Una taza de chocolate, por favor

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Do I want A or B?

Sooner or later we all have to make decisions. Sometimes the right choice appears clear to us, but other times we really have a difficult time deciding. It may be a simple thing to decide, for example, what color should I wear? The choice between black and white is usually easier than the choice between dark blue, marine blue, royal blue, cobalt blue, light blue, blue grey and all blue shades lighter or darker… ( on purpose I didn’t chose grey…)

Babies and toddlers are also confronted with the process of making decisions. It may not be clear to them or to their parents. You have often observed small children when they start to walk and balance unsteadily from one corner of the room to the other. If they fall and haven’t hurt themselves they sometimes wait a little bit before they decide to cry or simply to continue with their efforts. I’m also certain that you have observed children playing… What toy do they usually decide to play with? I know you know… Usually the one the other child is playing with at that exact moment. This decision causes a big stir and ends up in fighting or in the parents intervening to avoid greater trouble.

Children and adults are continuously confronted with choices and decisions. Parents, if being in the position of doing so, usually take a long time, organize many visits, have talks and discussions to decide what would be the best school for their children. I’m sure that you know what I’m talking about. This decision will be made evaluating all possibilities and factors that may have influence on their choice.

Easy decisions may be, for example, what to choose for lunch in a nice restaurant, what to buy as a present for a friend or relative, what radio station should be playing in the car on that long trip, what movie to watch in a rainy evening… Decisions that we have to make every day. Some people may have little trouble and make fast decisions. Others like to think about the smallest details and outcomes and may spend hours deciding. Some other take their time to decide, but are never happy with their own decision, always thinking that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’.

(Image from http://martynballestero.com/tag/greener-grass/)

grassisgreener1

Greener grass

Not all decisions are the same or have the same weight. Some will only have a limited external effect, for example, our decision may change our figure adding some weight, if we decide to eat the chocolate sundae for dessert while other decisions will affect our lives.

Should you accept to date someone? Should you take the job? Should you buy a car? Should you…  Sometimes we know that the decision we are making is not going to be right one, but we do it anyway… Other times we are taken by surprise by the outcomes of a decision we take, these may be positive or negative. In the long run it is always easier to look back and think ‘if I only hadn’t…’.

However, what makes it sometimes hard to decide? Let’s say that we have more or less the same conditions for choosing A or B. There are no big impediments, like for example, money, sicknesses, etc. and you’re not from the ones who take for ever to decide. These mentioned reasons are of course knock outs for some decisions. So, why is it sometimes really hard to decide?  As I’m making right now important decisions in my life and my future. I was curious to answer this question and I watched a video with Ruth Chang on hard choices in TED. As I was mentioning before, some people almost never decide, the so called drifters, they let life or others decide for them complaining about life being unfair. Yes, life is not fair and it’s not about fairness. Drifters tend to take the safest choice, no risks.

You may think that decisions that change your life are hard choices, and they are indeed. However, sometimes we know exactly what to do, we feel it or hear an inner voice telling us exactly how it is… If you get a great job offer, you may take, and if you decide not to, it is because you are certain that it is not the best choice for you in that moment of your life.

Now, hard choices are hard because alternatives are equal, objectively there is no alternative better than the other, choices are at a par.  This could be positive, both choices are so good that you have trouble deciding, or they may be so risky that you hesitate with your decision.  AN example of positive alternatives could be the choice between two excellent candidates for a partnership. Some of you may remember the comic book ‘Archie’, where the High School teen, Archie, was in a constant struggle deciding, if he should date Veronica or Betty. Veronica was the most attractive and rich one, but kind of ‘bitchy’ as we would say nowadays. Betty, pretty and good.  Veronica was also taking her chances sometimes dating Archie and sometimes accepting going out with Reggie (Carlos in the Spanish version), the rich and successful guy, though not really a nice guy.

ArchieComicsGang

Archie and friends

How to pick the best for you? How to decide in a difficult situation? Of course there are the very objective methods of making lists and adding points to each factor involved in the alternative. However, such a method is good for the ‘natural sciences’, where everything can be measured and quantified, temperature, height, weight, etc. But how do you decide in for example matters of the heart? Can you quantify?  Mmmm, I doubt it…

Therefore, to decide between similar choices that seem bad it is important to look at reason inside us, and not start looking at reasons out there. Our inner voice usually knows best, though we sometimes start singing aloud ‘lalalala’ to avoid listening… but we know, don’t we?

Another good way of deciding whether to stay or to let go, is the way you feel in that specific situation, if you feel better with someone or in x situation, then keep it, but if you feel better without it or in another place, well then let go. Make it fit by force is not the best idea, think of Cinderella and their sister trying to fit the small cristal shoe to their big foot… Do you get the image?

Cinderella's step sister

It doesn’t fit…

I hope you now know why and how to decide and invite yourself to have a cup of coffee, tea or whatever, in case you have to make hard choices.

Till soon!

Nominación al Premio Sin Premio/ Nomination to the Prize with No Prize

premio sin premio

(scroll down for the English version)

El viernes pasado me enteré que el escritor Enrique Boeneker me nominó para el Premio Sin Premio con una bonita nota en su blog “De la Tierra nacida sombra“. Me ha parecido un premio original para el que hay que usar la materia gris… esperando que los psicólogos entre mis lectores no analicen mis respuestas.  Antes que nada menciono la imagen del premio que es de Tintero y pincel.

Lo que encuentro más original  es que hay que responder a lo siguiente:

Si yo fuera…

… un animal: sería un gato, sigiloso, curioso, discreto, independiente, elegante, ingenioso, juguetón… y ahora las características no tan positivas, a veces arisco, orgulloso, porfiado.

… un libro: sería un libro de notas con cubierta de cuero, con algunas anotaciones a mano y muchas páginas por escribir

… un auto: un Giuletta Spider, de los 60’s, de preferencia rojo

… un árbol: un cerezo para decorar el paisaje en primavera, dar frutos en verano e hibernar todo el  invierno

… una prenda de vestir: una chalina de seda, larga, suave y multicolor, ideal para combinar con muchos atuendos y estar presente en muchas situaciones

… un edificio: sería una biblioteca, quizá como la de Stuttgart. Moderna y sin mucho adorno por fuera, por dentro llena de luz con ocho pisos de libros y medios audiovisuales, además de partituras y música

… una comida: chocolate amargo, del 55% al 70% de contenido de cacao

… una bebida: un vino tinto, algo así como un Nero D’Avola, con las uvas de Sicilia con el sabor del sol y la tierra cálida

El elegir otros blogs que merecen ser premiados es siempre una tarea difícil por los muchos autores que lo merecerían.  Sin embargo, teniendo que reducirme a 5 mencionados, con mi mayor admiración les recomiendo:

la bitácora de Ernesto Cisneros Rivera, escritor y poeta de una gran sensibilidad acompañada de elegancia y erudición que hacen de sus escritos una delicia.

Una mirada B que me fascina con sus dibujos fantásticos e inspiradores y sus textos ingeniosos.

Sonetos en fuga  que ofrece a sus lectores una gran variedad de textos con sus palabras de escape en versos perdidos.

El blog de fotografías de Paparazzi Bob  con imágenes de la vida diaria que a veces despiertan la imaginación para inventar una historia y otras veces no necesitan más explicación que la imagen misma.

Poesía, haikus fotográficos y prosa con los más variados temas, amenos y de excelente calidad nos ofrece Julie Sopetrán en su blog El tiempo habitado .

Les deseo una muy buena semana y hasta pronto.

 

English version 

Last Friday I realized that Enrique Boeneker nominated me for the Prize with no Prize with a nice message on his blog “De la Tierra nacida sombra“. I find this prize a very original one because I had to use my grey cells… hoping that the psychologists among my readers will not analyze my answers.  In the first place I’d like to mention that the image of the prize is from Tintero y pincel.

What I found most original is that I had to answer the following:

If I were…

… an animal: I’d be a cat, stealthy, curious, discreet, independent, elegant, witty, playful… and now the not so positive features, sometimes fierce, proud, obstinate

… a book: I’d be a notebook with a leather binding, with some handwritten notes and lots of blank pages to be written on.

… a car: a Giuletta Spider, from the 60’s,  preferably red

… a tree: a cherry tree, decorating the landscape in Spring, offering fruits in Sommer and sleeping through the Winter

… something to wear: a silk shawl, long, soft, multicolored, ideal to match with many different outfits and able to be present in many situations

… a building: a library, like the State Library in Stuttgart, modern and with no decoration in the outside, in the inside offering eight floors of books, audiovisuals, including music sheets and music

… food: bitter chocolate, between 55 and 70% of cocoa

… a drink: red wine, something like a Nero D’Avola, made of grapes from Sicily, with the taste of sun and warm earth

Choosing other blogs that should also get the prize is always a difficult task because there are many authors who should deserve it.  However, I have to limit my choice to 5 and with my biggest admiration I recommend

the blog of  Ernesto Cisneros Rivera, writer and poet of great sensibility matched with elegance and knowledge that give his writings a delicacy.

Una mirada B that fascinates me with its fantastic and inspiring illustrations and witty texts.

Sonetos en fuga  offering the readers a great variety of texts with its escaping words in lost verses.

The photography blog of Paparazzi Bob  with pictures of daily life that awake imagination to invent a story and other times don’t require more than the image

Poetry, photographic haikus and prose with various topics are offered by Julie Sopetrán in her blog El tiempo habitado .

I wish you a nice week and till soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you wanna network?

The word network has been developing at a very fast pace. If we look at the beginnings, a network was a compound of threads used to catch fish…

fisher net

Fisher net

Some decades ago the term started shifting to a technical meaning. At that time we started to get connected by cables, literally. We were part of a LAN or a W-LAN at work and we used the existing telephone cables to reach our service providers and access the Internet. With our modern technology we are now able to access the Internet wireless. In many cities we find free wi-fi access in many public places. We are able to be connected to the world every time and the “world” can reach us every day, every time.

Networking is not only physical. A network is formed by people that are in some kind related to us. Belonging to our network we consider our family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, ex-peers, ex… whatever. The network exists by itself, but if we want, we can dedicate time and care and we can tend it as if it were a garden.

Is this a phenomenon of our modern way of life? Of course not, but the weight we give to the different relationships has shifted. Our main network used to be the family, in some countries it still is and all close or not so close relatives are included. Friends are the next in row and depending of where you live, a big anonymous city or a small town, the community and neighbors are part of the network. We usually ask family members, friends or neighbors, if the know of someone who could fix our tap or paint the walls. Some of us prefer to rely on the knowledge of others and ask more often for “help”. Others tend do exaggerate their independence and almost never ask. Good and bad networkers? What does it require to be a good networker?  A network is interconnected, the information or impulses flow from one knot to the next, if there is a hole or a lot of knots are obstructing the flow, then its not stable. How is it then with a human network?

As I was mentioning before, there are good and not so effective networkers… Do you have to be outgoing to be a good networker? No, not really.  Does it have to do with openness and communication? To be able to get the most out of your network you need to open and share. That doesn’t mean going to the next party and telling the funniest jokes aloud. However, being a good networker means to share knowledge and help to connect two or more members who would profit from this connection. Some of you may feel that they are using people, if they ask for a favor or help, while others may be feeling used, if they are always being asked for favors and get no retribution. This is also one of the main points, the networking relation has to be reciprocal, not exactly always returning or almost dying in the intent of returning a favor someone did. Reciprocal means that you sometimes give while other times you take.

Can we simply trust everyone we know? Can I trust everyone I will encounter on my way and? No, of course not.  You will have to learn to use your antenna and trust your inner voice while trying to get to know the person.  How about people I meet online? Are they to be trusted? Same as in the real world, start to communicate and you will be able to decide… (Hopefully…)

I personally think that networking has never been easier. We can reactivate our old schoolmates via Facebook or even find international contacts for our businesses via LinkedIn. And remember, the point is to network, not to make friends 😉 like those 1000 or more “friends” that some people have in Facebook.

There are other ways of networking… Other ideas to enlarge your network would be to join groups with similar interests as your own, for example for those library rats among us, you could join a book club or even organize one, online or in real, as you prefer.  If you prefer sports, then you could join the Saturday Bike Club or the Alpine Club (ironically there are only real Alps in some countries of this wide world…)

Do I start networking everywhere and with everyone? If you feel alone, this may be the way, but usually it is easier, if you have a defined goal while addressing your contacts. If you don’t have a defined goal you can just keep in touch saying ‘hi’ or wishing Merry Christmas once in a while.

If we remember the way people in smaller towns used to live. It wasn’t that easy to communicate without seeing the person physically. However, towns or neighborhood were some kind of network. You went to the hairdresser and you heard the latest savory gossip of the village (sorry, hairdresser friends, for using this classical example making you think that all hairdressers like to gossip 😉 )

sims small talking

Small talk, Sims 3

You went to the market place in your neighborhood and you would also be informed of what was going on. Walmart or the supermarket saves us time because we don’t have to go to several different shops, but we cannot have a small chat with the grocer’s. And our haircut maybe done in one of those fast impersonal chains once here once there. We can spend hours and hours online watching videos or playing games, but without really communicating with others.

Are there cultural differences in the way we network? Are there gender differences? Are men better networkers because there are many men who are more self-confident?

I’ve noticed that it is easier to start a small talk in some cultures than in others.  This doesn’t mean that all Americans are this way and all Germans are the other… However, it is very helpful to know what topics may be more accepted or easier to small talk with a Korean. Would you be afraid to start the talking? I think this is a big issue for many people… How can I start talking to a stranger? What will he or she think about me? I think that is the main point. Some of us are very aware and afraid of what others think of us or may think of us. We don’t want to be criticized, if we ask something dumb or if we make a mistake while speaking another language. However, this impediments are almost only in our heads… in our view… There may be a lot of judgy people, but they’ll judge anyway, and maybe they are just that way because they are also afraid of ‘losing their face’. This point has also very deep roots in some cultures. Others take it more lightly.

If you need inspiration fro networking, take a look at a practical and funny article on http://www.wikihow.com/Network.

So, let’s network and make some comments!