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Month: June 2018

having more time won’t make a difference

Today a wonderful thing happened to me.
I did plan to work remotely mostly because early in the morning I needed to be visited by a doctor.
So I woke up, went to the doctor, got visited and got back home.

Since I had some spare time I bought couple of croissants for my wife and prepared her the breakfast.
We enjoyed a slow beautiful breakfast thanks to this extra time.
Then I realized I didn’t take my pc home to work remotely (my bad) and so I had to get back to the office and work from there.

Now, what’s the beauty here? I wondered: would have it been the same if I had the same time schedule? If I had that extra time each and every day, would I use it this way or would I simply sleep?

We’re busy, we like being busy, and we opt to choose all the actions to be busy again. We rarely opt to do the simple things, the one that don’t “accomplish” a task, a goal. The simple things like making a breakfast for your wife are things you won’t put into a list (and if you do, it’s creepy).

This is a reminder that our priorities might be a little bit wrong. We value too much our todo list and too less the beauty that we can create in life with the small, simple, useless, things.

we’re a mess

You might end up thinking that you are a mess, that there is no way to fix you.

You have too many problems, issues. You overreact, can’t manage anger, don’t earn enough money, have a terrible job, have health issue with teeth and knees and so on.

You might even make a list and the list would be so long to be intimidating.

As a whole, it’s a sum of problems so giant it can’t be solved.

But as single problems they can all be solved or at least improved.
You might focus on your knee, find out that you need some extra cushoning in the shoes, and start stretching more, and maybe in a few months you’ll be able to run. Maybe it’ll take a year, but would that matter?

After that, you could work on changing job, you start looking for a new one 

And while this happens the list shrink a little bit. You’re still a mess and the list is overwhelming, but in a few years maybe you’ll look at a different list.

You’ll still be a mess. But not that mess.

social interaction advertising

Are you part of the advertising or not?

In the past we often thought about this very topic: Are we the product?
The question was born on products like google, facebook, twitter, where by not paying a dime you were wondering: how do they make money?

The answer was (and still is) that they sold your information, your data (or part of it), so that people could make use of it to target advertising.

There’s more to it though.
Think about your social interactions. It’s not like a forum, on facebook your comments are visible and often fill up other people feeds.

So let’s say that a political candidate put a big image on his post, with a mistake.
Maybe it’s a candidate you hate, and a friend of yours is a fan and put a like to that photo.
You see that, and you see the mistake in the photo, it’s claiming to be in a city that it’s not the one pictured in the photo.

You think “he’s an idiot, and I want to prove to the world how stupid he is, maybe this way they’ll stop voting for him”.
And following this thought you comment that photo saying that the city is wrong.

Here’s the thing: They might have tricked you from the beginning. Not only you are the product in facebook, not only  they can sell your data to others, but now you interacted on purpose and activated a social interaction that will advertise a photo without them paying a dime.

The trickiest joke of all is the one where they trick you 2 times in a row, like this one.
Maybe this should teach us one thing that we should also learn IRL: Think twice before opening your mouth.

read the label

Lately I started reading labels to understand how a product (food or cosmetic) is made, what are its ingredients.

If you do, you’ll start to notice the difference between the claim and the reality.

For example there are foods “High in fiber” that contains around 3% in fiber, while other contains 20% (yeah, you read that well).

Or should we talk about cat food and analize claims like 70% meat and 30% vegs & fruits?
30% is fresh meat, while the remaining 40% is meat from unknown source and quality, The third ingredient are potatoes, around 18%. which is clearly a filler.

Not all claims are equal.

the mask

Yesterday I was at a concert of a famous “Cartoon songs” singer, it was full of people of all ages, many of them around my age.

One thing I instantly noted is how different men behave from women.
They only sung “male” songs, they jumped only on that and so on.

This might seem obvious but it’s not, because they would probably know couple of “girly songs” too.

There was a guy, though, in this crowd, that simply jumped and sung each and every song.
You might think he was a fanboy of some sort, but he was not. Quite a nice guy, well dressed.
By looking at him there was nothing unusual nor something that might’ve indicated his passion for such songs.
He was there with his beautiful girlfriend which was clearly there for love, not for interest in the songs.

He didn’t keep his mask on, instead he put it off and played like when he was a child.
A beautiful reminder to our daily lives.

pitfalls of happiness

Today Anthony Bourdain killed himself and a dear friend of mine asked (on facebook), what is that can makes us be happy?

It’s a tough question and it’s easy to dismiss it as “money can’t buy happiness”.

Truth is, happiness has many pitfalls, the main one is that there exist a definite image of happiness, the one where everything goes well and nothing goes wrong.
If we tie our minds to this image as our way to define our success in life it’s clear that, at some point, we will understand that we are failing too much and therefore it’s impossible to achieve it.

Another pitfall is that we link together happiness and success, thus we link our emotional state to what we achieve or not, and the subsequent message is that if we don’t achieve, we’re not worth it.
If we always achieve each goal, we might even be happy, but that is not guaranteed, why? Let’s look at Bourdain, he had everything, yet he killed himself.

We might think that it’s this desire to go forth that makes us alive, therefore we need to keep improving in a neverending search for perfection, but isn’t it like following the aforementioned image of the perfect happiness?

Another pitfall is when we say: Happiness is not a goal, it’s a journey.

Which, by the way, is probably one of the most realistic way of describing happiness, yet it contains another pitfall: that happiness is in each and every day. Like if we should find happiness in our days and so on.
What happens if we get 100 shitty days? guess what…

So? Should we surrender to the fact that we can’t be happy?
Well… I’m an optimistic person, and yet there’s one thing I’m sure of: you (we) will get bad days.
Days when work will go bad, days when you’ll have no money, days when a friend will day or be seriously sick, days when everything will go wrong.

You can’t avoid them. They will be there, and you can’t even ignore them or faking your emotional state.
And here it lies the biggest pitfall of all: the idea that happiness is something we can find outside.
Happiness, or a better defined “calmness” is something we can only achieve within. Nothing from the outside can give us a stable emotional state, and as long as everything from the outside can decide how we feel we’ll be always influenced by them, instead of us.

Whenever I write things like this I’m always worried about the whole self-help circle, because if you’re into the self-help methodology of books and so on you might think that by “thinking of being happy” you are working on this “finding happiness within”, but no. It’s not that.
We can manipulate our emotional status, but to build a foundation, a balance that comes from within this won’t be enough. You’ll easily notice that you are still influenced by the waves of life, and you’ll need to recover through the same “self-help” tricks.

Which obviously means you’re simply using a temporary cure, not something definitive.

So yeah, life will always throw shit at you, and no, happiness is not linked with something material like money, work, or job.
If it is, it’s because it’s the wrong happiness, you’re being tricked.

judgement vs understanding

“He doesn’t care about me, he didn’t think about it at all” This contains a judgement.

“He didn’t think about calling me, I wonder why. Maybe he was busy?” this contains some facts and a question.

While they might seems the same, they are quite different, both in terms of how they respond, and how you respond to the words.

making the pain go away

In work, there is the concept of important and urgent. Important is something that makes the difference, now or in the long term, urgent is something that requires your attention.

Important is quiet but decisive, urgent is noisy and static.

Today a collegue wrote me because one of our customer was literally shouting shit at her. It was not pleasant at all.

She wrote me the order of importance of the tasks and the first one was the one from the shouting customer.
Funny fact, it wasn’t a customer, we didn’t have a confirmation of his complain, but he was shouting.

I pointed out that it was silly to give such amount of work to a non-customer that was complaining, yet I wanted to help.

The tricky thing here is that when someone is shouting at us we want that pain to go away, that insecurity and fear and we prioritize based on that, instead of looking at the whole picture.