Tag: helping others

Sunday Column (401)

andre agassi

I am reading Andre Agassi’s biography. It is a good read and in one of the chapters this week he said that when he finally ranked number one, he didn’t care. If I say he didn’t care, what he meant is that he had to tell himself to be happy. Inside it didn’t bother him too much to have achieved such a a fundamental milestone.

From my perspective I understand that. I like to win. Be on the top. Be the one people look up to. Of course, most people would enjoy that. Now I don’t do that for my benefit. My motivation is for others. I am motivated by helping others to succeed and others to progress. Whilst this usually follows with the succession and progress for myself, this isn’t the main reason I am doing it. So if Andre got a nice ranking, and people wanted him to achieve that, then this is for others, not for oneself. His motivation to win is different. I get that. And people get motivated in different ways.

My first week back to work. My first week after the long summer. Summer has been great this year, compared to the last few years, and I truly enjoyed some downtime too. And we had some amazing family time this year. This week it was good to be back. It was busy, good busy, and yet it takes time to find my feet and get things going. I am trying hard, I am enjoying it.

star wars

Last weekend we started watching Star Wars. Most people don’t believe I never watched it before, and watching a movie that is now 40 years old was amazing. I genuinely enjoyed it and we will continue the sequel over the next few weeks. Also I started watching ‘The Americans’, a TV show about Russian spies that have been part of the US society for many years. It is a fascinating watch and takes place in a time I grew up in, with the Cold War and everything. It is great to see how much has changed for the better over the years. Yet with Brexit looming, they say that they expect 140 years worth of applications for residence permits in the UK in the next 12 months. Wow. I will be one of them, as I intent to stay and therefore will go through the process of naturalisation. On the other hand I have been speaking to a lot of British nationals that are keen on getting a EU passport to have the chance to leave. Europe, the world, is changing. Let’s wait how the US elections will turn out later this year. Part of me is scared.

We also went rock pooling last weekend. I have never done that before so it was a lot of fun. We found shrimps and fish, caught some not others. We had ice cream and the kids went for a swim in the sea. Contentment. Happiness. What else could you ask for in life. It is the end of summer but I have the feeling the kids really enjoyed it and got a lot of positive experiences and memories out of it. This weekend feels like autumn already. The hanging baskets are coming down. Memories, that’s the main thing. For them it was another summer, new things to explore, doing more of the things they enjoy. I tried to wean them with new food, like cheesy garlicky bread or charcuterie, even Frikadellen. But never mind, they eventually will explore more.


So with summer over, a new beginning at work, it seems like a new beginning overall. I am relatively content. I enjoy my life at the moment. This might change, with the wife going back to work, my work to pick up more towards Christmas, and other changes and hurdles to come our way. I treated myself to new noise cancellation headphones. I can’t even hear myself typing anymore, can connect them to the phone and the laptop at the same time and they are wireless. With Apple’s anticipated new phone not having a headphone jack anymore, things change. And I wanted to go wireless for a while.

I finally decided on a design for my illustrations in my book, using Fiverr. I used the platform before for a logo, but not sure I made the right choice this time. The discussions going back and forth. I guess I see when it has been delivered as a final version. So I am progressing on a few fronts, however the first designer has cancelled their order, full refund 🙁 Shame. I persevere.

Lastly, I listened to a podcast this week quoting ‘Discipline is freedom’. Allegedly an old war poster from the states, this quote, again, makes a lot of sense to me. Any (useful and good) habit you have, will free up your time to think, work, do things you enjoy. Essentially by being disciplined and sticking to routines and habits, you are having less time at which you are pottering around organising yourself. As David Allen says, ‘I am lazy, hence I organise myself in order to spend less time looking for things’. I am the same. I like my routines, my habits and workflows to free up time, thinking space and allow for growth to happen. And yes, I am still growing. Whilst hopefully not vertically or horizontally, my mind should continue to grow and expand. Let me make sure to challenge it daily.

That’s all for this week, have a fantastic one.

Sunday Column (249)

Hello all,

In all honesty, I am not sure what to write this week. My cold is still not better, actually worse again end of week with temperature and all. The kids aren’t well, we just don’t seem to be able to shake off those winter bugs.

But we are well. In comparison at least. I have been thinking about things. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are better off than most people in this world. A friend was diagnosed with cancer, another has cancer in his family, another is on holidays at a fancy destination and my friend who is depressive and I should really catch up….f@ he’ll. No offence guys, what’s happening?

I guess I have a big heart, I love and want to help everyone. Above isn’t meant to be complaining, no it is to give you, as a reader, the insight into my emotional life. Balancing that with the ongoing search for happiness, constant push to outperform at work…life can be daunting, couldn’t it?

But it isn’t. Life is actually darn good! I have a roof over my head, food on the table and an amazing wife which I absolutely love. My rock, my balancing weight, my support, my benchmark, my fun, my life really. I am a very dedicated family man, love my wife and kids to bits and this is and will always be my main focus. No matter what, no compromise.

But because my wife is as great as she is, I started dedicating so much time to others. Helping others is such a great part of my life. I might actually step this up a notch soon too. I just was voted assistant secretary in my Rotary Club for next year. Not the biggest move, yet a big part of what I believe in: helping others, raising funds for others and making other people’s life a bit better.

There is no place like home they say. There is no place like being able to give beyond your means, not from a financial but involvement point of view. No greater gift than lying in bed at night thinking how, if small, you have improved someone’s life. For me this is the greatest inner satisfaction.


Just whilst typing these sentences I look around. I am on a train yet again, listening to Newton Faulkner (that might explain my sentimental outlook this week). Couples kissing, sitting next to each other smiling, people hanging on to their thoughts, looking like they are stressed, reading the paper or trying to frantically getting reception on their phone.

Yes, they all have their own story, life, death. Their own parcel to carry, their own burden.

You know what I did this week? I still had holidays to take this year and all my meetings for Friday got postponed. So I took that day off. I took the kids to school, went I to town for a lunch with a close friend who I admittedly didn’t spend enough time with over the past few months, and I just enjoyed myself, wandering around the shops, chilling out. Uninterrupted “me time”. I let go and had fun, just in time to be home for bath time. I loved it. I was beaming. I needed it.

I guess this post is very reflective, on my emotional state, and my thoughts on what’s happening in this world. The year draws to a close, I reflect. This year has been an up and down but overall it is up. As always, I see the positive in small things, and I am a very positive person!

Not long till Christmas now. Have a great last week. I cannot wait for the kids’ nativity plays and hugs, kisses and stories from them. Life is great. And you, my friends, the ones I mentioned initially, you will be fine. I will help where I can.

Buddha bless,

Buddhist Thoughts – Incoming

A man was rowing his boat upstream on a very misty morning. Suddenly, he saw another boat coming downstream, not trying to avoid him. It was coming straight at him. He shouted, “Be careful! Be careful!” but the boat came right into him, and his boat was almost sunk. The man became very angry, and began to shout at the other person, to give him a piece of his mind. But when he looked closely, he saw that there was no one in the other boat. It turned out that the boat just got loose and went downstream. All his angel vanished, and he laughed and he laughed.

– Thich Nhat Nanh, “Being Peace”

Isn’t that a funny story? I think it is fantastic.

How often, if you take a few minutes to think about it, are you just waiting for someone to come towards you. And you let them hit you, so you can be angry at them.

Think about it.

I often happen to think that if someone squeezes in the seat next to me on the train and sits half on my lap. Or someone pushing you aside in the tube. Aren’t we all waiting for these moments to get rid of our anger?

This has nothing to do with the situation or the person. It has only to do with you.

Find those moments and change your thinking. Change the way you react. Avoid the boat instead or use its energy to your advantage. Help the boat to get by without damaging your boat or path. Change the situation by changing your attitude and the way you react to it.

You will see, you become a happier, more satisfied person.

Buddha bless.