myself are subject to his unwarranted attacks you surely aren’t expecting us to respond with sympathy for him.

    We all have to make assumptions to guide our actions based on the evidence we have, that is how the world works. The only issue is when an assumption is stated as fact. The best way to test an assumption is to seek more information and clarity and if it isn’t forthcoming than the assumption must stand. Until Slater reveals otherwise I think his blog posts, personal attacks, public pronouncements, interviews and court hearings must continue to be the basis for my assumptions.

    “It is possible your assessment is correct, but I think it is also very possible that your assessment is wrong.”

    Given the evidence available my assessment is more likely to be correct.


  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Yes, it had innocent bits. They were used to disguise an attack.”

    Tracey, you really do assume a lot, the attack was so disguised it was even hidden from myself 😉

    Cameron Slater should be grateful to have two loyal supporters here too.


  19. Mr E says:

    “you surely aren’t expecting us to respond with sympathy for him.”

    I didn’t say that.

    I do think there could be lot more to him than you presume. And I think it is very possible you are wrong in your beliefs. That could mean you are criticising him incorrectly. I have never believed 2 wrongs make a right.

    Regarding assumption, when I consider my own, I know there is a continuum of confidence applied to them. Some are stronger than others. I do believe I place less confidence on my assumptions than some others do on theirs. You seem to place more confidence in your assumptions than I could ever do.


  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, as I said, Slater should be grateful for your support, I just happen to feel his obvious lack of ethics and compassion in his writing is inexcusable. He has made too many vicious, untrue and unsubstantiated comments about friends and colleagues of mine (and myself) for me to feel any sympathy for him. I am grateful that he has little serious following now except from those who glorify in skuttle-butt and prejudice (read a few comments and you discover the shocking underbelly of NZ society).

    If useful information is refused or not shared then assumptions inevitably occur. The best way to avoid forcing people into having to make assumptions is to provide the evidence necessary to form more considered conclusions. I would never base an important decision purely on an assumption.

    “You seem to place more confidence in your assumptions than I could ever do.”

    Thanks for this admission, it certainly sheds new light on all your stated assumptions during our LAWA discussions 😉


  21. Mr E says:

    “I just happen to feel his obvious lack of ethics and compassion in his writing is inexcusable. He has made too many vicious, untrue and unsubstantiated comments about friends and colleagues of mine ”

    An interesting comment when you have also made this comment:

    “generally our farmers are ignorant of sustainable practices, polluters, and many (possibly 50%+) mistreat their animals and staff (I provided evidence to support all of these).”

    “I would never base an important decision purely on an assumption.”

    The importance of the decision is a subjective judgement. So the the application of assumption. You could well make important decisions on assumption in others eyes.


  22. Gravedodger says:

    Dave your vendetta against Cameron Slater transgresses one of the very basic tenets of democracy, “freedom of speech and expression” yet your witterings promote no such castigation against Mr Hager who published some extremely prejudicial and carefully selected stolen electronic transmissions. Such material significantly ruled by our highest court to be property, only recently.

    I am fully cognisant of the extreme socialist desire to totally control the message but your hypocrisy around such basic rights is monumentally hypocritical, sanctimonious and destroys so much of the image of self worth that permeates almost all your efforts here and yet you would wish us to accept your garbage as the supreme truth.

    Cameron Slater is a very important contributor as is our Host here in that they give exposure to much that the traditional and failing media either don’t wish to publish or just cant be arsed to research and give oxygen to.
    A glaring example is the punishing silence over the fraudulent manipulation of the Islamic migration that is threatening our way of life in the democratic western states. Such threats are either ignored or spun out of reality with total support from the enabling appeasers who just seem to be overwhelmingly socialists.


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ah, Mr E, context is so important. Do you really want to go through all the evidence I provided and wasn’t challenged? Instead you demanded that I front up to farmers and restate my claims. I agreed to this and what has happened? The recent environment report confirms one of my claims too regarding water quality and compacted soil. You should have attended the soil seminar that provided more evidence of the issues that the industry is facing.

    “You could well make important decisions on assumption in others eyes.”

    I am sure you’re correct I have noticed some huge assumptions about what i say here 😉


  24. TraceyS says:

    Best to leave out living personalities but I think it’s interesting that the discussion came around to the topic of depression; ultimately a major contributor to Sylvia Plath’s death by suicide and also that of her son. So sad.

    The following is a verse from Lady Lazarus:

    Is an art, like everything else.
    I do it exceptionally well.

    I do it so it feels like hell.
    I do it so it feels real.
    I guess you could say I’ve a call.”

    I guess no one ever said that self-belief was always going to be painless and free. Not everyone is drawn to a call that others believe is right or good. But the alternative, to march to the beat of another’s drum, may be untenable for some.

    Please don’t go down the river quality path guys. Can’t we have one thread about art not (politico)science?


  25. Mr E says:

    Tracey is right.

    If I could delete my above remark I would. Feel free to do so Ele.


  26. homepaddock says:

    Mr E, I have deleted the comment as requested. Thank you for allowing me to do that.

    Tracey – thanks for your request to keep this thread from going in the wrong direction.


  27. Mr E says:

    Thanks Ele.


  28. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m happy not to go down the water quality line, it was never my intention. I missed the deleted comment, so that is possibly a good thing 😉

    GD, I think you will struggle to find where I want to suppress free speech, I just wish that some commentators used more discretion in the way they exercised that right. Rumour and innuendo is no replacement for evidence and taking down the messenger without addressing the message is not how I believe real journalists and commentators should operate.

    In keeping with the attempts to have a more civil engagement, which I did attempt at beginning, here is one of my favourite songs that probably encapsulates the feelings of reflection and regret:

    The following is a genuine contribution (that has no political intent, Tracey, so please don’t read anything else into it): Some self-doubt is useful (my original point)as long as it doesn’t cripple a person or render them incapable of giving things ago. We all need to strive to be better people and be more successful in our work and relationships, too much self-confidence can lead to complacency, arrogance and limited self awareness. Those who have had to work hard for their successes to overcome self-doubt are more likely to appreciate their success and empathise with those who struggle to do the same.


  29. Gravedodger says:

    Dave go back and read HP’s posted quote.
    Then do bit of research on Plath.

    Your inclusion of 1st Muldoon then Cameron Slater gives me reasonable grounds that the “qotd” went completely over your head and you just made a concious effort to inject your tiresome Melon political propaganda for the umteenth time.

    You singularly ignoring the intertwyned ‘depressive illness’ aspects is an indictmet on your total obsession with what I perceive to be a nacisistic tendency.

    That driver would be better served by posting what I see as offensive ad hominem abuse at your place.

    No one but no one is ever compelled to read what Cameron publishes at whaleoil but the thousands who regularly or even occasionally visit his blog, however unwelcomed by you and your co-conspiritors, is compelling evidence you might be wrong, imeho anyway.

    ps Dave qotd is at the top of the page.


  30. homepaddock says:

    The opposite of self-doubt is self-belief which I think is subtely different from self-confidence. Self-confidence is alsodifferent from over confidence.

    Neither self-belief nor self-confidence preclude the ability, and willingness, to accept one’s limitations and the advice of others.


  31. Dave Kennedy says:

    GD, I have already accepted the fact that my political examples may not have been in the spirit of the original post but the idea I was promoting is still valid. Please read my last comment. While self-doubt can indeed kill the confidence to create and give things a go, a little bit is useful in my mind.

    Too much self confidence can lead to arrogance and a lack of empathy. My reference to Slater was because he is also a writer and someone who comments on the world and events locally as I do in a minor way.

    I do know about Sylvia Plath and my favourite book that I used to read to kids was written by her husband, Ted Hughes. ‘The Iron Man’ (not the film or super hero) is a great book to get children to talk about misconceptions and fears and how those we see as our enemies may not actually be so if we approached threats in different ways. http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Ted-Hughes/The-Iron-Man.html

    I also understand the realities of mental illness at a level most people don’t when someone I was in a relationship with committed suicide because of a developing bipolar condition. In those days mental health support was even more limited.

    Your assumptions about me are very limited as you continually refer to me as a communist and think everything I write is propaganda. You do really seem to be afraid of views different from your own given the derogatory manner in how you pigeon hole and describe those who hold different opinions.

    I don’t actually understand your argument and your point. You seem to be justifying Slater’s aggressive, personalised attacks because of his mental health and suggesting that if lots of people read his blog and support his writing (that regularly sees him in court) then he is beyond questioning. You talk about my vendetta against Slater and yet what he says about myself, my party and my profession would not be allowed on this blog and the fact you are championing him says more about your own thinking.

    How can you truly support free speech and democratic discourse when you personally attack my right to share my views in the same breath as promoting Slater’s?

    I have just returned from a breakfast presentation by Mai Chen on “Why New Zealand’s increasing ethnic diversity affects business bottom lines” hosted by the Southland Chamber of Commerce (that I am a member of) and the Institute of directors. Chen has been involved in research that shows that in less than 20 years European New Zealanders will be in the minority and the Maori, Pasifika and Asian populations will dominate. Diversity of views and cultures should not be something to fear.

    The Green Party is growing too, our membership drive is bringing in far more members than we expected and we are in financial good heart and are able to employ more and more new staff. We have a strong business culture and as you know raised more money than Labour at the last election. No matter how you fight us and call us “melons” we are here to stay and may actually have some good ideas if you removed your blinkers.

    I am hosting Gareth Hughes down here tomorrow and we are doing a tour of the growing number of businesses and private homes going solar and having a meeting at Venture Southland about alternative energies, our wood waste project that the Government is supporting and the potential of the silica smelter. World Solar is an Australian/NZ company that is owned by a guy who lives in Southland and his business is growing spectacularly. He is also working with Tesla cars to begin putting in the infrastructure to support them in NZ.

    There is a difference between the actual propaganda that Slater deals in and the real world and our future that I am engaged with 😉


  32. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Neither self-belief nor self-confidence preclude the ability, and willingness, to accept one’s limitations and the advice of others.”

    Ele, I don’t disagree agree with you. All I am saying is that both self-belief and self-confidence are on a continuum. Too far down that continuum (total self-belief or over self-confidence) leads to arrogance and a lack of empathy. Perhaps I haven’t explained it well enough but i do believe it is a valid view.


  33. Dave Kennedy says:

    Oops “I don’t disagree with you”


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