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ExperienceZone

Learn and grow through experiences

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October 2015

Did you know that digestion takes 80% of your energy?

Do you sometimes feel down after a meal? Well, it certainly tasted great yet leaves you with a bitter-sweet aftermath, which is called “energy drop”. Why and how does this phenomenon occur? And how can you prevent it going forward? Let’s dive into it the ExperienceZone way.

Your energy balance sheet

Everything in the universe consists of energy. It’s ever expanding since the big-bang. At square one, there was infinite density and temperature. Now, our climate on planet earth is decent and matter is well spread.

All energy is still there. Neither new one can be created nor can it be destroyed. It can only be transformed. Food is energy provided by plants or – worst case – animals. Hence, eating fuels your body with energy. Energy, it needs to function – physically and mentally. There’s one caveat though. The cheer act of digestion requires energy. Your jaws need to chew and produces saliva. Your stomach generates gastric acid. Your intestines host microbes, who dehydrate food and soak out the nutrients.

In order to maximize the plus side of your energy balance sheet, you want to minimize the energy investment in digestion whilst maximizing the nutritional value of the food you consume. This way, you’ve a net surplus of energy through eating and tackle your day effectively.

Be food-smart

I used to eat a lot of carbs, dairy products and processed sugar. Afterwards, I felt into the valley of low energy. It took me many years to find my ideal diet and way of consuming food. Whilst there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all, there’re universal dietary rules you want to bear in mind:

  1. Focus on quality. When it comes to food, you want to buy local and seasonal plant based food. Especially leafy greens combined with fruit are high in energy. Don’t confuse energy with calories though. High energy food can be easily converted by your body without friction or loss. High caloric food is dense in terms of its nutritional value, yet isn’t necessarily easy to digest – think red meat. Strive to become a good processor of food rather than eating tons of stuff. It will only slag your digestive track and thus weaken your digestive power.
  2. Follow the sun. As human beings, we’re aligned to the natural rhythms of our planet. So is your digestive power. It is strongest when the sun in in zenith, i.e. at noon. Hence, you want to have a mid-size meal in the morning, a rather large one at noon and at most a snack in the evening.
  3. Purify your food. Next to what you’re eating in which amounts at which time of the day, the way you consume food is paramount. A year ago, I discovered the advantages of a good blender. If you purify your food with it, your whole digestive track needs to invest significantly less energy to convert the food and extract the nutrients. So, get a good blender and make tasty and healthy green smoothies every day!

Why you are unique and similar to others alike

Did you feel like you’re special as a child? I did. Must have been around ten years old when I believed that my consciousness is truly something others don’t have in the same quality. Childish naivety or a profound discovery? Let’s explore it the ExperienceZone way.

We’re all part of the same species

You’re part of humanity. This puts you on par with me. On almost all levels. It includes the makeup of our internal processes: If we’re threatened, fear emerges within us. If we’re delighted, love creeps up. The same applies to our thoughts. If we’re challenged intellectually, we tend to think. Math exercises in school or a round of chess with our parents activate our left hemisphere. The crying baby might cause empathy triggered by our right side of the brain (mind David Pink’s great books). In terms of our external processes, we see the similar patterns. Feelings drive our behavior. We usually tend to speak before we act. Both have repercussions to our internal processes. Finally, our physical structure looks similar: We’ve a head sitting on a corpus with four extremities attached.

You only exist once

Here’re the relieving news for my childish ego: I was right: I’m different to others. In fact, we’re all unique, but only if you dare to take a closer look. Although our human characteristics are the same, the way they use them and how they look significantly differs. You like don’t like cheese. I do (although it’s not healthy). Yet as a child I hated cheese. You like hanging out all day on a Sunday. I hate it (too much of a productivity junkie).

Differences between you and me are caused by our unique genetic blueprint (the stuff your mom and dad inherited to you plus maybe a legacy from former lives). Also, our socialization, including education and parenting wildly differed. You’re and you behave based on your experiences. Latter formed your personality, belief system and your body (I know that the last part is hard to get). Yet, whatever you want to do with your life, i.e. in which way you want to be or act differently or similar (mind role models) to others is in your hands. Every moment you make a decision.

What do you do with these discoveries?

Let’s come up with some tangible steps. Here’re my recommendations:

  1. Mind uniqueness and similarities. Awareness is the first step towards change. So you want to run a personality analysis to find out who you really are. Also, you can travel the country humanity to explore how we’re treating each other and planet earth.
  2. Appreciate your extraordinary capabilities. Once you know where you’re coming from, who you’re and where you want to go (for latter, I advice you to define your mission and aims in life), your self-confidence gets lifted on another level. Reason being it’s based on a stellar introspection. This will enable you to act with skill and tact.
  3. Leverage individuality and commonality. Knowledge without application is like a car without an engine. You need to lean in your career, your social life, your health and self-development. In addition, reach out to like minded people. Those are on the same mission and are open to join forces.

Which employment type suits you best?

Qualification is the stepping stone for your professional life. Once you’ve acquired market relevant skills, you make a career choice. Yet, which employment type is best for you? Employee, freelancer or entrepreneur? Let’s check this one out the ExperienceZone way.

The three employment types

The world is yours. Especially if you got good grades in school and university. That’s what they tell you at least. Well, that’s only half of the story. The other one deals with your decision along the way. Which major do you pick? Which career path do you choose? And related to that: How you want to start in your career? I studied Business Administration and started to work for a huge consulting company. A great way to learn an grow by supporting various clients in different project formats and roles within.

After you’re a few years into your career, you want to reflect on your progress: How steep is your learning curve? Is learning still the most important criterion in this phase of your professional life? Are you satisfied with the make-up of your career? Periodic checks along the way ensure you to realign yourself to your mission, which is build up on your strengths and ultimately passions. Once you got disconnected from those, you’re not following your heart anymore. Instead you function like a robot, which is programmed to take care of food, clothing and shelter (I know that robots actually don’t need any of those).

As you grow, you want to be aware that the risk-and-reward profiles between the employment types differ. As an employee, you’re contributing to a company. Traditionally you’re receiving a fix salary plus bonus as well as benefits. This is a relative sure-shot with low risk and decent rewards. Once you decide to become a freelancer, you need to acquire customers yourself plus take care of the back-office stuff. The money first flows into your pockets straightaway. Hence, it’s mid risk and mid rewards. As an entrepreneur, you’re running your own business and employ people. This is high-risks (you need to pay their salaries) but can be high reward (since others generate revenue and thus profits for you).

Make career smart decisions

I’m still working as an employee and enjoy doing consulting. In addition I have hobbies, which complement my natural passions, like running ExperienceZone a platform for people to learn and grow. I’m blogging almost daily and share videos. There’re various ways to live your dream, Which one works for you?

  1. Get a skill edge: Qualification is the first step towards a great career. Actually, you need to internalize the concept of life-long-learning. Hence it might make sense to start your career in the corporate world to learn and grow after your initial qualification steps. Dive into the know-what, know-how and know-who in various environment. Get a T-shape skill-set, which means deep functional expertise in one area plus decent experience in related ones too.
  2. Embrace change: Everything changes every moment. This is how our world  are designed. If you let things change your life, you give up control. You work in jobs, which are actually not based on your passions. So, drive change proactively by taking control of your life. This implies regular checkpoints with yourself. Introspection in form of a personality analysis helps you to make up your mind about your career.
  3. Mind the pros and cons: Where there’s light, there’s shadow. Every employment type has up- and downsides attached to it. Being accountable for our employees’ food, clothing and shelter, puts pressure on you as an entrepreneur. Learn to deal with it. Plus mind the prerequisites. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. This means that before you change your employment type, say from an employee to a freelancer, you want to first establish a network of potential clients before you jump into the cold water.

How can you live more sustainable?

Ok, I admit it: Sustainability used to be a buzzword to me. Others should turn around the global warming and prevent polar bears from drowning. But who are the “others”? Yeah, humanity and societies consist of institutions. Yet, they’re run by individuals like you and me. So, let’s acknowledge that we’re on the hook to set the example. How? Let’s investigate it the ExperienceZone way.

Sustainability is a responsible mindset

You’re part of the highest developed species on planet earth. Being at the top of the evolutionary ladder is a double edged sword though. We can significantly change things for the better or worse. Let’s be honest: For the last centuries we did latter. In our egocentric drive to live more comfortable, we exploited nature without any long-term perspective. To put it simply: Growth takes time. If you cut off a oak tree, it takes decades for a newly planted one to grow to a similar size. In these decades, less CO2 gets captured. Small changes in our ecosystem do make a difference. Especially if we disregard their impact and cut down million additional trees. We can apply this phenomenon to many other areas, in which humans interfered out of ignorance or greed. The result is that we completely changed the make-up of our home planet in just a few years in terms of its climate as well as diversity.

Assuming you don’t want your grandchildren to live on a desert planet, then you need to step up now. Like Obama said: “We’re the first generation impacted by global warming and the last one to combat it.” So, we’re at an inflection point in world history. If we take the right measures now, we’ll save the world for ourselves, our ancestors and all other species. If we don’t though, we’ll destroy ourselves and everything alive eventually. There’re four areas, in which you can act more sustainable: Nutrition, clothing, mobility and travel. In terms of your diet, you want to eat primarily raw vegan food. If you buy regional and seasonal fruit & vegetables, you’ll have a great impact on the environment. When it comes to your attire, you want to buy high-quality clothes, which have been produced under “fair working conditions” and consist of natural products, i.e. plants which are domesticated, such as cotton. Mobility is key in our modern world. So, strive to take vehicles which don’t pollute the environment much. If you live in or close to a city, you can take public transportation instead of your car. Ideally, you ride a bike, which keeps you in shape and makes you enjoy your ride even more. Last but not least, travel is a huge sustainability lever. There’re a trade-off though: The more more exotic the places you travel and activities you engage in, the bigger your growth opportunities. Yet, going there is always associated with taking a vehicle, which requires energy. Either oil like a car or kerosene like a plane. Ergo: You want to maximize your experiences and of course recharge your batteries without polluting the environment too much.$

How do you live more sustainable?

This is a hard nut to crack. Sustainable behavior is a life-long task. Treat everything as a game, which you can improve continuously. Why? Well, it ensures to deal with it in a playful way with creativity and stellar motivation. Here’s the basic steps:

  1. Picture your dream world. Do you see humanity and planet earth at an edge? Do you agree that we need to turn the wheel now before it’s too late? If yes, then analyze how the world looks at the moment, including what we as humans are doing to our home planet. Then imagine the target state. Lastly, you want to define measures to get there.
  2. Hold yourself accountable. Don’t rely on politicians, scientists or entrepreneurs. If you want to change things? Great! Then you need to step up. Don’t sell yourself short. Most people are passively observing. If you switch into the active creation mode, you’re more than one step ahead. Now you just need to find and work on the right measures.
  3. Live and breathe sustainability. Change your diet. Be proud if you don’t have meat. Your body, the animals and planet earth will be grateful. Buy high-quality clothes. Your skin deserves to wear only the best material. Take the bike or walk to work. A great way to get daylight exposure, move your body and breathe fresh air. Explore your region. You don’t need to go far places. I live in Switzerland for instance. I’ve great mountains just outside my apartment. Surely there’s much to discover in your neighborhood too.

How does dancing relate to your parents?

Consider life being a ginormous play. Basically, you’re an actor. The world is your stage. As your understanding of life deepens, you start to hear subtle tones. After a while, you recognize patterns and thus melodies. The theater turns into a musical. You transform into a dancer.

Relationships are dances.

You practice them frequently – in most cases subconsciously. What does this mean? Well, it translates into the role you’re playing and the image you’ve about yourself and others. Vice versa, others too have an image of you and themselves. Surprisingly or not, the images don’t differ a lot. The outside perspective is actually a function of your self-image. The way you see yourself impact the way others see you. If you think you’re insignificant, others will treat you that way because your lack of confidence shines through. If you think you’re as important as anyone else, others will treat you equally.

What’s more? Similar to images, human relationships are based on the concept of consistency as well. This means that interactions between two people are dependent on the perceptions the actors have about themselves and the other party. This perception gets usually confirmed and thus reinforced over time. I used to have the nice-guy-stamp on my forehead in my family. So whenever I went to gatherings, such as birthdays, others expected me to be “nice”. In order to meet their expectations, I would avoid conflicts and told people what they wanted to hear.

How do you break the beat?

You learn and grow as life progresses. This is the reason why we founded ExperienceZone as a platform for controlled personal transformations. Anyway, deadlocked dances can prevent growth and need to be changed. This is how you do it:

  1. Make up your mind. What’s your role within your family? Are you the nice guy, black sheep or clown? Identity internal and external biases. This starts with introspection via a personality analysis and ends with a family constellation and evaluation of roles and relationships within. Once you know which roles you’re playing, you gain clarity about the related dances.
  2. Have meta-conversations. The longer you engage in a habit, the harder it is to change it. Same applies to dances. Awareness is the first step. However, you’re smoking crack if you think you can change those instantly. Reason being, there’s a partner on the other side, who’s used to that dance and would like to continue it for the sake of consistency. Since it’s impossible to change others, you want to talk with her about how you perceived your relationship, why it is dysfunctional and how you plan to transform it to get buy-in.
  3. Make decisions. If the other person isn’t willing or capable of changing your dance, “changing” falls off the serenity prayer option list. Hence, “loving” or “leaving it” is left. I don’t recommend former, since although re-framing might increase your well-being, you’re still stuck. Consequently, the only meaningful option left is “leaving it”. Tell the other person that you need at least a break for the sake of your self-development. It might sound hard yet will give the other one space and time to reflect upon her behavior.

How long can you survive without drinking?

I hope you never have to ask yourself this question. My point is this though: The more frequent you need to engage in an activity, the more important it is. You can hold your breath for some minutes before you pass out. Consequently, breathing is key to keeping our body alive.

Unlike breathing, drinking is a conscious act

You don’t need to think about breathing. You just do it. Drinking is different though. You’ve to deliberately take care of regular fluid intake. If you don’t, you’ll feel thirsty, dizzy and get a headache. I don’t want to go into details around what will happen thereafter. Dying out of thirst must be terrible. Usually, death sets in after only a few of days.

So, how do you not only avoid dehydration but fuel your body most effectively? First off, bear in mind that your body consists approximately 70% water. During activities, such as sports, sauna visits and hot climate – even sleep – you loose precious fluid, which you want to refill. Best case have always enough in store and thus avoid uncomfortable side-effects. The rule of thumb is keep your urine white. Yellow urine tells you that you need to drink more. Your detoxification organs (such as your liver and kidneys) as well as digestive tracks (especially your stomach) requires fluid to work properly. Eating is important, yet drinking is paramount. You can survive many weeks without eating (people even heal chronic conditions by fasting), but you’ll die after some days of no water intake.

What you need to drink in which amount

As for all things in life, quality and quantity are important. You want to cultivate healthy routines, and responsibly make exceptions for social reasons or quality of life. In terms of quality, I usually drink still water. Yet every now and then I have a glass of wine or another semi-healthy beverage. When it comes to quantity, I normally take three liters a day. Sometimes I drink less though because I simply forget it during busy days. So, how do you put your drinking stakes in the ground?

  1. Analyze the current state. Reflect upon yesterday. What did you drink? How much did you drink? Was that a typical day? If yes, write down the beverages and amounts. This approach might sound over-systemic, yet please follow me here. Awareness is the first step towards change.
  2. Define your target state. You want to shoot for at least two liters of healthy beverages. Again, quantity depends on your body weight, the climate zone you^re living in, your life-style (mind working out regularly) and other factors. What are “healthy beverages”? Those which hydrate your body plus provide nutrients. I’m generally recommending high-quality still water as your basic beverage. You want to complement with green tea and coconut water for instance.
  3. Switch into active gear. Assuming you’ve captured your current state on the left and your target state on the right side of the paper. Next, you want to write down the actions in the middle. They represent the bridge between where you’re and where you want to be. After you’ve done this, start changing your drinking habits immediately. Have a full glass of water always near to you. Bear the 100 days rule in mind: It takes only three months to cultivate healthy routines. Your body will be grateful.

What are the reasons why people change?

Everything changes every time. Yet what triggers deliberate personal transformations? Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. They can be split into away-from or to-wards drivers. Let’s investigate this one the ExperienceZone way.

From initial to structured life improvements

First things first: Terminology. Extrinsic motivation is caused by outside factors, such as the expectation of getting rewarded for a certain behavior. Mind your salary. Intrinsic motivation represents the things you do just because you want to without any outlook on external recognition. Hence, latter is usually the result of inspiration, i.e. your mind is inspired, which triggers action.

The other two motivational dimensions are away-from suffering (imagine you’re facing health problems and want to change your diet) and to-wards goals (think about a certain body weight you want to have). Interestingly, most people initially change away from discomfort.

So did I twice profoundly. At the age of 21, I propelled from my first valley of despair. I exclusively drove on the hedonistic lane. Consequently, my grades at university dropped and my first love left me. After picturing myself a loser, I finally got on my feet and changed everything big-time. Yet I turned the wheel too much too fast and got health issues. Therefore, I needed to rebuild my body and focus on food quality instead of quantity from thereon. Since then I live life dynamically, yet balanced. Meantime, cultivating new routines is like a piece of cake.

Ergo: Many people need to first fall deep before they learn to climb (away-from motivation). Once they know how to do it though, they start to design their lives like architects and change it effortlessly (to-wards motivation).

Motivation represents your readiness to act.

I don’t want you to walk through your own desert before you learn to flex your life. Instead, you can learn from my experiences. Admittedly, change is not easy but simple. Here’re the steps:

  1. Be honest to yourself. “Actually, I’m satisfied with my life.” Well, people using the term “actually” have a huge sign on their foreheads: “I’m not happy yet don’t know how or don’t want to change things.” Apparently their pain is just not big enough yet. So check yourself. Is there anything in any area of life you want to change? If yes, why don’t you do it? Do you’ve any limiting believes? Honesty leads to awareness. Awareness is the first step towards any improvement.
  2. Picture your dream life. Our common objective is to become happy. Happiness is a complex thing though. Why? It’s a state of mind. If you’re not happy at the moment, you want to change your mind, which implies changing your thoughts, feelings, emotions and underlying belief-system. Since this is difficult, I recommend you to change your words and actions first. They’ll positively impact your inner processes. Beforehand gain clarity about how your life looks like “in perfect” and what you need to do to get there. In other words: Define your mission and set aims in life.
  3. Switch into active gear. A car is useless without an engine. Strategy is nothing without execution. Your ideas are worthless without action. Once you fleshed out a plan, you need to follow through with willpower and persistence. Chunk it down into incremental steps, so that you witness small successes along the way. Latter are big enough to fire your motivation and lift you on a virtual cycle. Experience it and remember my words along the way: Change is not easy but simple.

How to find your profession

You only live a few decades on this planet. Hence, the sure-fire way to turn your passions into your profession. How do you do this? Let’s discover it the ExperienceZone way.

What drives you?

Nature and nurture. You certainly come with certain predispositions on planet earth. Those natural capabilities make math being either a walk in the park or through hell. If you top this with the approach to rather build up on your strengths than level out your weaknesses, your skill blueprint manifests itself into a job. Great! You do stuff you’re naturally good at!

Yet, what if talent is way overrated? What if you can become passionate and thus a master in anything? What if you also need to give something, which the world truly needs and others are willing to pay for? Now, we’re talking about the passion-to-profession continuum. This ExperienceZone concept says that you’ve been born with an almost empty skill-bucket. Only the ground is covered with some seeds called talents. As you go through life you’ve to grow these talents into unique strengths or combinations of skills. The fertilizer is called passion. Your motivation interest. What does this mean? The more interested you’re in something, the more you learn about it. The deeper you dig, the more passionate and knowledgeable you become. A powerful combination: You can talk more broadly and in more detail about a topic with more enthusiasm (know-what). Also, you apply it in daily life and make experiences (know-how). This way you can grow plants of capabilities (silo-skills) and eventually a garden (symbiotic skills through cross-application). Finally, you need to maintain your knowledge-ecosystem by cutting off obsolete branches and adding new components, which are in demand by others.

How do you grow a profession?

I used to believe that I’m not strong in math until I grew into an IT consulting role. Then I thought that presentation skills are either god-given or non-existent. This believe got destroyed by me holding hundreds of presentations like second nature. So, how do you find your profession?

  1. Get to know yourself. What keeps you focused for hours? During which activities do you forget time? When do you experience flow? First, write down these basic passions. Then translate them into strengths. You love drawing? Then you’re probably good in seeing and capturing stuff visually.
  2. Define your reason for existence. Once you’ve your key 3-5 strengths clear, you want to think about how the world looks today and how you want it to look like in an ideal state. Visualize how people act within. How do they live? What do they do? What do they need? Now, its time to define your mission. Your contribution to achieving this dream future.
  3. Turn your mission into your profession. Your profession is to translate your mission into a career. What jobs are available, which make you live your mission? Do you want to be a painter to make others happy? Then go for it!

Why singing in a choir increases your emotional intelligence

I do it every day. Under the shower. Whilst ironing my shirts. In my car. I sing where ever and whenever appropriate. A great way to express myself in a playful way. It seems like there’s a specific positive impact of singing in a group though. Let’s investigate this one the ExperienceZone way.

Singing is a beautiful social act

I can write books about the pros of singing. Well, first off: I’m probably not a “good” singer. Yet, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Plus it doesn’t matter if your singing voice sounds good to you or others. All that matters is that you do it. Become an experienced singer. Why’s that? In a nutshell: Through regulated breathing, and the resonance the tune creates with your body, you strengthen your immune system, release stress and produce endorphins.

Group singing bears additional benefits. By joining a choir or band, you become part of a social network. Since we’re all social beings, you’ll discover an additional positive impact on your well-being just by the act of getting together with others on a regular basis. What’s more? Collective singing seems to be a multiplier of all the advantages described above. Moreover, the music you create jointly will challenge you to adjust to the dynamics of the group. This will improve your intuitive intelligence, empathy and eventually emotional intelligence.

I recently visited a local choir. Although my Swiss German is everything else than perfect, I chipped into their songs. Stunningly, goose bumps appeared punctually. This kind of “skin orgasm” emerges once you experience flow during passages, which touch you emotionally. To this end, singing can be compared to a drug . Hold your horses: It’s a healthy one, which I recommend everyone to get addicted to.

Join the musical fun!

How do you dive into the experience and get the most out this great hobby? Here’re my recommendations:

  1. Do it yourself. You like music? Great! Then tune into it. Start to sing regularly. It doesn’t matter if you know the text (or even if the music contains text). Make it up. Whenever you’re alone and listen to music, sing out loud. If you’re sitting in a bus or train in company with your earphones on, at least hum or “sing into you”.
  2. Join a group. Are you a spiritual person? Good for you! Visit the local choir. Become a member. Work with others to improve your skills. Otherwise you can join a band. You don’t know anyone running one, then found your own band! It can consist of your partnerfamily members or friends.
  3. Hang in there. Singing is an ubiquitous Recreation & Fun activity. There’s no age limit. It guarantees a healthy and long life. So find or create a great environment, which makes you feel comfortable – to sing alone and in a group. Make singing a daily habit and experience its magic.

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