Is this the world you want to live in?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?
Oct 8, 2017 | 3min read

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever thought to answer it for the sake of others who might need it more than you do? Of course, not. You only think about yourself.

“A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its throat. Ever think about that? No. You only think about yourself.”

I wrote this story right after it happened to me in Colombia on 6th September. I was in Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, waiting for my flight to Medellin. I was at the gate, sitting and looking around. When you travel alone, that’s what you do. Unless you’re a Facebook freak and keep looking at your damn phone and scrolling down. I was the only foreigner, it was my second week in Colombia, but my Spanish was already much better.

Then, a woman in my sight line bursts into tears. She notices I saw her. I’m embarrassed and look away. All my attention is now focused on her. I start again looking around but every time pausing at her, still crying. The more she was crying, the more I wanted to cry, and do something. But I’m in Colombia and my Spanish is still not at its best. What am I going to say to a stranger woman and in Spanish? I hesitate. I hesitate more. What can I tell her in Spanish, or what can I do?

“I’m gonna embarrass myself in front of her and everyone.”

That was the green light. I’m gonna embarrass myself in front of her and everyone? If you know me a bit, you’d know I don’t care what people think about me. I take out pocket tissues, prepare my sentence in Spanish, and start walking towards her. Somehow I haven’t written down what I told her, but it was very simple. Something like, “is everything ok?” or “can I help you?”. She nods to tell me she’s ok and I give her a tissue. I don’t feel comfortable sitting next to her, she might want to be alone and I could see before she was communicating with someone by voice messages. I leave and don’t feel like sitting where I was before. I decide to buy cheese balls. I wasn’t hungry but thought I could offer her some. I buy 3 cheese balls, go back to her and propose her one. She refuses. But after insisting she accepts and takes one. I propose more tissues (in Spanish) and she laughs about is as she would definitely need some. I give her a big smile, tap her on the shoulder and go back and sit.

A couple of minutes later, an old woman next to me, and her big family (around 15 people) burst into laughter. I look at them, and her husband had weird eyeglasses with fake eyes on them. It was so funny and random, I couldn’t stop laughing either. Plus, their way of laughing out loud was contagious. I turn around to the (crying) woman as I wanted her so badly to look at the scene and have a good laugh about it but she didn’t look back.

I don’t know and will never know why this woman was crying. And that’s not the point.

But what I know is we human beings have lost all sense of community and savoir-vivre. In this small airport of Colombia, where I’m the only foreigner, surrounded by a bunch of Colombians, no one took the time of talking to this young woman and check whether we can help? It’s almost certain we could have not, but at least asking wouldn’t have cost anything to anyone. Plus, compassion has killed nobody.

I have to admit I don’t remember if this was my first time in this situation. And if it was not, I’m not sure how I have reacted in the past. But I hope from now on, me, and you, will react differently and help any person in need.

This is the world we live in. We are so individualistic and selfish. We tend to forget our brothers and sisters from another mother and father. We are a society where by default we reject and repel each other. Yes, we do. And the more we will, the less chance we have to live in a peaceful world.

I read once the human reflex when a baby falls is to catch him back. But when an adult falls, on the contrary, we move away and let him fall.

Something to think about. Have a good day dear reader. And make this world a better place.

 

Fuck the system

Yes. Fuck the system. And modern society.
Dec 3, 2016 | 3min read

We all have a friend who tells us to

  • get out of our comfort zone
  • follow our passion
  • start our own business

He will always try to find a way to talk about it as somehow it’s his favorite subject. Right?

I have to admit, I even said it to some friends many times. But then it hit me. Society used to pressure us to go through master studies and not only bachelor. To get a serious job in a big corporation, to build a career, etc. It’s now pressuring us with those three words: comfort zone, passion and business.

Do you feel pressured just by reading those three words? I hope not. But please, just take a break for a second and don’t let the 21st century’s trend pressure you!

I’m serious. What about living your life as you want first? Don’t you think we have something else to do than care about this? Don’t get me wrong, you should care about it but only when you are ready. Your life, your family, your friends and you matter first.

I, myself, went out of my comfort zone, followed my passion and tried to start a new business. But only when I was in good conditions and ready to do so.

I got fired from my job after working there for 4 years, so in France you get unemployment money for a year or so. That’s the moment I decided to change my professional career from engineering to organizing festivals. So how did I get out of my comfort zones?

  1.  by taking a different kind of job where I had no experience whatsoever. Not even a diploma in cultural management.
  2.  by accepting a salary five times less than my previous one.
  3. by moving to Budapest, a city where I do not speak the language.

I must emphasize that the only thing that took me out of my comfort zone is taking a different job. As I had unemployment money, reducing my salary drastically wasn’t a problem. And I had already lived in Finland, a country where I did not speak the language. So moving to Hungary was definitely not an issue. And that’s what I mean by being ready. If you’re someone who can’t change countries from one day to another, don’t start by moving out to the other side of the planet. You can always start with small tasks or challenges that affect you on a small scale, until you’re ready and confident to go bigger. My advice start with cold showers.

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Then, you could say I followed my passion. I was always into music festivals and concerts. Also thanks to my dad into contemporary dance and cinema. But if you ask me today if I followed my passion, the answer is no. I was just in the right conditions to do something I was passionate about and excited for. And already after my second year working for the festival I felt that I wouldn’t be doing this forever. It’s important to do something that motivates you and give a meaning to your life. But if you haven’t found it yet, it’s not a problem at all. Keep your life as it is as life is not only about work but about balance. You always have to work on it to keep this balance the same way you work on relationships. With sacrifices, personal improvements,etc. My advice start researching what your next job could be.

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And the same moment I have started working for this festival I wanted to start a business. I tried for a year, didn’t work. Had a great co-founder but who didn’t have much time to give. I had 6 months where I managed to work full time on it. Then I had to work part time on it because the festival was taking more of my time. When I think about it now? It was the worst timing to start a business in Paris when I was just starting a new job in Budapest. Why did I do it ? I have two great entrepreneurs friends that inspire me. But I want to believe that society pressured me in a way if I’m not starting a business, I’m not in the trend. And you know what, who fucking cares? I learned a lot from this one year journey and I liked the feeling of starting and creating something new. I might do it again or I might have another “normal” job in a company. But if you don’t start a business, trust me it’s ok.

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So the next time someone talks to you about comfort zone, passion and business, listen to him carefully because he might be the one who needs your help.