A couple of years ago I had to face a big family drama as my dad got diagnosed with ALS and we knew he would pass away within months. When you get hit with such a destiny you start to question everything in your life, and you certainly begin to see your problems from a different perspective. I went through a lot in the following months, emotionally, and began to realise that there is only one important thing to remember: you are responsible for your own story.
I began to ask myself3 questions, which led to what I called my own 'Inselstaat'. A world for me, where I make up my own rules and where I can be myself without the buzz around me.
1. Why am I currently doing what I am doing ?
When I was a kid, all I could think about was sports. I was outside the whole day playing soccer, skating or skiing in the winters. When I got my diploma that all of a sudden changed as I got my first job and I started to climb up the corporate ladder. My values changed immensely and all I wanted were the latest gadgets, a fancy apartment, an expansive car and luxurious holidays. I worked 6 days a week, partied hard, had a lot of so called 'friends' that simply liked my generosity and I barely saw my girlfriend or my family. I was in the rat-race to get better jobs, earn more money and receive more fame. Did I ever consider this was wrong? Did I ever ask myself if this was the life I dreamed of when I was 16? Certainly not! I somehow ceased to think for myself, I followed what was considered to be the right path in my career.
I simply did what everybody else would do and was doing. I did not think for myself !
And this was the answer to question number one. I realised that I had to become true to myself and that every decision I make defines my destiny. I have to know exactly why I am doing what I am doing and be proud of it, no matter what society thinks.
2. What would I change if money does not matter ?
Our western society is defined by money and consumerism. We have more commercials than actual news or important information spread in the media. The whole system is setup in a way that we highly depend on income. From early on we are trained to win, to be the best and to compete against each other because only the strongest get the biggest price. And we get threatened to lose, because losers cease to be part of the team. Losers get elected last into the soccer team, they get bad grades and finally they end up broke. So better not lose and do what everybody else dose, right ! Because in the worst case you won't have a job, no money and no place to stay ! But if you function you will be part of the system and you will have security!
Well, if you get diagnosed with an incurable disease all your freaking money won't help you, all your belongings won't cure you and money certainly won't buy you more time. As I got to see this first hand in the life of my dad I had only one thing in my mind: If money does not matter, I would love to have a family, take care of them, travel with them, grow my own plants and live off my land, frugally and sustainable.
I just want a simple life where time is the highest value of all. Be there and make time for the right things !
I would love to find a good answer to our environmental problems, I would love to show my kids how to live a good life with the right values and to leave them this planet in a better condition than it has right now. I would love to have time to spend with them outside, to travel and show them the beauty of this world. Time is what matters move than money.
3. What story do I want others to remember about me, what's my eulogy.
When I was a kid I played with my ball outside the whole day, shooting it against a brick wall and pretending I was playing a big match against some famous teams. I was in my own world and I did not care if anyone else was watching. When I got older this changed and I began looking for appreciation. A crazy night at a pub was more important than calling my family, working hours after hours for a small credit at the end of a movie became the ultimate gratification. I heard that I was known for my parties and my craziness and that they could give me more work because I would never say no to a new job. I was not taking care of my story and I forgot that you are defined by your actions.
'He was a guy taking time for his family, loving and humble. He lived a good, sustainable life where he always had time for a good talk or to help others.'
This was the story I wanted for me, no parties, no career.
In our world it is easy to live after society's opinion and it is easy to live after your own in solitude. But to be independent in your mind within the crowd, this is an art only a few master.
Now this was the start for my project 'Inselstaat'. The word is German and simply stands for a 'state that is one island'. Imagine you own that island and you master everything that happens on it. You so to speak rule your world. The 'Inselstaat' is a symbol for taking over control of your own mind, your own thoughts and ultimately your life. The stoics believe that if you control everything that is inside your inner self, you will become free. I call this my 'Inselstaat'. If you master yourself, you will stand out of the crowd. You will be able to solve the problems of this world, you will write your own story and you will understand what really matters.
I want to invite with this blog everybody to start working on your own 'Inselstaat' and stop following the herd.