Friday, April 28, 2017

Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. Marketing helps us to worry.

How easy can it be? How sad is this world?

“The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more?

How do you sell anti-aging moisturizer? You make someone worry about aging. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind.

To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.”

(From the book: Lessons to stay alive by Matt Haig, page 189))

“Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."
Marketing is used to create the customer, to keep the customer and to satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that Marketing is one of the premier components of Business Management - the other being Innovation."

That marketing is about satisfying customer requirements really resonates with me.
But is it (still) really about this? Marketing may be called a profession, but in my experience in most cases with a totally different approach. It has become an art to create desires to draw attention to things that actually are not needed at all. An economy is developed of creating fear, worries, feelings of not feeling complete, not connecting with the general standards, not beautiful enough, not showing your status, etc. Needed or not needed. The needs and desires are just created.
Once I learned in Dutch Economics class (Professor Heertje) that an organization or business gets the strength to survive and its value if it covers with its products and / or services the real needs of its environment.

Maybe it's weird to say that marketing possibly works the other way around. A need, lack, gap or worry first is created by a company, and then with a big ‘Walhalla’ the same business offers the solution to close the ‘gap’.  Just and only to produce and earn money.
The story of the Furby. You share for free 100 pieces of this electronic robotic “let’s have fun” toys resembling a hamster or owl-like creature to children. Children know the art of ongoing playful ‘nagging’ to get mostly their desires fulfilled and the magic happens. It became a ‘must have’. Was there really a need, a customer requirement…? What an honor and purpose to work for such an organization (other than just and only earning a salary).

New marketing trends?
An article in the Dutch magazine MT from about six months ago mentioned:
"It is increasingly possible to automate a personal (?) approach to your customers, tracking and guiding a purchase. We spotted three trends:
  • Customer journey management (using smart technology to follow the 'journey' of customers to proceed with a purchase. To, quite precisely, find out what channels they use on the internet and determine what time defines the purchase decision.
  • Customer service bots (automated customer service (Chat robots) that talk with clients to answer questions in a way that customers feel ‘personalized' reflection and are confident feeling real heard and helped. They are seen as a valuable addition to the customer service and play an important role in customer-management journey.).
  • App marketing. (Making use of App's and push messages to approach customers and seduce. With an app you can make your customers a 'personalized' proposal. By collecting customer data and to use the sensors of the smartphone, you can persuade customers to visit the website or web shop.

How smart can it be? How more and more sad this world is getting to be?

On me (so sorry for the economy) there is less and less to earn. I have more than enough. No magazines that are for 2/3 part filled with screaming marketing / advertising, no newspapers or free publicity, no more commercial TV ... Maybe a personal happiness indicator?

It makes me more and more happy and an increasing amount of people recognize this energy. 

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”

Friday, April 21, 2017

Wanted and unwanted speedbumps in your life. Adjusters of priorities.

In a short time, I have heard several stories of friends / acquaintances that unfortunately they were forced to make huge transitions in life. This for example because they themselves or their partner suddenly were confronted with cancer. You take for granted this always happens to others. Until you have to face these things happen to yourself or to your close love ones as well. Unwanted you run up against a speedbump in your life.

Everything first seemed so perfect. Now this kind of experiences put your life upside down. Perhaps you would like to hide yourself from the outside world. Your life turns into a crisis. You seem surrounded by fear, which brings you face to face with what the values of life really mean to you. Maybe even you entered a process to make a huge shift in life. Actually and most of the times to the direction or flow it always was mend to be for you. So to come back on your personal life-track.

Recently I worked with a guest who runs her life. No matter how young you are, time is running out so you have to focus on living life the fullest. You do everything that’s possible, because you only live once. So you run life. You mirror the happiness appearances of life from others, and run to try to reach at least the same happiness level. Slightly and soft only touching life experiences as a butterfly. No time to explore or live things deeply. Depression and insomnia increased in combination with an almost continuous connection to social media. An overkill of too much impulses simply can (and finally will) make you sick.

Wanted, she took some “me-time”. Time for a time-out. To do a retreat program. Not willing any longer to wait for the time, she would be forced (unwanted) to take a time-out. A time out to contemplate on life themes and things, to make up her life balance, and to face her priorities in life once again. A suicide by one of her friends with a happy family with two young children during her retreat was a stupor of disbelief.

As strange at first sight as it may sound, many experiences show that this type of wanted and unwanted speedbumps of life often contain incredibly valuable lessons. It brings you to the deeper meaning of life, to your core values of life. To connect with the one you really are. Not the one who usually step by step is formed by wishes, desires, environmental judgments, expectations, marketing, etc..
These processes can be seen as steep (but if you look back afterwards often very meaningful) exercise slopes that bring your back to the person you actually always were.

We all have different values based on our perception of satisfaction and happiness. If you believe that people only love you when you are financially wealthy, money is your main value. If your self-esteem is connected to your appearance (something in my opinion in the Thai culture for ladies is number one), your face and figure maybe the top priority.
And if you the physical body is getting and starting to look older…, does your happiness disappear? And if you seemingly cannot compete with the ‘happiness level’ of your friends or acquaintances, will you feel miserable?

Life challenges you to constantly adjust your priorities. For example, the decision to make health one of your priorities can be a reversal. Perhaps a whole new world will open for you. The discovery of a huge reservoir of inner strength and joy. The discovery that the real person hiding in you, finally gets the possibility to make yourself and others truly happy.

If your view of yourself is based on superficialities, perhaps you need to face your priority list over once again and make some major changes.

Recently a speed bump appeared in the small street in front of my house (see photo). It invites guests who come by in their golf cart to slow down and be more aware of the wonders of our magnificent place. Some guests who walk through our street, sometimes painfully, are remembered to focus on the art of balanced walking instead of keeping their focus on their mobile devices.

Invite yourself, before it's too late, for whatever kind of wanted ‘deliberate speedbump’ process to reconnect with your core of life, adjust priorities to connect with real living and staying in a healthy holistic balance. 

Frans Captijn
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”

Friday, April 14, 2017

As long as you both shall live and/or as long as love stimulates bond and growth? Being happy in your relationship.

I was married in my life once. Proud our two children out of love are born out of that relationship. After nine years of marriage, in spite of trying everything to stay more happily together, we decided to quit our bond. A very unpleasant emotional time and lots of personal and legal issues to solve. For a period of two years I did not dare to touch any woman. The ‘waves’ needed time to heave down to. Now I know you cannot force that process. Happy that period in my life passed.

If I look back on my life so far now, I face a couple of shorter and longer lasting relationships. Many people cannot understand or accept this from me. Certainly not in relation to my religious background and social functions and positions that I ever held in the Netherlands and in the world. Sayings as: “You do not 'do' this kind of things. It’s not right to live this kind of life. You do not make the choices to live life this way. Your parents showed you the other (the right?) way.”

As of my life experiences I dare to say that “this things” that happened in my life have nothing to do with a willing or intention to ‘do’. Believe it or not, it never ever was my intention to divorce the woman I intensely loved and got our two children. My intention at the time of marriage literally was ‘to love and honor each other for as long as we both shall live’ as mentioned in celebration of matrimony.
As last born child in our family of five children, at the time we both as a couple started thinking of the idea of getting married, we both had wonderful examples of how a stable marriage looked like. It seemed my two brothers and two sisters showed and paved the way. After nine years I could not persevere in clinging on my sincere intentions and even promise I made. Not an easy decision and an misery in regard to both our personal emotions, Dutch law as well as my religion/faith. But I found a way to go on living without suffering about our decision any longer. But this blog is not about that.

This blog is about being happy in a relationship with another person (whatever gender). As long as you both shall live or until the time love is not strong enough any longer to connect and/or prevent you in your personal (and joint) development, fulfilling your life mission and your personal and mutual growth. And, of course, immediately the thought can arise that this is a very egoistic and very selfish and self-centred approach.
I invite you to wait with this abrupt labelling and use the inner impulse to do to be curious and with an open mind just to explore more. Not to change your mind or meaning but just to face (and possibly to respect) different possible approaches as a wider truth.

I'm different, from another generation and ‘newer time’ than my older siblings as I recently heard from my eldest brother. And in my eyes that's a valid expression and explanation. In addition, I tried to discover more into the philosophy of deeper meanings and goals of having a relationship. I also live for five years already in a culture that invites me to take the time to be more curious, look wider and deeper. This offers me the opportunity to shine a new light on themes as life mission, personal and mutual growth and development, karma (action), and mainly on the underlying intentions.

More and more I discovered that love primarily is about the relationship you have with yourself. You're the one who live 24 hours a day with yourself together. Do you really know and understand yourself? Do you spend enough time on yourself (not only the outside ‘look’ and your physical body, but also the inside and understanding for instance how your mind works)? Do you know your mission, your purpose? Are you alone (All-one) or feeling lonely? What lifestyle do you really want to live (see lifestyle as the way you respond to things happening in your life)? Are you happy with yourself?

The answers on this questions to myself, the insights and the attention to myself offered me in my opinion enormous growth and development. Mind you, I'm not telling that I could not have had this experience and development in an ongoing relationship with one person. I just do not have that experience and it worked out this way for me.

My relationships after my marriage, although I had imagined never to be ‘different’, worked out not to be like “as long as you both shall live”. They turned into “as long as love stimulates bond and growth”.  I do not see myself in my relationships as a kind of playboy and person that persistently have the intention to make other people unhappy or want to harm somebody. My life and relationships turned out to be just different. A relationship is something you need to give time, attention and air. My last long relationship was even nearly one and a half times longer than the period I was married.
For sure, and again, for many people in my outside world I possibly do not follow the “regular accepted pattern” living my way of loving. I have to accept for instance the direct labelling about possible differences in age between me and my partner other people do. For me it’s a looking deeper than ‘just’ and only difference in age. In my opinion there is so much more like for instance life experiences, connection and understanding level/background, willingness to sustainably understand, to explore and to learn from each other and face-to-face communication (genuine personal connection), balanced life, respect, and having real quality time for each other. This are all items that make it so easy for other people - who are not willing to take some time to only be curious in a different way and understand - to label.

It is not your partner’s responsibility, I learned, to make you happy (and the other way around). It’s always and always will be your own responsibility. And if your own happiness and love for yourself is overflowing you can share that happiness and love with the one you love.
If the closeness in a relationship at any time for a longer period of time is disturbed, and – willing to work on that together - you both do not succeed to bring new flow in it, I see it as responsibility from both to grant each other a new opportunity to get love and development. To me that certainly is not a kind of ‘dump’ or ‘drop as garbage’, knowing however my ‘outside world’ and sometimes even a former partner grasps it like that.

Having a relationship for me is not a kind of 'hop-on hop-off bus’ at all. In reality it is still all about sharing love, respect and happiness (in relation to my understanding of this words). I don’t see a partner as a kind of ‘toy’. Too much and too often I see with my own eyes at the place where I live, hear from my children, and see at social media ‘girls’ (sorry but I do not call them ‘ladies’ in friendship and relations to this item any more) being used (or willing to be used) like that.
Working here with people from all different backgrounds and cultures, I found many people feel trapped or even ‘dead’ in their relationship. Having nothing to say and to share anymore. Are even hiding in their relation or found another ‘outside’ lover showing the world on social media as couple they are still so happy and in love together. No growth, no development, actually no love anymore and yes still staying together. Underlining they are from a different generation with that for me. Not having the guts to make each other happy again by finding a suitable way to let go.

If love, whatever is the understanding of that word by different generations, becomes an outside show without any driving force or spirit within, you can ask yourself if and how you respect your partner. What kind of feeling (so no love anymore) you grant your partner and yourself.

For me, the relationship I have and feel now, out of commitment and both our feeling, may go on for ever. Be aware this is not our goal. Living respecting and enjoying your love by the day without a goal to reach in the future, you reach a destination, the next step, every day.

And if my family, my environment, the world around me will or can accept… It’s just and only their choice and my/our choice to live the life and love, the freedom in bond, we want.

Frans Captijn

Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”

Friday, April 7, 2017

White-picket fence – a settled life - & rat race versus exploring the adventure of living an authentic life.

Last week I got an email from a for me so far stranger. A young Dutch woman. She had a personal question in response to a message that I posted on a Dutch Facebook page with stories and tips about visiting Thailand. Her question inspired me for my this week’s blog.

We are born in a world full of expectations, rules, competition, expertise, power and reputation. Two weeks ago I was in a shopping mall in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to buy a present for my girlfriend. Suddenly I heard all kind of encouraging screams of vengeance. Let's see what’s going on there plopped up in my mind. So I did. Believe it or not... A baby race! The photo in this blog takes you a little bit in the scene. Yelling parents ‘supporting’ and ‘encouraging’ their babies, raised in stabilized carts with small wheels, in most unique ways to be the best and to become the winner. Things can be…

It crossed my mind that this actually already shows the start of our unlearning an authentic life. And in every culture basically it’s the same. You especially have to try to be the best and run your future. And what you achieve you need to show the outside world. You show your possessions, your trophies. Post beautiful pictures and story’s about how happy you are on social media. You act according to the rules and standards set by others in our society. You try to fulfill expectations that other people possibly could have of you.

Many of these rules and standards, otherwise, we created as a kind of illusions only in our heads. Many of us miss the courage to deviate from them and so do not fit into the so-called 'perfect social picture', what that picture even may be. You adapted to them ... step by step not even aware of the shortcomings in living life you possibly offer yourself. And at some stage in life, often because you realize you run out of time, you start asking yourself what was actually the value of my life. What did I made of it. Whether you have lived the life that you really wanted and appreciated YOURSELF. Yes you matched with the picture what others of ‘ideal life’ showed you. You might even honor and held high the family pride. And indeed you can ask if asking yourself these kind of questions, particularly in  Western culture isn’t a luxury status or position. My parents for example were not able and did not even think about asking themselves this kind of questions. They saw everything as their duty and responsibility. It was a different time.

Who am I? What do I really want or desire? What is the purpose of my life being here now? What makes me happy, gives me peace of mind? Isn’t it first my duty to take responsibility for myself, for my own life, instead of contributing others? What would I like to do if money was no object? What choice would I make in this situation if I knew I had only a few more months to live? What does my source of inner silence, stillness, learn me instead of my intuition, my heart and / or the voices in my head?

Have you ever thought about the idea that those voices in your head are not at all your voices? These are the voices that come for example from our system, our parents, ancestors, teachers/masters in our lives, our environment, culture and religion. And yes, generally, all out of the best intentions. Also out of a limited view of truth, as part of a much bigger truth. That kind of voices often help you to set course to directions in life that, afterwards turn out not to be your authentic wanted way.
Looking deeply on your inside, connecting with this inner silence, passion and mission, often offers you other insights. It’s just a matter to have the guts to follow them…

Many relatives and friends do not understand my support of the choices of my children to discover the adventure of life. Actually to have and follow damn little more goals to explore living life. To sometimes stand still, look back, be proud of what you already achieved, learn from mistakes (as something to learn), every time stand up one more time than to fall down, and find out that life cannot go wrong. For me they do not have to be house owners with  heavy mortgage burdens on their shoulders, a bright shining new car in part-payment, a happy relationship to show they are not lonely, status and position in their jobs, and whatever else. Daddy, so I, had it all and showed them all.
Now, ask them yourself if you do not believe,  they meet a father who LIVE life in a different way. And yes, I am thankful and grateful for my past as well. I am not suffering of a kind of homesickness. It gives me a mirror and background so I can compare. Not as a romantic thing but just to observe a different life style, a different approach, a different way to respond to situations that happen in my life, and it makes me so much more happy. A feeling of being free. I dropped the gold from my cap and shoulders, am even more playful and so much more connected with being open to widen my view and truth. A more common and blissful Frans. And it’s that what makes it so appealing for my children and my girlfriend. They do not just only see, even more they feel.

Where do you want to go for? What’s your goal of living. For a white-picket fence – a settled life - & rat race or exploring the adventure of living your authentic life. And just be aware, I am not telling you one choice is better than the other. It’s just a choice. It’s just a matter of taking sometimes the time for yourself to reflect, connect deeply, and make the right choice for yourself. Better to do it now and respond to that inner real calling (even if you think possibly you will hurt other people with it) than to find out later (or too late) you did not even explore other possibilities or even live them. Simply do not get regrets…

Let it be a conscious decision by YOURSELF and not by the voices in your head or your heart, created by others. Free the child in you and listen more to it. Be creative and laugh about all your general excuses your mind automatically create for you. Do you want to dream your life or respond to the inner call out of silence to live your dream?

And what about that crying "looser" baby on track 3 in terms of the picture? It would not surprise me if at the second part of his life he/she laughs the most because it turned out in fact he/she was in the Chiang Mai Shopping mall at Sunday March 26th 2017/2560 already at a very young age the real winner of life. Whatever other people and even parents think of it now…

Frans Captijn

Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight

Captijn Insight“Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”