Karolina Szczur

Karolina is a designer, developer and a photographer living in Kraków, Poland. She's currently working with the delightful people of &yet.

Karolina enjoys writing quite a bit and is part of Smashing Magazine's editorial. Since sharing knowledge and experience is quite important to her, she also occasionally speaks publicly.

You can find Karolina on Dribbble, Github and Twitter @fox

Published Thoughts

In a world of distances, miles of separation between me and you, dear reader, we’re brought together thanks to miles of fiber and writing. Writing is how we communicate. Writing connects the dots spread throughout the globe. Writing creates tribes. Writing opens dialogue. Writing brings us together.

“Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone.” —Rebecca Solnit

Because of the anonymity of the reader it frees us from awkwardness of candid conversations. There’s a certain beauty in the innocent tipsiness of liberating thoughts and feelings we might not have realised we had. Writing is the freedom of couple glasses of wine.

It liberates and constrains us. Liberates thoughts, but in the age of popularised writing platforms, traps in expectations of sophisticated form. The thing is though—we can endlessly mold words to carry the message we care about, with or without the spontaneity of speech.

“In writing, there’s always a separateness, the sense of manipulating a tool for producing words at arm’s length, out there at the ends of your fingers. Unlike speaking, which arises invisibly from within like thought and breath.” —Verlyn Klinkenborg

The pieces we publish often spark a connection, begin conversations and real friendships. Writing persists unlike ephemeral coffee conversations.

Like letters with no recipient, we push our words out there and wait for someone to respond, to engage.

Let’s write more.

Employing Positivity

In a way, we’re all managers. We burn through what we think are endless reserves of energy to keep companies alive and prospering.

The thing is, while doing that we forget about the most important company we’re supposed to run — ourselves. We inaccurately equate happiness with amount of success — valuation of a startup, monthly sales, a round funding, new hires, good PR — chasing the idea of success-bringing-happiness everywhere but where we can actually find it, within ourselves:

“You have to make your own happiness, wherever you are. Your job isn’t going to make you happy, your spouse isn’t going to make you happy, the weather isn’t going to make you happy… You have to decide what you want, and you have to find that way of doing it, whether or not the outside circumstances are going to participate in your success… You have to be able to create your own happiness, period. And if you can’t, then you need to find a good shrink who can help you figure out what it’s going to take.”
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, Jonathan Fields

We create a set of conditions that must be fulfilled and expect that, eventually, happiness will magically unfold. On the way we burn out, face depression, even attempt suicide. All of this because we’ve neglected our own needs for too long. We’ve failed at leadership. We relied on ifs and whens that might never happen.

“We can’t control much of what happens in work and in life. We can, however, determine the impact that these events have on us by choosing how we respond.”
Positive Intelligence, Shirzad Chamine

Life will throw unexpected, sad events at you. Even some that feel unbearable. In some cases though, we are capable of making our own luck and shifting our perspectives to see opportunities, not obstacles. Positivity is a self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling prophecy, though it can’t work for us if we are constantly focused on survival alone.

We can change our thinking by better managing our company — our own thoughts and the voices in our heads. Those people we hire — subconscious personas, saboteurs, or call them as you wish, appear early in our lives as a built-in mechanism to protect us from the evil, evil world. Defense mechanisms, one would say. Mind patterns, assumptions, judgmental statements.

While they work for us when we’re young, helping to keep us safe from harm, they do more damage than good during adulthood. We still let them do whatever they see fit to defend our own interests. What if they don’t know what those true interests are? We create hell for ourselves through mismanagement.

This is when positive intelligence comes in.

Notice when your employees are misguiding you. How about telling your quality assurance engineer that he is being too judgmental? What if the analyst is over scrutinising reality? The pessimistic manager tells you you will fail anyway.

All of those voices need to be heard, labelled as misbehaving workers and dismissed. FIRE THEM ALL.

When you’ve effectively laid off everyone who was bringing your company losses — now strengthen your team. It can be done through accessing the Sage — the deeper, rational and wiser part of our brains. It always remains unbiased and seeks opportunity in every circumstances. It doesn’t judge, it accepts whatever is given.

The Sage empowers us to be more empathetic towards ourselves and others, more curious, exploratory, actionable. It helps let the distress go away, by conscious choice of doing so. It’s nothing less than a truly positive approach to life. The Gatekeeper of Happiness.

How will you be running your company now?