Your Sparring Partner In An Ever-Changing World

The world changes continuously. And technology accelerates these developments even further. In nature, all organisms must be able to adapt their habitat to survive. Therefore, the surviving organism is the one that knows how to adapt itself to changes in the environment in which it finds itself. What is true in nature also largely applies to organizations. As of the industrial revolution, organizations mainly focus on increasing production, material wealth and realizing economic growth. Organizations have, thus, come to see themselves as detached from the natural environment in which they operate and have started to organize themselves in an unnatural way. Policy choices based on purely technical considerations have subsequently become the center of interest, while simultaneously it is also of great importance to make full use of the available knowledge and skills, and be part of society at large in a sustainable way.

Investment support for your future-proof strategy

That is why I am keen on helping businesses and institutions to work out in detail what their strategy entails. If the realization of that plan for the future requires debt and/or equity from capital providers, I would gladly offer my expertise in support of that process. If the selected strategy makes an acquisition of a business with attractive synergies or other investment service imperative, the entire process could be part of my services as well.

Albert A. van Daalen VDM, DDhc

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Bad things happen for the same reason anything happens.

“We could bear nearly any pain or disappointment if we thought there was a reason behind it, a purpose, to it.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

My wife Karin is a much more practically-minded, down-to-earth person than I am. So when she was diagnosed in 2005 in her late thirties with a very aggressive life threatening cancer, she never dwelled on questions like ‘Why did this happen?’ or ‘Why me?’ When people asked her if she struggled with such questions or if she felt a sense of cosmic injustice, her characteristically matter-of-fact reply was “Why not me?”

Karin and I had experienced adversity and big life challenges before, but nothing like this. Not that we were really surprised to be facing such a crisis: neither of us had illusions of immunity to the kinds of adversity we had all too often seen hit others. Like me, Karin worked in a helping profession, so we had both witnessed much tragedy in our work, as well as among friends and relatives. Severe adversity seemed almost overdue for us. It seemed obvious to us that there was no reason we should be exempt from misfortune and tragedy.

For several years following the diagnosis, we expected the worst and lived with tremendous uncertainty.

Thanks to a whole lot of dumb luck, and some remarkable medical breakthroughs, we made it through—though one is never really out of the woods with cancer, and we have had more scares in recent years.

In the initial phases of her illness and treatment, the time of greatest uncertainty and vulnerability, I found myself grasping for reassurance and desperately wanting to believe that everything was somehow cosmically ‘meant’ to turn out favorably. But my clinical work as a psychiatrist had honed an ever-present awareness of the power of denial and wishful thinking as defense mechanisms. I had seen how these get deployed by people facing serious threat and uncertainty—all the more so when those people’s fates are being arbitrarily determined by random and trivial factors that seem to mock the significance of their lives.

I realized that I was still trying to come to terms with the full extent to which randomness rules our lives.

I have since become very interested in how my patients grapple with the randomness of adversity and the lack of control over its outcome. I have frequently observed how people divert their precious time, energy and resources into measures that merely create the illusion of control, such as obsessive diets, ‘alternative’ therapies, and superstitious rituals.

Searching for reasons

As a meaning-seeking species, we tend to process events in terms of what they mean to us: is it good or bad for us? And it is a human habit to infer deliberate intention to events in self-referential ways.

We are also a story-telling species. Our brains have a natural proclivity for coherent stories—grand narratives with an overarching point and a satisfying end: things must happen for specific reasons, they must have a point. Our brains are not satisfied with randomness.

“Why did this happen?” and “Why me?” are therefore natural and common questions asked by many people when faced with a sudden adverse event, such as a diagnosis of cancer. “What did I do to deserve this? Did I do something to cause it?” Many people are inclined to wonder if they are being punished by God for some past transgressions, or to ponder if there is some intended mysterious plan or higher reason for their misfortune, perhaps some intended lesson in their suffering.

In my psychiatric practice, I have observed that the belief that life events are somehow intended can have powerful effects on motivation, both positive and negative. This belief is a double-edged sword: it can be reassuring and comforting but can also lead to disillusionment, anguish, and feelings of abandonment by God, under conditions of cruel adversity.

Theodicy

The theological problem of trying to explain why evil and suffering exist in the world is referred to as theodicy. The central quandary is this: “Why do terrible things happen in a world governed by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God?” How can God simultaneously possess all three of these qualities and yet allow bad things to happen to good people, and with such frequency and such savage intensity? As the Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg commented, “If there is a God that has special plans for humans, then He has taken very great pains to hide His concern for us.”

Rabbi Kushner’s proposed solution, in his now-famous book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, was to drop the belief in God’s omnipotence: “I believe in God. But I do not believe the same things about Him that I did years ago, when I was growing up or when I was a theological student. I recognize His limitations. He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom.” Kushner went on to propose: “Let me suggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. . . . But we can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. . . . A better question would be “Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?”

The scientific or non-theistic perspective: there is no cosmic purpose or design

From a scientist’s point of view, Kushner’s God (or any version of God, actually) is superfluous, an unnecessary addition to the scientific explanation for the existence of the universe and everything in it. The single most fundamental conclusion of modern science is this: The universe has no inherent purpose or design.

Yes, as counterintuitive as it is, it is indeed fully plausible that the universe and all the complexity and life and consciousness contained within it could in fact have emerged and evolved entirely spontaneously and unguided. How precisely this could happen—how such astonishing and ‘clever’ complexity could have arisen and developed out of fundamental randomness and simplicity (and perhaps ultimately out of nothingness!), is what science is actually all about.

It’s not personal

Once that unambiguous conclusion from science is fully grasped, then the mystery of why bad things happen to good people simply evaporates. It becomes obvious that bad things happen for the same reason anything happens: the same laws of nature that underlie all causes and effects. There is nothing special about the causation of things that we humans judge as “bad.” The question of why bad things happen to good people can be reframed (as Karin’s response to the question posed to her implied): Why would bad things not happen to good people? Or, more simply and crudely put, “Sh*t happens.”

Adopting a secular worldview entails recognizing that meaning and purpose are human attributions and that events do not have inherent purpose—unless of course the event is caused by intentional human action (or the purposeful behavior of some other animal).

The belief that life is random is unsettling, but it can be emotionally liberating. Accepting randomness frees people from excessive self-blame, and in so doing also empowers them.

The Universe Has No Purpose, but We Do

Once we come to terms with the universe’s indifference, we realize more acutely that we have only each other to rely on. There is much we can do to alleviate each other’s suffering when adversity strikes. Our support and empathy toward our fellow human beings in their time of need helps them not only materially but demonstrates to them that they matter and that what happens to them has an emotional impact on us. When we act kindly, it also gives meaning to our own life, as we see that we matter to others.

As a therapist, I often emphasize the personal impact that a suffering patient is having on me in the therapeutic relationship that we form. Some of my cancer patients are facing less lucky outcomes than Karin, and the psychotherapeutic work turns from reassurance or tolerating uncertainty to defining their legacy—how their life has mattered to all the other lives they have touched. I try to express gratitude to them for sharing their life experience with me and for teaching me profound lessons about the human condition. I also assure them that I will pass on the lessons I am learning from them to other patients as well as to my students.

In the ordeal of Karin’s cancer, we were the grateful beneficiaries of very much kindness and caring. This experience confirmed our faith in people.

We all know that there are unfortunately also many uncaring, selfish people. And more disturbingly, there are too many callously brutal people in the world for anyone’s comfort. But fortunately, most people are caring, and the overwhelming majority are capable of caring when they can be taught to relate to other people’s predicament and perspective.

The universe has no purpose, but we do. We give value and meaning to life. People can and do care, even it the universe doesn’t.

By Ralph Lewis MD in Psychology Today

Denzel Washington: Put God First Speech

Denzel Washington is an American actor, director, and producer. He has received three Golden Globe awards, one Tony Award, and two Academy Awards.

“Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me. Everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have – and I have a few things. Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift.”

Below is the video and full text of Washington’s famous and inspiring speech titled “Put God First” delivered during a commencement address at Dillard University in 2015.

Click here to watch his speech on video

Let me take this moment to wholeheartedly congratulate each and every one of you, today. You graduated. You did it. You made it. Congratulation to you. And you did it all by yourself, nobody helped you.

No…that’s not – that’s what you know – that’s what I thought when I was young, I started to really make it as an actor. I came in, I talked to my mother, I said ‘Ma, did you think that this was going to happen, I’d be so big and I’ll be able to take care of everybody and I can do this and I can do that.’

And she said, ‘Boy, stop it right there. Stop it right there. Stop it right there’.

She said, “If you only knew, how many people they have been praying for you. How many prayer groups she put together, how many prayer clothes she gave me, how many times she splashed me with holy water to save my sorry behind,” as she said it.

She said, Oh, you did it all by yourself, I’ll tell you what you can do by yourself: You can go outside and get a mop and bucket and wash them windows – you can do that by yourself, superstar.

So, I’m saying that to say ‘I want to congratulate all the parents and friends and family and aunties and uncles and grandmother and grandfathers, and teachers and, friends and enemies — all the people that helped you to get where you are today, congratulations to you all.’

I’m going to tell about two to three stories. I’m going to keep it really short. I remember my graduation speaker, got up there and went on forever, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

So I’m going to keep it short.

NUMBER ONE: PUT GOD FIRST. 

Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me. Everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have – and I have a few things. Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift.

Forty years ago, March 27, 1975 – it was 40 years ago just this past March, I was flunking out of college. I had a 1.7 grade point average, I hope none of you can relate.

I had a 1.7 grade point average, I was sitting in my mother’s beauty shop. They still call the beauty shop now, what they call it? Yeah, and I was sitting in a beauty parlor. I was sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor.

And I’m looking in the mirror and I see behind me this woman under the dryer and every time she looked up –every time I looked up she was looking at me. She was looking me in the eye, I don’t know who she was and I said you know, she said somebody give me a pen, give me a pencil, I have a prophecy.

March 27, 1975, she said, “Boy, you are going to travel the world and speak to millions of people.”

Now mind you I flunked out of college. I’m thinking about joining the army. I didn’t know what I was going to go and she is telling me I’m going to travel the world and speak to millions of people.

Well I have traveled the world. And I have spoke to millions of people, but that’s not the most important thing – the success that I had. The most important thing is that what she taught me, and what she told me that day has stayed with me since.

I’ve been protected, I’ve been directed, I’ve been corrected. I’ve kept God in my life and it’s kept me humble. I didn’t always stick with Him but he always stuck with me.

So stick with Him, in everything you do, if you think you want to do, what you think I’ve done, then do what I’ve done. And stick with God.

NUMBER TWO: FAIL BIG.

That’s right. Fail big. Today is the beginning of the rest of your life and you can be just – it’s going to be very frightening. And it’s a new world out there, it’s a mean world out there. And you only live once, so do what you feel passionate about, passionate about.

Take chances professionally, don’t be afraid to fail, there is an old IQ test that was nine dots and you had to draw five lines with the pencil within these nine dots without lifting the pencil.

The only way to do it was to go outside the box. So don’t be afraid to go outside the box. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big. But remember, dreams without goals, are just dreams. And they ultimately fuel disappointment.

So have dreams, but have goals — life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals. I try to give myself a goal every day, sometimes just to not curse somebody out. Simple goals but have goals.

And understand that to achieve these goals, you must apply discipline and consistency. In order to achieve your goals, you must apply discipline which you’ve already done, and consistency every day, not just one Tuesday and just a two days, you have to work at it.

Every day you have to plan, every day you heard the saying, we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan. Hard work works. Working really hard is what successful people do. And in this text tweet, twerk world that you’ve grown up in, remember just because you’re doing a lot more doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done.

Remember that. Just because you’re doing a lot more, doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done. Don’t confuse movement with progress.

My mother told me, she said ‘Yeah, because you can run and play all the time and never get anywhere.’ So continue to strive, continue to have goals, continue to progress.

NUMBER THREE: YOU’LL NEVER SEE A U-HAUL BEHIND A HEARSE.

I’ll say it again, you’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. I don’t care how much money you make, you can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried it, they got robbed. That’s all they got. You can’t take it with you, with you.

And it’s not how much you have – it’s what you do, with what you have. We all have different talents, some of you’ll be doctors, some lawyers, some scientists, some educators, some nurses, some teachers. Yeah, okay. Some preachers.

The most selfish thing you can do in this world is help someone else. Why is this selfish, because the gratification, the goodness that comes to you, the good feeling, the good feeling that I get from helping others, nothing’s better than that.

Well one of two things but, nothing’s better than that, not – not jewelry, not big house I have, not big cars, but it’s the joy; that’s where the joy is, in helping others. That’s where the success is in helping others.

Finally, I pray that you put your slippers way under the bed tonight, so that when you wake up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to reach them.

And while you’re down there, say thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity.

Say ‘thank you’ in advance for what’s already yours.

So that’s how I live my life, that’s why – one of the reasons where I am today.

Say thank you in advance for what is already yours.

True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand to indicate that it’s yours already.

I’ll say it again.

True desire in the heart, that itch that you have, whatever it is you want to do, that thing that you want to do to help others and to grow and to make money, that desire, that itch, that’s God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, already to indicate that it’s yours.

And anything you want good you can have, so claim it, work hard to get it. When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up, each one, teach one.

Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.

Thank you.

Privacy Security

This is what it takes to be in the 1% of our world

Privacy and security are common terms used to refer to an ultra-high-net-worth individual (UHNWI). Privacy and security are related.

Privacy related to any rights people have to control their personal information and how it’s used. Security, on the other hand, refers to how their personal information is protected such as health records and all financial matters. Privacy protects a person from unnecessary interference. Sadly, most people today do not enjoy their privacy rights.

Being an UHNWI comes with its disadvantages. UHNWIs attract so much attention from the public, and such interest compromises their privacy. Violation of privacy brings about anxieties and threats to a person’s security. For this reason, UHNWIs have gone to great lengths to ensure they protect their privacy.

Why very wealthy individuals (must) invest in privacy security

Most UHNWIs are known for saving their money in foreign accounts. A popular belief is that these rich people hide their wealth and avoid heavy taxes. However, law-abiding UHNWIs know that being wealthy attracts people who will do anything to exploit their resources. These UHNWIs, therefore, find it wise to store a significant portion of their wealth in a different country. Foreign accounts provide secrecy and confidentiality of the wealth of an UHNWI that protect him/her from greedy opportunists.

To maintain privacy security, most UHNWIs invest in more homes. Having various estates helps them live a private life as they can settle in whichever place they feel secure and undisturbed. When UHNWIs are very famous people, it’s easy to trace where they live. An UHNWI with one home will hardly enjoy the privacy of his/her home as they will always receive unnecessary visits and scrutiny from the media, the public, stalkers, and even criminals who see a soft target in the UHNWI. Relatives of UHNWIs are kidnapped very frequently, for example. This kind of attention, and sometimes also of threat, can be very uncomfortable and can cause stress.

The personal information of an UHNWI such as his/her health records can be used against him/her and is therefore sensitive. Rich people have many rivals, enemies or people after their money. These people will use whichever weakness the wealthy person has to their advantage. It is for this reason that UHNWIs pay a great fortune to private clinics for treatment and checkups. These medical institutions not only provide high-end medical care but maximum patient confidentiality as well.

Private islands are popular spots for UHNWIs on vacation. Such places guarantee privacy and protection as they are away from the curious eyes of the public. They travel in private planes and own vacation homes where they can enjoy their holidays in private. These homes, islands, and planes cost a fortune but are necessary for ensuring that they enjoy their lives without too much attention, disturbance or insecurity.

UHNWIs also invest in expensive private schools where their children can learn and interact with other wealthy and celebrity kids without feeling out of place. Such schools are very secure and uphold the confidentiality of their students. These kids easily fit into such schools as they are treated as normal students and not as children of an UHNWI.

Total protection package

In conclusion, privacy security is more of a luxury for UHNWIs than a right. If you are strive for wealth and fame, be prepared to pay for your privacy security. If you are an UHNWI or you will soon become a very wealthy individual, Albert A. van Daalen Services (Alvadas) can facilitate your privacy security. If required, we can facilitate a total protection package (risk analysis, security systems, asset protection, and proactive management of threats, for example).

Asset Protection

Albert A. van Daalen Services (Alvadas) can facilitate asset protection. Asset protection consists of methods available to protect assets from liabilities elsewhere. It should not be confused with limiting liability, which concerns the ability to stop or constrain liability to the asset or activity from which it arises. The support includes protecting assets of corporations and their stakeholders from creditors and public registers.

An example of asset protection

A Dutch Caribbean Private Foundation, also known as a ‘Stichting Particulier Fonds’ (SPF) in Dutch, is a separate legal entity protecting assets and providing estate planning. While a Dutch foundation (‘stichting’) is originated as a structure for cultural and charitable purposes, the private foundation also hold assets for individuals and families abroad. Benefits: 1) Tax Free: As long as a private foundation does not engage in active businesses, all income is totally tax free. 2) Low Corporate Tax: Private foundations opting to engage in commercial activities are taxed at a reduced corporate tax rate of 10% for the first three years. 3) Asset Protection: The founder’s assets can be owned by the foundation. Beneficiaries are “economic owners”. 4) The founder and economic owners are not named in public records unless they pay taxes.