What skill will you set out to conquer in 2020?

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If we’re at our most confident when we demonstrate existing levels of skill, why do so many of us want to develop a new skill? Why do we set ourselves new resolutions, when 60% fall through and leave behind a sense of failure, disappointment and frustration?

More importantly, why do so many of us jump from one skillset to another, before we’ve had time to master one? Maybe it’s because so many of us will never become true craftsmen. …

For most forms of public speaking

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When people are asked about common fears, public speaking always tops the list. So unless you’re Tony Robbins, chances are you get nervous before a presentation.

Even Adele gets nervous.

The following five points are what I’ve learnt when it comes to most cases of going first, from presentations at uni to job assessment centres to calls to other events. But thinking about the wider usefulness of this post, let the word presentation act as a wider metaphor for any upcoming activity that involves some degree of public speaking.

You will never be another person

First, stop comparing yourself to others. You will never present like…

Dealing with the inner self critic in times of difficulty

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The peak in the background is Kilimanjaro — around 5,995 ft high. I tried to climb it in the summer of 2016, but failed at the last hurdle. It was 2am, we were going for the summit in what I can only describe as the coldest temperature I have ever experienced, and I couldn’t go further because of a sudden stomach pain I attribute to either dehydration or altitude. Whichever it ended up being, it doesn’t really matter.

Once I managed to persuade the guide that another four hours just wasn’t possible, he agreed to take me back down to…

But one of the most fascinating out there

Photo by Elias Castillo on Unsplash

Retracing our footsteps

This is a Game Boy Color. This wasn’t my Game Boy Color — mine was purple. This was the second Game Boy in the series, after the Game Boy Original, before the Game Boy Advance. After that, the Game Boy SP.

If you look at this and feel nostalgic, chances are you often find yourself in that uncomfortable middle ground between the entitled Millennial and the iChild, or Generation Z.

More importantly, if you’ve ever felt alone in being stuck between two rather rigidly defined generations — in not quite fitting into either of the above — well, you’re not…

Is to read fiction

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We’re all looking to escape a little bit more — there’s no doubt about that. Whether it’s through reducing our Screen Time by deliberately setting limits on our most-used apps, or whether it’s because we’re feeling a little run down from a long few weeks at work or school, escapism has become a real thing.

Look at the self-help section of a bookstore and see it for yourselves. Check out the bestsellers on Amazon’s recommended lists and it’s the same. I don’t have data to confirm this, but you don’t need data. It’s all over the place. Just look.


The influence of China’s historical political structure on future competitiveness

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

China’s relationship with the tech sphere is an interesting one. What grew to be known as ‘Electronics Street’ is now the recognised Zhongguancun, home to some of the world’s largest tech companies, from Baidu to Tencent-backed platform, Meituan-Dianpin.

This is by no means accidental, and it is most probably the result of significant government spending in R&D between 1991–2016. Supported by ambitious plans mapped out in recent government revelations, China aims to become a global leader in 5G and AI, the latter of which is accompanied with a target date of 2030.

These movements have paved the way for debate…

Exploring the overwhelming expectation of instant response

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Last weekend I had a conversation with a couple of friends, and we were talking about how overwhelmed we feel with the onslaught of daily WhatsApp messages we receive.

Now, this isn’t to hail ourselves as mega-popular or obsessed with tech, but rather to draw attention to an issue that’s facing more of us than I reckon we talk about. An issue that almost definitely induces stress and prevents decent rest – both mental and physical.

This conversation brought a thought to me that kind of stuck. That thought was this:

What if each WhatsApp message were an individual letter…

One of my book highlights in 2019 so far

Credit: Foyles

I haven’t read a book like Convenience Store Woman before, and I’m not sure I ever will again. It’s endearing, humorous, kind of dark. The language is simple, the concept twisted and profound.

Plus, you can read this book in a couple of days and it won’t feel like a chore. So that’s a bonus.

When I had a look at it on GoodReads, which is where I go to check out a book before I commit to it, I noticed it didn’t hit the 4* average mark. Usually, this is the criteria I’d stick to when picking books. Because…

Nothing more, nothing less

Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash

Yesterday, I crossed the road with a smile. It was a zebra crossing outside the tube station where I get off to go home. I approached the crossing, smiled and stuck my hand up while I looked to the left to make brief eye contact. Once the car stopped, I walked on.

The driver shouted something at me out the window. Thought it’d be something offensive or inappropriate. Instead he shouted,

“That’s the nicest smile I’ve had all day.”

But it wasn’t in an obtrusive way; it was genuine. I appreciated the comment, and kept smiling on the way to…

Silence, laughter, and running in between

For my brother, my mum, my tennis coach Stuart, and my relatives and friends of different ages, all of whom have shown me that with blood come no special rights.


For the last couple of months, I’ve been posting Instagram pictures and videos on all-things-marathon training. Fitness, diet, practice runs, bins.

It’s all been a bit of a joke, but the ultimate goal of these posts isn’t one.

Stay with me.

Today, I ran the London Marathon for the NSPCC, the UK’s leading charity campaigning to end child abuse in all its forms — sexual, domestic, emotional, FGM, and so…

Emily Warna

I write about what I see + hear.

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