the illusion

Imagine this:
Group chat, created on facebook to share photos of my family to some distant relative.
Starts easy on a christmas day, but soon began a place to share “PLEASE SHARE THIS, PLEASE SHARE THAT: HELP THIS CAT, HELP THIS DOG”.

What social media got right was selling an illusion. The illusion to be heard, the illusion of success, the illusion of valuing people by a number, the number of friends.

The sad illusion that more friends equals more power, and more power equals: you can help me.

And here comes the sad truth: If we were to act upon every single help request we’d stop living our life. That’s why in real life things like this happen on a smaller scale. 
Because we all had that friend that calls you only to ask for a favor. 

But on the internet? “That Friend” are many more.

40 years of building block

Few days ago a dear friend of mine told me that she eventually resolved an issue with her husband. They didn’t get along one topic and this was causing them some issues.

They’ve known each others for 7 years, so it was hard, but not impossible.

Then she told me “Now the hard part will be discussing with my mother”.
And she was right.

Because when we build a relation for such a long time we build it on common ground. But while time passes, we add some extra building blocks. Some good, some bad.
The bad ones are things like trust, prejudice, etc.

Things you accumulate over the years and that define the relationship in both ways.

That’s why it’s harder. You have to dismantle, on both sides, 40 years of building blocks.

easy questions, hard answers and how to spot a wrong question

You might be fooled into thinking that easy questions are the way to go.

Few days ago I wrote to an acquaintance a question about gender discrimination at work. I wrote moved by an impulse, so the question was very emotional yet easy to grasp.

He replied to me, with a kindness unique to his position, and clearly showed me that I didn’t do my homework, the question was wrong.

But what it means to do your homework before asking a question? Well, that’s the difference between a good question and a bad question.

A good questions takes into considerations the aspects of the problem and narrows it down so it’s aiming at a specific topic in a specific context.

A bad question is extremely broad, clear in terms of expression, but too complex in terms of answers.
My bad question was along the lines of “What can we do to help her?”

Which, as you might guess, opens up a series of parallel universe only do reduce the amount of topics.
Where does she come from? What was the power status between her and her boss? etc etc etc.

That was the homework I didn’t do.
Asking broad questions implies that only the person that answer it should do the homework. But she can’t because with such broad question you can hardly get a great answer.

To get great answers, you need great questions.

Some extra examples:
Bad: “How do I make money?”
Good: “I want to do some extra money on the side. I can spend 1 hour a day to work on a project and I feel like I can get some extra customers in design projects. My problem is: I don’t know how to reach them. What are the options to find new connections and propose my design services to people online?”

The good question could even be refined more, but you get the difference.

aren’t you tired of compliments?

What’s the use of partying, the use of writing the things you can do on facebook?

Is it personal marketing or is it something different?

Unless you’re trying to brand yourself or place a product the only thing you’re probably accomplishing is receiving some “Oh, great!” from your friends. A positive reinforcement nonetheless.

But, what’s it for?
Is it because you want to do more, to share tactics? I rarely see posts like this with useful information for the people around you, what commonly happens is that you share it for your ego.

Not to enrich other people, but to enrich yourself only.
What if you translate those posts so that they become useful for others? What if they add a contribution to the world?

It’ll lead other people to do so, it’ll inspire them, and more importantly, you’ll set ego aside for something much bigger than you: leaving the world in a better state.

follow the steps

It might happen. You’ve always had a job that tells you what to do, step by step.

One day a colleague comes to you and ask you your opinion on a new thing. A thing you never did before, a thing no one gave you the instructions.
A thing that you “made” before, but only as a gear, as a small part of a bigger machine.

Your mind becomes blank, no ideas on the horizon.
What to do, what to say, are nowhere to be found.

You feel useless, not ready for this, not prepared. You fell like you _are_ incapable.

It might seem like a creative narration but in fact it’s part of a real story I saw and I can also relate to that.
In our work we are sometimes gears of a bigger machine. Parts of a masterplan we don’t fully see.

Yet, without us, that masterplan wouldn’t have been there. We are part of the knowledge that made it possible, yet we don’t trust our work because we didn’t do entirely, or to say it correctly: Without that bigger vision, the grand scheme of things.

I get it, it’s ok.
What we don’t get is that fear is in the way.
What we miss is that each and every time we learned there was this gap, this invisible gap between what we can do, and what we don’t know how to do.

A fine line that seems like a giant leap. Yet if we look back it wasn’t so big.
It took time, but not so much effort.

What it took is blindly trust that, if we put enough work, work will pay off.

This won’t change, yet our fear will make us change our mind instead.
Shut that voice. Go for the leap and don’t be afraid to fail.
Because you’re here and you failed in life and yet, guess what, you’re still here.

be uncomfortable

It’s only by choosing to do something different that you’ll end up in new different places. It’s by removing the bias, the prejudice that you go beyond your beliefs.

Only by going into a place you didn’t really liked, only by doing something you didn’t really wished for.

Only by doing those things _on your own will_ you’ll see something new, something unexpected.

It might not happen always, but it’ll eventually happen sometimes.

open up your mind

It’s in the connections you make with people that you can learn something new.

Only if you take the time to step down from your position, question yourself and accept a different point of view you can really make a change, make a difference.

That’s the key. Today I learned from a friend a new word: Gaslightning, that’s used at work. If you don’t know what that is, look it up, because you probably saw that happening, but didn’t knew the name.

it’s in the small things

Where does beauty and happiness lies?

Is it in the giant skyscraper that hides the rising sun? Is it in the bank account with many zeroes after a number, is it in the enormous park in front of a house?

Or is it in the small things, like two cleaners in a wedding suits shop, cleaning at 5am and making photos near the dresses?

Is it in the couple coming back from the club in the morning and asking for a coffee at the bar, talking kindly but slowly, gorgeously dressed with exquisite colors?

We, as people, are passing by so many stories, infinite lives around us, each own with their goals and dreams we are not part of, yet immensely big. We do this constantly. When we sit at the restaurant, wait for the train, ask for a drink. Around us the whole world moves with a unique rhythm, a music we are part of only as background but that is complex and detailed as our own.

Each story with its own glory, sadness, love and death.

Where is beauty and happiness after all, if not in the small space between those stories. The moment we stop for a second and we glance another universe in which we don’t belong, yet we feel so close to it.

do  the opposite, add constraints

Whenever you feel caged, hopeless, without a way out, think of a way to do the opposite. To add extreme constraints.

What do you need to change to do it in half the time? What to do it without you working, ect.

By doing so you’ll force yourself to see the problems and show them to fix them. 
It feels crazy, but it’s not useless.

for the things you love

It’s worth fighting for what you love. Trying something new, going out of your comfort zone to reach out to people.

It’s ok to share with them your struggle, even though they might crush you, it’s ok to risk.

It’s even ok to say “I’m sorry”; knowing  that the outcome might not be foreseen.

That is the true value in love. Giving, without expecting.
Jumping and risking, only to give more trust to the people you care about.

In some cases this trust can be even gifted to people you don’t know. Risking it all because you’re aware that deep inside people are worth a chance. 

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