Productivity And Staying On Top Of Things (3)

Accepting that things take time isn’t always easy. I am for instance someone who just loves to get things done right here right now. I cannot stand emails building up in my inbox. Yet, I am learning. I am learning that no one will read my emails on a Friday night, so why not email on a Monday. Yet, I am also still getting emails on a Saturday morning from people thinking to clear their inbox at the weekend for Monday. Never mind.

There are David Allen’s 6 Horizons of Focus:

Begin with the bigger picture. Have a vision to live for, a goal to achieve. David Allen suggests his six horizons of focus. Starting at 50,000 feet with the overview and vision down to the ‘runway’, the daily action points what needs doing.  This ground level then equates to action lists. The 10,000 ft level, the projects, are an overview of projects that need finishing, implementing or organising. The Area of Focus, 20,000 feet, is about the areas of responsibility at work like relationships, quality control, customer service etc. The goals and objectives are the 12-18 months goals, like discussions to have with the team or the family. Goal setting for a period of time. I also do a quarterly forecast/review which I would put down there, additionally to a yearly one. Vision, however, being almost on top, refers to long term goals and things you would like to achieve in life.

It is more a strategic direction. The purpose on top is about your value in life. It is similar to Anthony Robbins ‘need for purpose’ – what do you want to achieve in life? David Allen also adds the principles in that category, like which behaviours are crucial for success and which standards need maintaining.

Too quick of a summary? Let’s look at an example. I built companies. Every year I sat down with my boss to discuss what we needed to achieve: financial, sales, marketing, positioning, bigger picture. Then we broke it down to quarters, mainly based on revenue. I then took it away to make my own quarterly plan, which resources I use for it etc. Then the monthly targets and goals, broken down to weekly accomplishments in order to achieve the bigger picture. Did it work? Very much so!

In 2012 I wrote a blog post about Life Life Balance:

Triggered by an article in the New York Times, I thought I pick up on some thoughts re life life balance. I have written about work life balance before. Both when discussing the move towards the South coast and regarding jobs and personal development.

I prefer the term life life balance as we do not balance work and life, we essentially balance our life.

Actually, there is a reason why I am so interested, and to my mind very good, in productivity. I get a lot more things done than others in less time and know when and where I can get things done. What do I mean by that?

On a normal day I get up at 5 am. (even back in 2012) Check any important emails, check for podcasts or video on demand services, and go on the treadmill for 30 minutes to catch up on those. Following that I have a small healthy breakfast whilst catching up on the news, shower and be out of the door for my half seven train.

My 50 minute train journey is different every day. Depending on my workload I might nap in the morning, catch up on emails, RSS reader, read a book, write a blog post or listen to a podcast. I normally do not nap in the evening but still catch up on the day’s events, doing similar things to what I do in the morning.

Since moving to the South coast I try to leave the office on time on Mondays and Fridays, and normally not later than six or half six during the week. I know anything outside those hours can be dealt with on the journey or when home. I do not need to be physically present in the office.

Latter is what has changed since the 1950ies when people had rules: clock in clock out, time stamps, or wife is a stay at home mum whilst the husband is the breadwinner. I would try to be home for dinner but currently the kids eat around 5 pm and are in bed by 7pm. That means unless I leave the office extremely early I cannot see them during the week. But some days I see them in the morning.

I am lucky that I can work from home regularly and try to do so too. It makes a huge difference to spend some time with the family during the week.

Another key to a good life balance is to be able to switch off. Not only your mind but also your phone. Evenings and weekends are key. Before I had two separate phones I got calls and emails late at night or at the weekend. I would not do that again. If you spend most of your week working, then you need to be fully present at the weekend, to spend as much time with your family as you can. Full on!

Note in 2015 this has changed, I now only have one phone but separate my work emails through an app. That essentially means I still have one number but the work emails can be turned off anytime. That helps me to unwind from work but not having to carry two phones.

It seems like I am always full on. Relaxation happens in the evening, weekends or whilst running. Or on the way home travelling. Having a GTD (Getting Things Done) like system that allows for optimal task management plus my productivity suite on my iPad makes me super efficient on the go.

Or at least I like to think so. There are still some improvements I can make, and I guess I am lucky because my company understands I have family and does not judge me on time in the office but results. Latter is how we should manage performance in the 21st century.

How do you manage?

Just to summarise the reason I brought in the Work Life Balance post. It hopefully shows that you can prioritise, and put your priorities in order. Note that the word priority used to be singular until early 19th century, so one could only ever have one priority. Which makes sense.

What is your overarching goal and what is your daily routine to get the ground work done?

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Productivity And Staying On Top Of Things (2)

Curious from last week?

I have read a lot of books on theories of time management and getting things done (GTD). Latter is the title of a book by David Allen (Allen, David (2001), Getting Things Done – How to achieve stress free productivity, USA Viking). I am quite sure if I had been David’s age, e.g. young when he was,  and this is with all respect, I could have written his book. When I visited his seminar in 2008 I realised that I already applied 90% of his techniques. So what makes me, so productive? Maybe being German, being organised and efficient?

From early age I wrote things that came to my mind on a piece of paper instead of dwelling on it in my head. This allowed me to go to sleep at night rather than trying to remember things or my brain going into overdrive. On the other hand, it freed up my thinking space (brain) for more important things. Like having RAM (RAM = Random Access Memory – at a computer that is used as workspace, the more you take out of it, the greater the capacity to do calculations. If you go through your day, at the end of the day, before you go to sleep, and revisit what has happened, there will be a lot of things you might remember and need to write down. A simple yet very effective exercise for anyone to do. You better process what happened on the day.

When doing homework, from early age, I started writing down for when the homework was due not when we got it in school. Makes sense? If I got an assignment on Monday to be finished by Wednesday, I wrote it on my to-do list for Tuesday (or the to-do list for things to be done by Wednesday). This way I prioritised things that were more important than others and by making little signs for written or oral exercise, it was visually effective to understand whether you could do it prior to the last day. What I mean by that is that you could do written exercises on Monday if you had some extra time, but if you had to read a story and remember the content, it was better to do it the day before. Or do it two consecutive days to better remember it.

My own trusted system. I still use that. I changed it over the years from a Palm pilot to Outlook and Gmail-suite. I have my personal trusted system with Evernote and Dropbox but also my work one with Outlook and a combination of the ones above. Syncing between devices, keeping information organised and prioritised seems to be one of the major issues of today’s world.

Important is one thing: never clutter your brain with too many things you need to remember. Write them down on a piece of paper. Call it a “to-do” list a “brain drain” or whatever, if it is out of your mind, you free up thinking space, you are getting more work done. Look at the list later. The other advice on not cluttering your brain is to let go: once delegation of a task took place, trust in your subordinates to report back. If it is really important, and has a deadline, put a reminder in your trusted system. If not, e.g. passing on leads in sales, just trust them getting on with it. You cannot always follow up on everything.

Just accept that.

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Productivity And Staying On Top Of Things (1)

The next few weeks I will publish another chapter of my book. This will probably take a few weeks again for you to get all the content. Of course you could just buy my book 🙂

I have been asked a lot recently, why I make the book available online, for free. The answer is simple: I like to share my knowledge and at the same time review content, make it more easy to read, adding more depths and research at the same time.

When I first wrote this chapter my kids were younger, my team was bigger and I had less sleep and more staff responsibility. Now my kids are older, needing almost more attention or different attention, yet my team at work got smaller. Nevertheless the responsibility, neither at home nor at work, has changed much. One of the main responsibility is to engage with people, staff and kids. You are a manager, and as the title suggests you manage people and things. You have to stay on top of many things.

Hence we are speaking about Information overload. Big Data if you like.

Information overload? Yes, we have all been there and done that. The fear of not getting enough work done in the day, staying late at work, not eating, not taking breaks, and when you arrive the next morning the email inbox is full again. As a manager you get millions of requests, attend a lot of internal meetings and realise that you will never get on top of things. And, you do not seem to get anything done.

But actually you do. You just realise that things aren’t sorted within a week, and that things take time. Decisions take time. And that is something you need to accept.

Your inbox dictates your work flow, others determine what you do with your time. Expectations to reply to emails are also higher.

Stop! Right here, right now.

Read next week how you should proceed.

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Living in The NOW (part 8)

It has been 8 weeks of discussing the NOW. From death, to happiness, decision making and more conscious living.

A note on closing your past. As of my example I blamed other people for pushing me into something. I have since learned that the decisions are solely made by yourself and you are solely responsible for what you decide.

You carry 100% of the responsibility to make your life work. No one else.

In other words, you need to stop blaming others for your decisions. Steve Jobs addressing the graduates from Stanford said it very clearly: don’t live someone else’s life, you living and creating your own life. No one can live a life for you. No one can  make decisions for you, not even your spouse or closest friends. Their advice might add more weight into your decision but the decision is yours. Don’t blame anyone else for what you are doing.

I stepped into dog poo lately. I dragged it around the house and carpets and it took me an hour to clean it. That was my fault, and my fault only. Sh* happens. I cannot blame the dog, or the dog’s owner but myself who never noticed stepping into it. But my initial reaction was different. I am only human 😉

Your past, your childhood in particular, will shape the rest of your life. Often you hear speakers who had bad childhoods and out of desperation broke free and made something out of their life. Bad and good experiences lead to you making decisions – desperation or inspiration – will lead you to change your life from smoking 60 cigarettes a day to giving up completely overnight. You are influenced of course by your grand-parents, mostly by your parents, then your childhood friends, the society you live in, the school and the teachers and so on. They are all mentors in your life and you need to pick out the advice that works for you in order to go your own way. There are practises that allow you to see how your family constellation works and influences you. I believe in them and they can show you some deep insights into what might have happened in the past.

To explore and let go.

To put more focus into the NOW.

The trick is to cherish all experiences though. You want to be sure you appreciate bad and good experiences for what they were. And any of those experiences will help you making who you are now, helped you becoming the person you are. In a good or bad way. Once you can appreciate that, you can let go of those feelings, particularly the bad ones, in order to move on. Usually those bad feelings hold you in the past. You need to find closure with your past instead of wasting valuable energy dwelling on what once has been. Because you will not be able to change it any more.

Living in the now for me is being the master of your own destiny.

I hope you enjoyed this journey for what it is today. Please comment below on what you are thinking and what you would like to discuss. I am happy to add more content based on what you suggest.

The exercise of making my book available for free, open source, on this domain, is to welcome ideas, inputs and comments to improve the overall product in order to help you and others even more.

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Living in The NOW (part 7)

The next post, again written a few years ago, also looks at dying. I don’t want to sound morbid, yet the thought of dying is within us.

Being a Buddhist, living in the now, knowing we are all coming to the same end point, yet we don’t know when, I look at death as a relief from suffering. Life is suffering. In good and bad ways, and if we master it, we get relief from that suffering. Death also offers that relief. If death comes early, or if death comes forced upon us through accidents or suicides, I believe you ending your life early in the middle of the suffering, giving up almost. At least for the latter. That results in you being re-born with even more suffering. You never leave the samsara, the continuous rebirth, until you end the suffering. How to end it, I am not sure yet. I am still learning and maybe that is for another blog post or book one day. The enlightenment, the end of suffering, the golden gate, achieving that prior to dying is the ultimate aim. At least for me it is.

From my blog: I may die today…: 27th January 2011

Some people might call me crazy for this thought but I got it out of this new book I am reading, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s “Transform your Life“.

So far I have only read a few chapters about Inner Peace and Karma. Also, I love the Buddhist thoughts about reincarnation. And, that if you do not have fear, you do not have to worry about your life….and your death. So by saying this mantra, that I may die today, I take off all the fear. But what is happening?

In our samsara, the rebirth cycle in which we are born to different levels, depending on our karma and previous lives, we travel from one life to another. We would not remember any of it consciously, and re-birth might not take place for a while. However, the more stressed and fearful you are about the next one, the less likely you go from this life with a good karma – that is additional to everything else you might have done in your life.

By thinking that you might die today, you are not saying you will or will not. All you are saying is that you should be prepared for it. So if it happens, go in a good matter. Be prepared. Live your life in a way that if you die today, you do not have to worry or fear anything. Just let go.

I find this thought very comforting and helpful. It calms me down to think that if I might die today, there is no reason why I should stress or worry now. But on the other hand it does not suggest me to stop living or enjoying myself either. But more relaxed.

I started focusing on the here and now rather than the future or past. I live in the now, worry less and of course enjoy every moment more than before. That combined with Karma means, if you live your life more intensely, each moment more than before, maybe with a strong sense of giving and helping, then you cannot really develop a bad karma, or can you?

And, by thinking you may die today, you take all the fear of it away.

This might be odd for some, but I really find it helpful. Do you?

This understanding helped me a lot with decisions at work or in life. If you made hasty decisions and you send an angry email, this cannot be undone. This is one of the key principles when it comes to productivity around email. Just because an email comes in, you don’t have to give it attention. And if it bugs you, let it sit there for a while and sleep on it. Think about it. On a productivity note I only synchronise my emails every 15-60 minutes so that I do not get disturbed by incoming emails all the time or if I write hasty emails they will not get sent. I can easily take them and change them at a later stage. This only works with Outlook for Windows unfortunately, but not given an email a subject line stops it from being sent without the computer asking “are you sure you want to send this email without a subject line”? Often, I turn off emails half a day and only check them 3 times a day so I can get on with other work in the meantime.

Once an email is sent, it is sent. No recall features that will not allow the recipient to actually not see the content. Things cannot be undone, you cannot turn back time. All those thoughts about the ‘what if’ will disappear when you move on living in the now.

But I am drifting a bit between death and productivity. Yet productivity helps me to accomplish things before I die. The more I accomplish, the less I regret. Regret in the now, as it doesn’t matter in the future, or in death.

Let’s look on closing your past next week, in the final bit of this chapter.

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Living in The NOW (part 6)

How did you find my reflection from 2009. That’s a long time ago now, it feels like it anyway. Time doesn’t stop.

The point I would like to look at in this part is that you cannot change your past. Whether you went to university because your parents wanted you to be a lawyer or because you decided that studying law is the way forward, once you made a decision you go with it. But that does not mean you cannot change your decision or your reasoning for doing so. You might have had a few classes, did not like it, and you end up changing your major. That is fine, you can change direction then again you do not want to change direction too often of course. Or you change the reasoning for why you are doing what you are doing, e.g. you reframe your motivation towards your own personal goal.

The point is the past. You made a decision in the past. It will affect your now and the future. Cause and effect. Karma even. However, if you blame your parents like I did you are blaming your past for your failures. This will only cause more headaches for you. And it might just be down to misunderstandings between yourself and your parents in my case. And if we had talked about it more often, it could have been better – or it could have been worse. We cannot change the past, so no point of drilling on it.

This is difficult to understand.

The past is not the present. It is a time that has elapsed and in which you made decisions that affect your current life. However, if you focus away from the past and draw a line under it, you can start a new life with a potential different outcome.

But when do you make that decision: in the now. Because the only decision you can ever make is in the now. No other time. You might have prepared the decision in the past and it might affect your future, but the decision itself is in the here and now. Does that make sense?

This is an important thing to understand. Hence in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) you get something called time-line therapy where you can move someone back in time (in their mind) to re-live the old now, the past, to make changes in the old now, to change the outcome of the future. This is to water down bad experiences and amplify good experiences. Living through situations again, to easier let go of them.

Nevertheless, people go back and dwell on the past. “What if I had changed ‘xyz’? What if my decision would have been different?” do not dwell on it! You are wasting your time. Focus on the here and now and the information you have at hand in order to shape the future. Learn from the past of course but do not waste energy or time dwelling on it. Things are done. They are done and dusted. Nothing you can change.

It is a little bit like thinking you are dying. And you are on your deathbed and thinking “If I only ever had the chance to…”. Do it now.

Follow your dreams and do something that you enjoy doing. Start with the decision in the here and now that will influence your actions in the future. Think of those extreme sports people living life to the fullest. Those actions then lead to the result and outcome that you will remember on your deathbed. And in the whole process there is only ever the very moment, the very now, that allows you to do anything.

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Living in The NOW (part 5)

Now. In this moment, let’s take another step back. Let’s have a look of a way of coping with your past, finding closure.

Dealing with my past, particularly after I moved to Great Britain/UK, was something very high on my agenda. I wrote a book, a diary of what had happened before. I wrote my autobiography if you like. Just that I am not famous (yet).

Life was difficult for me, but only because I let it become difficult. Slowly I gained back my own ambition and life.

Here is another excerpt from my blog about Germany.

From my blog: My Germany (9th December 2009)

I have been writing a lot about my “personal” German history or my personal reflection on history and tradition in regards to Germany. And, I think it is time again to write about it. Again? Yes, whilst the past does not equal the future and you cannot live in the past, you can form the future. Hence I often go back and think about the country I once was born in. Where I was raised and where I got a good start in my life. I still have strong connections to “a Germany” the way I used to know it. My Germany. Sometimes I would love to get an offer from “Die Welt” or “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)” to write a monthly column on “A German view from the outside” or something like that.

Coming up for Christmas, deciding whether Christian and for me German traditions should be important for our festive celebrations, makes me think. Should we celebrate Advent, Nikolaus and when should we celebrate Christmas? On the 24th? Do I really mind? How important is it for my son and his upbringing? How important is it for me. Is it the Christian belief or is it a German tradition. And, does it really matter?

I watched a movie, the Comedian Harmonists, the other day. A group of Germans in the recession in the 1930s in Berlin form a “band”. They sang songs and made noises like instruments, just accompanied by a piano:

Now, I like the movie because of my most favourite German actor Ben Becker, but also because of the time it plays in. I am attracted to the 1920ies and 1930ies when people did not have money and nothing to live on. The bare minimum and surviving was the key. And, there is this group of people that made it happen. The “American Dream” from rags to riches. My grandmother comes to my mind again; she used to sit up all night to sew clothes and tablecloths to make their living a little bit better, to have a little bit extra. The hard working Germans who did not fear a recession because life will always go on.

On a side note, when the Comedian Harmonists got more successful, they started drinking wine instead of beer and smoked cigars instead of cigarettes. Is that why my granddad smoked cigars and drank wine, and why I like both too? Maybe there is a connection to feel “wealthy” between those things?

Maybe that is why I am thinking about it now. I was made redundant twice in the recession, found a job twice too; I think it is my will to survive, to work hard and make things happen. Not to give up, to establish opportunities early and to network. Never forget your friends and never forget your enemies either. I have been sitting up some nights to make things happen and it will pay off one day. Hard work, my grandparents said every time I visited them, will always pay off.

Now, the past does not equal the future. Germany has moved on. I have moved on and left Germany 8 years ago. But I still think German. I cannot and do not want to get rid of my heritage.

Stereotypes of course. Yes, Germans seem to be very efficient, “Vorsprung durch Technik”. Always have been, always seem to evaluate things back and forth before making a decision. They are less impulsive and they are hard working. This definitely comes from the “good old days”. The German engineers that build cars. Thinking back and forth before coming to the conclusion on how to build a car, they then wanted to make sure it is the best and the most efficient one. We are a nation of those engineers, there was a time we envied the successful bankers and lawyers as a nation. But that is a different topic.

So, I am not sitting here in the UK pointing fingers at Germany and try to explain why we are, who we are, and how we are. No, it is more about looking back and finding out why I still do certain things in a certain way. Why I still try to engineer my career, my life and why that drives my wife nuts (sometimes). It is about understanding the past to shape the future. It is all about letting go, and in order to let go of the past you need to understand it. Will I ever understand it though?

Germans also seem to be less emotional. And I believe, it has to do with our heritage also. Because there was a time in Germany when people “just had to get on”. Not worry about things, if you work hard and if you make things happen, then everything will be ok. You will be ok and so will be your child. It was not very common to show emotions. After all, it is all black and white, the “machine works or it does not”. There is no in between.

Now, to conclude, my Germany is build on this image of black and white, the efficiency and “just getting on” mentality. That has been drummed into me since I was a child. More though in the generations before me. You do not show emotions and you just work hard, and that is it. I want to let go from that and as my German teacher said with hindsight, a few years after my A-Levels, “Volker, I never thought you’d stay in Germany. I know you would go abroad, I could see that”. But, he never told me then.

Not long to go to 2010. A time when I will engage more with my boy and want to tell him about “my Germany”. A time when I am looking forward to starting something new. And, another year away from my fatherland. The longer I am away from Germany, the more I examine the values I inherited and filter them, “good and bad” or “black and white”, to decide which ones to pass on. To nourish them. To learn from them. To make sure they are what they are and not pretending to be something that is based on false assumptions.

That is part of my Germany.

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Living In The NOW (part 4)

Remember my story? The hunchback? Blaming my parents?

I love my parents but at that time I blamed them for everything. They did not understand me and yet gave me all the support I needed. They thought I failed university because of lack of focus as I was a member of a student fraternity. I might have had lack of focus but the main thing why I failed management studies and statistics was that I had to sit down, study for days and did not understand what I was doing. I only memorised theories to put them down in my own words. No practical approach, no actions related to the theory I was studying. No help but my fraternity brothers who were good at memorising. I was not good at it or interested. And of course, the blame I had were my parents, who else to blame?

To cut a long story short, me failing university opened up something in my brain. I realised that what I really wanted is to be able to do what I enjoyed doing. Not what I thought others would like me to do. I needed to understand what I wanted to do, which was very similar to what I thought my parents wanted me to do. Also, I needed to stop blaming my parents for everything but understand that I was in charge of my own life.

That’s a bit revelation for a 20 something. Some never question that, some never get into the situation but I did. And there were reasons for that later in my life.

Hence I needed to change. I needed to open up, stand upright and become myself. I went through this personal development exercise. Whilst I can write in few lines that I had to discover that I am responsible for my own destiny, that I am the one to blame and that whatever my parents had done to me did not matter moving forward (and all they did was trying to help), this process took a while. To discover oneself takes a while. And you might need guidance and help. A mentor or a friend. You know what I did?

I started living in the now. I started living with a vision of what I wanted to do. I stood up. Started jogging and became healthy. I stopped smoking from one day to the next, I kicked a 60 cigarettes habit in a day and sat down and focused on what was important. I walked upright! However, I […] ended up moving to Scotland a few years later and did my bachelor and got a 1st class degree. One reason was that I had a more practical approach and the other one by learning in two languages things sank in a lot better. I smoked a bit on and off over the years but finally stopped for good years later but the odd indulgence of a fine cigar.

You realise a pattern. Over 10 years ago I started a journey of discovering the NOW and realising that only I can change my life. I am in the driver’s seat of my destiny and I need to do something that excites me. Something I choose to do. A passion.

Everyone should live their passion. You should never have to work a day in your life again. Enjoy what you are doing and live your own life.

Breaking free from this isn’t easy. But I can help you.

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Living In The NOW (part 3)

How are you finding the posts so far? Living in the now, neglect the future and not to worry about money. Will we be able to connect the dots moving forward, or will you be able to trust the universe that things will just work out?

If we stop worrying about what might be and what we achieve and what might happen, we might start living in the now and focus on what is important at the moment. Because only that counts and works in favour or disadvantage of the future. But please do not forget to think about the future, set goals etc. – but do not get too fixed with it and do not let them influence your now.

And, if you have issues from your past that influence your now, and then let it go, use therapy and live your life […]

Fill your life with aspiration. Dreams. Goals. You must want to live your life for a purpose, for a greater you. To make a “dent in the universe” as Steve Jobs said. We are here to make a difference, we are fulfilling a purpose. That is why we are alive. And as long as we are alive we will be able to influence the future from the NOW.

Let me use my own experience as an example. When I grew up in Germany I found that I needed to perform. I needed to be the son that is successful, goes to university and gets a degree and a good career. Did my parents ever say anything to me? No, but I thought that is what they meant in the way they were speaking about things. I then got decent A-Levels equivalent and went to the best university in my field. I failed it.

I of course blamed my parents, and their pressure which they were not aware of. Whilst being at university I smoked 60 cigarettes a day. When I had back pain I got physiotherapy and they managed to put my back right and by doing so pointed out that I walked with a hunchback and with my hands in my pocket. I was a wreck for my age. I lived on certainty: the friend the cigarette, the comfort shape of a baby in a womb whilst walking around. Why change something that so obviously helped me to get through life? Why change my perspective, walk upright and stop smoking?

How does it tie in with Tolle’s theory?

I tell you next week. But have a look at your habits, patterns and behaviour. Are they influenced and shaped by your past or by your future. Are you living (in) the NOW?

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Living In The NOW (part 2)

Did you understand the concept of Now? Let’s look at the concept of time.

One should let go of time which I understand is difficult in the world we live in. Our working hours are measured by time. Meetings are measured by time. Money to a certain extend is measured by time. But instead of looking at time in the wider context, try to understand that “time” itself only ever constitutes in the very moment.

Tolle’s example of the lottery win (page 50) says it all. You can win $10 million … you would simply continue to act out the same conditioned patterns in more luxurious surroundings. The quality of your consciousness at this moment determines the future. And this quality is dependent on your degree of presence. No money in the world makes you change your behavioural pattern, or the way you engage your daily life. It might make it more comfortable but really, it just will change things on the outside!

It is the perfect example to me. Money changes your environment: the amount you spend on a new house, car, TV and other material goods. The money you can give away to charity. The food you eat and the champagne you might drink. But will it change anything inside you? There is this common saying “money doesn’t make you happy” – happiness comes from the inside, the inner self. Your own character, your own consciousness will have to be developed by yourself from within; money or outer circumstances won’t change this.

In November 2007 I wrote a blog post.

The Power of Now (amended 2015)

This was when I was still very junior in my job. I used to go to a book store during my lunch break to kill time and be out of the office. I ended up buying a book a week, and spend a lot less money on Amazon those days. No kindle!

I saw Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” which covers the topic of focusing on the now, the actual day, “carpe diem” so to speak, instead of focusing on either past or future.

Many many people seem to use the past as an excuse for what is happening in the now and make excuses for themselves about things that might happen in the future. Even then I realised that living outside the NOW gives you an excuse.

A way of saying “the reason ‘I am like I am’ is the past”. This doesn’t go in line with what personal development leaders teach. The reason you are who you are is because of you. You are in the driver’s seat not your past. Who decides what you do with your life, who is shaping your future. There can only be you, and no one else. We will touch on that topic again a few times as we go along.

[…] I used to live in the past quite a lot myself and found my personal way of living in the now.

However, looking at myself, I live in the future too. Aspirations, goals, wants and needs. Salary expectations, new job and family – often I think “what if I reached my dream income of let’s say 100K?” – to be honest, if I ever achieve it, then I would want 200K and so forth. Death is definite, it puts an end to it all, does not it? Maybe it does not but then we move away from the now.

I speak about the misconception of money and that it changes everything already. I was quite advanced at the time already 😉 There are no certainties but death. You will be able to shape the future, trust the greater universe to make it happen.

Connecting the dots thinking forward.

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