Investments are never lost

Imagine this, someone studied finance for 4 years. After 2 years of traineeship, this person realizes it is not what they want their lives to look like. They don’t want to wake up in 10 years and dread going to work. So this person has two options. Number one: to continue working the job they hate because they’ve invested time and money already (sunk cost fallacy). Number two: to build up some savings and quit the job they hate. Which one would you choose?

Sunk cost fallacy

Choosing number one in the previous paragraph is not that strange. There is a thing called the sunk cost fallacy. Asana describes this as

"our tendency to continue with an endeavor we've invested money, effort, or time into—even if the current costs outweigh the benefits." 

Now, this mindset can keep us down in many aspects of life. Think about it, when a business has made a big investment but after a while, it has been made clear that there is no profit to be made. It wouldn’t make sense to continue with that project. So why would you continue with a project in your personal life?

Don’t look back, you’re not going that way

The first thing people would do is regret the choices they’ve made. “Why did I choose that specialty? I am so stupid.” But, why would you want to look back? The time has already passed and there is nothing you can change. So have no regrets but also don’t hold yourself back just because you have made the “wrong” choice in the past.

Take what you need

The best thing you can do is learn from that situation. So what if you are choosing a different path now? You can take all the previous experience with you. In your professional career, you would be much needed in a different sector because you bring new knowledge to that environment. You see things from a different perspective and you add value to the company. You can take the experience and expertise with you and apply it to another field.

Allow space for other things to grow

Once you are ready to turn the page and try something new, you must allow space for it. That means you must let other things go to make physical and mental space for new opportunities to arise.

Image: Unsplash, Alwi Alaydrus

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Fail faster than your competition

This blog post explains why having a high failure rate leads to success. Well, you might be thinking: “You don’t ever want to fail in your job” but out-failing your competition actually leads to more profit for your company for several reasons. Most of the content is inspired by Law 21 from Steven Bartlett’s book The Diary of A CEO

Ice skating

The ones who learned how to ice skate when they were younger remember that the first thing they teach you is to fall. You have to fall a couple of times on the ice to become comfortable with falling. The same holds in business. You first have to learn how to fail to do your job properly. Now there are two kinds of failures. The main difference is that you can come back from one failure and you won’t be able to return from the other failure.

No failure, no story

As much as we would like to think failure comes easy. Humans are wired to expect to do everything right the first time. But how boring would that be? And more importantly, if you don’t fail, you won’t learn anything. In life, you learn from your mistakes. Thomas Watson the former president of IBM said:

Every time we moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put their head on the block, and try something new.

Furthermore, how can you discover what the customer wants if you don’t experiment? We live in a fast-paced world where the needs of the customers constantly change. No matter your industry, you have to keep up. And to keep up, you need to try multiple things to succeed. For example, when a company is building a ‘new app. They won’t build the app immediately. First, they will ask the customer what they want, then they build a prototype. Afterwards, they go into the testing phase where they have many iterations. Eventually, the prototype has become good enough to launch. Even after the launch, you need to update that app because they continue improving the software.

Failure is invention

There is a page in the book: Diary of a CEO. Jeff Bezos explains why a high failure rate is crucial for a business. “One area where I think we are especially distinctive is failure. Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment. The difference between baseball and business is that baseball has truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in a while, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1.000 runs. This long-tailed distribution of returns is why it’s important to be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiments.”

Are you curious about the other Laws in the book Diary of a CEO? Click here for my summary!

Source image: Unsplash, Getty Images

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Why ownership of your life can improve the quality drastically

In the previous post, we discussed why life is a never-ending journey. Now that we know that, we can make decisions accordingly. Some people might not realize that their life changed and they continue doing the same things. But rather, when you take ownership of your life, the quality of your life improves drastically.

Where are you headed?

Life is made up of infinite possibilities. The only question is … Where are you headed? Have you decided where you are going? Or have you let other people decide for you? Right now, is the time to take action. There is a great quote from the book “Whatever you think, think the opposite”

Everything we do we choose.
So what is there to regret?
You are the person you choose to be.

Ready, set, action!

The pressure to choose the right path can feel heavy whenever we need to decide what’s next in our lives. For me, at least, it did. Especially as an adult, you feel like you have to make the right decision straight away. But the truth is that you can change your mind as much as you like and that there is no “one right career path”. The right path will be made clear once we take steps in any direction. I’m simply asking you to make a decision and reflect along the way.

Source Image: Khyta

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3 reasons why having a personal brand is esssential

We live in a highly technological world. And it doesn’t matter in which industry you work, or whether you are an entrepreneur or you have a 9-5 job. Creating (and maintaining) a personal brand is essential. Previously, when you applied for a job, people gave lots of importance to your resume. Now, the first thing people do is google your name and look at your LinkedIn page.

Personal brand over skills

I believe that most people can learn almost anything. And with technology and online platforms, you can even learn a new skill from the comfort of your own home. You (mostly) don’t necessarily need an education from a fancy university to get the job you want. Now don’t get me wrong, when you want to become a surgeon or an architect you need to gain years of education and experience. But lately, there have also been lots of new roles which require you to be more creative. Those skills can be learned. Whether you want to work in finance, or marketing, or try programming, you can find a course online.

That’s why your personality and character are crucial. Because if anyone can learn anything, you need to stand out in other ways. When a company is hiring, they will first look at your resume. But more importantly, they will ask you questions regarding your character. They want to know how you will handle difficult situations and whether you can work in teams for example.

Great things happen when you least expect it

Now that you’ve built your personal brand online. You can even go a step further and showcase your personal brand offline by attending network events. Another great perk of having an online (offline) presence is that you might receive an offer when you aren’t even searching. Just imagine, you attend an event or give a talk about something you already do within your current job. Let’s say you are a project manager and get invited for a panel conversation about leadership. Someone in the audience has their own business and they struggle with getting everybody within the team on the same page. Afterwards, they approach you with an offer to consult their team. How great is that!

You become better for it

If you could take one thing with you from this post. Then please let it be this: by building your online/offline presence you become better for it. By creating a personal brand, you have to present yourself constantly. Whether you attend events, socialize, or write about your expertise, either way, you improve skills like presenting and writing. But you also get to perfect the story you want to tell. As a result you become better at pitching your ideas because you become more of yourself.

To end the reasons for personal branding, here is a video that explains the benefits of personal branding from Steven Bartlett. Link to video.

Source Image: Blazs Ketyi

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Ubuntu: how to become better as a team

There is an African proverb that says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In this life, we need to have a team. And a team works best when all the team players have synergy. In this post, I will explain why the concept of Ubuntu is crucial for a team.

The playbook

I discovered this word through the Netflix series: ” The Playbook “. In this series, a couple of coaches tell their stories. One of those coaches was Doc Rivers. At the time he was the coach for the Boston Celtics and the players were all just thinking of themselves. In Basketball, the ego plays a big role. To win a championship, he needed the team to play together as a team. One evening a woman walks up to him and mentions the concept of Ubuntu. He looked it up and was hooked immediately.


Ubuntu is an African way of life that holds the value of the group in great regard. The saying goes:

I am because we are.

This way you hold each other accountable. But more importantly, you help each other when needed. Doc Rivers translated this to: “I can’t be all I can be unless you are all you can be”. So for the players needed to be at their best game, they needed their teammates to be their best too. As a consequence, they regarded the team as a family and really looked out for each other on and off the field. As a result, they got better as a team.

Not only on the field

Now this is great for a sports team to win. But Ubuntu can also be used in “real life”. Just consider how many teams you’re part of. Family team, friends team, work team. Whether you’re a manager or part of a team at work, you have a responsibility to the team. Now I’m not saying work your ass off for the company until you burn out. But rather, what can you do for others within your team so that they can perform at their best. And therefore you can improve your “A” game.

Source Image: Unsplash, Ian Macharia

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How to perfect your craft with Ikigai

Imagine choosing one craft and dedicating your professional life to perfecting that craft. The Japanese lifestyle called Ikigai supports this mindset. And here is what we can learn from it. Once people find their Ikigai, they spend their entire lives perfecting their craft.

Finding you Ikigai

Source: Forbes

Regardless of whether you want to do several things in your career or focus on one thing. You still have to start with becoming better at one craft. Take, for example, the best athletes in their field or artists. They might have talent but they also work their asses off.

Reaching a state of flow

It is no secret that when you try to be the best at something, you need to put in lots of time and energy. More importantly, while you’re working on that craft, you need to be completely focused. Some call this state “the state of flow”. In this state, you lose sense of time and get completely hooked by the thing you are working on. It could be, music, drawing, cooking, writing, creating, weaving, or anything else.

The motion picture “Soul” describes this state of flow visually. Joe Gardner is a music teacher but has dreamed of playing piano on stage. In the clip below, Joe can audition for a gig. At first, he is caught off guard a little. But when he plays the piano, he reaches that state of flow.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is crucial to becoming the best at something. Take the well-known documentary of Jiro Dreams of Sushi where chef Jiro Ono provides his customers with the best sushi possible. In his restaurant, they pay attention to every detail while preparing the food. They even have a technique for how to massage the octopus.

Where else do we recognize perfecting a craft?

Source Cover Image: Unsplash Alva Pratt

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How will you know if you never try

We all have 100 good ideas and dreams as humans. Personally, I would like to start my own café every time I walk into a cute coffee place. I already envision myself as the owner and part-time barista welcoming customers. Other times I see something online and I think to myself, I could do a better job at this. I know the audience better. But the truth is: how will we know the outcome if we never try?


Before you try

Where to start

Okay so now the fun part. Suppose you have your priorities straight and you are done with all the planning and preparations. Then comes the time to walk to that starting line and take off. But in reality, this can be really scary. No worries below you can find helpful ways to kick-start your idea.

1 | Allow yourself 5 failures a day

2 | The beginner’s mind

No regrets

Another incentive to start is the realization that if you don’t start, you won’t know how good it gets. We all know the quote: “What if I fail? Oh darling, but what if you fly.” You need to ask yourself whether the cost of not trying weighs heavier than the cost of regret. And with that, I leave you this week. I hope this article was helpful to you!

Source image: Unsplash, Jared Poledna

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Do the best until you know better

We tend to torture ourselves with past events. For example, when we gain new knowledge or insight. We like to dwell on how things could’ve been if we had that information sooner. But guess what … you didn’t. So why would you even entertain that thought? Instead, try to think of ways to become better now.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was a writer of beautiful poems amongst others and an activist. She had so much wisdom. Every time I read or watch something of her work, I catch myself contemplating the message behind it. One of her best-known works is the poem: “And still I rise”. Another phrase she wrote is: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I first encountered this quote while listening to an episode of Super Soul Sunday with Oprah. Below is the interview with Maya Angelou where she shares a lifetime of advice in 40 minutes.

Do the best you can until you know better

Now back to the quote related to this post. When you do the best you can, it also brings you peace because you can let go in a way. This way you can look back without any regrets. It also may give you a feeling of giving it your all in the present moment.

Then when you know better, do better

When you have gained that new insight, you owe it to yourself to do better. Because if you live by the phrase: “do the best you can”. You have to constantly improve. It is also fun to actively find new ways to innovate and gain relevant knowledge.

5 AM club

Source image: Unsplash, Karolina Grabowska

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How to be more proactive

  • self-awareness
  • imagination
  • conscience
  • independent will

Taking the initiative

Some people are in a situation (which could also be a stimulus) where they would like to change things in their lives. But the initiative to make those changes is still challenging. Sometimes these people are waiting for something to happen or someone to take care of them (it).

Act or be acted upon

If you are not willing to act and take responsibility for a situation/stimulus. Then your environment will shape your situation. When you are faced with adversities for example in your business. Ask yourself these questions: What is our/my response? What are/am we/I going to do? How can we/I exercise initiative in this situation? Disclaimer: this doesn’t mean only thinking positively and saying ” Oh we’ll be alright”. By taking a proactive attitude you face reality but also choose to see the positive side and work towards improving the situation.

Listen to your language

The easiest way to check whether you have a proactive attitude is to listen to your language. And specifcally your choice of words. Examples are:

"I can't do that, I just don't have the time"
"That's me. That's the way I am"
"There's nothing I can do" 

One thing that these sentences have in common is that the person who said it gave all the freedom of choice away. They didn’t take responsibility for their priorities (I know again with the responsibilities). Stephen Covey even wrote: ” That language comes from a basic paradigm of determinism. And the whole spirit of it is the transfer of responsibility. I am not responsible, not able to choose my response

One example of changing the narrative to owning responsibilities mentioned is the book is called “The Haves and the Bes”. And will be discussed in the upcoming post.

Source image: Unsplash, Rocco Stoppoloni

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The way you act

Imagine this: someone is blaming or accusing you of something. One of your reactions might be to; be defensive, react the way to other party expects you to react, respond from emotions. In some situations, you may be inclined to think that you are pushed in a corner. We may even feel like we had no choice, that we were forced to respond that way. But the hash truth is that we always have the freedom to choose our responses.

We are responsible for our actions.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow. Because it is easier to react instead of act (I’ll come back to the difference). It is easier to say: “That person was pushing me to say this or that”. Or ” That person made me so angry/sad/furious I had to say it”. “That person was attacking me and I had to stand up for myself.” But in all those sentences you blame someone else. Now I’m not saying that you don’t have the right to defend yourself, but it is your responsibility to choose how you respond.

Space between stimulus and response

Now between a stimulus (= whatever made you angry/sad/furious) and your response there is an empty space. Viktor Frankl refers to that space as “man has freedom to choose”. You get to elaborate how you want to respond and what the best way forward is. Stephen R. Covey best describes this freedom in his book: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Act instead of react

So basically when you react to a stimulus you immediately respond. Which is equivalent to talking before you think. But the better option might be to act on the stimulus. This means that you spend some time thinking about your response, with self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will. Which is equivalent to thinking before you speak.

Source image: Unsplash, Nadine Shaabana

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