Our pasts form us…

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Lately I have been thinking of what forms the personality of a person. I daily meet people and I am constantly amazed by the diversity of peoples minds and their characteristics. I am also amazed how many people I meet who are totally unaware of their personality and how much it influences their behavior in different situations. My oldest brother once told me that the most important thing is to always look into yourself and see what part you played in any event. This is most likely the hardest thing to do as you have to face yourself. Your fears, your shortcomings, but also your talents and greatnesses about you. (I remember a song from a song group from Uppsala, Sweden called ViBaFemBa called Slutstrid (i.e. The Final Battle) that very much tells this story.) Many people do not get this at all and are suck in chasing the answer outside themselves. I understand why, but yet don’t.

What I have grown to realize is that we should always stay honest to who we are, and what we have become. We should always learn from what we face in life but we are who we are.

To listen

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A good friend gave me a book with a collection of chronicles of Hans Bergstrom, the former editor-in-chief at Dagens Nyheter – one of the biggest daily morning news papers in Sweden. I read several of the chronicles and one struck me as very on point about where the web, media and the world is heading. He wrote it around 99’ and mentioned that it is as important to write as it is to read.

I started to write this blog Sunday evening, but didn’t get far as things got in the middle. I am however glad they did as it will now get I a slightly different touch.

Hans Bergstrom is right in a way, and wrong in another. What he is right about is that we all have a right to speak our mind and opinion. (User generated media is giving a majority of the internet population the right tools to express themselves, yet we have a long way to go when it comes to organizing this material.) Back to the points by Hans Bergstrom. However I would still claim that the most important thing is to listen, rather than to express your opinion or proclaim your excellence. Some of my Swedish friends will now say. “Erik, you are talking about the law of Jante, and that is something we all are not that fond of.” I am not sure though that it is purely a bad thing. I do think it is over-exaggerated in Sweden though.

The same good friend and also mentor who gave me the book said the very obvious to me last year when we worked together: “The most difficult thing is to listen.” It may seem like a very trivial task but most people only hear or read what they want to. The importance of this becomes more important as your responsibility and need for leadership grow.

I usually recall that moment often these days mainly as part of my work.

The hardest thing is to listen. To really listen. Wise words.

In a way I wonder why, and in a way I understand completely why. What amazes me is that it seems to me that people who claim to feel for others and would like to get their voices heard have a hard time to really listen. Or maybe it is me who is not really listening here. I guess it is as simple as the more you care about something, the harder it is to really see that thing in different lights, in the “true” lights, whatever “true” lights means.

The most important thing is to learn to listen and probably also when not to listen. Interesting enough this is a very important element in all stages of creating social media.

Palo Alto calling…

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It has been almost two months since I blogged here. It has been an intense period and the last month and a half has felt like a lifetime. Anyhow, everything is great here and the weather is great for rollerblading. Yesterday after a smashing win over Johan in tennis (yet with a healing injury in my right arm), I, Johan and Georges went up in the surrounding hills and rollerbladed for two hours. We did a quick stop at Alpine Inn (more commonly known here as Zotts) for a diet coke in the sun, and then we headed back to Palo Alto. To summarize, a huge load of work, but life is really good.

When it is getting tough…

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… the tough get going. It seems as if that is the mantra of the day or more of the year. It is rolling up your sleeves time. It is crunch time. Pick your favorite line. Things are moving. Things are moving fast now. Things are moving somewhere. Let us see where they are moving…