22/24 – What’s your Why?

If you know me at all, you know I have a soft spot for the question Why.

Why makes my heart beat a little bit faster, as I truly believe knowing what lies at the heart of something, a passion, an interest, a purpose, makes a difference. It makes the feeling behind the action and/or words purer, more energetic, vibrant and full of life.heart

So ask yourself – what is your Why?

But don’t stop there. Do it the Toyota Way, asking at least five why’s in a row, really getting to the bottom of it, finding the root-cause.

But it doesn’t have to be a problem that needs fixing. Not at all. Rather. Get to the heart of what makes you happy everyday, and then, DO more of that. Create a life where that Why infuses your day. Every day.

I know my Why. But still. I get prompted by this Advent Calendar to dig deeper. To redefine it. Or clarify it. It’s as if the rough sketch is about to turn into a sharp and well-shot photograph. With great clarity in the details, and unquestionably clear in what it’s showing.

Yeah. My Why is getting sharper. Your’s?

Reflection #22 of 24 from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

Daily habits

Continuing on yesterday’s topic of doing average stuff, but consistently, having it add up to something spectacular, I give you some wisdom from Seth Godin, from a blog post he published in December 2014 (published here):

BoldomaticPost_There-s-a-fundamental-differen

In the past six months, since August 18th 2014, I’ve discovered I’m quite good at this, building daily habits, and just doing it. Because once I committed myself to it (and also voiced it publicly, something that helps me feel accountable!), I have been doing my daily Seven minutes of morning exercise and a Headspace-meditation as well as my daily dose of German in DuoLingo. In September sometime I started doing another daily meditation as well. Also, for the past 39 days I’ve done my minimum of 15 minute #cleanse4expansion, without exception. Just doing it.

Oh, and I have an even longer track record, as it’s just over two years ago that I started to blog daily. There have been a few exceptions there, and I’m cool with that. But I don’t make a habit of exceptions, because then my daily habit is no longer what Seth so wisely points to: something I just do, without having to decide on a daily basis to do them. Rather I can just play around with how to do it, on each given day.

And you know what? I don’t find this taxing. It’s not stressful. And it’s not even something I feel I HAVE to do. I just do them. It’s like brushing my teeth. I don’t fight myself on a daily basis trying to convincing myself to brush my teeth, morning and evening. I just do it. Because I’ve learnt that habit, and I find that it serves me.

The same is true with blogging, Seven and the meditations. In the beginning there was some effort to it. And sure enough, sometimes I’d rather not. But…. it’s like brushing my teeth, I just do it, regardless if I really want to or not. Because I find that it serves me.

The moment it stops serving me (it being any daily habit of mine) – there’s no reason for me to continue. So the trick, for me, is to revisit my Why’s once in a while. I’ll give it a go right now:

Why do I blog daily?
Because it’s self coaching for me, and a great way to reflect. And sometimes it proves helpful to other people as well.

Why do I do a daily Seven minute of exercise?
Because I feel better, I get stronger, more fit, and my back (and the rest of my body) really benefits from the daily movements!

Why do I do two meditations daily?
Well, I started with Headspace because my brother got me into it. Not the reason I’m still doing it though! My reason why has evolved, and now centers around me really enjoying the quiet time with myself and mind, and also I find that it helps me be more centered during the non-meditating times of my day, which of course makes up most of my day. The second meditation is a practice that helps me connect on a daily basis to love and acceptance, and that is also something which greatly impacts my entire day.

What daily habits do you have, and what’s your reason for doing them??

A leap of faith

I normally don’t blog more than once per day, but Christer Hellberg shared this TED Talk on Facebook, I watched it and I just have to share it with you. So give yourself 22 minutes and sit down and watch Ricardo Semler here:

Some priceless quotes from the talk include:

If you’re giving back, you took too much. 

Why do I want to be remembered at all?

The fact is, what we do with education is totally obsolete.

Ask three why’s in a row. Because the first why, you always have a good answer for. The second why, it starts getting difficult. By the third why, you don’t really know why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you do this, you might come to the question: What am I doing this for?

It takes a leap of faith about loosing control. And almost nobody who is in control is ready to take leaps of faith. 

Dad, why do we exist?

But those are just a few highlights. Listen and see what you hear.

Now, I’ve abandoned the notion of control a few years ago. I’m leaping. You?

The Imitation Game

A few weeks ago I watched The Imitation Game, and was deeply touched by it. Watching it at the movies, At the movie theater, after my emotional breakdown. when the final minute was up, I was crying my heart out (as you can see in the snap shot selfie I took of my puffy face and red eyes). Fully aware I was in a movie theater, it didn’t really feel like the space to have an emotional breakdown, so I tried to regain my composure. Luckily, my company at the time, took a look at me, and knew precisely why I was crying hard. She said ”The things we humans do to each other”, or something similar. And yup. That was the thought running over and over in my head:

The things we do to each other.

Today I watched the film again. It’s as good. Or perhaps even better. I didn’t fall into complete heartbreak at the end this time around though, but a few tears were shed, not surprisingly. I strongly suggest you watch the movie.

And again. My head keeps on churning on the things we do to each other… Why oh why? Why do we do the things we do to each other? The bad things, the nasty, evil, inhuman and horrendous things we do to each other?

no one can imagineBecause, man, are we ever missing out! Here’s a genius, who…. no. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, if you haven’t seen it yet. But suffice to say, without him, the world would indeed be a very different place than the world we live in today. And it would have cost a lot more human lives at that.

And Alan Turing is but one example. He made a huge contribution to mankind, but what about the rest, who perhaps are shut down – and there are many ways of doing just that! – before being able to share their gifts with the world? What unimaginable things are we missing out on? Can we really afford to continue this way, where the norm and the normal are for ever deemed ”the way to be”, and if you are not within that ever narrowing spectrum, we shut you out, ignore, ridicule, bully and harass you?

Why, oh why, do we do the things we do to each other?

Vision and the inner voice

The importance of a vision, closely linked to the soul of the country, or company, is one of the thoughts reverberating in my head after my meeting with Richard Gerver yesterday afternoon, together with Susanne, Ann and Therese from #skolvåren back office. I only missed Ninna, who was with us in spirit, not being able to get away to join us.

Meetup with Gerver

Richard shared the story of his meeting with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who said, the real failures of Google, have come about when they tried to act based on the fear of what someone else is doing – Facebook are launching X, we must have something similar! – rather than go deep within to find what they, Google, want to do, regardless of what others are doing.

And that’s what Richard asks Sweden:
Find your vision, believe in you path ahead, and stick to it. Don’t copy cat Finland (now slipping in the ranks of PISA), to move on to copy cat Singapore (latest fad school system everyone want’s to learn from), to move on to….

Vision

No, stop right then and there. Ask instead:
What do we want?
Where are we?
Where do we want to go?
What are the needs of Swedes and Sweden, for a school system?

Discover our Why, find that vision, and stick to it, Richard passionately asks of the hundred or so of teachers, principals, school developers and #skolvårare, in the audience in Huddinge.

I have more thoughts to sit with, after an hour listening to Richard, but this one is top of mind at the moment. But I’m fairly happy to just sit with it, not really doing much at all to act upon this, at this very moment. I’m on a school break, with my kids, enjoying them and their company immensely.

And you know what, the message Richard wants to get across is extremely relevant here as well. So I’ll do what I can to make sure my children know how to listen to their own voice, to find their passion, rather than believing life is about going after someone elses dreams. Because it’s not. Listen within, and there is a voice somewhere, sometimes whispering, other times shouting loudly.

What might happen in the world, when more of us wake up to that inner voice?

In tears; determined!

Have you seen The internet’s own boy about Aaron Schwarz? It’s an amazing documentary. A tear jerker. It touched me deeply, and I’m almost ashemed of being a part of the culture that makes a person with gifts like Aaron, kill himself.

If you haven’t seen the documentary, I urge you to do it. Immediately! And then you reflect on the choices you can make, small or large, that can help create a better world. Aaron believed in questioning, asking why, and not settling for what is. Question in your way.

Because I believe in a better world, just like Aaron did. Throughout the documentary that’s the message that shines most brightly for me, this enormous urge to do good, and help in making the world a better place. All similarities between me and Aaron end there, because in no way do I want to compare myself to his brilliance. But then again, I don’t have to. Because we are all needed. Each and every one of us has something unique, and when that unique core is used to create a better and more loving world, we will be able to level up, both as a society and as individuals.

Aaron believed in questioning, asking why, and not settling for what is. He questioned in his way. Watching the documentary has me in tears, but I am also more determined. I am strengthened in my belief that we can change the world, in the power of asking why, that one person can make a difference and that we are all needed.

I urge you to question the structures of the world we live in, your way, and I’ll keep on questioning in my way. Deal?

I guess I never stopped

While flying Norwegian to Los Angeles I was browsing the inflight magazine, and stumbled across an article about Sverker Johansson, the worlds most prolific writer, having published more than three million Wikipedia articles. Or rather, he’s done a bunch, but then he created a bot that scans databases, creating articles on the go.

Anyway, this Swede seems to be one of those people with a mind that expands in all areas at once. He has degrees in multiple fields, and said: ”From the age of five, I was curious about everything – I kept asking ‘Why?’, and I guess I never stopped.

Sverker Johansspn
I just love that, and to a certain degree regret that I did stop. Because I did. Somewhere along the line as a growing child, or a young adolecent, I stopped asking why. Luckily, I started asking that question again a few years ago, and it’s taken my life on a ride I never dreamed of.

But what can I do to get my kids back to question-mode? Because, although it pains me greatly, I think they have stopped, to a large extent… at least it seems to me as if much of their natural curiosity have disappeared (or perhaps retreated within, to a safer place, ready to come out if and when the time and setting is right?). And even though I am asking…. I really know the answer, which is for me to be my curious self. That’s the only thing I can do!

I also have a feeling it’s actually very unnatural for humankind NOT to ask questions of why, how, what for and so on. Would we have evolved as far as we have otherwise?

Oh! Wondrous thought: Would we perhaps have made an even better job of our human evolutionary endeavors if more people had kept their question-mode alive and kicking?