Waking Up

August 31, 2011

The feeling of “waking up” is probably one of the most under-appreciated moments in our lives. Why? Because in those moments of waking up, you feel most likely still (a bit) sleepy and you have trouble opening your eyes. It’s like we are a child again and just find out that another day has begun. Sometimes this innocence is shattered by an unexpected move, like falling out of your bed or your partner loudly getting up next to you. That’s not what I am talking about! 😉

This morning I had a special “waking up” process. I am sailing on a 51 feet sailing yacht in Greece and we anchored the harbor of Symi. I slept outside, like I often do on these trips. I also have my earplugs and my eyeshades on (those you get on long distance flights) ). So, imagine sleeping like a baby on deck. Suddenly, I feel a warm energy touching my body, almost caressing and slowly making me aware of what’s happening (no,it’s not what you think it is 😉 ). Since I don’t hear and don’t see yet, I have no clue of what’s happening. It is the sunbeams! What a feeling…like magic!

So, I am really happy for receiving this gift. It made me realize that waking up is in most cases a process that passes us by. We are probably unaware of it. Looking back to it, I am still sitting here with a big smile on my face. Also, thinking that I should pay more attention to the waking up ritual. Why? Well, if you can get a fresh start with a potion of happiness, then the rest of your day probably will unfold itself like this as well. Just be aware of those first couple of minutes while waking up and you know exactly what I am talking about!

Now, what does all of this has to do with you? Do you have a clear view on where you want to go in life? Do you actually have a plan to achieve your life goals? Or are you still dreaming about your legacy? And I hope you do have dreams! Now, the question is have you waken up yet? Do you feel the sunbeams? Do you have this wonderful feeling that another day has arrived? And you can build the next step towards your dreams?

Just let this feeling sink into you. Be aware of this special moment and enjoy your day!

I know I will 🙂

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Crossing Streets

August 13, 2011

As a young boy I was told to look out for traffic before crossing the street. Some obvious rules where learned (e.g. look left & right). It worked pretty well for me (I was never run over :-)). Now, so many years later, when visiting Vietnam, this all changes! The first piece of advice we got upon arriving was : “Do you know how to cross the street?”

What? Do you think I am stupid? Where do you think I am coming from? I’ve been crossing streets all my life! But that was not what the question intended. If you look at the streets here in Hanoi for example. And let me show you just a couple of seconds of how crossing a street works here with this little clip (can you find the pedestrians?):

Did you notice the cop crossing too?

Now, here are 5 simple rules to cross the streets in Hanoi (or in some other big Asian cities):

1. Always Look Left & Right: preferably multiple times. You must be alert and aware of the traffic around you. They not always follow the same rules as in our western world. Although it looks pretty obvious, it is a must, for your own safety. Even if it’s a one-way street!

2. Go Slow: this way the traffic around you can guestimate what your next moves are and how to avoid you.

3. Don’t Run: if you run, you become unpredictable and you increase the chances of getting hit.

4. Don’ Stop: if you stop, you become an obstacle. As long as you keep on moving the traffic flows around you.

5. Don’t Go Back: it’s very bad to go back. If you panic, keep on going slowly. Going back is NOT done.

I would like to add my own tip:

6. Follow a local who’s crossing the street. Walk his walk. Copy what they are doing and you should be safe. Of course, choose wisely! 😉

PS: If you want more (severe) traffic shots : Traffic Hanoi, Crossing Hanoi and Crazy Traffic.


20 years in love

July 30, 2011

Can you believe it? I am in love for more than 20 years! Tonia and I are officially together for 20 years!

I know that very few people meet their soulmate or even a significant other during their lifetime. I guess I am just lucky (although I don’t believe in luck) 😉

Many people often ask us what the secrets are of our long-lasting relationship?

It is rather difficult to come up with an exhaustive list that will make any relationship work. Remember that we are not experts in this matter, we are only experienced 🙂

But if I have to come up with some elements, then here they are:

  • Acceptance : accept who you are and especially who the other person is. Accept his/her beauty and his/her “faults”. Don’t try to fix him/her!
  • Trust : if there is no trust, there is no relationship! Give each other enough freedom too. It’s OK to do things apart from each other.
  • Openness : be open-minded and listen to what the other person is telling you. No kidding, really listen. You can always answer (or judge) later on.
  • Being there : if you are not there, you miss the most beautiful moments together. You might grow apart!
  • Grow together : inspire each other to grow. Create space to develop yourself and the other person too. Learn from each other.
  • Honesty : be honest to each other and talk, communicate as much as possible. And please listen! Didn’t I tell you that already 😉
  • Magic : create some magic in your relationship. Keep the romance going. We have one evening during the week that we call “date night”.  We take turns to discover new places together, doing something new, eating out, walking or just talking. Where is the magic in your relationship?
  • Fun : create time to do fun things together! Tonia is my best friend. We laugh a lot, no we are laughing every day! If you can’t have fun together, why are you still together?

Like I said, these are only some points that are making a difference to our lives. And we are glad to share them with you!

Enjoy and have a great life (together)!

Bert & Tonia

P.S.: It might also help to say : I ♥ YOU  to each other (regularly)!


Twitter Shortcuts

July 29, 2011

There is no way around it, so let’s face it: Twitter is one of the top social media in the world! If you don’t have a clue what tweeps or hashtags are, then this article is NOT for you. However, if you have been using Twitter for a while and you want to improve your way of working with its interface, you’ll find several Twitter Shortcuts right here!

The Genius Shortcut to remember them all is “?”. When you have logged yourself into Twitter, regardless of on which page you are, just press ? See what happens…you will get the overview I am providing you below 🙂

To be honest, I am not using this interface myself, because I was not a fan of the Twitter interface before. A lot has changed in the last 12 months and I might reconsider if I hadn’t discovered HootSuite. If you want to know more about HootSuite, read this. Back to Twitter now. A lot of people have been asking me to tell them these Twitter Shortcuts, so time to share the Twitter Shortcuts with you. There are 3 categories : Actions, Navigation and Timelines. Of course, I’ll share a couple of extra hidden Twitter Shortcuts too 🙂

Actions
f : favorite
r : reply
t : retweet
m : direct message
n : new Tweet
enter : toggle details pane

Navigation
? : overview of the Twitter Shortcuts
j : next Tweet
k : previous Tweet
space : page down
/ : search
. : refresh Tweets and back to top

Timelines
g h : home
g r : replies / mentions
g p : profile
g f : favorites
g m : messages
g u : go to user

Hidden (= not mentioned on the overview)

Enter : to drill down into or close a selected tweet
Escape : to cancel a compose window, dismiss the help window
Shift+Space : to page up
. : to go to the top of the page

Have fun with Twitter! And if you need another hand, just find me and dare to ask : @bertverdonck


Obsolescence?

June 1, 2011

When I heard the word “obsolescence” for the first time I liked it immediately.

What does it mean? According to Wikipedia : Obsolescence is the state of a being which occurs when an object, service or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that is superior in one or more aspects. Obsolete refers to something that is already disused or discarded, or antiquated.”

Now why would I write about this? Well, a number of obsolete products are on the way back. Want an example? The USB Record Player

Ok, I have to admit. I still have a number of records. Sure enough, I hardly play them…in this era of MP3 and iTunes.

Now, I discovered something else. A USB Typewriter. That’s right! Lovers of the look, feel, and quality of old fashioned manual typewriters can now use them as keyboards for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC, Mac, or even iPad! You can either buy a refurbished one or Do-It-Yourself. Personally, I find it cool to have a classic typewriter as a keyboard for an iPad2 🙂 I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems great, don’t you think?

Here is a video, because pictures don’t always tell the full story:


Save on Fonts

May 24, 2011

Everyone is looking for savings, right? Some go really far to achieve it, while others are looking for a Genius Shortcut to get similar results. When it comes to printing, which savings did you try so far?

I discovered the EcoFont (Dutch indeed :-)), you know a font with holes in it to save on ink. Personally, I see that you make a statement with it, but frankly I don’t like it! With my background in communication, I support building your brand in a consistent way. And the EcoFont does not fit mine.

So, I did some research on fonts and discovered a great experiment by Matt Robinson. A selection of the most commonly used typefaces were compared for how economical they are with the amount of ink which they use at the same point size. Large scale renditions of the typefaces were drawn out with ballpoint pens, allowing the remaining ink levels to display the ink efficiency of each typeface.

Here are the results for a number of common fonts:

Now you actually see the difference! Impressive, right? I know, we can now start a discussion on our preference of Garamond over Times New Roman 🙂

Of course, the most effective way to save on ink is to print less! Do you really have to print everything? Isn’t it time to learn how to read and process info on the screen? We have come a long way and I can safely state that the Digital Era is here already, just in case you weren’t aware of it yet 😉


Elevator Express

May 16, 2011

Let’s assume you are running late for your meeting and you enter
a crowded elevator. You need to go to the 14th floor ASAP. You dream of going directly to your floor instead of stopping for everyone else’s. Wouldn’t that be just great? Impolite, but great, right?

Well, there is a Genius Shortcut that you can use in most elevators.
Yes, I know! How come so few people actually know about this?

Anyway, the trick is to push the button to close the doors at the same time as the floor you directly want to go to. So, in this example, it is the 14th floor. Just look at the picture if you are a more visual type 🙂

Why does it work? While some elevators require a key, others are configured to get into “Express Mode” when the “close doors”-button and one of the floor-buttons are pressed simultaneously. Most paramedics know this (or should!), so they get faster to the right floor in case of an emergency.

It is a great lifehack that I discovered many years ago at Darknet, but it amazes me that still only a few people know about it…

So, I invite you to give it a try!