Modern work-life: How to avoid to become a Work Drone

Boy, this guy looks funny, but stupid. Fun sounds good, but do not join him in stupidity when it comes to your job.

Boy, this guy looks funny, but stupid. Fun sounds good, but do not join him in stupidity when it comes to your job. (seen in the Aquarium of La Rochelle, France)

Do you know that talk:

“To be successful you need a perfect CV !” (how did people get jobs 100 years ago, when the CV was not yet invented?! 🙂 )

“To succeed, spend all your free time during studies doing unpaid internships” (wow, sounds like fun. Instead of exploring the world on a shoestring, you do what you will do anyway the next 30 years)

“Involve socially – but not where you like it or because it provides fun but in a correct (probably boring) area to prove to potential employers that you engage yourself!” (fun is not the goal, but “success” – whatever that means?!)

“If you go sailing, don’t do it because you love it, but because you can sell it as leadership experience!”

“Never have any blanks in your CV – unemployment forever will be the punishment” (life is not about living, but about creating a perfect CV?!)

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Epicurus – Crackdown on the rat-race since 300 b.c.

Did the first downshifters in human history meet here? (Photo: Olympia, Greece)

Did the first downshifters in human history meet here? (Photo: Olympia, Greece)

Woodpecker started his systematic research on how to live a happy life in a deep personal crisis in his early 20s, about 15 years ago now.

At this time I decided to start with the founders of happy living: The ancient greek philosophers of the Epicurean / Hedonist and Cynicism traits.

OMG, now Woodpecker seriously wants to bother us with Greek philosophers?

Yes, indeed, I’ll do that, because there is a lot to learn from these guys.

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A great Winters Day in the Mountains – The perfect Happiness Booster

Some good local food on a mountain hut tops every 3* restaurant you can imagine.

Some good local food on a mountain hut tops every 3*** restaurant you can imagine.

This weekend the Woodpecker family + grandparents in law spent a perfect day doing a sledge tour in the nearby Alps.

We started in the typical grey winter mist hanging over Munich since 6 weeks now and went to a little lake calledSpitzingsee, about 1100m above sea level, where the magic of the winter mountains was waiting for us:

Dark blue skies without the slightest cloud, a bright sun, very cold, clean and crisp air in the lungs, a bit of mystic for on the frozen lake and the trees and all the landscape covered with fresh fluffy snow that is creaking under your shoes.
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London – A Fascinating but Unhappy City?

London - View of Tower Bridge.

London – View of Tower Bridge.

Just returned from a decent business trip to London.

I am there more or less frequently, and it is an amazing and fascinating city.

However, this time it struck me that, although being in one of the most famous cities of the world, people on the streets look above average unhappy.

Everybody seems to be in an extreme rush, many people show unhappy or outright sad faces (although weather was ok) and very few people seem to laugh on the street (or on their cell-phones) or have a chat with a stranger. Even more so than in other big cities I know of.

How is that?

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Depardieu: A potential case-study in unhappiness?

I'm affraid this poor guy is in for some stormy time in his life - and it's his own fault I'd say.

I’m afraid this poor guy is in for some stormy time in his life – and it’s his own fault I’d say.(Coastline at Cap Creus, Spain)

Maybe some of you know the case of Depardieu:

He is a very successful French actor who made a fortune in France and now left the country due to the imposture of a very high tax-rate on extreme incomes beyond 1 mio EUR (1,3m USD) annually. Actually first he moved to Belgium to avoid French taxation, and now – as for some reasons it seems to be difficult to stay there – he was given the Russian citizenship by Putin.

He accepted and now is following through with his threat to leave France – one of the most beautiful countries in the world – in protest against the French tax rate and in favor of a few unnecessary extra bugs – for Russia.

I do not want to discuss the political issue of tax rates here, but my point is another one:

Obviously here we observe a nice case of a person that solely maximizes income against other values.

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Woodpecker’s Happiness Moments 2012

Most happy moment seem to come unexpected - like this funny trumpet band seen in Southern France.

Most happy moments seem to come unexpected – like this funny trumpet band seen in Southern France.

On a quite irregular basis I am making some notes about life and the rest of the world in a kind of computer-diary on my notebook.
This is actually a very good source of authentic memories, as our mind over time seems to distort the events we remember – sometimes to the better, sometimes to the worse.

However, find below a (incomplete) list of exemplary happiness moments in Woodpecker’s life in 2012.

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Woodpeckers Family and Financial Balance 2012

Winter time - a good time to review last years family balance! (seen at KitzbĂĽheler Alpen, Austria)

Winter time – a good time to review last years family balance! (seen at KitzbĂĽheler Alpen, Austria)

2012 was a good year for the Woodpecker family.

Above all we increased our family size by 33% due to the birth of our second son beginning of 2012 – Welcome to this beautiful earth, little man!

Definitely, two kids is a different story also from a stress and sleep point of view. But this will pass and a new family member adds a new interesting complexity to the family: instead of 3 possible social matchings there are now 6 possible matchings, and the family feels a lot more complete – at least for us.

But 2012 was also a great year with regard to downshifting efforts:

Time worked (in the job) was flat for Mrs. Woodpecker and down 40% for Woodpecker (5 months of parental leave).

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