Apr 152015
 

I like moving houses.

"It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice!" (This is a quote from a techno DJ (and why do I still remember that after 15+ years?))

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice!” (This is a quote from a techno DJ (and why do I still remember that after 15+ years?))

Or better, I like helping other people move house.

There is something satisfying about lugging boxes and heavy object about, to taking apart furniture and putting it back together at another location. It’s good to share being active with a bunch of people, especially if they’re friends (I probably will not come and help you if you’re a random stranger reading this on the internet!). There is usually take-away and beer at the end of the day, to be shared with your (new found) friends. Not unimportant, when you help people move, they are much more likely to come and help you when you need to move (or need help with anything else).

But most of all, helping another makes you feel nice about yourself!

Or generalizing that: Being good feels good.

And as I like feeling good, I thought it would be interesting to see whether I can make use of this more. Therefore, my experiment for the coming time: Be good to other people.

This experiment is quite a bit like an old monthly challenge, which was to give. I remember really enjoying that month, but the whole idea then sortof sank into the morass of everyday life?
This can mean:

  • Giving compliments
  • Being constructive in work meetings
  • Helping people out (anybody moving any time soon?)
  • Smiling to random strangers
  • Surprising my girlfriend
  • Organizing things for friends
  • Making time to visit family
  • Sending out a friendly e-mail once and awhile (just did. It feels good! 🙂 )

I’ll let you know in due time what my observations are.

And perhaps you could take a moment as well to do something good (really, an e-mail is very quick to be sent!)?


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.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Nov 082014
 

My challenge for last month was to open up the file for my book, at least six days per week.

I've got a lot of stuff written, but now it still needs to be put in the right order...

I’ve got a lot of stuff written, but now it still needs to be put in the right order…

It didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped… I think if I opened it up 4 days per week I have to count myself lucky.

And of course, just opening a file is not the real goal. My assumption was that if I opened it, I would work on it as well. This came true about 75% of the time I think. I found myself deliberately taking the easy way out by opening the file and then immediately closing it again.

Where the challenge didn’t go so well itself, it was a very useful experience. Creating the pre-requisite for the work (opening the file) did work in the 75% of the cases where I did it. Not a bad score at all!

What I could have done better is to create a very specific moment / trigger for when I’d do the work. When I previously had the challenge to run every day, I also set that I would do this right out of work and if I couldn’t (due to social obligations) I would do it right after waking up. I actually planned my day around this (we do this with work, why not with other things?). And I had thought to do the same, but then a pair of beautiful dark eyes came along and that kinda messed up my schedule (not blaming her, this is my own doing!).

And finally, I have been having the feeling I’m burning the candle at both ends, feeling very tired when coming home from work, which is not particularly productive to get a lot of things done.

Lessons to take away:

  • Setting a goal for the step before the work actually works quite well
  • A very specific time / trigger helps
  • Being well rested helps even more!

Challenge for this month: No challenge, just enjoy the pair of beautiful black eyes (and the rest of the package), get a bit more sleep, relax a bit more. But no stress if I don’t!

Oct 042014
 

I’m going to be donating some money (see the story here).

One of the more promising ideas for space colonization: A city floating in the clouds of Venus

One of the more promising ideas for space colonization: A city floating in the clouds of Venus

There are hundreds, thousands, millions of worthy causes in this world, all most likely very happy to receive my little bit. Meaning that I have a choice to make. How to allocate? Which in the end comes down to: “What do I find important?”

Thinking about it for a bit I came to the conclusion that there are three major categories in which “good” is done:

  • Keeping the (worthwhile) status-quo: Saving endangered species from extinction, keeping Wikipedia up and running
  • Making a bad situation better: Disaster relief, research into Alzheimer
  • Creating something new: Building a school, nano-tech research

Of course there will be large overlaps: A school is built to make a bad situation (lacking education) better. And after it’s set up it’s the status-quo, which needs money to be preserved…

Mars One is proposing to send people on a (one way!) trip to Mars. I very seriously considered applying. In the end it wasn’t the no-return that stopped me, but the fact that they will be sending too few people; four at first, then two more every year. I like my social interactions too much to deal with that…
Still, what I feel myself drawn to most is the last category, doing (trying) something new. I’m an adventurer at heart, I like change, maybe the answer is just around the next corner… Of course I’m well aware that “new” stuff in general creates as many problems as it solves, but call me a hopeless optimist, I do believe in “progress”.

So, some kind of research, preferably blue-sky. But into what exactly?

One thing I believe would benefit the world would be space exploration. Energy, resources and just straight space are incredibly plentiful out there. Maybe ESA will take my money? Or I could donate to Mars One or SpaceX?

This of course ties in very well with my adventurer spirit; we ran out of (physical) frontiers on this tiny speck of sand. And even from a more work-related perspective this makes sense: Putting all your eggs in one basket (all your humans on one planet) just isn’t very good risk management…

If anybody else knows anything related that might be worthwhile, do let me know!


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 012014
 

Most of my monthly challenges have been failures, more or less. Sure, most times I would do something, but it was haphazard, inconsistent, unorganized.

Too bad I'm usually too busy wheezing my lungs out to mind the surroundings much...

Too bad I’m usually too busy wheezing my lungs out to mind the surroundings much…

Last month was different. Last month was a great success! It was at the same time a great failure.

My challenge was to run every day. And to really push myself I decided to make a little bet with myself / the universe, at the value of a thousand Euros.

Last blog post I already mentioned that I cheated. And though I did do what my intention was (to exercise), I didn’t do what I said I would (to run!). I had been doing a very good job of talking myself out of that, but luckily I have some very observant reader(s) who kindly reminded me to “put my money where my mouth was”. Which is absolutely correct of course and to be frank I’m very happy that there are people out there keeping me honest, so thanks! Before the year is over I will have donated a thousand Euro to a worthy cause (suggestions are welcome).

So far the first part of my failure.

The second part was something I could’ve thought of as well: Running every day is a lot for your body. Especially if you’re not used to running and when your knees aren’t an 18-year-old’s anymore. The first week-and-a-half gave muscles-ages. The last week-and-a-half gave not quite painful, but not entirely ok knees either.

Kids: When doing sports, you also need time to recuperate!

And then the success: I did run (ok, exercise) every day!

To keep into the spirit (but not over-tax myself) I’ll keep on running (exercising!), but I’ll tone down the frequency. SMART: I will run (exercise!) twice per week, on Monday and Thursday. I’ll review this by the end of the month.
Knowing that this was something I would need to do made me plan my day around it (sortof); if I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run right out of work, then I just had to get up a bit earlier and do it in the morning. Every day means there is no forgetting (I’m sure putting some money on it helped with that as well. Too bad it wasn’t enough…) and whether you run or don’t is also very easy to measure.

Lessons learned from this:

  • A SMART challenge really helps to do it
  • It’s very important to think about exactly what it is that I’m getting myself into, whether it really is attainable in the form I write it down
  • Going for a run is really nice, once it gets to the point where it is something that you just do (instead of forcing yourself to it)

Despite the failure(s), I consider this challenge a success!

And of course I need a new challenge. I’ve been thinking about wanting to write more, but I never make the time for it. I know that my biggest hurdle is starting. So as an experiment I’m not going to make my challenge to write, but instead I’m going to make it my challenge to open the file of my book, six days per week. I don’t have to work on it, but my expectation is that once I’m over the very first hurdle I’ll get to it anyway. Let’s see what happens…


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 272014
 

My challenge for this month is to run every day. The challenge has been going pretty well, but more about that some other time.

However: "The scenery only changes for the lead rat"

However: “The scenery only changes for the lead rat”

Because a few days the challenge did not go so well. It’s not that I didn’t do it. It’s that I cheated.

On one of my first few days I ran to the bus. 100 meters, if that. Not really what I had in mind, though technically it counted (I never specified how far or long I would run). Then there were the days I didn’t run at all, but I did do something else quite strenuous (hike for an hour, bike for an hour). Technically I didn’t do what I said I would, but in spirit this was perfectly ok.

I like to keep my word. Especially if I made it in (semi) public.

Is it ok to re-interpret my challenge to allow technical compliance and compliance in spirit?! Tough question!

“He who dies with the most toys, still dies”
In the end I came to this: I’m doing this for myself. I feel happy with what I accomplished. I think what I did was maybe not in line with the letter of my challenge, but life is not about the fine print anyway (or even the large print)! Conclusion: Challenge still going strong!

Thinking about this triggered a whole new train of thought: What do I measure myself by in general. How do I know I’m doing what I should be doing? How do I know I’m successful?

If you don’t set your own goals, don’t decide for yourself what is important, there are lots of other places to look. People will deem you to have “made it” if you become rich, if you have a “career”, if you’re famous.

But: ”Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat!”

I desperately do not want to be famous. I said goodbye to the traditional career when I became a freelancer. Having money still is nice, but it’s only an enabler, not a goal in itself.

What then? What makes me successful? How do you measure that? And perhaps more importantly, when do you measure that? On your death bed, looking back? When you’ve “made it” (and afterwards you can stop – living, trying?)? Or minute by minute, day by day, month by month? I don’t believe in the second one, but both the first and last have a certain ring to it. A balance between the short term and the long term.

I don’t know exactly what success means for me. But I’m one step closer in figuring it 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!