Wisdom and passion

Oktober 30th, 2014

Did we choose our goals wisely? Our priorities? Our field of study?
Our lead models? Our jobs? Our hobbies? Our environment?
Are our beliefs really our beliefs?

In this context, it is important to note that it is not enough to
know what we don’t want. We often “choose“ something only because
we don’t wan’t something else. I’ve seen that in politics quite often, when
people only vote for one party, because they hate the other party. Far from
solving any problems, this attitude merely delays the disappointment.
Finding out what we really want is therefore essential.

And are we truly passionate about these things? People are not born
with a passion, but many will fail to grow one, which is truly their own.
It’s also worth remembering that just because we have been doing
something for ages doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re passionate about it.

Passion leads to active engagement, taking a personal interest and assuming
responsibility. Doing becomes part of the satisfaction. Or, in the words of
Albert Einstein: “The value of the achievement lies in the achieving.“

This requires that society “de-stigmatizes“ certain jobs.
But we are society, are we not?

For example, as a house owner, I can assure you that I would
pick a great plumber over a mediocre lawyer anytime.

Without passion, the only satisfaction comes – if at all – with the remuneration.
As mentioned in an earlier post, commercializing everything just doesn’t work.

To be continued …

Make up your own mind – part 3

Oktober 30th, 2014

“Trust and belief are two prime considerations. You must not allow
yourself to be opinionated. You must say “Wait. Let me see“.
And above all, you must be honest with yourself.“
(James Dean, actor)

Dual use technology

Oktober 29th, 2014

The other day I wrote a post about the abuse of technology

I also found this interesting piece written by Nick Leiber in BusinessWeek
the other day: Use drones to make peace, not war

Through some great examples, he supports one of my arguments:
Technology in itself is not necessarily the problem,
it’s how humans use or misuse it.

Make up your own mind – part 2

Oktober 29th, 2014

Admittedly, making up our own minds is a formidable challenge for brains
wired a long time ago and running on autopilot 85% (!) of the time.

There are many dumb things we can do in our lives, but lying to ourselves
is probably one of the dumbest. We must open our minds and our
hearts to honestly question the wisdom of our past decisions,
our resulting daily routines as well as our alleged likes and
dislikes. Just remember the philosopher Socrates:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.“

Or, as the designer Dieter Rams once proposed in a different context:
“Question everything generally thought to be obvious.“

This can be a difficult process, especially if one has been brought up
in an authoritarian manner. I was by the way, so I know what I’m
talking about. Authoritarian people usually don’t give advice,
they issue instructions, which are not to be questioned.

It took me a while to break free, to trust myself and my own
judgement. Once I had “un-conditioned“ myself, I realized
that comfort zones aren’t really comfortable at all.

Many people simply talk themselves into believing that for as long
as they do as they’re being told, they won’t have to accept
any responsibility for their actions and non-actions.

Ever notice, how people try to put all the blame on one person alone,
namely the dictator, but only once the dictatorship has been brought down?

To be continued …

A dog named Camus

Oktober 28th, 2014

When I was young, we had a dog, a boxer. His name was Camus, named
after the Cognac, not the author, but that is a different story.

Camus was a smart dog and very discerning as well. For example, he hated peas.
From time to time, we’d put a few in his food, just to see what would happen.
Guess what? Camus found each and every pea, but he didn’t just leave
them in his feeding bowl. No, he spat out every single one.
A sign of contempt, I guess.

They say that boxers are strong-willed dogs.
Well, Camus certainly did have a mind of his own.

And just like Camus, we shouldn’t accept everything put in front of us.

To be continued …

Don’t be trapped by dogma

Oktober 28th, 2014

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the result of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.“
(Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and inventor)

Make up your own mind – part 1

Oktober 27th, 2014

“I didn’t know“ or “Nobody told me“ are such lame excuses.
We can’t count on automatically receiving relevant and
correct information, we must actively gather and analyze it.

Taking the time to check the facts is a good investment,
because there is a lot of propaganda out there, which
spreads very quickly nowadays thanks to the Internet.

Remember what the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said:
“Reading is thinking with someone else’s head instead of one’s own.“

Not only that, but we’re being bombarded with “information“.
This overflow results in organizing rather than processing,
which is definitely not in our interest.

And we are also starting to learn that these wonderful
digital “helpers“ are prone to manipulation as well.

We are therefore well advised to make up our own minds,
because if we don’t, someone else will. If she hasn’t already, that is.

To be continued …

Sapere aude

Oktober 26th, 2014

Some 230 years ago, in 1784, Immanuel Kant wrote his famous essay
“What is Enlightenment“.

He defines Enlightenment as the emergence from
our – often self-imposed – immaturity, immaturity being the inability
to use our own understanding without being led by others. Kant adds that
relying on others is often only due to our own indecisiveness and lack of courage.
His answer is “Have the courage to use your own understanding“.
“Sapere aude“ is Immanuel Kant’s motto of the Enlightenment.

Today, we need another Enlightenment, but not one led by technology.
We need an Enlightenment led by us, the people:
Lateral thinkers, determined rebels and courageous radicals.
We could also describe it as an intellectual version of
BYOB – “Bring Your Own Brain“.

Why do we always want to influence, why not enlighten?
Purpose changes tonality and tonality changes the effect.

To be continued …

Chasing trends

Oktober 25th, 2014

One trend chases the next. The shelf life for trends, products,
services and business models is decreasing continuously. Hence
the shelf life for skills goes down as well, as does the one for the
experience and authority traditionally derived from it.

Assets can quickly morph into liabilities these days.

This incidentally, is quite a challenge for modern leadership.
Here is some pragmatic advice from the Sioux:
“When your horse is dead, dismount.“

And what about truth? Does it have a shelf life
in today’s rapidly changing world as well?
And what about ethics and values?
Do they have a shelf life?
Says who?

To be continued …

Protection against reality

Oktober 25th, 2014

“Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized
codes of expression and conduct have the socially
recognized function of protecting us against reality.“
(Hannah Arendt, political theorist)