Posts tagged ‘life’

August 8, 2014

You can do it too!

Stop. Please read this blog. There is an important request to you here and I would love it if you would respond to it for me. More important, if you respond to it, the world might just get a little bit better today.

If you want to skip straight to the question, just scroll down to the part where it says “My request to you”. Otherwise, just read on, you’ll get there in a few words..

I know my blog isn’t the place where hundreds of people come to read my thoughts and stories and point-of-views. I know the stats of my blog and therefore I have a pretty clear idea about the reach of what I write. Mostly I don’t write things that I feel everyone should read or know, but today is different. Today is very different. Today I want to ask all of you to do something to better the world and that is a difficult request.

A better world
The idea of a better world and a better life appeals to most of us human beings. The problem with this terminology is that it means something different for a lot of people. As soon as you go into the debate, political views, personal greed, religion or other factors might cloud the initial discussion and a better world ends up in something that can’t seen from any other point of view than from your personal views. I am not saying this is bad. I just want to point out that there is a danger of those point of views being driven by something else than unselfishness abnegation and therefore might be pointing more towards personal gain. Now, in my opinion, to make the world a better place, we should not ignore our personal needs, but we should be able to put them aside at times in order to help others, without any desire to get anything in return. Just make someone’s day better.

Pay it forward
I bet most of you have seen or heard about the movie Pay it Forward, or have heard or read about initiatives trying to copy the idea. Unfortunately somehow these initiatives never reach the world wide spread they deserve, so that is not what I am going to aim for either. All these initiatives are great and awesome. The idea of putting your own misery aside for a moment and help someone else is heart-warming, in whatever way it is done.

My request to you
My request to you, is to do something to make someone else’s life better. Not just one day, but 10 days in a row. Believe me, this is possible! It is not about giving stuff or money away necessarily, though, that might be done. It is about enhancing someone’s life, which can involve a simple compliment, a hug, a vow of confidence, a recommendation, an acknowledgement, anything. You can also think about things like picking up a wrapping from the ground and disposing it at a garbage can, cleaning up the playing ground across the street, leave your car at home for an entire day (or week).. the possibilities are endless.

Of course it would be great if many, many people would take up this challenge, but even if only two or three of you do so, the world is yet again a little bit of a better place. All I ask is that you try and do this without judging anyone else. This is not about politics or religion. This is not about you, me, or anyone else. This is about all of us.

Need more inspiration?
I am sure that you are creative and smart enough to think of small things you can do daily, but just in case, if you need inspiration, feel free to comment on this blog or send me a message and I will help you out!

Blog about it!
When you feel this idea is a great way to do some good, to enhance the world and happiness, you probably already got started, but there is one more thing you can do to make the experience better: Blog about your actions. Share this post. Copy this post onto your own blog (no copyright issues here, just go for it!). Tell people about what you are doing. You can also comment on this blog about all you did, or even write guest blogs (which I will publish on this blog for you). All I mean to say is: If we spread the word and more people join, the effect will be bigger.

July 4, 2014

Doing too much?

The wonderful thing about people, is that when they like you, they usually are concerned when they feel you do something that is dangerous for you, your health or your future, and sometimes even if it is dangerous for the ones that surround you. Saying ‘be careful’, in whatever way, is just a synonym for ‘I care for you’, ‘I love you’, ‘I need you’, or ‘I wish you only the best’. The best way to respond to the warnings people give you, is to be grateful and say thank you. It is always a good idea to think about the warning, everyone has a blind spot when it comes to oneself. However, it is not uncommon to respond in a defensive way, because ‘you know what you’re doing’ and ‘you have responsibility for your own decisions.

Everything at once
One thing that I hear a lot, is that people either warn me for having too much on my plate, or that they are jealous about all the things I get done. I am one of those hyper active people who like everything, want to know more, want to learn and experience. Naturally I am a kick-starter. Need to get a head start on a new project: I am your girl. Want to fine-tune a new idea before you start prototyping: I will have a spare hour. Going on a new adventure? I’ll accompany you!

I combine all these new things with my already pretty awesome activities and somehow I manage, but I need my friends and colleagues to stay in balance. The warnings are not so much causing me to over-think my current activities; they do help me finishing something before I start something new. They do help me prioritize my activities and they keep me sharp when it comes to evaluating the actual energy I get from a new activity versus what I have to put into it.

The warnings of my friends and colleagues also helped me understand that though in my head everything is completely logical and balanced, it is sometimes hard for others to understand what I am doing and how I get away with it (/ how I avoid burning up). It also helped me understand that besides the worries, there is also something called copying behaviour. Sometimes people who surround me get the feeling they need to do more, because they see what I am doing. Now, of course it is completely irrelevant to compare your life to mine, but maybe there is something I can share with you, that will help you find your balance.

Cherry picking
First of all, find out what inspires you and what energizes you. No matter how big of a fan you can be of any given idol, you don’t have to become one if you hate performing the activity or the road towards the goal. Realize that you can be an astronaut, but if you hate mathematics and working-out, chances are you will hate every step on the way of becoming one. Is it worth your energy to walk that road just because of the goal?

There are so many things I like to do.

For me, what energizes me are a quite some things: Being outdoors, working out, music, nature, talking to people about why they do what they do, talking to people about what inspires them, coaching and helping people and philosophy, being challenged and variety. Besides that, writing, culture, painting, travelling, food, my cat, et cetera, et cetera…

Then, when you know what activities make you happy, there is an important decision to make. Everyone has to make this decision in their life when it comes to the activities we fill our days with: Are you the specialist-type or the generalist-type? You can either pick a few activities and become really good at them (specialist) or you can choose a lot of activities without being an in depth specialist (generalist).

Obviously I picked the latter.

When you know what is most important to you, and what type of person you are, it is time to start prioritizing. When you are a specialist and you only picked 1 thing that energizes you, you’re done. If you are a generalist and you picked 100 activities and topics, it is time to make a short-list. Either way, pick your cherries. Don’t settle for less than perfect.

After deciding what you want to do, it is time to start making a plan. What road will you take approximately? Why? Are there any personal milestones? What level of change is acceptable for you?

I myself choose a technique of periodizing my activities. I give myself a few options and a few long term goals. This helps me stay balanced. My priorities and periodization at this moment look as follows:

  1. For my mind: Work: challenging myself, human interaction (40 hours + 10 travel hours)
  2. For my body & mind: Sports OR music: At this moment sports activities (including education and internship) (20-25 hours)
  3. For my mind: Writing (about culture and music mostly) (4-8 hours a week.)
  4. For recovery: Rest (sleeping) (49 – 56 hours)

That is a total of 139 hours a week. That leaves me with 29 hours a week to eat, do groceries, see friends, solve problems, and other activities out of my list that I do not plan. If one activity temporarily gives me less energy, I focus on the other activity, if one activity demands more attention or time, I either re-divide my hours or use some of the 29 free-wheel hours. Another thing that helps me, is that I in general have very high energy levels, so I have an extra option for activities and daily challenges.

On the long run some of my goals are to get master degrees, get a travelling job and play a zombie in a movie (check my bucket list here).

Rest is what makes you grow, mentally and physically

Rest is what makes you grow, mentally and physically

You are the manager
Now, as soon as you’ve made a plan, the thing to stay balanced, and to stay happy, is by either sticking to it or evaluating it. If your plan doesn’t give you the energy you need to be happy: change it. If you love your plan, make sure you keep evaluating it as well, because what happens when you finish your education or you mastered a skill? Will you need a new activity or will you be happy with just one activity less. Also make sure there is some room for improvising in your plan. As you can see in my example, I have almost 30 hours a week that are unplanned. This means that one day I will skip doing the dishes, while another day I spend a few extra hours on my job or cleaning the windows.

Basically you have yourself a little process / project planning to do the things that you love and to get those things done. Your friends and colleagues, who are warning you, can be seen as the risk managers, the people you inspire by your actions (including yourself) are the customers and you are the project manager. Remember, when the stakeholders are happy, you are on the right track, whatever that track and the goal might be.



February 4, 2014

This love

This love of yours won’t let you go
It runs too deep, it runs too slow
This love of yours, it hurts you bad
In your sleep and in your head

This love of yours will take you hours
It destroys and it devours
This love of yours will stay alive
With many decoys, many lies

This love of yours won’t let you go
It’s always been and now it grows
This love of yours is common ground
It’s not too mean, not too profound

This love of yours will take you hours
It creates and it empowers
This love of yours is as it sounds
It debates, and it haunts

This love of yours, they call it songs
But for you it’s rights and wrongs
This love of yours they call it art
But for you it’s soul and heart

Mic on shoulder - Photo by Jan van Gemert

Photo by Jan van Gemert

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