Hello my dear happiness nerds, welcome (back)!
A while ago, Heather from the wonderful blog The North Sea of My Mind nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I was so humbled, because I’m really new to this whole blogging thing (I’ve only written 8 posts before this one) and I didn’t expect my writing to get much attention in the beginning. And even now that The Happiness Nerd has taken off surprisingly well and visitor numbers have far exceeded my expectations (by a factor of six, to be precise), it touched me deeply that a fellow human being on the other side of the planet was moved by my writing so positively that she’d include my blog in her selection of blogs that bring sunshine to her life. Because that’s what this award is (I copied the following excerpt from her post):
“The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award of recognition given to bloggers from fellow bloggers. It recognizes those who are creative, positive, and inspiring. It celebrates people who spread sunshine.”
Needless to say, I’m so thankful to Heather for her appreciation! To anyone, who doesn’t know her blog yet, I highly recommend it (follow the link above!). She gives intimate insight into her life with cancer and never fails to find striking yet often beautiful words to communicate her experience. It must take a lot of strength to publicly write about such a personal as well as painful topic and I admire her for that. So, again, check out her blog!
What are the Rules?
- Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging sites
- Answer their questions
- Nominate up to 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions
- Notify the nominees about their nomination via their blog or social media
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post
My Answers to Heather’s Questions
1. What is your favorite season of the year, and why?
Spring. I just love it when winter is finally over, the days are getting longer and warmer again, and I can feel the anticipation of nature renewing itself.
2. They say that the two most important days of someone’s life are the day they are born and the day that they find out the reason they were born. Have you discovered why you were born? What, if anything, do you think your special purpose is in this life?
There are many angles from which to answer this question. Maybe the less interesting one is that I don’t believe that we have any innate purpose or that there’s a divine or natural plan of any sort (I’m an agnostic atheist and find deterministic perspecitves very convincing). Having said that – and getting to the arguably more interesting angle – from my own experience (especially some existential crises) I have learned that a life of purpose is a happier life. The purpose I found was to be a communicator and to try to be a force for good (i.e., promoting the actions and values that I believe will improve the quality of life for all living beings). Concretely, I strive for wisdom, kindness, and love and try to nurture those qualities in others. I’m a university lecturer, a blogger, and a part-time poet. And I want to get more involved in reversing global warming. But even without all that, I’d have the purpose of enjoying the beauty of nature and life itself for as long as I live.
3. Describe a favorite vacation. Why do you rank this vacation as among the best?
I love having free time. Just hang around with a book, talk with a friend for hours, go explore a city without having to rush from one “must-see sight” to the next, breath in the aromatic fragrance of a forest, take a hike, enjoy a view, really be there. Luckily, this can be had over a weekend, often, for little money, and somewhere close to home.
4. What made you finally take the leap and begin blogging?
A Vipassana meditation course/retreat. I got more inspiration in those ten days than in the ten months before that. You can read about it here.
5. What is your Myers-Briggs personality type? Do you feel like it is accurate? Why or why not?
I took the popular online-test three times (sorry, no link to the test—read on to find out why) over the course of a few months, because as a trained social and personality psychologist with a focus on measurement validation I was curious about its test-retest reliability. Twice I got ENFJ (the protagonist) and once ESFJ (the consul). So, not terrible consistency over time, but not ideal either (note that my personality shouldn’t change drastically over the course of a few months). Before the test, I would have identified most with an ENTP (the debater) or maybe even a INTJ (the architect) or INTP (the logician). Overall, I guess my self-test suggested something similar as the scientific literature of this personality model and test: It’s barely more accurate than a horoscope (which is 0% accurate; here’s a video about that, which is as good as any other video on this topic). Here’s a fun summary of the theory’s and test’s limitations (they are also the reason why I don’t link to the test). I don’t say the (more scientifically sound) Big Five personality traits are the ultimate answer, but they are a step closer to a meaningful personality description. You can take a free and “short” Big Five self-test here (it’s still 120 items to answer, but more worth it than any alternative I know).
6. If you could have any super power, what would it be, and why?
Now this may sound really boring, but I truly think it would be the best super power (because it’s the only one I can think of right now, where one would get world peace pretty fast): To bring out the best in the people I meet and immediately pass on an exact copy of my super power to them. Let the snowballs of goodness loose ftw!
7. If you could change any one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Well, that’s pretty personal, but here it goes: That I would truly love myself more. Btw, also a great super power, but less altruistic than the one above.
8. Name your guilty pleasure. What is it about that one thing that you can’t get enough of?
Everything sweet. Chocolate, maclair, any other dessert, aaanything sweet. The taste, the texture, the sensual pleasure. I’m addicted, I’m sorry ʅʕ•ᴥ•ʔʃ
9. What is your favorite restaurant dish? And what is your favorite dish to prepare for others?
It really depends on where I am, but I usually like to order things that I couldn’t prepare myself in that quality. In Tokyo, it’s going to be sushi, in Osaka okonomiyaki. Here in Zurich, we have an Asian restaurant chain, which makes a fantastic vegan wok dish with shiitake sauce – I always order it when I’m there. Also to die for: A good pizza calzone! I really like to prepare spaghetti carbonara for others, because most people don’t know what a real carbonara (i.e., from Rome) looks and tastes like. Also: French omelette and chirashizushi.
My Nominations For the Sunshine Blogger Award
A Wise-ass Vegan: Wise-ass, wise, and funny! On top of it: Simply vegan. Love it!
Food.for.Thoughts: Great blog about mental health, psychology, and vegan recipes.
Oblivious Gods: Love the topics (meditation, motivation, personal growth, etc.), love the style.
Night•Dawn•Day: For the times when you want a long, good read. I recommend the article on inner-child work!
Big Happy Life: Honest and beautiful blog about psychology, parenting, and challenging oneself.
Blue Jay Blog: A blog on meditation and other (mental as well as physical) work. A goldmine for good quotes!
Arm Chair Philosophy: Some intelligent and fearless writing on philosophical and political topics.
The Thesis Whisperer: For all my friends out there pursuing a PhD. Hand in there, if I could do it, you can, too!
Hugh’s Views & News: Really sympathetic blogging advice 🙂
The Curious Atheist: You’re interested in belief and disbelief? This is a nice place to start.
Confuzzledom: This one’s probably the sunniest on my list. Great recommendations on how to reduce plastic in your day-to-day lives!
My Questions for the Nominees
- What are you most grateful for?
- Who would be your favorite dinner guest (living or dead)?
- If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be?
- What are two truths and one lie about you?
- What was your most recent act of kindness?
- Which three things would you rescue from your burning home? (friends, family, and pets are already safe)
- What’s the next organization you want to donate to?
- What action to reduce global warming are you considering or planning on taking?
- If you were to become famous, for which of your qualities would it be?
- In your opinion, which is the best cuisine in the world?
- Are you a cat or a dog person?
Thanks for celebrating my first blogging award with me! Even though it’s not an official award from an established blogging guild or something, it means a lot to me. These rays of sunshine in somebody’s life are what I write for. May all y’all be happy and spread happiness. Yours truly, Thomas.
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