inspired by The Minimalists

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I love minimalism, simplicity, cleanliness. Cutting down possessions, sticking to the essentials, and focusing on the value versus volume. Quality over quantity.
Listening to The Minimalists helps me appreciate and notice the small things. Pleasant greenery of the plants, the wine’s aroma, the spirituality of the incense. Beauty of a clean road. Blessing of a nice sunny day. Amazingness of life. Owning less is having more.

It’s nice to be a writer. Expressing oneself through a written word can leave a long-lasting dent in the universe. I want to leave a positive one. Some wisdom I’ve acquired through thousands of hours of studying life, health, sports, business, people, relationships, spirituality, mindfulness, …
Millions of words written down in my daily essays, I need to filter that into a book. NaNoWriMo is a nice time to play this game, but I don’t need to limit myself. I can keep writing, get the wireframe out there. Then I can cut away, and shape it into a readable format. Publish.

Another thought that came to my mind today, is that there’s no need to wait for some life-altering event to happen before making a big life change.
You don’t need to wait to get terminally ill, or lose a loved one, or your job, or just being abandoned by a partner.
No, you can have a perfectly fine life, and start improving it. Change your diet before you’re severely obese. Quit smoking before you get diagnosed with cancer. Move more before your first heart attack. Start saving before getting bankrupt. Tend to your hobbies before losing your job.
There is no need to give out this impression that something big must go down before you change. You can snap your fingers and decide you’ll do something different right now. Start. Yes, go ahead now.

God bless!

iPad Pro 9,7″ as a travel workhorse

Writing break in New York’s Bryant Park
I’ve been a Mac user for a number of years now, and I guess it’s been since like 2010 when I made MacBook my only machine — for work, as well as for private use.
Back in 2013 I flocked out a pile of cash, and got top of the line 13“ MacBook Pro: 500GB SSD, 8GB RAM, Retina display. It was expensive, and it was my first experience shopping online in the Apple.com with in—store pickup. I ordered the system from this side of the Pond, and then picked it up in the Apple Store San Francisco.

Apple Store San Francisco, February 2013. My first time in the USA :-)

It was the best computer in my life, and it still is at the time of writing: Apple never really made big refresh, so there was no reason/excuse to go after the new system.

After three years of lugging it all over the world, the battery wasn’t very strong after thousand cycles anymore. So I just went for a battery exchange — expensive at ~€400, but still cheaper than new system — and had a fresh life breath into my MBP.

This system has recently celebrated it’s fourth birthday, and is as good as ever.
Still, being a productivity-, and life-hacking buff, I’am constantly on the lookout for new stuff. Lighter office in this case. Especially for my frequent travels.

One option was 12“ MacBook, but that doesn’t really do much for me. So I started looking for alternatives, first time in years even out of the Apple ecosystem — worse: at the Windows machines.

Enter Microsoft Surface Pro.
If you’re in the market for a modern Windows device that doesn’t look like shit, or have all kinds of unnecessary crappy ports, or isn’t just a touch—screen version of a system everyone hated — then you got only one option: Surface Pro.

I admit: the more I looked at it, reading reviews, and testing it out in Polish stores (not available in Slovenia!), the more I loved it. Well designed, great looking, powerful, and it offers both worlds: full—blown desktop OS, as well as a touch-enabled, tablet with pen input. And with Office365 that I’m using, it seemed like almost perfect companion. With one major flaw: it runs Windows.

If you’ve been a Mac (ab)user for a number of years, touching the Windows OS feels like going back to 1999. And it’s not a party. Bring back bad memories of slow, virus-laden, unstable systems with frequent incidents of BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).
Sure, Windows 10 is different than XP, stabler, modern, etc., but it’s still crap compared to MacOS.

So I had to go back into the fruity ecosystem, and there’s only one option: iPad.
I’ve had iPads since the first one came out. The day they were available in Europe, a friend bought it for me in the Zurich’s Apple Store, and I probably owned the first iPad in Slovenia.

It was a great machine, but it was not a work-machine. It was a consumption device. Great for browsing the web, reading stuff, sort of a big iPhone. And great for gaming.
Later on I got the first iPad Mini as it came out. Bought that one in the Apple Store Amsterdam, and my son is still using it to watch YouTube Kids.
I tried working with external bluetooth keyboards with it, but that was stupid — it made more sense to just connect that to my iPhone (Plus), and carry only one device. Plus the bloody keyboard. And nobody ever made a solid foldable iPhone keyboard, or at least I haven’t been able to find one.
Being touch-typist, good keyboard is very important for me. I can’t finger-type, that’s too slow, inefficient, unproductive. Lame.
iPad Pro keyboard (the original Apple one, as well as a number of 3rd party options) seems good enough, but the original iPad Pro is just a giant device, not appropriate for travel. It’s the iOS version of the 15“ MacBook — who would carry that around?
Enter iPad Pro 9,7“.

Form factor of the original iPad, probably half the weight, and just the right size for work, play, and — most importantly — for the useful keyboard. And the Apple Pencil support.

So here’s what I bought at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport:

  • iPad Pro 9,7“ WiFi 128GB (€799)
  • Logitech Create backlit keyboard (€129)
  • Apple Pencil (€109)
  • Mophie power station 6000mAh (came free with the purchase)

For a total price of €1.037,-. —Now, you can surely get a very decent laptop for this, and even a MacBook Air or something, but remember — that’s not what I was looking for.

Set my system up in the business lounge, and started enjoying my new, lighter, travel toolbox.

The first thing I did was commit to getting used to working on the iPad only. That meant I have to shut down my MacBook Pro, put it aside, and work only on iPad for one whole week. Seven days, both in the home office, and traveling, for ALL my tasks. That sounded challenging, and it really did require some getting-used to, but in the end it worked out.

So let me describe my own experience so far, after a few months (bought the system in February 2017). I’ll put things into certain categories, describe the apps I’m using, not using, why, what works, what doesn’t, etc.

I took the 128GB model as I assumed that will be enough for my work, and most of the stuff is cloud—based anyway. And it works — I still have more than half the space left after fully working with the system for a couple of months.

Why I chose Logitech Create over Apple’s own keyboard? —It’s much better for typing, feels like a real laptop keyboard vs. rubber, ZX—Spectrum-ish Apple keyboard.
It’s illuminated, which is important for my morning writing, as well as for frequent work in the airplanes.
I also love that it offers a place to store, carry, and hide the Apple Pencil. All in one.
And yes, it’s firm, and stable enough for use in the lap. Works flawlessly!
What’s more, it’s travel, and typing feel is much better than with the new MacBooks! —Major reason that prevented me from upgrading my MBP.

So, how’s the Apple Pencil, you ask?
Well, it’s a great accessory, and I’m no sketch artist, so I’m using it mostly for taking notes, brainstorming ideas, and signing documents. Plus some annotations now, and then.
I’m mostly using it with the Microsoft OneNote, which I love for it’s flexibility to combine handwritten notes with typed text, and all kinds of other things, like photos, documents, you name it!
The fact is, that I’m not using the Pencil every day, probably just a couple of days a week.
What I really love about it, is that it gives me the flexibility to sketch out ideas, and digitize all my notes. —My Moleskine has been left abandoned since February 2017, when I got this new device!
That’s the HW setup. Next time, I’ll write a bit more about the most used apps, and the pros & cons of using the iPad Pro for REAL work.

Minimalist can ride the waves of consumerism too.

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Yesterday I walked the streets of New York. Up the Fifth Avenue, into the Central Park, and down the Seventh Avenue, past the Times Square, where I sat on the red stairs, taking some shots.

I looked at all the noise around, and it seemed like this is everything that’s wrong with this wild American capitalism.

Competing for customer attention,— my attention, with bigger screens, brighter lights, maximum possible wattage. Some of these seem close to burning out.

And the consumer is still pale, gets no tan from all the exposure to these neon lights.
Or she might be pale from contemplating her credit card debt? The one all those commercials motivated her to get into.

This system only caters to her needs up to the limit on her credit cards. The moment she’s in too deep, she will get shunned.
No more special offers, extra discounts, and the only coupons will be the food stamps.

I was listening to The Minimalists podcast while sitting on the Times Square’s shiny red stairs.
It felt like being a spy. Misfit.

As I looked around, I noticed those big golden arches. McDonald’s. It was packed full, with hordes of hungry shoppers, lining up for their junk food carb refuel.
Extra energy to continue their power-shopping spree, at least until the next sugar crash.

$MCD at over $140 a share. That’s what I saw. Cash flowing in for my dividends. Driving up the price of my investment.
You skip Mickie Dee’s about ten times, and you can buy one share, and then they pay you.

And I had the same feeling being in the Fifth Avenue Apple store. $AAPL over $145 a share. Store was packed full. For less than a price of the AirPods, you can buy one share.

The first ones I bought when I once skipped an iPhone upgrade. Got some ten shares then. And they produced fifty percent return, not even counting the dividends.

Americans living beyond their means are stuffing investors pockets.
So you can chose to be on the other side — the one that’s not crippled with consumer debt, and sugar-powered pending heart attacks.

You’ll find it more valuable if you turn your spending into investing money in $MCD, enjoying $SBUX, refreshing with the $KO, and get paid by $AAPL.

A minimalist. You buy less, you own less. So your stuff doesn’t end up owning you.
Invest your savings, and ride the consumerism wave, don’t get drowned by it.

Basking in the morning sun of the Bryant Park, I notice it’s not that packed. The lawn is trimmed, shiny, green, perfect.
A colorful group slowly moving in tai chi. Young woman doing her e-mail. Black guy scribbling something on a piece of paper. Elderly Asian lady with closed eyes, warming up in the sun.
It’s a little oasis, a getaway from the Fifth, and the Seventh.

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It’s not about the pursuit of happiness, it’s more about realizing life is amazing, and you should enjoy the ride.
Each and every day.

God bless!

Don’t cheat your employer. Become an intrapreneur.

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My airport office at Ljubljana Jože Plečnik airport business lounge.

Freelance porn went mainstream. It seems like everybody has a plan for a side gig, for getting away, exiting the hamster run, escaping into the heavenly fields with no bosses, no mean Fortune corporations, …

If you Google search for term side hustle,, you’ll get millions of results. There is a whole world movement of freelance porn, people cherishing the god of freedom.

And the ones making money are actually the ones selling to freelance-wannabes. Like bloggers making money writing about blogging. How meta is that!

Usually, the instructions go something like this: find your passion, turn it into a business, start selling it, but don’t quit your day job until it works out.

And if it doesn’t — since most of these gigs don’t — well, the worst thing that happens is, you stay on your daily grind.

What bothers me is this: why does anyone think it’s their right to steal from their current employer?

Even if that’s a big, mean, Wall-Street-driven monster (as they’re usually pictured).

Who gave you the right to steal from it? To work on your personal projects while on their paycheck, on their premises, on their systems?

Painting an ugly picture of the corporate employer is, of course, a must — just like going to war involves dehumanizing the enemy. Stapling a stereotype to them.

If they’re just a wife-beating, extremists who want to decapitate all of us; or dark refugees who want to destroy our heaven; or black; or yellow; or Russian; or Korean; … it’s easier to gather the troops, and go after them.

And it’s exactly the same thing with companies. The moment we associate them with mean machinery, that’s when we lose sympathy for them.

They are not organizations of individual people, joined together to work, achieve common goals, and make a living at it.

Once it’s not about Jack the CEO, Martha VP of Sales, Annette from Marketing, and Julian from Accounting; but they turn into a CORPORATION, that’s when it’s OK to hurt them.
It’s OK to do personal things during working hours. It’s OK to cheat on expenses. It’s OK to steal.

Or is it?

Stop making excuses.

What about deciding to realize your dreams within your company?
What about spitting in your hands, rolling up the sleeves, and putting together a great plan?
On company time, for the benefit of the company. And yourself.

What about taking that plan, going to your boss, and saying:“Look, I made this. What do you think?“

And asking him to go to his boss, and to whoever can green-light your wonderful idea.

Yes, it’s tough. Nobody said it will be easy. But it’s the right thing to do. Stealing is wrong. And easy.

It’s called being an intrapreneur.
Entrepreneur within existing organization.
Every company needs those, they always had. It’s just that in the modern days, it has a name, and it’s becoming a do- or die.

You can be the one starting this snowball in your corporation. Start by reading James Altucher’s The Rich Employee.
And then go for it.

What if they come back, and say No, you ask? —Well, you can still quit, and go pursue your wonderful idea, leaving your dent in the universe.
The honorable way.

It’s going to be a great story once you win. A story about corporate buffs letting this great billion-euro idea slip.

That’s probably exactly how your current employer’s story started.

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. (Peter F. Drucker)

All the great success stories start with a tough situation. And then it’s merely a decade to your overnight success.

Get the fuck outta her now. Intra or extra. Your choice. Just be honorable.

And may God bless you on your endeavors!

This song will change your life.

This song changed my life. Helped me realize there’s so much more to life than consumption, that FOMO is fake, while YOLO is probably true.

Back in early 2000’s, my ride was grandpa’s old Renault 5. Three doors, green-ish colour, nice little ride, with suspension so bad it felt at times like it had square wheels.

Oh, how I loved driving that car! For it took me places, it took me away from despairs of my hometown, and into the bright future.

It was my ride for the journey of life. A change. Freedom.

It was the quarantined environment without anybody falling victim to my terrible singing.

I’d lit a cigarette, and play music at maximum volume those old speakers could handle.

„… with them windshield wipers slapping time, 

and Bobby clapping hands, 

we finally sang up every song that driver knew.

FREEDOM’S JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE, 

NOTHING AIN’T WORTH NOTHING BUT IT’S FREEEE“

I’d sing from the top of my lungs, and I truly believed that busted old Fiver could take me all the way to New Orleans. From Maribor, Slovenia.

Youth has no limits.

As we entered the digital music age, I couldn’t afford a CD-player for my old car. But then Steve Jobs showed me the future — iPod shuffle. Little, white, neat, affordable player. I instantly fell in love with it. And Apple. And Steve.

I had this little black fake cassette, with a cable, and an audio jack you could put into the car stereo, connect to the iPod on the other end, and play digital music.

I used to hang that cable around the rear view mirror, and just let Shuffle dangle during the ride.

And then I entered the Sunscreen era. Not sure where I first heard it, but I immediately knew I had to have that song. Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen.

That song inspired me to many right choices. Important lifestyle decisions. That song changed my life.

So here it is, just for you, my dear Reader.

Take your headphones, or your loudest speakers, and play it. LOUD. Repeat.

I hope it changes your life. If it doesn’t, you haven’t heard it yet.

Play again. And again. And again. Thank me later.

God bless!

 

Understand these 6 trends to be happy at work & life.

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I. IT is dead.

The future of IT is going the way of the cloud. And that the traditional infrastructure as we know today, is sentenced to death.

In the future, nobody will know (or care) where exactly their data is stored. But it will surely not be on-premise. There’s no reason to keep your data on premise.

It’s cheaper, faster, more reliable in the cloud. And you pay as you need it. No extra infrastructure needed. And you kill and forget it once you don’t need it anymore.

The whole IT is going out of the traditional data centers. There’s no point for them to exists. They’re complex, expensive, tough to manage, and they break every couple of years. Why would a new company today have their own local server? Or storage? Or their own IT guy?

IT is dead.

II. The unequipped worker is dead.

BYOD has produced a number of self-supported, self-equipped workers. Once you put all your apps in the cloud, and access them from the browser, it doesn’t matter what kind of a computer, tablet, phone, watch — or any other device your user has. Access is ubiquitous. User identification is the only thing needed. And they can work anywhere, anytime.

Connecting LinkedIn with Microsoft also means you’ll be able to take all your products with you — BYOS (Bring Your Own Subscription) — as the “jobs” shift to “projects”, you’ll no longer be changing your phone number, your devices, your software, nor will the companies be buying those for you.

I believe the worker of the future will poses devices and apps, just like we posses skills.

This will be the basic expectation from any prospect hirers. Like speaking foreign languages, or driving skills.

And they will be more important than formal education. Imagine that your CV has listed: iOS device, with Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office 365, and Salesforce.com accounts. Android, and Windows mobile available as well.

The unequipped worker is dead.

III. Education is dead.

The learning is changing into a lifelong thing as well. A worker of the future will be expected to self-educate, online or offline — as she pleases — on her own time, on her own terms. MOOC  learning is the university of the future. And it doesn’t end with a degree or a diploma — it’s a continuous improvement process, lifelong learning, to keep up with the progress.

So you don’t become obsolete. That degree completed a long time ago doesn’t mean crap anymore.

Continuous learning, specializations, and your recommendations are everything.

Education is dead.

IV. The office is dead.

So imagine your LinkedIn profile as your official public personal brand. It keeps your work history, your learning, your skills, your aspirations.

It could be connected with a cloud HR system, like Workday or something — and thus could automatically do your taxes for the projects you complete. Hell, it might even be exported for your retirement data in the end.

And you can get a score — something like an Amazon or TripAdvisor rating — employers write you reviews (recommendations) and you get a star rating.

That rating, the reviews, and your price determines your future gigs. “Buy now with 1-Click”.

Imagine your services being procured through Amazon. And you’re able to work globally. For a customer in the USA, in EU, India, China, wherever. This is the future of work.

The office is dead.

V. Ownership is dead.

And, since our preferences are moving from ownership into usage, sharing economy and subscription-based models will rule the future.

Think of the sharing economy like the cloud of your life.

You don’t need to own your car anymore. You pay for transportation. When you need it, where you need it, by a minute, or second.

Same like you don’t own a plane or train. You pay to travel with it when appropriate. Life for rent.

Don’t think of it in the industrial-era terms of not owning anything. Think of it as a freedom to live light. Nothing is holding you down. You pay only what you consume. You’ve got time to focus on what’s important. Relationships. Yourself.

Ownership is dead.

VI. TV is dead.

Don’t be passive, sitting on a couch, gaping at the commercials. Take the 21st-century device, and make your own program. There’s Netflix. YouTube. Apple Music. Online news.

You get to choose what you watch. Based on your filters, preferences, and behavior that your cookies learned from you.

Choose to switch off when needed. Schedule some offline time. Be with your partner, your children. Your closest ones.

And make sure to be selective about what media you’re consuming. Watching only #Fail videos probably won’t help your career. Have some balance.

TV is dead.

VII. Work-Life balance is dead.

Stop talking work-life balance. If you try balancing it, you’ll fail on both accounts. Unemployed have great -life balance. Bachelors have outstanding -work balance.

That’s all bollocks. There is no balance. It’s work-life integration. A continuum. Your work is your life, your life is your work. Start looking at it this way, and you’ll be much happier.

Don’t suffer through bad work hoping for a better one in the future. You’ll be miserable most of your life. Learn to love the work you have. You’ll be better at it. Get paid better. Get promoted. Receive a better offer. It snowballs.

Work-life balance is dead.

Live, learn, enjoy the ride. Invest money into experiences, travel, self-improvement. Grow yourself.

As Steve Jobs said it, ”Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

You are alive. 

God bless you!

Be present. Turn your autopilot off.

Most of the unhappy individuals you’ll meet have one thing in common: they run on autopilot. Cruise control.

They don’t want to wake up in the morning, they have to. They scream at everyone, they smoke, eat unhealthily, and they commute farther than they’d like to.

They hate every meter of their morning ride, honking, and shouting, showing fingers in morning traffic outbursts.

And they complain. A lot. About the boss, the company, the government. It’s always somebody else to blame.

And if you dig deeper, they run on autopilot. Every day they hate everything they do. Rinse, and repeat. You ask Why, and they’re surprised: mortgage for the house, car loan, things they buy, that’s why.

Let’s stop pretending that’s the hard life. It’s easy. It is easy to not do anything. It is easy to complain without considering solutions.

Have you ever noticed, that you never find an unhappy person with an active lifestyle? Stressed yoga practitioner. Angry meditator. Depressed runner.

It’s not life to blame, it’s You. You turned on your own autopilot, and then you let go. Because it’s easier, going with the flow, suffering through the pain.

Taking the steering wheel is the hard thing. It’s going to be hard. You have to make some tough choices. Accept responsibility. Say to the person in the mirror:“It’s your fault!“

Maybe sell this shiny car that cost way more than you can afford. Sell the rest of the stuff that doesn’t add real value. You know, the things you don’t need, but bought them to impress the people you don’t like.

Go pay off your debts. Get some financial discipline. Live below your means. Simplify. Own less. Stick with what makes you happy.

Sure, it’s hard. You know you have to do sports if you want to be stronger. You have to eat better if you want to become leaner. You have to quit smoking if you don’t want to die young and smelly. You have to avoid impulse purchases to save money for the things you really need.

It’s tough. But sooner or later, all those have to’s turn into want-to’s. And suddenly you’re much more relaxed, content, joyful. Life is easier. You have hobbies, and you’re better at your job. Better at living.

Every change is hard. But the results of good efforts outweigh the energy invested. That’s why we do it. That’s why the best of our species don’t run on autopilot.

Shut off your cruise-control. Take the steering wheel. Push the pedal. Do. It. Now!

Steer to the place where you’re exactly what you always wanted to be. You already know how to get there. Drum bun!

… and God bless!

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