Moving beyond fear and uncertainty

There are a lot of negative thoughts in the world right now… and a lot of things are happening that can make you feel frustrated, angry or afraid.

Jeff Walker has published a wonderful video this week. It’s about moving beyond fear and uncertainty, and about getting back to your creative sweet spot despite all these external events that are happening.

If you want to make an impact on the world, and the current events are affecting you in any way, you should definitely watch this! And if the current events don’t affect you, you might want to watch it anyway… 😉

Thanks, Jeff!

Everyday madness: How not to lose yourself

Everyday madness: Somewhere between your job, family, emails, healthy living, the expectations of others, between mail from your insurance company and doctor’s appointments… somewhere in between all of that, there is YOU. And sometimes it feels like you’ve somehow lost yourself inmidst of all this chaos and stress, doesn’t it?

But why is that even so? And even more importantly: How can you manage a balance between your daily grind and yourself?

How can you manage a balance between your daily grind and yourself?

Recently, I’ve written about figuring out what you really want to achieve in life. In that post, I’ve also talked about your “basic values” which can run like a thread through your life and give you a purpose.

Back when I discovered this concept of basic values for myself, I was really excited about it. For the first time in my life, I could see (reasonably clearly) what I wanted to do next with my life. (Or at the very least, I could see what I really did NOT want to do. That can be worth a lot, too!)

But over time, I’ve discovered that a focus on my basic values also gives me something so much more valuable: Read more ›

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Strange times…

It was a big shock wave that went around the world this week: from unbelieving amazement, to stunned despair, to angry denial, there was a bit of everything — and even many of those who’ve fought for this outcome of the U.S. elections probably didn’t really believe that it could come true.

Now that we’ve all had a bit of time to take a deep breath, now that the victory celebrations and the hangover feelings are winding up, one very simple question remains: What do we do now?

I have to admit that personally, I have a hard time accepting this outcome of the elections. That is partially due to the character of the winner. I just can’t (and don’t want to) imagine him in such a position of power, after all that has happened in the past months and years.

But on a more general level, this U.S. election just fits into a series of other recent events and developments : Read more ›

What do I really want?

To know what you really want to do in life isn’t always easy or simple — quite the contrary! The more complex and the more far-reaching your decisions are going to be (“Should I stick with my job, or quit and start something completely new?”; “I’m not happy with my relationship, what should I do?”), the harder they are for us to decide.

On top of that, there are usually more options than we even thought possible. And while sometimes having more options can be a tremendous help, sometimes it’s simply even more confusing and makes the decision even harder.

And in the end, most of these difficult decisions can be reduced to the same, not less difficult, question:

What do I really want?

For if you know what you really want from life, it should also be clear what step you should take next. It’s as simple as that, right? Read more ›

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How much does it cost?

There was a very thought-provoking post by Seth Godin a few days ago, titled “But how much does it cost?”.

“Cost” not in terms of the price tag, but in terms of the overall price we have to pay: Cost of acquisition, maintenance, repair, training, usage, replacement. Total cost of ownership, if you so want.

Seth makes a very good point there: All too often, we don’t consider the real cost of our decisions. We only see the short-term price tag, or rather: the price tag we want to believe shows the true short-term cost. Forcing yourself to take a broader outlook and consider the total cost over time, to us and to others, is a good thing to do.

So yeah, Seth, I fully agree with you, (and I highly recommend everybody reads your post!), but then…

There are certain things that you just have to do because they’re the right thing for you to do at that point, no matter the overall cost. If you don’t keep that in mind, you’ll just turn into a nitpicking bureaucrat.

Asking the right question

Human and Stars - Dino Reichmuth

“What do I really want in life?”, that seems to be such a fundamental human question – a question most of us ask themselves from time to time.

And alas, it’s not that easy to find a satisfying answer.

But just by asking a different question, we can change the perspective and get very different answers. Today, instead of asking yourself “What do I really want?”, ask “Who am I? Who do I want to be?”

Photo: Dino Reichmuth

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Why “Work-Life-Balance” is the wrong approach

Yesterday, Mark Sisson published a post on his (highly recommended!) blog “Mark’s Daily Apple” which hit the nail right on the head:

In Why Grok Didn’t Have Work-Life Balance and Neither Will You, Mark describes our desire for a better “work-life-balance”, for less stress and a more fulfilled life. He also explains very pointedly why a better and more effective time management only helps to a certain degree — and why at some point, it starts to bring even more stress into our life.

But what we really want is not to manage our life more and more effectively and by the clock, but, in Mark’s own words:

We want life balance in the sense that we want a chance to naturally, unhurriedly experience all the good of life: family connection, socialization, exercise, hobbies, leisure, creativity, rest, self-care and career.

(Mark Sisson, Mark’s Daily Apple)

And then he asks the crucial question: Read more ›

The risks of new things…

Doing things we’ve never done before bears certain risks.

What feels like the biggest risk of all is often the fact that we don’t even know exactly what the risks are, or how likely they are.

But “risk” is nothing but a probability for certain things to happen, or not to happen.

With more experience, we might have a better idea of how big a risk really is, or we might even be able to slightly reduce some of the risks in our life.

But the risks we’re used to are generally not less “risky” than new things – we’ve simply gotten used to them.

Tool or restriction?

I confess: I write to-do lists. Happily, and a lot. Und I do that out of pure laziness!

Everything I have to do goes onto such a list – and then I can forget about it for the time being. Whenever it’s necessary, I pull out my list and know exactly what I still have to do. Without overtaxing my brain by having to keep track of all that small stuff.

But the tricky thing about all those to-do lists (no matter whether you do them on paper like me, in some digital manner, or whether you just remember that stuff) is that they tend to constrain you.

All those bits and pieces on your lists aren’t more important than your real, big goals. And not everything that seems to be important really IS important.

The solution: Decide very consciously when you want to work on something “big”, and when you take some time to deal with the trivia on your lists…

And what do YOU sell?

In some sense, we’re all salespeople.

Whether you’re a teacher trying to excite your pupils for Shakespeare’s work… whether you’re a therapist wanting to move your clients to a healthier lifestyle… whether you’re a father and want to get your kids to keep their room tidy… or whether you’re in the office, trying to convince clients or your boss to go with your ideas…

We’re all consistently trying to “sell” our ideas and conceptions to others. And usually, we don’t even ask ourselves the most important questions:

What is the quintessence of what I want? Why is it important? And how can I best communicate it?

These three simple questions are at the basis of “Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds.

Garr Reynolds: Presentation ZenOn first glance, “Presentation Zen” is all about improving your PowerPoint presentations in an office setting. But as with a lot of things, this first glance is somewhat misleading… There’s a lot more inside this book than a simple guidebook on good slide presentations – among other things, it contains a few important concepts we all should internalize to become better “salespeople” in our everyday life.

(Side note: I’ve bought the German version of Presentation Zen, the better to share it with some people around me. From what I can see, though, the German and the English version are pretty much identical in content and also in design. Apart from the language, of course… 😉 )

But before I tell you more about these concepts, let me quickly introduce the main idea of the book… Read more ›