Wednesday, October 16

😎 Effortless photography. Why taking pictures with a modern smartphone feels like cheating.

Tomorrow I’m finally going to unbox a new iPhone 11 Pro (non-Max - it’s too big for me), Midnight Green (the new "hot" color), 256GB (who needs more space?) but before I do, I’d like to share with you some thoughts on smartphone photography with my now-retiring iPhone XS. In short - shooting photos with this thing should be considered cheating - I keep being stunned how good the photos are without any effort at all.

Effortless photography. Why taking pictures with a modern smartphone feels like cheating.

Thursday, October 3

😎 My 11th Olympic-distance triathlon - why I keep loving these 3 sports and why I keep sucking at them?

Last Sunday I ran my 11th Olympic distance triathlon. Can’t believe it’s been so many. It all started after my first sprint-distance race - back in October 2014 and in 5 years I’ve done 11 events! Here’s what I learned so far and why I keep doing triathlons:

My 11th Olympic-distance triathlon - why I keep loving these 3 sports and why I keep sucking at them?

Friday, September 27

😎 Kidnapped and tweeting... something that's just NOT true to you

"You've been kidnapped. Your kidnappers allow you to keep tweeting to pretend everything is alright. What would you tweet that would alarm your followers without the kidnappers knowing you're asking for help?" was a challenge Kate Hackett posted on Twitter. I must admit at first I didn't fall for this but later I thought I'd join and eventually came up with quite a few tweets. My idea was to come up with something that for many people could probably sound true. Just not for me. Here goes:

Kidnapped and tweeting... something that's just NOT true to you

Monday, September 2

😎 It's been 80 years since the start of the World War 2... and we still can't appreciate the peace enough!

Yesterday was September 1, 2019... meaning it's been only 80 years when the World War II started (and lasted until 1945) which made all the world fight against each other and kill around 80 Million people worldwide including over 6 Million Jews as a part of the Holocaust. Today I live in the European Union (EU) with 28 countries united to form one political and economic region. Being an EU citizen gives us an unprecedented feeling of freedom, peace and connection... yet with recent raise of ideas like Brexit and other nationalistic movements across Europe with governments in countries like Poland and Hungary actively opposing European values, I feel like we're taking the peace that we have now for granted. And peace can go away quickly.

It's been 80 years since the start of the World War 2... and we still can't appreciate the peace enough!

Friday, August 30

😎 I’m too old for this, right? Wrong!

When talking to people about their careers, their hopes and dreams... or some other new and exciting stuff... I very often get the "too old" argument. In a gesture of resignation they just tell me that they are just too old to start doing this or changing that. To take their career on a different path or try out a new sport... or whatever. I find it very depressing and most of the time it's a complete and utter bullshit, here's why:

I’m too old for this, right? Wrong!

Ok, so you won't be a professional athlete anymore... than boo... effing... hoo!

Yes, I just turned forty so I won't be a professional basketball player of Formula 1 driver anymore... that's true... and I won't be playing against Novak Djokovic in US Open anytime soon but it hasn't stopped me from taking up tennis last year and enjoying it immensely! From a complete beginner I can now play, have fun and sometimes almost beat some of my friends! It's never too late!

I started doing triathlons at 35 and even though I completely blew my Ironman this year, I'll be running my 11th Olympic-distance triathlon this September and I'm planning on doing 1-2 triathlons every year for many years to come in order to stay fit.

OK, I started Nozbe at 28, but my friend and mentor Michael Hyatt started his blog and business in his late fifties! You think he was too old?

My parents have shown me how they've never been too old for any kind of change!

As I explained in my previous post about my parents, my father studied Electronics, later created a book-keeping company, then ad agency... only to become my advisor and VP of finance. My mother studied Architecture, went on to run a financial firm, ad agency, sculpture shop, coffee shop and now she's got new challenges in front of her. She never stops. Sports? They both learned skiing at forty years of age... Traveling? They both went on their first cross-Atlantic trip last year well in their sixties...

If you think, you're too old for something, think again!

It’s all in your head! When you’re like me and you're 40 you are only halfway through your life! Seriously, you've got so many new things to learn, so many new places to see, so many new ways to change your life. So don't let the internal "lizard brain" tell you you're too old.

The best time to start doing anything was 10 years ago. The second best time to start taking up the same activity is right now. Today.

You are most certainly never too old for almost anything!

Be brave and embrace change! Good luck!

Thursday, August 22

😎 Jesus was right. Love is all you need to answer what’s right or wrong!

This last Monday was the last day of our catholic families retreat. Over the past days we’ve been discussing 10 commandments. (In the meantime I was also listening to Szustak’s commentary in Polish). In the end they can be simplified to only 2 commandments which are all about love:

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22,36-40)

Jesus was right. Love is all you need to answer what’s right or wrong!

Lots of nuance...

When we were analyzing the 10 commandments one by one I realized that each of them carries lots of nuance. Lots of hidden meaning that can be interpreted in many different ways. Depending how you look at an action - it’s not always clear if it is really a sin or not. If it’s a good action or a bad deed. It really depends...

Thursday, August 15

✔️ Focusing on the WHEN and not the HOW...

Today I’m at a catholic families retreat with fellow friends and we’ve been discussing (among other things) our problems with regular prayer. Or “meeting with God”, or better yet: “meeting with dad” (like someone would call Him). And one of my friends said something that struck me - that his biggest obstacle to praying well is focusing too much on HOW (which prayer, which bible excerpt...) instead of just setting aside the time to do it - the WHEN... and I found it fascinating as it clearly applies not only to prayer, but to most aspects of our lives.

Focusing on the WHEN and not the HOW...

The "HOW" creates a barrier of entry and welcomes procrastinating...

When we don't know how to solve a problem, we just agonize over this and we put off the moment of dealing with it. We don't know HOW to solve it so we postpone it. We leave it for later. The HOW stops us from acting on it.

We need to create space... create the WHEN...

Sometimes all we need is just set aside some time. I've found out that sometimes only 2 hours help me figure out a problem and really move the thing forward.

The same with my prayer... I should just dedicate some time for God and let myself figure out the mechanics of the prayer then.

In this busy world it's increasingly more about the WHEN than the HOW... once you've got the WHEN, you'll have the mental energy to figure out the HOW.

Tuesday, August 13

😎 Undertrained

After this last Sunday's Ironman fiasco I got many reassuring messages from friends and this helped me deal with my utter failure and embarrassment... thanks everyone for kind words! It really means a lot! Apart from messages reassuring me that "this stuff happens to everyone", I also got some constructive feedback. One of my buddies from my triathlon group who knows me pretty well and has been following my training sessions, wrote to me that probably this was for the best, because he feels I wasn't prepared enough. He believed I was "undertrained".

Undertrained

When I received his comment I was first taken aback. I really appreciated his frankness (that's what friends are for!) but I wasn't sure he was right... So right after writing the blog post as a part of my dealing process I went for a 10km run and was thinking about all this... and came to the conclusion that he was right. Yes, I am in a good shape. I'm really feeling great... but...

Sunday, August 11

✔️ No Ironman - how I blew my dream because I was... late

Yesterday evening at 9:30pm I was rushing in my car loaded with an amazing triathlon bike and all the gear ready to put everything in the transition area before my first ever Ironman race... It was my dream come true - I was about to become an Ironman in my home town of Gdynia, right when I turned 40. It was going to be great!... I was driving fast as they’d close the area at 10 pm. “I’ll make it! I always do!” I thought. Yet again I was doing stuff at the last minute, but as a person who always gets away with this, I was fine. There was still time, right? Wrong. When I got there I realized I was too late. Yes, they were closing the transition area at 10pm and I arrived just before that... but I failed to pick up my starting number and this had to be done before 8pm. And there was nothing to be done. Without a starting number I couldn’t participate in the race. I couldn’t leave my bike in the transition area...

This time I didn’t make it. This time I was really late. This time I really blew it.

I was standing there with the bike and the gear, completely ashamed and disappointed... and was replaying the events of this day over and over in my head trying to realize what just happened. I couldn’t understand how I got to this point where the race will take place and I won’t be in it. And it all looked so promising...

No Ironman - how I blew my dream because I was... late

Today is Sunday, August 11 and it’s exactly 8 am. The race is about to start and instead of being at the starting line I’m in front of my iPad trying to figure out what I just did. And what I could have done to prevent it. Hope you’ll also learn a thing or two from my very stupid mistake.

It’s all my fault!

Just to be clear - the fact that the race is taking place without me is completely my fault. The fact that I was about to make my dream come true and blew it at the last minute - is on me. This post is not to search for someone or something to blame. The search is simple - it’s me.

Thanks for all your support!

Friends, colleagues and people who know me, listen to my podcast or read what I write were supporting me in this quest to become an Ironman and I’d like to thank you all for your encouragement. I am feeling so ashamed right now that I screwed this one up (and I will continue to feel this way for quite a long while!).

I thank you and I’m so sorry.

And yes, you can laugh. I’m laughing at myself right now for blowing it so bad... in between the moments when I feel so ashamed I wanna disappear.

Now that we’ve got this all out of the way, let’s see what happened:

Monday, May 20

😎 Michael 4.0 - redesigned and happier than ever

Today I’m turning 40. Forty. Yep, that’s four full decades of life for you right there. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. When I was a child, I used to think this was a monumental milestone... when I’ll be very very old... and yet here we are and I don’t feel that old. I feel great. Actually, I feel the best I’ve ever been. In this post I want to sum it up a little and express how grateful I am for turning forty today.

Michael 4.0 - redesigned and happier than ever

I’ve redesigned myself a little...

To honor my forty and as a result of my recent pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (about which I’m going to both blog and talk on the podcast pretty soon), I’ve grown a beard. Something my father has had all his life. It’s not definite, I still feel strange about having facial hair... but for now I think it’s a great way of celebrating this milestone.

The funny thing is, that this year, there’s more to number 4 than meets the eye....

Thursday, April 18

😎 Challenge: social media sabbatical for a month

Yesterday with Radek we recorded the 184th episode of “The Podcast” where we’ll be discussing Cal Newport’s new book - Digital Minimalism (Amazon|Audible) - and the episode will air next week... but while recording Radek challenged me to do a fully-blown social media sabbatical (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook) for the next 30 days. No Twitter. No Instagram. No Facebook. No Social Media. And I accepted it! Here are the rules:

Challenge: social media sabbatical for a month

Social Media Sabbatical Rules:

OK. Time to set up some ground rules. Here’s what I’ve done:

Wednesday, January 23

😎 Why suck at three sports, if I can suck at four? Or how I’m loving my tennis game and why you should start practicing a new sport this year, too!

As you know I’ve been competing in triathlon races for the last 4 years. I’ve done 2 sprint-distance races and 10 olympic-distance ones. And this year I’ve signed up for a half-Ironman. I’m all about swimming, biking and running... but last year I started practicing a fourth sport - tennis. Here’s how I got to it and why:

Why suck at three sports, if I can suck at four? Or how I’m loving my tennis game and why you should start practicing a new sport this year, too!

I’ve always wanted to learn to play tennis, but I never did.

When I was young my parents wanted me to learn tennis but because they themselves didn’t play, they didn’t push me enough to get lessons. When I was in collage one year I created a tennis group with a fellow friend and we would play every other week... but we both were amateurs and we were just basically passing ball from one side of the net to the other... and I still enjoyed it... but never properly learned it.

Fast forward 18 years... and even though I was doing triathlons I started learning tennis!

Completely by accident. Together with a neighbor I organized a tennis class for one of my daughters and after a few classes she lost interest... and I asked the coach to teach me... and I got hooked! Here’s how it went down:

Monday, January 21

😎 Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

As mentioned on our last episode of The Podcast, recently in Nozbe team we introduced “salary formula” - a way to calculate salaries for all of our team members. In one of the future episodes we’ll discuss the formula in more depth, but today I want to focus on one aspect of it - level of growth - and why this ingredient of the salary is supposed to stimulate our team members to keep growing and developing themselves - just like the BMW 5 series... and unlike Lada:

Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

Nobody is perfect from the beginning - we all need to keep growing

When you’re leading a team of people, it’s important to let everyone know that you don’t want “Ladas” on your team - meaning people who think are perfect and they don’t need to grow.

The above meme is really cool as you can see how BMW 5 series kept evolving over the years, kept iterating, kept improving... while still remaining a mid-size sedan that it’s always been.

Now, how this translates to personal growth? Glad you asked:

Tuesday, January 15

😢 How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Today was one of the saddest day in the history of my country of Poland - the president of Gdansk - Paweł Adamowicz - was stabbed to death by someone for political reasons. Turns out that the divide that ruling government of Poland is creating among my countrymen has its first spectacular victim. This is the low point of Polish democracy. Will we go lower? Yes, we will if we don’t stop the to tolerate the hate speech:

How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Hate speech are not just meaningless words - they can turn into actions!

I try to avoid very controversial subjects like politics on my personal blog, but sometimes I write about things that I can no longer be quiet about - just like I did with guns - now let’s talk about the tolerance of hate speech and what it leads to.

Words can really hurt people. Literally.

That’s why the words we use are so important. And when the same words are repeated many times over, they begin to be the “new norm”. And when they come from “above” like a government official, they become the “new policy”.

So when a politician is saying “this person should be dead”, they can pretend all they want that they didn’t literally mean “dead” but what they are really doing is promoting violence and showing their supporters and followers that it’s OK to say things like that. It’s OK to wish someone dead...

And when this happens, a crazy person who takes these kinds of calls in a literal way can always be found in a nation of close to 40 Million people...

Even if it’s “just a figure of speech”, well, it shouldn't be!

One recent example was very scary. In Poland the current government led by the Law and Justice party for the last three years was supporting nationalistic movements, neo-nazi and far-right groups and letting them issue death certificates to politicians of opposition parties...

Yes. Death certificates. And when these were brought to the courts, public prosecutors discarded these death certificates as ”a way to express lack of approval of these politicians”.

Well, there are different ways to express your approval or lack thereof.

Here’s what the late Paweł Adamowicz had to say about these certificates just a few days before his assassination (in Polish):

How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Same goes to gestures, like burning a the EU flag, a doll symbolizing a Jew, and many other hate gestures that the current government just lets happen in Poland and the authorities do nothing about them.

This kind of rhetoric shouldn’t be tolerated because it leads to violence and ...intolerance.

We conclude with the Paradox of Tolerance...

Now, what about the freedom of speech and being tolerant to everyone?

Well, apparently the problem with that is that there’s such a thing as the Paradox of Tolerance, which basically means:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

Yes, it turns out that you can be “too kind” to someone who doesn’t want to be kind to you... and it’ll be turned against you. So no, freedom of speech is great and all, but not if you let hate take over.

It’s OK to tolerate a different opinion but it’s not OK to tolerate all the ways how people express it.

Wednesday, January 9

✔️ 2018 review - an ongoing personal and business development

Now that 2018 is over and 2019 is upon us... and I’m already 2/3 in doing my annual review, it’s time for a post summarizing the last year for me. I’ve done similar posts about 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013... and they mostly serve me as a reminder how things went, but I hope that they also bring value to you - so here goes:

2018 review - an ongoing personal and business development

Overall it’s been a great year with lots of new things happening

This year was very interesting. Lots of travels. Lots of new feelings running my company and quite a few public appearances. And lots of fun in the process. Here’s the complete list of learnings from 2018: