Learn and grow through experiences


Community & Environment

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.

Did you know that communities made us survive?

There’re one evolutionary reason why you can read these lines: You’re part of humanity – a highly developed species, which successfully adjusted to changing environments for thousands of years. How did we do this? Through collaboration. Let’s explore how it worked in the stone age and which role human interactions play in the modern world. The ExperienceZone way: Short and actionable.

You’re designed to engage

If we reflect upon human history, we always gathered together in groups. Clans and big families were the most prevalent type of community. They moved as nomads through ancient Africa in order to survive. Through the division of labor, we took care of food, clothing and shelter. Women often formed groups of gatherers and men went on the hunt. Both teams wouldn’t have been successful if they wouldn’t have collaborated. It ensured women to find the best spots for gathering fruit and men to make a prey. As we fast-forward through the history of inventions, such as fire, the wheel and thus first vehicles as well as agriculture, ideas of many got mashed into something, which represented a quantum leap for humanity.

Together we’re legion. This still applies to our modern world, in which everybody still wants to make a living. Covering basic needs is still priority one. In addition, we identified higher means (think Maslow’s pyramid), which we want to accomplish. How do we do this? By reaching out. You want to go places? Great! Then you need a host to let you crunch on her couch. You want to make the next career step? Way to go! Then you need your boss to step up for you in the steal-cage-death-match meeting. You want to change the world? Wow! Then you better reach out to do-gooder communities to get your ideas shaped and implemented.

How do you collaborate effectively?

Take ExperienceZone: It’s a social network. One of the most complex endavours one can launch nowadays. Without my development folks and my brother overlooking the technical stuff, we wouldn’t be able to come this far. Whatever you’re up to, you need the support of others:

  1. Make up your mind. What do you want to accomplish? On individual level, this falls back to your mission and aims in life. Once you gained clarity about your goals, you need to come up with a plan.
  2. Brainstorm resources. For each action in your plan, assign others who help you to follow through. This might be your partner remembering you to stick to your low-carb diet. This might be your peers supporting you in delivering the project in time and quality.
  3. Reach out. Once you know whom you can leverage, fill them in. Let folks know what you want to do, have or be by when. Let alone spreading the word brings you closer to achieving your objectives. Bear in mind, that people are more willing to support you if you give before you take, i.e. offer your support in achieving their mission and aims in life.

Why have you been born as a human being?

A philosophical question to which usually no objective answer exists. Instead, you need to search it inside yourself. That’s what religious people say. My take is this: Questions beginning with “why” are backward looking. Rather look forward and ask “what” you want to do with your life and “how” it needs to be designed. That’s the reason why I founded ExperienceZone.

You are part of a community

It is called humanity. That’s a big one. So, let’s slice and dice the elephant:

First, you want to understand what human beings are: The highest developed species on our planet (maybe in the universe). If Darwin would be reborn today and walk across the Times Square in New York, he would be surprised by way humans have manipulated natural laws to accommodate our own needs (assuming he remembered his past famous life). We developed medicine to cure diseases, yet created new ones by detaching from nature – especially in terms of our diet (think food allergies and intolerances). We fly thousands of miles on jet planes in only a few hours and have even been to the moon. Yet we invented drones to surveil each other and build nuclear bombs, which can kill thousands of human beings in seconds.

Secondly, maturity brings responsibility. The more we know and can do, the more options we’ve to design our lives and the world around us. That’s exactly the problem. The more choices you’ve, the harder to choose. Consequently, many are nowadays lost; in terms of how they should live, i.e. which standards they should follow (in terms of value, moral and ethics). All of us want to be happy. Happiness is an inner state. An expression of you being in your flow. What is your flow? It’s the stream you create by following your heart. In other words: By leveraging your passions to create something sustainable. Bottom line, happiness is a result of successfully building something that lasts. In fact, we want to leave a legacy. We long to be regarded as good human beings – during our lifetime and even thereafter.

Everyone wants to be happy. We just take different measures.

Funny how nature wrote the blueprint of life in such a way that highly developed species by default develop a sense of responsibility, which is based on a value framework. Latter requires that happiness is aligned to doing good deeds with a long term perspective. That’s the theory. Yet, why do many human beings actually harm others, torture animals and exploit our planet? Reason being, their incentive schemes encourage destructive behavior. As long as we can earn money with selling animal meat and skin, we’ll hunt and kill them. As long as religious leaders preach that everyone not believing in their god, is a bad human being, we embark in religious fights. As long as there’s a market for natural resources, we engage in fragging.

How do you step up your game?

Keep your head up though. You can make a difference and thus impact the behavior of everybody else. How? By creating a plan and executing it relentlessly.

  1. Appreciation: Recognize the fact that you’re equipped with the most powerful tools in the universe. Your brain, heart and gut are intelligence centers, which can move mountains if you only believe in yourself and your mission. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re as important as any other human being and can win everyone over with enthusiasm. Latter is no genetic disposition but can be developed by diving deep into topic areas. The more you know about something, the more interested and thus enthusiastic you get.
  2. Planning: Next you want to engage in an activity, which helps you to create enthusiasm. Just sit or lay down at a quite place, close your eyes and think about the status quo of our world. Put yourself in the shoes of an extraterrestrial being observing us from outer space: How’s the planet doing? How is humanity behaving on it? How do we treat each other, animals and earth? I’m sure you find some areas of improvement. Then think about how your dream world would look like. How do the human beings behave in it? Take a bath in these beautiful pictures. The power of visualization and imagination makes you feel these two worlds. After you’ve taken the decision to live in latter, it’s time to open your eyes, take a pen and paper and write down what you’ve seen. Draw three columns: The header of the left column is called “current state”, on top of the middle one write “actions” and the one on the right goes by the name of “target state”. 3-5 bullets per column to recollect the current and target state enough. Being mentally fully aware, you can now build the bridge between them by writing down specific actions human beings can engage in to improve the situation.
  3. Action: Finally, hold yourself accountable for making the first step. You know the actions we need to engage in. You can start with some straightaway like picking up trash at busy city centers. Others will see you and follow your example. In parallel, you want to leverage powerful levers to have a bigger impact immediately. Those are called communities. Just do some research in the internet. You want to save the black jaguar? Great, then WWF might be an organization to join. You want to stop wale fishing in Japan? Then Greenpeace might be an option. Come up with creative ideas and then switch into action mode by connecting with people in power-positions. Many people are passive consumers nowadays. That’s your chance to become an active producer and make our world a better place. You cannot imagine how large your impact is once you’ve a plan and start to execute it.

Why is selfless proactive giving such a powerful tool?

Communities consist of members with similar interests and goals. I know, your fellows in the gym want to get either ripped or bulky. Yet both are actually results on the same scale: Physical exercises. So, why should you care about the guys you’re sharing barbells with? Let’s shed some light on it the ExperienceZone way.

Why are you part of communities?

We’re social beings rather than islands. This ExperienceZone truism makes you go to the church or spend your Saturday afternoon at the political party counter in a busy city center. We need other people to accomplish our goals and receive recognition alike. However, both don’t come naturally just because you’re a part of a community. I used to be a passive member of several NGOs. I donated, yet didn’t contribute actively in any of their activities. Eventually I left most of them. Why? It simply isn’t rewarding if you’re not leaning into something. Ok, I transferred money on a monthly basis and thus covered the giving part. Yet I neither knew what they do with it nor was I sincerely interested (of course, I wanted the last black Jaguars to be saved).

Ergo: Giving just to caress your ego or prevent a bad consciousness, is insufficient. You need to do it with care. This implies interest or even engaged contribution without expecting anything in return (at most the satisfying feeling to fill your karma account or in a social term, your favor bank account). So, how do you do this?

Practice intelligent selfishness

Yep, that’s what I call proactive selfless giving. Did I just commit the crime of creating an Oxymoron? Maybe. Follow me here: Everything everyone does involves self-interest. Period. Reason being, we all want to be happy. We just take different measures. Hence, everything we do shoots for this selfish target. The issue is that the more you let your ego shine through, the harder it will be to give freely, build relationships and thus leverage others to get there. But that’s exactly what you need to do to become contented! So, how do you get the keys to the kingdom?

  1. Run a status-quo community check. Which communities do you belong to? Any time-wasters which are not aligned to your mission or aims in life among them? If yes, leave them rigorously! Only stay in those 3-5 communities, which you really feel committed to. Take the sniper rifle rather than the shot gun approach.
  2. Get to know the key members. Communities, like any other organizations, are run by humans. So, you want to find out who’s in power positions. Get to know the people calling the shots. Attend yearly gatherings. Come up with ideas. Share them with enthusiasm. The more you care and show the leaders that you do, the bigger your impact.
  3. Take immediate action. Developing ideas is great. Yet they’re not worth investing any mental CPUs if you don’t follow through. Ideas are only the raw material of actions. Latter will get you from A to B. So think about what you can contribute instead of what you want to get out. Don’t worry: You’ll be at least rewarded with a good feeling. Plus come closer to the collective goal of the community (which is anyway aligned to your mission and aims in life).

Why only you can change the world

Community & Environment used to be buzzwords to me. In other words: I couldn’t care less. Others should work off their butts to defend human rights in China or save the last Snow Leopards in the Himalaya. Yet whilst bringing ExperienceZone to life, I discovered two things:

Firstly, communities are great levers for big time impact

I’m addicted to change. I love to change myself. This starts with cultivating new routines, from daily workout components to life-style transforming moves, like going raw. Also, I’m eager to help others to transforming into super-humans or do-gooders. Yep, I can just spark a fire within you. The door of change can only be opened from the inside. I dropped my hubris illusion that “I can change others”.

Communities represent groups of people. If I want to have an impact, I need to attend and contribute. Which routes do we want to cycle in my bike club? How do we want to reinvest the donations in my charity organization? What is the next ExperienceZone feature? Meantime, I make things happen rather waiting them to happen.

Secondly, planet earth counts on your support

It is high time to save our planet. As global warming progresses, the water level is rising and extreme weather phenomenons become more prevalent. In our ignorance, we fight each other instead hunger and thirst together. In my ignorance I used to rely on others. “Politicians, scientists and executives should fix this”. With that I gave away power and thus the ability to design my life plus the world eventually. Learn from my bad example. Don’t give away control.

Switch into active gear. Become a Social Superstar!

If you sit back and relax, you deny your creative power. Essentially, you behave like a victim. The little ball thrown in the air by the waves of life. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Gain clarity about which communities you belong to. Familiarize yourself with their purposes. Exit those which are neither aligned with your mission and aims in life. Stick to those 3-5 communities, which support your plans. Get to know influential people.
  2. Come up with creative ideas – to impact communities and our planet. Take every day or at least once per week dedicated time to brainstorm. No idea is too wild. Write them down.
  3. Reach out to others. Share your ideas. Enrich them with the view of like-minded people. The more an idea gets massaged, the better it usually becomes.
  4. Take action now. Don’t wait for others to make the first step. Become a forerunner. A lighthouse. The snowball, which causes the avalanche of positive change in this world.

How communities can make you successful

Picking up on the article Why are we happier in company than alone?, being in groups make us feel better yet also more successful. You are part of different communities. They represent groups of human beings established for various reasons. From large ones such as humanity, over society to small ones such as your neighborhood chess club.

Why are communities essential to our lives?

Evolutionary, we are gregarious animals. We found families and are committed to larger groups as well. In stone age, hunters went out together. They joined forces to circle the target and thus increased the probability to kill the animal. Gatherers too teamed  up. Younger members learned from older ones which fruit & vegetables are eatable and how to prepare them. Experiences and wisdom got refined as well as passed on for generations.

Why are you more successful in a group?

In contrast to many other species, human beings are able to learn from the experiences of others. Ok, this ensured survival. Yet is this also a receipt for success? Yes.

If you can build up on others’ experiences, say you learn from your peers that requesting a decision from your boss via mail doesn’t really work, you try to pitch her verbally. Since she’s apparently a listener rather than a reader, your ask might resonate with her and she might be more likely to take action upon it. Hence, building up on what doesn’t work is a great way to accelerate trial-and-error-loops.

Also, having a social network of experts allows you to tap into the common multiple of knowledge. This increases the chance that you get a better answer quicker than via conventional sources, such as your local library or even Google. You might be smarter than me but not smarter as us. The swarm intelligence is certainly a great lever of groups. I just read an article that especially open networks are a great success predictor. Of course, it is risky to engage with a heterogeneous bunch of people as you might be perceived as an outsider to many. On the flip-side the diversity bears huge opportunities of different ideas, viewpoints and knowledge you can utilize to accomplish your goals.

So, how do you best interact in communities?

Know which communities you belong to. Some memberships are for life, like your race (you cannot brush off your skin color). Others you can exit if they don’t support your aims in life. Therefore you want to check which ones are aligned with your mission. Then you can evaluate what you can contribute to their objectives and how they can help you. Engage with people who you admire and can learn from. Surround yourself with inspiring and empowering people. Yet know that you need to first give before you can ask for favors. Your gifts need to be high-quality. Become interesting to others! Finally, be aware that sheep-behavior can be dysfunctional at times where you want to be innovative. Always say what you think and stick to your guns. You are valuable because you and your opinion are unique.

What is your experience zone?

Most of us spend 99% of our time in our comfort zones. Eat, work, sleep, and repeat. Days, weeks, months and years pass by. What a waste of time! We only have a few decades on this planet. Let’s use them! So, what do you need to do? Awareness is the first step towards change. Recognize your comfort zone. The functional area, in which you don’t take much risk yet don’t learn a lot too.

Do you want to stop existing and start living? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Tap into your experience zone to learn, grow, and become truly happy. Experiences turn into memories in hindsight. What do most people think about on their deathbeds? Definitely not about the money they earned, the houses they lived in or the cars they drove. Rather the people they met, the placed they traveled, and the experiences they made.

Take deliberate steps into your ExperienceZone. Watch out: It is thin and you might overrun into your danger zone; uncharted territory, in which every step could be your last one. Do every day or at least every week something new. Start with small things like using the other hand to brush your teeth or taking another way to work without switching on your GPS. Write a bucket list of things you’d like to do before you die. Or best case create an aims in life folder. Make sure that those cover all areas of life: Nutrition & Energy, Family & Friends, Community & Environment, Sports & Relaxation, Recreation & Fun, Career & Financials, and Self Development. Also, ensure that it addresses all dimensions of being, doing, having, and giving.

Finally, go out and just do it. Jump fear straight in its face. Irrational fears are a great pointer towards the things which you need to do to learn, grow and become happy.

Do you really belong to the highest developed species?

Biologist might argue that humans are superior to other animals. Yes, you read correctly. We are mammals and thus animals. I must admit that our minds are pretty advanced. We remember the past, are aware of the present and imagine the future. Also, we’re able to learn from other humans plus developed sophisticated languages. One might think too many and difficult ones…

Anyway, all of these features separate us from other animals, even the smartest, such as chimps and dolphins. There is one fact, which bugs me though. We settled, build cities and founded states. Despite scientific, economic and technological discoveries, we act like a bull in a china shop. We fight each other just because we want to keep political, economic or religious control (which we know is an illusion), torture animals just because we want to stick to our unhealthy diets and exploit natural resources just because we want to waste our life-times in traffic jams. Whether we started the war or not; whether we slayed the cows or not; whether we caused global warming or not: If we continue to walk this path, we will at least kill ourselves. Maybe even more other species beforehand. Worst case destroy planet earth

Are we really the highest developed species? If yes, let’s step up, take responsibility, and turn the wheel around for our own sake. Let’s prove that we’re not those selfish lemmings as an alien watching us from outer-space the last 100 years might think. Let’s live up to our understanding to be the crown of creation. It all starts with YOU. NOW. Join the movement at ExperienceZone.

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