Archive for March, 2011

… is the new…

I have a new substitute for

      “Think before you act”

Dig this!

      “Go with the flow and stop als het niet klopt”



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A friend of mine said in a comment on this blog that having your own company IS personal development. Those two things are very difficult to separate. I couldn’t agree more, after this last week.

It is very hard not to attach yourself to the things you’re doing when building things up from scratch. It’s a human trait to do that. And it is probably good for something. But sometimes it can be easier for yourself if you learn not to.

Last week, I’ve focused on building my website. I’ve had a temporary website up, but it needed to have a bit more meat (somebody come up with an equivalent that doesn’t imply that meat is the core of a meal, please! ;)) So I’ve been working on this website very hard, and asked a friend what he thought of it. The following happened.


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I want to cut back on things ‘just lying around’.

Ever since I’ve been thinking about value in the world – my value to the world, the value of things, the value of money, the value of people – things have become so much more clear and sometimes just plain simpler. If I’m not doing anything with a little table that resides in my shed right now, I’d better donate it to these people who are trying to make a flex-working place that I’ve been involved in. If I have some savings in my bank account, I’d better start thinking about what I want that money to do in the world and take control of it.

I have one example in particular that I’d like to share with you.

I was contacted the other day with the request to sell one of my domains. I have one that has been lying around doing nothing for a couple of years because I wanted it for my sometime-to-be-company (not the same one as I’m starting up now). Now, someone is interested in buying it. In the earlier days, this would have posed a problem, since I wouldn’t have known what my opinion would be. I would listen to people say: “No, don’t do it, you’ll loose the domain” and other people saying: “Well, why not? You’re not using it and maybe you can get something out of it.” It would totally have confused me, because there would be no way of telling what I’d want to do. It could go either way, but none of the ways would be for founded reasons.
Now, when I think of the value it brings me, it is all so clear. If the other person will make something out of the domain, thus adding value to his own life and the world, it is, in my opinion, better to sell it to that person. I’m keeping the domain hostage without it having value. I don’t want to do that. I’m all for adding as much value to things as possible.

So. This guy can get his domain if he wants to. I’ll write him an e-mail about it right now!

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Yesterday I attended a talk about crowdsourcing. Interesting subject. Inspiring talk by @JWalphenaar.

What inspired me most was not how he kept being surprised about his own successes. It was the opposite. It was the full genuineness of his feelings when things weren’t going as planned. Still, he kept going. He didn’t give up. He had hardly a choice, with the whole of the Netherlands breathing down his back, but still.

He showed me that showing your failures is ok. It is ok to fail. And it is ok to tell other people about it. You learn from the processes you create for yourself. And by sharing both your successes and your failures to the world, you can teach everybody something.

Sharing failures is not the same as whining. Sharing failures is letting others know it’s ok to fail. Let’s all celebrate our successes AND our failures. Again, why do we keep pretending?

So. I’ll start.

In the process of naming my company I wanted to experiment a bit. On a fling, I decided to give it a go and ask people via twitter and Facebook to associate on things with us, while we were doing all the creative things in a room in Utrecht.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really work. There were a handful of friend reacting (thank you for that!), but timing was, of course, off, and they didn’t know what the process was about so for them it must have been confusing. It must be hard to tap into the energy of a creative session from a distance.
It could have been due to the lack of preparation (which consisted solely of: hey do you think we can do this?). It could have been that it just doesn’t work, being creative through Social Media. However, I’ve not given up. If ever I have a creative session and would be able to incorporate Social Media channels, I think I’ll give it a try, just to check whether it really doesn’t work.

What’s your latest failure? And what did you learn from it?

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So. My event is over. And I made it!

My goal was to write 5 singer-songwriter songs and 5 a cappella songs. And here they are:

Singer-Songwriter songs:
People wander in the streets
Happiest song on the planet
Watered out
Butterflies and clear blue skies
No room for thoughts

A cappella songs:
Rollinโ€™ (Soul-ish)
Toba Ngue (African-ish)
Soil, Sun, Water, Time (folkish)
Foolish Pride (weirdish)
Circling (musical style)

I’m happy that I posted everything on YouTube. I’m grateful to all the persons helping me with this and supporting me by leaving comments. I think I’ve proven that I can write a song in a week (now what can I do with that new knowledge?). And I’m happy that I now have some material to use for either my own a cappella choir or my own singer-songwriter person. ๐Ÿ™‚ It has taught me that you can force yourself to be disciplined. And you can force yourself to be creative (even with music). And that motivation is a wonderous thing…

Sigh. That was fun. And I’m glad it’s over. Now what am I going to do every weekend?

Let me know which one is your favorite and why!

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Cooking rice

I’m at my parents’ place for a couple of days. The diet here involves rice more than anything else. I don’t mind. I like rice. I was brought up eating rice.

My grandmother who used to live in our house taught me how to cook rice and until this day, I’m very proud to have learned that from her. I was never allowed to help my mother cook when I was small, but if grandma was cooking, I was allowed to help.

She would show me how much rice to put in the pan and exactly how to wash it. I took my task very seriously. She also showed me how much water should be in the pan before putting it on the fire and how exactly to cook it dry.

Now, there are a couple of things that are worth mentioning.

First, when cooking rice, you have to make sure you put enough water in. ‘Enough’, according to my grandmother (and this is a well known fact in the Asian culture, I imagine) is exactly one phalanx about the surface of the rice. I always wondered how that could be, since my phalanx was visibly smaller than my grandmother’s.

Second, I would tell her that I wasn’t done washing the rice. I loved having my hand in the water and feeling the kernels, massaging them slightly to clean out all the dirtiness. Now, much later, I understand that rinsing them once or twice is enough, but when I was young, I’d do this very thoroughly, and three times at least. It was the only task I was allowed to do and I’d do it well! I watched the water getting murky from the rice. And with every time I rinsed it, it got less murky. It was a wonderful process; put water in pan, massage the rice and play with it a bit getting your hands wet, watch the water and then rinse it. My grandmother must have had all the patience in the world…

I wonder how that changed. Nowadays, when I have a task, I want to do it efficiently. I want to succeed in it in as little time as possible with best results. How did I get there? When I was 8, it was natural to do a mindful job when rinsing rice. When did this change?

Is it because of all the things I’ve learned in all these years? Is it because I don’t find washing rice interesting anymore?

I don’t know. All I know is that I’m proud I learned this from my grandmother. And that, even 20 years later, I still learn something from it.

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I have written a guest post for a non profit organization called CultureSofa. You can check it and them out here:


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