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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Three magical questions that can change your life, or why the best gifts are not about material things

If I would ask you which one was the best present you ever received, what would you say?

Sometimes the best gifts are not about getting the new status symbol or having the latest shiny thing or buying something expensive for someone. 
They are not about fancy bottles of some luxury eau de cologne or stylish clothes. They are not about the perfect kind of wine or big gold rings. They are not even about material things at all, in some case.

Ideas are easy.It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats. 
Sue Grafton

[Are you in for a very special gift?
I hope so!]

The best gifts are often unconditional love, real compassion, acceptance, quality time, cool ideas, kind words, inspiration, good memories and mutual trust. They are priceless and they last forever, no matter how the relationship with that person is going to evolve at one point, if you are going to be friends or soul mates a life long or to see each other for just one evening and then never again.

The best gifts make one more rich in a very special way and they can change someone's life.
I know it, because they did if for me, more than once. Every time, when I really, badly needed it. And they did it again tonight, for some motivated and talented brave people I just met and I shared one of my special gifts with.

How? It is very simple, and this is the most incredible part of those special gifts: if you share them with someone, they are going to become more valuable, more precious, more special. They are not about scarcity, they are about abundance and happiness.

Over ten years ago, in one of the most difficult periods of my life, on a very sunny day of a beautiful enchanting Italian summer, I sent a definitely stressed SMS to my best friend, describing my situation to her, and talking to her as if I would have been in a black tunnel without any chance to break free, at one point.

She could have just said something like "Don't say like that, the situation is not so bad!" or "Please, stop complaining!" or "You will for sure find a solution, you are such a wonderful gal!" or also "Poor little thing, I feel with you". Very standard stuff, that some people say, when they have nothing better to say. And yet, she didn't. And while not doing it, she changed my life.

She wrote back, almost immediately, with a very dry and yet magical message: "I have three questions for you. I hope that you are ready for them. They are powerful, so use them wisely".
 She was right, as she very often is. She sent to me three incredibly powerful questions that I used that day to figure out how to solve my problem. Just like magic.


[Frequently asked questions... can really make a difference,
if one is asking the right ones]

The most magical part was... that I started to use them over and over again, while being stuck in difficult situations, complicated problems, poisonous relationships... you name it. 
While being in love with the wrong person. 
While being sick. 
While being broke.
While being trapped in a job I started to hate.
While being without clue about what to do next.

I started to ask myself those questions again and again, while sincerely looking for a honest answer and while believing that it could have been possible to find one. And every time I found a solution for my problem or my doubts. 

And so I started to ask myself the three questions even more often, somehow automatically, without even needing to think about it. They became part of my way of life and part of who I am, and so I started to share them with other people. With friends, with friends of friends, with lovers, with colleagues, with someone met for a very short time that for some reasons I wanted to help.
I started to use them to explain people how I live my life, when they ask how I do something or how I achieve things that for other people are unbelievable.

I still ask those questions myself on a regular basis, as a kind of personal reality check, in order to be sure that I am heading in the right direction and that I am still doing something that matters to me. Something to be proud of. Something worth my precious time.
To be sure that I am really living my life and not just surviving in auto-pilot modus.

Are you ready for them? Be careful: they are powerful, so use them wisely...
Here they are:

#1. What do I want? 
#2. How much does it cost? 
#3. Am I willing to pay the price for it?

What do I want to do with my life? What do I want to achieve? Who I want do be? Who I want to become?
How much does it cost to me, in terms of time, sacrifices, pain, money, effort, energy, skills, relationships?
Am I willing to pay the price for it? Am I ready to do that? Am I sure that I want to go all in for it, day after day? Is the price a fair one? Do I consider it to be too expensive for what I could get?

["Life is simple, it's just not easy", they say]

They look like very simple questions, right?
Something like stuff you read a lot of times in books or someone told you already or... something you can find in a chocolate box.
But besides reading or hearing them, did you actually spend time while dealing with them and with the consequences?

[Life is like a chocolate box, or Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump 
in Forrest Gump (1994) by Robert Zemeckis]

These questions are indeed very simple, but this doesn't mean that they are easy to answer or that one knows the answer every time. Or maybe one knows what he or she wants, but they didn't realize how much it would cost, or they actually don't know if they are actually willing to invest resources in making something happen.

How about you? 
Did you ask yourself these questions already?
Do you know the answers and above all... are you happy with them and ready to go all in?

This post is for M.
Thanks for being such an amazing and special friend to me for over twenty years.

Tags: Desires, Life, Projects, Questions, Motivation

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