Book tasting: “A More Beautiful Question” Warren Berger

Sep 12, 17 Book tasting: “A More Beautiful Question” Warren Berger

Posted by in Books, Business, Thoughts/Ideas

After quite a long break of writing in English  on the blog, I’m back (you can find a lot of articles on the Romanian page – I’ll translate the most interesting ones and share them here too). This is the first article in a new series called “Book tasting” – where I will write, but also share short video clips, on the books I love and think might inspire you. As a coach, my mission is to ask, not to tell. Through questions and supported by a safe environment, deep listening and honest mirroring, the client finds their own path. Every time. But I haven’t always been so fond of questions, nor have I valued them as much as I do now. Or, better said, for a very long time, I thought my life was about “figuring it out”,  coming up with the right answer, and was convinced that my level of happiness would be proportional to the level of certainty I’d be able to reach. In the first years of life, children can ask between 150 and 300 questions per day. As a mother of a very verbal two year old, I can testify for that. In my conversations with my daughter, I sometimes count strings of 20 questions in a row. Sometimes she has trouble falling asleep at night because a new question comes to her mind. And then another one, and another one. I have memories of my own early childhood asking countless questions. I was about four when I spent a week’s vacation with my grandmother and aunt in a small thermal resort in the western part of Romania. I remember making the rounds among the other guests at the hotel where we were staying and asking them where they came from, what kind of work did they do, did they have any children and, if yes, how old their kids were. I remember my interrogations being met with smiles and people complimenting my grandmother on my loquaciousness. Then a...

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Man’s Search for Meaning

This is the title of one of my favourite books of all time, written by Viktor Frankl, a great mind and a remarkable human being, who survived the worst of the Holocaust only to come to the conclusion that, even in the worst of circumstances, we are still free to choose our destiny. Frankl was an Austrian Jew, a professor with a more than promising career in psychiatry, who refused an offer to emigrate to the US when the Second World War broke out because his parents had not been granted permission to leave Austria and he felt he couldn’t abandon them. This brave choice led him to a gruelling 3 year journey in the Nazi death camps, where he sat next to his father as he died and then lost both his wife and mother. He survived through a combination of unique attitude and a series of fortunate circumstances, or, as some may say, dumb luck – although I believe there was nothing dumb about his luck. He witnessed people becoming noting more than animals in their fierce struggle for survival in the camps. Inmates torturing inmates or robbing them of their last piece of bread only to prolong their own existence a little while more. But, amazingly, he also witnessed people becoming heroes, creating a meaning for themselves in that meaningless circumstance by helping others, often at a risk or even at the cost of their own lives. What is the difference between them? Between the brutes and the heroes?  His answer to this was that we, humans, have both these potentials in us. We can become brutes or heroes and the only thing that creates this difference is our own free will. We have a choice. Even when all other freedoms have been taken away from us, he said, we can still choose our attitude in front of those circumstances.  Frankl’s legacy to mankind, which he built in his very long life post death-camps (he lived to be 92 years old)...

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The Time is NOW

As you walk on this imaginary road you will reach a house. It is beautiful, a palace almost. You know they call it the House of Time and inside you will discover amazing secrets of your past and future. But in order to enter, you need to reach past the gate-keeper. And he has one question for you, requiring only one right answer that only you can know: – What is the time? – The time is “NOW” – you reply, and the door opens. Robert Moss, the well known history professor, best-selling author and dream teacher, has changed my life in more ways than one over the past six months. Reading his books opened up a whole new world for me – a world where our dreams are much more than random electric discharges of our brain during sleep, they are a source of self-knowledge and guidance. Attending his workshops gave me amazing insights into my own inner universe while talking and sharing my thoughts with this wonderfully warm, open, intelligent, life-loving and definitely unconventional man has opened a whole new door for me professionally. I have started using his core technique, Active Dreaming, in my coaching and training and I can’t wait to go to Seattle this summer to start my “official” training as a dream teacher. The above fragment is a short part of what Robert calls a “dream journey” – a trip into the world of imagination, the world where our subconscious speaks to us, often in symbolic terms, and our possibilities and resources are unlimited. Sitting on a comfortable chair or right down on the floor, listening to the sound of drumming, one can easily journey into fantastic landscapes such as this. You can find the full journey to the House of Time in Robert’s book “DREAMGATES: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life Beyond Death”. In the “House of Time” you can find clues from your past and insights into your future. It’s is a wonderful visualisation exercise...

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The Art of Feeling Good

Today I woke up with a song playing in my head. This is the song: [youtube g_ig1gkgoQc]  As it’s my bad habit to think too much about everything, I did it again and I thought a little bit more about this, just in case there was an opportunity here to learn something new about myself. Why this song? Why today? What I realized was that it’s part of a theme I’ve been actually pondering upon for some time now. Where does “feeling good“, “being happy“, “living life to the fullest” really come from? Does it come from outside of us? Lately I have started stumbling upon more and more resources pointing out that the answer lies within, not outside of us. That, in itself, is nothing new. What was new to me was the idea that if you want to reach that source of inner joy and peace, you first have to gather the courage to confront yourself with all your negative emotions – sorrow, fear, rage, sadness, despair, guilt –  live through them instead of running away from them or drowning up in them. I am now reading a book by Richard Moss, a doctor turned visionary thinker and teacher. The book is called “The Mandala of Being – Discovering the Power of Awarenes“. It basically analyzes where we go when we run away from ourselves. And he says there are 4 places where our minds take us – the past, the future, the notion of “me” and the notion of “you”. This he calls “the mandala of being”. At the center of it is “Now” or “the Beginning”. There is a wonderful metaphor he uses, that really helped me understand what he means when he says we are all more than our memories of the past, our hopes for the future, or our judgements about ourselves and others. The metaphor goes like this: All our thoughts and feelings are like kites in the sky. They fly on the sky of our beings....

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The Unbelievable Story of the World’s Most Unusual Workplace And of the CEO Who Broke All the Rules

Dec 13, 10 The Unbelievable Story of the World’s Most Unusual Workplace And of the CEO Who Broke All the Rules

Posted by in Books

“The purpose of work is not to make money. The purpose of work is to make the workers, whether working stiffs or top executives, feel good about life.”– Ricardo Semler A year ago I bought Ricardo Semler’s book, “Maverick – The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace”, because the title intrigued me. I wondered – how unusual can this workplace be? And what exactly makes it unusual? What began as pure curiosity turned into nothing short of an epiphany. I had always wondered at the absurdity of building workplaces that are virtually opposed to what any of us, if asked, would describe as being a great workplace. I thought then, as I do now, that my mission is to help my clients change themselves and their companies for the better, even if by a little, but had started to lose hope that the workplace of our dreams might actually exist. Well, apparently it does. Ricardo Semler is a Brazilian CEO (even though he doesn’t call himself that and has eliminated this job from his company’s organizational chart), with an MBA from Harvard and a lot of courage and wit. He inherited Semco from his father when he was 21 and brought it from a 4 million USD in revenue in 1982 to 212 million in 2003, despite periods of recession, despite union conflicts, against virtually all odds. But what is exceptional about Semler is not what he achieved, but how he achieved it. After starting by firing all board members who had worked with his father for decades, Semler took on the authoritarian CEO approach and was proud to have introduced swipe cards and the most effective security procedures in the company’s history. It was his attempt to create order and discipline. Sounds familiar? What set Semler apart however, was his courage to admit he was wrong and take a completely different approach, one that would lead to the creation of  “ the world’s most unusual workplace”. Semler ended up questioning the most sacred tenets of business – he questioned hierarchy,...

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