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(no) shock

In the semi-nature reserve ‘Oostvaardersplassen’ rangers will shoot 1830 deer to solve the issue of overpopulation. The legal court turned down the objection of conservationists that the noise of the shooting would scare the birds. The judge argued that the rangers would use silencers on their rifles. That must be nice for the birds, that may freely whistle now.

The young people in The Netherlands are increasingly suffering from hearing impairments. The foundation ‘Hoorstichting’ informed us last year that almost 25% of young people suffer from some form of hearing impairment. There is no national law or regulation that protects visitors of festivals or places of entertainment against the damaging effects of noise or loud music.

Earlier on there was an agreement on protective measures with popfestivals and with the entertainment industry. Last week cinemas, fitnesscenters, and student unions joined in to sign the agreement. It states that visitors will get easy access to earplugs in places with loud music. Also there will be a maximum sound level. Moreover the parties have agreed to inform the public about risks of hearing damage.

It seems such a paradox: first you produce very loud music and consequently you sell earplugs and warn the public in order to reduce the damage. To me it seems more rational to firmly reduce the noice in the first place, doesn’t it?

But Danish research showed that loud music evokes more joy and energy in young people. It gives them an adrenaline-kick. Like other kicks this one is also addictive. Young people increasingly seek kicks because it feels so good. The more the better. At their young age they are not aware of the risks and the long term damage. So earplugs won’t really safe them. And in the long run they will suffer from hearing damage and the famous whistle in their ears.

Earplugs will be a makeshift measure if we do not succeed in reducing the over all volume of modern music. Couldn’t we better look into the underlying reasons of the kick-seeking behaviours? Into the drivers and the energy levels, or into other forms of reward? If we will not put a hold to this trend soon young people will not hear any bird whistle altogether, apart from the whistle in their ears.

Dare to ask

As a child I would make a wishlist for Santa. I wished for books, construction boxes, toys. On December 5th I usually got a pyjama and knitwear, such as socks and mitten, a scarf or a sweather. I was comfortably warm but did not understand the secret ways of Santa. I’ve only come to appreciate the love behind all this much later.

In my coachings I sometimes ask: “what do you do when you have a problematic question? Do you have someone to turn to? Fellow students, parents, friends?” From the answers I get that this is not as easy as it seems. Asking is more complex than expected. How many friends do you really have when it comes to a head?
Students (and other adults) generally have a lot of friends on social media. They share how beautiful their life is and how well they are doing. The most probable feedback is a huge number of ‘likes’. The downside of this glorious life is less visible and will hardly be shared, in spite of the difficulties to be overcome and the need for support. And support is usually not provided through the smartphone. On the way to independence (and for the rest of your life) you need other people. You may receive feedback and support if you open up to the other person and allow your vulnerability to show. That seems to be a big and awkward step for some. Growing into independence increasingly means that you should do it all by yourself and on your own.

As a child I always had a lot of questions but I did get very little answers (not only from Santa). So I developed the attitude of the selfmade man, and this became my second nature. I did get quite far with that attitude but it also made me lonely. Back then there were no Googles or social media. That ’s hard to comprehend now. The way to develop and learn was a long way of trial and error. I became quite independent: being responsible and giving answers was my strongsuit. Fortunately there also was support and step by step I learned to ask for help. My own development feeds my compassion for developmental issues. As a coach I am not responsible for the coachee and I do not give many answers: the client is responsible for his or her development and I ask questions, a lot of questions, difficult questions sometimes (and I provide support).

In coaching we always explore how you want to achieve your developmental goals and how you handle this. How do you cope with what’s going on? What do you need to learn and what do you want to let go? Numerous questions, that you could ask the people around you. You may not always get what you asked for, but you will always get something out of that! If you need to learn how to do that you may need a coach. You’re very welcome with your questions, together we may find some of your answers!

Keep moving

Everybody knows the 1963 speech “I have a dream” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The single person that might not know the speech itself may have heard about it or about the quote. It is a worldfamous speech that has never lost it’s power or relevance. Much less known is a speech that he gave four years later on Barratt Junior High School for a group of high school students, and that is known as “What is your life’s blueprint” or “Keep Moving”. I never heard it, until my daughter drew my attention to it.

It is a powerfull and short call to make a life’s blueprint based on feeling significant, on determination and on the commitment to the eternal principals of beauty, love, and justice.
And King finishes with: ”If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.”

I am so impressed with this speech that I hardly dare to summarize it or say anything about it, that’s how good it still is. So powerfull. So relevant. That’s why I present the transcript and the link to the actual recording Listen for yourself.


“This is the most important and crucial period of your lives, for what you do now and what you decide now at this age may well determine which way your life shall go. The question is, whether you have a proper, a solid, and a sound blueprint. I want to suggest some of the things that should be in your life’s blueprint.

Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you are nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.

“Secondly, in your life’s blueprint, you must have as a basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You’re going to be deciding as the days and the years unfold what you will do in life, what your life’s work will be. Once you discover what it will be, set out to do it and to do it well. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be the sun, be a star, for it isn’t by size that you win or you fail, be the best of whatever you are.

“Finally, in your life’s blueprint must be a commitment to the eternal principals of beauty, love, and justice. Well life for none of us has been a crystal stair, but we must keep moving, we must keep going. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.”