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Posts Tagged ‘start small’

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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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 have never been the person to want to stop hunger in Africa, or save all the rain forests. Somehow I never felt like I would be enough. This never stopped me from thinking I could change the world, though. I could change my own little world. And has always been enough for me.

I’d like to believe that a person, however small, can have a large effect on the world surrounding him. This is why I always try to make the tiny world that surrounds me a bit better. If you believe that positive things will spread, imagine how big your influence can be just by reaching those closest to you.

I like thinking about it like a drop falling in a pond. It’s just one drop, but the circles it initiates grow larger and larger. After reading this post, you might want to read the haiku’s I wrote about the same subject.

A couple of examples of how I try to do this:

– Every time I find myself walking on the sidewalk, I play a little game. Whenever I meet people walking in the opposite direction, I try to make eye contact and smile. When they smile back, I won, and I conjured a smile upon a stranger’s face, which is a reward in itself. I think it is important to make other people smile, even though you don’t know them. Everybody has a right to some kindness. And I believe smiles can make the world a better place. A smile in itself is already worth it.

– I once spent half an hour in the cold giving random people compliments. And I’m planning to do it more often. I recommend it to everyone. Everybody feels good after a genuine compliment. You can read about my experience here.

– My mother-in-law had a really good example of how you can change the world just by yourself. She gets coffee at the same coffee place every time and always thinks it’s a waste to get a new cup every time she gets coffee there. So she started asking them to refill the cup she already had. At first the people there looked at her in a funny way and asked whether she was sure about this. But last week, something happened. One of the guys asked her why she was doing this. After her explanation, he asked her whether she would consider buying one of those reusable cups if he would sell  them in his store. She said yes. And he ordered them right there and then.
I love this example because she did not try to force anyone to do anything, but it still happened, just because she kept close to who she wanted to be. Big yay for her!

I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that small things might just spread. Start small, think big. Like that, we can all change the world just by being who we are, through the simple concept of the tendency for good things to spread.

If you feel compelled to try it yourself, the following link will inspire you to do one random act of kindness every day. I think it’s a very good idea:

What is your way of making the world a better place?

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This is how I see my role in the world. Start small and hope to affect others. A smile is all you need!

A drop in a pond
Small disturbance, large effect
It will change the world

A smile on a face
Unexpected, hope it spreads
It will change the world

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