One time a moment takes for ever. Another time it seems as if time is not passing at all. You experience the same amount of time completely different then another time?
Hi there, I am back in Berlin for some days. I spent the last month in my Zanzibar home after having spent all winter in a skiing resort in the Swiss mountains.
Custom officers keep asking me about my crappy passport but I always tell them, that although it might not look new on the outside, it has so many stories to tell in the inside.
Just like I want my life to be.
Not shiny on the the outside but full of memories in the inside.
For those who want to learn more about how I managed to live the life I dreamt about, I created a webinar. It doesn’t tell you what to do, but helps to ask the tough questions and create the surrounding you need to truly thrive.
If you send me an email with the topic “Your Happy Life” you can participate for free.
June 8th 2016 6:30pm CET. (this time in English)
This winter I fulfilled a dream of mine.
Since I was skiing for the first time as a kid, I never want the vacation to end. I love the summer, the heat and the sun but I also love the mountains, the cold and the snow. It just has to be either one.
I never wanted to understand why you have to be either on vacation or at work/school/university/home. I wanted to do the fun stuff every day.
Why can’t I work on a project while sitting at the beach?
Why can’t I be on my board, before or after work?
Why can’t I have a conference call while sailing?
I was told, when I was younger, that this was not possible. Life is not fun, it’s serious.
Guess what, I had to find out in the last 10 years, that it is 100% up to you whether life is fun or not.
Last winter I spent 44 days on my snowboard riding almost 1000km. I loved it and I still got a ton of work done. I had to switch around some of my priorities wich worked out fine. Now the winter is over and I am sitting in Zanzibar, recording podcasts, writing articles, doing online coachings, training for an Ultra race and in between I go for a swim the dolphins.
Having a happy life is quite simple.
It’s not always easy, because you will have to ask the tough question and you will have to go through training and exercise. But in the end it will pay off.
And you can do it, too.
I put my learnings in an 90 minute webinar that I will offer on June 8th 6:30pm CET for the first time.
Hurry up and send me a request with the text “your happy life”! if you want to participate for free.
I wrote a blog article about creating routines in Zanzibar earlier this year. I wrote about my struggles finding my way back home while I was living in Stone Town for a month. Although I tried my best to take the same routes every single day, I got lost as soon as my mind was absent for a minute. Now I visited Stone Town again:
First thing to do after I got there was to go for a coffee in my favorite Café. It’s called Stone Town Café and is one of the very few places where you can find good fresh ground coffee on Zanzibar. Afterwards I went for the Dalladalla place to get a ride to Kizimkazi in South Zanzibar. That was one of the same routes I used to take in January and guess what. I did not get lost. In between people tried to tie me up in conversations about selling me… whatever… a trip to the moon and I kept on walking without paying attention and made my way without any doubt. At one point I woke up from daydreaming and was not so sure where I was. I decided to just keep walking until something looked familiar. Soon it did and I was exactly on track.
Funny that I would not get lost although I had no idea where I was. Somehow somewhere in my unconsciousness the way home was saved. On full automatic mode so to say.
I read and wrote a lot about creating habits and routines this year, but to experience on my own again how powerful habits can be left me speechless.
Scary on one hand to see that all the negative routines we accumulated throughout our lives are leading us that much. Good to know on the other hand that as soon as we change a routine to a positive one it can be as strong and as automated as the previous negative one.
Just keep in mind, it takes a constant daily routine of acting always the same on the same triggers. Scientists say, it takes from a week or two up to some months, to create enough new connections in your brain to create a new routine. In Stone Town it actually took me almost ten days although I was practicing to memorize the route several times per day. And I didn’t have to rewrite any old behavior.
If you have any behavior/routine that you want to get rid of, make yourself a good plan to manage the change. Remember you can’t just stop it. A routine is always triggered by something:
1. Find the trigger so you know what makes you start your behavior. Then you can become aware of it when the trigger happens. You will be able to foresee the undesired habit even before it happens.
2. Think of a new behavior that you would like to do when the trigger appears.
3. Make sure the desired behavior would be good for yourself and your future self (just ask yourself that question and you should think a very direct YES without any buts)
4. Bring yourself in a situation when the trigger appears and actively act with your new behavior. Test it several times so you know what to do.
5. If you fail when the trigger appears in real life, make sure you know you failed, go back to point 3.
6. Actively work on it for at least some weeks.
7. Do it daily!
Good luck and enjoy the better version of yourself.
Everybody is a bit weird!
Is it backward or forward thinking when you go back to construction techniques that are thousands of years old?
In late 2013 I had the idea that it might be right for me to work for a while from a far away place. I was sick of going into the same office every day. I had the feeling that nothing would change ever again in my life if I kept doing exactly the same every day. I came to a point that I worked only for the money and not for the love of it.
I was and I am looking for a reason in my life and for what I do. I want to do something special. Last winter I fulfilled a dream of mine and chose one of the most beautiful places to work at: Zanzibar. This is exactly the point. I want to work. I just don’t want to have the feeling that I am missing my life while I am at work. I strongly believe that I need to follow my inner motivation, to be good in what I do and to create a lasting difference.
Furthermore I thought that an external view on my daily life and my routines could help me find out what I truly want.
After traveling through northern Tanzania on a beautiful three week vacation, I went back to Stonetown, Zanzibar on Dec. 25th to work from there for one month. I was were I wanted to be. I had plenty of time and I had such a big problem starting to work. I found out that Stonetown didn’t provide any space for me to focus on my work and still feel good. My room was small and had no real windows. The small windows of mine were covered by mosquito nets and the house on the opposite side of the road was only about 1 1/2 meters away. Not what I regarded as a beautiful view.
When I was working inside the building I had to switch on the light because it was too dark. The lights were fluorescent lights. That was not what fired up my inspiration either. Next to my Laptop I kept a towel because every few minutes my table was so wet with sweat that my hands kept gliding away.
I wanted to be outside, I wanted to work outside. I had my laptop with enough battery and I had an internet dongle with a ZANTEL card to work online as well. But guess what: That’s not what you do in Africa, sitting somewhere in the park with your laptop. First there were no parks, second there was either beach or shade. Third: if there was an open place to sit, my laptop would attract many people to sit directly next to me and stare on my screen and/or talk to me.
I figured, I had to work from somewhere else. Rooftops, although plenty of them could be available are not common in Zanzibar. If you have sunshine all year round, that might push you into the shade.
No work on a rooftop either. I tried different cafes that seemed to work and walked a lot to discover new places. As you can imagine I felt quite unsatisfied during my first days. That was not what I had expected. Every morning I thought about where to go and where to work and ended up running around Stonetown to find a place. I got lost every time. I had to walk straight in one direction until I reached the end of Stonetown and then run around it until I found a place I already knew. Otherwise there was no way finding home for me. Funny how much effort it costs my brain to find my way. My brain put full concentration on creating new routines to make my life easier again. Actually time went by quite fast when I was wandering around town. My mind was completely occupied with scanning my surrounding trying to find any hints where I am and how to find my way back. Slowly I found out about places where I could sit for while, where they had coffee and some even good coffee. I could even remember how to find that place again and how to go back home. My days became easier and I could focus more and more on the work I wanted to do.
When I came to Zanzibar I wanted to get rid of my routines because I thought that they might be in my way of working happily. Then the complete lack of any routines (where do I sleep, how do I sleep, breakfast???, where do I eat, when do I eat). Basically everything made me so insecure that I even thought it was a mistake to go there in the first place. Then I started creating new routines and when I finally was at an ease with myself the month was over and I flew back.
Now looking back at my time, I realize that it was the best thing I could have done last winter. I developed such a clear focus on how I want to work and what I want to do. I developed new routines not by accident but because they helped me to achieve my goals. And I was actually able to take these routines with me to new places. I work so much more efficient than I did ever before. And I am happier with it.
Some of my lessons from Stonetown are:
What makes a remarkable life remarkable is not the chances you get, but what you make of your chances!
Are you interested in working without an office, too? I put all my learnings from Stonetown into my Webinar: officeless office!
During the last few weeks I caught a few bad colds (caused by… well, let’s call them modified baby germs). I saw routines and habits I hoped to have learned vanish. For example the the habit of daily writing of blogposts disappeared.
Normally I try to discover my habits to challenge and change them. I think that routines, habits and beliefs limit my freedom and my decision making. On the other hand routines help to simplify life. It helps when you don’t have to think about every single step that you take. In my case it helps me a lot when I don’t have to think about where and when to write. If I follow a daily routine it becomes just natural. At least I thought so.
Unfortunately I found out that I forget such „positive“ routines again and again. At least that shows me that I can work on my „negative“ routines and change or unlearn them as well.
Lets work on it!
Do you sometimes do things you don’t like? Try to focus on what triggers that behavior. Think about a specific situation where the behavior occurs? What is the trigger?
How would you like to behave instead?
Did you behave like that before?
Can you copy the behavior from a different situation?
If not, try to practice the desired behavior. Next time you experience the trigger think about the new behavior.
In both cases you have an orientation and you can picture the desired behavior to copy it into the current situation.
Important! If you managed to behave in a new way, treat yourself. Drink your favorite coffee, go for a walk… whatever feels good to you.
If you manage to behave the desired way daily for two weeks straight, the chance rise that you established a new behavior.
Are you happy? Congratulations! I am truly glad for you. I hope you know why, so you can keep that feeling for your lifetime.
You are not happy? I truly feel sorry for you and hope you will be able to change that in the future.
I believe that it is our own choice whether we are happy or we`re not. It is only a question of our mindset. Different people may experience the same situation differently. Some focus on the good and other on the bad. I experienced that people only pay attention to a certain situation when they give it any relevance to their own life. You can influence what is relevant to you and what not. That is easily said and I know for myself how difficult it is to take the personal choice to be happy.
Being happy in general doesn’t mean you never suffer or can’t be sad. But it is a mindset to focus on the good in your life. And there is good in the worst situation. If you focus on that you can pull yourself out of any situation. I needed to figure that out in my own life, trust me, there is always something good.
In any case I wish you find the right mindset to master your life at your best and have a wonderful and happy 2015. Thank you for reading my writings in the rollercoaster year of 2014 and I hope you stay tuned.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
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