Seneca und painting

This weekend I decided to make use of the weather and paint whatever I can find in my garden. As this a pain in the neck I usually only do it every other year and sometimes I pay someone for doing it (After about 5 hours into it I wished I would have had a helping hand also this year).

The reason for painting all by myself had a couple of reasons. First I think it is stupid to pay someone to paint my garden while I go for a run or do some body workout. After labouring for about 10 hours I feel as exhausted as if I would have run a marathon and I have done something good. If you do your work properly you will never find anyone who will do it as good as you will do it because in the back of your mind you know, you do it for yourself (the other guy does it for the money and has to do it everyday). The other thing which is of importance is the appreciation of work like that. You get paid a fraction of all that white collar jobs and your back will be ruined after 10 years. The last one which I did was to listen to an audiobook which I bought to celebrate the occassion.

Which other book than “The Tao of Seneca” is better when you paint your terrace. The podcaster Tim Ferris, which I highly recommend you to subscribe, produced the audio book as he could not find Seneca’s letter anywhere. After listening to it for about 6 hours I do understand why something which was written more than 2000 years still has  its validity. Without wanting to dive into too much detail I will only bore you with 1 quote: “Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power”.

Now  go out, paint stuff and listen to the Seneca dude…


Be grateful for the small things

At work they used to call me the elephant hunter. I could never be bothered with the small recurring deals, I rather worked for months for one kill which not only made the same profit but much more importantly made you famous. The older you get the more difficult it is to kill the big ones. There are fewer out there and you have more patience to grinding it out the older you get and achieve the same result.

Whenever I feel bad about something I usually go for a run or a walk (depending how fat I am) and just let go. I am in the fortunate position that I currently live in a part of Vienna which gets me right in the woods after 5 minutes on a street with no cars. Whenever you have a set back in your life you should start being grateful for smaller things and not whining about missing out on the one big thing. During my run today I started smiling after a couple of minutes when I found a path which I have never walked on although I live in the same hood for more than 15 years and I was grateful for it. Even if your life seems to be the same old grind day in and day out I can assure you that you can discover small things you have not been aware of before and you should be grateful for.

If you are not a nature guy try a new coffeeplace you have not known about. Don’t do the same routine every day. Break out from it. Even if it only means to run your normal round counterclockwise. If the weather is as miserable as it was in the past, stop complaining about. Put some good shoes on and a proper jacket and take a brisk walk in the rain and storm. For kids rain or cold is not bad weather as long as we tell them so. If you take your kids out in the rain as often as ouy can, they will not differentiate between good or bad, they will just say it is hot or cold or wet. I did take a couple walks in the rain recently and although you feel stupid at the beginning you feel outstanding when you come home. You can be sure the park will be empty, the air is clean, it wont be cold as long as you walk fast enough. Be grateful for the ability to walk in the rain. Even if it is only for 20 minutes, it is worth it. If you have been running in the rain and you liked it, you will love to run the sun.

Go out and be grateful for small things and let others know. Life is too short to be a miserable old fart.

Go get fit

As it seems that I am getting older every year, I found out that my fitness level is not exactly keeping up. A lifestyle of eating and drinking for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or as like to call myself: Brunchner). Although I am not at my equity high, I am also not too far away from it. I therefore decided to call 2016 the year of fitness for me. I had some very bad attempts in the past with the year of the Gazelle, so I did not want to name it after an animal again (elephant might have been too easy to achieve).

At certain point in your career you find out that you can rarely impress with with your know how as most of the facts are saved in an internet page called google, which I think is quite well done. But what certainly can happen in your career at a certain point of time is that you depress the young kids when you sit in meetings looking like a fat, undisciplined, old fart who lives from the past. Although I certainly have been sometimes at stage when I wanted to just let go and do nothing but eating and drinking I always pulled myself up and did some kind of training. My latest sport I am currently very much into is called walking.
Like centuries before, I leave my house and walk. With the only difference that now I don’t need to go and look for food (well sometimes I do), I just walk. But as I am a techafficionado I bought myself a Fitbit which counts your steps and your heartrate (and I am sure a million other things) and compare myself with other old wannabes. Although I never believed it but I do walk at least 30% more than I used to. I have never tested the accuracy as I don’t really care as the only thing that counts is that you walk. The best friend of a walker like me are podcasts. I first started to listen to music as I thought I might get back into DJing only to find out that with the music I like the dancefloor would be empty in a minute.

A friend of mine introduced me to podcasts which are the best companion when you walk (or drive in car or sit in an airplane). There are so many good ones out there you should subscribe to. I listen to them for 3-4 hours per week and get the best interviews, the latest trends, the best workout techniques etc. Just drop me a line and will write you some good ones.

In my opinion you see a clear trend that people want to live and look healthier even if it means leaving the office earlier or coming later. Our lifetime work hours are much higher than they used to and we all will have to retire much later. Unless you want to do die right after the end of your career, go get up from your couch and start walking. With or without a tech gadget (although it is more fun with someting like a Fitbit). If you have a bad stretch for a couple of weeks, just get up again and restart. None of us will win a Gold medal in Rio but we all should try to stay healthy for as long as we can. If you want to fight a walking battle on Fitbit just contact me.

As always if you like what I write, please share or like it.

Happy walking!

Go and leave

A couple of years ago I was travelling an awful lot for business almost around the globe and was able to go to many different places in a very short period of time. Unfortunately I did almost only stay for a day or two and did not see much apart from the usual tourist highlights, a fancy restaurant and lots of airports (and taxis…). The only exception was when I travelled with my good friend Mark who was always a bit more adventurous than me. He is an American, which means that he is selfconfident by nature (I guess its taught in highschool there). It also helps if you speak English really well (not all Americans do). Fluent does not mean that you understand a polished negotiation in a fancy glass office. Fluent means that you understand the slang in the noisy bar outside of the metropolis. It took me a while to get to that level (I had to hang out in bars for hours…).

I never learned English in school. I graduated in English but did not understand a word. At the final exam our teacher helped us to cheat, he was as embarrased as we all were. I learned English in the year I studied abroad. Not from the locals but from other foreign students and especially from my friend Liph whose death I described in my last blog. English is the only language you need to learn. The youtube generation grows up watching clips in English, they do not need to hang out in bars as much as I did. Maybe thats why they look much more healthy than buddies at my age.

I recently started traveling quite a bit again, but to much closer destinations in Europe, mainly to the East. English gets you everywhere.  The cabdriver in Zagreb speaks better English than my Highschool teacher (ok, that is not a very high bar). I recommend everyone to teach their kids English properly instead of a few languages not good enough (most of them do anyway, lots of Tiger Mums out there). I still recommend to go to paths less travelled and not to the same fancy restaurants in every city. You learn more about a country when you talk to guys in dodgy bars than to CEOs of some multinationals who speak the same corporate bs anywhere. So always sneak out and have a beer with some locals even if you look as bad as me at 6am the next morning to catch a train, plane or whatever back home.

I would really appreciate if you press the like button or even leave a comment if you feel like. I also would not mind if you can share the article.

Happy travelling!