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!

Sep 242014
 

This past weekend I was in the Netherlands to celebrate two very good friends getting married. And I didn’t just get to celebrate, I got to be a very intimate part of it, as they had asked me to be master of ceremonies (luckily together with four other lovely people)!

I'm not really the marrying kind, but throwing a party like that must be awesome!

I’m not really the marrying kind, but throwing a party like that must be awesome!

Seeing a wedding “from the inside” is definitely something! So far I’ve only had to enjoy the occasion, drink my beer, have some cake, congratulate the bride and groom, hand over some gifts (and get them handed back, to be dropped at the ubiquitous “presents table”) and then go back to drinking beer, talking to old friends and having a dance.

Don’t worry, I got to do all of the above. But in between I was helping to drag big flower pots back and forth, hanging decoration, greeting guests that were early to arrive, directing guests to the right location when they were late to arrive, making sure that people knew they got to go on a picture with the happy couple, announcing speeches, announcing funny songs, helping to set up dinner, getting the bride a glass to drink, pointing, directing, helping.

At the end of the day I was feeling just a tad tired. But when I finally got to crash down on my air mattress (because why wouldn’t you go camping after a nice wedding?!), I couldn’t sleep. Too many things still dripping through my subconscious to let my consciousness get the rest it deserved.

One of the things that came to me was: “I’m happy!”

Happy that my friends had a beautiful day and that they had announced to the world that they loved each other. Happy to have been a part of it, to have helped with it. Even if it’s not your turn in the limelight, it’s still awesome to be directing the beam!

And something that had been at the back of my head for some time came to the fore: To be happy you have to do something.

The downside of never getting married: You don’t get a bachelor party either!
Helping to organize a wedding is a lot of work and especially at the moment you have to start it, it feels like a burden. Yet during all the time I was busy with it, I enjoyed myself immensely. Afterwards I felt very good indeed.

I have a tendency to be tired after a long day (like everybody?) and I make the easy choices; to surf the web or watch a series, instead of doing something that may cost some energy but in the end will make me feel so much better. To go out for a walk (however small). Or to write. And I find that when I do do something, energy comes flowing back very quickly.

I’m not sure whether I’m going to be helping anybody organize their wedding anytime soon though… :-)


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!

Sep 172014
 

In my life I’ve twice bribed someone.

A re-allocation of funds to speed up the processing of important yet bothersome paperwork...

A re-allocation of funds to speed up the processing of important yet bothersome paperwork…

The first time was in a train from Germany to Prague. We were dirt poor students, enjoying a well-deserved vacation to Eastern Europe. We knew that we could buy a ticket on the international train, so when the appropriate people stopped by we eagerly asked them to sell us a ticket. “Later, later” was the reply. This happened another 2 times, until we were almost in Prague. Then they came in and in our best combination of English, German and Check they explained us that we could get a ticket – normal price, or we could not get a ticket – half price.

Young, naive and not the brightest knives in the book, it took us a while before we figured out that they wanted a bribe.

Of course we would happily travel with the half-price-no-ticket deal they were so kindly offering (more for the novelty value than the money really (though being dirt-poor students the money was nice as well…)).

I said that the first room was bad. I was lying, it was horrific! There were already 6 people living in the 3 person flat, more mold than clean walls and the room wasn’t big enough to turn around in. When politely asked by the agent who had shown it to me I equally politely said that I would not be taking it. She then told me that this was her second day on the job and that she was so ashamed of this that she was going to quit as of immediately!

The day before yesterday I again bribed someone. As I wrote I’ve been in a bit of stress over where I’ll be staying for the next few months. Then on Monday I did three viewings. The first was bad, the second great(!) and the third ok. The second obviously had to think about it, as they weren’t in any hurry. The third was happy to give me the room then-and-there. “Let me sleep on it?” Was my somewhat lame answer.

And here I was in a conundrum. The second room was what I wanted, larger, better location, very nice people. The third was ok, not very convenient, small, hot.

So I did what any self-respecting person would have done… I made it worth their while. I sent a message, saying that if they could speed up their decision making process (in my favor) I’d happily pay a bit extra…

Then they slept on it, but in the morning gave me the final verdict: The room was mine! Woohoo!

So, the universe does provide. But sometimes you’ve got to grease the cogs a little bit…


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!

Sep 142014
 

A while back I wrote that I had nothing left to wish for. A while before that I wrote a piece about being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood...  Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough...

Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood…
Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough…

I’ve got something to wish for…

When I first came here it was for a 3 month contract. That has been extended for an additional 3 months (yay!). Having planned to be here for just month though I signed a lease agreement for my room for 3 months. And if I wanted to extend my current lease it would have had to sign up for an additional full year. Not so handy… So I decided not to. I mean, how hard could it be to find something in a place as dynamic as London?!?

Let me tell you: A lot harder than I had thought!

The first time round there were lots of places being offered, so many even that I got multiple messages on the add that put online (most of them completely unsuitable btw, but enough that did seem to be ok). In the end I had a choice of 2 that were both very suitable to my needs.

Now however it’s the beginning of the school year, meaning that lots of students are looking for rooms. And like me, they prefer to be some place central… Meaning that the pickings are slim, things gone well before I have a chance to reply, messages don’t get replied to and phones don’t get answered.

At moments like this I need to remind myself that you can’t have an adventure without some adversity…
I’ve always firmly believed there were two kinds of occurrences in life: Those that you could do something about and those that you couldn’t. The first you fixed, the latter you ignored. No need to stress.

Now however I’m stressed! This is something in between. Yes, I can do something about this (vigilantly scour the internet for something suitable), but for the most part it’s out of my hands. And the fact that I really do need a place to live doesn’t make this any better!

In the end it’ll work out. The universe will provide (perhaps the universe will provide an over-priced hotel room, but still…).

On the map I’ve been living underneath London Bridge. I hope I won’t literally have to live underneath London Bridge…


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!