Jun 092014
 

A bit back I was doubting whether to continue down the path of being an entrepreneur or whether I should consider going back to a “normal job”. I then already concluded that going back to being a wage slave was a form of giving up that I wasn’t quite ready for.

We're actually lucky: Stones need to be in perfect balance, whereas we only need to strive towards it...

We’re actually lucky: Stones need to be in perfect balance, whereas we only need to strive towards it…

Based on that post I got a very touching and wise E-mail from my father (who is very much the entrepreneur). And as this helped my, I decided that it would be the perfect basis for a blog post, in the hopes that others might also make use of his insights (filtered through my own perception of course).

The main point that I took away from the mail was that life is a constant search for balance (my mom would say that my dad and me are both typical Libras :-) ). Balance between freedom, security, work, entertainment, love, money, energy. The important insight however is that this balance can only be found temporarily. The world changes, people change, we change ourselves. Our world is in turmoil and thus we are ourselves and we look for stability. Then we find this and after a while we get bored so create some new turmoil (at least that is what I do). There is a constant striving to “make things better”. This will however never be a stable point, only a temporary resting point.

Perhaps balance in life is less that of the scales and more that of the bicycle: You have to keep moving forward in order not to fall down.
The second thing I took away from his words is that it’s usually impossible to satisfy our myriad of different wants and needs exactly. That means that sometimes we choose one over the other. We sacrifice a bit of one part in favor of another. This as well is temporary, the scales at some point will tip the other way again.

On the one hand this is frustrating, there is no perfect balance. On the other hand it is liberating as well: I can stop searching for it.

Instead it’s better to continuously take steps towards something better. Yes it’s a moving target, but perhaps that’s the thing that makes it worthwhile. Or perhaps it couldn’t be anything else; perfect balance would get boring quite quickly… :-)

Thanks dad, for your thoughts and wisdom!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

Jun 032014
 

My challenge for the past month was: “To tell the truth.”

When I was little my parents would feel my pinky and from that they could tell if I was lying or not. Too bad grabbing someone's pinky is a bit frowned upon...

When I was little my parents would feel my pinky and from that they could tell if I was lying or not. Too bad grabbing someone’s pinky is a bit frowned upon…

This meant no lies, no fibs, no leaving out significant parts, no excuses.

So here here is what I noticed the past month:

Most of the time I did tell the truth without any problem (or perhaps I should say that I simply didn’t catch myself lying?).

I caught myself exaggerating a lot. Sometimes this was just a tiny bit to make my point, sometimes it was a lot. I also found that when “telling stories” or “entertaining” I had a strong tendency to simply make things up (statistics particularly). These were things that I read at some point but for which I forgot the details. Details are easy though… Not the worst kinds of lies, but I was very much surprised at how often this happened and how easy it was.

Second, I had a very strong tendency to leave things unsaid if the subject was difficult. This was during heated conversations with my main squeeze, but also at work when I performed less than perfect. I caught myself a number of times and did “come clean”. When I did that, reactions were never overly negative, so I hope this will be a good learning experience.

Finally, I was never caught outright in a lie. Either I’m a good liar, or everybody in the world is. I’m actually thinking it’s the latter.

The reason I took on this challenge was because I feel that there shouldn’t be a real reason to lie (or to leave things out). If something is true for me, why would I want to fudge it? I did have the tendency to fudge (as explained), but it did feel empowering to simply say what I wanted to say (and not hide it in any way).

I’m still not entirely sure what to think of “lying for entertainment”. This is what movie actors and story-tellers do. If it really is just to entertain, is there anything wrong with it? Or is it enough of a slippery slope that I also shouldn’t do this…?
This has been a good challenge and thus I’m going to continue with this one, only making it slightly more difficult. For the next month, I’m going to tell the truth (in the same was as this month) and when I catch myself in a lie, I’m going to come back on my words. So even when I do tell a lie, I have to back-track and correct myself. I don’t have to admit that I was telling a lie per-se, but I do have to make it clear that anything I just said was incorrect.

This one is quite a bit more scary than the previous one. But by doing what scares us we grow the most…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

May 222014
 

I’m an entrepreneur. But that wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time I was a wage slave (like most people).

Don't worry, I'll still be here for you!

Don’t worry, I’ll still be here for you!

In many ways being an entrepreneur is much better: No more bosses (well, myself, but I’m the best boss ever!), more income, long time in between assignments to enjoy the additional income.

In some ways however it’s worse: I don’t feel like part of a team (I’m part of a team at the client, but I know I’ll be leaving again, so I don’t really bond with anybody), I only see part of the work and then I have to move on and (most importantly) the work hasn’t always been as interesting as I’d like.

When I was working at my real job, most days I would be whistling on my way to work. Nowadays that’s a real rarity.

Most of the pros and cons cancel out. What it boils down to is that being an entrepreneur gives me much more freedom, but at the cost of doing work that at times is just plain boring.

Should I go back? Try to re-find a fulfilling job, at the cost of that freedom? What is it worth to go to your work with a smile on your face? My thoughts have been on this for quite a bit.

The thing is, I do have a lot of freedom as an entrepreneur. Not just the freedom to travel when I’m not on assignment, but also the freedom to be picky on what assignments I accept and what I negotiate on when accepting one.

Oh, the times I wished I could try to things (at the same time) to see which works out better and then (retroactively?) chose that one!
If I go back to a job I’d have to have some luck to find something that really suited me. And how would I know that was the case without doing it? In that sense it’s not that much different from taking on a new assignment: I have preconceptions, but they might turn out to be wrong.

Better then to keep this tremendous sense of freedom and to use that to find something that makes me feel like whistling on the way there.

I’m not sure I can actually find that. But I do feel I would be giving up if I didn’t at least try (with the knowledge that I have now).


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

May 182014
 

We were at a party. Good atmosphere, interesting people. Nice!

Jep, that's what I felt like alright!

Jep, that’s what I felt like alright!

At one point Frances mentioned the incredibly cute bartender. Not having paid him any attention before I turned around to take a good look. And though it’s usually not that easy for me to ascertain the “cuteness” in guys, I could see that this specimen of male humanity ticked a lot of boxes: Strong jawline, wide shoulders, a smile that lit up his face.

At that point a little green monster lodged itself in my heart: Jealousy!

Our relationship gives us both the freedom to pursue relationships with other people and Frances had before told me about other people she found interesting. That however had always been “hearsay”, an abstract little smudge of greenness. Here however the monster was staring me right in the face (I’m referring to my jealousy, not the bartender)!

My head was clear: “This should be ok.”

My feelings were equally clear: “Mine! Stay off (pun intended)!”

I excused myself, went to the toilet. And when I came back took Frances aside for a minute: “I find this difficult, but it’s ok that I find this difficult.”

She was very understanding, asked me what I would like from her, whether she should give me time, to not pursue this.

“Nothing for me. Go ahead, see where this leads.”

Because in the end these are my feelings, my uncertainty. Not hers.

This wasn’t going to be the last time. There actually are more cute guys (and girls) out there, and she was sure to run into a few of them again. So I’d rather work on this now than some time in the unspecified future. That way it would always be hanging over me; fear doesn’t go away by avoiding what you fear.

Because I was afraid. Afraid that she would like this guy better than me, that I would be cast aside, left alone, leaving me to die a lonely death, perhaps only surrounded by my 47 cats, who would as a thank-you for taking care of them all these years eat my lifeless body (fear has a funny way of blowing things way out of proportion).

“If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, they will stay. If they don’t, you never had them anyway.”
Minute by minute my feelings improved, rationality dispelling the horror scenario, leaving something that was just difficult, instead of excruciating. Yes, she might like this guy so much that I would be done away with. But even if that worst-case scenario played out, it wasn’t the end of the world (after all, there are more cute girls out there!). And I’m sure enough of myself (and our relationship) to know that the chances to that were very slim.

It took Frances a while to actually work up the courage to tell this guy she fancied him. Turned out he had a girlfriend and wasn’t looking for anybody else. I felt relief. But I also felt sad for Frances that things didn’t pan out.

Conclusions: Jealousy is based on fear and fear blows things out of proportions. Work on the fear and the jealousy becomes much more manageable as well.

And as a post script: This was probably the most educational party I’ve been to in my life!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!

May 142014
 

I’ve (almost) always been a morning person. Mostly I’m happy with that, but now it’s getting to be a bit ridiculous though…

I would never do that! Have such a strange haircut I mean.

I would never do that! Have such a strange haircut I mean.

Most nights by the time I see my bed I’m ready to crash into it and not get out for another 2 days, or so it feels. Unfortunately a regular life instills something horrible: A rhythm (great when playing saxophone, not when trying to sleep late during the weekend…). So when the morning comes, I’m awake. Early.

Normally that’s ok, a few minutes before my alarm goes off is actually nice, as it keeps me from being launched from my dreams straight into dreadful reality.

Lately however I haven’t been waking up a few minutes before my alarm (which already goes at a horrific 6.45), but almost a full hour earlier. And it’s not the “I’m awake but I think I’ll just turn around and get a bit more slee… Zzzzzzz” awake. It’s the “It’s morning, rise and shine, let’s get up and run around and do stuff!” kind of awake.

After having lived through this for a few weeks now, an ingeneous thought struck me: Why not make use of this?

I’m usually a happy, upbeat kind of guy. Not enough sleep is something which will get me down very quickly. I’m not sure if I envy or pitty the people who (can) do with just 6 or less hours of sleep…
I’m not bound to very specific times for work, so why not just start an hour earlier and then leave an hour earlier as well. Better to be awake (and slightly dreamy) at work, than to be awake in bed. Especially if this means I get an entire hour of afternoon extra!

This morning was the first try and now I’m in my train just a bit past 16.00. Nice! I’m tired, but not more so than I usually am. Not sure how I’ll feel tonight (and whether I’ll be able to sleep on time), but I’m curious to find out.

If life gives you lemons, sell them to a lemonade factory!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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!