Showing posts with label Self-Organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self-Organization. Show all posts

29 Jun 2014

Let's make "like a girl" mean amazing things!

Long time, no see. I was very busy lately and I still am and won't be able to catch up with my blog. Many apologies, my dear readers. I just wanted to quickly pop in the advertisement video below. I want to share it with you because it moved me very much when I saw it the first time and it still does. This is a really empowering advertisement video of "Always". They nailed it and it is wonderful that the advertisement business that usually draws on a very negative image of womankind does something to build up the self esteem of girls & women. Well done, Always. I love that video. 


9 Feb 2014

Jillian Michaels Food Challenge (Leave something on your plate)

Recently I was inspired on tumblr to do this Food challenge by Jillian Michaels. In my childhood I was trained by my family to eat up everything that was on my plate independent on how full I already was. I think this is a weakness because I don't feel good when I overeat. So, this week I want to train to leave something on my plate each day. Will you join as well? 

found @tumblr

31 Dec 2013

Self-guided education manifesto

Recently I stumbled upon the self-guided education manifesto by Scott Dinsmore. It is available on his web page. Basically, it consists of the elements shown in the picture below:

found @liveyourlegend


My favourite piece of advice of above:
  1. it never ends: no it doesn't There is no aim or destination that once is reached allows you to stop and relax and enjoy your earned fruits. It is a lifestyle and as such it never ends.
  2. learn who you are: know your patterns, know your weaknesses, know what you motivates you, know what you love and what you hate (both specifically mentioned in the manifesto above as well :-))
  3. everything is a lesson: even if something does not work out as intended and expected, it was not a waste of time. On the contrary. Try to perceive it as a lesson and be sure that next time you will do better because of this experience. If you focus too much on the bad features of an experience, it will drag you down and you will miss the opportunity to grow and improve. 
  4. build things: theory is important but it is more important to put this theory in practice and build things. Things that exist and are useful are the best advertisement and the business card in the world. The is nothing more gratifying than theory that has been shown to work.
Self-guided education is neither a diet nor a torture. It also never ends as it is a lifestyle and should be embraced.

And don't forget that although it surely is important to also find people who think that you are crazy, it also is very important to have like-minded people around you that support and inspire you in both who you are at the moment and who you want to be in the future. The people you are surrounding yourself with can make you or break your future. So try to find the proper environment that supports you and does not hinder you.

Our life is a gift. Let's make it count!

6 Sep 2013

Art of living / Lebenskunst

"Lebenskunst ist die Kunst des richtigen Weglassens. Das fängt beim Reden an und endet beim Dekolletee."
- Coco Chanel


found @flickr

The art of living is the art of leaving out the right things. This starts with knowing what to talk about and ends with knowing what to show with the décolleté.
- Coco Chanel

6 Jan 2013

2013: a reading outlook

As mentioned in my review of the last year, I managed to read 19 books in 2013. I want to keep up with that reading pace and hope to be able to read at least 12 books in 2013. With this post I want to share my plans for the reading year 2013 and also the thrill of anticipation I am feeling when looking at the books that are waiting for me to be read. 

I was inspired for this post by the wonderful book and audiobook I recently received by the lovely Sue from Happy Ich. She organized a really great give away last month (actualy she even organized a couple of great give aways) and I was a very happy winner. I usually never win anything. Hence, I was taken by surprise to win such a great gift! Have a look at the great book and audiobook I won:


Sue said about the book that it touched her very deeply and I am looking forward to maybe make the same experience. I already am quite much focused on my body and started to have kind of a love affair with it myself e.g. by doing sports, meditating and taking care to sleep enough. But I think there still is a lot of room for inspiration and motivation for a new approach on body blessing. I already started to listen to the audiobook which consists of some really nice guided meditations and I do enjoy very much to listen to it. The book is on top of my To Read list of 2013. 

7 Dec 2012

Taking notes with Dixi

In my quest to become more organized I am experimenting with different kinds of organization tools. An example of such kind of an organization tool is a notebook. Plain and old style and non digital. I keep notes digitally, too, but for quick and dirty note taking, I prefer a classic notebook based on paper. In this post I want to show you my most elegant tool for taking notes. It might not be the most practical one but there is no doubt that it is a very useful and very elegant one.

Have a look at my Dixi refillable notebook in black leather by the swedish company Ordning & Reda. I love it and currently, I use it all the time. This is how it looks:


20 Nov 2012

The Power of Less



I love the video above. It has been made by Leo Babauta from zenhabits as an advertisement for his book The power of less (haven't read it yet but it's on my to read list ;-)). The video is expressing exactly how I feel right now too. Actually, I felt attracted to minimalism for a couple of years now. But I didn't want to get rid of stuff, interestingly, I rather wanted to digitize it and store it on tiny hard disks. This is why I struggled with minimalism a lot and I realized recently that I wasn't a minimalist at all as I focused on space solely and this is just a tiny fragment of what minimalism really is. There are many things that cannot be digitized and that we have to keep in their physical form. E.g. clothes, beauty items, our furniture and many more. I also have to admit - although I love digital books, the software for reading them sometimes spoils the party for me, too. It does not allow to add a dog-ear to book pages, underline words and sentences in different colours, write thoughts at the border of the page and such kinds of things that I love to do with my books. So, of course although I own a lot of digital books, I still do purchase, keep and read many books the old style as well.

My wardrobe and my beauty collection (and other collections) were and still are quite huge because I love to experiment and also love to have a choice. These collections were even bigger last year. Last year I started to force myself to use up my beauty items and while doing so, I discovered that I didn't like many of these items or that the shades didn't match and this is why I started to experiment more and this lead to many additional purchases. Although these purchase were expensive, they also very valuable because I got to know more about colours, makeup and what suits me and what I like and how I like myself to look like in different occasions. While evaluating and experimenting with beauty, I ended up purchasing a lot of new stuff and there were times when my collection also grew more than it shrunk. (I just made an inventory of my body lotions here and I was pretty shocked when I realized how huge the amount is. ;-)) But by means of my monthly empties, I established a routine of experimenting and decluttering and using up and this is something that I am very proud of today. My beauty stuff is used and although it seems like I'm hoarding, it is not real hoarding because I try, experiment and use stuff up and also declutter on a regular basis. In the future, however, I want to shrink the amount of beauty items that I possess much more. 

8 Nov 2012

Meditation: my progress and my thoughts

Hi guys! How are you getting along with the 21-day meditation challenge? I hope you have seen my link to the interview of Oprah Winfrey with Deepak Chopra. I linked it in my comment to my first post announcing the 21-day meditation challenge. It's a lovely interview and Deepak is explaining and motivating meditation. Try to watch it as soon as possible because I think it won't be available for a long time. 

I started the meditation challenge on the 6th of November in the morning. I am using this challenge to also get ahead with my Qi Gong routine with which I really have struggled a lot. My mornings were completely stuffed with biking and showering and meditation didn't fit in anymore. Hence, I tried hard to do it in the evening but it just didn't work. I have to admit that I wanted to do it every evening but did it only for 3 times in the last 2 months. 

So, when I discovered the 21-day meditation challenge, I had to take the chance and change my routine. I moved biking to the early evening and have put meditation into the morning. This is a major change and I was worried to loose my biking habit. But as biking is already a pretty ingrained habit (I'm doing it now for months on a daily basis), I am doing it in the evening, too. I admit that I lost a day in transition but the following day I was able to catch up. And the new habit of meditation which I try to create, is tough but as I usually biked at that time in the morning anyway, I am keeping up with it. Furthermore, the meditation podcasts of Deepak Chopra are pure fun and it's such a joy to follow them. But I am doing it the tough way like I've learned it in my Qi Gong class. And I also try to do a couple of Qi Gong moving exercises before meditating in a Qi Gong pose while listening to Deepak Chopra's meditation podcasts. However, as they are so much fun and as I am no native speaker, I like to listen to each of the podcasts for several times. E.g. I listened to the first podcast for 3 mornings now and will listen to the second podcast starting from tomorrow morning. 

This is my meditation setup for each morning: 

26 Aug 2012

Traveling Organization review

My holidays were great. It was sunny most of the time and everyone was in a good mood. Here is the view out of the window of our room in the hut:
Isn't this just wonderful? :-)

Here is a collage of 6 pictures I took in my holidays:

As you can see, it was a very relaxing holiday with a great landscape and a lot of nature - but not too far away from civilization. In the black forest there unfortunately is no space anymore where you don't have quick access to anything modern. I even had access to the internet there.

18 Aug 2012

Book Review (30 Minuten für effizientes Lesen)

Dear readers, the book review below is written in German again. Many apologies if this causes any inconvenience. (It just does not make any sense to provide an English review for a book that has been written and published only in German up to now.) 


Im August habe ich ein weiteres Buch zu Produktivitätssteigerung gelesen. Da euch meine letzte Rezension gefallen hat, möchte ich euch meine Meinung zu diesem Buch nicht vorenthalten. Obwohl "Golden Rules" sowas wie ein umfassendes Produktivitätssteigerungs-Manual ist (siehe auch meine Rezension zu "Golden Rules" von Martin Krengel), steht darin kaum etwas zum Thema "Effizienter Lesen". Zum Glück hat der Autor dazu aber ein eigenes Buch geschrieben. ;-)

Das Thema "Schneller Lesen" interessiert mich schon seit längerem und daher habe ich mir schon vor ein oder zwei Jahren einen anderen Ratgeber dazu gekauft, den ich allerdings noch nicht gelesen habe. Da mich "Golden Rules" so überzeugt hat, habe ich mich spontan dazu entschlossen, lieber das Buch "30 Minuten für effizientes Lesen" von Martin Krengel zu bestellen. Hier zunächst das Bild des Buch-Covers und ein Link zu Amazon:
Bild des Covers zu "30 Minuten für effizientes Lesen" und Link zu Amazon.de
Das Buch ist sehr dünn (nur 79 Seiten im A6-Format) und - wie bereits "Golden Rules" - kurzweilig geschrieben. Daher lässt es sich sehr schnell lesen und der Inhalt ist so überschaubar, dass man die Ratschläge des Autors dann auch recht schnell ausprobieren und in die alltägliche Leseroutine aufnehmen kann. Ich glaube, ich habe das Buch in 2 oder 3 Tagen durchgelesen (und ich bin nicht der schnellste Leser, da ich meine Freizeit-Lektüre, zu der ich dieses Buch auch zähle, zur Zeit grundsätzlich nur in meinen Wartezeiten zwischendurch in öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln/Wartezimmern/etc. lese)

29 Jul 2012

Book Review (Golden Rules)

Dear readers, the book review below is written in German because the book has been published only in German up to now. This is a pitty because it really is a great book. However, as the interested audience will be german-speaking anyway, I believe that a German review is more appropriate than an English one. Many apologies if this causes any inconvenience.


Im Folgenden möchte ich eine kleine Rezension zum Buch "Golden Rules" von Martin Krengel verfassen, da es mich die letzten Wochen begleitet hat und vielleicht interessiert ja auch den oder die eine(n) oder andere(n) meiner Leser(innen) mein Review zu diesem Buch. Hier zunächst das Bild des Buch-Covers und ein Link zu Amazon (für die Kaufinteressierten :-)):
Bild des Covers zu Golden Rules und Link zu Amazon.de
Da das Buch auf deutsch geschrieben worden ist und es auch keine englische Übersetzung dazu gibt, finde ich es - wie bereits weiter oben auf englisch erläutert - sinnvoller und stimmiger, die Rezension selbst auch auf deutsch zu verfassen. Ich hoffe, das kommt allen meinen Lesern entgegen. :-)

Nun zur Rezension: Das Buch ist ein kurzweilig geschriebenes Buch voller praktischer Ideen und Tipps zur Produktivitätssteigerung, die der Autor selbst getestet hat. Man merkt beim Lesen, dass der Autor sehr viel Erfahrung mit dem Thema hat und dass er quasi "Insiderwissen" vermittelt. Die Zielgruppe für die das Buch geschrieben worden ist, sind Studenten, Doktoranden, Berufstätige, Berufseinsteiger, Wissensarbeiter und Kreative, also ein recht breiter Rundumschlag durch die Gesellschaft. Und auch ich gehöre zur Zielgruppe. Ich vermute, dass auch jeder, der sich darauf einlässt, den einen oder anderen Tipp aus dem Buch für sich nutzen kann und damit definitiv von der Lektüre profitieren kann.

13 Jul 2012

Towards setting goals properly

Setting goals is important in life in order to gain control, feel empowered and be more in charge of ourselves. By setting goals and taking actions to achieve them, we are giving our lives the directions we desire which makes our life fulfilling and meaningful. Recently, I shared with you the goal to bike for 5 hours a week and started to track my progress with the bar shown on the right column of this blog. This goal has worked out very well for me and sharing it with you guys has motivated me a lot to pursue my goal with all my energy.

Nevertheless, it is highly controversial whether sharing goals with others is motivating or not. See the TED talk below where Derek Sivers advises us to not share our goals:


I think that the research Derek is mentioning is right concerning how and with whom you share your goals. Being admired for just having your goals and being acknowledged as if the goals have been achieved already is indeed counterproductive. In case you decide to announce your goals you should be sure to announce them to the right persons in the right way in order to avoid any kind of gratification that might hamper reaching your goals. You might also have to take care that you are not talked out of your goal either - sometimes this happens as well and it depends on your personality whether this is something that motivates you (to prove people wrong and pursue your goals nevertheless) or whether it is rather demotivating you.

However, in my experience it is important to hold yourself accountable and to tell your goals to others who will ask you regularly about how it goes and kick your ass when necessary. This can help a lot with achieving your goals as you have the pressure to render an account. So, discussing your aims with a positive and helpful audience can help reach your goals. You have to take care, however, that if you give account for not reaching your goals, it is very important to not talk yourself down too much such that you start feeling empty, powerless and as if you were incapable of achieving a goal. This is so not true - everyone can achieve their goals. Instead of talking you down and punish yourself, you should notice that you have not achieved a goal and analyse why you have not achieved it. There is always a cause and it is not your personal insufficiency. It is very important to keep being positive but still realistic (and admit the truth to yourself), in order to be able to improve, change or achieve a goal. One mistake often made is that a goal is not set properly, i.e. it is not S.M.A.R.T. as explained below.

What this all amounts to is that talking about your goals to the right persons can yield a kind of social support system as discussed by the author of "The happiness project", Gretchen Rubin, in the video below. The video discusses also a couple of additional interesting ideas on how to hold yourself accountable for your resolutions:


As mentioned above, setting goals in itself is also not that easy. A goal has to be S.M.A.R.T.ly set, i.e. specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive. It also is important to not have too many goals at the same time since that might distract you. Focus on the most important goals (ideally just one for each life pillar) and keep them challenging but not impossible to reach. Note that there are also other words that can be used as substitute for S.M.A.R.T. or even S.M.A.R.T.E.R. as can be seen here - unfortunately, there is a specific very nice substitute for the A missing in these sources, namely attractive. Goals have to be attractive, i.e. they have to be formulated positively and not negatively (e.g. don't say "I don't want to be overweight anymore" but rather "I want to get slimmer and healthier and happier" in order to create a positive goal towards which you can target your life). Getting away from something negative is not as motivating as getting closer to something great. Keep in mind that in the moment you reach your goal, you'll feel great and your self confidence improves - this is what you should remind yourself of when targeting your goal. A nice german translation of the S.M.A.R.T. principle of formulating a goal hence is in my opinion: spezifisch (what exactly do you want to achieve?), messbar (when will you know that you achieved it and how do you measure progress?), attraktiv (make it beautiful and appaling and wonderful - note that you can only do so when it's your own goal and not a goal you have been talked into ;-)), ressourcenorientiert (do you have everything you need for reaching the goal? What is missing and what might have to be gathered by you before starting to pursue your goal? Can you gather it on the go while pursuing your goal?) und terminiert (when is your deadline and what exactly are the actions you want to take in order to get closer to your goal and when exactly will you do them?). 

Another very important thing is to check whether your goals match your values and whether your beliefs do not hamper you reaching your goals. It can be very difficult to make our values and our beliefs more transparent since naturally they tend to be hidden. They are a kind of bias we adopted very early in our lives e.g. due to our experiences in our childhood. Since they are deeply interweaved with our personality we usually are unaware of them. Some counseling by an expert with appropriate experience and a fresh mind can be tremendously helpful since we tend to be caught in our own traps. Nevertheless, since good counseling can be very expensive and we all are more or less on a budget and have to prioritize our expenses, here are two techniques to help you adjust your goals to your values and make you beliefs and values more transparent. More transparency can be achieved e.g. by using the 5 whys technique. "Why?" is one kind of question, you might also consider working additionally with questions like "how?", "when?", "to what end?", "what instead?", ... There are plenty of possibilities for leading a fruitful and illuminating conversation with yourself. ;-)
The video below provides some helpful advice by Jeff Doubek on adjusting your goals to your values:

However, as said above, with values and beliefs it's tricky because we tend to stew in our own juice and don't observe our unconcious biases. We don't remember how we gained our bias and often act unconciously. Hence, we should also be careful and try to adjust ourselves to life by means of the feedback we get from others. This requires openness and many fruitful discussions with others. In case we have tremendous difficulties to reach specific goals we really want to achieve, however, it might be worthwile to seek for advice and counselling with an expert with some kind of psychological background (it does not necessarily have to be therapy - I even think that this might be counterproductive in some settings). With the help of the expert you might discover specific unconscious beliefs or values that hamper you and that you have to deal with properly in order to get closer to your goal. Note that the state of your mind is also a resource and hence part of the "R" (here with the much better substitute resource oriented/ressourcenorientiert than realistic, because if you have all resources available, your goal is indeed realistic).

A hands-on first solution how-to for dealing with difficulties concerning your goals: In case you constantly do not reach your goals, you should gradually shrink the amount of goals you are aiming for until you focus on the one goal that is most important to you. In this way, you also prioritize your goals on the go which is very important in time and task management in general. In case this goal is connected with a habit, you should give it 30 days for manifesting it within your daily routine. If it is not a habit but a long-term goal, you should analyze it, break it down into subgoals and define the dependencies and finally realistically assess how much time you'll need until you reach each of the subgoals. You should also investigate what kinds of resources are necessary for reaching your goal and whether they are already available to you or whether you have to gather them before starting to pursue your goal.

And as soon as you have everything analyzed and defined, you can boost your motivation for reaching your goal by means of a vision board. This also belongs to the "A" (attractive) part of S.M.A.R.T.ly defined goals. ;-)

I might share some goals with you soon again, in order to motivate me to reach them. :) Which goals are you currently trying to achieve?