Dieter actingHard to define this guy. He likes to refer to himself as a slacker, but his track record speaks of something else. This Belgian IT’er is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. He works for Spotify. He plays bass in a band, he is also a good actor with a talent for comedy. Back in 2015 he performed a theatre monologue all by his lonesome with a mere six weeks of rehearsals under his belt. In 2012 he also starred in a play during the Gentse Feesten [Three weeks a year one of his favorite towns, Gent, goes totally nuts and parties all day and all night], his part was delightfully disarming.

Apart from that he loves to travel, is open to discovering new things and meeting new people, and if given half a chance he will wonder deeply about the mysteries of life. Perhaps he does not read a book a week, but he digs through tons of material online. A budding man of the world, who can be a little harsh on himself, a nice fun loving friend to have around, but do not expect him to keep in touch, he claims he is not very good at that. Could we say that, apart from his actor persona, he is also a little bit shy? And kind of self-effacing, even though he most certainly does not suffer fools gladly and will call you out on your bullshit. He loves a good challenge, and will tackle it, but he gets bored easily and is exceptionally good at killing time. A charming paradox. Enjoy this man’s answers to our 21 thrive questions.

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What is the one thing you could do today that would make everything else easier?

That would be mostly finding a healthy sleep routine, ie. going to bed and NOT keeping myself busy until late at night by browsing the internet.

For me sleep is the main factor that determines my mood, self-esteem, energy level, positivity, … However, I’m also a huge night-person. So even if I’ve had very little sleep for a few days and am extremely tired during the day, after 8 or 9 PM my body simply wakes up, I’m fully energized and tiredness does not come before 2 AM. (Being fully energized does not mean that I use that energy for anything useful though..)

I’ve also discovered that I fall asleep very easily if I’ve had a satisfying day (a good day at work, meeting up with some people in the evening and good conversations). However if I feel like I did not use my day in a meaningful way yet, I seem to avoid going to sleep and admitting the day is over…

I’m writing the answers to these questions in bed at 11PM, which, for me,  is EXTREMELY early to be in bed, so at least today I’m on the right track. Now let’s keep this up …

(Update: it’s already 12:30 AM when am finishing this up…. hmm…)

How are you going to create more value for yourself and others than you did yesterday?

Try to avoid procrastinating so much (watching online tv / netflix) and instead invest my time in playing music or finding social activities to do here in Stockholm.

What’s the most important project you’re working on right now?

Mostly building up a social circle in my new hometown of Stockholm. Easily said, but …

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for my family and friends, who keep being there for me even though I seem to be a chaos-inducing factor in their lives and probably strain their patience and support at times.

I feel they’re probably giving me more than I am giving them, so I’m grateful they stick around.

What are the positive habits you are building right now?

Mostly building a healthy, productive routine and being completely self-dependent. Apart from that spending the plentiful amount of free time I have here on finding the best recipe for baking tasty bread and exploring some new culinary avenues.

That routine should also include some regular exercise. Pretty important, but something I’ve always struggled with.

What is a decision you are absolutely committed to? What is something you absolutely want to accomplish?

That’s a tough question. If I had a strong commitment like that, I probably would be working a bit more goal-oriented toward achieving that goal.

I’m afraid I can’t seem to answer this question. I’m a bit in a “let’s see where this is going” life-mode currently.

What have you learned recently?

First random thing that comes to my mind: I think everybody is looking for intimacy in their lives, but everybody fills in that word in a different way. For some it is a dedicated relationship, for others it’s taking a different person home to bed every day. It may be a BFF with whom you can share everything, talking to a random stranger on some chat service, or a close group of friends. It can be the presence of somebody next to you in the sofa watching tv, or finding understanding in a good conversation with somebody.

But it seems to me that’s a thing many people are looking for consciously or unconsciously (myself definitely included), and which is really really hard to genuinely find.

How do you want to feel today?

Connected. See above question. Have a moment of bonding / connection with somebody. It can be a colleague, a (remote) friend or family, or maybe even that cute dog that’s coming to sniff you out in the park. These are rewarding moments (I would much rather prefer human bonding though).

How are you going to reward yourself today?

It’s probably a bit funny that I think of food when reading this question. For me it is very rewarding to spend time in the kitchen and to play around with tasty ingredients and spices and to create something yummy and fresh for me to feast upon after (and nibble from the ingredients during the process). Just the process of cooking, with all those flavors and ingredients and smells and colours, I find to be immensely satisfying. It is also something that clears my mind: all the basic operations while preparing food are very simple and do not need a lot of mental involvement, but meanwhile all senses are stimulated.

What sort of people are you inviting into your life today?

Mostly genuine people. People who have nothing to hide and are not judgemental. Easy going.

Name a question you’d really like to see answered.

Go for your ideals and risk never finding them, or settle for good enough and making it work?

What does your ideal day look like?

It’s Friday and sunny. I have just had a satisfying day at work and am meeting up with some friends for an aperitif in the evening sun in some park. We have a great tasty dinner together. Afterwards we stick around for drinks and good conversations. The mood is ebulient, a little sultry maybe, and some dancing happens. I wake up without a hangover.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Talk to more random strangers I suppose. Swedes are even less outgoing than Belgians, although I’m pretty sure most people also wouldn’t mind a nice random chat.

However there’s a very strict social convention of not doing that here. (Ever been on a crowded metro where it is dead silent? Weird!) And knowing that I’m also not the smoothest in small talk or keeping it un-awkward kind of turns me off from even trying.

What’s your one word and why?

Genuine. I think that’s the quality I find the most important in myself and in other people or things around me.

If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

“The 40 year old slacker” probably. Ping me right before I kick the bucket for an update ok?

What’s the best kind of business to get into right now?

Not sure how you mean that question actually.

Economically I’d say IT. You can never go wrong with a good IT background: job certainty in many different sectors, and chances to go abroad if you want.

And if you are entrepreneurial and have good ideas, you can get a lot done.

Polygamy or monogamy? And why?

To whomever what works for him or her I suppose.

I think it all boils down to the intimacy thing I wrote about above. People want to feel connected. A dedicated monogamous relationship is the best way to ensure yourself of a connection with at least one person. Combine this with the fact that most people are (rightfully?) afraid of losing a connection, and the success of monogamy is assured.

In practice, very few people can handle the thought of the person they love potentially choosing somebody else over them. If everybody would have perfect self-confidence (and STD’s wouldn’t exist) polygamy would be great! But in reality people are mostly walking buckets of self-doubt, so keeping the expectations aligned, not letting jealousy mess things up and keeping the drama at acceptable levels seems like a very tricky balancing act…

For me personally, I still have (possibly naïve?) faith in monogamy, but on the condition that each partner remains invested in their own life outside of the relationship, with their own circle of friends to also help satisfy the need for intimacy (and bring value into the relationship!).

However, both establishing such a relationship and maintaining such a friend group is not trivial or a as easy as a walk in the park either. So good luck with that!

What’s the shittiest thing you’ve ever done to someone?

Probably what we’ve all done at some point in our lives I guess: fall in love with somebody and give it your best try to make them feel the same. Succeed at that, and then after a few weeks completely lose interest. Possibly the shittiest thing somebody can do to another human being. You live. You learn … (?)

What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for someone?

Honestly answering 21 questions for some random guy who then put it on his blog for the whole world to read.

No honestly, I don’t have a clue. This is a really hard one.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

I’ve had multiple people tell me they confided things to me they had never ever told anybody else. I find that a pretty big compliment.

It’s easy though: if you open yourself to other people, including all your doubts and insecurities, most of the time people will reciprocate.

What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

Go running and for FFS have some self-confidence. Also your days at university are an infinite pool of time which you’ll never have at your disposal again. Do something constructive with it dammit!