maj 2003 Archives

Am I getting old?

I was down in Stockholm yesterday (lovely trip actually but that is another story) and on two occasions I had a hard time understanding what people said.

The first was in the taxi to he airport here in Luleå. A young man (22+) was arranging some fair details over his cell phone and although I clearly heard what he was saying I had a really hard time understanding what he was saying. I was such a mix of slang in both english and Swedish and almost no sentence was complete.

The second occasion was down in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm where a young man (16+) was talking with his friends in suburb-Swedish. Now here I understood about 30% of what he said. His friends clearly understood him and they answered in plain Swedish.

In both cases it was young males that looked Swedish.

Did I talk that strange when I was younger? Did all people over 30 have such a hard time understanding me? I really hope not!

Was the difference in language this big 15 years ago? I do not think so. Is this an effect of so many new persons moving to Sweden? I read somewhere recently that 2010, 15% of Sweden's population would immigration background (I guess that means one of generation 0, 1 or 2 would have moved to Sweden from another country). How will the situation look like in the western world in 50 years from now?

Will this lead to that countries will disappear altogether in the end? Why should that happen someone might ask. It hasn't happened until now. The main difference between the world today and 200 years ago is that people move around much more. I guess most young people today has already been half way around the world (US, as etc.), which was not the case 50 years ago. It is much easier to move to another country today. I moved to USA in 1996 and that wasn't very much hesitation for me. "New country, new town, I will adapt."

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I am now back in Sweden. My brain is total mush due to time zone differences and only about 1 hour worth of sleep. I hate flying back from the states :-(

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A person I recently became friends with told me: "I haven't known you good enough to call you Peppar." That made think, do you need to know somebody just to call them by their nickname? Is Peppar part of my old shallow attitude? Perhaps it is. I have started signing all emails and notes with Peter instead. So far nobody has commented but we'll see if anybody notices.

On a sidenote, I have also started to write my emails more carefully. Both by limiting the amount of them but also use more words and most importantly, use more nice words. There is to much business in our high-speed society. People need to relax more. There is always time for a short break and reflection. The rest of the work day becomes much more efficient then.

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What if fishes just cannot breath on land because nobody has told them otherwise? What if I would fetch me a fish, put in a tank and slowly day by day remove more and more water leaving it with no option but to start breathing normal air? If this was doable then the fish should be grateful and perhaps I could put a small leach on it and take it out for walks in the park. BUT, what if I then took it to the see and it would fall in? Would it remember how to breath under water or would it drown? Well think about it. Most people just take so much for granted. Questioning everything is part of being a researcher (which I guess I am).

The story above is actually "borrowed" from a Swedish children's book but it got me thinking and I wanted to share it with you.

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Now, in my new life I have started to take everything much softer. What is there really to be upset about? Nothing gets done quicker. This also includes more trusting people. They are not out there to hurt you/me and everybody is doing their best. Is that naive to think like that?

I have earlier in my life been rather hurt which has put me on guard against people, especially authority people. My last boss hurt me rather bad and took all lust for my work out of me, which lead to me walking into the famous wall some time ago. He now fortunately gone and I have a much better relationship with my current boss, Jerker. Jerker is actually in the same leadership development program as I am and during the last week we got to talk rather deeply (i.e. with good contact) and we both learned quite a lot about each other, which in turn will lead to a more productive and better work environment. By the way, the former boss is Bengt Lennartsson and if you want to employ him DON'T! He will destroy any working groups or departments you have.

Back to trusting people. Trust usually goes both ways, building on that eventually both parties in a dialogue will trust each other. Trust is a necessity for deeper contact. Deeper contact is a necessity for becoming a whole person. Didn't I write this a couple of days ago already? Hmmm.

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Ahh, the art of flying without getting into physical or mental pain. I have now been sitting on the plane between Stockholm and Chicago for a couple of hours. I have been feed, I have reviewed two papers for NGC'03 (4 more to go). One was very bad and the other was very good. How could that information ever interest anybody?

In 4 minutes I'll watch the movie Two Weeks Notice with guess whom? Yes, Hugh Grant. Yes I know I promised somebody to not raise that issue again but he really is in this movie and he really is one of my all time favorite actors. Up there on the top list with John Cusak and Robin Williams. Found a funny citation in a Clancy book the other day. Robin Williams was supposed to have said the following in a scene about Adam and Eve. "Better stand back honey. I don't know how big this thing gets." What thing you might ask? Well, think it over ;-) Unfortunately, the current movie also stars Sandra Bullock.

The plane is an Airbus A330 (or 340 who can tell the difference?) and each seat has its own entertainement system. You have a small screen in the seat in front of you where you can select movies to watch (13 channels in total, well more than needed to cover the 9 hours flight).

The movie wasn't that good. Not the usual overly cute ending that all other High Grant movies have. You can all skip this one without being to sad. My problem with the movie was that Sandra Bullok got too much space and Hugh Grant to little. The best part was actually the "extra" 20 seconds of footage after they kissed and made up (when Sandra is ordering chineese again). Here Hugh Grant just gets to be himself with his bad jokes. :-)

We are now over Canada/Alaska (where does the one end and the other start?) and it is amazing how the landscape looks like all those gray movies, shot when circling the moon. Yes I am bored. I have reviewed 3 papers so far and the last was the worst. Why are there so many networking papers submitted for NGC this year? Where are all the interesting papers about real group commmunication, the human part of it all. The interesting part.

...2 hours and 21 minutes left and counting...

This is actually one of the longer trips in my life that I don't feel lika taking. I would rather sit on a rock next to a beach in Luleå and just contemplate about the important issues in life. Anybody interested in joining me when I get back to Luleå?

I am currently wathing the movie Evelyn with Pierce Brosnan. A man that looses his job, his wife and is left alone with his 3 children he cannot afford to raise so they are taken away from him. Now he has to get his act back together to get his children back.

Woohoo, the forth paper done. It was very dry and very theoretical. It would really benefit from being connected into real world applications. Better take on the the fifth as well. We'll get feed soon again, like stuffed pigs. I guess I have to think about my nice round figure. What? Are you saying that I don't have a chiseled stomach? ;-) Even after all those hours at the gym and on the bike?!

We are now in Chicago playing at the Children's Museum exhibit. A small play ground in airport theme. Tovah is really enjoying herself anyhow and I am typing away as always. 1 hour and 20 minutes to the next flight to Orlando. The home of Dizzie Void (translation from Tovah languges into English: Disney World)!

On yet another plane. I have now finished the reviewing of all six papers and I am surprised by how bad they are. People send in soo sloppy papers wasting reviewers time by forcing them to read it and then reject them! I rejected 4 out 6.

In one hour we'll be in Orlando. 31 degrees celcius. Nice and warm :-) Better get my sun glasses out! I guess we will head out to a nearby grocery store, directly after getting to the hotel, mostly because we will need water.

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I a moment I am leaving for the States on a business trip. I am going to the overly warm Orlando/Florida. The update frequency here might go up or it might go down. Obviously depending on my mood and other things to take care of when I am "over there". If you are reading this and feeling sorry for me when sweating in 35 degrees heat in Florida then you can send me an SMS via email to Just so I don't feel all alone in the world! I will be back home in Sweden on the afternoon of May 25 and hopefully back in action on the 26:th. I will read email from time to time and I will try to make all my peppy readers satisfied. By the way, why don't you comment and leave a message about which type of postings you would like to see more of on this blog (like I would care anyhow, muuhahahaha, well seriously, please post comments just to show that you care about me).

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Today I have exercised my right to just relax and be in the present. Instead of working all day as I usually do I have been sitting on the porch in the sun, writing, chatting, surfing, and most of all thinking. Everything not connected with any kind of payed work. If I am honest though, I feel like I have to much energy. Perhaps I should take a quick bike ride, or perhaps I am just happy. It can be very relaxing and energizing to really talk about your inner feelings, to have a really deep contact with somebody! Thank you all in group 5 of the leadership development program and especially one person. You know who you are! Thank you all!

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My daughter just had here first real death experience. She was playing with an ant on the porch and the playing got a bit rough and the ant "broke". It didn't die though, so we had to kill it as we couldn't repair it. This made her VERY upset and it lasted much longer than when she falls down and hurts herself. Interesting to see the difference. I guess I have to put it into perspective. The whole thing lasted about 5 minutes :-) Children....

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What is actually important in life?

Money? We have a society (west world anyhow) that is based on consumption. We work very hard to earn more money so we either can buy more stuff or just save it in the bank for a rainy day. Is this REALLY important?

Status? Many persons, me included, want some kind of status. We want to be recognized and not be marginalized."Do not forget me!" Or at least this is something I wanted very badly until very recently. Is this REALLY important?

Legacy? I guess many persons want to create something. To be able to look back when we are getting old and to see that I made a difference. I contributed to something. I was an important building block in society. Is this REALLY important?

Friends? To have somebody to really be able to talk with. Somebody that you can share anything with. Somebody that you can share your most inner secrets with. When you find such people, keep them. Whatever you do, do not let them slip away. Especially if you have a hard time finding them in the first place. Is this REALLY important?

Family? Being alone is never fun. A family is a must, or is it? Can one live alone and still be happy? I have my whole life had someone to life with. When I left my child home I shared an apartment with two other guys for about 5 months before I moved into my own apartment. That only lasted about 2-3 months before I moved in with my wife. So I must admit that I have never really tried out how it is to live by myself. I guess I must see myself as lucky and hope that I never get the chance to try it out. Is this REALLY important?

Children? I have one child, my soon 3 year old daughter Tovah. Getting a child really changed my life. You really feel that somebody is dependent on you and you have to be there. The other day she told me "dad, you write to much." I.e. her notion of me working too much. I have to admit one thing, when she was born I didn't feel like this at all and it took a couple of weeks before the dime fell down. Is this REALLY important?

Love? To have someone to love. To get a fuzzy feeling in the stomach when you see the person. Many great songs and poems have been written about love. Is this REALLY important?

My synthesis is that all boils down to getting a number of base stones for creating a fulfilling life. I guess we get some loop here as it then leads to "what is is important in a fulfilling life?". A good start is to feel like a whole person. Being able to get good contact with other human beings and being able to share your thoughts and feelings. The reader can perhaps get a feeling of me putting a requirement on myself here (the top-dog vs. under-dog discussion again) where I HAVE to do something or the other but the really important thing is to be in the present and not look ahead all the time. It also means being able to get in contact with your anger, sorrow, sexuality and joy. There has to be a balance between these for a person to be able to feel like a whole person.

It is time for a reflection on the process here. A couple of months ago I would not been able to write this or even sort this out in my head. I guess I am improving as a human being and getting closer to becoming a whole person.

Many of the points listed above are really important, of course some of them are not important at all. Everybody has to decide for themselves what is important and what is not...

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För länge sen när jag fyllde fyra år fick jag en gåva av min far. En fin present när jag fyllde fyra år som jag sen så länge hade kvar.

Teddybjörnen Fredriksson ja, så hette han. En gång var han bara min och vi älskade varann. Teddybjörnen Fredriksson hans nos den var av garn. Ja, han var min bästa vän när jag var ett litet barn.

och varje kväll var han så go och mjuk, då värmde han min säng så varm. Han var så snäll en gång när jag blev sjuk så fick jag sova på hans arm.

Teddybjörnen Fredriksson ja, så hette han. En gång var han bara min och vi älskade varann. Teddybjörnen Fredriksson hans nos den var av garn. Ja, han var min bästa vän när jag var ett litet barn.

Men åren gick, jag glömde bort min vän. Nu är jag gift och har ett barn. Och så igår när hon fyllde fyra år fick hon en teddybjörn av sin far.

Teddybjörnen Fredriksson ja, så hette han. En gång var han bara min och vi älskade varann. Teddybjörnen Fredriksson hans nos den var av garn. Ja, han var min bästa vän när jag var ett litet barn.

Text av Lars Berghagen

Wonderful Swedish song.... One of those that just makes me ponder about what is actually important in life.

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I am sitting on the porch in the sun. It is not really warm (about 12 degrees) but it is spring so who who cares how warm it is. It is just so nice to be able to sit outside. The birds are chirping (or actually it is the neighbours antenna array twisting slowly in the wind).

I have for many many years put up a brick wall between myself and the rest of the world. Not allowing anybody to join me on the inside before I am convinced that they don't want to hurt me. This obviously makes it very hard to get good contact with anybody as few persons can see over the wall to find the real person behind it. Contact.... real contact is what leadership is all about. How to get good and deep contact with your colleagues and actually letting them find out for themselves what they want to do. The latter is actually the concept of coaching. "Do not present the solution but help the person in focus find it herself."

Back to the wall, a friend told me that the first impression I made was Hugh Grant. Totally glossy and shallow. Yes, I know that you asked me not to dwell on the Hugh Grant statement but I actually think it is very true. I have to work on lowering the wall and one obvious way of doing that is to trust people more. Instead of thinking that people are out there to hurt you, instead think of the great reward one can get from getting to really know people and from getting a really deep contact.

Being here and now... is also very important. Don't plan everything or think 20 steps ahead. Just be here and be here now. I really have to work on that. I know it comes from being forced by your own internal top-dog to achieve and constantly building and creating new things. This creates a rather good feeling initially but after a while it just becomes a bad loop spinning downwards where you just HAVE to create more, work more, and loosing the here and now part. This also moves you towards another wall, the fixed wall more and more people walk into and get really ill. Been there, done that.

Daring to take contact... when you have a knot in your stomach or chest it usually means that you have some unresolved business with somebody. When you get that feeling you have two choices, push down the feeling deep down inside or go talk to the person in question. Which do you think is the best? The second in my opinion is the best. So why do I and most other individuals on this planet the first thing?

Where does everything one pushes down inside go? Well, I have learned that it doesn't just disappear. It ends up far far far down in a well inside you with a big and heavy lid. The more you put into the well the heavier it becomes to carry it with you and the only way to make it lighter is to open the lid and resolve each single issue. Resolve here can mean many different things, but in essence it boils down to daring to think about it and the most important, daring to talk about it. I know it is scary to lift the lid but it can be very rewarding. Just make sure you have somebody to talk about the items inside first, or it can easily lead to that you yourself fall into the well instead, drowning you.

Ahh, the sun. So warm and nice!

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Today I got back from the second week of my management education and I really feel like I have reached another level in my personal maturity and personal development. It is wonderful that one can get such a good contact with everybody else in the course group (18 in total and 4 course leaders), but also the more extreme close contact one get with some particular individuals in the group. You know who you are!!

One of the major tools I got with me home from this week is coaching, i.e. how to help others find out themselves what they really need and want (and not giving them the solution).

It is in total an education spread out over 18 months with about 25 course days. So far the main goal has been to learn more about yourself and be part of a larger group, and how to apply your experiences in your daily management. We have done a number of exercises and by the end of this week it was tremendous to see how good the group worked by itself (there was just some tiny help from the course leaders but much much less than earlier in the process).

It feels like being a small bird learning to fly, and spreading your wings on your own for the first time.
I cannot really say anything about the exercises themselves as that would destroy for them for others. You have to do them yourself without knowing what they are all about otherwise you take the risk of preparing (intentionally or unintentionally) and that would be like cheating.

Thanks to all in the group and the course leaders, Sören, Freddie, Barbro and John from PMI. Isn't it wonderful that a university can spend so much resources on its leaders and not just the top management, and so far 90 persons have gone through the program or are in it right now.

Thank you Ingegerd Palmer (the president) for making this come true!

By the way, coaching is very hard to do with a 3 year old girl that doesn't want to sleep :-)

On the same subject, one of my graduate students wrote the following about the Supervisor course part 1 ("handledarkurs"). The Monday reference is to a division meeting.

Short review follows below since I just got back from it and still have
everything fresh in mind.. I'll give a short summary on Monday as well,
but I wanted to write down some details about it in advance..

It has been a really, really, great course! That pretty much sums it up.
Seriously, it's been an excellent stay and I have really learned a lot
from it. The main focus was to get to know yourself, and in doing so you
ended up getting to know all the other participants as well. This was
because we did everything in a group and more or less exposed ourselves on
a mental level in front of all the others. That can be an interesting and
sometimes scary, yet extremely rewarding experience.

So I must thank you Peppar for your recommendation to take this course!

We were 12 participants (5 graduate students, 7 PhD:s) plus 2 organizers.
We stayed at Jopikgården out on Hindersön and our hosts were extremely
service minded. I've never met such nice people hosting a "hotel" before.

The days were filled with different exercises interleaved with lunches and
dinner. It was only two days and one night, but it feels like I've been
away for about a week or so. You got to meet people you would probably
never have met otherwise. And even more important, you got to know them
as well, and that in a much faster and efficient way than what is normally
possible or likely to happen. It felt like some sort of, hmm, bonding or
how I should try to explain it..

I think I will NOT mention any details about what exercises we did, except
that we really did get to play with clay and paint. The reason for this is
that if you decide to take this course, I think it is better for you NOT
to have heard anything about it at first. If you hear about the exercises,
you can prepare yourself in advance, and in doing so you only risk fooling
yourself. Sort of like cheating - you won't gain anything. Just go in with
an open mind and see what you can learn from the experience.

I recommend you all to take the course if you can. I cannot guarantee that
it will be as nice as this has been. So try not to have any expectations,
high or low, as it's all very personal I think. Either you get something
out of it or you see it as a waste of time. It depends on so much - the
participants in your group, your mindset, what you think you know about
yourself in advance and what you realize afterwards, how open you can
allow yourself to be in front of others, how open others are, if you
think you will gain anything by attending the course, and so on..

I expected to get something out of it, and I think I got even more than
that, at least that is how I feel right now - it's been very rewarding.

And as said, I'll talk more about it on monday's meeting. At least
now you know enough to ask me all those tricky questions of yours. ;)

It was such a nice coincidence that he and I got back from our different courses on the same day and to all at LTU that haven't been given the privilege to take part in the leadership education program, take the opportunity to attend the the "Handledarkurs steg 1".

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This page is an archive of entries from maj 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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