Motivational Quotes

Quotes that inspire us to do better, learn and live life ...

Banks transfer money to another bank all the time. But they really don’t, do they? They transfer numbers. That’s it.

Banks: the real crooks?

A couple of years ago, I started digging a bit on how banks work. And how money is created. The drill about this is that money is supposed to be covered by a gold reserve (national banks) or cash reserve (normal banks).

The thing is, a lot of that is simply not true. Or not true enough. Sure there are some reserves, but they are not even close to enough to cover all the ‘money’ on bank accounts. Most money is nothing more then numbers, on computers or on paper before the time of computers.

People in power kept it this way for ages. The rest of us are either too poor or little to do anything about it or have just enough to be afraid to lose it. If you want to learn more about it, I recommend watching this free movie and it’s sequels.

The James brothers!

It’s not a new phenomenon either. It exists as long as there were banks, which brings me to the quote that started this column:

We sometime didn't get enough to buy oats for our horses. Most banks had very little money in them. (Frank James)

For those who don’t know, Frank was the brother of Jesse James, and by many considered the ‘brains’ of the James outlaw gang. But it turned out even then, banks were the real crooks.

Banks and governments help each other out. That’s why we got the bailouts. Sure, Iceland was able to do it differently, and there was certainly something to be said for their method. But let’s face it: Iceland is an unusual country. They can get away with dissolving their army: who would ever want to invade it?

But banks and the rich that benefit the system control governments. They are so powerful that we could not even hope to do anything about it. Or so it was anyway.

Enter new technology and cryptocurrency.

The power of one and zero.

No classic government or power family was prepared for the silicon revolution. The growth of the computer business took everyone by surprise, resulting in powerhouses like Microsoft and apple. But even they were nothing compared to the rise of internet powers like Facebook, google, amazon and the likes.

New superrich people that did not come from old money went in with a very different mentality. One that became a new power that regularly clash with old government and money.

On top of that, the internet itself was the real game changer. Suddenly the biggest communication platform in the world was also the one that was uncontrollable. Or close to it anyway. It’s getting harder and harder for people to get away with stuff, at least in the civilized world.

In a time when taxes and big government still are getting worse, the internet started to look for alternatives. One of those is the return of basic trades: people use sites to exchange goods and services directly, without using money. No money = no taxes after all.

The second was the birth of cryptocurrency. It started with bitcoin, and soon more were developed. Of course governments were quick to declare that’s not even money. In most places it still isn’t … officially.

But there’s plenty of companies that do support bitcoin, mostly those techies that don’t really like classic governments anyway. And there’s even debit and credit cards in bitcoin now that basically allow you to use it anywhere.

Power from the people …

Thing with bitcoin is: it is not created by governments. Anyone can ‘create’ this money, but it does take a serious hardware investment. And the currency, which is based on extremely hard math, is actually a lot safer then classic electronic banking.

I guess the lesson learned is an important one: if you push people enough there will be a revolution. This time, I urge you to be ready for the currency revolution. Because it’s there and unavoidable.

Just so we’re clear btw: I’m not a communist. I am however partly socialist. I think we have more then enough recourses in the world to make sure everyone has a decent life, and am a fan of the basic income for everyone. But I also believe that those who work hard should be able to have more, even a lot more. And that people are allowed to be lucky by birth or lottery.

But the very few at the very top, that have so much they can never spend it yet hold on to it like their life depends on it while millions still suffer? That has to go. They need to look at the new rich like Zuckerberg and Gates who use the bulk of their money to better lives.

Taking away a bit of their power by using cryptocurrency gives me a bit of hope that things might in fact get better. It is of course a bit weird that I use something from the past to draw hope from something so modern. But those who don’t remember the mistakes from the past are doomed to repeat them. And that, perhaps, is one of the most important lessons one can ever learn.

Conclusion: In the end you can only push people so far …

And of course there is the design ...

 

It’s been a few days since I made a blogpost here. Even the quote of the week is a day late. That would be this post by the way.

The thing is, I took a few days of. Not only this project, but others I’m working on as well. And I really needed them too. Not that I went on a holiday or anything.

The danger of losing yourself.

When I start something new, I can and often will get sucked in to it. Spend a lot of time on a new project. And that’s normal, and there’s nothing really wrong with it. But it can be a problem if you start neglecting other aspects of your life. Or perhaps neglecting is a strong word, make that put less focus on other aspects of your life.

Only, those aspects usually matter quite a bit. You clean a bit less, the dishes stay undone for an extra day, and most importantly you spend just a tad less time with your loved ones. And even if they understand you and support you, after a while they start getting annoyed by that fact and rightfully so.

Which brings me to one of my favourite quotes of all time, and it’s not even by a real person.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller.

If you haven’t seen this movie, you absolutely have to. It’s a classic for a reason. Get it on AmazonAmazon UK or your local store if they have it. It’s about the art of enjoying life to the fullest.

Yes we want to work, we want to be successful. We want to make money so we can take care of our loved ones. But taking care of our loved ones is more then money. In fact if we don’t spend enough quality time with them and help them in things that matter to them, they might soon turn into ‘no longer loved ones’. And you’re left alone with your money (if they don’t pluck you in a messy divorce when married) and your new hobby.

Finding balance.

It’s all about balance. We need ‘me’ time as well. When a spouse sucks up all of our energy, it’s not exactly healthy either. But they do deserve the bulk of our attention. That’s what being a loved one is all about!

So that’s why I toned it down a little. This project and some others. I even scraped one altogether. You only have so many hours in a day anyway. This does not mean I’ll quit this blog. I’ll still make a few posts every week. But I won’t get sucked into things anymore… well knowing myself not for a while anyway. In the end knowing myself there’s always the danger of being in that place again.

That’s why I made my first new years resolution in ages. Every last day of the month from now on, I’m doing a bit of soul searching and will evaluate my life. I will look at how I spend my time and energy and try to be honest with myself. I’ll check what I can do without and what in fact needs more of my attention.

I advise you all to do the same. Because life does move very fast indeed.

And of course there is a design :)

We tend to focus on the negative. That’s human nature really, negative emotions on average are stronger then positive ones. They affect us more and we think about them a lot.

It’s also the reason why we learn so much from our mistakes: we want to avoid making them again. Making mistakes and the consequences thereof usually make us feel bad, inferior, and unhappy. Depending on the nature of the mistake and the importance to us that feeling will be stronger or weaker, and will go away faster or slower. But it’ll always be there, even if it’s just nagging a bit on the background.

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” Dr Seuss.

Learning from our mistakes is good. But that’s not what Dr Seuss was talking about with this quote. What he said is that we should always cherish the good memories, even if things ended badly. Or just ended.

Does that mean you can never mourn? Of course not. But even when mourning it is good to also remember all the fond memories of someone. That’s why on a funeral or wake, people start smiling and laughing after a while. It works.

But he also, or even mostly, thinks about experiences of a temporal nature. Jobs, relationships, holidays, stuff like that. When you can remember the good things and relive them, you don’t really lose them anyway. Not completely.

Frustrations get in the way of joy.

That’s not always easy. I’ll give you an example. The last few years I had a teaching gig in the same school I got my teacher’s degree. I’ve started to lose my heart to this place, met my current girlfriend there and was really motivated and enthusiastic about things.

Sadly the management was not that good. The head of school was all about politics and giving the sweet jobs to her friends and the suck-ups. In fact, all junior managers left within a timespan of 2 years because of this very fact. I ended up leaving myself because I got less hours, and my best subject (Photoshop) was given to someone who’s not as good as I was. That’s not anger speaking, that’s just a fact. Hell, it’s probably the understatement of the year.

It’s frustrating. Especially because current management still does not see this person is really bad at what he does. It’s hard for me to understand why they are so stubbornly supporting him, while he will most likely cause them to lose the right to teach this particular subject. But I try to let it go.

Try to focus on the good parts.

And I did that by trying to focus on the good again. I’ve went through my archives of all the work my former students did. Magnificent Photoshop designs, cool video editing, fantastic audio tracks … I really was privileged to teach some really talented people and had fun doing it.

I also made the decision to never want to work for that place again, even if they switch management. That way I can leave the negative behind me and cherish all the great memories I do have. Both as a student and a teacher.

Of course it helps that I work at another place barren of politics where I get high approval ratings from my students and I have fun teaching again.

And I’ll focus on all the good. On the great students I had, some who became my friends later. On some awesome colleagues who I am still in touch with. On the girls from administration who always were there when you needed them. On some great classmates, who put a smile on my face when they announce they get married or became a mum. On my own teachers who still are an inspiration. And of course on the best thing that ever happened to me: meeting my girlfriend there.

It’s easy to be sad because all that came to an end. In fact, for a long time I was just that. And some moments I still feel the loss. It’s only human.

But I’ll focus on the good, and on the fond memories.

Perhaps it’s time to have a reunion with some of my teacher’s pets :p

Or just check the design again and smile.

Not every experience is a near death experience. Not every moment is spent doing nothing. Most micro episodes of our life have an intensity somewhere in between those. But moments are important. The quote I want to highlight illustrates this very well.

“We do not remember days – we remember moments” Cesare Pavese

We sometimes think we remember days. But we really don’t. We remember the moments that were memorable in those days. Or perhaps better said the moments that made that day memorable in our minds.

If nothing else this has to do with how our memory works: I’ve made a post earlier about the difference between short-term and long-term memory and how they interact. Our senses very much live in the moment.

The boss!

2 years ago I went to a Springsteen Concert with my girlfriend. At the time the relationship was very fresh, so it’s a memory I really cherish. But I don’t remember the whole concert. I do remember the highlight reel. Me singing along with Dancing in the dark while looking at her. She smiling at me and nodding when he was singing ‘real man’. People handing him a big smurf doll requesting that very song. And a few more moments.

Recalling those moments is easy, because we enjoy thinking about them again. We in fact make an effort to do so. They have the power to make us smile all over again. I’m typing this with a big silly grin on my face.

As good as it was, I don’t remember the whole concert. But my mind tricks me into believing I do. And in fact, when pressed I would probably be able to make a pretty decent reconstruction of it. By trying to link the moments to each other … and by using the ones I remember to dig out ‘linked’ moments I don’t.

Moments and learning.

This is also a very powerful study technique. By mentally linking material you want to remember to moments that are already so powerful you will never forget them, you place that material only one step away from stuff you think about on a regular base. That makes it a lot easier to access them again.

It also helps when you need to remember something like a chore you have to do later, or something you need to pick up. You have no Idea how much I did something like sing ‘you can’t start a pasta without some sauce’ just to remember to bring tomato’s and paprika from the supermarket.

And of course here is the link to the design inspired by this post. Notice the actual quote is not in it ... figure it out :p

 

Audrey Hepburn is perhaps my favourite poster girl and actress. She was a mix of class and optimism you just don’t see in today’s actresses. If you don’t believe me, check her out in masterpieces like roman holiday, funny face, breakfast at tiffany’s and Sabrina.

She was also born in Belgium, so that’s extra cool. And she had a very positive outtake on life. Which reflects in a few of her most famous quotes. There are few of hers I like a lot, but the one I want to highlight is one I actually don’t think is 100% true. However, it’s the spirit of the quote that appeals to me, not it’s correctness.

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!”

Like I said, of course strictly spoken this is not true. There’s plenty of stuff that is 100% not possible, and scientifically proven to be so. Just try to breathe under water without any devices to aid you. Then again, why would you even try that?

In fact: those devices to breathe are a good example of the spirit of Audrey’s quote. At some point humans were no longer willing to accept humans could not function under water, and started inventing devices to make sure we could do just that.

Someone walked in and did it.

There is another quote that recently went around a bit on social media. “A room was full of people being told something could not be done. Then someone new walked in who had not heard that yet and did it.”

A lot of times we are too fast in thinking something is not possible, unachievable or just too hard. And truth be told, sometimes it is indeed very hard. But the human race evolved because we constantly challenged what we already knew and used it to come to new conclusions. In fact, the human race itself is one brilliant example of Kolb’s learning circle.

Learn from your mistakes.

But we should always try to get there. Perhaps we won’t be able to after all, and we do need to know when to let go as well. But even if you can’t get there after all, there is a lot to learn in the effort. Yoda’s quote is nice and all but and I love Star Wars but in the end he’s just a hand puppet. There is trying and failing, but if you learn something from it even failure is turned in a success. A different kind perhaps, but still success.

Ideally you need a balance: you enjoy your success and achievements (and reward yourself for them) but also learn from your mistakes and turn them into positives. That is why ambition is usually a good thing. And if something is impossible by a certain set of rules … perhaps you need to change the rules a bit.

Not forgetting the design of course. This time on a pillow :p

And check out some Audrey Hepburn movies. Seriously :)

Audrey Hepburn Collection [DVD] on amazon.uk
The Audrey Hepburn DVD Collection (Roman Holiday / Sabrina / Breakfast at Tiffany's) (1961) on amazon.

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