I have a predilection for everything that breaks rank. For rugged edges and diamonds in the rough.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
– LEONARD COHEN
Playing with context
After a career as (project) manager and concept development in hospitality and retail, working for companies such as Humphrey’s, Unilever and Hema, I was unable to contain my curiosity for the irregular. I felt an urge to get onto the streets and connect with today’s youth. Why on earth were they not in class?!
I started working on a Rebound school in Groningen and The Hague. Facilities that form a safety net for at-risk-youth and where they are guided back to school, either gently or with a firm hand. Here I met many frustrated and very angry young people who, to my pleasure and surprise, possessed an enormous amount of energy, humor, compassion and willpower.
Due to my upbringing and education in many different cultures, I recognized how their behavior – often considered as disruptive in our society – would be considered valuable in other cultures. I realized that in a different setting, these youths have skills that many others could learn from.
By playing with context in that way, I was able to help these kids see what kind of quality and material they were made of, even if they did everything ‘wrong’ that day. Their confidence, self-knowledge and self-appreciation increased. And as opposed to pushing back against the world that had ‘rejected’ them (and vice versa), they were able to recognise where they could fit in, in that same world. Their desire to participate and the motivation to study steadily increased.
These insights have become the foundation for Mindhacking Life. And in the years that followed I have been able to develop this knowledge into a practical working method that has a liberating and motivational effect on at-risk-youths and everyone else.