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Posts Tagged ‘connectedness’

Some people seek knowledge. It might even drive them.

I know people who frequent wikipedia at least 10 times during a movie, looking up things they don’t know. I know people who get up in the morning and read up on something because they want to know more about it. I know people who level up on knowledge constantly and enjoy knowing stuff they are interested in.

I’m not like that. I enjoy learning about things. I enjoy broadening my skill set even more. But what I really seek, what really gets me up in the morning, is human connection.

I am driven by feeling connected with other human beings. Everything I do, be it smile to a random passer-by or ask a friend about what’s going on, is to enhance the feeling of connection with that other person.

I don’t want anything from you. I don’t have to rely on you. I just want to know you and try to understand what you’re about (note that I say ‘try’ here because I think it’s obviously an illusion to think you can fully know another human being)

This is why I love asking questions so much. It’s curiosity, nothing else. By asking questions, I hope to get answers. And those answers may be puzzle pieces to understanding you better. By gathering these puzzle pieces, it is easier to relate to you and thus easier to feel connected. I enjoy feeling this connection.

For the longest time, I didn’t know that this was not a universal thing. I was surprised when a friend told me the other day that he knows someone who does not seek to understand other people like I do.

I seek connection. I’m an addict for connection, really. I get upset when a connection seems to be severed (even temporarily) and I yearn for new connections constantly. That sounds a bit dramatic, but if everything I do is connected (no pun intended) to this, then it certainly is an important part of my life.

I am sure not all people work the same as me. I am sure other people have other things that drive them. This just tells me that asking questions comes naturally to me, and that I will always be interested in what anyone has to say. I even made this a large part of my work. I rarely meet anyone that I do not find interesting.

I guess I’m just really a people person.

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I think about people who are close to me a lot. Sometimes, someone I know would just pop into my head. And sometimes, it’s because I know something is going on in that person’s life.

I’ve made it a habit to also act on this. Some time ago, I decided it couldn’t hurt to let this person know that I’m thinking about him/her, so I made it into a habit to send a message, or call them up to let them know. And every now and then, my timing proved to be impeccable and that was just what that person needed, which is nice for me to hear.

Lately however, I’ve been learning a lesson about thinking. I feel like thinking is not always the best way to go, and I’m learning to be in a space where there’s more of ‘feeling’ and less of ‘thinking’. It is teaching me a bunch of stuff, including things about flow, intuition and success/failure.

Today it struck me. The sentence “I’m thinking of you” doesn’t ring right anymore. What I do when I do that, is go with my feeling to that other person, and from a distance be present with them. There is absolutely no thinking involved!

So this led me to think I want to rephrase that little line. What should it be? I’m feeling you? I feel you? I feel about you?

Or maybe just a simple: I’m here. With which I mean: I’m here with you, in the now, on that feeling-level.

Suggestions are welcome! Yes, please!

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And after a few weeks of not quite knowing, it all fell into place a couple of weeks ago: I knew what I was going to do.

Up until then, there was a vague idea, and a vague explanation. Now, it’s all so crystal clear. And that feels good!

This is what it is. I used the WHY, HOW, WHAT principle as was explained by Simon Sinek at a TedTalk. Watch it, it is pretty inspiring!

My WHY:

CONGRUENCY: I believe in the feeling that things fall into place. They feel right. They are supposed to be like this. Whether it’s quitting your job to start up your own company, finding a solution to a design problem or using a product for a specific purpose. All that should be congruent with everything else that is part of reality at that moment.
VALUE: I believe that everything I do should have value. I try to only do things that I think are valuable to me, the world and other people in the world.

My HOW:

NATURAL: I do this by turning things into something natural. Use of a product should be intuitive, easy, unobtrusive, effortless and supportive of the goals.
STORIES: I do this by listening to stories of real people. Every story is worth listening to, and is of value because you can learn from it. Feeling connected to others adds value to the process.
CREATIVE:I do this by being creative, by looking beyond the problem at hand and finding the solution beyond the ones that already exist.
SMALL: I do this by starting small and then spreading. I believe in an agile, flexible process that fits with what is really needed at that point in time. Doing lots of little things at a time and adjusting them has more value than doing one bulk of work with the possibility of getting it wrong. Without losing the overview of what is really important.

My WHAT:

USERS: I look at users
SITUATION: I look at the situation the user is in
NEEDS: I look at user’s needs, even the ones they don’t know they have
PROBLEMS: And then I solve problems to make things easier.
SPECIFIC: I do this for specific situations and target groups.

(I can hear you all ask: of WHAT exactly? I’m working on getting that clear right now)

I call myself the user’s advocate.

Pleased to meet you.

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I love this guy. His music not only makes me happy, he also says a lot of wise things! I wish there was a way to show him my gratitude for being an inspiration. Thanks to the modern world with all its ways of expressing your personal views, I get to read his blog posts and most of them never fail to conjure up a smile on my face. With writing these blog posts, mr. Mraz actually succeeds in making his audience feel close and connected. Bravo to him.

I hope you enjoy his post as much as I did. Some great new ways of viewing the world are packaged in his wonderful way with words. Enjoy!

Now Here’s Resolutions

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This has been a theme in my life the last couple of days. I’d like to share my thoughts with you and hope to hear your opinion!

A couple of years ago I promised myself to be true to my own wishes, when social things are involved. Every time I go somewhere or do something, I should check with myself whether I really WANT to do it, be it parties, birthdays, meetings, dinners, social gatherings, concerts, or other things, even things you have already paid for. It requires some discipline because saying no at the last moment is sometimes very difficult, but I think I’ve mostly mastered the concept. I always try to be honest about it and tell my friend that I’m not coming to her birthday party after all, because I really need to spend some time sitting on my own couch at home. This is sometimes tricky, but it is possible, although it requires having the courage to be imperfect. It works out most of the time. I haven’t lost any friends due to this behavior yet (maybe due to the fact that they know they can do it too), and it certainly works for me.

It is not until now that I understand why I find this so important.

The key word here is value. If I go somewhere, but rather had stayed home, the value of going there is less than it should be. My thoughts would be at home, and I may not enjoy myself as much as I could. (Another strategy is, of course, to get over yourself and go anyway, and have a good time, but sometimes I’m not able to get myself motivated enough to do that). If I act on my feeling and don’t go, the next time I really DO want to go somewhere has the correct amount of value simply because it is what I want. I have discovered that this lifestyle helps me to only do things that have value to me at that exact moment. And by doing that, the value somehow increases. It also helps me to distinguish between what I find important and what I find less important. And, I think, it helps others because they can rely on the fact that if I show up, I think it’s worth being there.

It has to do with living life to the fullest. And knowing what you want at that moment.

Of course, this does not let you off the hook for your sister’s wedding because you have a giant hangover. If you then choose to stay home to sleep it out, because that’s what you really want, I suggest you reconsider the value of those two possible actions. (But that’s just me.)

So. From this moment on, and you will all be my witnesses, I solemnly pledge that I will only do things that have value. (And here, things can be something small like commenting on Facebook, something in the middle like deciding to spend the weekend with my parents, or something big like moving house.) I’ll use this as a criterion for making conscious decisions and for knowing what I want. And, don’t worry, fun has value too!

This value can be defined on three different levels:

Value for myself: A friend of mine wrote a blogpost about how he makes a living doing what he loves. I also attempt to put time and effort in those things I love doing. I’m writing this blog post right now because I think it enhances my experience and I love feeling connected because it helps me accumulate all those things in my life I find worth thinking about and doing. To me, life is one big opportunity to gain experiences worth having, to find value in everything I do (no matter how small) and with that, enrich my life.

Value for others: I hope by being me, I can add value to other people’s lives. I like starting small, so this will show in helping out a friend, encouraging people in what they’re doing, showing gratitude, spreading positive thoughts, listening to people and try to add to their lives in whichever way I can. A smile here and there can’t hurt either. I hope I can be of value to other people’s lives, even though I don’t really know how. I think every person in the world is already doing this, just by existing. Thank you for being you is the biggest compliment you can give someone.

Value to the world: This I try to do in my work. I have certain things I believe in and want to make the world a better place by acting them out and maybe along the way, convincing people this is needed. Sometimes it feels like there is still a long way to go, but that doesn’t daunt me (ok, it does a bit, but I’m good at ignoring it).
I also do this by having volunteer work. It makes me feel I’m giving back.
Also, I try to avoid buying and doing things that may decrease the value of the world. And from now on, I’ll try donating to all those things, big or small, which I find valuable.

These different levels once again show my thoughts about starting small. By adding value for myself and sharing it, I hope it spreads to others I know, which I hope in turn might make the world a better place.

On a professional level, this is why value-based-pricing (waardebepaling achteraf) is my model for any work I do or any service I provide. It matches my thoughts and opinions. I’ll give you something, you decide what you think its value is and give me something in return. It is as simple as that. And I’d very much like to live in a world in which that works.

So. I hope this blog post (and as a matter of fact, the whole blog) is of value to you. I know it is of value to me because it facilitates me to express myself and share with others. And hopefully, it adds value to the world.

Add your own value by letting me know your thoughts on the subject!

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I recently made a tentative attempt to describe a phenomenon that I consider important in my life. For now, I will call this phenomenon ‘feeling connected’.

It is the bubbles I feel in my body when I’m having a conversation with someone I don’t know about something that makes me really enthusiastic.

It is the look you give your best friend when you are both at a party and she is at the other side of the room, but you both know in that moment that you are having fun together.

It is the warmth you feel and share while having a quiet evening at home with your partner, lying on the couch.

It is the moment in which you realize you’re enjoying your friends company while he or she is talking to you.

It is the sharing and relating to someone else’s words when he or she tells me his vision on life and everything.

All these things come down to the same thing: a feeling of being connected to another.

These moments of connection are important to me. I’m a social being and I need people surrounding me, but I also need to feel connected to them in a way. Without it, we may just be strangers living our own lives, not caring.

I think (and please feel free to pin this down more) that this feeling has to do with three things.

– attention
– importance
– the Now

To achieve this connectedness, both parties have to give each other an equal amount of attention. If not, one of them may come across as disinterested or the other’s efforts might feel futile. No connection there.

Both parties should also extract a certain equal amount of importance from the moment. Otherwise the value of the moment differs per person and the feeling of connectedness may not be there.

And, as I’ve heard so many times before, it has to do with being there, now, in the moment. This is the reason why I find it difficult to feel connected just by getting ‘comments’ or ‘likes’ on Facebook (no matter how big a fan of Social Media I am!). Mail is also hard, it seems to take much more effort. Chat, on the other hand, can make me feel connected even at great distances, because it’s instantaneous.

A very big thank you to all those people in my life with whom I share these moments of connection. I enjoy and cherish every one of these moments. I know I have my own quirks, so I realize time and time again how much of a miracle that is. And I am grateful for that!

Later I found this article on raptitude.com about the same thing, but written from a different angle. Take a look!

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