Be Authentic

I think, to a certain degree, we all want to be original. Being original in whatever it is we do, seems worth pursuing. The word original in general terms means: ‘preceding all others in time’. That sounds like a competition doesn’t it? If you want to be original, you have to beat all others and be the first. Quite an exhausting rat race… A while ago I came across a note from film director Jim Jarmusch and interestingly enough, he points out that nothing is original. He encourages us to be authentic, rather than original saying: “Originality is non-existent, authenticity is invaluable”. Authenticity means: ‘the quality of being genuine or not corrupted from the original’. Original in this case means your soul. He also quotes Jean-Luc Godard, another filmmaker: “It’s not where things come from, it’s where you take them”. In other words: it’s not about being the first, it’s about being genuine.

September 28, 2011 by: | Category: Daily Inspiration |
Keep it Simple

You know that situation where you expect an important email from someone but you don’t get it? At first you think the other person is busy, but soon you find yourself making up conspiracy theories. That usually doesn’t help so the next time this happens, keep the following in mind. I found it on Wikipedia and it’s called: ‘Occam’s razor‘, a principle from philosophy and named after William of Ockham, a Franciscan friar who studied logic in the 14th century (yeah, quite a long time ago). The principle says that if the only difference between two explanations is how complex they are, choose the simpler one, for the one that involves the fewest guesses, is probably the right one. Another way of saying it: the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is. Example: Two trees have fallen down during a windy night. Consider these two possible explanations: A) The wind has blown them down. B) Two meteorites have each taken one tree down, and after that collided and removed any trace of themselves. Even though both explanations are possible, the second explanation needs several assumptions to all be true and is probably the wrong answer. Occam’s razor also often comes up in medicine when there are many explanations for symptoms and the simplest diagnosis usually is the correct one. If a child has a runny nose, they probably have the common cold instead of a rare birth defect. Medical students are often told, “When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras”. That’s if you don’t live in Africa of course.

September 26, 2011 by: | Category: Daily Inspiration | Tags: ,

Even when we’re frustrated with something, like our job or rude people in the streets, we tend to not really show it. For a large part because we are taught to remain calm, to keep our cool, to control ourselves and play it safe. So that’s what we do, most of the times anyway. And this can go on for years. For years we can have the job that we know isn’t going to make us happy. For years we can tolerate rude people being rude etc.. I recently stumbled upon this video. It’s called ‘Get mad as hell’. It’s a dialogue from the 1976 movie ‘The Network’ and a great dialogue it is. Although the story is set in the 1970’s, the dialogue could be about 2011. In fact it could be about you about you and I: to get mad as hell, to not take it anymore. To not take what anymore? Well, anything we’re unhappy with, but don’t show. And if you like, here’s the original footage (quite brilliant too).

September 25, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags: , ,
The love of wisdom

What is philosophy? Wikipedia says: Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational arguments. The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means “love of wisdom”. Especially when emotions and feelings leave you numb, it’s reason that provides a highly effective framework to regain control. If you like to get a general view on philosophy and it’s history press here. And if you’re up for something stronger, I also found a website called the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. You can browse by topic (e.g. the ‘Philosophy of Sexuality’ or ‘God and Time’) or by philosopher (e.g. Socrates, Descartes, Goethe, Plato etc.). When you ‘love wisdom’, I’m sure this is interesting for you.

September 24, 2011 by: | Category: Link | Tags:

Some days I really feel like dancing and I throw myself on that floor to make some confident moves. There are also days I prefer to stay in the background, making just a little step, or two. I’ve had days where at first I wanted to be invisible, finding myself transformed an hour and a half later, making the craziest moves. There are days I just don’t catch the rhythm, no matter how hard I try. And there are days I really don’t want to dance, but I’m forced to anyway. And then there is style. Dancing comes in all kinds of styles, just like living. One style isn’t better then the other, it’s what makes you feel good that counts. And watching these people dance, reminded me of just that.

September 23, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags: , ,
Always green

I think we can all relate to this situation: You’re up and about, living your life, minding your own business and all of a sudden… you meet someone else and you experience something that makes you think: the grass is always greener on the other side. In other words: I’m good, but that other person really has got it all together. That’s a normal response I guess, as we all want to feel like we’re on top of things. But the funny thing is (and this really is funny) it’s most likely that the other person feels the exact same (but opposite) way. He or she thinks you got it all mapped out, crystal clear. Yeah, people envy each other. Even about the smallest things. That’s what they do. I know I do. Until the moment I realize, that everything outside of myself (the way I experience things, the way I judge things etc.) is a reflection of myself. It’s me creating that image. It’s about me (focussing on my own imperfection) and not about that other person (being really perfect). So whenever I’m in a situation like this, I stick to myself and think: the grass is always green. There’s no need to pick sides.

September 22, 2011 by: | Category: Daily Inspiration | Tags: ,

Now this may be a guys thing. You know, a motivational speech in an American Football movie. But I felt like posting it because of the intensity of it: being vulnerable can be so powerful. The movie is called ‘Any given sunday’. The actor is Al Pacino. The speech is about winning or losing and that the difference between them is a matter of inches. To fight for these inches and be willing to die for these inches, that’s about living. Nobody can do that for you. Only you can – alone or with others.

September 21, 2011 by: | Category: Video | Tags: ,
    • Daring to be vulnerable gives you power to be

      People are vulnerable as individuals and as a species. And fighting vulnerability is useless. No matter how hard you try. Simply because you can’t control everything and so your life can turn upside down at any moment of any day. You may be the King of the World, the Smartest Woman in the Universe or the Sexiest Man Alive; it won’t help. You can however hide from it. And most of us do. Behind a fancy job title, nice car or house. Interesting friends, a busy agenda, designer clothes or healthy hipster life style, but sooner or later vulnerability will find you. So what can you do? Well, it’s simple.

      Simply face it and embrace it. Because when you embrace it, you no longer need to fight it. You no longer need to run or hide from it, by keeping up appearances and putting energy in this hopeless attempt to avoid the discomfort of feeling it. You can now be as you are, vulnerable, instead of pretending not to be. The way I see it: vulnerability is indestructible. So by letting it in and become a part of you, in a way that makes you indestructible. Daring to be vulnerable gives you power to be.

      Vulnerability becomes a Strength

      Are you alive?

      From time to time it’s good to ask yourself: “Am I alive?” Because it’s not uncommon to just be busy doing what you’re always doing. To be caught up in a routine. And that routine may very well result in hours, days, weeks, months or even years of living, without actually being alive. Because there’s more to living, than just breathing. Imagine someone in a coma and it becomes clear… I recently attended a re-birthing workshop and I experienced the difference between A) normal breathing: a mostly shallow, kind of mechanic and unconscious way of getting the bare minimum of oxygen ‘shots’ and B) breathing with full awareness, in a rich flow, organic and fully open to receive life’s energy in all it’s splendor. It let me experience the meaning of the phrase: “Just because you breathe, doesn’t mean you’re alive”. And so I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to wonder: am I  really alive or mostly just busy breathing?

      Just because you breathe

      Who am I… or rather, what am I?

      I guess you’re familiar with this sensation: one moment you feel great, and the next… well not so great. I sometimes feel like I’m nothing and sometimes I feel as though I’m everything. It’s a really fine line, much like it is with being crazy or brilliant. John Lennon had a nice way of putting it. He said: “Part of me suspects I’m a loser. The other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty”. I wrote a post about that one too. Anyway. A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the “I, a universe of atoms…” quote by the American physicist Richard P. Feynman (1918 – 1988). And it’s stuck in my head ever since. Because to me his words are both mind blowing and heart warming. The thought of “I” being a tiny, stand alone atom – and an infinite, whole universe at the same time, blows my ego off it’s socks. Because “I” isn’t (only) the ‘earthly me’. “I” is a single atom and an entire universe, completing one another. Think about that when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror. So yes, it’s a quote I gratefully meditate on. It’s so simple and yet so deeply profound. It makes me feel humble and larger than life at the same time – it’s liberating. Look at us humans. Look at you, look at me. We are both nothing and everything. Again. That’s just… wow.

      I, a universe of atoms

      focusNjoy #122: Stop searching, start finding

      Imagine you’re looking for something, but you can’t find it. Annoying. Yes. Very. But then, maybe you’re not supposed to find it. Or maybe you’re just looking in the wrong place. Or maybe… you already found it, but you don’t realize it yet. Whatever the reason is, you might want to stop searching. Why? Well think about it: as long as you’re busy searching – you’re not… finding!

      Stop searching, Start finding

      A fresh start for focusNjoy

      Dear friends, it’s been more than a year since my last post! Honestly, I needed the break but a lot of good things have happened to me in the meantime. Apart from a great time at Eyeworks Netherlands, where I worked as a Senior Creative with some great people at the Program Development Team, it were exciting times for me personally as well. Too much to tell you in one post. But I will share more in the coming months, because it’s been truly transformational.

      I’m planning on a brand new start of focusNjoy at the end of April. And this time, I intend to actually make some money haha – because running an ad-free blog is great, but from a financial point of view it wasn’t a success and one of the reasons for me to get back to television. Later in 2014 I intend to finally start with my workshops in Amsterdam. I’m super excited about that but let’s see how things develop. Anway – I’m back and I’m feeling fresh. Hoping to hear from you – always feel free to send me an email and say hi!

      Love, Stijn.

      focusNjoy back 2014
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