society

About pleasant, good and meaningful life…

winograd

Coming back from a wonderful week in Helsinki, where I met dozens of interesting people and discussed hundreds of amazing stuff related to leadership and humans. I might have a lot to say and it will be distilled slowly in my coming blog posts. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I captured about happiness and balanced life that stroke me and wanted to share.

This relates to yet another possible way to read (and build) our life. During a workshop on motivation, the trainer mentionned a theory, named positive psychology, or the science of trying to understand how people are happy. I will not enter into the details of its founder, Martin Seligman, neither into the details of its theory, that I have not read in length. I will just report what I got and what I felt was making sense to me.

It seems that our life is made of …

Pleasant moments. Moments where our senses and body feel well (eating something tatsy, listening to good music, …). It could be intense happyness, but the pleasure you get from it vanishes quickly.

Good moments. Moments where your activity is in line with your own value, this differs with the previous moments by the fact that your are involved in that moment, by making choices, coming from your desire, your sensitivity, realizing some of the wishes that you have in mind and in heart. For example, preparing and eating some special meal with carefully chosen organic ingredients, or from a country you dream of, or that triggers some good remembers. Using your skills of cooker to reach something. Well, you got it, it is something that link the external world, and your internal world. It triggers some satisfactory feeling, definitely.

Meaningful moment. Moments where you are realizing something with some other people, listening to your value, again. It creates some feeling of aligning your value, with the society (because others are involved) and provides great happiness. For exemple, following up on the idea of food, it could be about creating a restaurant with associates, providing the food you like and you believe peopel should get for good price (if your value is to feed people with good food at afordable price).

My personnal feeling is that in that story of values and moments, no one judges your values, they are yours. To reach a meaningful moment, you just need to unveil those values to the world and embedds others with you.

happiness

The theory says that each of us can have either a pleasant life, a good life or a meaningful life. But the reality might be that our life could be made of a patchwork of all those kind of moments. One thing raised from studies is that  : the happiest people do have a serious rate of meaningful moments. Those meaningful moments create condition of a sustainable sense of happiness. Disclaimer : don’t ask me to show you the happiness-metering-tool, I have no idea – but you may find more here.

This may be *just* one exotic way of reading our life. But models are interesting because they force us to read our uses in a new way, with a different approach. And I felt that this one was interesting if you apply it in the various fields of work, friendship and love. It appears to me clearly that each of those fields deserves pleasant, good and meaningful moments. The last ones, meaningful stuff, may be complex to reach, because it implies to embed some other people with you, to be collaborative, to open your heart, but it seems that they are the ones that will make our life great and happy… Let’s try to cultivate them !

 

Some reference :

Poursuit of happiness http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/martin-seligman-positive-psychology/,

Martin Seligman TEDx talk https://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology

Picture : Gary Winograd.

A little piece of human learning

Antique radio on retro background

 

Disclaimer : me talking about car is quite unusual, but this is a real story and I felt it was inspiring.

This week I had to use a car lended by my garage. The woman who gave me the keys said “the fuel gauge is fanciful, what ever it says, you’d better put few gasoline liters (or gallion) to make sure you don’t have unexpected breakdown”.

I said “yes, sure”, took the keys, thinking about my long day, drove at work, the gauge indicated full tank. I made my morning in the office, and drove, in a rush, to a lunch, 35 km far away. After 6 kilometers on the highway: a noise, a strident alarm-biiiip, fuel gauge  red. Shit. Body panic. I was missing an opportunity to be on time. I was balancing. Remembering the words of the lady : fanciful gauge. Was it ringing too early or too late ? Despite my willingness to be on time, I decided to drive to the first station, outside the highway, to make sure I’d reach my final destination. I wasted 15 minutes, got 20 liters, and felt okay. I came back on the highway and drove again towards my lunch.

At the first bump on the road: a noise, strident alarm-biiip, fuel gauge red. Shit. I thought “again…”. I panicked during one our two seconds and realized that the machine could not fool me twice. This time, I knew. I knew that the alarm signal was fake. I knew the tank was half full, at least.

Four kilometers later. A bump. A noise, strident alarm-biiip, fuel gauge red. Again. This time, not a single reaction from my body. Not a nano-second dedicated to think that something could go wrong. The alarm signal completely lost its power of alarm. And in the end, I will never know if the tank was empty or full.

This story is not only about a woman driving, taking risk to be late at lunch (I actually was on time). This is about our ability to improve our interpretation of the world.

What happened? I was given a framework, with some hints that it was erratic, but I had to make my own experience that it was fantasist, and after experiencing, I got it. I went once into the process of wrong interpretation, found a solution, then, experienced a second time, felt more confident (but still had some alarming reflex) and finally adapted to the fanciful behavior and ignored it. I integrated that the signal was wrong, untrusted, irrelevant.

What can I learn from that “alarm, biiip, panic, noise, and after few cycles, peace” story.

First. I was fooled twice. I had to go twice through this experience to finally feel comfortable. Provided the garage lady’s warning, twice, seems a lot. But this is how I am. Each of us learn his or her own way. The important thing is that I learnt.

Second. How does that apply to the signal we receive every day in our life ? I’d be happy to reduce that amount of bad noise reaching me via media, people, organization. I’d be happy to kill those alarming-but-not-always-backed signals. You know. The defeatism vision from politics, the pessimism of some people, the FUD* in the media, the panic wave in the office. How could I make this shut up ? I think that calm observation and education are key here.

My final take, is that I should spend more time understanding over-negative-reactions to finally dompt them and reduce the wrong noisy signals in my life.

*FUD is Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, a well known method to avoid rational and reasonnable conversation.

 

We are not magicians !

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Few months ago, I lost a friend. A friend I really appreciated. He did not die, we just stopped talking each other. We did not agree on something, he upset me, I had bad words, he answered briefly, and over. And I always had regrets. I always had the feeling I made something wrong.I felt sad and guilty. The other day, I was thinking about that story, in a taxi. I love taxi. This is one of the situation where someone else knows where we go and it gives me freedom to think in peace. And I got a serie of revelations.

Disapointment. The reason why I had bad words with that friend, is because I felt disapointed. Which is obviously driven by the fact that I expected something he could not give me, I expected too much. That person was not a magician. I got that clearly, in a second.

About the mirror. I realized that this person was not a magician. But neither was I. Just like he was not ready to suffer my behavior or opinion, I was not. I could not make the magic of being absolutely intuitive, sensitive and good, the magic to read his mind, the magic of respecting desires or avoiding scars, the magic of being perfect. I am not a magician. (Note that the worst resides in the fact that having an under-estimated image of myself, I did not even imagine that he could expect something like magic from me, and that I could disappoint him – no comment, thanks, I’ll keep this one for later and further thoughts).

So, we were equally not magicians. I stopped thinking about that lost friendship and gained some altitude. Okay. So. We are not magicians. No one is a magician. That was a shock. This seemed like a very bad news in that taxi. A kind of hurting “welcome back on earth, honey”. I breathed, looked for my optimism and thought. Well, if there is no magician at all, will the world loose all its glitter ? No. Because. The good news is that we have something which is much more powerfull then any magic wand. This is named words.

Words. We can make crazy things with words, such as writing love letter or, in case of problem, ask “are you okay with the situation ?”. We can warn when something goes wrong, when gaps and frictions start to appear. This is much less sexy then magic wand. Yes, I agree. But at least, we can express feeling, discomfort, anxiety, anything that can help the other to understand us and our (probably too high) expectations.

Words. Yes. But. The words used in this kind of border or tricky situation have to be true words. Not half words, not words to be guessed between the lines, not jokes or heard in. I discovered recently that there is a nice tool that can help, it is called assertive communication. The assertive communication concept is : you express your own perception of a situation or feeling, exposing the facts supporting your perception. Sentences like ‘I have the feeling that….’. And you invite the other to answer, comment, share his own vision. And the exchange can start. It can be quite interesting because you are removing from the communication all the noise of attacks, judgement, guess… In addition it is lead by respect, because you can not challenge the feeling of the other, you can not pretent he is not affraid, sad, sorry or confused, if he is expressing it (because this would be like denying his intimacy, his own personality). I’ll definitely keep on using that one.

But magic words can only happen in special cases. Off course, this kind of communication works if and only if: i) trust is a background, and ii) willingness is in the air. Willingness to listen and participate to the discussion, willingness to understand and be understood. With trust and willingness,  you can make magic and glitter back in the world. Realizing the existence of those ingredients made me peacefull. Magic does not exist but with words, we can stay on the light side of the life.

Note : And what about this special friendship ? I realized that willingness and trust were not part of our friendship when our disagreement appeared. Magic words were unusable, nothing could have saved us. I am still very sad for this friendship I lost, but I dont feel guilty anymore.

Hack is life !

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Il y a quelques semaines, je discutais avec mon ami Jean Luc, psychologue, un peu philosophe aussi sur les bords. Sa vision de notre société est toujours intéressante, son point de vue particulier, forgé par les heures passées à écouter les hommes, les femmes raconter leur troubles. Et un matin nous discutions de la façon d’occuper notre temps, nous, les humains. Le travail, le loisir, la création… Et sur ce dernier point il me révélât un point majeur, qui changera je crois la perception de mes chantiers créatifs. Pour la vie.

En résumé et sans doute sans la nécessaire subtilité, je partage avec vous notre échange.

Je lui disais que je créais, poésie, amusement littéraire, photo, critique artistique, billets de vie. Bref, que je créais souvent, sur différents thèmes, et que je ne savais pas vraiment pourquoi, ni pour qui, en toute humilité, mais que c’était un besoin, inexpliqué. Et Jean Luc suggéra le point de vue suivant. La quête de la perfection rend immobile, me dit-il. L’immobilisme est une pulsion de mort. Le bricolage, imparfait, est l’expression du désir. Le geste de jeter au monde une création imparfaite, une idée en développement, un outil plus ou moins bancal. Tout cela. C’est l’expression de la vie, a-t-il dit. Une pulsion de survie. Ça m’a tellement parlé…

Voilà. Hack is life. Avec mes petits bouts de mots et d’images. Je me suis sentie vivante. Et confiante. Merci.

Fear. No. Thxs.

There is a concept I have been turning around all the summer. This came via friends, familly, work, society, art. Fear. I will not enter into the details and little stories and triggers, but it became an underlying question for me. So. Fear.

fear is a liar

The first question is. How does fear influence me? Lets be frank. Answer is : sometimes but sometimes too much (depending on how much energy I have). I have the impression that fear sometimes stops me from doing things, it sometimes transforms the way I read a personnal or societ situation, and sometimes drives me into a wrong direction. And finally, anytime I fear something, it burns a lot of my precious energy.

The next coming thought is. Fuck (sorry dad). There is no reason fear should even be able to infuence my life of autonomous super woman (irony inside). Beacause I am not anymore a little girl (sorry dad). Because fear only puts a barrier between me and what I want.

(RT if you are tempted to ask someone else to manage your shit –  I did RT)

Can I have this fear disapearing in a finger snap ? No. And it might not even be desirable. I need to understand it, and identify the reason for it, and eventually reduce its impact. Each of us has his own fears, based on history, bad experiences. Because this is how we learn and build ourselves, as young animals. By trying and enjoying the experience or not. And in this learning path, drama, sorrow, pain, brutality, injustice, goes into a bag and feed fears. Each human, having his own bag, with its acceptable size… This leads to the fact that no one else then me can understand my fears. Yes, psy and coach experts can help. But by nature, this is a lonesome travel.

What about mantra ? I could try the Bene Gesserit wisdom.  “ I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Seems reasonnable positioning but…. But I have the feeling this will require a little bit more work on my side then  just repeating this sentence.

Being ready to stare my fears in the eyes, really ? Pffff, how to do that ? I dont know. I guess reaching  that specific mindset, depends on each of us. Each person, a recipe. Nevertheless I have the intuition that for me, it may rely in a sane body, a peaceful mind and some confidence (well, you got me, I read some books and articles). This is what I am working on, at the moment.

And what if ? Another way to fight fear is to say. So what? I am afraid, I may take risk and I may fall. But if I fall, what could happen? Well. Maybe nothing. But in case something serious happens… Do I have friends? Yes. So I’ll share with them that wonderful post about watching a friend falling https://umairhaque.com/how-to-fall-cd8d493098cd#.joqu4ma19

Okay, com’on, go. I think I’m ready. I’ll walk on the path of trying to embrace my fears. Slowly, but surely.

 

 

Note :Some way fear entered my life in recently creativity , innovation, [fr] photo, music, politic

 

 

Got a life ? Think about deserting…

chemin seul

I have a family life, I have a great international job. And since my kids were born, I am enjoying once a year a week, alone. Alone. Not with friends, far cousin, grand aunt, … Alone. I am just leaving the town, staying in a room in Paris, Lyon, or wherever I want, and I spend one week. Alone.

It is very complex to explain to people around me that I am doing that. Friends, colleagues and relatives just stare at me, asking *the* question ‘and what about your children ?’. Well, they have a father. And by the way, their father does the same, once a year, he goes far away and enjoys it. The main purpose for that week for me is writing. But there are some aside benefits coming with it.

Realizing. When I am alone, I am realizing how people (and things) drive my life instead of me. As a mother, a friend and a working woman, involved in innovation, I am handling dozens of topics a day. I switch from one to another, keeping the best of it, welcoming the next one. Same for people, I am constantly in meeting, calls, brainstorm. I am having an attitude to adapt myself to a lot of constraints, conversation, personnalities. Work, family, friends. Everyone’s knocking at my door, anytime, is most of the welcome, as I am the kind of person enjoying far too much new stuff.

Experiencing. So imagine the contrast. Spending one week with no one, empty planning, no meeting. Life gets really really quiet. You wake up alone, you have your coffee alone, usually *very* late, you walk in the street alone, you eat whatever meal you like, you jump in any bus, visit any place. No consensus. You decide each single action of your day, with no limit. And then you can start realizing and understanding all the ropes guiding or embracing your life.

Being nice with yourself. Another reason why I believe it is important to be alone : spending some time with yourself is a way to treat yourself right. Getting the attention you deserve.Spending your time and attention only to others is the best way to forget yourself and be driven into situation you don’t really choose or like. Yes, that’s life, with no bad intention, people tends to divert you.

Thinking about you. Experiencing to be the only parameter in your own life is a thing. So after few days, when the magic of loneliness and autonomy happens, this is the right time to look at your project and habits and ask : why am I doing that ? what is the best for me ? what is sweet in my life ? where are my limits (real or perceived) ? Well, challenging some choices and habits. All the question we sometimes fail to ask, being in the race (or comfort) of life.

Beware. I am not claiming this situation – thinking about you, yourself and no one else – should happen all the year, or that you should become an asocial and selfish person (actually, you could, but, well, that’s not exactly my style, neither my purpose). But this a time where you put yourself in the middle of the picture and have a chance to question your life. And that is interesting.

Just try it. You can only benefit from better listening to you.

 

Bretagne, première.

Saint Malo, 30 heures d’arrêt. Dès la gare, l’air est chargé. Le sel, la pêche, le chaud, le vent. Je file intra-muros. Les remparts et la vie majestueuse. Un truc infini, large. L’horizon parsemé d’iles, de forts, de phares. Les voiles penchées, sous le vent. Les départs d’écoliers, catamaran et optimiste. Ça tangue, hein, gamin !

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La plage. Ce truc plat, lumineux, brillant. Ourlé de rangées de troncs immenses. Comme des aiguilles pour tenir le sable de voile le long de la digue, contre la danse des marées. Le vent dans les oreilles, le sentiment de solitude. Coupé des autres. Chacun vaque. Avec tout l’espace nécessaire. Assis sur la bouée numéro 4. Chantier de château. Course d’enfants. Tennis de plage. Embrassades folles. Lecture abritée et parasol. Promenade du dimanche. Séance photo. Les crabes. Agathe, Antoine, Faustine. Baignade et hurlements. Contemplations.

DSC_1858DSC_1822A la piscine d’eau de mer. Les minots du plongeoir. Les mêmes qu’ailleurs. Braves et drôles. Hurlant au pied du saut. Heureux de leurs exploits.DSC_1900

Et ce sable, il est finalement beau et doux, ce sable. On y met un orteil, puis on le foule franchement. Les rivières d’eau laissées par la marée caressent. On finit par y prendre goût. Jusqu’à tremper pieds et chevilles.

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La anse du Guesclin. Grande plage sauvage déserte. Le sentier côtier. Le long des falaises. Je me souviens de l’île de Mann, de l’île de Jersey. Mais le sentiment d’espace est fort. Le bleu profond, loin. Et les phares. Où que l’on regarde. Je les aime, moi ces phares, qui disent. Bienvenue. Attention. C’est par ici. Vas-y mon gars, poursuis ta route.

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La Bretagne. Première. D’une longue série.

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Note : merci Valérie, FX, Stéphane pour vos généreux conseils 🙂

Four years of blogging, so what ?

Number-4-on-fire

 

It has been 4 years since I started this blog, 4 years of regular contribution here. What happened during that time ?

Figures.

184 blog post, traffic doubled each year, to reach 35 000 views in total, and I make no money out of it (on purpose).

Content.

While still being attracted by techno stuff such as security, governance and influence with W3C and other SDOs stories, conference report and painting/writing/art poems, I created a new type of blog post. Few things that I learned from my experience of a techno-working-woman. This explains why you may read from me posts related to woman at work (kill your culture, be a man, promote your successgo networking), but also some non-gender thoughts (the very story of a no, thank to my witches). My content is still under creative common, with no guidance from my employer (thanks for such a freedom).

So what ?

Each blog post is an opportunity to discuss with myself and with others. Incredible how much you learn by discussing with yourself, you should try it. So discussing, sharing, re-discussing, and doing it again, with friends, colleagues, strangers and curious. Well. Amazing experience. So what ? So thanks to all my readers, all the people who shared with me their complementary, opposite but valuable views. I’ll keep on writing, loving that too much…

Note : picture from mysticalnumbers.com where I noticed that 4 is the perfect number…

About MacBeth, witches and your destiny

8_witches

MacBeth and Verdi. Last week, I went to the Marseille opera, and enjoyed 3 hours of lyrics and songs. The program was Macbeth by Verdi. Sat on a nice theatre, upper circle, I spent 3 hours listening to Mister MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, singing and dying (sorry for the spoiler, but I promise those are not the only ones to die in that Shakespeare piece). The MacBeth drama relies on prophecies offered by some witches to MacBeth, while having a walk with a friend. Those prophecies, are about Macbeth becoming a king and getting powerful, and dying one day (that last one was easy, we all do one day). MacBeth hears that, gets crazy about it and completely embeds those revelations to forge his destiny. He will kill friends and relatives for that (oups, sorry again), that in the end, the prophecies becomes true. This is an excessive story, yes, but this is an interesting one.

Thinking more about prophecies. I realized that I met some witches (not real ones, okay ? magic witches and psychic do not exist, kids). I met some good and bad ones. The ones that look at you and whisper some divination, formulating some nice destiny for you. Why don’t you do this ? Would not it be great if you were blablabla ? Yes, I met some witches – but I’ll keep their names and prophecies secret – they know who they are. The words they spoke were not about giving advice, but about imagining my future. This could be in the form of a game, a joke, a provocative thought.

So what ? Listening to MacBeth lyric voice, and witches chorus, I acknowledged how important it was for me, to be projected into positive (and negative) scenarios. This is not because I have no idea of what to do with my life, I have lots of ideas. This is because by being suggested a possible path, a position, by someone neutral (well, kind of), this forced me to think about that. For some of the fate, I answered “Yes ! That would be sooo great”, and thus I put some energy into making them real. It created huge desire to realize it, and it happened.

So here is a game. Next time you meet a new person, staring at you after few exchanges, and formulating some strange ideas about you and your destiny. Listen. That proposal might be a alchemy between her own dreams and what you inspired to her at a glance – but innovation is made on mixing strange ingredients, and pushing boundaries, right ? Take this as a game and think about those predictions. And you can decide to try to make them true or not.

Note 1 : Witches are not Roger, dont mix it…

Note 2 : you can meet great witches in networking event.

Note 3 : thanks to my kind witches, with love …