We’ve grabbed Maslow by his ankles and shook him violently.

A chapter on motivation from the before mentioned report on ‘individual growth’.

When it comes to the theories presented in our course book and during class, the goal-setting theory speaks to me the most.

Maslow is too damn easy. It cannot be so, that there is this stairs-like construction on which our entire state of mind depends. The stages of neediness or the hierarchy of needs do not cut the mustard anymore I think. Take fast fashion consumption, for instance.

Fast fashion is the work of the devil, as far as I am concerned, for an array of reasons. I won’t go too much into it in this report as the fashion industry should not become the central topic of this piece. Then again, neither is hockey.

But.

As explained in the amazing documentary ‘the True Cost’, there is such a thing as consumptionism. It is the ultimate dream of every advertiser as it is this stage of consumption where the consumer uses the goods that are meant to be used, as goods that are meant to be used up. For example: A car is meant to be used. A woolen overcoat is meant to be used. Cigarettes are meant to be used up. A nice bottle of wine is meant to be used up. What fast fashion has done, is making us treat our second skin –our garments- as a cigarette. We are using our clothes up, usually within a week.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Maslow? Imagine the following: you have lost your house, you have lost your insurance, you have lost your wife, you have lost everything… but you can still buy three t-shirts at H&M. This of course makes you feel like you’re rich; you can still afford a whole bunch of stuff despite having lost many other things. While in reality, you have become poorer and poorer.

Our pyramid is upside-down. We’ve grabbed Maslow by his ankles, shook him violently, and thrown him out in the yard. It is all random, and relative. At the moment, my self-actualization needs are on top at the moment too. I feel that my mental state needs to be taken care of first and foremost, before I can attend to all the other things I need to care about.

Goal setting, however, has proven to work for me. Absolutely. It is the reason I walk through the door every day as a full time student, and not an Open Studies mademoiselle. In my interview I was the only one who had a clear, mathematical path (shortest way from A to B is a straight line) towards the future.

I want to become a fashion broker, specializing in responsibly produced textiles. I want to invent a new way of distributing these amazing goods and presenting them to the world, also in a responsible way. I will specialize in supply chain management, Should this major not be available I will get very, very upset. There. Badabing-badaboom. A lady with a plan.

Everything I do, every assignment I take on, has this goal as underlying thought. Things become so much easier to endure when you have put a price at the end of your journey, something bigger than just a paper that says ‘you’re graduated’. Lack of a goal is pretty much the reason why previous educational experiences turned into dust. When you cannot see why you do something, why do it? Why do we do the things we do and not the things we don’t do, can’t do, won’t do? I believe it is because we put something valuable for us at the finishing line.

#14

2016 is turning out to be a (censored) year. All of the brilliant ones are leaving for the chocolate factory one by one. First Bowie, then Rickman, and now mister Johan Cruyff went on to join them, delighting them with his epic one liners no doubt.

Cruyff is usually the only person from my country people start talking about almost immediately once they’ve figured out where I am from. That’s all, perhaps, they need to know.

I was not very much involved in football -only when the national team would make serious progress I’d come out and have a pint or two. Still, we would use Cruyff’s euphemisms throughout the day. His one-liners could be found in our newspapers and in our schoolbooks. Wisdom.

‘Every advantage has it’s disadvantage.’

‘Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.’

Among many other pearls of wisdom. Truth be told – we could not always follow him but now I can see what he’s talking about. It’s a little more clear now I’m sort of a sports fanatic (sitting, watching and being loud).

Under an epic, classical tune, there is only this to say: Bye mr. Cruyff… your legacy of one-liners -among other strokes of brilliance- will not be forgotten.

#14.

God was rather occupied and we had to wait a while.

Imagine heaven. What would it look like? How would it smell? I got to find out today without having having to actually become a late-student.

We went, today, to a place called heaven. There were heavenly gates, heavenly hordes dressed in white with halo’s, even the nectar of the gods, which bubbles up at the very place. It turns out, one can easily reach the gates of heaven with the help of local transit. Since there now is a railroad to the airport, a wakeful eye decided to shake up most bus lines, and therefore most buses no longer reach the gates of heaven (it could also have been a space-saving measure. Instead, the airport and surrounding areas are now easier accessible. The gateway to hell, according to some).

As we stood for the mighty towering gates, filled with awe and reverence, a heavenly smell started to reach for us from beyond the gates. God was rather occupied and we had to wait a while. Several fortunate souls were apparently equipped with a card of sorts, and could easily walk in and out.

Though our troupe still incomplete, we were finally given permission to enter from afar (like everything in Finland, heaven is a rather horizontal area, where there is no ‘above’  to speak of – there is only ‘far’). And, as mere mortals do, we moved about in forward motion, one foot carefully placed in front of the next, and thus we made our way to The Entrance.

‘Fazer’  it read above the door.

After this everything went slightly foggy. I remember something about a water tap, a lady, a staircase downwards, people dressed in white, as well as an enormous lady dressed in fitness attire. I remember a make-believe cocoa plant with beans the size of an airbag, something with a floor, a lot of blue, and then there were tubs. Heaps and heaps of the heavenly goods laid about, glistening like emeralds, screaming ‘eat us, eat us!’ -and so we did.

As no-one is permitted to carry out the food of the gods back into the land of the living, we were to consume all we could there and then. And so we did.

After the feeding frenzy, as we made our way up again, a ringing started to fill my ears. We were given the water of inner sanctity (it came straight up out of the ground), something with a moving picture, some sort of heavenly supermarket, and before we knew it we were outside again, in the chin chafing cold of the Finnish spring.

It was over.

It is evening now, and I am still not able to position my whole being upright. My ears are still ringing and the uneasy feeling of the nether regions has only just started to fade a little. On the ground, against the couch, is a blue bag. The living and only proof that we, humble business students, in fact, went to heaven today.

 

 

 

 

 

For some reason this amazing sports event never took off below sea-level.

From a report for a course at school. I somehow managed to make this chapter on hockey a logical and appropriate introduction for a chapter on teamwork:

 Something about hockey.

Never have I ever been into sport, yet here we are. Dismembering the couch, yelling at the TV, as if they could hear me. My throat hurts, and so does my brain. They’re doing it again. Exactly now when it really matters, because playoff season is upon us. I made a pact with the devil a while back where, either they win on my birthday, or I am no turning a year older. The perfect pact! Except from the fact that they may not even be in the running anymore by the time it’s my turn to blow out the candles.

That’s boring! Screw the devil! Much more interesting is it to retrace all the steps I took from a bona fide sportophobe to a swearing, poutine-whipping, couch-throwing, beer-flinging, coffee table-hurling hockey fanatic.

The Netherlands are / Holland is (they both mean the same country, and it really does not matter how you call it – except for people living in the low-lands. The argument of where Holland stops and the Netherlands begin is very much alive. The line is only in our heads. Just how the Ural Mountains in Russia are not so much an actual chain of granite teeth but made up for the sake of a division between Europe and Asia on a map) a hockey-vacuum. For some reason this amazing sports event never took off below sea-level. We have the high-speed skating, which we do super well, and we have the field hockey, which we also do super well, but no-one ever thought to put their hands together, big-bang style.

We would watch high speed skating as a family, huddled together on the couch or around the dinner table (skating was one of the only events we’d watch during supper), watching Dutch people for once being really awesome in something. I’d admire the Dutch skating fans, who are insanely outgoing, dress head-to-toe in the most outrageous orange outfits, and then go on cheering on everybody. As I grew up I fell disinterested with the sport- bored even (have you ever watched through the men’s 10 kilometres? Half an hour a set! Nightmare! You just sit there and watch them go round and round and round…). It wasn’t for me anymore.

Field hockey was that thing I could do moderately well –ish in High school gym class. This sport however is something only practiced in sort of posh neighbourhoods, and does therefore deserve to be made fun of. Football, although insanely popular in my country, does not interest me one tiny bit.

Something about this crazy sport makes me jump up with excitement, and curl up in a big bawling ball of sadness other times. I care. Deeply, passionately, loudly. I tend to care very loudly at the TV. I don’t know why. I don’t feel at all inspired to live a healthier life style, or work out more. Never have I ever set foot in a gym, and I never will; I just don’t think it’s normal. The game itself is fun; I love the speed and the energy. There is no room for big egos on the ice.

Of course, watching dudes ram into each other either on the telly or in real life makes for a great evening, but there is something more to this phenomenon. In Dutch, the word is ‘clubliefde’. I only heard that today in a talk with a poet called Jules Deelder. Deelder is one of those people who seems infinitely intertwined with his city (Rotterdam). He tends to be a bit outspoken, and only recently I have been searching for his material.

He is a passionate supporter of a smaller football club from Rotterdam (Sparta), the oldest in the country. I do not care much for football, but the way Deelder passionately cares about his club speaks to me. This passion goes beyond money, or transfers, or performance. It is a sense of belonging to a tribe, a devoted group of people who have but one thing in common: a few colours, a few songs, and a team.

In my case, it is dudes in yellow and black from a town called Lappeenranta, where, incidentally, my boyfriend is from. We have spent a few months there, and for some reason the colours of the local hockey team really managed to stick with me.

‘Clubliefde’ is about this intense sense of belonging. The supporting of something greater than all of us. And when the game is over, and the banners put away, we adjourn wherever it is we adjourn to, the colours of our team we carry onward around our neck, and in our hearts.