Protagonist rule #2: Have a purpose

When Western society to a large extent was religious, Christianity offered a ready-made framework for meaning and purpose. The promise of an eternal afterlife offers a powerful incentive to live life in a way that contributes to the community you’re part of. Humans have an internal moral framework and religion aligns with that framework in … Read more

Protagonist rule #1: Own it

Life at work, as well as outside of work, can be very surprising. Lots of unexpected and unwelcome things can happen. Interestingly, if you look at how modern society organizes itself, you realize that much of what we spend time and energy on is concerned with creating predictability in our lives. The houses we live … Read more

Be the protagonist of your life: 15 rules

Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed a steadily growing following on Linkedin. I’m very grateful for that, so thank you if you’re one of them. To understand what you and others like, appreciate and think about, I often read comments and, occasionally, engage in discussions to better understand your viewpoints. Based on this reading … Read more

10 outdated beliefs about software

The world of software remains a fascinating place and I keep being amazed at how rapidly it continues to evolve and transform. We certainly have come a long from the early 1980s when I was a teenager programming BASIC on my ZX81. Especially for those of us who have been in the field for decades, … Read more

Rule 9: Empower those around you

For the longest time in the history of humankind, we lived in a world defined by scarcity. Forests for hunting, land for agriculture, wood for construction and mining sites – all were scarce resources that many wanted to have, and consequently, we competed. Individuals competed against individuals. Tribes competed against tribes. Nation-states competed against other … Read more

Rule 8: Be proactive

Little known fact: the original schools, started in the 19th century, had the goal of training obedient factory workers. The whole notion of sitting still at a desk, taking instructions and following orders was quite alien to many who had grown up on farms. For the factory owners to have access to workers, it was … Read more

Rule 6: Build skills, not position

When I was a teenager, I thought the pinnacle of professional success was being responsible for hundreds of people in an organization. My dad was a regional manager in a big supermarket chain in the Netherlands and had thousands of people working in his area of responsibility and my view of success might have been … Read more

Rule 5: Lean into the future

One of the interesting facts uncovered by psychology is that people suffer three times as much from losing something they had as they enjoy getting something they didn’t have before. There are all kinds of convincing explanations coming out of evolutionary biology why this would be the case, but in the modern world, it easily … Read more