Women of South Sudan

Life brought my curiosity far far away towards many edges. Those edges always marked the line that I needed to cross in order to learn thousands of new things. The multitude of positive and negative facts about the world comes with many responsibilities. Before we open those boxes filled with answers about the world, we never ask ourselves an important question: Are we really ready to open it?

The answer to that question isn’t always clear due to our craved curiosity. And it’s fine. It’s fine for all those times when you learn about how amazing and pretty our world is…

It’s less fine or more so, it’s sad, when we open a box filled with negative information about the things wrong in the world…

In that moment, you realize that you are probably one of 7.2 billionth persons in the world. This fact makes you wonder if you’re the one that has to do something in order to resolve those issues the world is struggling to fix.

It is in that moment when you might start following your doubts and saying to yourself that you are too small for a huge cause like that…

And here we are.

I opened that box and I assimilated one of the many negative things that are happening in our world.

What was going on in my thoughts in that moment?

Even if I am too small for a huge and dangerous cause, I decided that by simply doing something small it might make a difference.

Today I hope that the small actions in my words could be read by those who can really make a huge difference and be a source of influence for them to change the negative into positive.

The women of South Sudan

A few days ago I had the opportunity to watch a video about a woman. She’s one of those 7.2 billion people who live on our planet. She’s too small for a huge problem like that. And here’s where we forgot something important:

“People working together can do great things.” – Tanzanian proverb

 Ileana is only 28 years old. She didn’t choose to become a famous singer or professional dancer. She didn’t even choose to stay in her home country to do what she studied (helping women give life – Obstetrician). With the idea of somehow making the difference, she picked one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

What could that be?

She decided to join Doctors Without Borders and do small acts of kindness.

How?

It’s simple. Many small acts by many people, working together, will make a lasting difference.

It was when I discovered Ileana in a YouTube video, that I decided to do something in order to help the world repair the negative knowledge-box full of bad facts that happen not too far from here.

Ileana decided to go help normal people at their house during the war. Let’s read how it sounds when we decide that it is better to help people in their own house instead of giving them shelter in our homes here, far from the war.

donne sud sudan
photo: iodonna.it

“Tra un esplosione ed un altra mi chiedevo cosa pensassero le donne incinte…

Spesso mi capita di sentire storie di donne che camminano per ore per raggiungerci. Alcune c’e la fanno ad arrivarci qui in ospedale, pero alcune volte non c’e la fanno. Crollano esauste e partoriscono da sole con nessuno che le dia una mano. Hanno solo un pezzo di lamiera per tagliare il cordone ombelicale e nessuno che le aiuti a ad espellere la placenta.

 Questo fatto mi porta tristemente in mente la situazione delle donne del Sud Sudan che di notte si nascondono nelle palludi per proteggersi sai soldati. Devono tenere i bambini in braccio, quelli piccoli, perche l’acqua arriva fino alle spalle. Con il rischio di essere attaccate dai serpenti e dai coccodrilli. Sono donne esauste, mal nitrite eppure fortissime.

Quello che ho visto in questi anni e quello che nonostante le difficolta che queste mamme sono costrette a vivere in guerra, dopo il parto, la prima espressione che vedi sul loro volto e di tutte le persone che stanno intorno e sempre di gioia. Gioia perche e nato un bambino nuovo, una vita nuova ed una vita nuova da una speranza per tutti.

 Sapete, mi chiedono spesso se non ho paura di andare li e cosa mi spinge a farlo?

Rispondo sempre che qui a casa abbiamo dei bisogni ma anche se non ci rendiamo conto, abiamo molte risorse per soddisfarli. Mentre la ci sono solo bisogni.”

 

I will try to translate it from Italian to English for you.

“Between explosions I always asked to myself how the women were feeling in those moments.

 Many times I heard how these women walk for hours to reach us. Most of them make it here, but sometimes many women fall literally on the ground exhausted and they deliver their babies alone. Nobody is there to help them and all they have is a piece of sheet metal, which they use to cut the umbilical cord. Nobody is there for them in order to help them to excrete the placentas.

SudSudan-Pibor
photo:medicisenzafrontiere.it

This fact sadly reminds me of the women from South Sudan. During the night they hide in the swamp in order to escape from the soldiers. They hold the little children because the water reaches the shoulders. They risk to be attacked by snakes and crocodiles. They are exhausted and underfed women but strong.

South Sudan Stranded Families
photo: ilpost.it

 All I saw during these years is that despite the difficulties and issues all these women are going through because of the war, after the birth of their child, they always have an expression on their faces. The first expression you can see on their faces is happiness. They’re happy because a new baby was born. A new life always brings hope for everybody.

 

Women and children at the MSF hospital in Leer.
photo: internet

Very often people ask me if I am afraid of going over to these places and risk my life. They also ask me why and what makes me go there..

I always reply: here, in our house we have needs. Many times we don’t even realize how many resources we have in order to fix the need. Over there are only needs…”

 

Thank you Ileana for what you’re doing! I hope though, that one day, we all work together and make the dreams of peace for all these South Sudanese and other women come true…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rotary Club, 75 years of service to the world

Since the beginning of my teenage years I started to be strongly sensitive to amazing accomplishments the people can achieve if they are armed by kindness and altruism.

The huge benefit, as a citizen of a small town like Traverse City (TC) Michigan, is that the news travels faster and it reaches your ears on time, giving you enough time to plan your schedule.

The month of April in TC is well known where the locals come together to celebrate the anniversary of the local Rotary Club.

Hmmmm, what if I’ve never heard about the Rotary Club before…

Let’s go and sneak on the Internet to find an accurate definition of Rotary…

Rotary Club is a local club of business and professional men that is a member of a world-wide organization of similar clubs (Rotary International) devoted to serving the community and promoting world peace.

 

Many times our personal “starvation” for knowledge pushes us to cross the line of doubt and walk forward step by step towards the things unknown.

What made me renounce an alternative Saturday night out to go to The 75th Anniversary Rotary Show that performed at the State Theatre on Sunday the 29th of April 2017?

The fact that they decided to do what they do best: Raising funds for good causes. Their cause was well explained on their Facebook Page: “…with all proceeds going to local nonprofits for things like building ballparks and providing health care for the underserved.“

 

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are involved in humanitarian causes and promoting the peace. As a new person going to the show, I was happy and well entertained thanks to their amazing singers, performers, and the great endorsement of their pit orchestra.

How did Rotary Club obtain an important place in my personal list of amazing things that I appreciate?

Deeply convinced I like and appreciate those places where all genders are on the same page with the same importance and same weight of words. And Rotary Club of Traverse City is one of those examples that I will happily use as reference in future conversations.

For a very interesting closure I “selfishly” kept the most important fact for last.

Ready?

 

Rotary Club of Traverse City, as part of the Rotary International, strongly supports a huge cause. We are talking about a world–wide cause that saves many lives:

 

 

Thanks for the amazing night, Rotary Club of Traverse City, and thanks for being partners of Rotary International in “fighting” for a healthy and peaceful world!

Le tour du monde through phone technology

All the times you find yourself somewhere different than your country, whether you’re travelling or just for work, you become fascinated by a local or foreign song. And this is thanks to the Synesthesia. More indicative of an effective presence of synesthesia, it is the case in which you perceive a stimulus (such as sound), which causes a net reaction to another sense (for example, sight).

That song becomes probably the song of your whole time and experience in that place. It happens very often that we associate amazing moments to certain songs.

I don’t even remember how many times I listened to songs that reminded me of amazing moments that I spent somewhere with a friend or my family.

As I’m writing down all these thoughts, I can say that I’m lucky to go through my music playlist and relive certain moments through the lyrics and melody of a song…

A few years ago, I experienced something new and exciting. I was single, sitting in a coffee shop back in Italy. I was reading a newspaper in this place with an amazing view outside: The beautiful Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I know, I know, I have no reason to talk about the beauties of Italy, because the article is about music and technology.

Sorry!

Well, while I was reading this annoying newspaper, (full of bad news about Italy’s economy) my attention was captured by this pretty lady and the weird way she was using her phone. She seemed to be looking for signal. I looked at my phone, but the phone had full signal. Then I thought maybe she was trying to take pictures, but the camera wasn’t on. I was so curious…

Not by the woman, but by what was she doing there with her smartphone…

I decided to walk over and ask about her strange behavior. She showed me how I was not up to speed with technology. She was using this amazing mobile app. She was able to identify a song with a click of a finger. All you need to do, is to bring the phone’s microphone close to the sound source. The app will then listen to the lyrics and the melody. Based on their database, the server can identify the song that is winning your ears in that moment.

shazam
photo: internet

Shazam changed my life from that moment on. I didn’t drink a coffee with that pretty lady and I didn’t even have the courage to invite her out for dinner, but I discovered something new: Shazam.

Since that day, I frequently use that technology and I can say that I had a great surprise the day I found its coolest feature.

What did I discover?

I found out that you can explore the world map and use your finger to reach a certain place on the globe. In that moment, you are able to see and then listen to the song that is the Top most popular music in that country or region.

Shazam-iPad-Explore
photo: internet

Not cool?

You can actually see what is the most popular song in Venezuela, Russia, or even Syria.

Another surprise was when I listened to a song that I identified during my last vacation in Mexico. The feature of Shazam is that it allows you to listen to that song on Youtube…and be transferred with memories and imagination to a place where you listened to that song for the first time.

This is one of the few technological inventions that makes a huge difference in our lives and brings happiness.

Thank you Shazam!

Stop investigating the magic shows and live in the moment

 

The magic show – Magic on The Vine, presented and performed by Ben Whiting at the Chateau Grand Traverse on the Old Peninsula in Traverse City MI was the first I had attended in my life. It was something unique…

Television has always created billions of critiques, experts and investigators from all over the world, and I am one of them…

The difference between a live show and a recorded show is huge.

The filter, the screens created between the public and the artist, makes the show lose intensity and interest.

Being there, live, and as in my case (occupying the first row), creates a big impact on your mind and emotions. I don’t know if it is always that way but I can for sure say that the magician created a strong connection with us, the audience.

The moment I sat down on my chair, his charm and composure captured my attention. I involuntarily stopped being a critique and expert in solving mysteries of the magic tricks. I was a little boy and it was my first time I believed that magicians are really men with supernatural powers.

Before I continue with the story, I vividly suggest to all of you to go and see a live magic show! It is really worth it!

I left the house convinced I would probably partake in one of those boring nights that sometimes you find yourself involved in. The host made my day.

How?

The show was organized in this amazing wine tasting shop. Chateau Grand Traverse

A glass of complementary wine and free appetizers…

Bingo!

Trick after trick, my emotions were hiking a sort of trail towards the peak of happiness.

An hour later, he took a full deck of cards. He counted 10 cards in front of us and gave them to a girl, asking her to place them under her seat. She counted them and did what the magician asked. Then he counted 10 more cards and he handled them to my companion. She counted them and she did what the first girl did. After that, he counted the remaining 32 cards and put them on a table…

The moment each girl reached under their seat…the first girl counting only 7 cards and my girl counting 13, I stood up and I applauded that man with all of myself. He earned my respect and he made me reach the peak of my hike. I whistled…

The important thing is that he showed us his empty hands before handling those cards. He opened a brand new deck of cards.

I don’t want to know how he did that… It was pure magic!

Thank you Mr. Ben Whiting for taking me, bringing me back into teenage feelings, and entertaining one of my best Saturday nights out!

We all need those kinds of times where we can go back in time and experience various episodes of our lives that brought us here. He did that and I cannot wish him anything but Good Luck!

 

Equal Pay? Iceland Made It…

 

March of 2017 will be one of those moments in history we will happily remember. The month of March 2017 brings the victory to a handful of women. The Icelandic politicians approved the law that gives an important right and benefit to women:

Beginning today, Icelandic political leaders will start working on the plan that will guarantee the benefit of the Equal Pay to the employed women of the country.

The Equal Pay for men and women is not a utopia anymore, at least not for Iceland.

It all gained traction again, on a chilly afternoon in October 2016, a handful of women led by Frida Ros Valdimarsdottir (a former home-care worker) –armed with signs, kindness, and hope – walked into the main square of Reykjavik claiming their rights to be respected. In fact, they asked that the 50-year old law which guarantees the Equal Pay.

The Parliament of Iceland, which is half women and half men, on Tuesday March 27, 2017, became the first to introduce a legislation, which requires employers to prove they are paying men and women equally.

Many companies in Iceland already adopted voluntary the equal pay standard. Now that employers will have to prove to the authorities that they’re offering equal pay, the women can finally sing victory.

“We want to break down the last of the gender barriers in the workplace. History has shown that if you want progress, you need to enforce it.”

This is what Thorstein Viglundsson, the Iceland’s Social Affairs and Equality Minister, said.

According to Mr. Viglundsson’s words and what the law states, women will not only be the beneficiary of an equal pay, they will also have open doors to every level of a position within a company. In fact, employers must assess every job, from cleaner to senior executive, to identify and fix wage gaps of more than 5 percent.

The new rules would require the larger companies and government agencies to undergo audits, starting in 2018, and to obtain a certification of compliance with equal pay rules. Businesses with over 25 employees must comply by 2022.

Looking positively towards the future, the legislation will not fix only the gender pay gap issue, but will fight to provide the same work benefits to men and women.

Hopefully many other countries will see clearly into the future and will finally understand the importance of breaking down the walls of ignorance and view Iceland as an example to follow. After the publication of this news, the world hopes for a positive domino effect that will make all women feel appreciated by a men-dominant world.

 

 

Warren Buffett goes Tech

After a long life far from New York and Tech Share investments, Omaha’s guru, Warren Buffett, comes out with an unusual decision: Investing in many companies that he usually defined as money-wasting companies.

The reason he previously stayed far from these tech investments is because he always said he didn’t know too much about them. It didn’t mean he would always keep his capital far from these deals.

The long friendship he always had with Microsoft Co-Founder, Bill Gates or the incorporation of the two, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the main reasons for changing his mind. As a guru of wise investments, he foresees what other people can’t. The fact that he built an $18 billion stake in Apple says a lot.

After studying Warren Buffett’s investment history and keeping an eye on his long-term career decisions, I arrived at a point:

Warren Buffett loves to bet on companies with amazing quality products. He always sees the potential in quality products that don’t need to win people’s trust. According to newspapers like Wall Street Journal, the $800 billion evaluation puts Apple Corporation on the top of the world as the biggest and strongest company in global economic history.

Even the bad news about Apple investors that were selling their shares didn’t scare the Guru of Omaha. In fact Berkshire Hathaway recently became the largest Apple shareholder, reaching a 2.5% stake, with 9.81 Million shares, according to Forbes. Investing in Apple inflated Berkshire’s bank account for about $1.1 billions in revenues in 2017.

iphone-se-tanitildi-iphone-senin-fiyati-ne-kadarirjSlwodQU66QqchDAZpqA
photo: internet

Betting on Apple, for Berkshire, was like going to the lottery with the winning numbers in your pocket. The fact that Warren Buffett thinks deeply is an amazing feature.

The point I want to highlight?

You may not know too much about a field. That might be not too good, but when you have in front of you a company with an amazing marketing/internal organization or huge development program, along with a positive product history, you probably would even consider going Tech.

After many years as a loyal customer of Cupertino’s many products, I can’t remember once when the products stopped working for more than 1 day or created problems. Maybe that’s why a man like Warren Buffet with a strong hesitation of Tech and other similar fields, decided to change his way of seeing things.

Warren Buffett in my opinion just took an obvious chance that, till now, showed many people were wrong. The speculation sometimes destroys you, but if you are The Guru of Omaha, the Tech field might be an unlikely winning bet.

The beautiful Italy and its hand made small industry

 

Years ago I was exploring the stunning Italian region Liguria. Convinced by my ignorance I used to think of Liguria as: Cinque Terre & Genova, second category soccer teams, San Remo and Genovese Pesto. I was wrong! Liguria won my heart and gave me lots of emotions and friendships; friendships that I kept alive during several years.

I left my town Pontedera, Tuscany on a Saturday afternoon and I followed the navigator along the west coast going North. After almost 1 hour of driving I was sick of a boring radio and I decided to leave the highway and stop in a small town called Sarzana (tra Carrara e La Spezia). That destination became, later in my life, one of my favorite towns for two reasons: the first, because it gave me two of my wedding’s grooms men. Second, because Sarzana is a place full of curiosities.

What makes Sarzana a city full of Curiosities?

 

  • Sarzana became a Piccolo Borgo Fortificato in late 963 BC, thanks to a paper signed by the emperor Ottone I
  • The Bonaparte’s family was exiled there
  • Sarzana is surrounded by small little Borghi that I call Unique Places
  • They have an annual Antique Trade Fair

I will always be sure about something…

Everything happens for a reason. In fact, the destiny wanted me to leave the highway and drive into Sarzana for this Antique Trade Fair (I’m kidding; the true reason is because I was dragged by a woman).

After the initial steps on this town’s roads, something was happening with me. I felt internal warmth and I suddenly became happy. Sarzana was winning my heart and I was falling in love with it. Let’s say the truth, it is really easy to become “prey” of its’ charm.

The city was full of stands with plenty of pretty vintage stuff.

Out of the historical center I reached a shady square, full of other types of stands. Car batteries illuminated the single tents and everybody was selling something interesting.

That day I discovered an interesting side of Italy. I found out about a really original and revolutionary idea:

That square was hosting the flea market of those who have a hobby. The flea market of those who are sick and tired of waiting for the politics to create new jobs.

That square, on that weekend, was hosting the Hobby Flea Market.

Remember I said that everything happens for a reason? Well, that night I stopped at a stand where I met the one who became my best friend: Sabrina. Owner of Black Owl Project, she was crafty in hand-making her jewelry.

After five minutes of interesting conversation about her hobby, she decided to take a break and invited us to go have a coffee (in Italy, if somebody invites you for a coffee, more than sure, you will become friends).

At that bar I started to become more curious about her hobby and I asked if she would tell me more. I needed to find out what it means for a young woman to find a solution in a country where the young population were struggling to find employment:

How did you start having this hobby?

“I love buying jewelry but most of the time it is tough to buy it because of the high prices. The fact that I always looked at the jewelry with a judging thought, most of the times didn’t allow me to buy it.”

Where did you learn to create those things (TV, Internet, Magazines, Friends…)?

“I tried multiple techniques that allowed me to improve my creativity. Most of my skills were created through video tutorials and magazines.”

 

What inspired you to create all this jewelry? The idea of making money or for personal reasons?

 “The reason I started to create all these jewels is due to Christmas time: I needed to buy the presents for my girlfriends but my economic factor didn’t allow me. So I started to buy the tools and I created my first things.”

 

Who supported you during this tough adventure?

 “My parents weren’t too excited about my hobby but they always gave me a hand. I would definitely say that all my family supports me now.”

 

What’s your thought on all those who are trying to put a stick in your wheel’s dream?

 “I know it’s a tough world and building a dream will not be easy at all, but I will always try not to give up. I will always follow this dream.”

 

Do you remember what was your initial capital? What about the kit you needed to start your dream?

 “The biggest investment I made was when I first started. I bought a tent and some tools. Everything cost me around $300. I used the money wisely and I tried to use some stuff I already had in my house. With the initial money I earned, I reinvested to buy tables and exhibitors.”

 

Who did you involve during your adventure and how did they help you?

 “My fiancé is the one who supported me from the very beginning. He always comes and helps me with the tent and prepares the stand with me. My parents and his parents showed sometimes a big interest and they helped me with the exhibitors.”

 

How much time do you invest in your hobby each day?

 “I do not invest too much time in it. Besides my hobby, I have school and a part time job, which keeps me sometimes far from my dream. When I find time, I invest 3 hours a day.”

 

Where are you selling your products? Internet platforms, Shops, Flea Markets?

“In addition to the Flea Markets, I have an online shop on ETSY (https://www.etsy.com/it/shop/BlackOwlJewels ) that I recently created.

 

How do you see the future of your small business?

 “I will never stop dreaming and I will always fight to make it grow. I always dream of a day I will be able to make it become the main source of my income. All I know is that I have to believe in Black Owl Project and step by step I will try to make my dream come true”.

 

What would you like to change but you can’t?

 “I would love running a proper e-commerce business and I would love to have my own shop/laboratory.”

 

Which kind of help do you think you would need?

 “Definitely more capital.”

 

Would you give a tip to all those who are trying to follow their dream?

 “Well, I’m still struggling, so I am the one who still needs tips.”

 

 Everything happens for a reason in our lives. That day, the curiosity had me discover two things:

  • The humanity always finds solutions to social struggles
  • My best friend, Sabrina, the one who runs Black Owl Project

Should you go take a look on her website? Definitely!

IMG_2793

https://www.etsy.com/it/shop/BlackOwlJewels

 Thanks Sabrina and Black Owl Project to show to the world what it means to keep strong and never stop dreaming!

 

 

 

 

The pursuit of happiness

Have you ever asked yourself why a nation nearly twice as rich as it was a generation ago, actually pays its median workers less than before? You probably asked yourself also:

What did make the Genuine Progress Indicator stop growing? What did make only the Gross Domestic Product (GDP=The GDP is the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year.), keep growing?

GDP_v_GPI
photo: demos.org

Well, let’s see why!

What’s the Economy For, Anyway? is the book that interested me lately and helped me have a better perspective about how the world works.

There’s a tip/warning, that after reading it, I do completely agree with:

 

“It’s time to stop chasing growth and start pursuing happiness”.

But let’s go further and see the bigger picture. Before starting I would like you to read this article without judging.

Why?

 

Because, as a writer, all I want is to express a thought and not build new rules.

Let’s move on now and allow me to share with you some thoughts about the struggle of our society to be happier.

What makes the second Gross Domestic Product (GDP) country’s population to envy other countries called: 10 top countries where to live?

The answer is really simple according to the book. The answer is: The King GDP’s rules.

The obsession the world’s economies have, adopting the GDP growth politics, doesn’t help in many cases. Most of the time (consider the US) it affects and disappoints all those hopeful people who are leaving their houses on the Election Day.

As we know, many times we weren’t able to figure out why the new Administration is cutting the budget in certain Economic areas.

That’s why…

I would like first to use a simple and recent example: http://on.freep.com/2lIyWEZ

According to the Detroit Free Press, the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million…

That means almost 97%…

To help us figure out what we should understand from this political proposal, is the fact that we don’t need to invest in Natural Resources. And the second and sad fact is: The lakes that I want to add to the category Natural Resources doesn’t contribute to the GDP growth. Why invest money on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative if it doesn’t help the GDP growth?

The GDP has an ally and an enemy. It loves everything that brings capital and ignores everything that does not.

Here are some of the things that count positively toward the GDP:

  • Pollution (“If grounded water is polluted, and we have to buy bottled water at a thousand time the price of tap water, the GDP rises.”)
  • Crime (“GDP increases as we have to install alarms and bars or hire guards.”)
  • Health damage (“Selling cigarettes and providing lung cancer cures helps the King GDP.”)
  • Family breakdown (“A divorce can cost from $7,000 to $100,000, and definitely helps the GDP growth”)
  • Debt, foreclosure and bankruptcy (“How much is $700-1400 time 1.5 million Bankruptcies?”)
  • Paper transfers and bursting bubbles (“New financial products, such as derivatives and credit default swaps, were at the heart of the latest financial crisis, driving worldwide recession. These products count highly positively to the GDP because they increase the incomes of insurance companies and investment banks.”)
  • Increasing scarcity (“Depletion of natural resources is a cost to future generations. Yet scarcity is often reflected positively in the GDP. Paying the gasoline twice its price, because of the scarcity, that for sure helps the King GDP.”)
  • Risk (“ The GDP does not take into account the risk of catastrophic costs. Retail electricity sold from nuclear power plants counts positively in the GDP.”)

The enemies of the GDP are:

  • Nature (“The obvious economic goods and services that nature provides every year to the country do not count in the GDP.”)
  • Sustainability (“The GDP says nothing about sustainability and does not discern whether activities contributing to the GDP are sustainable.”)
  • Exercise (“We all know it’s good for our health, but it only counts if we pay to go to the gym or otherwise spend money. Your daily walk it’s just a waste of time as far as the GDP is concerned.”)
  • Social connection (“It’s the most important thing we can do to be healthy and happy. But unless money is spent, friends and family are also a waste of time.”)
  • Volunteering (“If it’s unpaid, it counts for nothing.”)
  • Housework (“Hire a nanny, hire a maid, hire a carpenter and GDP rises. Try to do by yourself, and you’re slacking in your duties to the nation’s preeminent measurement.”)
  • Price and quantity effects (“The GDP does not separate between price effects and quantity effects.”)
  • Quality (“The GDP overvalues lower quality higher priced goods and undervalues goods of higher quality and better performance.”)

The GDP is the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year.

“Just imagine you’re stuck in a traffic jam, burning gas and choking on exhaust, requiring you to pool off and fill up the tank. The traffic jam has added to the GDP. If you got into a wreck, totaling your car and increasing the cost of your insurance while the wreck caused an even bigger traffic jam for everyone else, the GDP would rise even more. And if you’d had an expensive divorce that morning, and your house burned down that evening, and…”

Congratulations! The GDP today had a better day than yours.

According to this book, today, as an economic indicator, the GDP is obsolete: Counting expenses on pollution, crime, and sickness as positive while discounting good health, family time and much of what matters most to the population.

As individuals, after a short examination of our thoughts, should we still think of growth and embrace the collateral effects, or should we focus more on the pursuit of happiness?

As individuals, we should expect an Administration team that is day-by-day applying these words into action:

Reading What’s the Economy For, Anyway? helped me start thinking wisely about how the world works and helped me thinking that maybe we forgot what really means to be happy.

We believe these truths to be self-evident: that All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness… that to secure these rights governments are instituted.

The Declaration of Independence, 1776

“It’s time to stop chasing growth and start pursuing happiness”.

The 2017 Eurovision Music Contest winner is? Switzerland with Apollo-Timebelle

 

Less than 3 months until the 62nd Edition of the most popular European Music Contest, Eurovision 2017, and Kiev (Ukraine) is already excited to prove to Europe and to the whole world their hard work in organizing the event.

Ukraine, as the winning country of 2016 (as the rules of the contest state) has had to take on the relay from 2015 winner Sweden, and organize the entire event.

For those who have never heard about it, Eurovision is a music contest festival where all of the European countries (with the exception of Australia) send their singer representatives in order to win the ears and hearts of the European public and bring the trophy home.

 

A better explanation of how the competition is structured:

 

All 43 countries vote internally during their individual National music contest, in order to select their own country’s representative. After that they bring the winning song into the competition, hoping to bring the trophies home and the opportunity to organize the next Eurovision Music Contest.

 

The vote system depends on half from the Contest Jury and the other half from the tele-votes.

 

During the semi-final and the final rounds, the voters from a country cannot vote for their own representatives. You really have to appreciate the music for what it is.

 

The winning country has to organize the next Eurovision music contest, but if they don’t have money to support the organization, can let another country organize it.

 

The idea I’ve created in my mind during the last 5 years of watching this music show?

 

Eurovision became (in my opinion) an environment where artists can send certain strong messages to the world through their songs. I personally watch the show because I have hope in really amazing songs. In fact many of them, after the show are disappearing from our ears due to the unmelodicity and their words who are trying so bad to send a message but not a feeling or a sensation.

 

See the winner of 2014 EMC Conchita Wurst – Rise Like a Phoenix, with no more than 26 million views. The message was obviously the acceptance of diversity.

And the winner of 2015 EMC Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes, with no more than 23 million views. Main message was against violence.

Then the winner of 2016 EMC was Jamala – 1944. Her message was an obvious accusation of military actions against her country.

 

Why I think the next May the winner country will be Switzerland?

 

Like a bullet in my chest,

You’re written, bound and etched

Forever in my mind

We are fading in our hands

Lost somewhere in a wasteland

Not knowing up from down

But when the walls are caving

And the world keeps turning

We got the love, we got to love

Now I will never let you go

All the words won’t make me fold

It is never easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

Now I will never let you go

Give it time and we will grow

Ain’t no fun in easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

I’ll follow you, Apollo

I wear my heart on my sleeve

You do the same for me

When autumn comes around

But when the walls are caving

And the world keeps turning

We got the love, we got to love

Now I will never let you go

All the words won’t make me fold

It is never easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

Now I will never let you go

Give it time and we will grow

Ain’t no fun in easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

I’ll follow you-u

So don’t pull the rug from underneath us

We’re in trouble babe, but we got the love

Don’t pull the rug from underneath us

Crashing down fast, as fragile as glass

But what are we now if we never tried?

What are we now?

I will never let you go

Give it time and we will grow

It is not supposed to be easy

Now I will never let you go

Give it time and we will grow

Ain’t no fun in easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

I’ll follow you, Apollo

You, Apollo

It is never easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

I’ll follow you, Apollo

You, Apollo

It is never easy

I’ll follow you, Apollo

I’ll follow you, Apollo

 

Switzerland has earned my ears, heart and brought the goose bumps onto the surface of my skin. Hopefully this time the winner song will be something the voters will pick for melodicism and the lyrics.

 

 

Good luck Switzerland!

15 Lessons on Life, Love and Courage from Mandela

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning’s of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

 

– Invictus – William Ernest Henley –

 

Rolihlahla, or Madiba, is the man who captured my attention over several years. A man who, despite all the worst stiffness, forgo of revenge and with his demure personality, decided boldly to fulfill his overarching goal:

 

Put an end to the Social Injustice the white people (Afrikaner) had against the black people and unite the nation in a one country where Democracy guarantees equal rights to everybody

 

The reason I’m trying to find the best words to talk about this hero is because I want you all to understand what the word DEMOCRACY means. I want you to know what a single man needed to endure and sacrifice in order to try to make his country understand that Democracy has to be a foundation of a country’s Constitution.

4 years have passed since he left the world. Nelson (first name given by his first teacher, Miss Mdingane) Mandela, the prisoner 46664, led his country towards a harmonious coexistence, thanks to his late-in-life feature:

Winning people’s hearts

 

 Exactly. Winning people’s hearts was the key towards freedom from apartheid and the end of the social injustice era. Thanks to the sacrifices of this man and the support of others activists, the country finally found its fair identity.

Reading the tough journey towards the now-a-days South Africa, it is hard to accept that it took one man’s actions to bring emancipation to the black population.

Every single action requires sacrifices. Sacrifices that Mandela paid with 27 years of imprisonment.

Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage By Richard Stengel, gave me a great inspiration for the future:

 Courage is not the absence of fear

 

 

N.M: Courage is an everyday activity, and we can display it in ways large and small. Don’t be ever afraid to say you are afraid! Pretend to be brave and you not only become brave, you are brave!

 

Be measured

 

N.M: Control is the measure of a leader. The people want to see how you handle situations. They want things explained to them clearly and rationally. Be measured!

 

Lead from the front

 

N.M: Leading from the front is admitting you have been wrong – even when no one else is accusing you of being wrong.

 

Lead from the back

 

N.M: Ubuntu – People are empowered by other people. We become our best selves through unselfish interaction with others.

 

Look the part

 

N.M: The best way to help others see your character is by how you appear. Images have tremendous power to shape how we are perceived.

 

Have a core principle

 

N.M: All principles are not created equal. You have to weigh the relative advantages.

 

See the good in others

 

N.M: See everyone as virtuous until proven otherwise. Seek the positive and the constructive. Seeing the good in others might make them better.

 

Know your enemy

 

N.M: Don’t address their brains. Address their hearts. Let always your enemy save his face because you will have made your enemy your friend.

 

Keep your rivals close

 

N.M: Keeping them close, under your wing, will make them think twice before going against you.

 

Know when to say no

 

N.M: Don’t be a person of maybes! Don’t worry about being unpleasant. Do it right away and clearly: No! You will avoid a heap of trouble in the long run.

 

It’s a long game

 

N.M: If you want to win, then play a long game. Rapidity is not what makes one bold. A rushed, short-term mistake might have long-term consequences.

 

 Love makes the difference

 

N.M: When you love somebody you don’t see his faults. The love is everything. Don’t pay attention to the things others may find wrong with him. Just love him!

 

Quitting is leading too

 

N.M: Yielding can be a kind of victory too – surrendering means that you are going over to the winning side. Then you too can claim victory.

 

It’s always both

 

N.M: Every problem has many causes, not just one. Even if we remain wedded to our point of view, it requires us to put ourselves in the shoes of those with whom we disagree. It requires empathy and imagination. The reward is something that can fairly be described as wisdom.

 

Find your own garden

 

N.M: Each of us needs something away from the world that gives us pleasure and satisfaction, a place apart. We have to find our own garden.

 

These are Mandela’s tips to the World. He hopes the future will be a World without the necessity of paying high prices for freedom, social equality, and peace.

I read an amazing book, I learned amazing truths and I gained important insights into how to be a better person. I highly recommend it to you.

Thank you prisoner 46664!