Issue #4                                                                                                                                          Web version
Dilemmas of Thirty-Somethings


Hi <<First Name>>,

Good (Mon)day! Are you excited for the week to start?

I am, and to prepare for the week I've written about a few things that currently interest me. On the blog, I'm discussing entrepreneurship in Europe, and in this newsletter I'll talk about dilemmas of thirty-somethings — plus I'll end with a fun way to start your week.

Let's begin!


1. Let's Value Entrepreneurship in Europe

It's a known fact that entrepreneurship thrives more in the United States than in Europe. Differences in regulation, culture, infrastructure and funds available that have created this divide.

In this week's blog article, I'll discuss why entrepreneurship is so important, how we can facilitate startups in the EU (and how that's done in the US), and what we can do to change our 'startup culture'.

→ Read the article here


2. Dilemmas of Thirty-Somethings

Recently I've finished a book on the dilemma's of people in their twenties and thirties. Literally translated 'Dilemmas of Thirty-Somethings', this book is written by Dutch psychologist Nienke Wijnants who found out there are certain dilemma's commonly experienced by people between 25 and 35.

If you're in this age group, you've probably experienced such a dilemma in the past. Or perhaps you're experiencing one now. Questions you struggle with may include: Do I really want to be with this partner? Do I really like this career? Do I want kids or don't I? And who am I really?

The combination of too many choices and the need to 'have the best', often results in an internal struggle. Because if there are hundreds of studies to choose from, how can we be happy with our choice? Or if we're in a committed relationship, how can we know for certain that someone out there (who we may find on Tinder) isn't an even better fit?

Interestingly, this idea of dilemmas that are commonly experienced by thirty-somethings was initially met with scorn. Some people see it as a gimmick and would say: "these thirty-somethings are not appreciative of how good they have it!".

But whether you agree with such comments or not, it's a fact that many people of my age are struggling with these (sometimes existential) questions: A whopping 70% of the respondents in Wijnants' research indicated they had experienced such dilemmas in the past. 

So suppose you are someone who experiences these dilemmas — how do you solve them? How do you put an end to these internal struggles?

It's certainly not something you can change over night. But according to the book, there are a few ways to do so:
  • Stop comparing yourself (so much) with others
  • Try not to achieve the best thing possible, but try to be content with a good thing ('satisficing' instead of 'maximizing') 
  • Consider existential questions (why are you here?) and let the answers to such questions guide your choices
  • Dare to choose and to stick to your choices
Did you experience or are you experiencing such dilemmas now? Or do you know someone who does?

I hope that acknowledging that these questions exist, and the tips above, may be of help. And if you have other tips or interesting stories about these dilemmas to share, let me know!


3. And then some — 2 Fun Ways to Brainstorm

Sometimes, you just need to come up with ideas. Ideas for new workshops to do, new business ventures to pursue, new restaurants to try or new breakfast cereals to buy.

Whatever it is, sometimes, you just need to get creative and come up with new ideas. So if that's you, here are two fun ways to brainstorm.

1. Opposite Thinking

Opposite or reverse thinking is a very easy exercise. Simply think of the extreme opposite of what you're brainstorming about.

For example, suppose you want to come up with ideas for a day that you're hosting for your company's 30-year anniversary. Simply turn it around, and come up with the worst ideas you can have:

What would someone do to make it the worst day anyone ever experienced? What would they serve as drinks and food? What would they organize as entertainment? What would the icebreaker games look like? What would the general mood be during the day, and how would this mood be sustained?

By thinking of these 'opposite questions', you get a better idea of what you find important — and in this case, what makes or breaks such an event. Simple, yet effective!

2. The Elephant Method

If you want to apply the elephant method (which I learned from my girlfriend), first determine the thing you're brainstorming about. For instance, new blog article topics. Then have everyone who participates in this brainstorming session think of an animal, such as an elephant.

Then, take 5 minutes to write down different aspects of that animal.

Elephants are grey, they have long trunks, their ears are huge, they eat grass, they have good memory, they are playful, etc.

Now, take another 5 minutes and think of each of these characteristics and relate them to the topic at hand. In this case, perhaps I could write something about memory and why we remember certain shameful situations, but don't remember other experiences that are much more fun. Or I could write about the ageing (in Dutch 'greying') of our population. Alternatively, a next article could be about playing and why as adults we don't play as much as we used to.

Again, a pretty simple but very effective method to brainstorm!

That's it! I hope you enjoyed the piece on thirty-something-dilemmas, and that you can use a new brainstorming method in a meeting this week.

Have a great week ahead!

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