Dec 152014
 

I climbed up the stairs towards the train that I’ve been taking every (work day) morning since moving into my current crib. There was a train standing there and just when I got to the top I saw the doors closing and it driving off. “Lewisham” it said, the one I could have taken to work. No worries though, a new one will leave some time between 3 and 5 minutes from now…

Been there, done that. Now look at the road ahead, you idiot!

Been there, done that. Now look at the road ahead, you idiot!

Except that it didn’t. The next train had a different destination. And though that wasn’t the original plan, it turned out that it would heading to the mechanic’s yard; it took them 30 minutes to get the thing moving at all and it most certainly wouldn’t be transporting passengers any time soon.

30 minutes, during which normally a train per minute would be leaving. That is 30 trains worth of people packed together on a not-overly-large platform. I love people, but that was a bit excessive… I guess we were lucky that it’s getting close to the holidays and there were in fact less people than normal…

And while I was getting up close and personal with a whole lot of strangers, a thought flitted through my mind: “If only I’d left home half a minute earlier…”

Yes, I would have been at work at my normal time. And I wouldn’t have gotten some real-life experience of what a sardine feels like. Definitely preferable.

But, how could I have made that decision? Sure, technically there would have been no problem with leaving half a minute earlier. But I could do that every day and then after a few months I would be arriving at work an hour earlier than need be. Moreover, though I would have sidestepped this particular incident, I still would be presented with other obstructions. There is no avoiding misfortune.

Or is it better to say, “there is no avoiding life”?

It’s impossible to foresee exactly what is going to happen. I made the best choice I could with the information (and assumptions) available at the time: If I leave at my normal time, I’ll probably arrive at my normal time.

Reality proved me wrong. Unfortunately

If someone says “Expect the unexpected”, slap them in the face and say: “I bet you weren’t expecting that!” (This, by the way, is not an invitation to slap me in the face!)
Knowing what I know now, I would have made a different choice. But I didn’t know what I know now. And that is almost always true any time you make a “bad” decision; It’s only bad in retrospect (if it’s a bad decision with the information you have at the moment of making it, it’s a stupid decision).

Life will throw curve-balls. Things will work out differently than expected. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. That however is no reason to start second-guessing yourself.


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Dec 082014
 

It was 8.23 in the morning, I was walking from the tube station to the big glass box where the computer stood that I was to stare at for the coming 8 hours.

Unfortunately, I'm not that cool...

Unfortunately, I’m not that cool…

As I walked, people were milling around me, dressed up warmly in shawls, hats, gloves and thick winter coats; December in London is cold!

I wasn’t really paying attention, but something was nagging in the back of my head. Something was different, missing perhaps.

It took me a while, but then I realized what it was: Color!

Whereas in summer the London business district is already relatively monochrome, it now really had taken on just a single color: Black.

Black coats as far as the eye could see, an ocean of stern winter wool!

And there I was, walking in my fireman-red snowboard jacket. For a moment I felt awkward, distinctly out of place.

The moment and the feeling passed, luckily enough, but it was an interesting experience. Wear something else than the masses and the herd-instinct gives you a kick towards conformity.

To stand out is outstanding!
Fit in. Don’t be different. Don’t rock the boat. And it’s not even that they make the push, it’s our own conscience that makes us “behave”. Because it’s safe to be one with the crowd. You won’t be singled out, won’t be left behind.

On the other hand, if the herd is crashing head-long for the edge of the cliff, you will be going down alongside everybody else. And if you want to achieve something out of the ordinary, you’ll have to >somehow be out of the ordinary.

It took a moment, but then I was feeling a whole lot happier with my bright-red jacket!

In what ways do you stand out?


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Dec 082014
 

It was 8.23 in the morning, I was walking from the tube station to the big glass box where the computer stood that I was to stare at for the coming 8 hours.

Unfortunately, I'm not that cool...

Unfortunately, I’m not that cool…

As I walked, people were milling around me, dressed up warmly in shawls, hats, gloves and thick winter coats; December in London is cold!

I wasn’t really paying attention, but something was nagging in the back of my head. Something was different, missing perhaps.

It took me a while, but then I realized what it was: Color!

Whereas in summer the London business district is already relatively monochrome, it now really had taken on just a single color: Black.

Black coats as far as the eye could see, an ocean of stern winter wool!

And there I was, walking in my fireman-red snowboard jacket. For a moment I felt awkward, distinctly out of place.

The moment and the feeling passed, luckily enough, but it was an interesting experience. Wear something else than the masses and the herd-instinct gives you a kick towards conformity.

To stand out is outstanding!
Fit in. Don’t be different. Don’t rock the boat. And it’s not even that they make the push, it’s our own conscience that makes us “behave”. Because it’s safe to be one with the crowd. You won’t be singled out, won’t be left behind.

On the other hand, if the herd is crashing head-long for the edge of the cliff, you will be going down alongside everybody else. And if you want to achieve something out of the ordinary, you’ll have to somehow be out of the ordinary.

It took a moment, but then I was feeling a whole lot happier with my bright-red jacket!

In what ways do you stand out?


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Nov 202014
 

Near to work they put up an ice skating rink, so yesterday I went ice skating with my girlfriend. And despite being Dutch, I’m not particularly good at skating…

I can see my work from here!

I can see my work from here!

The beginning was very awkward, trying to stay up-right whilst moving forward on stuff that is too slippery to walk on, with things underneath my feet slim enough to cut with.

But after the first few rounds I got a bit of the muscle-memory that seemingly was instilled as a child back. A few more rounds and I was doing very average indeed!

Having (re)gained some confidence I tried going a bit faster, turning my corners a bit sharper. All fine until, inevitably, I fell.

Falling sucks!

It hurts (a little), but worse, you look like a complete fool in front of all those people, girlfriend and complete strangers alike!

Better then to play it safe, stick to what you can do, make sure that nothing goes wrong.

Yeah right!

Because: “If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not learning anything either.” If you’re not falling, failing, flailing, you already know how to do it.

“Actually, I never make mistakes. I thought I did once, but I was wrong…”
Some people may very well enjoy doing something they know how to do well, but I’m not some people. I enjoy learning something new, a challenge, improving myself. And if that means I sometimes fall on my ass, so be it. Or if that means I sometimes make a fool of myself, I’ll take that in my stride as well.

The hurt passes (very quickly). And so what if some strangers (or even my girlfriend) think me a bit silly? Personally I have a lot more respect for the people that take the risk (and the plunge) than the ones that stay safely on the sidelines. If you don’t fail, you’re not trying. And if you don’t try, you won’t ever succeed!

So, how often do you fail?


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Oct 062014
 

A few years back I was a bit tired of my first job. And like anybody else in that situation, I was applying for a new one.

You want make remark about tie?!?

You want make remark about tie?!?

Now, this was my second round of interviews I had done in my life (the first was for my first job of course) and as such I was a bit more confident about my abilities, but I was still quite nervous.

At one point I had an interview a bit further away from home. Was pre-occupied, rushing to make my train, thinking about the answers to the standard questions (“Well ma’am, one of my weaknesses is that I tend to bite the head off of anybody asking me un-original questions…”) and about the really smart questions I would ask in turn (“So, uh, you’re like, the boss around here?”). In my commotion it took me until the moment I stepped off of the train to realize that my pants and my jacket didn’t match!

I stood nailed to the ground (not very smart if you’re getting out of a train). My blood was pumping, heart was racing, sweat was pouring out of every pore. I felt I’d rather die than go on with the interview…

That was a few years back. In that time I feel I’ve gotten to be just a tad more confident. Yet still I care a lot about what they might think (for a certain value of they of course).

In those years I also did a tad of reading and one of the things that stayed with me was some research in how self-absorbed people tend to be, focusing only on what is important to them and basically ignoring everything else.

I’m considering a follow-up experiment: Wearing the exact same suit for another month-and-a-half. I’m just afraid that I would start reprimanding myself for being a filthy pig…
Combining my new-found confidence and my bookish wisdom I decided upon an experiment. After carefully selecteing the test population (the people at my office) I formed my hypothesis: “People really don’t notice they way you look”. And to test this I did the following ingenious (if I may say so myself) experiment: I wore the same tie to work every day, for 45 days straight.

The outcomes were quite a surprise:

  • Number of reprimands by the boss for being a filthy pig because of wearing the same item of clothing every day: 0
  • Number of remarks on the consistency of my wardrobe: 0
  • Number of careful and well-hidden questions to casually find out whether I indeed wore the same tie as yesterday: 0
  • Number of moments where there might have been the hint of someone having an inkling of an idea that what I was wearing was in fact the same piece of clothing as I had worn for the past month-and-a-half: 0

My conclusions are fully in line with previous research: People pay way more attention to themselves and what is important to them right here and right now than to anything that you might worry about!

Oh and in case you wondered, the interview I started off with went very well indeed and I worked for four years there.


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!