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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

The one kind of fear one should leave behind for living a life that matters - Part I

It has been said again and again that most people spend the vast majority or their time while living without being willing, ready or able to question what they think, what they learned at some point, what they believe, what they have been told in the past, what they consider reality, normality, sanity.


Change your thoughts and you change your world.
Norman Vincent Peale [1898-1993]

There are plenty of reasons for that, and yet the easiest to name is just one: because living otherwise is hard. Being an outsider can be very excruciating. Feeling different can be painful. Challenging the status quo on a regular basis means often (and yet not always) to embrace a life of loneliness, frustration, and loss of identity. 

[Between a pin-up and a dark soul: 
Simona Bonafini's amazing Purple version of "Alice in Wonderland",
created for Federico Guerri]

We define ourselves through the connection with others: family members, friends, acquaintances, loved ones, colleagues, customers, opponents, members of the same social structures accepted and acknowledged as desirable and desired.

We, as human beings - and just like all great apes and overall all mammalians -, need to belong. 
A sense of belonging is among the most strong human needs, once that the fundamental ones like food, water, shelter, sleep and sex have been covered. 
We need to feel part of something. And we are afraid to be left alone and ostracized since for millennia being an outcast would have been a sure and unavoidable death. And a very unpleasant one, on top of it.

It's not a coincidence that many cultures use since centuries the expression "civil death".

And yet, in most Western countries the risk is not that high any longer and being an outcast, part of a minority or even a loner is not automatically a huge problem. At least most of the time. 

Challenging the status quo, embracing change and choosing new thoughts is still frightening for most people. Even if those thoughts would make someone's life better, happier, lighter. The fear of making a mistake, of being not part of a group or community any longer, of having to put more effort into something that we do on autopilot, of losing everything, is still too high.
But what would one lose, in the end?

[Way long before Everything is illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer,
there was "Everything is self-evident" by Renatus Cartesius]

"I think, therefore I am" is a famous proposition of French philosopher and scientist René Descartes [1596-1650] that changed the Western world of his time for good. After that Cogito ergo sum it was not possible any longer to think the same way.

We are what we think. We act upon what we think and through our actions and thoughts we design our life and our world. Day by day. No exceptions.

How about choosing better thoughts?
How about being willing to try something new?
Who would be in? 

Stay tuned for Part II of this blog post.

Tags: Belonging, Social structures, Group dynamics, Quotes

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