Who Are You Really?


 

Abstract:
 

All right, this is a philosophical question that’s as old as humanity. I want to look at it from a real-life perspective, because most people run around not actually knowing who they are.
 

If you ask someone: “Who are you really?”, most people will respond by talking about their family or their job. But these things are just life circumstances (and they can change).
 

Your mission today is to re-write your story.
 
 

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Task 1: What does and doesn’t define you

 

I’ve already mentioned that other people can never be who you are. Being a mother or a spouse is a role, it’s not you. You can, however, be a loving person!
 

Your job or what you do doesn’t define you either. Roles can change, your actions can change.
 

In fact, who you are is defined entirely by two things:

  1. Certain talents and natural abilities you were born with
  2. Your story

This second point seems arbitrary at first. You could tell any story, right? The point is: You don’t. In fact, it doesn’t get more you than what you take as truth about yourself. It shapes who you are.
 

who are you

Photo by Aaron Burden on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Who are you?

 

The beauty of this is that once you’re aware of this, you have the ability to change your story. The same kind of situation in life might lead you to completely different, even contradictory conclusions.
 

Dig a little. What stories do you tell yourself (and others) about yourself? Are there parts that might serve you better if you interpreted them differently? Mind you, this isn’t about making things up or denying the truth. It’s about seeing what’s there and finding a meaning in it that’s in accordance with the person you want to be.
 

Because in the end, you choose who you are. It’s a huge responsibility, but it also means the greatest freedom once you realise this.

The “Do Nothing For 10 Minutes” Challenge


 

Abstract:
 

I feel the need to raise the alarm: We as a society are losing the ability to be idle.
 

I’ve spoken about the ideal of being busy before, but what I mean here is not actual work, but rather being occupied (or preoccupied). It’s about listening to news or staring at our phones whenever we have a minute. Our minds, constantly bombarded with stimuli, can’t cope, and it makes us stressed, tense, and ultimately, sick.
 

Your challenge today is to spend 10 minutes doing nothing.
 
 

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Task 1: Identify your distraction points

 

For me, it’s being at home. I sit in front of the computer most of the day, and I find myself still at the computer when I’ve nothing to do, scrolling through social media. It’s terrible!
 

Others have to have the TV on or the radio blaring in the background. Waiting rooms, bus stops, cafes, public transport – they listen to music and/or stare a their phones or tablets.
 

Find out when you’re most in danger to use “fillers” such as your phone or the TV, or even a good old-fashioned magazine. Make a note of them.
 

do nothing
 

Task 2: Do nothing for 10 minutes

 

This isn’t a once-off – the challenge is to do nothing for 10 minutes every day for at least one week. Are you up for it?
 

Here’s what defines “doing nothing”:

  • no music/TV/videos/podcasts on
  • not doing anything with your hands (such as knitting)
  • no meditating or napping
  • no reading

Sit in a quiet place. Imagine the old farmer on the bench outside his house or a romantic image of a girl in a window seat. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing. Notice how you feel.
 

As a bonus, try and extend this newly learned ability to public spaces. Resist your phone at the aforementioned bus stop or if you’re in a cafe on your own. Look around, do some people watching instead. Your mind and your mood will benefit.

Use This Pause For Breath Before Returning To Normal


 

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Abstract (video content):
 

Many countries are starting to relax the protective measures. People can’t wait to get back to school, to work, to normal life.
 

Of course there are good reasons for that: Many people have their children at home whilst trying to work, some may struggle with a loss of income. But mostly, we’re antsy and don’t want to be locked up anymore. I’m definitely one of those people!
 

How about we regard this forced pause as an opoortunity? Your mission today is to learn how to make the most out of the current situation.
 
 

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Task 1: The calm before the storm

 

We can’t wait to get back to a resemblance of normality, but what if we decided to enjoy the wait instead? Regard this as the last few days of a holiday or extended leave. Let your children off the hook and allow them to play. Relax your expectations regarding a dust-free house.
 

Instead of scrambling to get ready, how about having some good old-fashioned fun? Play board games. Go for extended walks (just keep a distance to others!). Turn off the TV and talk to each other. Have a fondue or raclette dinner with the whole family. Read if you’re on your own.
 

pause for breath

Photo by Angela Pham on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Pause for breath

 

This pause for breath is an opportunity to evaluate your life. What’s actually worth rushing back to? Do you still want the normality you had before? Maybe it’s time to ask yourself some deep questions. Take some time and write down your anwers.
 

  1. What are the most important things in your life?
  2. What can’t you live without?
  3. Also, what are your passions? What makes you happy?
  4. What are you willing to put up with in order to have 1), 2), and 3)?

 

Consider your answers when you plan on re-starting “normal”. This is the perfect time to create a “normal” you actually love.

Regain Control In The Current Madness


 

Abstract:
 

Our current life is one big exception from the rule. Most of us are in isolation, work from home or not at all, schools are closed, we don’t know when and how things are going to change. Underlying is a feeling of insecurity, of loss of control.
 

It’s an unsettling feeling, but you don’t have to just endure it. Your mission today is to learn how to re-gain control.
 
 

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Task 1: Relax, nothing is under control

 

You’ve probably heard that saying before! It never fails to make me smile. The truth is that we’re no less in control than we have ever been. There has never been any guarantee: Of a job, of health, money, relationships, etc.
 

The issue is that now these facts are so in our faces that we can’t possibly ignore them anymore. What if we chose to see this as an opportunity to come to grips with reality as it is, rather than what we think it should be?
 
 

Task 2: What you can influence

 

Stephen Covey differentiated between our circle of interest and our circle of control. The circle of interest is anything we’re interested in but have no control over. Covey stated that if we focus too much on these things, we feel powerless and unhappy.
 

You may have noticed that what’s currently on our minds, is almost 100% in our circle of interest. No wonder we’re anxious and sad!
 

What we need to do is gently steer our focus back to what we can control, our “circle of influence”. That’s basically ourselves and how we react to things.
 

control

Photo by Free-Photos on pixabay.com


 

Task 3: Take back control

 

Exercise the control you have. A few suggestions:

  • Allow your emotions. All of them.
  • Let go of the expectation to cope and be on top of everything.
  • Double your self care.
  • Pursue your passion. A lot.
  • Create a life you’ll love to return to.

The New Loneliness (filmed before the COVID-19 crisis)


 

I created this video about six weeks ago, when there were no cases of COVID-19 in my country yet. Re-watching it, I wondered if I should even post it, but it seems strangely relevant, especially the part about the “new loneliness” coming to bite us in the backside once something happens. I hope this will help you (re-)connect with others.
 

Be safe and stay healthy.
 

Abstract:
 

One of the best-kept secrets of our time is what I call the new loneliness. It’s a secret because on the outside, we have more “friends” than ever: connections on social media, “followers” and the like. What we’re missing is actual human connection.
 

What’s this got to do with passions and purpose? A lot. Other humans inspire, help, and unlift us, and connection is a basic need we need to fulfill in order to focus on our passion(s).
 

Your mission is to restore the balance in your life.
 
 

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Task 1: Are you lonely?

 

The change happened so quickly and thoroughly, we have trouble remembering what it was like before. That’s why it’s so hard to recognise whether you’re actually isolated in the midst of all that networking.
 

I’m old enough to remember a time before the internet and even mobile phones. Information was a lot harder to find, so I for one am grateful for modern technology. But I also remember we used to talk. Not chat, not text. Talk.
 

Be honest with yourself: How much meaningful human contact do you have outside your immediate family? How often do you hug your friends? When something amazing happens, what do you do first – post it to social media or pick up the phone to call your bestie?
 

Loneliness

Photo by Thought Catalog on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Restoring connection

 

When I suggest to a client that they seek out like-minded people, or get help with the household to make time, they often resist. People no longer relate to others in a deep personal way. This manifests as loneliness, expecially when things aren’t going well.
 

Barbara Sher has a great way of bringing people together. I suggest you do the same: Set up a neighbourhood group, or invite your friends to dinner and then start an actually meaningful conversation over dessert. Reduce your online time. Make a point of meeting people face-to-face at least twice a week.
 

It requires a conscious effort, but it’s worth it.