Dec 022014
 

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

"Get lost, you must!"

“Get lost, you must!”

Perhaps the most memorable quote from the entire Star Wars trilogy.

And it works. Luke Skywalker, the quintessential hero, goes out and does. He defeats the Empire, confronts his father and makes friends with nauseatingly cute little cave-men. He doesn’t get the girl, but that’s because she’s his sister…

And though it isn’t exactly easy, he has a huge advantage: Yoda. (That, and it’s a movie so the good guy has to win…)

The all-wise little green dude that is happy to share his life-long gathered insights (mostly instilled through whacks on the fingers). “Follow my teachings and all will be well”. And so it was. ”Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

How different it is in real life. There might be enough people out there happy to tell us what to do, but they are rarily wise and even more rarely have our best interests at heart. We have no map, there is no “right” way. Only with hindsight can we say that something got us what we expected (hoped) it would bring us. And even then we regularly find that even though we got what we wanted, we should have wanted something different to begin with…

In real life it’s a combination: Do or do not. Your choice. But either way, you’re just trying.

Which is frustrating of course. So much easier to buy the book with 32 easy steps that lead to guaranteed happiness, bliss and world peace. If only that existed…

Yet it’s also liberating. If you’re just trying then there really isn’t any failure. You tried it and it got (or not) what you expected. And now you’re unhappy (or not) with the outcome, so you can do less (more) of it in the future. And then try something new.

We make things up as we go along. Draw the map as we’re stumbling through the (urban) jungle. Figuring some things out that work, others that don’t. We try and therefore we are (or is that too philosophical? :-) ).

Now to make this a bit more personal.

If you didn’t care about the outcome, how many things would you stop doing? And what things would you start up if the outcome didn’t matter? Something to ponder…
I usually do a “monthly challenge”. Something that I would like to achieve over the course of a month. And yes, it’s nice to achieve something, but most of these were more to figure out what worked than to really “get to the end”.

So, goodbye monthly challenge, hello monthly experiment!

And to kick it off, the experiment for this month will be nicely vague, unmeasurable, without a goal. The experiment is to try to let go of the outcome of things and to instead enjoy the process of getting there.

I’ll share insights in month :-)


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 282014
 

One more month and then my contract here in London ends. My direct manager would like to extend me, but the harpies from HR have decreed that he can only hire someone permanently (for a certain value of permanent) instead of having me contract for a while longer.

How about I just make an about-face and head back the way I came...

How about I just make an about-face and head back the way I came…

His boss on the other hand would consider keeping me on for a bit longer (after I convinced him that I really don’t want a permanent job; I guess not a lot of people understand that stability can be a dirty word). It’s not certain, but I feel there is a very decent chance.

But do I want that…?

On the one hand, I enjoy working at the company, I like being in London (having a girlfriend here might have something to do with that…) and the role sounds particularly interesting. It would entail (relative) certainty, security and a (somewhat) predictable income.

On the other hand, I miss my friends and family back in the Netherlands, and I would really like to have the time to focus on a few things I’ve had pushing at the back of my head for a while now (a book and a risk model specifically). Freedom and a very uncertain but potentially much larger upside lie that way.

The specific role most probably is a “now or never” (and it really does look very appealing!), even though it would be temporary. The personal projects will still be there in half a year (or even in three).

With some horror I realized that it had been over a week since I’d written my last post. It’s not that I have nothing to write, it’s more that life seems to get in the way…? I blame travel time and a very distracting girlfriend! :-)
From an income perspective contracting for a while longer is both saver and has a higher expected pay-off. But from an enjoyment perspective doing my own thing is the clear winner.

So there is a risk versus safety component, an enjoyment factor and a timing issue. Making this quite a difficult decision indeed (I’d almost wish that I wouldn’t get a new contract, as that would take the choice out of my hands!)

The most important thing to remember (and to keep telling myself!): Whatever happens, it will work out. I can’t predict the future, good stuff and bad stuff will happen either way. And I’ll never know the outcome if I’d taken the other option.

Still…

It’s hard…

Does anybody have any good insights?


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!

Nov 162014
 

I just got back from a week away to Portugal. And as much as I love to travel alone, I love to travel with someone special even more. Luckily, I met someone very special not so long ago…

Alone: Bleh, rain.  Together: Romantic, rain!

Alone: Bleh, rain.
Together: Romantic, rain!

In fact, it was only slightly more than a month ago that we first met. Booking a vacation together within a month of knowing each other was certainly a record for me (and for her as well). A few of her friends had kindly but urgently asked her whether it really was a good idea to head of with this random stranger she knew only for so little time (my own friends didn’t say a thing. Probably because they’re more used to me doing strange things (or perhaps it was the fact that I didn’t really ask anybody’s opinion on it…)).

Now I could write something about “true love”, “soul mates”, and “not a moment of doubt”. But that would most definitely not be in line with my thoughts.

Yes, I was worried about being “stuck” with someone I hardly knew for a whole week. What if our travel ideas were completely different? What if we got into a huge fight? What if…

But more than doubts and worries, I felt trust.

First, trust in her, that she was a good person. Human and thus bound to be imperfect (just like myself), but with a kind heart and willing to work to make the experience pleasant if not enjoyable for the both of us.

Second, trust in myself. That I would be able to indicate when something was bothering me, that I would listen to her when she voiced an opinion or idea.

And finally, trust in the both of us, that we would work things out if there was frustration. That we both wanted to make the other person happy, despite set-backs (did I mention we had heavy rain for all but one day?).

“A relationship without trust is like a phone with no service. What do you do with a phone with no service? You play games…”
It worked out. We did fun stuff, decided together to not bother with the awesome monestary that had a two-hour waiting line, had great (and not so great) dinners, slept late (both in stunningly romantic and stunningly un-romantic places (what self-respecting interior designer makes the toilet the same lime-green as the wall?!?) , hiked up to fairy-tale castles. And we talked. A lot. And through it all grew a lot closer together.

It could have worked out differently of course. We could have had that huge row. But even then, isn’t it better to know that as soon as possible, instead of finding out after having been together for a year (or more)?

Trust is fragile and precious. But that doesn’t mean you should hoard it, keep it safe to your chest. It means that you should give it quickly, so that it can either grow over time, or wither away quickly. The people who are not worthy of trust you cut out of your life, so that there is more space to keep the ones close that are.


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 312014
 

”He walked into the room and her heart skipped a beat. Wordlessly he walked up to her and it felt as though his dark eyes pierced to the depths of her soul. Strong yet oh so gentle hands closed behind her back and she felt herself pressed against his broad chest. She closed her eyes, lost in the moment, lost for eternity when their lips met. She had kissed before, but it felt as though those had only been play, the little girl pretending to be a princess with the little boy as her knight. This was different…”

Muscled stranger, check. Fair maiden, check. Random and unimportant plot-twists, check. Unimaginative cover, check...

Muscled stranger, check. Fair maiden, check. Random and unimportant plot-twists, check. Unimaginative cover, check…

I’m not particularly well known when it comes to unashamed romance novels (a.k.a. porn for women). Luckily I have friends (ok, one) who know much more about them then I do. She was able to tell me that your average romance novel emphasizes three things: The woman heroine is beautiful but doesn’t know it. The man is silent and thus mysterious. The love between them is different.

The first so that a woman reading the book can identify with the heroine. The second so that she can portray her husband in the role of the charming stranger (most men are much more silent compared to women; how better to make that appealing than by making it mysterious?). And finally things have to be different, because your average housewife reading the literary equivalent of the McDonalds hamburger leads an all too predictable life.

But then, life is different when you’re in love, as I’ve been discovering very recently.

“Seduced by an angel”, “The maverick and the maiden”, A case for romance”, “Savage dreams”, “Prince of dreams”, “His wicked dream”, “More than a dream”. If those aren’t enough to melt any heart…?
The world has lost some of its beauty; where normally my head would turn at every beautiful woman, I find myself comparing and left feeling un-charmed. The world has gained beauty; sights made more spectacular for being shared (it’s amazing that that even works for the unadorned walls of your own bedroom…). I’m sleep-deprived but at the same bounce through life on a bubble of energy.

It’s easy now. I’m in love. But having been through the mill of love ample times, I know that those feelings don’t last forever. But I do believe that it is possible to keep those feelings for a long time. Especially with some help from romance novels:

  • She is beautiful (charming, funny, smart, sweet), be the one that sees that
  • It’s ok to be silent. As long as you continue to create a bit of mystery
  • Do something different with some regularity. Yes it takes energy, but it gives it back many times over

Happy loving (and reading!)!


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!