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Auteur: Danny Joosten

Why This Blog Is Interesting

Why This Blog Is Interesting

In Praise of Incrementalism

I realize that our stories might only become of interest to people from the point on where the big public decides: “Now they have achieved something” or “now they are successful”. Unfortunately, but understandably, achievement and success is mostly measured by material standards. But! Those material standards are in most cases just a reflection of the result of the incremental steps ‘successful’ people have been taking over months and months, years and years, maybe even decades (patience is a virtue…).

Recomendacion-Caro

In our first blogpost we referred to that first step already. Let’s take an actual journey (as in: travel/holiday/vacation) this time, as I think and hope most people can relate to that. What would you say would be that first step? When you’re waving your family and/or friends goodbye at the airport? When you get in your car with your caravan behind (as we proudly do in Holland)? Or when you book your ticket? No… Of course not. Of course it’s debatable, but let’s say the first step is making the decision (inspirational here, practical here and here) to go on a trip you have always wanted. After that, step 2, you might make an inventory of what is needed to make the trip.

3. Money is needed for everything on that list, so you get a job

4. You save money

5. You buy a suitcase/backpack

6. Read about your destination

7. You get those vaccines

8. Download Duolingo

57. Buy a cap and a shirt of Ronaldo

69. Buy socks and sandals

100. Land in Brasil!!

Incrementalism

That is THE way to reach your destination. If it’s about traveling, about making that promotion, about reaching your top performance, or making change on whatever scale. Start with your decision. Between your ears, that’s where everything starts, from going to the toilet to being an astronaut. I’m not saying they’re all at the same level (although people in space have to go for #2 as well…) and equally achievable, but it all does start between your ears. After that, you have to take that first, actionable, incremental step. Let’s call this procedure, or method, or philosophy as you will, incrementalism.

On a more serious note, when you have to find a job, and you have been sitting at home for a while already. Getting that job might seem like a giant leap. And still, that giant leap consists of incremental steps! Experiment with a variety of steps, and especially the ones that are slightly outside of your comfort zone. What is there to loose? Your job?? Exactly… This implies, that when a goal you desperately want to reach seems so far a way, it can paralyze you. Incrementalism is certainly a way to decrease or diminish that paralysis.

The Inventor of the Wheel?

And of course I’m not the first one who has come up with this. Everyone who has done some type of education, middle school even, knows about the concept of setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely goals. Indeed, SMART goals. I think the realisation of an incrementalist approach comes before setting SMART goals, but they fit perfectly on the same page. Another interesting topic for everyone to dive into is the difference between a Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset, as posed by Carol Dweck. Growth Mindset people believe that they can reach a certain goal with incremental efforts.

Incrementalist Mindset
Fixed vs Growth Mindset, Summarized

Who Are You?!

Now… I hear you thinking, “who the f… are you to tell us this, Dannyboy?!”. And I can share with you two sides of the same coin. A ‘success’ side, and a ‘learning’ side.

We win…

The success story is one that I do not share very often, because I usually don’t care to talk about my successes to others. No, that’s not true, but it’s true for this particular success! But ok, for the sake of the argument, this is the best example for me at this moment in time. With an incremental approach I managed to win the Dutch championships as a percussionist seven times in a row when I was a teenager, and one time I had been lucky enough to win the World Music Concours with two musician friends of mine. I never considered it to be something special, and that is one of the reasons I (somewhat) unfortunately never decided to choose that as my future. Thinking back about it, it actually is something to be proud of… So yes, you can consider this a pat on my own back! Anyways, these championships didn’t come in one day. I developed a passion for getting better and better at it and I really practiced hours a day (ask my mother, I predict she’ll still roll her eyes). Incrementally I upped the level. I lost my first Dutch Championship, after that not one more. The irony is that I can tell this in hindsight. At that time I failed to learn mindfully that incremental steps were the way, as the other side of the coin will point out.

Or we learn…

One of the most influential, instructive experiences in my life was starting a business, the other side of the coin. I started with a friend and we managed to get an investor together with his legal adviser. I knew nothing about the business. My friend, who was in the middle of the industry, had been asking me for four years because he was convinced we could do it, and that period of my life was the ideal moment. I jumped into it and was determined to learn along the way. So much for the context. We started slow, and in time it got better. BUT, one of our problems was that we had a ton of ideas. That sounds great, and it actually is. But, as said before, patience is a virtue. We wanted to apply and implement them all at once, in stead of solidifying the projects we were at already. It wasn’t just a problem, it turned out to be a mistake (or learning experience, if you will). If I would’ve consciously learned from my other side of the coin, I would’ve taken the incrementalist approach and hit the break a lot harder, and we might still have had the company.

So! To close the circle, what does make this blog interesting? It’s proof of another incremental step towards magnanimity and hopefully a lot of stuff that comes with it. If this doesn’t lie within your scope of interests, then indeed this might not be as interesting as the title suggests. On the other hand, maybe you can relate to it, maybe you get some inspiration out of it, maybe you have something to add or deduct, or maybe it helps you to take that first incremental step.

The One New Year’s Resolution – The Art of Not Giving a F…

The One New Year’s Resolution – The Art of Not Giving a F…

It’s this time of the year again. Christmas just went by and New Year’s eve is knocking at our doors. We both hope you all had an awesome Christmas! I actually did have an unhealthy one, so that’s good… Lots of good food, lots of good drinks, lots of good games, lots of laughter (which is inherently good). And I’d almost forget the presents!

New Year’s Resolutions

Then the one which is knocking at the door. NYE. New Year. New Beginning. New Year’s resolutions. At least for some of us. I actually do not understand why people make these. For me it sounds like an excuse for postponing an adjustment for the better in your life, that you actually don’t really want to make, although you know you should make it. And I would dare to bet on it that that’s part of the reason why a lot of people give up their resolution as soon as the next weekend has arrived. Why wait to make a change if it’s for the better?? Hats off to those who do push through.

New Year's Resolutions...
New Year’s Resolutions…

Anyways. This one is for the ones who do want to make a New Year’s resolution. And it’s also for the ones who make resolutions at the very moment they want to make it. Actually, it is for everyone who is keen on seeing some sort of progress in their lives.

Remember my first blog post, where I shared the roller coaster ride of publishing the first blog? About fear, comfort zones, choices and what not. My goal was to let you guys identify with those feelings and struggles and, ideally, to bring you a step closer to taking action. Getting what you want is impossible if you don’t take action. It is often the last missing link between what we want and what we get. I did indeed get some cool feedback from people who did recognize themselves in it. But unfortunately I haven’t heard or saw anyone taking action, yet.

Not Giving a F@&k

Now! Michel alerted me to an insightful article at Wait But Why, an awesome blog on everything life. Tim Urban, writer of the blog, wrote an awesome piece that indeed gives you a lot of insight in why you do what you do. Or better yet, why you do NOT do what you want to do. I see his blog post as a B-E-A-utiful compliment to my attempt to make you take action. And secretly as a personal blogging goal of mine.

Mr. Urban writes, how we are evolutionary wired to do what we think society finds we should do. He calls it the “Social Survival Mammoth”, and it’s in our way. After that he gives a recipe, and it simply boils down to: how to not give a f@&k (of course within sociopathic boundaries). He wants you to replace the Mammoth with your Authentic Voice.

How to Find the Authentic Voice?

Finding that Authentic Voice is the first part, and it might be the hardest. I think we all know someone, or a few people who are miles away from their Authentic Voice (AV). It might even be yourself. And that’s ok, but it is hard to admit it. And I speak from experience here. It’s not for nothing that I had to wait a long time to make the choices I wanted to make, and be happy with them on top of that! The feeling of freedom you get at those moments are even bigger than the feelings you get when you’re on holidays, or while skydiving! (although for some the latter feels like having been food poisoned… like the other guy… who puked… during the jump… with his instructor attached… behind him…).

Click Image to Read the Article at 'Wait But Why'
Click Image to Read the Article at ‘Wait But Why’

Catalyst

So, to accelerate the search for your AV, I want to share three of the techniques that have helped me.

  1. Meditate
    • I know this sounds wishy washy to a lot of people, but it isn’t! It’s only a breathing exercise. Ever saw a calm, healthy man breath fast and chaotic? Indeed. No. And furthermore, you’ll get to know your thought patterns. (which is really hard, seeing that humans on average have around 40.000 thoughts a day). More about this one in the future!
  2. Get comfortable being on your own
    • You have to be able being with yourself. Normally you’re surrounded by people you like, and you will accept advice from the people you like faster as well. So learn to be surrounded by yourself.
  3. Read books
    • Books (and blogs of course, which are shorter) give you insights and food for thought that you otherwise might not encounter. They will tell you a lot about yourself as well. Michel already wrote a cool, insightful piece about that one.
  4. BONUS:
    • Just. Make. The Choice. Often times you can only know if a choice is right, after you made it. You have to learn to trust your instinct, or gut feeling. The way to do that is to give it a chance. (It gets easier after you tried the first three, by the way). You will encounter dilemma’s in your life, and no analysis or science in the world can help you solve them. And it’s as good as never the end of the world…

 

Happy NYE Everyone! Have a Great 2017!!

The Experience of Putting Yourself Out There

The Experience of Putting Yourself Out There

And Defying the Borders of Your Comfort Zone

Oi Magnanimites! Step 2. The first soloblog.

This one will be an extension of our introductory blogpost with a more personal touch. The act of publishing, or even more so, sharing my first blog ever with something substantial and private to say has been a whole new sort of internal experience. It starts with fear. You start thinking ludicrously irrational thoughts, like: “what if people (I never meet anymore) will say shit about me” or “what if the whole world will be against me??”. Insecurity is another aspect, confusion even. So much for facing this danger with tranquility… But as we said, a journey starts with a first step. Besides these rather unpleasant emotions, excitement and a bit of pride definitely played their part, which makes the experience as a whole undoubtedly a positive one. I have been dreaming of blogging for 2 or 3 years now and finally the move has been made.

Confronting Fear

After the first likes on Facebook, the rollercoaster of emotions came to its terminal and changed into a state of confidence and new ideas for the future. This second part of the experience has a double feeling to it for me. On the one hand, I dislike the fact that I need likes to feel good about a project that I think I should feel good about no matter what. In some cases or situations I can be very sensitive to the judgment of others, and that’s somewhat frustrating. On the other hand it’s a perfectly human phenomenon. Evolutionary speaking we’re social animals, we need the support of our peers. Ostracism appears to be a huge predictor of stress. So I guess that makes me a healthy person. And on top of that, if you want to accomplish something, especially in the sphere of the creative (to which I would love to ascribe this endeavor), you will have to step over this fear of criticism and confront it! Funny side note is that the confidence fades as soon as you’re about to upload the second blogpost. Yep, the fear has returned! Luckily the ideas stick.

comfort-zone
The cliché

Comfort Zones, Responsibilities, Choices

And exactly that is a big part of what this blog is about. Defying comfort zones and finally starting the project/executing the idea you always had in mind, approach that girl/guy you’ve been spying on (you creep), or even buy those purple shoes you think no one else will like. It’s about making choices and about taking your responsibility to live your life the way it fits you best. Not at the expense of everything else, of course. But there aren’t a lot of things that should stop you. That too will be discussed. The excuses people make to stay in their comfort zones. One of mine is “perfectionism”, another is “being busy” (and I still use them…). For me, this project is the definition of a magnanimous act. And that’s why I had to write this post as a follow-up. I know it’s hard, at this very moment there still are area’s in my life where I have to defy my fears and make those choices. But you can’t make all the steps at once. But as Michel said, as long as you keep moving (hopefully mostly forward, sometimes backward to go forward again).

Where Great Minds Meet

I want to conclude today with our subtitle. I must admit. This title is prone to sounding pretentious. As you can imagine, of course it’s not meant that way. In the introduction Michel and I explained what we understand when we talk about Magnanimity. It is made clear that it isn’t about a set-in-stone personality trait, but about a mindset that is there for everyone to adopt. The choice is yours if you will, or not… My aunt told me she experienced the enthusiasm when she read the previous blogpost (I hope it’s not just because of familial encouragement). And I can honestly say that I do get excited when I find people who are on the same page and whom I can share stories with. If I’d have a tail I’d wiggle it (I guess that makes me Hachiko…). Michel and I just wanted an outlet where we can write freely and personally about what keeps us up at night and where we can find people who have similar interests, attitudes, experiences, wishes and so on. A friend of mine already told me that our introductory post motivated him. I truly cannot wish for more, small scale mission accomplished… Thank you for telling me, bro!

So what idea did you have since long? Have you executed it, or not? Why? Or why not (yet)?

A Journey Starts With a First Step

A Journey Starts With a First Step

Two guys working together in a retail store, having a conversation


D: Ohw cool! So you have a company on the side??
M: Yeah man, we write businessplans together with entrepeneurs to give them a head start.
D: Alright, sounds interesting man! I think it’s awesome when people dare to take risks and get rewarded for it on top of that. So how’s it going?
M: Not bad actually. I just got my first employee!
D: Haha, congratulations dude! Going for the big league eh!
M: Haha, we’ll see what happens man. I’m just enjoying the ride. Learning by doing! So what are you up to?
D: Well, I have done a lot of stuff. Started a business, got out of it. Worked several jobs. Started an education to become a teacher. Quit that when I was almost done and had taught for five years. And now starting my studies in psychology.
M: Holy moly, talk about taking risks. That’s one interesting path! I like it. How come this rollercoaster of choices?
D: I never really knew what I wanted, so initially I just chose something and after that I followed whatever felt good. Looking back, that explains the diverse things I have done and still do.
M: I understand perfectly. I quit my first real job after 3 months. It just didn’t feel right, although the pay and benefits were very good. But I believe you must live your heart, to fulfill your life. A little risk has to be taken. What’s your goal with your studies?
D: I love it, without risks, there are no leaps. As for my studies, I don’t have a clear view yet. I’m really focused on getting the degree first. The only thing I know is that I want to make a difference in people’s lives. Help them becoming a better, more educated, wiser, happier person. But that’s still an idea. I am really interested in people and psychology, so I am in the right place.
M: Cool. I am doing an NLP course now. I think that would be something for you as well. It’s all about helping yourself thinking better and changing your mindset for the good. It’s the base for all the coaches and mentors you see today.
D: Yeah, I know what it is. I read a book about it and I know Tony Robbins has some of his roots in it. But I didn’t thought it to be worthwhile. But I do like the ideas about helping people and elevating yourself.
M: I think personal growth is THE way to happiness and success. Exactly what I am working on since a couple of years.
D: Haha, seems we’re quite on a par there! I’m very curious about what the future will bring. Unfortunately, patience absolutely is a virtue…
M: Yeah same here. As long as we keep moving though, being patient won’t get boring!

And now we’re here. Right in the middle of our next move, which entails sharing, discussing and keeping track of our growth process of entrepreneurial, personal and social acts.
In the meanwhile we’ve both changed jobs and we haven’t been talking as much as we did when we had been working together, of course. But as it befits in a bromance we did miss each other like Hachiko missed his master (we’ll leave it in the middle who is the master) and working together at a certain point in time was inevitable.

Now… What is ‘Magnanimity’?

According to Noah Webster of the American Language Magnanimity is defined as such:

MAGNANIMITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects. “

Classic Example of Magnanimous Men
Classic Example of Magnanimous Men

Why Magnanimities?

You might ask. Because it is part of the growth process. Danny was afraid this introductory message wouldn’t be inspiring enough. To that Michel replied: perfectionism can be a mask of fear and procrastination… The answer to that fear is taking a magnanimous stance, take the leap and just do it! (as the famous philosopher Nike once said). It’s about escaping comfort zones.
The growth process, it’s central in both our lives. And what creates even more joy than doing the thing you love to do? Indeed! Enjoying it with others! We’d like to inspire, but we also like to get inspired. We’d like to motivate, and of course we like to get motivated by you. We’d like to educate, and get educated.
So join us on the wonderful path we call progress, and lets grow into magnanimous men and women!

 

So what’s your level on the Magnanimity Scale? What are your experiences with Magnanimities? Show some love and comment, and/or subscribe to our newsletter. We hope to hear from you.