Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up to potential required to unleash a major change.
Do you remember the feeling when you were a kid and saw a little frozen puddle in winter and wanted to be the first person to break through the ice?
I still love doing that up to this day. Recently, I was almost disappointed when I was taking a walk through the Vienna Prater and I saw that somebody has already stepped through the ice. The sound that emerges while breaking the ice fascinates me again and again.
Is it just the sound? Or is it the feeling of success, to have broken through something?
You apply “to break the ice” as a synonym during these transforming times: we all have been waiting for more than one year for the great breakthrough during the combat of this current pandemic – mouth-nose protection, FFP2-masks, 1st, 2nd, 3rd lockdown, vaccination…when will we finally succeed in breaking through, ask more and more impatient people?
The English word “break” means in German something like a pause – we are indeed challenged by drastic changes on our planet – I am thinking not only of the pandemic, but also of global warming, the process of digitalization with all its effects on everyday life, research, democracy – to ‘interrupt’ our usual ways of life, to switch to PAUSE mode or even to break completely with our ‘old ways of behavior’.
Every individuum has his or her chance to contribute to his personal and our common breakthrough. Making this daily contribution requires a lot of patience, empathy, self-love and trust.
Today, more than ever, it is important to focus on the positive through one’s own behavior, not only to empower and motivate oneself, but also to be and bring ‘light’ to others.
JU’S 3 QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH
1. How do you keep motivating yourself to celebrate your personal “breakthrough” moments? To which of these moments do you think back to with pleasure?
2. How could life be for us all after the “breakthrough”? What innovations do you like to integrate into your life?
3. Assuming you have the opportunity to influence political decisions in your country for a certain period of time – how would you use this chance with regard to the upcoming ‘breakthrough’?
TG is a passionate communication inspirator, university lecturer, communication strategist and author of the first Facebook novel “Zwirbler”. In 2016 he was our trainer in the Social Media Design diploma course at the Institute for Economic Promotion of the Austrian Economic Chambers in Vienna in 2016.
With his refreshing, charming and inspiring manner, TG was able to motivate and inspire me for social media from day one – for me TG is a communication genius and thought leader in the field of social media. I admire him for his creative, courageous and flexible implementation of his innovative ideas.
I first met Martina in the fall of 1984 at the beginning of our student days at the Panorama dormitory in Vienna. A few semesters later, we became classmates at the Department of Geography and have subsequently experienced the highs and lows of being a student together. Martina teaches at the Higher Technical Education Institute Vöcklabruck in Upper Austria, is a mother of two grown-up sons and enjoys traveling around Austria and Europe in a camper with her partner as often as possible.
She is a beautiful woman with style, acumen and very strong opinions of her own. I appreciate Martina very much as a person and colleague – the mutual exchange on a professional and human level is always enriching.
Julia and I have never met in person – I ‘found’ Julia looking for support for my blog translations through a Facebook group. She studies “Transcultural Communication” at the Center for Translation Studies in Vienna, loves learning languages, traveling and playing her guitar.
I am infinitely grateful to have Julia on my team – she inspires me with her fine, competent, warm and reliable manner – I am really looking forward to meeting her in person.
Not at all. I celebrate my successes far too little. I have to force myself to think about them. Once I have a breakthrough, it is done for me and I have a next goal. Actually stupid. I have had to get into the habit that it is especially important for employees to celebrate breakthroughs properly. While we all were sitting together at the party, I am already thinking: “Fair enough, but what next?”.
Although I did some things first. Co-founded the first foreign language theater after the fall of communism in Hungary, was the first Hungarian publisher to publish Austrian authors such as Elfriede Jelinek & Thomas Bernhard, founded Austria’s first online waiting room TV with 1000 screens, wrote the world’s first Facebook novel. And besides that, I had some more professional breakthroughs. Several publications & plays, I wrote the screenplay for a feature film and won the Trainer Award, the Pro Typographia Award, the Forbes StartUp Award and the Innovation Award.
But all this belongs to the past. It doesn’t motivate me. Even at 50 I am motivated by the future, by tomorrow. And the curiosity about it.
The end of the pandemic is not the all-curing breakthrough. Although we all desperately long for it and need it. It is an intermediate step. I consult international companies and organizations regarding their communication strategies.
So, I also have the honor of working for various UN-organizations – helping them communicate scientific facts to a broader audience – among others the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). Our planet is not in a good shape, millions of species are threatened with extinction. If we continue like this, the human being will be one of them. There is hope, but time is more than short. I am and remain an optimist and together we can still turn the tide.
Due to my job, I integrate digital innovations on a daily basis. I am not so keen on every innovation, but I think it’s good and important to know them, to understand them, to try them. I’m a big fan of social media (sure, I teach it at universities & Universities of Applied Sciences) – but also a big critic. Therefore, I try to inspire to use the networks and opportunities consciously. We communicators have a responsibility that we can’t let buy us off by a few likes.
No matter what the topic is, be it a virus (btw. the Coronavirus won’t be the last one) or a threat to our nature: I would immediately let the best scientists – and from many different fields – advise us, involve them more in decisions, let them appear more often and not let the populists shout loudly. But all this is wishful thinking of course. Facts are complicated and silent. Most people want it loud and simple. Like Mark Twain put it nicely: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
So, we can only stick to what we really like to change: ourselves. Our own thoughts and actions. That is difficult enough and a life’s work. I am still learning it.
- Anxiety? Social status? Recognition?
A formative moment in my childhood took place when my parents had a fight about money. My parents’ constant fear of not being able to earn enough money for the existence of the large family, we were 5 children, and for the education of their children shaped my childhood. Already at the age of 6 I decided that I should be financially better off than them one day. On top of that, I went to a private school. There I soon felt the difference. I could easily observe that my classmates were not only able to go on vacation (which seemed unattainable for me at the time) but, and this was the worst, due to the elevated positions of their fathers they enjoyed high esteem by the teachers and, unfortunately, were often given preferential treatment.
A strong motivator to “prove to the rest of the world” that I could do it anyway and also “all by myself”! At least that was a strong motivator for my studies.
Wanting to give back to parents what they “sacrificed” for you! Very extrinsic but also satisfying for a long time when they are proud of “their child”! 😊
- Independence, courage to change, curiosity?
Obviously equipped with a dose of courage and self-confidence, I realized when I started my own household (at age 15) that if I wanted to change my situation, I had to “take matters into my own hands.”
I was always sure that every situation could be mastered somehow. This has motivated me, when something has touched me inwardly or excited me, to start something new. For example, doing different trainings or leading groups.
Triggered by the death of my sister, I realzed that I finally had to get my motorcycle license (at the age of 53). Many thought it was a desperation move – a midlife crisis, so to speak. In doing so, it was finally the opportunity to get down to business. After the children entered adulthood, it was time for me to fulfill this childhood dream. I still enjoy it to this day!
- Independence? Honesty? Clarity?
For me one of the strongest motives. Freedom in the mind, in everyday life, to be able to live without dependencies or compulsion or pressure of expectations. This has motivated me to surround myself only with people who do me good, whom I feel good, whom I find exciting, from whom I can learn, with whom I can feel, who are open to the world and critically constructive. Which leave a happy, inner feeling with me and hopefully I with them.
I don’t like empty words, actors, envious people and perfectionists.
A goal in life that I already strived for in my youth and even then, considered infinitely difficult to find – honest LOVE! You can create many things through work, diligence, etc., but love needs a counterpart.
As cheesy as it sounds, it has always given me the strength to look at things, assess them and then draw consequences. To go further…… to find strength….. .
a) Distance learning in education has turned out to be very surprising for me. For me, developing the work tasks was very interesting, very far-reaching and always a challenge. During the reflection process a lot of topics have evolved. What really needs to be transmitted? How do I put it on paper so students can understand and implement it? Which sources do I use? With the help of research, many educational ideas can be found in the end.
The students had to deal with the topics in order to be able to work on them. At school, they sit behind their desks and let themselves be distracted, they don’t want to think. As soon as they have to think in writing, they have to learn to concentrate, combine what they have heard and read and write it down. They also have to get organized (meet deadlines for example) and become again responsible for their actions! Become more independent again because parents can no longer take everything off their hands!
Many very personal contacts have been made because it is obviously easier to write down the problems in writing and from a distance.
b) From the experience of distance learning, I would opt for “project-oriented learning” in school with few students, in comfortable school classes (like the Scandinavian Modell), because it is already evident in the shift model that work can be done much more efficiently with fewer students. You can follow their thoughts and develop creative and exciting theses together with them. This makes learning fun too!
If I were a politician, I would ask myself whether the current policy still fits the modern, changing society.
Since we can expect an even higher unemployment rate in future, both, due to pandemics and digitalization, but also due to the effects of climate change, I would move away from the current working hours model and unemployment benefits.
The idea of a basic income for all, so that their existence is secured and the possibility to earn more through work, I would find brilliant!
I firmly believe that few people would not go back to work. Work is not just about earning money, but encompasses a much broader spectrum, such as recognition, friends, social status, and so on. However, every person would have the opportunity to develop his or her work-life balance according to his or her own ideas.
If people’s livelihoods were secured by a basic income, they would be able to work on what they are interested in without stress and with a lot of commitment; they would also be able to continue their education at any time and then also apply themselves accordingly and develop professionally.
Young families could temporarily take time for their children, if they wanted to – and not only the mother, but also the father. Partners could take turns in their work assignments.
Now that we can see how much money can be transferred and invested in support services, it should also be possible to finance this expensive basic income. It would be an interesting calculation what would be more expensive in the future. Unemployment benefits, social assistance, various supports, or unrestricted basic income. Most of all, because we know that many professions will be eliminated in the next few years due to digitalization. New jobs will be created, but these will not be able to absorb the high number of unemployed.
These measures would also lay the foundation for a satisfied population. I think that if every individual in society can be sure that his existence is thoroughly protected, he will not be so quick to join populist and extreme right-wing ideas, be tolerant of others, because he has nothing to fear.
Beyond that, and no less important, for me would be the preservation of democratic values. I would do a lot more outreach. I would not simply sweep false reports, slander, incitement and fomenting of hatred under the table, but consistently clarify, discuss, take legal action against and publish transparently. Vehemently limit corruption and act against it in order to regain the trust of the population!
I would now continue the restrictions that have been imposed by Corona and that have been beneficial to the environment. As mentioned above, policymakers need to focus on the changing world. Climate change, or all measures against it, must be a top priority, as this ultimately secures all our lives. Not only technically, but socio-politically, I have to bring about change.
More common European policy, especially regarding democracy! Corporations and large industrialists would have to make a fair contribution to the financing of the general public and introduce a machine tax or something similar.
Unfortunately, I have to say that I celebrate my personal breakthrough moments far too rarely, as I always have the next goal in mind. However, when I find time to cherish these moments, I love to travel or spend an evening with friends. I like thinking back to school or university degrees, exciting work assignments, or even personal goals through which I have grown. Due to the current situation, this is of course even more difficult to implement and therefore often takes a back seat.
To be honest, I can’t find an answer to these questions because the breakthrough and what comes after depends on each individual. Did I learn anything new from it? And do I want to keep this in my life and enrich it positively through this?
One personal innovation I would like to incorporate into my life is to spend more time exercising in nature and being grateful for the here and now.
Through the pandemic I have discovered many, for me previously unknown, hiking trails. There is nothing better than being out in the fresh air laughing, putting aside your cell phone and computer for a few hours and recharging your batteries to get through this difficult time.
I believe that we never agree with the decisions of our politicians and always complain about them. But how would we feel if we were in their shoes and had to make decisions that should guide, move and change an entire country? However, I believe that instead of dichotomy, diversity should be created by educating the population but also sharing reassuring words with them. I also think that mandatory testing should be expanded. Rapid antigen tests before entering bars, museums, schools and universities could give back a piece of solidarity, especially to young people.
As I am still a student myself, I have the feeling that the psychological strain that comes with the pandemic is being left behind.
Yes, from a medical perspective, a “lockdown” and so-called “social distancing” is the most effective way to combat a pandemic, but it makes me wonder what price we as a society are paying. Increase in mental illness and domestic violence are only a few of the drawbacks.