Archive for March, 2013

 traveling_to_Rome

All roads lead to Rome.

As the saying goes, you have the freedom to choose any road to your destination.

You can take a train to Rome.
You can take a plane to Rome.
If you are, however, in Florence, traveling by car may be preferred because of the great views.
If you lodge in Venezia, on the other hand, a ship cruise to Civita Vecchia and reaching Rome by bus can be an appealing alternative.

Perhaps you want to be in Rome tomorrow, no matter what.
Perhaps you want to be in Rome sometime this summer.
Perhaps you want to stay in Rome for a year to learn Italian.
Or perhaps you want to enjoy a break in Amsterdam and Brussels, before reaching Rome. You simply want to see as many cities as possible on your travel to Europe.

All good, yet, how would you choose to travel?

Is the travel by boat better than by plane?
It depends.
For many years my friend has been traveling by boats and trains, even though it could have taken him many days to reach the place he wanted to. Why did he do this? For the richness of experience, views to be seen and admired, people to meet and chat to, inspiration to sparkle and so on.

Is hitchhiking better than traveling by car?
It depends.
If you are tight both with money and time it makes sense to prefer a cheap flight over hitchhiking and traveling by car.

So …

What is the best way to travel to Rome?
There is no answer to it, because the answer depends on
– how fast you want to get there
– how long you want to stay there
– what you want to do there
– what is your previous/next destination
– with whom you will go
– how much money you have at your disposal
and so on.

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The point of the above is this:

Deciding on the Way/Road (the How) before deciding on the Destination (Goal = Where/What and Circumstances) is pointless. It is a waste of time, at best, and a real pain and misery, at worst.

I know that, you will say.
Let’s see now how things are in life.

Sometimes you have just a single goal (destination) but there are usually multiple goals to attain. You may have two goals, A and B. However, reaching B is more important than reaching A. Consequently, in the worst case scenario you could sacrifice A for B.

For instance, you want to loose weight (goal A) and get fit (goal B). Although you would rather love to see yourself thin, the priority is on getting fit. In that scenario focusing on goal A, say by drinking slim-fast drinks, is a distraction if you don’t adequately address your goal B.

You may need to reach the goals A, B and C and D, but loosing on D would be acceptable. For instance, you want to loose weight (goal A), get fit (goal B), improve the condition of your liver (goal C) and start saving money (goal D).  The latter is not the main focus though.

In fact, any major decision with respect to your business, family (say, holiday, moving house, choice of schools, solving health issues), personal development or job challenges you to clarify your objectives first.

They are different roads you can choose to go to Rome. Or to any other city.

Decide what you want, your Goal/Destination, very clearly. It is not only important to decide whether you are going to Rome, but even more importantly When, How and for what purpose. Knowing that you can optimize your Way to get there.

When you ask:

  • “Is this a good house to buy?”
  • “Is this a good strategy for my business?”
  • “Is this person a good match?”
  • “Is this a good job?”

Remember to ask yourself
“Is traveling by car a good way to get to Rome?”
As you see, these are wrong questions. Why? Because they are too general. They are highly unspecific and will lead you to Distraction.

Better questions are somewhere along these lines:
“If my goals are A, B and C, but I want to avoid D, is this house/strategy/person/job a good (best) match to meet my objectives?”
It may still not be a question that is precise enough but it is a good starting point. Remember also that too many objectives are counterproductive.

If your goal is to have a family holiday in a warm climate (goal A) but save money with respect to your regular holiday spending (goal B), perhaps house swapping with another family in Spain provides the Way. Choosing an attractive holiday package from the travel agency, just because your friends do it and you want to look cool, is a Distraction.

If you run a business and want to get more clients, then focusing on the Like’s, Tweets and beautifying your Webpage may be a Distraction. (Say a break in Amsterdam instead of reaching Rome directly).

If you want to have a creative job (goal A) and with small kids (goal B) such that you possibly provide a therapeutic effect on them (goal C, minor), then following a job at a corporation, because it pays well and sets you on a good carrier path, is a Distraction.

Your family, parents, colleagues, neighbors, bosses and any other form of social pressure will encourage/push you to meet the objectives and goals you don’t have.

They will do their best to convince you that what they offer/suggest is the wisest / smartest / fastest Way to go.  However, to Rome, or to the Destination they point to.

Find out your own objectives because this is what ultimately matters.
You fall from your Way towards Distraction because you don’t clearly define your Destination.

Do all roads lead to Rome?
Well, they do. But perhaps you are not going to Rome this time.

Does your Way lead you where you want to go?
Remember, everything else is a Distraction.

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Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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 Obviously, we all need love. This post, however, is not about love, but about compassion and its complementary.

Compassion is when you see a person in misery and you begin to feel with her.

Compassion is when you pour your heart out, feel her pain and cry with her.

Compassion is when you you take the time to listen to, console and comfort her.

When does it happen?

It happens when you shift your focus from yourself to the others, when you make the time to stop, pay attention and take care.

Compassion is your empathic ability to respond to the needs of others and join them on their level to help them grow. Yet, compassion, is perhaps a moment too late. It is inspired by an outside event or a call.

What comes before that?

It is the very act of noticing the other person as she is, perhaps even at the peak of her strength.

Acknowledgement is about showing gratitude for her beaming attitude, praising her for diligent work, efforts or smiles.

Acknowledgement is about encouragement when the attitude, energy, mood or performance are still high (or at least not lacking).

Acknowledgement is about approval when things go well, when her will is strong so that she can go bravely through difficulties.

It is very important. 
Why?
Because we all have a basic need to be heard, seen, acknowledged and understood.

A smile or a sign of appreciation can go a long way, much longer than you can imagine. Their actings have a cumulative effect. Gratitude and appreciation leverage support a person receives for her job, learning new skills or going through hardships. It is much easier to fuel the fire of motivation and keep her going than to overcome the inertia when she fails and stops.

Open your eyes and begin to notice.
Express what you value in the efforts of others.
Show appreciation.
Spread kindness.
Not this day only, but every day.
It’s never too much.

In compassion you recognize the sameness, the other person becomes a part of you.
In appreciation you recognize the difference, the individual power and uniqueness of the other.

Compassion is reactive.
Appreciation is proactive.
They make a lovely pair together. A dance between similarity and difference will help you to flourish and grow.

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Kindness and appreciation. A great book on kindness is Why kindness is good for you, by David Hamilton. Highly recommended.

Compassion. You may listen to a short talk on compassion by Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional intelligence:

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