Saturday 10 July 2021

What is it with the Germans? 25 examples of typical German habbits

So, here I am ... pretty much exactly one year back in Good Old Germany and feeling like a complete Ausländer. You wonder what that word means? I tell you.... it's basically like an Outlander but not seen from the perspective of Jamie & Claire with their more or less Scottish/English romantic story of standing stones swallowing them and spitting them out hundreds of years in the past. No I have not shouted for freedom like William Wallace the last 10yo of my life living in Scotland. But have been living for a decade in the UK, all my routes got a bit shaken up, stirred, twisted, muddled up .... you name it. Not that I am complaining, not at all, I learned a lot the last decade. I am very glad that I had the advantage to learn and live another culture. But I want to make it clear... not the British culture (oh hell no), the SCOTTISH ! People with an incredible warm welcoming, great sense of humour and even more: Innovative! 

One of Scotland’s most famous attributes is its world-renowned reputation for providing a warm and open welcome to everyone who comes there. Whether it’s the many people who choose to live in Scotland permanently, or the millions who visit each and every year, you’re sure to hear many stories of the genuine friendliness of the Scottish people. Today in Scotland, more than 170 different languages are spoken – from Punjabi to Polish, and Cantonese to Gaelic. All these different people contribute to making Scotland a great place to live, work, study, visit or do business in! Their diversity is something that they’re incredibly proud of and they continue to make great strides in ensuring Scotland is open to everyone. Whether it’s the thousands of refugees they’ve welcomed with open arms, or the fact that they rank as one of the best countries in Europe for LGBT rights and equality, Scotland truly is a melting pot of inclusivity.

But back in Germany I had to re-learn to deal with the following:

#1 Put on your house shoes

And I most certainly don’t step off of the Bettvorleger, because there is a very high chance that the floors will be ever so slightly colder than you expect! So cold you may go into some kind of morning shock. That’s why you need house shoes! They are requirements of Germanism. Yes... I am back at house shoes.But really cool ones. I come bak to that a bit later. I would like to tell you why Germans are so in love with their house shoes, since I'm back I’ve asked several but still have no definitive answer. Not because they’ve not told me, but because the answer is so incredibly unromantic, so sensible, practical and boring that my happy little barefoot brain has no idea where to store information of that nature and so just gives up committing it to memory.

#2 You have your own duvet

Now, back in Germany, I’ll need to carefully make up my half of the bed (sleeping in a double bed again made up of two single mattresses and two single duvets). What it lacks in nocturnal romance, it more than makes up for in practicality, the most prized of German possessions. If you consider going shopping for the bedroom. you'll see a complete new world. Some sort of devided world. The world of man on one side and woman on the other. 


#3 Breakfast or Breakfeast

Coming from Scotland, I was very surprised again to see how important the kitchen is to the German people. The Scots tend to treat it purely as a room of function, like the toilet, only with a fridge. You get in, do what you’ve got to do, get out. Sometimes it turns into the party centre of your house party - but this I believe happens in every culture. However, the living room is the heart of the home.

For the Germans, it’s a different story, they are happiest and spend the most time in their kitchens. It’s the most practical room in the house. You have a table, water, coffee, food, radio, serious, correct-posture-encouraging seating. They’ve correctly realised, if trouble does come calling, they’ll be best prepared for it by holing up in their kitchens.

German breakfasts are not meals, but elaborate feasts. If it’s a weekend, every square inch of the table will be smothered in an assortment of meats, cheeses, fruits, jams, spreads and other condiments. It’ll look like someone broke in and while hunting for valuables just tipped the contents of all the cupboards out onto the table.

The first time I experienced breakfast in a German house, it lasted so long that I drifted off into a sort of breakfast coma and they had to wake me with some eszet, which is a sort of chocolate strip you put on bread. I forgot you could legally combine chocolate and bread, it was quite a revelation. Now I just eat eszet with everything, and slowly I’ve learnt again to eat more and also slower, during the long drawn out German breakfasts.

The worst gameshow I’ve ever seen was an English one called “Touch the truck”. It’s premise, if I can be so generous as to call it that, was that lots of people touch a truck and then we all wait, the last person to let go off the truck, wins the truck. It sometimes feels like German breakfasts work on a similar premise, only the truck is breakfast.

#4 Planning, Preparation, Process

So far, so good. Look at me, I'm up early, got the radio on, no doubt some Depeche Mode or any other good old tunes are blasting out, I am eating a slow and ponderous German breakfast, I am acclimatising very well, turning lowly from an Expat to an Ausländer.

Now I need to enter the headspace of the Germans. If I want to be one of them again, I need to think like one, which is a big task and I'll cover it in more detail in later steps. But for now, I start accepting the three central tenets of Germanism. The three P’s. Planning, Preparation, Process. Although this is part of my profession ( and I am passionate about that to be honest) it's a complete game changer if a full blood German is executing the 3 P's!

Being a good German is about understanding the risks, insuring for what can be insured, preparing for what cannot. You are your own life’s project manager. Plan and prepare. Make spreadsheets, charts and lists. Think about what you’re doing each day and how you can make it more efficient. Oh my god - am I still so German? I notice I do this often myself.

Is it possible you arrange your shoe storage so that the most used items are nearer the top, reducing bending time? Although It’s taking you nearly a full minute to get your shoes on, buy a shoe horn! Optimise your processes! Can you hear the sarcasm here?

Just because they call it spontaneity, doesn’t mean it can’t be scheduled. There’s a time and place for fun, and it’s to be pre-decided and marked in the calendar. All else is frivolous chaos. So sit down now and make a plan for the day, then the week, then the month. Then book your holidays until 2026. To make it easier, just go to the same place. How about Mallorca? All the other Germans go there, there must be something to it.Well with the hole Covid pish they started re-thinking to explore their own country again. And to be honest.... here ar beautiful places as beautiful as Mallorca can be.... well almost. But don't get me started on the process "Germans and the vaccination process". This is getting that mad that I feel like a complete alien when this topic comes to the table. "What? You're not vaccinated yet? Needs to be planned and proceeded in time." Yeah ... back to square one: Planning, Preparation, Process.

#5 Get some insurances

Just because I have a Grman passport doesn't mean I automatically tick like one. And THIS I have proven again when it came to he topic insurances. I must have complete blanked out that this is a jungle out there. So, plucky Ausländer before you go out into the jungle and start swinging from its high branches, it’s wise you be sensibly insured. Germans, being imaginative people ran a little wild with the concept of sensibly insured.

Don’t be surprised if the Germans you meet all have personal insurance advisors. Some of my old friends communicate with their insurance advisor more often than I do with my partner or my kids. If someone invented insurance insurance, an insurance against not having the right insurance, we’d all be treated to the sight of 80 million people dying of happiness.

#6 Dress seriously

Plan made for the day? Insurances in place? Great. Good work! Now it’s time to change out of your house dreses and head outside to face the day head on. You’re going to need to get appropriately dressed.

*WARNING! AUSLÄNDER! WARNING!* Outside is this thing called nature, nature is fickle and not to be trusted! It dances to its own illogical, changeable tune. Best dress on the safe side. You need – expensive outdoor clothing! After all, you’re going outdoors, it’s called outdoor clothing, therefore it must be necessary. At all times, you should be dressed for a minimum of three seasons. Get some of those funky Jack Wolfskin shrousers, the trousers that zip off into shorts. If there is even the slightest possibility you may at some point leave a pavement, be sure you are wearing high-quality hiking boots. The Germans consider anything else an act of ankle suicide.

#7 Speak German

Every nation has done things it should be embarrassed about. Dark acts in its history. The Germans are no exception. You know of what I talk – the German language of course. And I want to point it out again: Just because I have a German passport doesn't mean I am fully one of them. Okay I speak the language because I got raised with it. But even I have realised that Deutsch is mostly an incomprehensible jumble of exceptions. A dungeon designed to trap foreigners and hold them hostage, repeatedly flogging them with impenetrable and largely useless grammatical devices, whose only merit is to very, very, explicitly state who has what and what is being done to whom, by whom.

The bad news is that to fully blend with the Germans, you’ll need to learn it. In principle, it’s not that hard. It works in two stages. Learning words and learning the grammar. Learning words is fun (even I had to learn again), most are even similar to English I realised now, thanks to our shared ancestry, you’ll zip along making great progress and really enjoying wrapping your tongue around such delights as Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel, Weltschmerz and Zeitgeist. This I find quite funny to see ith my partner... things like that ar normal for me to say but it's rather difficult for her. But she is making great process!

Then, confident at all the little snippets you’ve already accumulated, you’ll start learning the grammar, the putty that builds your mutterings into real, coherent German sentences. This is where you’ll start to feel cheated. German grammar is impenetrable nonsense.

English, at least linguistically, has always been the biggest slut in the room. Giving and taking from other languages. Trying to make you like it. Keeping it simple. My pet theory is that the Germans, despite their committed efforts, were not as successful as the English in their world power plays and so the English language has always, historically, been forced like a bridge made of glue to ford whatever cultural divide lay between us and whoever we were conquering, sorry colonising this week, so we had to smooth down its rougher edges, which is a poetic way of saying, kick out all the hard bits. It was forced to evolve in a way that German had not been. German retained the grammatical complexity of Old English maybe.

Take genders as an example, present in Old English, still present in German, yet assigned utterly arbitrarily. Sure, there are some sort of vague guidelines about how words end or that almost everything to do with time is "der". That’ll help you with maybe 30 per cent of nouns. That still leaves 70 per cent that you’ll have to learn by heart so you can decline correctly.

You’ll waste so much time memorising genders (NATIVE TIP: never learn a noun without its article, going back later and adding them in is very time consuming and inefficient). Yet, without knowing the gender of the noun, you can’t accurately decline the endings of the sentences, nouns and adjectives or adverbs. Which is utterly pointless anyway, and does next to nothing to increase comprehension but without it you’ll say very embarrassing things like "einer grosser Wasser", instead of "ein grosses Wasser". I know, cringeworthy.

Of course there are far harder languages to learn than German, that’s not my point. English also has its stupidities, like a staunch commitment to being unphonetic. The difference is that English was kind enough to be easy in the beginning, it ramps up slowly and encouragingly. German just plonks you down in front of a steep mountain, says “Viel Spass” and walks off as you begin your slow ascent.

When I came back to Germany and started speaking the language again on a daily base, I was gently reminded by a friend that some of the smartest things ever written were written in this language. First you need only respect it, later you can learn to like it. 

#8 Get some more qualifications

When I lived abroad I was given the impression that “While in Scotland, it’s he who drinks the most and doesn’t vomit on his shoes, that gets the girl". Here it’s more he who knows the most about philosophy that gets the girl”. That’s of course a total an exaggeration but his the nail in some ways.

But the Germans, on account of their excellent school system (at least in comparison to the British), and the extraordinarily long time they tend to study (they’ve adopted the Bachelor/Masters system and your standard occupational training within a dual education system) are an intellectual bunch. As a result, they also tend to have a great number of qualifications before they even start their work life. When you see it in a longterm perspective it is surely the better way, but it's shocking for me coming back out of an era where school took 10yo as standard and then you dive int your occupational training and you've been sorted.

Vanity always needs an audience, it’s no different with intellectual vanity. So the Germans needed to create situations in which they could gently remind other Germans how much more qualified they are than them. An outdated idea in British culture, where everything is on a first-name basis, I am Adam, he is John, it’s what in our heads that shows our qualifications and intelligence. Here, it’s the letters before or after our full name, letters we use when addressing each other, for example Herr Dr or Frau Prof Dr.h.c Schmidt, or also B.A. or M.A. ... none of this first name over-familiarity. Even the humble doorbell offers an opportunity for neighbour one-upmanship, where academic qualifications can be listed.

You can expect occasional smirks and reassuring pats on the shoulder, when you tell them you only have a training in roofing or standard business management training, as if they’ve a new found respect for the fact you’ve managed to dress yourself properly. 

#9 Obey the red man

I think the often exaggerated stereotype that Germans love to follow the rules all comes down to one little illuminated red man. Guardian and God of the crossing pedestrian. To dare challenge his authority and step gingerly out into a completely empty road when he is still red, is to take great personal risk. Not of getting run over, the road is completely empty after all. Bar being struck by an invisible car, you’re safe. No, what you really risk is the scorn, the tutting and the shouts of “Halt!” from nearby Germans. Who will now consider you an irresponsible, possibly suicidal, social renegade.

Halt! Await the green Ampelmännchen. Consider it an elaborate exercise in self-control. You’ll need all that self-control not to freak out and start shooting the first time you visit the Ausländerbehörde and find out they don’t speak English.

#10 Drink Apfelsaftschorle

Germans fear any beverage that doesn’t fizz. It brings them out in a cold sweat. It’s a great comedic joy to live in a country where you can watch tourists and foreigners buying “Classic” water, thinking that since for millions of years now “Classic” water, you know, the kind that fallen from the sky since the dawn of time, was still, uncarbonated water, it would be the same here, right? Oh no. Millions of years of water history have been conveniently forgotten. “Classic” means carbonated, of course. You big silly. Learn to like it. If not, when visiting the homes of your new German friends, you’ll request tap water and they’ll look at you like you are some primitive savage they just found in the woods covered in a blanket of your own hair.

Related to this is Apfelsaftschorle. You know in movies when people go to therapy and then the therapist asks them to create a happy place. A safe, tranquil spot they can turn to when the world gets too big and scary. Usually it’s a beach, or a rocking chair on the front porch of an idyllic childhood home? For Germans, that happy place is swimming naked in a lake of Apfelsaftschorle. Tired after a long day of stamping and form filling, confronted with a 15-page long restaurant menu, baffled by the burdens of choice, they always retreat to their happy place and order Apfelsaftschorle. It’s steady, reliable.

For more than a century Germans, smug with their discovery of fizzy water, all their abundant breweries producing fine beers and ales, they didn’t believe it could get any better. Then some bright spark tried adding a little apple juice to that fizzy water. Creating something equally refreshing, but 6 per cent more fun! It was a near riot. People were not ready. It was almost too fun. An all-night discoparty for the tastebuds. Of course, it won’t taste like that to you, with your funny foreign pallet. Apfelsaftschorle will taste to you as it really is, a fractional improvement on water’s boring taste.

#11 Eat German food

It’s hard to discuss German cuisine without mentioning Wurst, at which point you’ll feel like I’m smacking you about the head with the stereotype stick. So I won’t. Wurst is important, but I think more for what it represents than how it tastes. Wurst is terribly boring. For a country to have elevated it so highly, shows a startling lack of imagination. Which, once you’ve experienced even more of the German cuisine, you’ll have no problem in accepting.

Here, meat is the linchpin of every meal. Being a vegetarian here is probably about as much fun as being blind at the zoo. The other notable time of year is Spargel Saison, where the country goes gaga as the almightly Spargel is being waved around everywhere, like a sort of culinary magic wand, which coincidentally it does rather resemble.

In conclusion, German cuisine is to the world of food, what the band Eiffel 65 are to the history of popular music: present, but largely a footnote.
You are probably wondering how I wrote an entire entry about German food without mentioning that lumpy S word – Sauerkraut. Fear not, I’m giving it an entire entry of its own…

#12 Eat Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut lost its importance to the rest of the world once we were no longer at threat from scurvy. Germans absolutely hate the stereotype that they're a nation of obsessive sauerkraut eaters. Really hate it. Many have stopped eating Sauerkraut entirely in an act of nationalistic principle, or maybe they just don't like sauerkraut (who could blame them) and this offers a more profound excuse for its avoidance. But someone must love it, or sauerkraut is playing a large and elaborate practical joke on the German people because if you order a German meal, in a German restaurant, there is an 87% chance it will come with sauerkraut. It's there. It's always there. It's like a pact was made somewhere at a secret meeting no German was invited to, a referendum of one and now sauerkraut is the official, national side dish. If there's no smoke without fire, and there's no German Hauptgericht without Sauerkraut, the stereotype has to be accurate. If you don't like it my dear Krauts, change that default side dish. May I suggest Baked Beans? It's a custom of my people and I must say, I find them to be delicious. 

#13 Look for a job 

Good news Ausländer, the German economy is rocking. Employment is very possible. Even in the East, where formerly abandoned cities like Leipzig have redeveloped themselves into logistics hubs. So armed with all those new qualifications and letters before your name, you'll have no problems finding work. But not all work is equally prized. There is an unspoken scale of careers, known, but not acknowledged by all Germans. Real jobs and not real jobs. For a profession to count in Germany, it should have existed for at least a hundred years, be vaguely scientific or at least dense enough that it requires half a life time of study and the opportunity to acquire 67 different academic qualifications. It should be impenetrable to outsiders, shielded in its own complex language. Ideally, it should also start with an e and in ngineering. But other accepted professions are scientist, lawyer, doctor, teacher, something that involves organising things on a large scale, like logistics, or anything to do with cars. Otherwise when people ask you your job, the same will happen to you as happens to me, I reply "I'm a marketer", at which point someone says, "that's not really a job though, is it?"

#14 Learn how to open a bottle with anything but a bottle opener

The bottle opener has existed in various formats since about 1738. The only logical reason why Germans can open bottles with just about anything, except bottle openers, must be that bottle openers didn't arrive here until 2011. Since then they've been viewed with suspicion and anyone caught using one declared a witch and burnt at the stake. I remember there was a website that every day, listed a new way to open a beer bottle, over 365 days. Some said they'd run out of ideas by the end, when they suggested opening it on the edge of a Turtles shell. Germans didn't read the blog, they knew all these ways already. Turtles shell? Easy, come on. Try and think of something a little more imaginative. Don’t you dare suggest a bottle opener.

So Ausländer, you need to learn at least 10 ways. Two of which must be with a lighter and a spoon. Turtle shell method optional but not discouraged.

#15 Say what you mean

English language is not about what you say, but how you say it. German is both, but more the former. Since what Germans say tends to be direct and prepared with minimal ambiguity. Ruthlessly efficient, if you will. In English, for example, if you want something to do something for you, you do not merely go up to that person and ask them to do something for you. Oh no. That would be a large faux pas of the social variety. Instead you must first enquire about their health, their families health, their children’s health, the weather, the activities of the previous weekend, the plans of the upcoming weekend, the joy or ecstasy related to the outcome of the most recent televised football match, then, finally, you can say "by the way", after which you begin the actual point of the conversation, before reinforcing that you feel guilty for having to ask, and only if it's no trouble, but would they be so kind as to possibly do this little thing for you. You will be eternally grateful. 

Germans do not dance around the point in such elaborate, transparent displays of faux-friendship, they just say "I need this, do it, by this date. Alles klar”? Then walk off. Once you've practiced regularly getting to the point, you may find the way to be short but very enjoyable. As for saying what you mean, Germans have rightly realised that sugar coating is best reserved for cakes. If I'm having one of my momentary delusions of grandeur I know I can rely on my German girlfriend to bring me swiftly back down to reality by saying something like "get over yourself, we're all born naked and shit in the toilet". 

#16 Speak freely about sex

It is a great joy to live in a society that deals with sex so frankly and without fuss. As if, oh I don't know, it was a completely normal part of life. An act so common there is even compelling evidence our lame parents engaged in it. Germans understand this. Sex, while perhaps dealt with a little clinically at times, is not a big deal and must not be treated as such. It's like walking the dog or taking out the trash. Nudity is extended the same perfunctory familiarity. Particularly around lakes in the East of the country, with their history of FKK. When I questioned one of my colleagues on the need for such overt nakedness when an East Germans spots any body of water larger than a puddle, this was the reply "if you've never swum naked with 5 of your best male friends, you haven't lived!"


#17 Love your car

It's very time consuming for German men to have to keep pulling their penises out for comparison against the other men they meet. It also tends to be rather distracting for other people present. So they've evolved other ways to rank themselves, the favourite being cars. When my girlfriend told her father she had a new English boyfriend, his first question, before my name, job, interests, age etc "what kind of car does he drive?" Germans are serious about their cars. They're also pretty good at making them. Possibly those two are also related, but since I can't think of any jokes in the linking of them, I'll conveniently ignore that and just move on.

#18 Eat German bread

Anyone who doubts how seriously Germans take their bread is either a fool, me, or both. Germans are serious about bread. This is reflected in their bread, which is serious. As opposed to that fluffy white English nonsense, which they see as an unforgivable waste of yeast. A child's finger painting masquerading as high art. It's true English bread is of the soft and cuddly persuasion. Sometimes I'm not sure whether to make a sandwich with it, or just sort of climb in and have a little nap. It's a bouncy castle for the taste buds. I can see how you wouldn't like that. Frivolous. In comparison when I see German bread, I have the urge to thump my chest and shout "Jawohl". It packs quite the visual punch. Important is the weight (ideally more than an average new born baby), the colour (rich and dark, like, em, um...swamp mud) and the texture (slightly damp concrete). If dropped, there is an expectation that it should shatter into a thousand pieces.  

#19 Eat Mett with onions, salt and pepper.

Germans are known for eating solid and hearty grub. There's a reason they jokingly refer to themselves as Kartoffeln (potatoes) – no visit to the Bundesrepublik would be complete without a plate of sausage, sauerkraut and mash. But delve further into the depths of German cuisine and your senses will be confronted by smells, tastes and sights you'll soon regret politely accepting. The Local has scoured least appetizing aisles of the German diet to bring you the ten foods most likely to make your stomach turn. On special occasions such as birthdays throughout Germany, the host could well bring out a glistening mound of pink meat, often shaped like a hedgehog. But while you might expect them to fry up some burgers with it, they will instead slice up the spikey creature and start eating it as it is – raw. Also add raw onions, lots of salt and pepper on top of the raw meat. I actually adore it.

Germans also like sculpting Mett into all sorts of different shapes. The Alternative for Germany political party made a huge plate of it with their initials on top after winning 14 percent at the Berlin state election. Some Germans have even started serving Mett in the shape of a penis.

#20 Know the answer is to bring Kartoffelsalat

You are probably aware of the eminent Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and his work on the conditioning of dogs, who he trained to salivate on demand, just by his ringing a small bell. After finding dogs too easy and maliable to his whim, he set out to look for a tougher challenge, one that has until now, received less attention. Discarding the bell, and keen to work with people this time, he devised another ingenious experiment in conditioning only this time on the entire nation of Germany. You may not have heard about it, but if you've witnessed the effect. His goal was that when anyone said to a German "You're invited to a party" or "Let's have a BBQ" they would instinctively think "I'll make a Kartoffelsalat". Needless to say, if you've been to such an event and seen seven stacked tubs of Kartoffelsalat, you'll already know it was a perfect success. And don't you dare thinking to buy Kartoffelsalat already made and just put it into a bowl making look like its home-made. Germans taste it, smell it, feel it and you will look like a fool. I speak from experience.

#21 Prost

I imagine prosting or cheersing (if we translate it crudely) used to be fun. You're in a group, you've the luxury of enough money to buy this drink, enough time to devote to the drinking of it, enough friends that want to socialise and drink with you. Prosting is really an act of happy comradery. A short, sweet, clinky, fuck you to the world and its petty problems. 
When I first came back here, I prosted as I would in Scotland, maybe we touched glasses, maybe we just lifted them ever so slightly more than we would need to reach our mouths, in a short gesture, before lowering it again and drinking. This isn't acceptable here. Here all holders of a beverage must compete in a sort of awkward drinking dance, in which everyone must make very, very obvious eye contact with every one else, in turn, and all glasses MUST touch all other glasses. You also have to stare each other into the eyes otherwise (they say so) you have 7yo bad sex. Then, like in Ice Skating, judges, who've been watching from the periphery, hold up scorecards for all participants, showing how successfully they've taken part across a range of criteria such as "did they clink against every glass, in a logical, clockwise manner" and "duration and intensity of eye contact".  

#22 Carrying cash

Being part of a highly evolved society has disadvantages — not being allowed to go to work in your pajamas or cry in the U-Bahn after reading that One Direction are going to split up, just to name two. Among the advantages, on the other hand, are things like freedom of speech and human rights, and the fact that currencies and banks have simplified our lives in unimaginable ways.

As much as barter seems attractive — I can see the convenience of going to the mall without carrying around gold ingots or cows — it strikes me as a pillar of civilized society that you can purchase anything with rectangular plastic cards that fit in your pocket and can be used anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere except Germany.

German credit and debit cards are issued by banks mainly as collector’s items. When you try to use them in cafés, bars and small stores, they have the same value as Pokemon cards (although they’re not as cute) and are often rejected.

Bottom line: in Germany you need to carry cash. At first it’s going to be disturbing, but you’ll get used to it and you’ll be able to pay for a meal by leaving a wad of cash on the table without feeling like a drug dealer on his lunch break. I promise.

#23 Paper or it didn't happen!

For a country known for its meticulous recycling culture, I am struck by Germany's extensive use of unnecessary paper. In fact, in 2020, each German used an average of around 280.6 kilos (617 pounds) of paper, making the country one of the world's largest paper consumers, and the largest among the G20, followed by the US.

Despite these concerning figures, if something is not written on paper it simply isn't valid here, so prepare to write a letter if you want to terminate any contract, make sure to print receipts you receive via email and generally forget about PDFs. Keeping a hard copy of practically everything is very important. 

#24 Holy Sunday

This may come as news to you, but in Germany there are only six days a week. Sundays are still to be found in the calendar, and they definitely appear time and again after a Saturday, but apart from that I have to wonder if they actually exist.

All stores are closed, apart from some cafes and restaurants, public transport runs less frequently and even in the capital Berlin, everything feels slower. And, it doesn't seem to bother most Germans. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely in favor of at least one resting day a week, if not more, and I fully appreciate the strong culture of workers' rights here. But as a full-time worker, I sometimes wonder: Wouldn't you want to be able to run some errands on Sundays, too? At least sometimes?

In Scotland, for example, working weekends are often the only chance to earn money or at least to go shopping i a 24/7 ASDA shop. My free days were simply other days of the week and it never have been a strict 7 til 4 work day. This way everybody can still get their days off — and get a double pay on Sundays, for instance — but businesses are open seven days a week.

#25 Plastic, paper, carton, glass? 

Germans are devout trash separators. It took me quite some time to accept the fact that I have four different bins in my apartment again, not to mention the despair in finding space for all of them. But despite the hassle, there is no real valid argument against recycling. Unless you get into an argument with your new neighbour who just caught you throwing plastic into the general waste bin.

True, there must be easier ways to do this that don't involve separate locations for plastic bottles and other plastic rubbish, for example, but the bottom line is: Everyone should recycle more, so I'll deal with the extra burden for the time being. And all the other German customs? I might need five more years to get used to the rest of them.

I hope you found this blog post informational, seeing it with a bit of a sarcastic eye you might find it also funny - I hope. Keep your eyes peeled for more soon!

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Love Is More

We have a love-language problem. You love your husband, but you also love burritos? You love your best friend, but you also love the new Mighty Oaks album? You love your daughter, but you also love the various colors of flowers in your neighborhood?

One love involves bottomless devotion birthed from deep affection.
The other, a preference or fondness for something enjoyable.

And then there’s the distinction between loving someone and being in love with them. The same word, two utterly different meanings.

For example: The Inuit dialect spoken in Canada’s Nunavik region has at least 53 words to describe snow. Imagine if we had even half that for love. Instead, in their culture, they stretch love to apply to people and pick-up trucks, friends and fried chicken, lovers and Louis Vuitton bags. But when you extend anything beyond its natural limits, it loses its strength. This is especially true with love.

What do we mean when you end a phone call with “love ya”? Is it just a nice way to say goodbye? Or is it simply the lazy way to say “I love you”? And when we remove the “I,” do we alter the meaning even further, abdicating ourselves of the real responsibilities of love by removing ourselves from the equation?

We all need love. But love isn’t all we need. We need to be seen, we need to be heard, we need connection. We need sincerity and grace and kindness. But these characteristics are subdued outside the spotlight of love. Can you even imagine sincerity without love? How about grace? Kindness? Take it a step further: can you imagine getting everything you ever wanted, fulfilling all your dreams, without love? Not a chance. Like building a two-dimensional house or drinking from an empty cup, a life without love is flat and empty.

If love opens the door to the best parts of life, why, then, do we not seek to be loved more often? Why would we rather be sexy or cool or “liked”? Because it’s easier. We can manipulate our surface values to increase our status, but when you look at someone who’s trying too hard to be trendy or glamorous, what do you find? A person who lacks integrity, a person so uncomfortable with his or herself that they hide from love by draping their personality with shiny adornments.

That’s why love is difficult: it can’t be shaped by trinkets or transactions, only fidelity and support and dedication. Sex appeal and likability quickly fade in the face of uncertainty. Love, however, makes room for risk and rejection and even pain. There’s also plenty of space for joy and pleasure and tranquility. The only thing, in fact, that won’t fit within the confines of love is self-centeredness. Love is too big for the self alone.

If you consult your nearest dictionary, you’ll find that love has several meanings—an intense feeling of deep affection; a great interest and pleasure in something; a person or thing that one loves—but a very interesting definition is one I never thought much about. In the dictionary love is defined as a tennis term: “love: a score of zero.”

In the context of a tennis match, that means one thing. But as a broader metaphor, it means everything. Real love, when removed from the desires and commodification of the modern world, doesn’t keep score. There’s no balance sheet, no barometer, no measuring stick for love.

Before you met eg. your partner you didn’t know her/him. But after youmet, and as you cultivated your love, I'm sure you didn’t have to extract love from some other relationship to cast yours. When we give love, we don’t run out. If anything, it multiples. Love is fully renewable, 100% sustainable.

People don’t simply “fall in love”—love is cultivated. Love can’t be found. I know because I “searched for love” for years after my failed relationships. But the more I Iooked, the more distant it seemed. Inexplicably, I “found” love only when I stopped looking for it—when, instead of concentrating on “falling in love,” I focused simply on being loving.

In a strange way, being loving might be the opposite of falling in love. This makes sense in hindsight since, when I was obsessed with falling in love, the pursuit was egocentric. But when my main concern was loving others, the love swelled because it was no longer exclusively about me.

It may seem paradoxical, but the best way to hold on to love is to let go. Love expands if we don’t hold it tightly. So if we want it to stick around, we must loosen our grip.

You don’t need permission to be loving. During difficult times, you may want to help, you may want to fix problems, but that’s not always possible. You can’t help everyone. You can’t fix everything. But you can love no matter the situation.

Indeed, amid a disagreement, an argument, or even a total fallout, we can love people. Sometimes that love is nearby; sometimes we must love from afar. Loving someone doesn’t mean that you approve of their actions. You can love a cheating spouse, a gossiping coworker, or a lying friend—loving the person, not their behaviors. It is possible to dislike certain parts of someone and still love every piece of them.

While love is heavy and demanding and enigmatic, our biggest challenge isn’t love itself—it’s how we’ve conflated excitement, lust, and attraction with love. Nowhere is this more evident than our material possessions. We say we love our televisions, our cars, our cosmetics, but we’re confused, blinded by the propaganda that tells us the things in our homes are just as important as the people in our lives.

It’s easy to see the absurdity of this manufactured love when we extend it to less enticing items. No one I know “loves” their toilet-paper dispenser, their mailbox, their keyring. Yet we use these things just as much as, if not more than, the things we think we love. When we realize this—that we can use things without loving them, that we can treat our iPhone similar to our chapstick, useful but not worthy of our love—then we are better able to understand real love, a love that is reserved for people, not the things that get in the way. 

It is possible to love people and use things, because the opposite never works.

Friday 29 January 2021

Why I Consider To Move Away From The UK

[A guest blog post by Cory Varga from] 

After the Brexit shock, more and more Brits are looking to move away from the UK. I don't blame them. There are a lot of pros and cons when it comes to living in the UK and for the sake of objectivity, I would like to tackle all points in this article. Is thr UK a good place to live? I don't know anymore. There are too many issues which make the UK a depressing place to be.

I'm going to start by saying that it wasn't always like this. There was a time when we loved the UK, were pleased by the level of comfort this country offered. There is a lot of incentive for young entrepreneurs to start a new business here and we took full advantage of this. We created 42droids which became the pillar of our careers. We enjoyed the crazy amount of products, the fantastic range of online shopping and the quality customer service. You see, all these were just normal things in the UK.

About 12 years ago when I came to study in Manchester, Britain was a different place. I think the part which shocked me the most was how friendly everyone seemed, how customer-oriented the service was tailored and the sheer amount of prospects anyone could benefit from.

But this was short-lived because I arrived in the UK during a dark time for Romanians and Bulgarians who just joined the EU. It wasn't all bells and whistles because it took me jumping through a lot of hoops to be able to obtain what back then was called a Yellow Card. I needed to work as a student as I didn't have rich parents to support me. But that's ok, I was never afraid of hard work and long hours of study. So here you had, a student willing to work and pay taxes, and nobody wanted to help her get a NI number, a Yellow Card or a job.

This didn't stop me, though, I persevered until I got accepted. I went above and beyond to integrate myself. I even learned the slang, so I feel one of "them". And everything was perfect. What might come as a shock is that I even loved the weather! As a writer, I thrived during rainy days as melancholia hit. It created the perfect environment for me to work, write and create.

As time went by, things started to change a little. The more I integrated, the more I saw, understood and acknowledged. Oblivious as I was at the beginning, I soon realised that I was somehow treated differently than my fellow British friends. For a while, it didn't bother me, until one day, I got rejected after a two-week job trial. They told me they didn't want me because I couldn't spell. I still remember the distress and shame I felt that day. I apologised and ran out crying, feeling desperate and marginalised. Why? Because I was a Law student whereby language skills were paramount. Of course, as a foreigner, I understood my limitations, yet spelling was never a major issue.

I asked for proof to see what I spelt wrong and on how many occasions. They showed me a name. Apparently, I wrote, "Stacy" instead of "Stacey" on a reminder post-it which has nothing to do with official documentation, appointment book or customer facing paperwork. I told my British friend about this and her reaction was: "Were there any foreigners working for the company?" And this got me fact, no! There weren't any. To further reassure myself that my English level was adequate enough for me to get a job, I went to the University and took a language exam. My results were A for reading, writing and spelling.

It wasn't until the last year of University that I landed my first full-time job with Apple. That changed everything. My peers were cool, the work environment was multicultural, everyone was smart, funny, different and awesome. I loved them and loved my job. Throughout the years, I lived a relatively calm and happy life. I had my ups, my downs, no money whatsoever, but good friends and great prospects. In the end, I left my job at Apple, moved to Bristol, got a new job with a digital startup, met my future husband, formed our own company, started travelling the world, became British citizens, got married and here we are. But something, somewhere, went wrong...thus, we decided to leave the UK.

Why I Consider To Move Away From The UK

So what went wrong? Why did we decide to move away from the UK? I think after a decade of living in the UK, certain things started changing a bit too much and got to us. We are what a Brit would call "middle-class young professionals". We are a newly married couple with no children, heavily focused on work. We own a digital studio which enables us to be location independent, work long hours and pay taxes in the UK. We loved it. But you know what we also love? Travelling. Hiking. Forests. Good food. Sunshine. Safety. Human Rights. Privacy. All of which are either impossible, are becoming obsolete or prohibitively expensive in the UK. Let me explain.


There are a lot of benefits of having so much rain in the UK. Rain makes this country a green heaven, which is ideal for keeping those beautiful rolling hills everyone loves. This, in turn, is fantastic for livestock, fantastic for photography and brilliant for people who love walks in nature. There is just one catch. It always rains. Which means, an average British person has a wardrobe full of Autumn clothing and about 10 different types of wellies. As much as you might like the rain (and I already said it that I vehemently love the rain), it eventually gets to you.

It gets to you when you need to ride your bike home whilst getting wet to the bones. It gets to you when you can't enjoy the pub's beer garden during summer. It gets to you when you realise you can't buy t-shirts because, in reality, you need sweaters, thermals and raincoats. It sucks that you can't wear a dress unless you go on holiday. It's not cool that you can only wear a skirt during 5 days of sunshine throughout the year (we call that the elusive British heatwave).

Finally, it gets to you when you paid £100 a night to stay in that remote cottage in the British hills, just so you are forced to remain indoors because it's chucking it down (slang for torrential rain).

Thus, the weather got to us. It took 10 years for this to happen. TEN YEARS! That's a decade of rain. We've been eating vitamin D and Magnesium to keep afloat, but it comes a time when you are literally on the verge of depression because of lack of sunshine. In fact, when I go on holiday and get off the plane in a sunny destination, I feel like some vampire mole. Not cool!

P.S. For those of you who love the stone cottages and lifestyle images of the British country life, I urge you to spend a month living this dream. The cold, rain and mud will eat your soul. But for my own sake, why don't we run an experiment?


Travelling doesn't come cheap in the UK. There are pros and cons to this. The good news is that infrastructure is relatively good in the UK. Although we need more motorways, there are well-maintained roads in the country. This means that if you have a car, you can get pretty much anywhere around the UK. Owning a car doesn't come cheap in the UK, but luckily, the car market in the country is one of the cheapest in Europe. This means that buying a great second car in the UK will cost you much (LIKE MUCH!) less than in any other country in Europe. In fact, I am in the market for a new European car (which allows me to drive on the right-hand side) and the equivalent of the car I am selling here, is 5 times the price in any other European country. Mad!

If you don't own a car in the UK, I am very sad to tell you that train prices are ridiculous. I still remember wanting to go from Bristol to London and prices being close to £150 for a return ticket. Really? So travel around the UK doesn't come cheap, nor is very efficient because trains are late and aren't in mint condition. It seems more reasonable to pay £30 for fuel to drive to London and back, especially because it's always two of us or more driving, hence we end up saving even more. Compare this with £300 for two people on a train...

Once you get to travel around the UK, there are a few more things to consider. Accommodation is very expensive. Anywhere and everywhere. In fact, I am shocked to see the number of tourists still flocking to London, whereby I know how expensive hotels are. I went to the WTM in London and paid close to £500 for 4 nights. And bare in mind this apartment was far from the city centre and rented through Airbnb. Don't worry tho, prices are just as high when you rent a cottage in the country, a hotel in Manchester or a B&B in Chester. It's the norm.

Even if we could afford to travel around Britain, the question remains: why pay £500 to be in the rain, when you can pay less and be on a sunny beach. The exception being Scotland, because Edinburgh, the Lochs and its mountains are really worth every penny.


When I first came to the country, I said to my British friend. "I love the British culture". Whereby his reply was: "What British culture?"

This got me thinking. What British culture was I referring to? Here I am, ten years later, puzzled by the same question. I'm still searching for the answer but got lost somewhere along the way.

The great things about Britain, are the sheer amount of bright minds this country had along its history. There are myriad inventors, writers, musicians, bands, rock stars, scientists...All British! I can probably tell you something fantastic about a lot of them. And it was because of these bright minds that I chose to become British too. It took me years of hard work before I could even begin my application as a British citizen. But I wanted to show this country that I respect its traditions, its cultures and its laws. Furthermore, I respect the people who in my mind, made Britain awesome (Like Mick Jagger, David Attenborough or Maggie Smith).

But the more you integrate, the more you see the issues too. What country is perfect, aye? I started getting tired of being invited to the pub. The drinking culture in Britain seems to outshine the science scene. Theatres are far too expensive for the ordinary worker, but the pints are accessible still, even for the minimum wage. With so much rain and cold stone houses, what is one to do after work, but to pour their misery in a glass of ale and half mumble about their too demanding job and bad living conditions.

And then, it gets worse. The governments have decided to further cut budgets for education, science and academics. Outside brilliant minds are no longer welcome to contribute to the Great British societies and money is being invested in privatisation and corporations as opposed to a stable economy, educated, informed and healthy population.

The culture in Britain has moved from brilliant to that of hate, racism and ignorance. The great educated gentleman is obsolete and the fine lady is on a verge of collapse.

There are two sides to the British culture. The one you get to see as an outsider and the one you experience once you are on the inside. Britain is the best example of what it's like to have a split personality.


Since we are talking about culture, I must touch base on the food. The core of the British kitchen is the oven, as you might already know from the Great British Bake Off (which has been cancelled by the way). With sadness I must say, the British cuisine is unremarkable. In fact, let me tell you about the art of British food. We have pies (a variety of them), we have the mighty Sunday dinner, the toad in the hole, the stew, sausages and mash, fish and chips. Sorry, have I forgotten something? I think not!

Don't despair, though, Britain is a great capitalist country, which means you can purchase anything your heart desires from the supermarket. This results in you learning to cook a variety of world dishes. I can cook Cantonese, Japanese (my favourite), Thai, Indian, French, Italian, Spanish and what not! So although Britain has a limited amount of dishes, it comes with a great variety of ingredients. The good news is that most of them are also cheap, thanks to supermarket chains which lowered the product quality to match the price demand.

But then something happens: You visit Japan and enjoy their magical street food in Tokyo. Or experience the French cuisine in Nice. Or enjoy some seriously nice Italian meal. And everything changes. That is the time when you realise that restaurants outside of Britain offer good quality food at great prices. And so, I decided to say goodbye to the pie.


As you might have gathered thus far, the prices in the UK are rather high. There are cheap things too but expect to get what you pay for. Rent prices are high, and when you add utilities, the internet, council tax and all the rest, you end up with most of your salary gone. If you are not careful, it can be a cruel existence whereby you work to live and you live to work. But the vast majority of people in the UK seem to be relatively well off. At least in comparison to other European countries. The economy is still favourite for young entrepreneurs, hungry consumerists and investors. Or at least it was before the Brexit idea, but more on this a later in this article.

In reality, it's hard to justify spending £50 for dinner for two, instead of buying food for 3 days with the same amount of money. It's difficult to understand why a cold house with zero insulation in the outskirts of Bristol costs £1000 when a fantastic apartment in the centre of Lisbon is half the price. It's difficult to understand why people should pay close to £200 for council tax when the council refuses to take your bins unless you sort your recycling to the letter. And what bothers me the most is that everyone imagines the Brits as being really rich. Let's talk about this a little.

According to TotalJobs the average salary for Professional jobs in London is £42,500. WOW. That's a lot, isn't it? Well, let's look closer. This is before any deductions. In reality, you would take home about £32,067. This means £2,672 in your pocket a month.

According to Expatistan here are some things you have to take into account:
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area £2,401
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in NORMAL area £2,075
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat £208

Unless you share your accommodation, you are extremely rich or live in a partnership with someone, you can't essentially live in London. Please bare in mind that these prices are without internet, food, transportation, clothes, personal care or any sort of entertainment.

So we thought...why stay here, when we can live somewhere cheaper, with a higher standard of living?



The internet was flooded with articles about where should the Brits move now that the Brexit happened. I was in Madeira when I saw the results for Brexit. I still remember talking to my husband the previous night, saying that the world is not that stupid. Nobody is going to vote "leave" and nobody is going to vote for "Trump". I guess Einstein was right after all..only two things are know the saying...

As we were already British citizens, we too participate in the vote and yes, we voted "stay" in case you were wondering. Unlike many others, we understand the importance of being part of the EU. And since the article is not about this, I'm going to refrain from further comments. However, there are few things which surfaced with this whole Brexit situation. We learned that the vast majority of people in this country is racist. Politicians are liars (we've been promised more money for academia and the NHS...). Politicians are trying to get rid of the Human Rights (read about it if you don't believe me) and without a flinch, the great British government passed "the most extreme surveillance law in the history of western democracy" (to quote Snowden).

After the Brexit vote, people started attacking immigrants, and even immigrant looking Brits. Sadly, the internet is full of these instances so there isn't much point me going through them. What is even sadder is that we (although both British) felt the effects of this.

And finally, let me make something perfectly clear. I am what you call a naturalised British citizen. This means that I was born abroad, came here and worked very hard to integrate myself to the point I would be accepted and deemed to be called a British citizen. I don't complain about the process, due to the fact that I understand why any country would only want skilled migrants and high-quality citizens. However, it is shocking to still hear people moaning about immigrants coming to Britain for the sake of benefits, whereby it is the vast majority of immigrants who pay the most taxes. It is the immigrants who maintain Britain afloat, and it is because of the immigrants that we have good doctors, dedicated teachers and hard-working baristas in the local cafes. Nobody is claiming anybody's job. If you are willing to do it, you are better than the rest and are happy with the salary, then the job is yours. Getting a job is a competition and may the best one win!


Throughout my university years, I inevitably made friends with a lot of politics students. We loved exchanging views on politics and weekly debates were something I looked forward to. Perhaps, the main reason I loved these, was because we were all like-minded young individuals, who dreamt of a true democratic UK which had the Labour party at the core. This was mainly because we loved and in believed in Tony Benn. He was an inspiration to us all.

What I always find hard to believe is how humans fail to learn from previous mistakes. People always blame it on individuals and never on parties, politic beliefs or societies. It's always one to take the blame. And so, nobody ever remembered the severe damage the conservative party did to this country throughout the years. And before you jump to my neck, I am a young professional with a business, whereby I, in theory at least, should benefit from conservative promises the most. Yet I fail to agree with the current leadership on issues such as Brexit, potential lack of Human Rights, surveillance laws, lack of funding for the NHS and academics...

Attitude Towards Immigrants

The most heartbreaking part is the attitude towards immigrants which Britain seems to have adopted. Despite the handful of people who try hard to make xenophobia go away, there are so many who still claim immigrants are bad for this country. I get it, nobody likes foreigners. Nobody likes the idea of having someone around who is totally different than what we are used to. But let me tell you, though, you shouldn't see immigrants as a problem, but as a solution. Immigrants are the people who are willing to give up their rights, liberties and cultures, in order to work for the sake of your government, your country, your society and your benefits. These are the people who if we invite here and we teach them how to adapt, are going to work hard to pay taxes, and maintain the lifestyle which every born and bread British citizen believes they deserve.

If you still believe this is not possible, take me and my husband as examples. We were both European expats who came here to study. We adapted, changed and integrated into the British society. We both naturalised to become British citizens and pledged our alliance to Her Majesty the Queen. We both worked hard to build a decent life for ourselves and formed a company. We are both honest people, law abiding citizens who pay taxes as individuals and as a company. We contribute more to the country than many others. Do you see? If allowed to succeed, immigrants will go above and beyond to prove themselves worthy of your acceptance.




This brings me to the last point, which is safety. I used to feel safe in the UK, but for a while now, I am afraid to go around at night. I'm not too sure why, as Bristol is a relatively safe city and I live in a decent neighbourhood in the suburbs. But in reality, I stopped feeling safe in the UK a few months ago, when people started assaulting immigrants in the street. From Downton Abbey, the UK became more of a Harry Brown.

But don't just take my word for it. According to the Global Peace Index, the UK is the 47th safest country in the world (and the 26th in Europe), well below Romania, Hungary, Germany and Botswana. Portugal is the 4th safest country in Europe...

Will I Ever Come Back To The UK

My business will continue to be UK based. We will continue to pay taxes in the UK. We will invest money into our pensions, trust funds and ventures in the UK. Although we have a love-hate relationship with the UK, this is still our home country (as ironic as it may seem). Will we want to raise our children in the UK? We don't know. Will we ever come back? We don't know that either. For now, we made the decision to buy a one-way ticket and see what happens. Someone asked me when I told them we are moving: "What will you miss most about the UK?"
My answer was: "Scotland!"

Where would you like to live? Would you come and live in the UK or would you rather take the road somewhere warmer? Leave a comment and tell me all about your experiences.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

20 Things Only Highly Creative People Would Understand

There’s no argument anymore. Neuroscience confirms that highly creative people think and act differently than the average person. Our brains are literally hardwired in a unique way. But that gift can often strain relationships. I experience it firsthand while working with artists, manager, strategists ... etc

If you love a highly creative person, you probably experience moments when it seems like we live in a completely different world than you. Truth is, we do. But trying to change us isn’t nearly as effective as trying to understand us.

It all begins by seeing the world through our lens and remembering these 20 things:

1. We have a mind that never slows down.

The creative mind is a non-stop machine fueled by intense curiosity. There is no pause button and no way to power it down. This can be exhausting at times but it is also the source of some crazy fun activities and conversations.

2. We challenge the status quo.

Two questions drive every creative person more than any others: What if? and Why not? We question what everyone else takes at face value. While uncomfortable for those around them, it’s this ability that enables creatives to redefine what’s possible.

3. We embrace their genius even if others don’t.

Creative individuals would rather be authentic than popular. Staying true to who we are, without compromise, is how we define success even if means being misunderstood or marginalized.

4. We have difficulty staying on task.

Highly creative people are energized by taking big mental leaps and starting new things. Existing projects can turn into boring slogs when the promise of something new and exciting grabs our attention.

5. We create in cycles.

Creativity has a rhythm that flows between periods of high, sometimes manic, activity and slow times that can feel like slumps. Each period is necessary and can’t be skipped just like the natural seasons are interdependent and necessary.

6. We need time to feed their souls.

No one can drive cross-country on a single take of gas. In the same way, creative people need to frequently renew their source of inspiration and drive. Often, this requires solitude for periods of time.

7. We need space to create.

Having the right environment is essential to peak creativity. It may be a studio, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of the house. Wherever it is, allow us to set the boundaries and respect them.

8. We focus intensely.

We as highly creative people tune the entire world out when we‘re focused on work. We cannot multi-task effectively and it can take twenty minutes to re-focus after being interrupted, even if the interruption was only twenty seconds.

9. We feel deeply.

Creativity is about human expression and communicating deeply. It’s impossible to give what you don’t have, and you can only take someone as far as you have gone yourself. An artist must scream at the page if they want a whisper to be heard. In the same way, a creative person must feel deep if we are to communicate deeply.

10. We live on the edge of joy and depression.

Because they feel deeply, highly we often can quickly shift from joy to sadness or even depression. Our sensitive heart, while the source of our brilliance, is also the source of our suffering.

11. We think and speak in stories.

Facts will never move the human heart like storytelling can. We highly creative people, especially artists, know this and weave stories into everything we do. It takes longer for us to explain something, explaining isn’t the point. The experience is.

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” 

*Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art

12. We battle Resistance every day.

We wake up every morning, fully aware of the need to grow and push ourselves. But there is always the fear, Resistance as Pressfield calls it, that we don’t have what it takes. No matter how successful we are, that fear never goes away. We simply learn to deal with it, or not.

13. We take our work personally.

Creative work is a raw expression of the person who created it. Often, we aren’t able to separate ourselves from it, so every critique is seen either as a validation or condemnation of our self-worth.

14. We have a hard time believing in ourselves.

Even the seemingly self-confident creative person often wonders, Am I good enough? We constantly compare our work with others and fail to see our own brilliance, which may be obvious to everyone else.

15. We are deeply intuitive.

Science still fails to explain the How and Why of creativity. Yet, we know instinctively how to flow in it time and again. We will tell you that it can’t be understood, only experienced firsthand.

16. We often use procrastination as a tool.

We are notorious procrastinators because many of us do our best work under pressure. We will subconsciously, and sometimes purposefully, delay our work until the last minute simply to experience the rush of the challenge.

17. We are addicted to creative flow.

Recent discoveries in neuroscience reveal that “the flow state” might be the most addictive experience on earth. The mental and emotional payoff is why highly creative people will suffer through the highs and lows of creativity. It’s the staying power. In a real sense, we are addicted to the thrill of creating.

18. We have difficulty finishing projects.

The initial stage of the creative process is fast moving and charged with excitement. Often, they will abandon projects that are too familiar in order to experience the initial flow that comes at the beginning.

19. We connect dots better than others.

True creativity, Steve Jobs once said, is little more than connecting the dots. It’s seeing patterns before they become obvious to everyone else.

20. We will never grow up.

We long to see through the eyes of a child and never lose a sense of wonder. For us, life is about mystery, adventure, and growing young. Everything else is simply existing, and not true living.