David Strittmatter

Do it with all your heart

If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart

Dear Friend,

What’s up? How is it going? Last week, I arrived in the United States and so far, it has been a really great time. America is very much different from what I have experienced in other countries. My thoughts at the moment, however, revolve around two particular impressions: On the one hand, Americans are so much more friendly and open minded than what I am used to. This makes starting a new life and getting used to their way of living so much easier.

On the other hand, everything feels way more superficial and ambiguous here. Whenever I talk to a person, see an advertisement or watch a video here, I have a great need to be suspicious about the situation. At first, you are overwhelmed by all the compliments you receive and all the statements you hear and watch. But when a conversation becomes deeper or you do some research, you will most likely find out that the person who spoke to you or the advertisement was not honest with you. It feels like this is the normal standard here where I am currently staying (Los Angeles). For example, a cashier asked me where I am from because my English has no clear accent but neither was American. So, we started talking about Germany. She said she loves Germany, always wanted to be there and heard so many great things about it. I said I could not believe that because the US alone is so big and has so much to offer. After agreeing with me she stated she like travelling a lot. Then, I dug deeper and asked her where she has travelled before and what she most like about Germany. She then answered that she had never left California and could not really tell me what she liked about Germany. I suppose she did not even know where Germany is located in Europe although she “loves it” and always wanted to be there. Of course, these individual statements should not be used to draw general conclusions about the entire American people, however, like almost every conversation with an American felt this way.

All in all, I really love the US and I am so grateful that I have the chance to live here for almost half a year. And although this critical reflection might seem very negative, the positive aspects of being here has outweigh the negative by far until now.

Enough talked about the US, let’s get into my learnings.

Do it with all your heart

Ever faced the following situation? You wanted to say hello to a person but you were not sure if you should do it. Then, when greeting the person, you only got a very cautious hello out of your mouth. Or a similar issue but in another setting: You were in a conversation with someone or you spent some time with him/her, the meeting got to its end and you were not sure how to say goodbye?

This is what happened to me last week. I was in the gym and saw a guy I had met and had had a nice conversation with some weeks ago. I looked in his direction, but he always looked into a different direction. With this uncertainty in my mind I got very unsecure when he just walked to the exercise machine few meters/feet away from me. Nonetheless, I wanted to say hello (due to my “Overcome-Anxiety-Loop/Habit”). However, instead of greeting this man properly, I just got a very quiet and unsecure hello out of my mouth. I am not sure if he even could listen what I had said. He just nod and started exercising on the machine.

I am really grateful for this awkward situation and the corresponding learning. From now on I will either do not greet a person or do it properly. And due to my overcome anxiety habit, it will almost always be the latter.

Regarding this issue I made a similar experience but with a positive ending. This time it was about saying goodbye. As I have left Germany for several months, I said goodbye to many of my friends and family. What I realized in doing so was that it really makes a difference how you say goodbye to a person. There is a difference between just giving a hug and giving hug with all of your heart as you would not be able to see the person for a quite a bit of time. It seems to me you can really feel the difference.

I do not want to say that I am going to fake my feelings towards people I say goodbye to and do not want to you to do this either. However, how you say goodbye to a person has an impact on how you are remembered which should not be underestimated.

Due to this experience, I decided for myself that I adjust the way I am saying goodbye to a person in warmly and sincere way henceforth. Eventually, the person should feel more appreciated and keep me better in mind no matter which kind of relationship connects us. A good way to achieve this is to imagine that I would not see them for a long time. I will try this out let you know how this is going.

And how it is about greetings and saying goodbye, almost everything seems to me much better when you do it with all your heart. Whether it is your work, how you interact with people, appreciate things, listen to others, gifting, etc., I am convinced that this can have a real impact on my life.

This was the last week’s post. I hope you can learn something from these learnings, too.

All the best to you and yours,


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