Personal manifesto

  • If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything.
  • Just like a tailor, measure people every time you meet them. German proverb.
  • I don’t have to like you, but I can respect you when we’re working.
  • It might not work. (Seth godin)
  • It’s not the best talent that always wins, it’s the people that can work together as a team.
  • Clear communication beats talent.
  • I’m afraid to sometimes speak up, but I know how important this is.
  • To get to the next level, read, listen and watch the people you consider next level.
  • “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
  • Impossible’s gonna happen to you. (Seth Godin.)
  • We are all animals, so try to be nice with each other.
  • Everybody is pretending to know what they’re doing.
  • Deep down inside, every person I meet and consider bad, has been f#cked in childhood and is still recovering. Show some love and empathy.
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Animal nature

After a long time of rejecting this, I come to the conclusion that I am an animal. In the work I do, desires, way I act or think, I see a lot of instinct and less rational thought.

I guess I am, more than I thought, a compound of chemical reactions, biological responses and psychological subconscious.

I make no appeal to act too much to any extreme, either too controlled rationally or too instinctively animal.

If we are to co-exist in a “civilised” way, a struggle for a balance between the two is recommended.

Homeostasis. Equilibrium.

There is a phenomenon happening in our bodies which accounts for maintaining an equilibrium. It happens both at anatomical and psychological levels.

For example, anatomically, if it’s cold outside, the homeostasis will help to compensate by shivering, keeping blood circulation to core areas and so on. Same happens in warm situations.

This same process happens with our mind. It’s got a tendency to maintain an equilibrium. Turns out that we reach for equilibrium naturally. But a very interesting part is that we can change, influence what that balance is. Say I watch TV for the most part of my time, for more than a month. Then that becomes my balance state. Anything that will change that state will activate the homeostasis process which will encourage me to keep things unchanged. So continue to do nothing, just sit and watch TV.

But if this is changeable, that means we can hack our minds, and whatever we do for more than a month will become the new balance state of our mind and body.

The effects of homeostasis are unpleasant. That means changing something may seem hard at first. But once the balance state is changed, the new balance will become the new normal. And the body and mind will accommodate that.

Knowing this, what will I change to?

No end

Just when you think this is it, this is the end… it’s just a step, a transformation in this big water roller-coaster. No, this is not going to eat you alive. No, this is not going to kill you. Yes, this is going to transform you. Your mind is going to expand, it will do so every time. And that’s all. Nothing more, nothing else.

Got fired?

Got divorced?

Got a deadly disease?

Got just a few more days to live?

This is not the end. It’s making you feel alive, reminding you there’s diversity to life. Try to enjoy it.

Go travel

Imagine there’s no purpose, no big plan. It’s all a series of coincidences in which we take part. You can travel anywhere, anytime. There are no rules, there is no plan.

Your mind is a nest for the past. But there’s only now and nothing more. The future never comes, there’s only now.

The mind is so caught up with the day to day, that we forget about all that, and repeat the same day over and over again, for 30.000 times.

But in all you do, be kind to others. They’re all looking for the same thing, just like you.

But hey, happiness is…everywhere. Only the mind stands in the way of that sometimes.

Race for happiness

People in churches, praying for happiness.

Zen monks in monasteries, meditating for happiness.

Papa Neutrino, living his life of the streets, searching for happiness.

The jerk pushing you around, looking to brush off some happiness.

Tech nerds and money racers in Silicon Valley, digging for happiness.

Only to realise it’s a sort of lie.

But please don’t get depressed and die.

This is such an awesome game,

You’d be missing all the fun.

 

Random

It’s all random. Roll the dice. Roll the dice again. Coincidence can occur, but nothing more. Toss a coin. Observe nature. Watch people over a period of time.

There is no purpose in life but the one we make for ourselves. This means we are free to do whatever. How will you use this?

The rational side of things

It took years of reading, a good friend’s sincerity and an economist to convince me that I have to also look for the facts, not to just trust my emotional side or whatever the media says.

I use data in my work as a designer, but not in my life to test my beliefs. But now I started to see things from two perspectives: emotional and rational. I feel I just got a glimpse at what enlightenment means. Holding two opposing ideas in my mind is now possible. Reframing my world is now possible. I realise I know nothing and now I can adjust course.

Life is comical, to say the least.

Luck, chance, random

A lot of the things happening around me happen for so many chance encounters. It’s because of luck that I am where I am, combined with the work I’ve done that has gotten me here. It’s because of the rejections of some people and the openness of others, because of some people caring and others not giving a damn. It’s because some have had a bad day and some have had a great day. It’s because someone has had a rough childhood and feels the need to help others. It’s because someone is a good christian or because another was a tough teacher trying to maybe feel superior of his students.

It’s because of my past, my thoughts, but it’s a great deal because of the luck I had to be in the right time and the right time. Fair to say that being in the wrong moment at the wrong time had exactly the same effect. What I considered a fucking bastard of a man has encouraged me to push harder. Too much of a tolerant woman hasn’t pushed me at other times. But I’m now thankful to both for learning. I was lucky to have experienced both.

I have created my chances by getting engaged in different projects, but it’s a lot by the chance that these people were there, that I was able to move in these directions that I’m appreciative of.

Absurd

The rules we follow are made by us, but living in them for so long make us think it’s the only thing, that it’s reality. In a way they are when we can’t see past them.

When taking the metro, we’re like mole or rats. When carrying things from one place to another, we’re like ants, like insects. Now we love something, then we hate it. We love god and kill for him. We have no feelings and we care for others. We mix religions and take only what we like. We tell ourselves stories to make ourselves better.

We want our kids to be better, but we shape them with our fears and beliefs. We send them to school where they are domesticated. We tell them to be free, without knowing ourselves what that is or looks like.

We are more connect than ever, but for some reason in a lot of situations we are more disconnected than ever.

Happiness is within us, but we look for it in other places, be it objects, gods or other people. We can live that happiness every second, but somehow we miss it. We feel it when we’re recovering from sickness or during sunsets and sunrises.

We live in an absurd world. Sad and cruel sometimes, loving and warm at other times, funny most of the times.

Dresses and pants

Women wear dresses. Men wear pants. Unless when they don’t.

This is a good example of how patterns form, become the norm and then support preconceived ideas, becoming a reference point to judge against.

Women wearing pants is now accepted, nobody argues about it, compared to how it was in the past. Men wearing dresses on the other hand is something seen as strange in the western part of the world. There is probably a way to track where this all started and is probably a fun anthropological journey.

But this is all made up. We create ideas, we adopt them. They then become a Procust’s bed, a measure for the world. It healthy to remember this, to evade assumption, to challenge what’s being considered.

Emotions

Emotions are the physical representations of the brain at the level of the body. What we feel is a projection of our mind in the physical body.
There more aware I am of my mind, the more I can distance from it to watch my thoughts from the outside, the more I can let go of emotions.

Creative confidence. Dream big. Start small.

Whether we want to create a movement, start a campaign for people in Ethiopia or maybe change legislation in our country for a certain, we need to start somewhere.

Some options to do achieve any of that are to either: start big and go viral or to start small and grow big. The challenge with starting big is that it usually works for public figures with a big network of people and requires lots of resources. Starting small on the other hand is accessible anyone on the planet and it usually requires less resources.

One big advantage of starting small is that it allows for small wins along the way to build momentum in time and creates a more solid community. The people involved get in organic and become part of the vision, get to shape it. All of this creates a creative confidence. It allows us to trust that we can do it, step by step.

Starting small allows for a slow but steady growth.

In some communities, taking a stab at ideas like healthcare, elderly care or childcare services sounds like a too big fish to eat. But starting small, getting things done and seeing some results helps a lot of people believe they can achieve it.

In a way, this is also the story of most organisations around the world. It starts with one person or a small group dreaming big about something and then making the small steps to get there. Some go big in size and impact, like Facebook or Google. Some stay small but still have great impact, like Basecamp.

There are also exceptions to the rule where companies like Rocket Internet take tested ideas to new markets, invest lots of resources and see great results. But this works if you have the resources for it.

The power of starting small to gain creative confidence came to me as a conclusion after 10 years of volunteer work in communities with low trust in self-initiated activity groups or any type of work that is done “for free”. The creative confidence gained through small wins influenced both me and the great people I worked with. And gave us the energy to push things forward.

Reframing – from problem to opportunity

It’s easy to point finger and judge. What’s not so easy is when we take time to understand what’s going on. But that’s why the people that do benefit from it in their interactions.

I’d venture to say that just about everything we see as negative can be used or turned into a positive action, used for a better purpose.

Here’s an example: people judge churches or religion and their followers. In some countries, there are more churches than hospitals, which is sad if we think of it initially. But let’s try to reframe: how can we use the network to help more people? The church has a great influence on a large number people, it shapes minds, ideas, connections. It is a mind-training machine that can be used to spread ideas. Just like TED talks. So although it might take more time to shift minds in a church, it is more time lasting. So how can we harness, how can we use that to get any type of ideas to spread?

We miss this kind of opportunities everyday, when we just judge places, people, ideas. It is somewhat natural, our mind likes simple, easy to understand things. It likes to put things in certain boxes and label them, to have a catalog.

But the world is complex, random, it changes and evolves. If we put more effort to try and understand, we will get more than we get from quick judging.

Religion

Is one of the greatest proof of our search for meaning. It goes to show what’s the power of purpose, when someone has one that it believes in it without a doubt.

People spend their entires live preaching for love (Luther King), building places of prayers, helping others, freeing countries from slavery (Gandhi). They also go to battle (kings), kill, slaughter, conquer nations (popes). And one reason was because they believed it was a mission from god.

It is the stories we tell ourselves that drive us, the emotional engine.

Logical and emotional actions

Do we act based on logic or emotional decisions? I’d argue that we act mostly on emotions. You need emotion to care for other people, ambition or desire to achieve something. Cause from an anthropological perspective, things happen. Nothing good or bad, but numbers and patterns.
And it seems to be a pattern that I found in various books, from Seth Godin’s “All marketers are liars” to Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking fast and slow” or even Napoleon Hill’s “Think and grow rich” and Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”.

We have all we need

We have all we need. Most of us.
Anybody that has the technology and time to read this, is richer that many of the richest people in history. The number of opportunities are far more numerous than anything before this. Food to survive, security of a home and the warmth of friends. It’s more than a billion of people will ever have in their entire life.
We have a great number tools and situations to act, to make something that matters. More than any king a century ago had.

All we need to do now is to start.

The best intentions

The inquisition in medieval times had the best intentions, to protect the people (the world) from bad and evil things. A great cause.
The problem was in what they believed to be bad or evil, given the amount of information they had at that time.
Today, centuries after, the same problem exists, in a different context. We know that what happened then was bad and that people acted crazy on the things they didn’t understand at all.
Centuries from now, will this still be valid?

We act on what we know so far

All people that are seen as extremists or radical in their behaviour, are in fact people that have a limited amount of information and act upon that with a great deal of determination. They reach conclusions with what they have learned so far about the world around them. And then they act, with the belief and the wish to do good, to help.

This is because as humans we learn to judge things as wrong or right and we want to right a wrong, most of the times.

One solution then is to help others extend their knowledge, see things from new perspectives, reach different conclusions.

Society as a machine

There are times when we have trouble adapting to the society, we complain about rules and laws and we ask ourselves why.

Funny thing is that no matter which idea you share about the beginning of our times (be it big bang, God or other astro-bio ideas), you realize that we humans created this so called society.

We have created this machine called society in which we have rules, people, groups, money, jobs, cults, religion and other such things. We are doing it right now. Only now we are beyond the original creation, in the feeding process. We now have to work if we want to fit in, have to have a job, make money and so on.

And since we created this in the generations, why complain about it instead of adapting? Anyone can adapt according to their ideas. Why would anyone think that whining would achieve any great results? We have to be creative and find our own way of living or escaping if you will.  For anyone who saw the movie Random lunacy, that’s an example of how it can be done, with it’s own advantages and disadvantages.

The smart thing to do is to always find creative new ways of making our own journey an adventure we enjoy, with all it’s ups and downs. And by this I don’t mean a life without worries, without fights or without situations that seem to put us on the edge. I mean a life in which we embrace all that as is and live with it.

And what we called civilized differs so much from place to place that complaining is a waste of time.

Using own energy in a constructive way

Our own energy can be used in a smart and constructive way if we become conscious of some decisions we make in certain decisions.

Many times we get in bad and crazy situations like a car crash, loosing a train, someone canceling their participation to the very important meeting, loosing your wedding ring or your precious photo camera and so on.

Now, the most common reaction is a range of strong emotions like rage, upset, hate, disappointment which squeeze the energy out of us. This makes our head pop,  we forget how human it is to make mistakes, we are prepared to start a conflict even though this is not necessary at times.

More constructive to this would be if we would just shift our mind to the next step, if we would adapt very fast. It is more logical from multiple points of view to do that.

First, we stay focused and clear. If we get crazy, we can’t even remember where we left the keys and we don’t listen too much. In a state of conflict, we are always looking to win.

Second, we save energy. Let’s say we lost the train and it’s important to reach a place. The best thing would be to think fast of an alternative way to get there (bus, thumb up, taxi, rent a car) or look for the next one, depending on how important it is.  If we curse the day and kill someone, it’s not going to help.

It is so simple to do this, yet a lot of people loose this from their sight, they set free their first reaction that comes in mind. But if for 20 seconds we could think or analyze what to do next, we become aware of the situation.

The same goes in a conflict with a friend, partner or husband/wife. We often say things when we’re angry that we later regret. We wish to hurt the other one as a revenge. If for 20 seconds (my personal estimate on this) we could hold that thought or action and think about it, then we would realize that we shouldn’t say or do it.

Come to think about it, being angry is a paradox because you do things without thinking too much. You just do it. But in other normal situations, we often spend too much time thinking if we should to a thing or not. Should I kiss him, should I ask for a raise, should I experience windsurfing, should I try new things…here is where thinking stops the actions.  If sometimes we could reverse this, great things would happen in our lives.

This is a process, I believe, that can be learned if we train ourselves.

Hit the jackpot

Thinking in life like we would be in a casino could unleash a great potential.

This is an ode to all those who are afraid, who are negative and pessimistic, who give in to their hesitations.

A lot of people gamble, try their luck with bingo, jackpot and other similar things, thinking that the odds are very good. Studies show that we gamble because we always think of near misses. We believe we just missed it and we are so very close to winning that we decide to give it another shot.

What we basically do when we gamble, we think we are so close that we just have to try one more time. So we think positive although realistically speaking, the chances are slim.

If we could apply the same thinking into everyday life, this would be a game changer. If every time we get a new idea at work, we would share it and believe in it. If we would just quit the crappy job for something we really like even though it doesn’t pay as good. If we would only give that speech, invite that girl out, take that trip, believe in ourselves, wouldn’t care what others think, quit complaining…

But instead, too often we think too much, find arguments for why we shouldn’t do it. We listen too much to our lizard brain as Seth Godin says and he is right.

But if we take some time in just thinking how it could be, what the potential is, we already feel good, already start to smile. And to those who already tried this, it is really a life changer.

Yes, you can and sometimes you should be afraid of what might go wrong cause it’s normal, but what if it all goes great and you make it?

What if the new job will mean a boss that appreciates your work? What if writing that book you always wanted to write turns out to be the next bestseller? What if that girl you will ask you will be your wife and you will love each other with all your hearts?  Would you want to miss all this?

And think of it the other way: where has all the hesitation and fear took you? To being in a mediocre state. To being half-satisfied, half-miserable.

And if you always do the same thing, how can you expect a different result?

Spread what you want to harvest

We get what we share.
Doing bad things always comes back as the same thing. Sharing hate creates the same feeling in the person or company taking it. Doing bad only creates a negative reaction which later on comes back.
So depending on what we want to get from the world around us, that’s what we should be sharing. Want to get love and happiness, that what you should share with the world.

It’s like the expression says: be the change you wish to see.

Context & patience

It’s sooo easy to judge without knowing the context.

This happens everyday to us and people around us.  We go to the shop to buy something and the person at the register is giving us a boring/killer look. That doesn’t feel good. We have multiple options: we can say “what a bitch!” and avoid as much as possible, we can go on understanding this isn’t the best day for her or we can even get involved in understanding why this happens. Anyone who has worked at a cash register can fit in the shoes faster. And so there’s empathy.

We go on daily, years in a row judging people for what they do because we don’t take the time to fit their shoes. Sometimes we are too busy, sometimes empathy is a thing from another world if you’re a more logical person.

The doctor has empathy for the doctor, the artist for another artist, waitress for another waitress, designer understands designers, project managers know their peers too. And it’s normal because we can understand and feel empathy for something we ourselves have been through.  But what if we take this idea that of understanding and empathy that we have for our own kind and apply it for as many as we can? I mean it’s a little difficult to do this for everybody because we all have our breaking points, but we can try and enlarge our patience circle from the ones that the same as us to more people. This way we would not get angry for a lot of things, especially now when things go so fast and we don’t have time to wait for others and understand.

What if we decide to not get angry for every thing that happens in our lives daily? Wouldn’t that be a save of mental and spiritual energy that we could use with our loved ones? I mean it’s even more logical to do that. Someone acts like shit with us, but we choose not to care and move on. At the end of the day, we can enjoy the evening instead of trying to find ways to revenge or spill our poison over the close ones.

Something else, something more

Maybe it’s a test, maybe we are meant to be like this. It seems that sometimes, no matter how much, how nice something, we get to a point when we get tired and want something else.

We can have the nicest person we know next to us and think that this it, we have all we want. And then time goes by, we enter the courtyard of taking things, and persons, for granted. We sometimes get bored of that thing or that someone and we start looking somewhere else. Something new is always interesting. Because it’s new and undiscovered. And so is the next thing after that. And the story goes on like that forever. Every new and undiscovered thing gets to be old and discovered eventually.  It’s like it’s programmed like that. Or at least if feels like. And the funny thing is that we can go for something and someone else all the time. I think it’s one of the reasons we travel and socialize. But staying with the same things and same people, that’s a challenge. Enjoying the same people over and over again with their habits and all, that is also a way of being happy.

The paradox about us people is that we are constantly changing. And so as we live and experience, our inner self changes. This is a good thing because is satisfying our need for new. But is strange because you think you know someone and yet you get all sorts of surprises, nice and not so nice.

So maybe we are not meant to be steady and still, maybe we should be discoverers all the time. But then again, that’s the easiest solution, to leave the thing you have and go on discovering new things. So it is with breaking-ups, divorces, jobs, friends, cars, houses. We can always go for something else. But keeping the things as they are, rediscovering and enjoying the people around us, all that we have, now that’s a challenge that not anyone can take. And a lot of joy can come from this on the long run. If we are patient enough and if we enjoy what we have.

Cause of of the time, what we have is just enough. And we need nothing else, nothing more.

Material and spiritual go together

This is a rather new idea, but I have a great feeling that material and spiritual go together. I always thought that only the spiritual matters, but what would we be if we would be just ideas, just thoughts? We would be something existing in a big black (or blue?) world.

If I think about it, we would not be able to fight, kill, die or cheat. There would be no books, we wouldn’t need to read because there would be no jobs to work for. And there would be no capitalism or communism, only ideas floating somewhere.

So maybe this material world is a limit, but it also allows us to be more.

But then again, maybe my human trained mind doesn’t allow me to see further than what I know and am.

 

Room for everyone

On this planet, there’s room for everyone. Those who think that we are too many may be right, but there’s no one who can decide for another person’s life.

But this is about arts & crafts. When you just start in field, when you are a beginner, it’s good to know people who are the same as you. Either you’re a lawyer, designer or architect, you will realize that there are millions just like you. You could say that they compete with you for the same jobs and projects. But that’s not so true because no matter how many, you can still find a place. You just need to be patient.

I remember when I started as a designer, I started to do research and I soon realized how many like me are there, searching for projects, for jobs. That was not a problem for me. I started working, did it for fun and because I loved it. I got better and better, started to have more work than I can do. So if there are so many designers out there and I get a lot of projects, more than I can have, that means there room for more designers. Of course, not everyone should be a designer or a lawyer, but if you happen to be or become one, it doesn’t mean it’s the end. It’s actually a reward to find it that you can fit in the crowd and then make your own way.

Those who say that there’s no more room, probably lost their faith or they don’t have the courage to try it.

Conflicts

Sometimes avoiding a conflict seems impossible.

Sometimes, no matter how much we try, we enter in conflict with someone. And that is normal, because it happens that you give your best heart, you take the patience to listen, you try to control yourself…but that is just not enough. Because the other person may not have the same intentions. They may have a bad day for various reasons and that makes it easy to be moody. And when the meeting happens, conflict just happens.

There are two options here: you either fight it and burn energy for nothing or you don’t take it personally and move on. But since we’re humans, it’s hard sometimes to take the option number 2. And we get angry and it’s again normal. Important is what we feel in general when we think about it. Do we feel like all hell has broke loose or we just go with c’est la vie.

Normal

There is no such thing as normal.

Normal was invented to help people feel better. It’s a marketing term coined to guide the masses.

It’s normal to have a computer. It’s normal to use shampoo or a sun lotion. It’s very normal to use toilet paper. It’s even more normal to wear clothes. It’s more than normal, actually natural for the sun to rise in the morning and set in the evening. But hey, it all depends. It depends on the age, the country you live in, the traditions, the continent you’re born on.  Because how normal is to live somewhere in Africa and have a laptop? Heck, it’s normal to have an elephant as a pet and eat ants. And how the tribesmen and clothes in some places on Earth which you cannot find on the normal maps? They walk naked, sometimes only hiding their genitals. And if you’re at the North Pole does the sun have the same day and night tour as at the Equator? Not quite.

So I’m crazy cause I don’t have a Facebook account but I’m normal cause I know how to use cash money. But what if I’m in the desert with the natives? Riding a camel is much more normal than knowing how to set the text in italics in Word.

And in times of war and love, what is normal? It’s normal that you act crazy because of crazy times? Are love and war like breaks from the standard? You can kill, steal and plunder just cause we’re at war? Of course that some parts of our brain act very different in times of riot, fear, shame and so on, but I doubt it that the guys at Auschwitz were irrational. They were being normal if you asked them.

And what about singing on the street? It’s ok to be a kid and sing while walking on the boulevard, but do that when you’re like 40 and people will start thinking that you either won the lottery or ran from the loony house.  But not if you’re a gypsy and don’t care about the strange normal standards.

I mean we would think it’s normal to have photo IDs, but gypsies live entire lives without needing one. And it’s funny, they live the same world as the other normal people do. It may be normal somewhere in India, but in Germany, Berlin? It’s defying the rules the governments are trying to establish to control this normal.

What do Amish people, Masai tribes, Inuits in Alaska and desert people have in common? We may say they are normal in small groups, but of course that the more you dig into each group, you find peculiarities.  And the normal differs so much from one group to another.

So I guess it’s normal to accept there is no normal. Only with this in mind and we should have more courage to have initiative and take actions in doing something for the things we care, doing something we really want but don’t have the courage cause it’s not normal.

Acting like a baby

Acting like a baby never goes away.

There are a lot of times when I look around and see people arguing or other people making stupid decisions and I think: “Oh, he’s acting like a baby!”.

It seems that usually no matter how big we grow, how much we learn, we still act like babies, arguing about something, getting upset just like a baby. Just like sometimes kids argue and take their toys and move out, the same pattern we sometimes see with adults. And then we think that’s something babies or kids do. Well, apparently not. We do it all of our life but we don’t realize and sometimes don’t admit it.

I think that’s a thing we should accept and live with it. But that doesn’t mean that we cannot improve this by trying to be less upset in some situations, by accepting more of other peoples’ mistakes, by accepting the fact that this is the game we all have to play.

And who am I to judge who is doing what and why?

Beyond heaven and hell

I look all around and I see such a variety in colors, shapes, life forms. Everything is so diverse and it seems even more true with more and more discoveries we make. From galaxies to atoms and protons, things vary a lot. And taking this idea to life and how it ends, something makes me believe that life doesn’t end with an eternity of heaven and hell (and all the other variations of this). It’s too simple, too predictable. An eternity is not simple of course, but yet it doesn’t fit in all this variety. There should be other times, other lives. Maybe the reincarnation idea gives an answer in that direction.

Or maybe there’s an eternity of lives? Maybe we will live an eternity of changes.

But I think that whoever created this world, didn’t stop here.

One guideline for life before having kids

One of my main guidelines for this life is to desire less and less of the worldly, material things.

When everybody wants to get rich, I want to stay where I am on the material side and try to enjoy other things. But maybe I am rich by some standards, who knows. I believe that trying to reach the top in a corporation means time that could be invested for something else, like family, kids, nature, traveling. I don’t know the purpose of life, don’t know my purpose, but I do know that this consumerist spirit is not it. I have nothing against people considering the opposite, I just think it’s a man made thing that grew bigger than us.

We have built a world in which we like gathering money so that we can then spend time worrying about them. And the idea of wanting more is a non-stop thing cause there’s always something new, something cool that we must have. And there are indeed a lot of nice things. But a lot of these things keep us from thinking about ourselves, about our purpose, about spiritual things and by that I don’t mean becoming religious fanatics.

And it’s curious how a lot of people on this planet manage to live without a tv, pizza, cola, industrial objects like clothes, cars, radio, discounts, supermarkets and so on and others can’t do without them. It’s true that if you know how to use all this, you get more knowledge, you learn a lot. But then again, the more you learn you realize how little you know, so I guess it’s up to each one to decide where to stop.

But I’m curious how this will change, if it will change, once I have kids who may or may not share my ideas and then I will have to support them in their journey, with guidance but also money.

Get rich and get worried

It’s funny what I realized these days by working on an investments-related project. We spend a great amount of time trying to get rich thinking that it will make us happy. Funny thing is that the ones who did managed to rich, are confronted with the next step, that is how to keep the money, what investments to make to diversify their investments portfolio and so on.

So we try hard to make money and just when we think it gets easier, we need to find ways to keep the money, keep the status. And it seems this is not quite an easy task. I mean yes, you can hire someone to take care of that, but you have to find someone you can trust. Then you need to find something that is cheap and that’s not going to rip you off with taxes and fees. So you buy houses, stocks, cars, gold, companies, people, whatever you can think of to make the money worth something in the case a new or great crisis coming. And each industry or domain that you invest requires some knowledge so that you don’t make bad choices. And so while you try to make more money while you already have a lot, you also need to find ways to keep the ones you already have.  And the concern moves from making to keeping money, but it’s not getting any easier. But in fact you get an extra worry since you now have to worry about not loosing what you already have. And the more you have, the more you can loose.

But the peculiar thing is that you get to a point when you have so much money that anything else you make is just another figure, it doesn’t mean anything. Like if you have $10 billion, do you get happier if you make an extra $1 million? The fun is at the point when you make the first million dollars, then it can become a concern of making more. And after you make billions and billions, what do you do with them? Because you reach a point in which you make more money than the GDP of many countries, you can actually buy anything you wish as a person. What is the target afterwards?

Inventions leading to more work time

Inventions make our lives easier. But when entering a workaholic environment that sometimes leads to actually more work.

We live in a world that’s so hectic, full of work to do, we are always in a hurry, the human race. That’s nothing new. We search for ways to optimize our work, ways to make it easier. We are looking for methods of getting things done faster so that we have more free time, more time for ourselves. But is this what really happens? I see it so much these days that improvements are doing the opposite: we optimize the process and we get more time but which we use to do more work. So we’re somehow overcrowding.

Someone once made an observation about the invention of the motorcycle helmet, saying that it was created to create more security when riding a motorcycle, but it happened was that people started driving faster because they felt more secured. So basically, instead of keeping the same speed now with the helmet, speed increased thus cancelling the helmet which can only offer a guarantee to certain degree.  The same thing happens with the inventions when only viewed from a corporate point of view, with the mind only on profit and money.

I guess it depends on the persons creating it and who should normally benefit from it. But if that happens in a corporate framework or if you are eager to make more money (like that would make you happier), then the time you get free you actually use by getting more work. So this speeds up what you do, customers are more satisfied and then they come asking for more, much faster. But is the human brain managing to speed up so fast? Isn’t this affecting our own lives, our families? What about people who can’t adapt so fast? Should they get out the system?

But I guess we are somehow becoming victims of our own inventions, our own creations. Some things get bigger than us and then we have to feed them. Where will all this lead to?

Leaders and power

Leaders make or brake this world. I am talking about mostly political leaders and leaders who rise from the masses.

Taking a look at the major events (good and bad) in the history, it was the leaders in their decisions that made them happen. But this is not just a simple analogy that came just like that. Reading about the wall that separated east and west Germany and thinking about the genocide in Rwanda and what also happens these days in Syria, added up with the history of India as a British colony or the communist force in the world, my conclusion is that it was the leaders that made the people walking hatred machines. I mean, what is so different about a  Tutsi from a Hutu person? Did the people of East Berlin hated the people of West Berlin that they built a wall? Germans hated the Jews so much that they couldn’t wait for Hitler to appear so that they could just feel free to slaughter as they pleased? Koreans in south and north are different besides the geographical location? But yet, wars and black periods arose because of personal beliefs that leaders had.

People can live so civilized together. Everything works so fine most of the time because the system usually has a way of balancing. But when a person starts making his own fantasies become the reality of others, that’s when problems appear. America was a nice peace of land until some people decided to kill of the Indians or have them in a reservation like animals. Why? Because they don’t fit the so called civilized scene. Germany was nice until Hitler came and decided that if your nose looks strange, we should make you soap. India had its own balance, but then the British decided that they’re going to teach them how the real live is to be lived. Now it’s funny, but the British try to learn from Indians how to live a life of inner peace, away from the daily chaos and rush.

Usually the flow of life in different parts of the world, in various cultures, is find it’s own balance. People, although living a hard life, manage to find solutions to overcome difficult situations. People with people get along fine. But it so happens that leaders with their ideas come and start putting ideas in other people’s heads. Then people start taking a position on that idea. Some are for and some are against the idea. Then legal papers appear making official some decisions. From now you’re a Tutsi and you need to hate the Hutu, you’re a south Korean and should hate the north Koreans, you’re an Indian and you can’t walk the same pavement as a British, you can’t have long hair and your own ideas cause this is the communist time and you better be like the rest of we kill you like a mosquito. It’s the law so you must obey. We better dance like the leaders say or we end up in the wrong place.

But then again, the beautiful opposite effect also happens. A lot of nice things also happened because of leaders’ decisions. When A. Lincoln stood up and gave rights to blacks it was such a major breakthrough. When Gandhi showed that a lot can be done without violence, fighting for your beliefs got a new meaning. Luther King then took the idea also. And there are people like Nelson Mandela who managed to have both done, good and bad (if we are to judge from this perspective).

So this is yet another paradox of the multiple I discovered so far that make up this world.

The more uneducated the people are, the more easier for leaders to control them.

Leaders decide and people start taking sides. Later sides have a clash that was not to happen maybe if some crazy idea wouldn’t show up. Imagine New York or London as a fighting ground, a jungle with chaos everywhere. It’s probably hard to imagine, but it’s enough for the Queen to get a yummy idea and the whole London becomes a live prison. And this might even happen if the wrong people get their hands on power and feel its tinkling.

People should always think about what they’re doing before doing stupid ideas. Different people exist on this planet, it’s called diversity. This will create clashes, but will also create new ideas. And until someone gives us an answer on why we are here as humans, what’s our purpose here, then we better accept the diversity in the same way we accept the diversity in nature.

Mind power

The power of mind is amazing.

Just by simple thought we can feel joy, pain, fear, happiness etc.  We can experience known and even unknown mind states very quick without any exterior influence. We can just imagine or remember in our mind and the whole body will feel the experience.

If we just think about the self-induced illness and we get a pretty good idea about the power of the mind over body. If you tell in your mind that something is happening, then the body will adjust accordingly.  Doctors or shrinks usually feel this.

Or imagine hypochondriac persons who think that they will get a disease just anywhere. The whole body rejects everything before careful attention. Yet the “regular” persons don’t have a problem with that, not caring too much for that.

And how about the much newer ideas like “the secret” which ain’t that new, only somebody finally decided to make it a book. I guess a lot of people observed that if you think of something and really want it to happen, it just might. I personally feel that very much. And going from that, I believe that what you experience in your life starts from what you think, what you believe. Think this life is shitty? Then that’s how you will experience life. On the other hand, if you think that life is beautiful, then again, that’s how you will experience it.  Black, white or gray, life is how you see it.  Because beyond the physical world, human conventions and prejudice, there’s nothing keeping us from feeling how we want to feel.

And how about placebo which is no different from self-induced illness, only it’s usually used to go the other way. There are studies that show this ain’t real and there are studies to show just the opposite. You tell your mind you just had a magic pill and the headache is gone. But the funny thing is that it doesn’t work if you know it isn’t true and the the mind starts to doubt about the effect.

In NLP there are certain techniques to make a person go from from like to dislike or the other way around.  And this works even without NLP if the person next to you is easy to influence. If you’re easy to disgust, then you know how it’s like when somebody is describing you a horrible experience in regard to a type of food, person or place.

Maybe that’s why we live just around 100 years, because that’s what we know from the rest of the world. Death age might just be self-induced. If you are religious and read the bible, then you know about the persons in the old testament who used to live hundreds of years.

Maybe our mind is set to work in patterns and it’s hard to escape the tracks, but I think there’s something more than what we understand that could change a lot of things if we would. Some manage to do that and they are regarded as crazy. It ain’t easy being honest and free in living the way you feel. The “normal” crowd puts the label very quick.

Something to call our own

No matter what’s going on in our lives, no matter who we are, how we live or what we do, there’s not much we can call our own.

All the material side is the first to drop off the list. We can’t take anything physical with us in beyond the grave. Not even our own body.  It’s like a tunnel: we get our body when we’re born and we give it back when we die.  And everything that’s physical already existed before us and will do so after we’re gone.

We then move to our ideas, convictions, our values and principles. This is something we might call our own because it’s something that’s formed inside of us, didn’t existed before. Imagine new ideas and concepts. But all the ideas we get, the values we have are based on a previous experience, parent teachings, school education, friend activities, worldly knowledge.  So if somebody could find a line between what we got from the world and what is new, then we might just find something our own.

But what happens when you have an accident and your mind gets scrambled? You forget who you are, don’t remember what your job is, who your friends are and so on… you forget everything you were taught. The values and principles are also gone. A knock in the head, a car accident, a meteorite hit or such and you lose those.  Then your mind resets to zero and the learning begins again.  New habits are formed, maybe new principles.  The old ones? You don’t own them anymore, they’re gone.

If you’re a religious person and following a typical religion, then there are the sins.  They go beyond the physical world, they don’t disappear if you have any kind of accident or you suddenly forget everything. Instead, they tend to accumulate based on what you did. If you did something wrong by principles and rules established by religion, then you committed a sin and this will be judged by the god of that certain religion. I don’t know how this goes if you pray to trees and rocks and believe that there’s a spirit in everything.  If you don’t believe in anything, then this is out of any formal frame.

There’s also the idea of reincarnation. You are born, maybe coming from another life (or another world), live this life and then die, going to another life, becoming a dog, an insect or another human being. The question is here what do you bring or take with you in the other worlds/life. Is it the so called instincts? Creativity? Feeling? Natural way of living? Is there something that’s hiding the rest of 90% of our brain that we’re not using?  Is there something that transcends these worlds?

Based on that reasoning, how can we so unhappy when there’s so much space to experiment? We can practically do anything, try all that we have the time for. All we need to do is to escape the normal frame established by the society. Who says what beauty is? Who can tell if you love more or less than the other person? The next guy to say you’re smart or dumb is just another person in that same frame.

Happiness and inner peace comes once we accept everything that comes in our path, when we escape the normal conventions, when we learn to enjoy things as they are.

A matter of scale and time

Big and small are a matter of scale, of what I know, of what I compare it with.

Depending on what I know, and how much of this world I experienced, my problems are the biggest in the world to me.  It could be because I’m egocentric sometimes. But my fears and troubles, in the way I feel them are the biggest in the world, at that moment. Of course, as I grow older, I get other kinds of big troubles and the old ones seem so small compared to this ones.

When I couldn’t follow my dreams in art school it was the end of my wishes. Everything I wanted was to become an artist. I felt that so strong that anything besides that was murder of my ideals. That passed by and so was it with my teenage love story for not having it. Then so was the idea of running away from home, then the lost of love (had it that time) again when I thought that the world is going to end. Everything was the biggest of its time and knowledge.

And now I’m getting married with a wonderful girl, living the best of my years yet. So I guess there was no end, only my mind made it so at the moment. But I sure felt it so real. Will I be able to take this as a lesson for future events or just live the fears again?

As we grow, big matters change but our mind somehow stays the same. When we’re small and hurt our knees is a great matter. Again with love, then with our career, finding a “perfect” partner for life, making a family, overcoming troubles with kids who are growing and having troubles of their owns, wondering about kids in the world living in hunger, getting retired and filling time, finding meaning in what you did and are doing and so on…

And I sit  wondering -sometimes- what will the biggest problems of my future time be and how to best welcome them since there’s no use or chance in avoiding them.

Things are with a reason

I think all things are with a reason. Of course, most of the times (maybe all the times) the reasons escape our sight, but that’s another story.

From the pit of existential ideas, I don’t think things happen at random times to random people.  Multiple explanations are possible for this. It could be God, it could be any other being or super-conscience that controls that, it could be something beyond.

There is a reason we are built this way, reason for diversity, reason for things happening (either good or bad, as we see them).  There is a reason why snow-flakes have the shape they have.

All things are with a reason that’s beyond the physical explanation. Cause everything can be explained logical according to certain rules, but there’s something more. Something that escapes the visible and explainable as we know it.

Or at least is comforting to believe so. My lizard brain is created so that I explain everything and try to put things in a certain order.

Transcendent ideas

Transcendent ideas, things which are somehow independent of money or time are a good solution to eliminating boredom, giving a meaning to passing time.

Things like active participation in a non-profit ngo for a longer time, writing a book, learning a new sport and practicing it etc, are actions which span across in time and create a certain meaning. Things that only satisfy needs for a short time are good but not enough. Diversity is another good idea, mixing short needs (like going out a certain evening) with longer ones.

Of course, it depends on the person to find his/hers own needs and align them with their own values. Some like planning time just to fill it with something, others try to also find a meaning and put some more substance into it. Either way is fine, depending on what type of person you are.

I do think that some things are more futile than others and we should do things that not only help ourselves but also the people around us. And that goes for everybody, no matter if you believe in a greater purpose, God or not.

And between all these things, don’t forget to enjoy what you do and have fun. It’s good for the heart.

Having everything you want

Having everything I want is just a matter of thought.

I mean I want a lot of things. Some of them I already have. I’m sometimes happy, sometimes not. The more I have, the more I want. I’m living in a time in which I have more than people before me had.

I read, learn and know more things than most people before me did. I have a freedom of thought and action like never before.

I should be happy and thankful for everything I have.

Knowing everything

There are some things I’d like to know.  Like how the aliens (those foreigners from space) look like. Or if there are any absolute things. We are with a meaning is what I know, but what would that be.  Would Gandhi like tortilla chips? Things like that.  Things about life, cosmos, meanings, measurements, corporations, rules, ending and beginnings, big and small etc.

I’d sure like to know a lot of things.

And what if would one day? What if one day I would know all there is to know, all that’s going on? What if all I know is wrong or just totally different from what I believe? And if I would, what would I do after? Would my mind change? Would I leave everything and go teaching people? Would I feel almighty and screw people like a lot of people with power do? Would I write a book that would become a best-seller or go unnoticed?

And if did, how would I know? Who would believe me?

Game called life

Life is a game.

I don’t know the outcome of this life and I don’t know anyone who does. I’m not sure I’d like to know.  Even if someone knew and would tell it to me, I wouldn’t be able to realize.

Material or non-material, things I do or say go with the wind of time.  Even things I say now I will forget maybe in the time to come. That’s why I write here, to help me with that.

If I get angry or upset, or anything in the range of negative feelings, I consume energy that I might use in a more positive way. Since things I do or say shall pass and I don’t know what remains of that, I like to step on the positive side.  I think the negative or bad things come anyway so I try to find a balance with the positive or good side.

Thinking first about me, I think that the less I let these negative emotions get me, the healthier I am.  But at the same time, I need these to help me appreciate the good things in my life. I am human, therefore I use the same system (until – if- I can find another one) in enjoying life, by comparing good and bad.

Why spend more than necessary thinking about the argument I had with someone? Why think about the politicians who steal and cheat that you would think they rule the world? Why spend time comparing myself with others when I can enjoy myself as I am? And although ignorance is bliss, this doesn’t mean I don’t have to care for the people around me.

Maybe there is an afterlife, maybe there’s only dirt. Maybe (I wish) there’s a lot more than I can imagine or understand. Nobody came back to tell us. But since all things pass, I should have a hedonistic approach on my feelings for the sake of my health and my well-being, while at the same time trying to stay with my eyes open for the others and their feelings.

Human Rules

All rules that exist and we experiment are rules made by humans. Things like money, beauty, failure, good and bad, maybe even religion are but a human construction. Every rule has its anti-rule.

There is no absolute rule that we know of and that can proved. Even proof is a human thing related to our perceptions. What we see is not always the reality, reality itself being a human creation. What we feel with our senses is what we call reality. Like they say ” One man’s fantasy is another man’s reality”. A good example is a scene from MASH tv series.

It’s all so relative as far as we know that we are all true in what we think and believe. That’s because there’s no absolute milestone to compare to. Even religion which comes to gives us truth or God as the only truth is a collection of old tales.  But it’s a collection of good ideas from a human side unless taken to extremes.  Maybe without religion it would’ve been a chaos, maybe we would’ve created something else more advanced or similar to this.  But after all, chaos is normal too, but with a logic that’s different from the current logic. Thus we can admit that everything is normal, it all depends on what we compare it with. Even comparison can be a human way of judging.  Maybe in that distant universe there are other ways of judgement. Maybe all the life beings in the universe need their own judgement system in order to understand something that is unknown.

So if there are no rules but the human ones and everything is possible, then what keeps us from experimenting everything we want?

Arguing in equation

Why is it that after a period of happiness, we sometimes seek to argue? Why out of the blue, when all things seem to go in the best direction, we find a fighting  argue?

I believe that arguing is natural and good for a relationship. It helps enjoying the good times. I guess it’s the way we are built (chemical, psychological etc.)

I see a pattern between arguing and happiness. I don’t think  most of us are built to enjoy happiness or any good times without being sad or angry sometimes. Strangely enough, we cannot appreciate that without making an unconscious comparison.

One might even say that happiness is boring, and it might be true in a small part. But without sadness, there’s no happiness, since there’s nothing to compare it to.  How can you feel good if you haven’t felt bad before? And I don’t know of any neutral state in which you don’t feel anything.

I don’t know why this is happening, although I’m sure there’s a logic, but it’s foreign to me.  But since I believe that everything is with a reason, I also believe that it’s in our way of being to seek bad times in order to enjoy happier times later.  We know not otherwise.

Of course, some arguments could have a real basis without occurring out of the blue, but that’s another subject. And neither of these two types of arguments should escalate in a violent fighting since that solves nothing. But maybe like with arguing, violence could be explained in a similar matter if we are to extrapolate.

But I guess this is one way to explain things in order to cope with what we call reality.

Marriage before being married

First thoughts on marriage before getting married… Marriage is but a convention. Is a human convention to help us keep a certain order in this world.

The secret of a happy marriage (or relationship) is a subjective thing.  A few things are sure:

  • being friends is as important as being in love;
  • communication is the wheels of any relationship/marriage;
  • both sides need to work hard to keep it working;
  • be funny and optimistic, and prepare to also take kicks in the but;
  • the perfect marriage is the one you make it so;
  • there are no soul mates, other half and match made in heaven, but some people can connect faster;
  • staying in a marriage or relationship is the decision of ones self;
  • it’s up to us to stay with somebody even after we get to know him or her;
  • it’s clear that we usually fall in love with our projection and then with the more real partner;
  • there is no perfect partner, only great tolerance, acceptance and optimism;
  • a new world is born with each relation: a clash of her and him;
  • any relation is how you see it: working or not. How you see it contributes to how you’ll experience it;

Marriage is as good as any relationship, and in many modern societies it’s easier to have some papers. Other than that, it’s the decision of being together that matters, since no paper or religious ceremony can keep it from working great or falling apart. Actually, sometimes it’s right after marriage that the psychological shift happens and people can begin feeling constraints.

Happiness of the couple is in between the happiness of both partners. If you want to change your partner to be more like you want him or her to be, no matter how open the other is, it will result in in happiness for just one side. So both sides need to converge to a common happiness by keeping ones soul and beliefs but also adapting. And although this may seem like less happiness, I view it as a different type of happiness. It can be a new level, it can be next level.

Paradox all around

We live in times in which new discoveries are made everyday. About the way we live, the way we eat, the way we think. As these discoveries are made, we think we’ve reached the bottom of the pit, that we know all there is to know.

Modern technology gives us the chance to see things that weren’t possible before. And it’s easier to test one theory or another, it’s easier to experiment.

Yet, it seems that nature and the way this world is created always has a lesson to teach us.    It seems that for every thing we discover and find it to be true, there is a counter discovery which is also true.  This world seems to be full of paradoxes that build it.  Or maybe it’s us that see it this way. Maybe this is actually the way it works. I tend to say “the normal way”, but since there is no such thing in a general way, I would need to explain the context for normal.

People use quotes a lot of times. For every quote there’s it’s counter-quote, both true, both applicable.  Can you say which one comes first and which one is its counter? It’s all just a matter of time.

The more we discover new things, we realize how little we know about us and the world surrounding us.  We learn this way that we can come to ideas which are very true, but others may find other solutions which could say the opposite and still be true.  This of course can create confusion but also opens the door to new things.  So somebody could discover a theory that could contradict Einstein’s relativity theory and it could also be true.

Now that these matters of who is wrong and who is right are off the table, it’s just a matter of where we go and what we want to accomplish.

I recommend reading book The Flinch, it’s short and enlightening.

Failure is a learning step

I believe more and more schools should teach their students that learning is not all about grades and passing exams. Students should know that grades don’t actually show who a person or what a person knows.

And another important thing is teaching about failure and it’s naturalness. When you learn to walk, learn to skate, learn to write, it’s a process or trial and error. You try lots of times to succeed once. So you celebrate the fact that you made it, but you also need to realize that it took you a great number of times to do it. And of course, the fact that you made it doesn’t make you an expert, but a mere beginner.

If these things were to be taught in schools, it would help people all over the world change the way they see this world. And maybe people wouldn’t have that many ready made ideas about a lot of things.

Why Pain?

There are moments when we feel pain but wish to not feel it. We don’t like pain and we wish it would not exist.

But let’s take a simple physical example: let’s say we touch a very hot piece of metal with one of our fingers. It burns our skin, it aches, it hurts, we dislike it.

And we know that that’s something that starts in the sensors of our skin, which send a message to the brain and the brain tells the body and the hand to pull back because it hurts.  Now imagine that we would not have sensors and we wouldn’t feel anything… We would keep our finger or hand there until we would see with our eyes that something is going on or we would smell the burning skin.  So our finger skin would be much more damaged and it would take much longer to heal. Yes, we might say that that’s alright because it heals anyway, biology teaches us.  But what about cases in which something could be damaged so much that it would be very difficult or even not possible with the actual technology to repair? So it is pain that keeps us out of trouble. If we were to decide whether we should pull back or not, we would sometimes get more complicated situations.

It means that who ever created us or however we evolved, this is for a reason that we feel this way. It is a defense mechanism which actually helps us, but we sometimes forget about  that.

I was also looking for an emotional example, but I think a little bit more complex although the same principle could be adapted for this too.