I used to say: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”. It was a coping mechanism that I don’t fully support anymore. It tells you to want something, be attached to the outcome, and if you don’t get what you want, force yourself not to be sad about it. I don’t see the truth in this anymore. I deal with things differently now.

I’ve been talking a lot about not attaching to outcomes. I think it’s good to want something, but not to be attached to the outcome. But I’ve also found it very hard not to be attached to an outcome. If you want something, it’s natural to think about what the outcome could be like. And just thinking about outcomes will gently and very easily nudge you into the direction of being attached to a certain outcome. So what to do?

I don’t know the answer to that question. Permitting yourself to make mistakes might be part of it. Accepting a different outcome than the ones you anticipated, in whichever way, is another. But then, is it really such a bad thing to hope for the best? (I really don’t like the negativity of the ‘expect the worst’ part anymore.)

Today a friend got me thinking about the difference between hope and faith. For some time now, I have felt like hope does not help me anymore, whereas faith has helped me and continues to help through my life. It has always been with me, and has only grown in the past couple of years. This friend asked me what I thought the difference was between the two things.

I thought for a while and the answer I came up with surprised me in its simplicity. They both voice an anticipating to a certain outcome, without attaching oneself to it. But with hope, the underlying sentiment is uncertainty. And with faith, it is certainty.

With certainty comes confidence. And with confidence comes positivity. And with positivity good things come your way. I feel like this might be part of a bigger question yet unasked. To be continued.


The Roles Roles Play

This weekend I decided to do something a bit differently than I normally do, just to see what I would gain from it. I purposefully changed my perspective, to see what I would learn from it.

I’ve been a mentor for a couple of times at this event called Evolv now. At Evolv we teach people who are interested in being an entrepreneur about the Lean Startup Methodology. I won’t go into what that is – because that’s more a topic for my business blog – but I will tell you that this time, I really wanted to be a participant, and not a mentor.

Doing my work as a coach in part of this methodology, I had encountered a couple of interactions with clients that made me realize that I did not know enough about what you’re going through when you go through this process. And it was in my opinion that I needed this experience to be able to coach people better in the process. So it was decided. I was going to be a participant, and not a coach, at this edition of Evolv Weekend. To learn more about Lean Startup myself, and also to experience what it would be like in the role of participant.

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Friend: Tomorrow I will have a talk at work. Maybe my CEO will be there too.

Me: Would you like him present?

I am so prejudiced… 😦

(But I guess it’s more about being aware of that yourself than anything else… I don’t believe it is possible to purge yourself of every prejudice, since they are a natural side effect of having experiences. And isn’t that what life is about? Having experiences and choosing how to (re)act on those experiences?)

Today I had a good experience; apparently I learned something without actively pursuing it, which is — to state it lightly — a new experience for me.

I was in a compliment-avalanche with someone I had just met that day (don’t ask, it came quite naturally, really 🙂 ) and at a certain moment, after he had done something that had required some gathering up courage and pushing oneself across a threshold, I complimented him on his win.

He looked at me and I saw him skip the compliment to proceed to the next topic, moment, feeling or whatever it was that occurred at that moment. I decided this was a guy that can handle the remarks that I sometimes can’t help making, so I stopped him and said: “Wait. Hold on. First accept the compliment.”

He stopped, looked at me, and said (I’m paraphrasing, but it was something in line of): “That’s funny. I had realized you were doing that earlier. You take a moment to accept a compliment and then you go on.”

Now, this in itself, although it is a very nice interaction, is cool. But what was even cooler was that I had decided quite some time ago, that I wanted to take a moment to accept a compliment when someone would give me one, without shame, without excuses, without anything other than let it be and accept it. (I could go on that in our times it’s not normal to just accept compliments, but I’ll leave it for now).

The point is, that even without actively TRYING, I somehow managed to internalize that. 0.0. I didn’t even know I was doing that and I just did. Never knew I was capable of learning things without being overly conscious of it! I like how I can still surprise myself after all those years :).

This is how I would like to react when later, I grow up and have children, whenever they come to me with a problem or situation.

– What are the things you can do about it?
– What could I do to help?
– It’ll be ok, baby.

It could be my standard palette of reactions, which will undoubtedly annoy them beyond crazy :).
But I think these reactions are very helpful because of the following reasons:

What are the things you can do about it?: This helps to empower someone to think for himself and solve their own problem. It also encourages discovering what’s within one’s circle of control. and what isn’t.
What can I do to help?: This shows that you are not alone, and there are other people willing to help you. It also gives the person the responsibility to state what he needs, instead of me making assumptions about what he needs.
It’ll be ok, baby (Komt wel goed, schatje): Sometimes people just need to vent. After they’ve done so, this is the only response I can think of. They don’t need help, they don’t need to do anything about the situation, but they just want someone to listen to them so they feel understood. It could help them accept the situation.

All of the presumed benefits stated above are things that I would like to teach my children, encourage them in, or support them in. Of course, all of the above can also be beneficial in interactions with other people.

Do you agree with me on this? Are there more initial reactions that you find valuable?

To other people, I look like a busy bee.

I always have something to do, I’m always doing at least 5 projects at the same time, I have a zillion hobbies, all of which I seem to pursue, and I have a lot of appointments.

Beneath that surface, though, is a life that is actually pretty comfortable. Yes, I work hard (most of the time) and yes, there are times that I am more on the move than at home. But quite often, I have a lazy evening on the couch almost every day of the week.

I think it’s all about setting priorities. No matter how big my to do list, if a friend needs my help or a listening ear, I will gladly provide him/her with it. It’s just more important in my life. Work can wait.

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Finders Seekers

Today I woke up wondering about the difference between finders and seekers.

Lately, I’ve been finding. I’ve been finding a lot of things, I’ve been at the right place at the right moment and I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in places that I’ve been imagining for a long time. I feel blessed to consider myself one of those people that seem to have found their place in the world. I know what you might be thinking, but you can’t create unless you find some fundament to build on.

Some of my close friends are seekers. They seem to be looking for something that is just beyond their reach and as a result, sometimes get frustrated with not finding what they’re looking for.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this is a personal trait. I have my times in which I’m searching, seeking and not finding what I need. I’m just really interested in what the difference is between the two situations.

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