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

https://unsplash.com/margaretbarley

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!

Day 464 – Extremes are always dangerous

Whether it’s called Ukip in Great Britain, Tea Party in the US, Front National in France or many other extremist parties across the world, they are all dangerous, because rooted on the hatred of others. I have said and written multiple times that diversity is a richness. By reducing their views to their own nation and wanting to close it to external influences, they refuse to see how the world has positively grown over the last centuries and particularly since WW2.

These days, I am fascinated by the fact that a rich culture like the German one during the Weimar Republic had turn into a racist and hatred one under the leadership of Hitler, in a matter of years. Yes, there was the great crisis of 1929, the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty, but moving from a rich and diverse culture and diving into such a dark one is fascinating.

I do not have a definitive view nor answer on this transformation, but it shows that things can go fast and can go unoticed for a certain period of time. I think that the “war” between the Le Pen father and daughter is the proof that those parties are rooted in denial of what happened a hundred years ago. Those parties cannot solve a country issue, they can only transform light into darkness because they close the door to world realities. Voilà, devil hides in the details and solutions are never in extremes.

Y’en a marre…. et voilà ça redémarre…

Je courais ce matin, comme quasiment tous les matins, non pas parce que j’étais en retard, mais parce que je cours tous les matins, je jog, je fais mon footing, vous appelez ça comme voulez. Je le fais, un, parce que j’aime courir (ça a commencé il y a plus de vingt ans quand on a décidé, une bande de copains, de courir le marathon de Paris, depuis je n’ai jamais arrêté), et deux, parce que ça génère endorphine, dopamine et sérotonine et que donc ça fait du bien ! Je courais donc et je réfléchissais. C’est clair que quand on court, on a le temps de réfléchir, particulièrement quand on a la chance, comme moi, de courir dans la forêt. je réfléchissais donc et mes pensées s’emmêlaient… agréablement.

En réfléchissant, je me disais que j’avais de la chance de pouvoir courir là de bon matin dans cette forêt, et que surtout, qu’il était temps de mettre de l’ordre dans mes affaires et de simplifier les tonnes de trucs que je fait au quotidien. Il s’en est donc suivi un certain nombre de décisions, prises là comme ça, en courant.

La première concerne ce blog. Ben oui, je l’ai un peu délaissé, car je m’étais un peu lassé de mon billet quotidien. C’est que ça en fait du travail d’écrire un billet tous les jours. Et puis en regardant le désolant film des départementales, les élucubrations des uns et des autres sur la crise en Europe et le bras de fer Merkel-Tsypras, la folie meurtrière du co-pilote de Germanwings (dont la culpabilité n’est pas encore prouvée, même si tous les indices semblent converger), l’optimisme de mes interlocuteurs après mes deux semaines au Zimbabwe, en Namibie et au Botswana, la manière avec laquelle les parents et les enfants sont parfois considérés dans l’école de la république (histoire personnelle), j’ai décidé de m’y remettre. Non seulement à mon billet quotidien,  mais aussi à mes chroniques sur la crise, car franchement, franchement, qu’est-ce qu’on peut entendre comme monceau de bêtises ! Non que j’ai la science infuse et en sais plus que les autres, c’est certainement tout le contraire. Mais c’est que le bon sens est toujours là et que peu de monde au final l’applique, alors je vais m’y coller. Certes, j’ai raté 86 jours depuis le début de l’année, et je ne vais pas chercher à les rattraper, je continuerai à compter en partant du 1er janvier de l’année dernière avec un trou de 86 billets…

La seconde concerne donc ma présence sur les réseaux sociaux et mon autre blog. Et bien j’arrête, et je reviens à mes fondamentaux. Comme quoi, le bon sens est de toujours écouter sa petite voix (salope) qui vous glissent des bananes sous les pieds pour voir si vous trébucher. Comme je n’ai pas encore trouvé comment faire bien plein de choses, je m’en vais faire bien moins de choses. Logique non ?

Et puis la troisième… la troisième…. doit-il y avoir une troisième ? On dit un, deux, trois, pas un, deux… Pour le moment, cela sera un et deux. Voilà. je reprends ce blog et laisse tomber l’autre (je n’étais pas trop motivé pour l’autre de toutes les façons).

Allez, à demain !

Jour 147 – Raison

risqueRaison. Est-il raisonnable d’aimer ? Ce fut le sujet de mon bac philo ! Pas de quoi parader, j’eu juste la moyenne. Mais la raison est-elle inhibitrice ? Sois raisonnable ! Combien de fois n’a-t-on entendu cette injonction ! Car être raisonnable, ce n’est pas franchir la ligne jaune, rester dans ce qui est « acceptable ». Mais Christophe Colomb était-il raisonnable ? Et Rosa Park ? Et de Gaulle ? Et Felix Baumgartner ? On confond souvent raison et risque calculé. La raison ferme des portes, le risque en ouvre. Prendre un risque comporte des dangers. Etre raisonnable en comporte un énorme : supprimer la récompense potentielle. Pas de bras, pas de chocolat dit l’histoire drôle. Pourtant, cette phrase reflète cette raison qui nous fait nier un futur potentiel. Rien de grand ne s’est fait de manière raisonnable, il y a toujours eu un grain de folie bousculant l’ordre établi. Etre raisonnable ? Une autre façon de tuer ses rêves !

Jour 146 – Abstention

abstentionAbstention. Comme je le disais hier, le premier parti de France c’est l’abstention, pas le FN. Que le FN fasse un score historique n’a rien d’étonnant, c’était annoncé. Cela donne même 35% pour les extrêmes que l’on peut réunir sans rougir. Maintenant, plus de 50% de français, une majorité donc, n’ont pas été voter. Sanction, désintérêt ? Non, un message disant « nous ne servons à rien, nos votes ne servent à rien ». Un message disant « je n’ai pas compris que j’ai le devoir de voter ». La démocratie c’est le pouvoir entre les mains du peuple qui s’exprime pacifiquement par le vote. Nos élites vont-elles entendre ce message ? J’en doute ! La crise est profonde. La France est le pays de la collaboration et… de la résistance. Celui de l’Empire et… de la Commune. Celui de la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen. La tentation des extrêmes et de l’abandon est réelle et elle s’est exprimée hier. Osons être confiant !