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When I was a student – back then, smoking was still allowed in restaurants – and was sitting with friends in our favourite pub at night, we sat for hours in the fog, the air so thick you cut almost cut it with a knife, and we never noticed. Only when I went outside I noticed the difference. Sometimes it was really extreme. When I went back to the room where my friends were, it was as if I ran against a wall. Sometimes I was really irritated by this crass difference and I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed it hours before – and that it neither bothered me nor that it dampened the great atmosphere in the slightest.

During the course of my inquisitive life I’ve attended many seminars. I’ve also participated in workshops and trainings, which as they say, got down to the nitty gritty. In many of these processes humans emit a lot of steam. Detoxify. And that can stink, too. As long as we were working together in the seminar we didn’t notice this intense smell. We could even hold each other in our arms without smelling it. But once you left the room it was almost impossible to go back in. At least it took an effort.

Has it ever happened to you that you were served in the restaurant by a waiter, who had either sweated intensely before or who had not washed his “nylon” shirt, when he served the food to the person sitting next to you? Unpleasant, very unpleasant. Is the waiter that rude?

We have all made experiences like the ones mentioned. While we are part of it, whether as a student, as a participant in a seminar or as a waiter, we do not notice the bad smell. Only when we experience a completely different situation/Only when we literally are taken out of this context we notice it. Sometimes we need the loss of something to show us that we didn’t value something enough. Air is always around us – we take it for granted in such a way that we hardly feel thankful for it.

Either way: When you are in a situation you are often not fully aware of it. “What does the fish know about the water it swims in?” is a familiar question. If we are not aware that we are stuck in a prison we cannot escape. Or put differently: the happy slave will hardly fight for his freedom, because he doesn’t know the difference.

Where/When do we accept our own actual condition? Do we accept it? Shouldn’t we dare to regularly question our life, our habits, our clothes, our apartment, our relationships, our jobs? Not necessarily to totally change everything. But with a bit more care/attentiveness, more appreciation or with a fresh breeze one’s quality of life can significantly increase.

In business one is more open to this and continuously tries to improve. Why not in the so-called private life? Isn’t that even more important?

I wish you lots of fresh air!