You can’t stop the waves…

Inspiration shot September 2021

One year to freedom

… but you can learn to surf!

I notice that things that are happening in the world right now make many people feel unsettled. Some don’t agree with measures that are in place, others feel uncomfortable in their current situation, and some even feel that their freedom is being threatened.
I have learned that you cannot change external circumstances. If you try to resist something that you have no control over, you will just end up frustrated.
I always try to focus on things that I can influence. Focusing on the things that you can change doesn’t mean that you agree with everything that is happening, but means that you find your own way.
In this Inspiration Shot, I will share some practical examples of how you can focus on things that you can change and have control of.

Always look in the direction that you want to go!

As part of ‘learning to surf’, I was in Brittany for a week at the end of August, to take windsurfing lessons. It was intense with high waves and a lot of wind at times. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, so this is the ultimate example of ‘working with what you have’.
The most important tip I got was ‘always look in the direction where you want to go’. Don’t watch the board, the sail, or your feet, but keep your eyes focused on where you want to go. It makes a world of difference. Coincidentally, I’ve also had the exact same advice during surfing, skiing, karate, and business administration lessons! Could this be something we can apply to our entire lives? Keep your eyes on where you want to go!

You can't stop the waves... - Inspiration shot August 2021

Align with the movement, not against it…

Karate teaches us to use the momentum from our opponent’s movement and use that force to counter. I tried to apply that principle to my father’s situation.
The sad thing about Alzheimer’s is that time perception fades. Lately, my father has had the idea that his parents have just passed away. He calls me or my sister several times a day with the question: “Have you heard?”
No matter how many times we try to make it clear that they’ve been gone for decades, the idea doesn’t stick. And every day dad is sad or in shock about what ‘just happened’.
Instead of constantly correcting him, I’ve now figured out that maybe it’s best to go along with it. So I’m making a ‘memorial’ photo book of grandma and grandpa, and for the sake of convenience, I am including pictures of the whole family and important friends in it. That way, Dad has an external memory aid and a way to focus his grief on something. This beautiful photo of my mother, father and his father will of course get a place of honor!

You can't stop the waves... - Inspiration shot August 2021

The boy who harnessed the wind

“When a wind of change blows, some people build walls, others build windmills…”

If you have nothing; no money, no school, no opportunities, and you want something anyway, how do you get it done? The penniless William Kamkwamba from Malawi saw a picture of a windmill in a booklet and decided to build one from materials he found in the trash. He managed to generate electricity to study in the evenings. In the end, he helped his whole village and became world-famous. He tells his story in this TED talk. His first TED talk is also worth watching, now that you know this story. William is so nervous…
His story has also been made into a movie: “The boy who harnessed the wind”:

No excuses!

The saying ‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf’ fits beautifully with my life motto ‘no excuses!’ I was triggered by more and more people explaining what ‘No Excuses!’ means to them, and asking what it means to me. In this video, I explain the different perspectives and facets of the
‘No Excuses!’-lifestyle. I am curious to hear what it means to you!

Did you know...?

…after a car accident and whiplash 8 years ago I still regularly suffer from concentration problems and ‘time confusion’. For example, I once missed a plane three times in a row (!) because I 1) left an hour too late, 2) miscalculated the travel time, and 3) thought the arrival time was the departure time… 😱
Because I pay so much attention to it now, I am not often late anymore, but I am often an hour early by accident 😬 Because I count the travel time twice, for example. No matter how I try, I can’t get it right.
Last week it happened again. Running to the tram for an appointment, quickly ordering something to eat before boarding the tram, and then realizing that I am an hour early, again… I was so frustrated! I sat myself down on a terrace and spent the next hour there, trying to make the best of it. 🙏🏻
You can't stop the waves... - Inspiration shot August 2021

Where is Esther?

I’m writing this Inspiration Shot in Stockholm. Foreign cities always provide me with plenty of inspiration and adventure. The trip was off to a good start when I was unexpectedly welcomed on the plane by a friend who was the purser on the flight!
I later had a remote meeting with ‘Rijkswaterstaat’, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management of the Netherlands, from a nice co-working space in the city, planning an online workshop for hundreds of ‘pioneers’ among the organization’s employees in early October. So happy that events are starting again!
That evening I ate in a Swedish Italian restaurant. The waiter and I had a lovely chat about my olive oil. Then I found out that the ‘waiter’ was actually the owner of a large chain of Italian restaurants in Sweden… Maybe I ‘accidentally’ sold a large amount of TinyTrullo oil!
Now that you’re reading this, I’m probably already in Puglia. I am considering buying a second plot of olive grove, next to my land. So much @tinytrullo oil has already been pre-ordered that I’m afraid I won’t be able to make enough oil if I don’t have more trees! So if you want to order that delicious oil, please do so at You can now also follow @TinyTrullo on Instagram and Facebook!
Next week I’m going to Mykonos with ten friends, the following week I’ll travel to the French Alps for a sold-out writing retreat and then I’ll fly to Mexico (for a conference), Miami (for my dad!) and South Africa (for the winter)… To be continued… 🙂

You can't stop the waves... - Inspiration shot August 2021

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