142 days... and counting.

11th April 2020

Back in December (which seems like a lifetime ago in light of the current pandemic), I wrote an article about the event that has changed my life.

On November 20th 2019, I attended THINK Climate event where a small group of people explained what climate change is, how it happened, and why we must do something about it.

It took 2 hours and 6 powerful talks to make me a climate activist. It resonated with me on the level I have never experienced before. I felt inspired and motivated to help make a difference in any way I can. I have found my why.

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." — Mark Twain

One of the most moving parts of the THINK Climate event was the story of 142 days by Sarah Powell. Sarah talked about her life-changing six months of travelling that had made her aware of the urgency of the climate crisis. From the polluted sea even in the most remote areas to melting glaciers to record-breaking heatwaves and bushfires. All of these events motivated her to change roles and be part of the change towards a more sustainable future. It took her 'only' 142 days since she made the decision to change her career path to the day when she delivered the presentation at THINK Climate.

142 days doesn’t sound like a very long time. And yet, it can be long enough to change your life.

On April 10th 2020, it was exactly 142 days since my life was changed, and I wanted to reflect on how much it's changed in such a 'short' period of time.

Since the THINK Climate event, I started investing all my free time into learning more about climate change and sustainable solutions that can secure better future for all. I set up this website about our everyday choices that can really make a difference on a large scale. I also started having more meaningful conversations about sustainability and all the available solutions. Not only at home (although my husband got an earful about that!) but also with other businesses.

Since I work in digital marketing, I started thinking more about the climate challenges within the digital space. Thanks to my friends from Wholegrain Digital, I was introduced to the concept of 'digital sustainability'. All our digital actions require a lot of energy that is often generated by burning fossil fuels, which adds to the climate crisis.

That was it.

I have found a way to combine what I love, what I'm good at, what the world needs, and what I can be paid for. The ikigai.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept of finding your existential fuel. Finding the thing that gets you up in the morning.

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. It requires a patient search but once you find it, it brings satisfaction, happiness, and meaning to your life.

One of the best things about finding your why, or your ikigai, is that it filters all other options. All of a sudden, it seems so obvious. There is only ONE option!

What’s even better is that when we're generating something we consider worthwhile, it makes us want to devote all our energy and time to it. As Rod Judkins said, "Doing what matters is what matters". Because nothing is more painful than staying in the wrong place.

Finding the meaning of your life can bring you joy and a sense of confidence in both your personal and professional life. Simon Sinek describes it best in his short video 'Why Learn Your WHY?'

Before Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, the authors of the bestselling book about Ikigai, explored the Japanese art of living, they talked about logotherapy, a psychotherapeutic concept developed by Viktor E. Frankl, which helps people find their purpose in life.

Viktor E. Frankl was a Viennese neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. This month, April 2020, marks 75 years since he was liberated from the concentration camp Türkheim. Shortly after his liberation, Dr. Frankl wrote one of the most influential books ever written, Man's Search For Meaning, in just nine days.

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. It is about the ability to find meaning even in the most difficult times, and the ability to rise above such conditions and grow beyond them. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, you really should. 75 years after it was written, this book is as relevant, powerful, and inspiring as ever.

Despite the unimaginable pain and suffering Dr. Frankl was a subject to, he deeply believed that even if everything is taken away from us, we can choose how we respond to any given set of circumstances. We can choose our attitude through it.

“He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

In his book, Dr. Frankl often refers to Nietzsche's words, "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how." This also became the guiding motto of logotherapy, his school of psychology. Meaning is the driving force of our existence. We can choose to view any experience with a higher meaning and move forward from it with renewed purpose.

I believe this book is particularly relevant in these extraordinary times. It is such a unique experience when the entire world goes through the same thing. Empathy, compassion, and connection have never been more important. We are all learning from this and sometimes, it is a tough lesson. But I truly believe that together, we will get through it and we will be stronger than before.

I wanted to share with you one more video from Simon Sinek where he explains that these are not unprecedented times. The purpose of this video is not to minimise or ignore the seriousness of the current health crisis, but rather to think about it as a unique opportunity for creativity and innovation.

I certainly thought that I'd be spending the last couple of months differently. But instead of focusing on what I can't control, I choose to focus on what I can control, which is how I use my time. And there's too many great books to waste it.

Whether we call it a why, ikigai, or meaning of life, the concept is the same and it is the best use of our time.

"The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do."

— Sarah Ban Breathnach

I hope that the COVID-19 crisis will pass sooner rather than later. And once it does, I hope that we will be ready to implement innovative solutions to solve the other crisis that we are facing, the climate crisis.

Unlike with the virus, the only 'vaccine' that we might be able to apply is a global collaboration to secure a sustainable future for all.

I, for one, pledge to be ambitious, proactive, and innovative to implement and share the available tools and solutions to create a better future for all.

I hope you will join me.

Together, we can make a difference.

I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are well and safe.

Please stay at home.