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Oct 30, 2008

Child knows

It's Marus 5th birthday today.

We woke up this morning and I asked him: "So what have you learned in these 5 years that you would teach to a person who asks you: how to be happy?"

"You have to love others, then you get happy," he said.

Beautiful, loved it! Glad to have smart people around from whom I can learn!

Fool by choice

We are so over flooded with information that nothing out of it seems to have any importance. We are too knowledgeable that we miss out our own ignorance. We become so fragmented between options that there’s no difference between black and white, right and wrong – everything is gray and lukewarm. The abundance of information seems to make us ignorants – knowledge literally makes fools out of us.

 

And in the ignorance nothing is real. Nothing has real meaning. Everything repeats itself and nothing out of it really touches us.

 

In this state of mind we don’t really live. We burden ourselves and people around us with expectations how things should be – how we "know" they should be – because there are a lot of directives out there. We’ve read them! We already know! Now it’s all about practice! – we think. It’s like the life before us is already defined and now it’s all about living it up.

 

Not living up to the expectations - what a constant disappointment in yourself and others!

 

Admit it – you’re a fool when it comes to life! How can you possibly know? Think about it! How can you take the pride of telling you know what is life, what is love, what is right and what is wrong?

 

You know what you know – and that’s it! But there’s so much more – so you can easily consider yourself as a fool and make no injustice!

 

You can’t choose your lessons, but you can easily choose not to learn. Don’t judge what life wants to become. If you encounter something new and judge it based on your old experience – did you get the lesson?

 

New knowledge cannot enter when you’re already full. Empty your mind!! Empty your expectations! Let it in!

 

The minute words become empty for you - you’re full. The minute other people become ordinary for you – you’re full! The minute you talk more than you listen – you’re full! The minute your mind - instead of your heart - starts dictating your emotions - you're full!

 

Empty yourself. Learning can’t come to a place that’s already full.

I'm a fool by choice.

Oct 22, 2008

Potentially perfect

Photo by Monika Pullerits
Who is the person I meet?

Is it what he IS at this moment (or rather seems to be) or what he COULD BE? Which one do I focus on?

Knowing that I've come a long way, knowing that I'm not the same I was yesterday, that I learn all the time and that if I want I am getting better and better every day - yet never becoming quite perfect - I choose to focus on the COULD BE in other people as well.

If I'm not perfect at this moment I don't expect the other to be. But others become so much more perfect - smarter, prettier, richer, more caring, sexier etc etc - if I only see their potential. And the potential is as big as they want it to be - I believe in other people dreams and try to believe a bit more than they do, so I can help them grow.

What if other people are actually potentially perfect? So exciting to start noticing and recognising the little hints in others that show what they are actually becoming. World changes just from the way we look at it.

Oct 16, 2008

Another reason to become self employed



Traditional way of thinking tells me to be at work by 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. The meeting should end on time. The agenda should be followed through exactly as it was sent out.


But what if my creativity sparks 10 min before I leave the house? Should I not let the rush of ideas to continue and take a form of an usable result? Should I cancel it just because I should be already at the office?


And what if the group has a whole different agenda in the back side of their brain than the one that was sent out before, shouldn’t they be allowed to work on questions they truly desire instead of wasting each others time just because “it was stated so before”?


I’m back wondering over the chronos and kairos – two approaches from old Greek to consider time. First one is the chronological sphere of time and the second is founded on belief that there is a right time for everything to happen, whereas right time has nothing to do with the clock. Both are needed in different situations, however seems that most of the business world has forgotten all about kairos. Clock is ticking and the world is designed in a way that we need to follow.


But - my creativity doesn’t tick according to the clock, it has it’s own rhythm. The events in my life are not followed by any special sequence, though there are some popular models they want us to believe, such as - high school, university, decent job, family, grandchildren, death. Everything is already upside down for me – and knowing that life takes unpredictable forms and moves the way it pleases - I believe it couldn’t be better. So the predefined concept works only if we live life as on a train - from one stop to the other, too afraid to step out of chronos. Our own special sequence steps in only if we believe there's also some kairos going on - and we trust the process enough to let it come.


So this morning when my creativity just sparked over my final theses I need to cut the flow and go to the office. Another good reason to strive for becoming self-employed. I really dream about creating a company where people have the freedom to develop themselves, have enough flexibility to work on what they truly desire and maintain high productivity instead of dropping in results. And I can choose when I work, on what I work and where I'm striving in my life.


This morning tea goes for kairos!

Oct 14, 2008

It’s not that big deal…

I mean – don’t think so much. Do it. It’s not that big deal when you think it is.


Planning is great, you need to know what you want – but I have a feeling we know much more when we actually follow through. We already know – and yet we don’t do it. So that the next time we are planning - we write down almost exactly the same things as in previous list...


What if this week we follow the list through? Make it realistic and write down the things you should do, want to do and should have done – and do it. Quickly, not to achieve perfection, but to do what we know we should do.


Getting things done is not that big deal. If you think less and act more.


That’s the way to build some great self esteem, baby!


Check out one of my favorite inspirations on the time management topic - http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/do-it-now.htm

Oct 10, 2008

If you don’t like it – change it!

I love people who don’t complain.


Imagine you have accepted a new job in the company you’ve been working for years. It’s promotion for a management position, but mainly because there’s no-one else in the company who’d be able to do the job. However because of bad top management and lack of co-workers the job that starts stressing you out. You keep going for a few months – and ensure excellent quality – but the workload keeps growing and you get even more stressed. You tell about the problems you’re facing to your direct boss who talks to the owner – yet nothing changes another few months. You start having problems getting sleep and you haven’t had a free day in ages. What would you do?


I know some people who just keep talking about the problems in their lives – what they don’t like and what makes them miserable. They can even take some initiative – like talking to the boss – but that’s where they’re responsibility over their lives more or less ends. Let’s call them drifting-along-people (and the black and white approach in this one is to make the point clear).


The other type – the one I like – doesn’t complain. I guess they can also endure more pain before it’s defined as pain by them, but above that they do something themselves to change the situations that drag them down. Let’s call them I-can-people.


So back to this situation that inspired me today. The example above is from real life – and the guy who is going through this decided to call a meeting, where everyone in the company was invited as the situation is concerning more or less everyone’s daily work. Around 20 people came and he decided to discuss the situation openly. Let me quote: “I can’t go to sleep anymore without drinking. I have to get drunk every evening to be able to come to work in the morning. I don’t want to become an alcoholic. Why am I doing this? No reason is big enough. I call for changes or I’m back to the work I was doing before.” <-- which would mean a small disaster for the company


It takes some guts to first admit to yourself you might be developing a huge problem for yourself if you don’t change anything – the next level is to be able to tell the group of people about it. Simply, with straightforwardness impossible to argue and by knowing you might lose your management position as a result.


Wow, love it! We always have a choice.


Oct 9, 2008

Part of it

Moods from writing my thesis about HIV-AIDS in Estonian media
Society is one system – if some parts of it are not functioning, then also the others are influenced. That’s the system thinking vs seeying society as a machine where every part is individually functioning and also individually fixed (Senge).

Reading the newspapers about how HIV-AIDS was perceived in Estonia in 2001 I get a picture of a dangerous lack of systems thinking. HIV-AIDS has been seen as an isolated problem that requires fixing. But how sustainable can this solution be when you have mixed the consequences with roots?

So I’m asking myself today - if I’m part of a living system, how can my functioning make it healthier? Starting from a family where I’m living right now and my relationships with people who are close up to the bigger society.

We’re all part of something and we influence how well it works. We all have a role in improving the systems where we’re in, because without little particules there wouldn’t be any system. Our behaviorus and attitudes make our environment what it is.

Isn’t there a wonderful mission to start your day with?

Photo: Raul Gutierrez
http://www.mexicanpictures.com/headingeast/images/passedbyonthebus.jpg

Oct 6, 2008

"Love is a doing word"



Don’t expect anything.

Just live. Love. Do what feels right for you. Never mind the critics, don’t be bended and confused about your path. Just keep doing the right thing. With integrity and strive to grow every day.

Keep going, keep going.

Love. Give. Be grateful. Accept.

Eyes wide open, knowing it all comes back double and more.

So give what you gotta give – and trust the rest.

----

Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling.

- Anthony de Mello -

Oct 3, 2008

What do you like about Estonia?

Photo from Tiina Seppel
A new national branding campaign for Estonia was launched today. A little green country looking for it’s identity – or based on what I just saw – a random unknown country trying to soap in more tourists to spend their money here.

Not again! Poor Estonian people, we haven’t got over the last dull branding campaign which cost us 13 million crowns and now another bunch! Clips that were running in TV were so fragmented and message-empty that the hostess of the TV-show literally destroyed the poor spokespeople. The campaign was ordered this time by the national tourism agency and delivered by MTV in hope to be more attractive for young European people.


The main message of the campaign appeared to be “Estonia, nobody knows where is that”. And after seeing this dead-born-baby (I wouldn’t be surprised if this campaign gets destroyed by the media

soon) – I started to wonder... what’s wrong that we fail 2 times in a row and can’t really say why this amazing little country would be The place to come?


It seems to me we've been approaching this question from a wrong angle - commercialism over identity. I think really the main question is not about HOW to present it, but rather WHAT it is we're presenting.

Estonian nature photos by young photographer Mariann Kosemets

Maybe it’s our national modesty holding us back – what is here so special what wouldn’t be also in Finland, Latvia, UK, Germany? We’re just one of the many.


The truth is we’re exactly as special as we believe we are. There is a special reputation of Saaremaa people in Estonia. It's commonly believed that people from the island of Saaremaa have a special sense of humor, they are more hospitable, women are strong and men can drink more than any other man on earth without getting drunk (or whatever – again my Saaremaa sense of humor starts improvising:))? Well, having living here now after 5 years almost a month, I can say they (we:) are quite ordinary people – some more humorous than the others, some women stronger than the others as anywhere else. But once Saaremaa people get out of the island, the sense of belonging to a community comes out and you just start acting out as a person from Saaremaa - and are treated in a special way as a result.


And so the special image of Saaremaa people stands.


I feel that Estonia as a country is in search of this national identity. We just don’t know what makes us special, so we don’t know through what to bond as a nation. I had the similar feeling at Öölaulupidu (Night Song Festival) – we’re singing here together, but for what? There was no connecting message that would have given it a meaning.


So what are the other countries doing? One of a successful national branding campaigns example is Colombia, which managed to turn around the image of a drug trafficking country to a country of friendly people and lot of discoveries. The message – Colombia is passion! Honestly – I think it’s as much as what they MEAN with the message as much as what it really IS. So it works because they know what they mean. Watch the video – you will fall in love and want to visit! Colombian people responded with some kind of national awakening – these videos were spreading through Facebook, Gmail chats and other internet based communities.




The other example comes from Asia which made its slogan – “Malaysia – truly Asia” world famous and now seems to be one of the distinctive countries from the region.


I don’t know if my conclusions are right, but it seems to me that both of these campaigns were driven by a real need and were therefor much more successful than a purely business needs based campaign (eg we need more tourists). Colombians had a common enemy to fight against – the drug cartels who had destroyed the image of their beautiful country. In need to show the beautiful side of Colombia they actually managed much more than a branding campaign – more tourists and increasing positive image of the country actually decreases the real problem as people make real efforts to solve the internal problems. In Malaysian case I just

assume the “common enemy” was the image of the country as “one of the many” in South-East Asia – and they made this disadvantage their advantage.


One could argue that Estonia's case is different as we don’t have this brilliant climate and natural diversity to demonstrate. Small and grey we are, most of the year it’s dark and cold, rest of the time it’s rainy and misty, sun is a rarity and people are not ..... (put here any random positive word).


Well, it’s the self fulfilling prophecy as with anything else. You become what you believe you are, true for a person and for the whole country.


Funny enough but many of my international friends living in Estonia are far better sales agents for us than we are. What’s happening? I mean – they come back to live here, they tell stories of Estonian hospitality, calmness (the main key word, btw, I have picked up – Estonians calmness is perceived in a very positive way), natural beauty, good economy...and what do WE say? Estonians know what we say, haha:) We either laugh a bittersweet laughter over our weaknesses or – try to pimp us up in quite an insincere way: “Oh, we have Skype! And beautiful women!”


Baah! I’m talking about sincerity, true pride of our identity – and I’m not in any way talking about nationalism! I’m talking about recognizing and honoring ourselves, not because of being better or worse, but just understanding – that’s what we are! Just seeing the best of it – and being able to talk about it.


So this new MTV sales campaign is not clicking with the Estonian side of my identity. I don’t feel connected to it in any way, it’s the same as any random, a bit hysteric media message I get every day. “Please, next clip, quickly, I’m tired of the fragmented information! Give me a message YOU BELIEVE in!”


So – once again, no clear message, just a nervous attempt to “show the full diversity of the country” while actually hiding the fact becoming already tedious – we just don’t know, dear people, what makes us so special!


Do we need another national awakening to have some backbone as a nation to be proud of ourselves, to simply recognize us without any sign of bragging nor hiding the empty look in our eyes?


Experts say that it’s a tricky business to build a national brand – you don’t make it on tabula rasa and it’s never limited only through your campaign. So some countries create their positive images spontaneously – India being now perceived as a high-tech, highly educated peoples country (vs it’s previous image as a spiritual and poor country), Croatia for sports and tourism etc (source - http://www.brandchannel.com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=206).


So that’s the question I ask myself now – is it really the MTV to blame for a failed campaign or is it rather a question to ask from ourselves? Do we know what defines us as Estonians? Are we really proud of ourselves? Or does it come down to the self criticism again, the deep-blooded slave thinking: “Oh, never mind me...”


As part of the new generation of Estonians I’d love to see a positive awakening in our society. We don’t need an external enemy to be united, what if we do it through building positive beliefs about ourselves? What about starting to compliment ourselves? Saying out loud positive things we like in our country, people and achievements!

And if we do that – the campaign authors can just build on what is already there. Do we really hope that MTV can give us identity? Do we want them to tell us what makes it worth to come to Estonia?


Don’t think so!


So if you managed to read it through here – I would so much appreciate to know your opinion on – what do you like about Estonia and Estonians? As little or much you know – please do share in the little poll you find on the sidebar. Unfortunately I couldn't add there opened options, but feel free to leave your own opinion in the comments. Thank you so much for contributing to a better self-image of Estonians!:)


PS: The new Estonia brand campaign webpage can be found here, check out yourself - http://www.ispacetallinn.com/ (you can see the videos that irritated me from the upper side of the webpage)


Oct 2, 2008

The thought of the day

"If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality."

~ Dan Millman, 21st century philosopher from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

How true is that?

Change: it's one of the few things we can always count on.

Why not embrace it?

Brian Johnson at ThinkArete.com

I love this webpage - daily inspiration in my mailbox. I always try to take this one minute of full concentration to grasp the message. How come when we seek out we get exactly the answers we are looking for? For seeking out for answers and moving on with them!