Crisis, what crisis is back online…

After long weeks of silence, due to a faulty plug-in, the site is back online and accessible. A big thank you to the GoDaddy team, my hoster, who was able to find the culprit and bring the site back on its feet.

I will then, after huge popular demand (okay, I’m slightly exaggerating, but not that much… :-)), be capable to post some new posts. With the victory of Donald Trump today, the crisis news will intensify!

Happy reading and see you soon under the sun of the internet!

Une crise, vous avez entendu parler d’une crise, vous ?

https://unsplash.com/anthonydelanoix

https://unsplash.com/anthonydelanoix

Jour 714 C’est la crise à droite à cause de la vilaine Marine, c’est la crise à gauche à cause du vilain Bartolone, c’est la crise économique à cause de la vilaine finance, c’est la crise des migrants à cause du vilain Bachar, c’est la crise de l’éthique avec le vilain Donald, où que l’on regarde, c’est la crise partout. La vraie crise dans tout ça : celle des médias qui nous abreuvent de leurs commentaires, de leurs peurs et des névroses de tout un chacun amplifiées par les effets papillons et boule de neige. Alors moi je dis, stop ! Y’en avait déjà ras la casquette avant les élections régionales en France et celles présidentielles aux USA, mais là, la coupe est pleine. En fait, non, la coupe est vide. Vide de sens, vide d’idées, vide de courage, vide d’ambition, vide de futur qui chante, vide d’espoir, mais par-dessus tout vide d’intelligence collective.

Les peuples veulent plus de justice, de partage et de joie, les individus plus de sécurité, de replis communautaire et d’ostracisme. Le monde est en fait devenu schizophrène, car incapable d’imaginer un futur de partage joyeux, presque communisant devrais-je dire. Pas étonnant que les riches soient de plus en plus riches et les pauvres de plus en plus pauvres. Ah, mais c’est ce qu’on vous a dit, parce que dans les pays dits développés, les pauvres sont de plus en plus riches en fait, malgré les écarts qui s’amplifient.

Alors oui, il y a peut-être une crise, c’est surtout celle des consciences qui se délitent, qui voient le lendemain sans penser au mois prochain, qui voient leurs nombrils sans penser au moi prochain. On en revient alors aux plus simples des fondamentaux : liberté, fraternité, égalité. Terminons par le clivage mondialiste et patriote dans lequel veut nous entrainer le FHaine. Ne peut-on pas être mondialiste et patriote à la fois ? Reconnaitre que le monde est plat et qu’il est riche de ses diversités ? Manger un couscous à midi avec un verre de Boulaouane gris et un petit salé au lentille le soir avec un verre de Crozes Hermitage ? Aimer flâner sur le bord de mer à Maputo, Casablanca, Singapore ou Nice, en appréciant la diversité d’architecture et de culture ? Faire croire que la force d’un pays est dans sa petite monnaie nationale ? Que de questions et que de mensonges. A ces mensonges, je ne réponds qu’une seule vérité : c’est en sortant de chez soi avec un esprit ouvert que chacun s’apercevra que de Dunkerque à Tamanrasset et bien au-delà, il n’est que des hommes égaux et différents, que des peuples uniques et riches de leurs histoires, que des mondes fascinants qui ne demandent qu’à être découverts et partagés.

Alors, il y a une crise ? Non, pas chez moi, ni chez mes voisins ou chez les personnes que je côtoie. Le monde est le meilleur qu’il peut être au moment où il l’est. Quand on a intégré cette vérité, on vit heureux. Heureux qui comme Ulysse à fait un beau voyage ! Sortez et découvrez que c’est en ouvrant les bras aux autres qu’on continuera à construire plus de liberté, de fraternité et d’égalité. A tchao, bonsoir !

Il y a peu de Justes et beaucoup de Complices

J 631Jour 631. Si on vous demande si vous seriez capable de prendre part à un massacre d’innocents, il y a de fortes chances que vous disiez non, que vous vous révoltiez à l’idée même que je puisse poser la question. Pourtant, l’étude du professeur Milgram sur l’obéissance prouve le contraire. Elle est à la base de toutes les doctrines fascistes et extrémistes, et c’est en cela que les thèses du Front National en France sont dangereuses et que sous ses faux airs de Madone, Marine Le Pen est une impressionnante manipulatrice des consciences comme l’était Adolf Hitler en son temps. La comparaison peut faire grincer des dents, mais je rappelle que Nazi signifiait National-Socialisme, rien de moins et qu’à ses débuts Hitler n’inspirait pas le dégout qu’il inspire aujourd’hui, comme on a pu le constater avec la photo de la future Reine d’Angleterre faisant le salut nazi.

Revenons un instant sur les études du professeur Milgram. Faites dans les années 60, puis refaites plus récemment, elles montrent qu’une majorité d’entre nous peuvent obéir à des ordres qui contredisent leur morale et leurs valeurs. Cette expérience démontre comment la soumission à l’autorité fonctionne. Bien que controversée, c’est surtout le protocole d’étude qui le fut, elle permet d’expliquer pourquoi des gens normaux peuvent devenir des bourreaux, presque sans s’en apercevoir.

Ce qui me fascine dans cette expérience, qui demande à des cobayes d’administrer des décharges électriques à une personne dans une pièce adjacente, en n’ayant comme retour que les cris de cette personne, sont les ordres donnés par le scientifique (la personne qui guide l’expérience vêtu d’une blouse blanche – l’autorité) :

  1. « Veuillez continuer s’il vous plaît. »
  2. « L’expérience exige que vous continuiez. »
  3. « Il est absolument indispensable que vous continuiez. »
  4. « Vous n’avez pas le choix, vous devez continuer. »

Les mots sont soigneusement choisis, jusqu’à l’ordre qui indique que la personne a perdu son libre arbitre : « vous n’avez pas le choix ». Que ferais-je dans un tel cas ? Que feriez-vous ? A froid, on se dit qu’on refuserait, mais dans le feu de l’action, peut-on le jurer ? C’est sans doute pour cela que dans les régimes durs, il y a peu de Justes et beaucoup, beaucoup de complices. Pas toujours volontaires, mais manipulés. Cela devrait nous faire réfléchir à toutes les doctrines prônant le refus des différences et la haine de l’autre.

The incredible chance of diversity

https://unsplash.com/anthonydelanoix

https://unsplash.com/anthonydelanoix

Day 630. The more I read about what’s happening around the refugees crisis in Europe, the more I see an enormous chance lost. For the last 15 years, I had the incredible chance of traveling across the Middle-East and Africa. Two weeks ago I was in Egypt, last week in South Africa, this week back in Mauritius, in two weeks in Turkey. Call me lucky, call me crazy travelling that much, whatever, I am blessed! And I am blessed having met and worked with incredible talents from all over the world, from Brazil to Syria, from the US to Singapore, from Uganda to Senegal… from all possible religions and colors skin. In all of these people there was one common point: they ALL wanted to grow, to be better and to make others and the world better. A couple of days ago, I had dinner with a Ivorian, a Lebanese, a Mauritian and an Italian! Just freaking awesome moment!

When I read and see what is happening in France, in the UK, in Hungary, etc. I am ashamed! I understand the need of keeping people and a country safe, but man, when Europe is capable of printing trillion of Euros to bailout banks, isn’t it capable of printing a couple of billions to help people in need. People of Europe, look at how America has been built. It’s not perfect, far from it, but it has been built and continue to be build by « immigrants »! People of Europe, look at the incredible diversity that exists within and outside your borders. It’s not by closing the latter you will grow, actually this is the exact opposite, you will shrink!

Diversity is necessary, by accepting and embracing diversity, you kill extremism behaviors. By accepting and embracing diversity, you expand your thinking. By accepting and embracing diversity, you share humanity. I hope I will never have to ask for help for survival like these people from Kurdistan, Syria, Iraq or other countries, but the thing I know is if it happens, I hope somebody will be there to give me a helping hand, just to take me out of water and put me on safe ground. Europe, wake up, diversity is your chance!

L’ours est de retour…

https://unsplash.com/thomaslefebvre

https://unsplash.com/thomaslefebvre

Jour 603. Non, je ne parle pas de moi, mais bien de la chute des bourses, le fameux Bear market que tous, ou presque, les analystes avaient prévu. La Chine s’enrhume et c’est le monde entier qui tousse. Dans les quelques jours qui viennent de se passer et ceux qui vont survenir, des fortunes vont disparaitre et d’autres vont naitre. Les soldes ont commencé !

Les gros titres sont partout et la finance, ce cancer que décriait le président français avant d’être élu et avec lequel il pactise tous les jours désormais, va encore être montrée du doigt avec, sans aucun doute, raison. Mais comme avec toute chose en ce bas monde, ce que tu ne peux battre, fais-en ton allié. Alors, oui les soldes ont commencé, c’est le moment sans doute d’acheter, et en tout cas de moyenner à la baisse les achats de ces derniers mois. Allez, bon marché !

Greece 2015, Germany 1918? #ThisIsACoup

https://unsplash.com/ugmonk

https://unsplash.com/ugmonk

Day 559. Greece has said yes to Europe. Europe has reached an agreement with Greece. Although I am no historian, no politician, and no diplomat, while reading the reports of the negotiation marathon I had one feeling: Europe has humiliated Greece, like in its time Allies had humiliated Germany after World War I. Of course the circumstances are different. Of course Greeks need to reimburse their debtors. Of course Greece needs to demonstrate its willingness and possibility of repaying its debt while avoiding to go into the next crisis.

As a kid, I was taught to practice what you preach. Tell me M. Hollande and other European so-called « leaders »: why do you continue lending money, not your money, but taxpayers’ money, to Greece while you know that Greece will never be able to pay back its debt? Not only you ruined France, you will now ruin Greece, adding shame to prejudice. For the first time since WW2, land sovereignty has been compromised. Not by war, by money. Greece will sell its territory to payback its debt, not because it wanted to do it, because it was told to do it.

I am not sure how the Greeks will react to this « agreement ». Time will tell. But in 1918, Germans felt badly and the post-war recession opened the door to fascism and ended up with WW2. IMHO, one thing is blatantly visible in this crisis: people never learn from their mistakes and history is doomed to repeat itself, again and again! What’s up doc? Nothing, the sun will continue shining for a few billion years, whatever happens to those tiny living creatures called human beings, so as Candide was saying « we must cultivate our garden ».

The Greek crisis and the game theory

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https://unsplash.com/margaretbarley

Day 548. Greece and Europe are arm-wrestling. Yes, Greece needs to repay its debt, we all agree, including the Greek government. Although I am no subject-matter expert in the Greek crisis, I have read tons of articles on the whys and the hows of this crisis, and no one mentionned the fact that Yanis Varoufakis, the Minister of Finance, that everybody seems to like to hate, is one of the best experts in game theory.

Read in Wikipedia: « Game theory is mainly used in economics, political science, and psychology« . Interesting that the first three topics are the one listed here. I would be a member of the famous troika, I would be worried playing chess with one of the best masters that exist. Imagine trying to beat Kasparov. You would probably gather all the best chess experts to get the best player to play. But still, there will be some uncertainty.

Varoufakis and Tsipras seem to place a big bet on organizing the referendum this coming Sunday, but I bet this esteemed professor knows what he’s doing and knows the odds are in his favor. This is what probably worries the troika: what they saw as a dwarf they could command may actually be the David who defeated Goliath with his sling. The story’s not over and our game theorist is certainly enjoying the game.

8 reasons why you have to switch your TV off

Weathering the storm

Rule number 1: Switch your TV off! – Second Part

Kid watching TV

Picture from http://pixabay.com/fr/users/mojzagrebinfo-278781/ – Licence CC0

Day 516. Answering the questions of yesterday’s post helped you realize that television is not helping you to realize your goals, keeping them as mere dreams, far, far away. Of course, the path to least resistance will fight inside your brain to tell you that eh, TV is not that bad. And once again, it’s true, it’s not that bad, it’s what you make of it that is bad. A car is good, you can kill people by running into them and this does not make the car bad, it’s your actions that turned the car into a killing engine. TV is the same, and it can kill too : your ambitions, your dreams, your time.

Here are 8 good reasons that will help you realize that you need to switch your TV off for good :

  1. You can be informed through other medias that YOU solicit: a daily newspaper, radio, internet, podcasts, blogs, news site, etc. On the news piece, it’s a topic on itself, but I have two questions I always ask myself when listening or watching the news: Does it concern me directly? Can I act upon it? For instance, if there’s an earthquake in another country and although I will feel compassion, does it change my daily life? Can I do something to help? If no to both, then move forward. As an individual, you cannot solve all problems of the world or of your country, so chose your battles wisely. I’ll write on this more, but it’s crucial.
  2. It’s possible to get distraction through other channels: movies, theater, museums, games, reading, sport, etc. All other distractions will solicit your brain and your muscle, but more importantly your own decision: you have to decide and act, not just being on the receiving end.
  3. Television is the least social media. You cannot talk, debate, exchange ideas while watching TV. You are just a spectator.
  4. Television does not teach anything useful. There are some good programs during which you can learn things, but it’s a minority. You can learn the same by going to a public library or searching on the Internet.
  5. Television costs you money. It’s cost of purchase, of electricity, of cable network subscription, just to name a few. You can probably save hundreds if not thousands of dollars/euros every year by switching it off and canceling all your subscriptions.
  6. Television makes people dumb. Scientific studies have shown that kids can become asocial and violent through too much TV and too little social interaction.
  7. Television manipulates you. Whether state or private television, television proposes one point of view, gives you one angle. Freedom is about questioning, pondering, not absorbing blatantly,
  8. Television serves ads that you are not interested in. It goes with above manipulation. Watching TV sinks products in your brain and forces you to consume products you may not need.

If you are conscious of those 8 points, then you are probably making the right decision for you if you watch TV. Otherwise, take some time to think about it and make a decision, either to continue watching it or to switch it off. We will see later what you can replace it by.

4 questions to answer to understand why you have to switch your TV off!

Weathering the storm

Rule number 1: Switch your TV off! – First Part

6396-television-remoteDay 515. Television is a mere distraction. Nobody, really nobody, has ever succeeded in life, made a fortune or grew personally watching TV. Watching TV is merely a way to spend time without thinking. If you are serious to weather the storm that we call the crisis, if you are serious about taking control of your destiny, if you are serious about finding success and have a meaningful life, you need to switch your TV off for good.

TV is not bad in essence, but because it’s so easy to switch it on and zap from one channel to the other, I encourage you to just get rid of your TV set, get rid of your subscription to cable or satellite TV and repurpose the time you spent watching it. I know some of you will resist: we all need to relax, we need distraction, TV is a good distraction. I agree, I have some questions for you:

  1. How long do you spend watching TV every day?
  2. What are you watching?
  3. Are you interested in a particular program or are you watching what you find randomly?
  4. Is what you watch help you progressing on your way to realizing your goals?

To make progress you need to understand what pulls you backward and which of the strings you can cut. If you are watching TV two hours a day, consider cutting this in half and allocate the hour saved to activities that help you toward your goals. This could be reading a book, playing a game with your child, going for a walk with your spouse, writing your journal, something that you will enjoy, that will relax you and that will help you.

It may look like a baby step, but it’s the constant drip of water that drills a hole in a rock, not throwing a bucket of water on to it. Switching off TV even for a short period of time every day will help you taking back the control of your time. Don’t let others control your time, it’s the most precious resource you have.

The 10 rules to thrive through a time of crisis

Photograph by Morgan Sessions - unsplash.com

Photograph by Morgan Sessions – unsplash.com

Day 514. Between December 2008 and April 2009, while the financial crisis was in full swing, I started this blog and published posts on 8 rules to thrive through the crisis. I announced I would be publishing 10 rules, but posted only 8… the crisis probably took a 20% tax. Nevertheless, 6 years later, the financial crisis is still there. For sure some countries have better weathered the storm, but some are still lagging behind. Emerging countries seem better off than developed countries, will it be the case in the coming years.

However, if each crisis is an opportunity, there are simple rules that have always worked for me to weather any storm, any crisis, any hurdle, and any challenge and those are the ones I will share in the coming posts over the next month, based on the 8 I posted 6 years ago. They are drawn from my personal experience and my personal research. You may know some of those, if not all, and the one thing I can say is that they work! What they are not:

  • A silver bullet. You will not get all that you want by following them. You need to adapt, tweak, act and take risks.
  • A philosophy. I am a pragmatic guy. Although I love thinking and imagining what I could and want to do, I am hands on and do not think for the pleasure of it. I think for the pleasure to act.
  • A shield protecting you from failure. You will fail, integrate this. Failure is an integral part of any learning and any success! Those rules will not avoid you to fail but will help you to get back on your feet faster.

What are they then?

  • A set of means to an end. Simple, pragmatic activities you can put at play to reach your own objectives faster and better.
  • A solid foundation. The building is yours to build!
  • Simple down to earth principles for a rock solid life of success whatever the weather is.

Ready to enhance your life? Come with me then!