I’ve been very silent here over the last two weeks. Originally, I started this blog to get myself started, when I was in a lazy period. Interestingly, it did work. As I started the habit to daily blog, I have gotten more and more active outside that as well. At present, all my personal projects are up and running in a way better fashion than when I started writing.

Flow

Basically, I entered my flow. Flow is one of my favourite concepts. My own favourite are the writing flows I’ve been experiencing a lot over the last weeks. Especially in the evening, my fingers just run over my keyboard, writing posts for this blogs, emails to friends, articles and application letters.

I think it’s even a bit similar to a runner’s high. Everybody who has ran a race knows there’s a moment where you don’t feel tired, when you got really in it and it just feels like the street is passing under your feet automatically.

And flow is also the topic of one of my favourite TED talks, by an Hungarian-American professor with a terribly difificult name: Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.

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Probably there aren’t many people who think in this way about words, but I do have a favourite type of word: abverbs! I don’t really know why, but I just like them.

Adverbs make a sentence more beautiful and complicated, and for some reason the ending -ly in English resonates very well. The longer and more complicated a word, the cooler it is to use. Adverbs are phenomenally cool!

I have been a TED fan for quite some time, and the last months I have been asking myself more and more: where do all these ideas come from?

I mean, from a neurological point of view, can you really say an idea is something that – Eureka! – ‘pops up’ in someone’s brain? Is there suddenly something there – a deep understanding of the working of the economy , the aspiration to write a book about happiness, the dream to meet a personal hero, the idea to call a friend you haven’t seen for a while?

For some of these, possibly yes. But for others, the deep scientifc insights are not just randomly born in someone’s mind. These ideas develop when great thinkers let other people reflect on them. Ideas develop when great minds meet and engage in dialogue. Ideas grow in idea networks. And therefore, coffee houses are great incubators for ideas, as Steven Johson explains.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Albert Einstein (attributed), Germany/United States, 1879-1955

If you read all those quotes from Albert Einstein, his aphorisms alone already make him a genius – you don’t even need relativity and all this scientific stuff we ordinary humans understand so little about.

It is disputed whether Einstein actually said this (which reminds me about another quote, attributed to Abraham Licoln: The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine), but that is not the point for now.

The point is, often we are trying to make fish climb trees, and get frustrated with them when they are failing. At least, I feel too often like a fish in a tree.

 

Books are nice. I really enjoy sitting in the garden of my parents reading a book – something I’ve done a lot in my life.

But giving away books to friends is maybe just as nice: it is nice to give, and also good to save space for books I haven’t read or that I really want to keep. (Yes, I know, it may be a waste of money to give away books – but then it is also a waste of money to see movies in cinemas).

However, I think, writing a personal message in a book is the most important thing. A book with a nice message is a gift for life. Some day, you’ll get it out of your book case, read their carefully thought lines, smile, and remember the occasion when they were written. One I enjoyed writing: “pour un amour uncertain“, “for an insecure love“, to a girl I had a short-lived, yet beautiful, love relationship with. I never asked whether she liked the message though!

It is time for some more street art – don’t you just love these pencils?

I am just quickly posting this talk before some friends arrive for dinner, but I should watch it again.

Daniel Pink untidies the knot of motivation and has an answer on the tacky question what a good job involves. In his words, it is

  1. mastery – doing something you are actually good at
  2. autonomy – doing things independently
  3. purpose – doing something that matters.

An important lesson for as long as my job hunt continues! For now, I am pretty autonomous, I don’t really feel that I master anything, but the worst part: (apparently) I don’t have a real purpose at the moment.

Anyway, enjoy the talk and be inspired!