This is my first blog.
I’d like to ask you for patience and please celebrate my go-live with a virtual glass of wine…
You know… that red wine… With that mediterranean flavor of ocean and pine…
I will allow the keyboard the freedom to write about the three key-waves of my life and I’ll try to derive some lessons-learned.
You will find your comments already anticipated in square brackets [your comments] and you may jump to the key-take-aways in <angle brackets> whenever you wish.
[OK, so where is that bottle of wine?]
You may also go directly to the end or leave this blog using the BACK button of the browser, close the browser, shutdown your PC etc, but I ask you to give me a chance.
[Agreed: one chance]
This blog and my life start in Spain, on the Canary Islands.
My mother, Spanish, my father, German.
[Humm, sounds like a kind of explosive mixture]
Yes, like Goethe said: “Zwei Seelen wohnen ach! in meiner Brust”
“Two souls are living in my breast”
I grew up in Germany, like a normal German, but never lost the connection to my family and the love towards the small piece of earth, where I was born.
[Which “piece of earth”? Please, a bit more concrete]
“La Palma”, in the past called “Blessed Island” by sailors, is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
[Haha, a bit too subjective description, isn’t it?]
Since the Canary Islands are commonly known for their tourism and beaches, I’m posting a picture I took in one of those beautiful forests.
[Is the picture taken by you?]
Yes, like I said, with a simple camera (I’m not a professional).
[Are you sure?]
But that’s not the point
[So what IS the point?]
Just give me a second.
If you grow up within two cultures, languages, traditions, climates, etc, you develop a natural sense of interest for anything that sounds “foreign”.
Anything “different” is “interesting”.
If you grow up using 2 languages, you’re interested in learning a third and more.
If you realize that “normal” people (like your family) are completely different than other “normal” people (also like your family), you’ll easily admit that other completely different people are “normal” too.
[Even if not part of your huge family?]
Moreover, you enjoy spending your time with other different “normals”.
You understand that the so-called diversity is not just a word, it is YOU.
You perceive foreign traditions and ceremonies with a broader perspective understanding that they are important, especially because we’re living in a world where change has become fast.
Communication is not just transferring some pieces of information, it is talking to a human being; it requires respect and empathy; it is an essential part of our life; it makes our daily work more comfortable.
Moving one step ahead, working together with colleagues belonging to different cultures requires some effort, not to forget that you might have to change your typical way of communicating.
In my first life, I was a musician. I studied piano, invested everything I had [musicians don’t have anything, do they?], well, I spent all my time and all my energy for my piano, won many prizes, etc. I loved Skrjabin, Brahms, Manuel de Falla, amongst others.
[Tell us something interesting]
Musicians are like a big family. Not only are your friends a part of this family, but also the friends of your friends, and also anybody you have met anywhere, and also anybody who has met anybody else, anywhere else…[OK OK, understood]
Musicians travel a lot, either for playing, for listening, learning, teaching, taking part in competitions, jury. Sometime in the past, if I had to travel somewhere, I’d asked my friend (she was cellist and had played in a lot of orchestras), who would scan her hundreds of pages (yes: paper. Remember that?) with names of members of orchestras, find somebody in that town, called them by phone … and I had a place to sleep.
[So being musician is about cost-saving trips, right?]
Being musician means never having any spare time, no closing time, no week ends, no holidays. Although musicians travel a lot, usually there’s not enough time for sight-seeing.
Musicians don’t have many needs: have an instrument to play on, that’s enough. And heating in winter, because cold fingers cannot run as quickly as desired. No car needed (even the bike doesn’t have to be new), no money (for what?), etc
[Haven’t you forgot anything?]
Oh yes, sorry, there’s only one essential need: applause. Musicians need to play music on stage, music is their life and it is always live. During a concert, the person is transformed, the music which is produced is different during that time.
Being a musician means to be continuously searching for the truth [like a philosopher?], searching for the true interpretation of a composition, and continuously realizing that there are many truths.
[Sounds very volatile]
No, it isn’t. As long as an interpretation is profound and convinced, it is “true” – “true” for that interpreter and for that moment.
Music is about emotions [aha], analyzing the emotions of the composer [resp. design-time] and transferring them into own emotions [at runtime].
When musicians play together, that’s called “chamber music”
[kind of scrum-team?]
Similar. This is a wonderful experience, wonderful music, but during concerts, nobody knows that it might have been very hard and difficult to make it come true: because every musician has its own ideas and personality and his own truth – which might have led to many (necessary and fertile) discussions.
Music needs time to get mature. I remember one example: once, when I was a school-kid, I asked my piano-teacher to let me play Beethoven opus 110
[Do you expect me to know that?]
(FYI: this is a piano-sonata, technically not very difficult, but one of Beethoven’s last compositions) My teacher, a wise man, told me that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to start studying this work, if I wish to be able to play it after 10 years. Frustrating answer, but I felt challenged and worked hard to play this sonata. 10 years later, I realized that I still wasn’t mature enough to play this composition…
But I learned that I need to be patient – and sometimes it is more important to realize how much we’re lacking.
More achievement lies in what we’re struggling for, than in what we’ve achieved.
Later during wave II, I focused on contemporary music. When I was a child, I dreamt about being composer, when I was a pianist, I dreamt about other composers writing music for me.
[You became lazy, hum..?]
And this (second) dream came true: around the year 2000, I founded an ensemble for contemporary music (6 members) and I regularly asked composers (from different countries) to write compositions for my ensemble.
[Arrrgh… modern art – who likes that???]
Nobody, but I can tell you, it is an incomparable feeling to receive the score of a piece of music which has never been heard before – to give birth to a work of art!
[So why on earth did you stop being a musician?]
Because of wave III…
Art is essential for humans, opens our minds, gives energy, doesn’t have a prices, but cannot be valued high enough – even though there’s no ROI
Satisfaction with what we’re doing comes from the passion we provide for it.
It was like if somebody took my person – playfully driving around in a bumper car – and put it into a straight and fast running train, 12 years ago, when my child was born. An unexpected call of an unexpected human being, who told me: little papa, you’re going to change your life…
He didn’t ask me if I was prepared or if I wanted to.
He didn’t provide a workaround.
He just changed my life.
Without even being aware of it, I stopped any ambition of having a career – might have been due to the sheer lack of time, in the beginning, but also because the glow of joy in the eyes of a child gives more satisfaction than any golden shining medal.
I stopped driving fast on the highways.
I started deeply appreciating the music of the birds – which made my child smile…
I started re-prioritizing my life.
[Seems that this won’t find an end – gonna grab a cookie]
OK OK, turning back to this blog:
Children love to ask parents what they’re doing at work.
Accordingly, my child asked:
Does it make fun to write software?
Does anybody use your programs?
Does he like it?
Note: he never would ask questions like:
Did you write quickly?
Did you overachieve your KPIs?
Did you use Web Dynpro?
And – by the way – I’d like to point your attention to the theory of education developed by Maria Montessori. Please google for it and read some of her wonderful books – you’ll love it.
Come down to ask the really important questions.
Future is not only the next step in career, but the life of our children and their children.
To grow is not the sum of capabilities, it is the depth of responsibility.
To learn is not to sum up more skills, it is accepting higher challenges.
The key take-aways are:
So, these were few of those words I wish to tell.
Please forgive me if I acted a bit too much like a schoolmaster – it wasn’t intended.
And please don’t get tired reading blogs, e.g. those of Blog It Forward – Safeer Mohiuddin who invited me, and Wayne Brown who will keep the Blog-It-Forward fire burning.
[I’m tired and need one more bottle of that red wine…]