Saturday, July 21, 2018

This is my future unless I choose a different present

What? Where? When? How? Yes. All of these. Wherever you are in life, whatever you are in life, whenever you are in life, however you are in life today, this is your future unless you choose a different  action today. A different present. A new course of near-future experiences, actions, decisions, thoughts, risks, options, pains, pleasures, structures, networks, relationships, etc etc if I wish for a different future.

Yes this has to be navigated even as choice overload is also an ever-present challenge in modern life, but these choice you make, make you. The choices you have made up to this moment are the present you have, the current life you have, the situational result you find yourself in, and the only way to change the tomorrows is chose a different present. Right now. Not tomorrow. You are making a choice even as you read these words . . . even if it is a choice to do nothing more or different than you did yesterday which led to this present. Not choosing is also a choice. But never doubt that this is your future, unless you chose a different present.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Climb the mountain, change the perspective

It is always amazing and astonishing how different everything looks from the peak or high up on the mountian versus when you start the climb. We did that this morning in the Jarillda mountains of Spain. Even 100 meters of elevation gain, provided a nearly completely different view. But there are so many nuances here . . . the climb always looks easy at the start, but soon into the climb, you will change your mind about that!

Life is so totally like that, and this can be a powerful metaphor for helping you hang in there when the view isn't so great, i.e. things are almost always difficult to parse at the beginning. Really always. If you don't think they are tough, it is usually because you don't even have enough perspective to know that things are tough. (And count your blessings, that is not always a bad place to be in life. I purposefully choose ignorance in certain situations so that I won't know how bad it really is, but that is a post for a different day)

This post is one about being confused. The view of the surrounding terrain is confusing from the base of the mountain. You simply do not have enough elevation (perspective) to accurately map the reality around you. You have to stay with the climb long enough to gain that perspective and elevation in order to even have a chance of seeing the reality around you.

Most people I meet in life, bail on pursuing the trail, before they can gain perspective/elevation/inspiration/understanding of what really truly lies before them. Climb the mountain, gain perspective, be part of the 5% who reach the peak.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The metro - the melting pot of Berlin

The metro - the melting pot of Berlin

The guy siting next to me is reading Arabic facebook on his phone, the girl across from me speaking Farsi on her's, the kids behind me are speaking Her Majesty's English, the guy across the aisle is reading a Russian language newspaper, and so on and so forth.  I can't even recognize half the languages being spoken around me.

So if you want to see how metropolitan and multi-cultural and multi-lingual Berlin is, all you have to do is jump on the metro for half a line or so and you will get a good dose on any given day. This is so different than when I would ride the metro in Moscow. No language but Russian being spoken there. The contrast is astonishing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

With a view like this . . .

You should be able to change the world, be inspired to create the impossible with nothing, to challenge the assumptions of the ages, to matter to those who have little hope, to be significant in what you bring to the table, to design your thoughts and structure life to leverage the most amazing life ever . . . 

And on and on I could go but I won't. Inspiring spaces in which to work are great and I love every one of them. I love it when I get the chance to crank on my brain in places like this, because it is inspiring yes, but it is also a new context so I can think new thoughts and consider old ideas in new ways, all because of the ambience and the swirl of life and the energy going on in this place.

There are no slackers here. Everyone has a deep purpose, a reason for being and doing, its contagious. Choose and design your space. Today I am @ WeWork Berlin #dowhatyoulove

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Why arrive early, the plane never leaves early??

Another delayed flight. Is there any other kind?? Not so much in my life. So why do I ever ever leave for the airport early? Earl's disease is one reason. Earl is my dad. He is spectacularly gifted in his imagination. He can imagine more things going wrong in each and every situation, than any other human on the planet. We sometimes refer to the malaise as Earl's Disease. (It also has a seconded useage, in that your car must run perfectly, or you are forever obsessed with getting it to that unreachable condition)

So why did I leave for the airport early today? And of course end up departing almost a whole hour late? I mean I could have: 1. Finished my workout this morning rather than cutting it short because I feared running out of time; 2. Relaxed more with Brenda at the breakfast table this morning; 3. Enjoyed my coffee more and more slowly; 4. Not gotten sucked into a long conversation with people who recognized me at the airport and with whom I had no real interest in talking to or with; 5. Perhaps avoided the stupid lizard-brained airport officials who have absolutely NOTHING to do except harrass passengers with the tiniest of rules and pressures (I want to scream!); 6. Enjoyed a decent long hot shower instead of the quick rinse I ended up with . . . all because of the internal pressure and all the unknowns that could go wrong, so I leave home with PLENTY of time. Far too much in reality.

Folks, the plane never leaves early. Manage your life better.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Everybody is dying it seems

You go through stages in life, although it does not feel that way when you are going through them, it just feels like . . . living at that moment. But the older you get, the more perspective and context you gain, to look back and see the stages. For instance I am fond of saying that  I have been married to three versions the same woman - meaning I have only and always been married to Brenda, but she/us/together have been through at least three stages in life.

This current stage of life (not Brenda) seems to be the death stage. Not my own, although that is more than possible at any time, but those solid and formative people of my life are dying. And it "feels" like all my friends and clients and coworkers are experiencing the same thing, and so it seems like a tsunami of deaths and more deaths. 

Just yesterday, my colleague and I started this trip to Spain together, and between the two of us, we experienced four deaths of close friends and/or family members! All before we even got on the plane for Madrid, even though we did not know it at the time. We received this news later in the day, but it tore the fabric of ours lives nonetheless.

Sure this is an inevitability for everyone if they live long enough, but I always thought this was an experience to wrestle with far out into the future, like in my 70's or 80's . . . but evidently you can start this stage well and good in your 50's. I reckon we can let it be fuel for depression and emotional fractures, or we can let it be fuel to bring our best selves to every moment today.

Eight days of business travel = no control?

No control over my diet, yet I do have control over how much of that diet I put in my mouth. No control over my exercise (lack of my usual tools - bicycle) but I can still get out and take a walk and not just sit on my bony backside every minute of every day for the next eight days. No control over lifting weights (lack of access to a gym), but I can realize that eight days "off" is not going to make me lose muscle mass in any significant way. No control over my internet connection, but I can write offline and when I can connect is when I can connect. I do not have control over the bed I am sleeping in, but I can make sure I get as much sleep as possible in whichever bed I end up with to be fresh and invigorated for the work facing me on this trip. Little control over my schedule, but I can find little spaces/times along the way/day to get those important-to-me pieces done. No control over my laundry, but I can pack smart and keep my cool. No control over so many things = this is what business travel looks like in the real world. Period. 

Action point? Don't stress over what I don't have control over. Stress over what I DO have control over. I have control over my character, my thoughts, and my actions in each situation.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Three times the cost for one third the value

Three times the cost for one third the value

This is how the economy works with a monopoly, or in an airport (which is essentially a monopoly created under the guise of security). Case in point, I just paid OVER three times as much for a 0.5 liter bottle of sparkling water at the airport, as I would have for a 1.5 liter bottle of the same stuff 10 miles from here. We succumb to these legal robberies all the time. We think we have no choices in the matter, and ok, that is a debate for a different post.

But the power I clearly have here on Independence Day is to not be that way with the value that I create. I don't have to be a shark, or function like a monopoly (even if I am) or be exclusive or any of that kind of thinking. Instead I can choose to be generous, thoughtful, sharing, inclusive, open, thinking in abundance and how to serve others, rather than how to maximize my profits for me personally. That's real independence, the freedom from self-serving self-interest, freedom from a focus on me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hijacked by greed, or incompetence or lack of planning, they are all pretty much the same

Hijacked by greed, or incompetence or lack of planning., they are all pretty much the same

Having just returned from a long trip to Asia, there are always trends and patterns you observe when you spend a good long spell in a new context or culture. One of most frustrating one's I experienced regularly in Asia is getting hijacked when you are already the customer. This one does not happen very often in American (read practically never, except when it comes to the telephone - meaning that I can be standing at the cash register in the Auto Parts store and the phone can interrupt my checkout and "hijack it" completely) and it is rare in Europe as well. We westerners are more ruled by the idea, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" kinds of thinking. What I actually have is worth more than potentially what I can get.

Not. In. Asia. Everything is interruptible. This is most frustrating when you are working with a masseuse, and another customer comes in and wants a massage. Instead of simply stating, "I already have a customer and I can be free at such and such a time" they always stop working on your aching muscles and fawn over all the potential new customers walking in the door. This often means I lay there for 10-20 minutes while we all wait for new masseuses to show up! No amount of frantic and urgent phone calls to new masseuses can get them there faster than that it seems. But I am already there laying on the table. I am the sure thing. I tip well. I am the ultimate easy customer! It doesn't matter, the new potentials always override the existing customer.

There is a similar phenomenon in our work here in Eastern Europe, where we have noticed a consistent pattern over these last 19 years. No matter how firmly you are confirmed on their calendars, and no matter how significant the work is that you are proposing to do with them, and no matter how much effort has been spent on the pending meeting/event/plan, a single spontaneous call from anyone can derail the whole damn thing! For us over-organized westerners, these types of hijackings are the ultimate in frustrations.

Whether because of greed, incompetence or lack of planning it does not matter. Whether a matter of culture or social norms it does not matter. Welcome to the rest of the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Does your closet have jeans that don't fit?

Does your closet have jeans that don't fit?

Then you likely are not accepting your reality, or your version of you does not match your jean's version of you. People do this all the time. They are waiting for the perfect something to come along and change what fiction they believe about their life. This keeps many in psychic prisons all their lives, rather than living anything remotely resembling the life they want to live, or at the very very least, living the reality that is theirs. 

Folks the only way to change current reality is to first accept it. Stop denying it, stop waiting for something to come along and change it, stop playing the lottery for Pete's sake! This is your one and only life, you had better own it completely, or regret, and tons of it, is both in your immediate present and long term future.

Accepting your reality is like taking your car to the mechanic and getting a proper diagnosis about what is wrong and what can change. If you don't know the actual challenge you (or your engine) is facing, there is not a chance in hell or heaven that dreams and hopes have possibilities.

Facing your reality is truly the first step in owning your piece of the pie that is your life. Until that happens, you are in denial, or blaming someone or some situation, or something for the life you have. Even when you successfully do this, and you must (as do I), this does not mean that struggles and difficulties will cease, but at least then you will know what you really face . . . and get comfortable here, even the best life can be difficult.

I got started on this six years ago when a close friend committed suicide. It was seriously time to face some realities that I was not living the life I was meant to live. I now own all my outcomes, succeed or fail. And all the jeans in my closet fit me.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Forever missed appointments

Forever missed appointments

I am currently sitting here waiting for my noon gig, alone, again. This is actually the fourth time this week that something has gone awry in a schedule mdeeting. In fact, I have had a 100% failure rate so far this week. Hours and hours and hours of waiting, but no actual connects yet. And its Thursday already even!! Monday was a fail, Tuesday was a fail, last night was a fail, and so far today is a fail. No one is really to blame yet, things have been beyond every person's control. How can I be a person who is unfailingly optimistic even when scheduled work is failing. Well . . . try try again.

And surprise surprise here comes half of my noon appointment. Patience, waiting for the important pieces to fall into place. Great meeting! Success!

They are only forever missed appointments if you fail to reschedule and reschedule.