Circumstances aside, it’s time to weigh the proposals for your future

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How about visiting Mars? Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

Richard Nixon had two radically different proposals for space exploration on his desk back in the early seventies. He took the project that gave us the space shuttle. As it turns out, that was another small step for humanity instead of one giant leap. He played a safe game.

The man who’s proposal ended up in the trash, by the way, resigned from NASA and then died of cancer shortly after that. That man was Wernher von Braun, a German/American scientist and engineer who built the rocket that took…


Being a journalist takes spirit and grit

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Journalists are a bit like Odysseus: We climb the masts of our ships and shout important information.

In Homer’s Odyssey, one of the oldest Western texts, Odysseus faces many trials on his long journey home to be reunited with his wife on the Greek island of Ithaca. Along the way he ends up on the island of giants, where he encounters the unwelcoming cyclops who outmatches the sailors in size and strength.

The cyclops traps Odysseus and his men in his cave dwellings and begins eating them one by one. But Odysseus tricks…


​Perfect meditation is a pipe dream but I’ll keep practicing

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“Experiences manifest while you sit there trying not to brood.” Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

Meditation is free but hard. You are being asked to sit still or lie down in a quiet room and observe your thoughts for a set amount of time. It was terrifying and hard to me, so naturally, I had to try it.

Just don’t do it sitting crosslegged at first. All you’ll be thinking about for the first ten minutes is how inflexible you are, if you last ten minutes at all without itching and twitching.

Meditation, like an instrument, requires daily practice, which is why I haven’t missed…


You may find being vegan or vegetarian has nothing to do with social justice, lifestyle, or religion

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You should ask a vegetarian or vegan why they choose to forgo meat or animal products because the root of their choice may uncover a simple lack of understanding on your part. I’m your case in point.

After reading George Reynold’s piece Why do people hate vegans, I felt the need to explain why I think it’s possible for warring food ideologies to co-exist. …


Email subtext and system, it’s all in here

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As a journalist, I’ve sent thousands of email interview requests over the years and wasted countless hours struggling over how to structure them, what to say, and how to say it.

Fashioning these requests used to be time-consuming and frustrating because I wasn’t getting any responses. I spent a lot of time writing and sending them out. If you are sending these email requests out cold, you need to start sending more.

As I’ve said before if you want more interviews send out more request.

  • Maybe you’ve also agonized over how long…


Getting interviews is a numbers game, here’s how to play it

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I sent out 20 requests and got this knock-out one. Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

I’d never heard of the Pareto principle until about a year ago, and then, on some podcast, it came up, and then someone else in a book mentioned it, and then, I watched a talk on YouTube, and it cropped up again. Meanwhile, I’ve been to a conference and someone used it in their speech.

So many people were talking about it because it’s one of those weird principles that stacks up in fleeting ways, without all the hard and fast statistics. …


How to stick to your best-laid plans

Plan & block then breathe. Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash
Plan & block then breathe. Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

You might think that taking holiday snaps is an unlikely place to consider time management but its not. You’ve allocated time to go on holiday, and you’re fully immersed in taking pictures and having fun.

That, in essence, is time management. I plan to do this at this time and then, time cometh, I do. It is that simple, but unfortunately, those daily and weekly plans often go awry.

The problem is if you’re not on holiday you don’t like sticking to your plans. You’re not having fun. …


Starting out as a freelance journalist I was forced to write one, and I’m glad I did

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Business plans are useless. That’s the prevailing wisdom, but then I did one, and the benefits now outweigh the time and pain it caused me.

The German government is generous in helping anyone who wants to be self-employed with financial support. It’s a lot of paperwork, and an essential requirement is a business plan to convince them your undertaking will be successful. Easy, I thought.

So I sat down at my desk in my pajamas at 6 am (because that’s what you expect…


I did the minimum until I figured out how to get more reading in

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Does my bookshelf look a little non-fiction heavy?

Several years ago, I challenged my wife to a reading competition to get my general reading up. She’s a formidable adversary, devouring roughly a book a week.

I don’t remember the exact tally, but it was something like 40 to 3 in her favour. I got through The Hunger Games series. Abysmal.

Fast forward to today, and I’m reading on average 30 books a year. How did that happen?

We all know we should do more reading, I’m not going to go into its benefits. I…


I protect people’s anonymity because otherwise, they won’t talk but it severely complicates my work as a journalist

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Rule number 1: try to get someone to go on the record. If a source stands by their word, it’s more potent than the shadow we cast on our stories by using sources.

Having someone on record also takes the pressure off me and generally makes my work more manageable, but that’s not always possible (read about how I have made enemies).

People are paranoid. They are scared of making outrageous claims; or what they think will be perceived as controversial (sometimes…

Johannes K.

I muse on being a journalist, author and on life. Husband. Father of two beautiful girls. Tennis & CrossFit.

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