This is my blog examining some of the practical, philosophical and psychological aspects of work and life.

Most recent article posted: 23 August 2022

My latest posts are:

Why identity matters, but authenticity is an illusion

9-minute read – Synopsis: Identity and authenticity are everywhere it seems. Who you are is obviously important. To you, but also to others. It determines not only who you are towards others, but also subsequently defines what is expected of you by others. And by yourself. As such, your identity can even limit you in achieving your goals and purpose. Or it can enable you to shoot for the moon. But if others co-determine who you are, isn’t ‘authenticity’ an illusion? Examining and understanding how identity ‘works’ may help you deal with this sensitive topic.

Why finding meaning requires giving up control

6-minute read – Synopsis: While living in a free and affluent part of the world, many of us are stuck on a treadmill, anxious to lose control over life. There seem to be more threats than opportunities. At the same time many people feel their lives have become devoid of purpose and significance. What do we need to do differently to allow meaning back into our lives?

How your world view impacts your motivation

In this podcast, Jean-Christophe Peret and I explore how beliefs are built upon each other as a scaffold and hold onto each-others to give the illusion of coherence. At the core of this system, are three possible beliefs or disposition towards the world, which condition the rest of the scaffold. Choosing that the World is against you, that the World is indifferent to your presence or that the World is here for you has a profound impact on what else you believe, how you relate to yourself and others, the values that you have and how ultimately you make decisions and show up in life.

Is having fun overrated?

7-minute read – Synopsis: I quit work about a year ago. I still consider it to be a very good decision, but one with mixed feelings. Is doubt creeping in?

Has diversity become adversity?

6-minute read – Synopsis: Over the last couple of years political rhetoric in Western countries has become increasingly polarised. Tensions seem to brew everywhere on several topics like income distribution, migration, the environment and diversity & inclusion. Has the diversity of our societies turned into adversity?

Thought experiment: elect your boss!

9-minute read – Synopsis: Most people between the ages of say 25 and 65 spend the majority of their waking hours at work, which for most is a place where they’re subjected to a higher authority who they can’t control and whose power over them is limited to the degree that labour laws protect their interests. The governance structure of the workplace can be characterised as an autocracy, an aristocracy or an oligarchy, but rarely as a democracy. Does it really have to be so? How could a system be devised that takes workers’ evaluations of their bosses into account when assigning them to management positions?

How to understand purpose in any situation

8-minute read – Synopsis: A general theme in my blog posts is how many people lose touch with a sense of purpose or meaning at work or in their lives in general. In a work setting we can often be distracted from what matters to us by economic pressures, which are not to be ignored, but will not generate meaning in and of themselves. Why is it so difficult to figure this problem out? In this article I explain a simple mechanism of how meaning interacts with our work and objectives. Once you understand this it will be easy to start resolving conflict and find meaning or purpose in every situation in your life.

Our material world: Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing

9-minute read – Synopsis: In 1984 Madonna sang “[…] we are living in a material world and I am a material girl”. In 1890 Oscar Wilde published his (only) novel The picture of Dorian Gray, containing the sentence: “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing”. Do you recognise these quotations as being applicable to you? “Of course not”, I here you think, “there is more to life than money. Money is just a means to an end.” But if it is the means to many of our ends, how independent are we then from money and how does that influence us?

How do you get others to live in your ideal world?

5-minute read – Synopsis: In my previous article I discussed leadership and how this is really about your personal ethics. I defined personal ethics as the answer to the question: “What kind of world do you want to live in?” However, in order to act on your personal ethics and have others join or follow you, they need to shape the common values of the group that you are leading. Your ethics and values need to become shared notions of the common good. Many philosophers have thought about what defines ethics as acting in the common good. Let’s examine a few of their thoughts to inspire us for our next steps in realising our ideal world.

Leadership: what kind of world do you want to live in?

6-minute read – Synopsis: ‘Management’ and ‘leadership’ are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there is an important distinction to be made as managers and leaders have different roles, requiring different, sometimes opposing skills and behaviours. Because both roles are often vested in one and the same person simultaneously, many get confused. This article shows a way out of the woodworks. It provides a starting point to all who want to take charge to help realise a better world.

Performance assessments: power vs productivity

7-minute read – Synopsis: Performance assessments, though widely used, often prove to be ineffective if looking at productivity or engagement. So why are they still being used? The concept of ‘discourse’ explains the world through the power that emanates from the use of specific language. Discourse may help us understand how performance assessments help maintain established power structures in organisations.

The pursuit of happiness in a working life

6-minute read – Synopsis: Several factors determine our happiness. Some of these we can influence and some are influenced by our living conditions and circumstances. Work affects these conditions too. In what way? And what implications does that have?

Two faces of organisations: which one is most attractive to you?

6-minute read – Synopsis: The way you relate to an organisation can be described through different narratives of which two are described and contrasted here: the economic narrative and the community narrative. What happens if these narratives start to conflict for you?

Overcoming job loss: how your brain adds a new chapter to your story

5-minute read – Synopsis: Losing your job upsets all kinds of little and large stories, which affect your self-identity, how others see you and your hopes for the future. Why exactly is that? And how can you deal with that?

How come that 85% of employees are disengaged at work?

3-minute read – Synopsis: How can conflicting mechanisms between employees and their employing organisations affect your engagement with your job?

Deathbed regrets: examine your fears to avoid them

4-minute read – Synopsis: How do your fears nudge your routines, such that this can lead to far reaching consequences to your life in the long run?

Farewell to my colleagues: Why I’m leaving the Company after 18 years

4-minute read – Synopsis: My farewell letter to my former colleagues. How did I come to this rather dramatic turning point in my life?

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