Godot on hold (Part 2)

Waiting and Projects

As already explained in the first part, the uncoupling of waiting from the stimulus entails higher uncertainty with regard to the probability of occurrence, which is increased by temporal extension.

An example: in the course of a project, people realise that its complexity is significantly higher than expected, which per se leads to the increased probability of failure. Researchers call this “dissociation”, i.e., the resources available to humans while waiting, include freedom of action, self-stimulation, temporal range and communicability.

Continue reading “Godot on hold (Part 2)”

Godot on hold (Part 1)

The perception of waiting time

The range of different clever pronouncements on the subject of “waiting” demonstrate  the ambivalence of perception. While some emphasise its benefits (Leo Tolstoy: “Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.”) others prefer to emphasise the impatience aspect (Damaris Wieser: “Waiting for something only robs us of the time we won’t have later when we need it.”)

Waiting is the “experience of time” and therefore this ambivalence is hardly surprising. Anyone who has children knows about the “Are we nearly there?” after about three minutes of driving, which is often used interchangeably with “I need the loo!” but that doesn’t matter. The critical reader may argue that this example is about boredom, i.e. forced idleness coupled with lack of stimulus, which is also a form of waiting, only in an intensified form. In the same vehicle, however, the parents are happy about the holidays that have begun (anticipation).

Continue reading “Godot on hold (Part 1)”

In Praise of Respite (Part 3)

Birdwatching Makes You Happy

“Everything is always there in her. Past and future she knows not. The present is her eternity.” (Georg Christoph Tobler on nature)

Do you own a garden? I see it as a place of diversity and also of evolutionary anarchy. Or can you get out into “nature”, woods, fields, vineyards without much effort? If you can’t, you can also hear them in the city. Because if you listen carefully, you will notice that the air is once again filled with a multi-faceted cacophony! The birds are getting into the act and making as much noise as leaf blowers usually do, only nicer. In his book of that name published in 2015, Bernd Brunner writes of “Birdmania” to which, I confess, I too have been addicted for very many years.  But, I am fine. Thank you for asking.

Continue reading “In Praise of Respite (Part 3)”

Let your forehead go all soft…

Since “indoor” group sports are not possible at the moment, I have been obliged to look around for yoga courses on YouTube – and without much enthusiasm at first. I found what I was looking for from a young woman from Berlin who explains really well and clearly indicates what matters in individual exercises. A real happy ending for me – in the meantime, “yoga with tablet” has become an enjoyable (and beneficial) part of my everyday life.

However, after the first few classes, I found that the blocks I had to overcome were less physical than linguistic. I had certain difficulties with prompts like “Let your forehead go all soft”, because whatever I had hoped for from yoga – a soggy noodle it was not.

Continue reading “Let your forehead go all soft…”

In praise of respite (Part 2)

Why not let yourself go…

Isn’t “let go” a wonderful expression? In German it has a special meaning for yeast dough: allow it to rise. Only when yeast dough is allowed to rise long enough, i.e. to ferment away in peace, will it grow (ideally even doubling and tripling its volume) and thus develop into the basis for a delicious loaf of bread or a special cake. If it is not allowed to rest, the bread will become firm, flat and sometimes even moist inside. I have baked many loaves – believe me, you don’t want to eat bread like that.

Continue reading “In praise of respite (Part 2)”

In praise of respite (Part 1)

Sometimes I am already tired in the morning…

When I met a client (an executive in a German corporation) for coaching shortly before Christmas, she told me with a tired expression on her face: “Yesterday I had continuous virtual meetings or phone calls from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and not a single break! And not for the first time.” And when international time shifts are added to the mix, the first meetings can start even earlier and the last ones end very late. I asked her why she let them do that to her. She looked at me in surprise because she hadn’t thought about whether there was anything wrong with it.

Continue reading “In praise of respite (Part 1)”

Time for new goals!

The first weeks of 2021 are already over and a familiar ritual is repeating itself. Well, around this time gym registrations usually skyrocket….

But didn’t we also have the more or less usual resolutions at the beginning of 2020? It wasn’t meant to be – and you can, I think, clearly pinpoint one culprit in 2020. @Harlekin Rüdiger: did you have viruses in your series on the art of blaming?

Continue reading “Time for new goals!”

In the beginning was the word…

in the end the cliché (Stanislav Jerzy Lec)

Note from the translator: The more astute reader will swiftly recognize the absurdity of the translation into English of a lament about the use of the German language. Such abuses exist in a modern world where presentation is more important than content. The Top Ten English  words for 2020 include, apart from the inevitable phrases relating to Covid-19 and video-conferencing, such memorable terms as “BLM” (Black Lives Matter), “Karen” (a prejudiced, privileged middle-aged person criticizing condescendingly), Megxit (referring to ex?-Prince Harry and Meghan). A clear indication of the applicability of VUCA everywhere. My apologies too if the text is hard to decipher due to terms beyond the vocabulary of even an American president. Nevertheless, I ask you to give Harlekin RGE a chance in English, since his appeal for a more critical examination of the words we use is hardly restricted to the German-speaking world.

If I claimed just a short while ago that ‘resilience’ had become the new jack-of-all-trades and thus joined the Olympian vocabulary of every project management expert, I must correct myself.

Continue reading “In the beginning was the word…”

Runners, tankers, balance beam and much, much more

On metaphors in politics

On a metaphorical level, television viewers in the Netherlands have had a lot to digest in recent months, especially during the regular press conferences on Corona. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and “Corona Minister” Hugo de Jonge go to great lengths to convince the citizens of their country of the urgency of the situation. In doing so, the end is laudable, but the means are somewhat confusing.

Continue reading “Runners, tankers, balance beam and much, much more”