Why Trump Is the Perfect Case-Study

I was talking a few days ago with a friend. We were discussing how self-confidence needs to come from within a person, how it can only be encouraged, but not taught or given. And how the best example of this is (to both our dislike) Donald Trump.

As much as I hate saying this: when it comes to self-confidence, he is the perfect case study. He is also a schoolbook case of how much a good discourse can get you, even when it makes no sense. The fact that Trump is in the race for the White House speaks volumes about the power of words and the power of believing in yourself.

I love words, I have always valued them and I have always been fascinated by how they can be tools of whatever you want them to be. I truly, truly hate to admit it, but the people behind Trump’s campaign chose his words wisely.

If you tell people that you are great, great, great, the best, amazing, they will end up believing it, even when your arguments will not follow, even when logic is missing, even when common sense or decency fail to show themselves.

Of course, Trump has also said many bad words. However, this is where repetition comes in. If you tell people something enough times, they will believe it, especially when they want to believe it and when they lack the intellectual capacity to see how your words are darkening their judgement, simply because those are the words that you want to hear.

The problem with this is that the magic of words does not last forever. The world changes, you change and you wake up one morning and those words mean nothing because they simply have nothing to do with your reality. Nothing about your reality is “great”. And you wake up one morning to an incompetent president who is anything but “great”.

The story of Donald Trump is the story of all “leaders” who turned out to be tragedies for human kind. They all started with great words. What they also all did is end up dead and despised, responsible for the deaths of millions.

I hope that America will not add another name to this terrible list on Tuesday…

 

Trump

 

Cheers, love!

 

The world woke up today to Brexit. I’ve seen words such as “shock”, “devastating” and “apocalipse” all over the internet. As a former immigrant in the North of England (the area who voted most for Brexit), I can say I am happy and looking forward to the future! Here is why:

  1. I finally have proof that the North of England is a pretty xenofobic place. Natually, not all of it, but at least now I know it wasn’t just all in my head!
  2. I can stop worrying about drunk, violent English tourists all over Europe and perhaps we can all enjoy football again.
  3. It will be a blast to see huge companies such as amazon and others opening offices in Eastern Europe so that they can still hire the best IT people in Europe. Maybe Eastern Europeans will finally get more decent jobs at home.
  4. The chances that I witness another miracle just got higher: some northern Brits might actually learn a foreign language or finish their studies. What a sight for sore eyes…
  5.  We finally know that there are at least 52% of Brits that we are allowed to not like, without being called xenofobic.
  6. I now understand why the best Brits I’ve ever met – really nice, talented and amazing people – live, in their majority, in other countries of Europe.

 

This article is a satire and should be treated accordingly. It does not by any mean refer to all UK or all British people, but rather to an obvious problem of lack of education and a capacity of understanding the concept of The Global Village we all live in. 

 

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Connecting in Disconnection

As my mind stood still in shock of the many tragedies which have happened across the world in the last two weeks, I couldn’t help feeling like a tortoise in Central Station NY – What am I doing here? Where are all these people going? Why so fast?

Romania rose in anger and pain after the fire in Colectiv, which caused 56 people to die and hundreds of injured, and Paris and Beirut shook with explosions leaving even more victims behind,  but I couldn’t help noticing the true paradox of our digital, connected, social media world. While it is by far the easiest way to connect people across the globe, it is and always be the easiest way to disconnect them.

We all have opinions and feelings and we’ve become so used to “throwing them up” on our personal profiles. Some don’t, but most of us do. With each major world event, you can easily sort your Facebook friends according to which side of the argument they are on. And there will always be at least one argument…

It’s amazing how social media was a true source of good, change and support for desperate people in need of blood donations or for desperate families and friends trying to find out news or information about their loved ones… in Bucharest it helped change elections’ outcome (last year) and even throw out a Prime Minister.

And this is good, this is great!

But… From where I sat through all this, protected by the physical distance and grateful my friends and family were ok, I also saw how it disconnected people… and not just from each other, but from themselves as well… our natural need is to be part of something… so we change our profile pictures, we share articles, we comment and argue frenetically to prove our points. People are angry, hurt and most of the times scared, but rarely take a moment to live those feelings in privacy.

And they post, and they argue and they shout out their complaints on social media.

And what I’ve also noticed was that the ones closest to those events, the unlucky ones who had to face all the pain, while the rest of us stared at it in shock, from afar, they were the most silent ones, the discreet voices. Because when it comes to it, human pain at its greatest is truly paralysing and it does leave you gasping for air and words.

We post, we change pictures and we write a dozen comments, and we connect with each other, because in reality, we are disconnected from the real, soul crushing, unfair, unforgettable and unforgivable pain.

So leaving aside all arguments, a Facebook profile picture turning black or red-white-blue is, in my opinion, a sign of hope. The hope that we are not yet all paralysed.

We can still do something to change things. It’s unfortunate that it’s rarely the right thing the one we do.

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…in the making

I am Romanian but my mother is a German ethnic who learned Romanian in school and speaks perfect German (I don’t!). I grew up listening to her weekly phone calls in German, with my grandfather, and all her friends telling me “You have your mother’s German genes with those blue eyes and blondish hair”. I watched Formula 1 and always cheered for Schumacher, and supported the German teams in all sport events where Romania was not competing (which were a lot) because “mommy is German”. I had to always spell my mother’s name whenever I had to say it to someone and reply with “Yes, my mother is German.”

So even though I grew up in Romania and never even visited Germany, there was always a sort of heritage I felt I was carrying with me – it was written on my ID card, in the section called “Mother’s name” and it was somewhat engraved in my features – blondish, blue-eyed girls are not that common in Romania. It sort of floated around me, with little hints and reminders from time to time.

I didn’t learn German as a child. I always felt like I had time to do that and that I will do it at some point just because language is such a big part of belonging and understanding a culture – a culture I kept hearing I am related to in a way. And also, I always felt a bit guilty for not making an extra effort to show my mother that part of her heritage is going further, that her roots are not being forgotten with a Romanian family name and half German children who can’t even understand her when she speaks her mother tongue.

I sometimes thought of what our lives would have been like if my mother, like most of the German ethnics living in Romania, had left after the Revolution in ’89 and relocated in Germany.

But that’s about how far it went for me. I think I never fully internalised what I heard time and time again – that I am half German.

Until last year when a fortunate turn of events landed me in Munich, the heart of the region my mother’s side of the family actually comes from. I’ve been living here for a year now. My German is still very bad, but it’s better than the -1 level I started with.

The 1st of July was the anniversary of my “romance” with Germany. And as crazy people (such as myself) do, I did a small recap of the past year, pros and cons, lessons learned, good times, bad times, people I’ve met – you know, those things we assess and always think we’re going to do better in the next year.

But somehow, the things on my review list are not the most striking thing about this year. My biggest take away from it is that I now find it easier to understand why my mother did things in a different way than all other mothers I met and very different from my dad as well. It’s interesting how a small community – isolated from the home land – as the one my mother grew up in, preserved so well their mentality and attitude towards how things should be done.

I always thought my mother is a bit cold because she is not the kind to drown you in public displays of affection or endless declarations of love. She’s a DO–er, a practical, ambitious mind, but the most sensitive person I’ve ever met. She shows her love through actions, taking care of our family more than she ever took care of herself. With three children and a husband who can’t cook for the life of him, it wasn’t an easy task for sure. But she does it perfectly.

She will not praise her children to the whole neighborhood or anyone willing to listen. Her pride in her children comes from our accomplishments, not just because we are. Her love for us, though, does.

She will criticize you when you mess up, but she’ll do it in a constructive way, with arguments based on facts and experience, so that you can grow and be better, because she always believes you can be the best version of yourself if you work at it. But she will not sugar coat criticism and as much as you might hate it in the beginning, you know she’s right.

Everyone says Germans are cold. They’re not. Just as my mother, they are practical people, who love structures because it’s what helps them not waste time on useless things. They are DO-ers, perfectionists and they show their love or passion through respect and actions, not an overflow of compliments, flattering or excessive politeness. This is not because you are not good enough for them, or because they look down on you, but because they simply don’t see the practicality of it.

I realise that my childhood and being raised by a German mother is what ultimately helped me adjust better here than in other place I experienced before. And my genes, I have to admit, helped a lot with blending in, camouflaging myself into a local, at least when I don’t have to speak. I don’t look like a foreigner and while this can be frustrating for some people who feel they need to have a physical mark of their origin imprinted in their appearance, for me, it made things easier.

In the past year, even though I never aimed for it, I discretely explored a bit more of this small heritage I’ve always carried with me, and identified some of the German things about my identity, incorporated them more into my conscious self – things which have been passed on to me through the education I received, and things I’ve rarely been aware of before. And probably the most relevant proof of this is that I’ve noticed how I’ve slowly switched from “My mother is German” to “I am half German”… in the making, anyway.

Finding your place…

… is not about geography.

I’ve lived in three foreign countries in the last three years. Whenever I tell someone this, I inevitably get the question: So which one do you like most? This is when I find myself struggling to answer. Not because it’s a hard choice, but because I find it difficult to separate a space I’ve lived in from the experiences and the people I’ve shared it with… from the person I was when I called that place my second home.

I don’t have an argument that makes Germany better that other countries, apart from the fact that I like the person I am now. I am happy with the choices and the road that got me here.

When you look for the right place for you, don’t choose by looking for it on a map. Look for a place that allows you to live by your values and to do at least most of the things you like, if not all. Whether it’s your job, your hobbies or the people around you, look for the place that allows you to grow and to be content with your day-to-day life. That is the right place for you, and the geographical coordinates have nothing to do with it.

“If you don’t like where you are, change it. You’re not a tree.” – Jim Rohn.

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Me time

I am a person who has always been afraid of being alone. Simply because I don’t really know what to do with myself when I’m alone. I can’t shut up for 2 minutes, I grew up in a house where you were never really alone for more than 2 hours and my idea of “me time” is coffee with friends. So no, being alone was definitely not “my thing”.

Four months ago I started a job in Munich. I moved to a city where I only knew two people and my work colleagues. For the first two months I did everything I could to keep myself busy, meet new people and avoid being alone more than I had to.

But now… Now I’ve changed.

I had to spend time with myself and I’ve learned to enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I still get lonely sometimes… who wouldn’t when they come back everyday to a 12sqm room?

But I’ve learned how to be alone without feeling anxious or bored. And I don’t mean being alone while watching a movie or reading a book. No, I mean being alone and quiet, without doing anything else.

I’ve even managed to learn how to be home without opening Facebook every 5 minutes. Sure, this lesson was forced upon me by a cruel lack of Wi-fi and a really bad USB stick internet connection, but still, it’s a lesson learned.

I’ve also learned that it’s true what they say: “our time is the most valuable thing we can give other people”. Because once given, we can never get it back. But I think we sometimes forget to give ourselves the same present, either because we think we don’t have that time or because we don’t know how to enjoy it.

We need this time, because that’s when we can think about our mistakes and our accomplishments and learn from them. It’s when we can hear our thoughts, the good and the scary ones and really sort them out. It’s also when we get to know ourselves, acknowledge the things we like and don’t like about this “me” person we have to hang out with for all our lives. And we can use this to improve…

It’s when we stop running from ourselves and that’s actually when we really start moving forward.

Time with ourselves is time in which we grow.

I love me time

“Scrie ca Radu F. Otrava” Day

“Acum cateva zile am primit un mesaj pe blog despre o poveste de iubire adevarata, genul care iti face sufletul sa tremure ca gelatina, genul de poveste pe care o vad tot mai rar in societatea noastra prea grabita sa mai iubeasca frumos si calm, ca puful unei papadii atunci cand il sufla vantul si se lasa dus pe culmi despre care nu stia ca exista.

Am inceput sa ma gandesc, dupa ce am citit mesajul, ca e misto cand vezi oameni care inca au timp sa iubeasca pe bune, asa cum iti iubesc eu zambetul amortit in fiecare dimineata cand iti simt caldura trupului tau golas, la pieptul meu. Dar nu multa lume mai stie sa aprecieze un zambet intr-o dimineata cand soarele iti intra in pat, prin fereastra usor crapata.

De ce suntem prea ocupati cu lucruri superficiale si triviale, cu statul pe Facebook sau uitatul la seriale? De ce nu ne mai putem trai iubirile sincer si pur, ca doi adolescenti pierduti in ploaie?

Hai sa ne dam mai mult timp, sa facem toate lucrurile banale pe care le fac indragostitii, o cafea dimineata, o ciorba la pranz.. stii tu la ce ma refer – micile bucurii ale existentei noastre pasagere.”

E prima initiativa de acest gen care m-a “inspirat”… nu stiu daca mi-a iesit, dar m-am amuzat.

Alte articole dedicate “Scrie ca Radu F. Otrava” Day gasiti aici, aici, aici, aici, aici si aici. De departe cel mai savuros este aici