We Change

January 6, 2010

“Things do not change, we change.”

– Henry David Thoreau –

What if I would invite you to a “Walden”-vacation, where you recreate Thoreau’s world famous 19th century retreat? You’d have to survive without your mobile, computer, internet, tv, car, Twitter and to make it worse also without electricity or indoor plumbing (sic!). Of course, you’d be carrying your own luggage, preferably a backpack. The planned excursions include starting a camp fire, sleeping in a tent, enjoying the beautiful scenery around you, getting closer to nature, creating friendships for life, contemplating on your life, setting up an action plan and doing nothing. Also enjoying the silence is an all-time favorite! 🙂

Would you sign up? Thoreau did. And he enjoyed it. When I walked my camino to Spain, I enjoyed it too! I came a lot closer to nature those days.

Anyway, all this to tell you that Thoreau longed to simplify his life, free himself from distraction and find more meaning in life. He believed that by changing his environment, he would change something inside of him. A couple of weeks ago I changed my environment also. And it worked! More flow, more results and I started 2010 as a happy camper 🙂

As you know, we sold our house and we’ll change our environment again. I am looking forward to it!

So, are you ready to simplify your life? What are your next steps to change your environment?

ICD Scraper

January 4, 2010

In this blog I’ll explain you the link between Windows 95 and deicing my car.

It’s wintertime. Fun with snow and ice. Yeah! Unless you need to use your car and it is covered in ice and/or snow. Ice scraping!

Of course, when you don’t need stuff, you give it away or sell it or place it somewhere else. I have placed my ice scraper so well, that I don’t recall where it is. Yes, very handy in these winter conditions. 🙂

So, I came up with a Genius Shortcut for this situation. What happens if you don’t have an ice scraper? I took out an old cd, which happens to be one of my Windows 95 licenses. I don’t use it anymore, so I started to use it as an ice scraper. I must confess, it worked perfectly well! Of course, I used it upside down, so if it gets scratched, it’s only on the printed side, but it didn’t.

The cd (and you can use any (old) cd or dvd) is still usable if I want to. On top of that, I invented a new word : the ICD Scraper (eye-sea-dee scraper), it’s simply a cd that is being used as an ice scraper.

So, enjoy ice scraping next time with an ICD Scraper instead 🙂

image source : http://ow.ly/SA90

Slow Down

January 3, 2010

“Our culture puts a premium on speed, deifying this notion that faster is better, that you must fill every single moment with activity. There’s a powerful taboo that makes “slow” a dirty word. In this hyped-up world, we need to keep an eye on our personal speedometers – it’s very easy to do things fast just because everything else around you is going fast, without even considering whether or not it makes sense.”

– Carl Honoré –

I agree with him we are living in a world of speed. Also with my Genius Shortcuts and lifehacking fun I am speeding up activities, skills and results. This is what most people are looking for, besides a meaning in life, but that’s a different story 🙂 So, yes, I like speed. Why? Because it creates more time to have fun. More time to relax. If a boring activity takes me 4 hours, why would I be bored for 4 hours? What if I can do it in 1 hour with maintaining the quality of the results? I have 3 hours to slow down or do something else what is important to me. What’s the point in being frustrated for another 3 hours? None!

This also means that I certainly see the value of slowing down. With my focus on simplicity, finding the Genius Shortcuts and improving the fun we have, I know I am speeding up most of  (all?) the time. And I like it, because it brings so much joy and fulfillment. And did I mention the extra time? Right, to do whatever we like with it…This means slowing down tremendously! So, indeed, Carl is right when he talks about the impact of speed. He sees it from the pressure people are putting themselves under to get more and more. The difference is that most people never take time to slow down! Indeed not the right way to go…

Carl also talks about slowing down because of the impact on others and on our own body and mind. When he speedreads a bed-time story to his kids, even skipping a couple of paragraphs, we all agree that the most relaxing part of the day for his kids is hurried up by him. They know the stories inside out and question him about certain details in these stories, like “What happened to Grumpy?” If you only talk about 3 instead of 7 dwarfs in Snow White 🙂

You can see how this became a wake-up call for him. And again, he was rushing too much instead of slowing down and take time for this  intimate and tender moment with his kids. So, he decided to change all that. He went on a business trip soon afterward. During that flight the first thing he did was doing nothing. Just sitting there and do nothing. Thinking about it, “wasting” time to reflect. By the time he got of that plane, he decided to take action and do something about it. He came up with 2 questions :

1. How do we get so fast?

2. Is it possible or desirable to slow down?

I’d answer the first question with my Genius Shortcuts.  Finding simple tricks that speed up the process and get the results faster. This means you can choose what to do with that extra time you’ve created. My choice is easy : more fun, more time to slow down and enjoy life. And that answers his second question. For me it is desirable to slow down. In fact it is a prerequisite to enjoy more!

By slowing down at the right moments we eat better, get healthier,  have more fun, are more relaxed and we get things better done. We work better and get better results, in fact a better life. How surprisingly 🙂

You see how Carl and I are on the same wavelength here. To give you an even better perspective, have a look at his inspirational talk at TED. Enjoy it and take some time out to watch it fully!

After watching this, what action(s) are you going to take to slow down? Let us know… and take your time 🙂