One Apple A Day #675 – echolocation

I’ve always been fascinated by bats and their ability to fly around and find food in total darkness.
Their secret is known as “echolocation”. In short, bats use sound waves and echoes to identify and place objects in the space. They emit ultrasonic sound waves from their mouth and then listen to the echoes generated when the waves bounce back from an object. Analysing the echoes, the bat can understand the size and shape of the object.

Isn’t it incredible?
Scientists got the inspiration for sonar and radar navigation from bats.

Even if we, as human, can’t create ultrasonic sound waves and use them to move around, I feel we can learn something from bats.

I believe that conversations can work as an “echolocation” system to help us navigate through life. Every time we have a conversation with someone, we are sending signals, both verbal and non-verbal, visible and invisible. Those signals generate reactions, and if we listen carefully, they can tell us a lot not only about the other person but also about ourselves. They can tell us where we are, where we are going, and how.

That is why the quality of our conversations is so important.
They are our “echolocation” system.
If my values are my compass, conversations are my radar.


I took the info about bats and echolocation from here.

One Apple A Day #674 – comfort, change and curiosity

It was a rainy and misty day. One of those days when the best thing to do is to stay home, before a fire.

Instead, we were out walking in the woods. Nobody around, just us and the silence of nature. The light rain was making everything so soft that we couldn’t hear our own steps.

Not the most comfortable way of spending a morning, maybe. But undoubtedly, very inspiring. It was, then. When we were walking down a slight and slippery slope, that Andy asked one of his powerful questions.

How come that we call it comfort zone, yet so many people seem unhappy when they are there? If it’s a place of comfort, you should be happy. Or not?

By the way, I did a quick check online this morning. These are a few definitions I found. 

“The comfort zone is a safe place where you feel the most comfortable.”

“A psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”

“A behavioural state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.”

“Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.”

Indeed, your comfort zone should be a happy and peaceful place to be.

While we were out there, our boots deep in the mud, we came to the conclusion that the reason for that unhappiness is probably due to the assumption that the comfort zone is a fixed thing. 

Change, another word starting with C, is natural. Everything is constantly changing, moving and transforming. When you got trapped in the idea that the comfort zone is a static thing, you cling to what you have and consume all your energy resisting change. Stay in your comfort zone becomes an exhausting effort. One that drains your happiness until you feel miserable in that same space you use to feel at ease.

This morning, while I was thinking about this conversation and about the boot that I still have to clean after that walk, a third word starting with C popped up. Curiosity. Curiosity is what inspires us to make questions and to embrace challenges. It is what allows us to push, shift and reshape the boundaries of our comfort zone, so it can grow with us.

One Apple A Day #673 – discern your uniqueness

“On one level, as humans, we all have the same purpose: to develop and realize the infinite potential of consciousness. Yet we are all also particular manifestations of the creative life force and as such have unique contributions to make. Our task is to discern our uniqueness, use it as a source of creativity and then manifest it in the form of something new and innovative.” – from The Way of Nowhere

To discern our uniqueness. What a beautiful way to describe the quest to discover our purpose. 

To discern is to walk through life with my senses open and receptive. It reminds me to observe myself while I chase my goals and aspiration looking for signs that reveal my uniqueness.

It also reminds me that purpose is not a statement. Something I find out and hang on the wall. It is a never-ending quest within and without. 

It’s something I grow into, and something that grows within me at the same time.

Sometimes this process generates tensions. Between the urge for clarity and direction and the desire to explore the connection with something more profound.

I am in one of those moments of tension. And it’s from within this tension that I found this inspiring advice.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, or books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

One Apple A Day #672 – love + discipline

I was very, and I still am, deeply shocked by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant. He was undoubtedly a giant whose legacy goes beyond basketball and sport in general.

His uncompromising dedication to his craft, playing basketball, has always been a trademark of his career. There are so many stories about his commitment and relentless pursuit of excellence. 

Yesterday, I was reading this one particular story, and I was trying to understand what can motivate someone to put so much work into something. It can’t be just the discipline or willpower.

I believe I found the answer in the letter he wrote in 2015, to say goodbye to basketball.

“I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —

From my mind & body

To my spirit & soul.”

It was love, then.

A deep, fulfilling love for the sport. A love so mighty to give meaning to all the hustle, the struggle, the pain, the sweat.

My friend Mark once told me that when you infuse love into your work, it becomes your craft.

That’s the recipe we can learn from Kobe. Love plus discipline.

Because discipline without love is sterile and hollow. Love without discipline is anaemic and fragile. But it’s when love meets discipline that the magic happens.


Photo: Kobe Bryant, Lakers shooting guard, stands ready to shoot a free throw, source

One Apple A Day #671 – the power of AND

The conjunction “and” is so common that you would never think it carries such a powerful and transformative power.

It is definitely not as cool as many of the buzzwords we use in our conversations. 

Probably, because it is so short and so frequent, it doesn’t feel so rewarding for our thinking minds. Or maybe it’s because it’s scary in its simplicity. It’s easy to hide behind complex words and well-thought solutions. But a tiny word like “and”, can make you feel exposed.

I had a first glimpse at the power of AND during a coaching conversation with my mentor. I was struggling to make a decision between two alternative options. She asked a straightforward question. 

What would change if that OR becomes an AND?

That little change in the way I was phrasing my challenge, opened up a wellspring of inspiration and ideas.

“Co-creation sits in the space between freedom and constraints.” — The Way of Nowhere

The word AND is the key to unlock the creative power of the space in-between. To transform the tension between polarities in creative energy.