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Touché's articles
published at LinkedIn

Touché's newer articles
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Guy at LinkedIn

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Blog

As may be expected of a blog, it is an ongoing affair. For the moment, we publish here three types of texts that suit the definition of a blog.

  • in English: texts that Touché and Guy post with a certain regularity at LinkedIn.
  • in Portuguese: contributions of Touché to Brasil com Z, a blog by expat Brazilians about the countries they emigrated to. The cooperation stopped some time ago, but Touché's texts are still interesting.
  • in Portuguese, Dutch, English and even French: whenever we travel, we send newsletters to friends in several countries. At first, these messages appeared only in Portuguese, later a Dutch version was added, and in 2016 we were crazy enough to add a French and an English newsletter during our stays in New Zealand/Australia and Costa Rica. We will progressively post some of these travelogues, going back in time.

Note: the latest post is at the top. Use the menu at left or scroll down for older messages.

Touché at LinkedIn in 2021-1

Intuition vs Calculation

‘Intuition is an extremely quick form of perception and it should never be disregarded’.

Although the author of this sentence is unknown the lesson it contains is of great importance to all...even those who are not into the intuitive ‘business’ but rather search at taking decisions based on calculations of all types.

Denying intuition means refusing our instinctive nature and we humans as animals should better not only accept this fact but be intelligent enough as to try and learn how to listen and follow our intuition.

Many say ‘this is not for me, I have no intuition’. This is not only sad but untrue. The reason for not recognizing our intuitive potential is based on the cruel marketing pro-intelectual knowlegde which seems to be determined to eliminate our natural resources – those deeply rooted in our ancient traditions and primitive ways of living – in order to be successful and ‘get there’. As if we are not able to perceive by different ways, both intuitive and intellectual. As if we could just progress by following thoughts and ideas that may be translated in different languages through words or mathematical expressions.

Look out!

Look out!

Human beings have more possibilities to getting knowledge than just by following formulae and laws. We can obtain a wide range of information about our outside world if we just listen to our inner voice! Without questioning ‘why’, just by the simple and humble admission of our limits to ‘understand-and-explain’ what is what.

Intuition is not ‘explainable’. It is more a feeling than a thought...considering ‘feeling’ as something we can not explain most of all not calculate. Ideas can become theories and be tested and even be proved. Not intuition. It comes as it is, a spontaneous and unpredictable ‘thought’ which seems to ‘jump’ from inside of us in a very soft and above all quick movement, almost like a small pretty fish would do coming from the deep sea. We can’t ‘grab’ it. We can just...follow. Accept our impossibility to understand and just follow whatever message we receive.

Intuition uses to be a good protection against different types of danger, be it a person, a violent fact, an accident on the road, whatever situation where our lives can be at risk. Sometimes we are driving along an empty and quiet road...and there is a curve ahead. Well, the road is quiet and does not demand any special attention regarding possible accidents. Then suddenly we get this intuition...after the curve there is another car coming. How come? This is an empty place, there’s nothing around. Better not argue with this ‘stupid’ intuition and slow down. Most probably there IS a car after the curve and...the driver is not a careful one, he/she is driving in the wrong direction. It was just because you listened to your intuition and reduced your speed that you were not hit by this relaxed driver!

Life is a continuous road and there are infinite number of curves, literal and metaphorical ones.

Intuition is always a good companion. It can save our life. Better go against modern intellectual streams and follow primitive paths than get hit by clashes that can be avoided.

Intuition is a very very quick sign, a delicate and soft message that is there to protect us. It is ours.

Why?

This is a no-question. There is no why. It simply is.

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on June 19, 2021.
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Smiling Eyes

A young lady had an interview for a job that highly interested her. Not only was she tired of looking for a good position but she really needed to work after having been unemployed for some time. She was not born from a wealthy family and had started working at a young age. Her father left her mother when she was four and her mother was illiterate. As soon as she reached an age where she was allowed to she started working having at her favor her intelligence, strong determination and perseverance, besides a natural kindness and beauty which helped her through the hard processes of selection from most companies. Very soon she decided to do her best and build a decent life for herself and her mother, who she dearly cared for. She grew up from a hard-working fragile single mother so she took upon herself the responsibility of paying most of their household expenses.

Her previous job demanded long hours walking around the streets, carrying a heavy bag containing advertisement material which she brought to clients. At that point visiting clients played a crucial role in marketing. The company gave a great value to employees who knew how to captivate the clients' attention, what made her a great choice when she joined the team. Despite the tiredness caused by carrying that bag, she liked the work and was happy with the chance to talk to clients. It was a real win-win situation. Sadly enough the company went through a hard financial crisis that led to a severe cut down on expenses and she was one of the employees dismissed.

Job hunting then. Searches, contacts, distribution of CV, waiting, hope. She was never a giving-up type of person, she was sure her opportunity would come. A good company, a good position, a good boss.

It is there, you have to go for it. She did.

Chafura, a lady with Smiling Eyes

Chafura, a lady with Smiling Eyes

A call for this long-wished job finally came and there she went, full of excitement and hope. First interview with Human Resources and she was immediately sent to another, with the executive who would be her boss. He would if they had come to a good communication between themselves. He never became to be the boss of such a special lady. After talking with him she decided to look for another job. ‘He doesn’t smile with his eyes’, she said.

The corona pandemics changed the world. So much has been lost... but also so much has been created since it started. Not only ways of working are different since then, we had to learn new forms of communication.

They also improve business opportunities. Try it up for yourself.

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on May 15, 2021.
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Earth's Day

You don’t have to love Nature to protect it. Who knows, you have been too busy in your life to enjoy the pleasures Nature can offer. You have bills to pay, you raise your children, you are a city-bird... or, well, or you just don’t take the time to care for Nature, let the ecologists do that, yes?

In times of corona it has been practically impossible to consider something called ‘holidays’. Some time ago, you would think of going to some natural places during these special days when you can give a break to yourself, but that did not necessarily mean you have a passion for nature, mostly it meant your mind was tired and cities are usually hasty and noisy. Now this need requires other solutions, probably in-door solutions, and if you don’t have any particular feelings for being in Nature you can think it is positive that nobody around you will be insisting that you go there.

Some people love sports and most sports are outdoor activities. We may well understand how frustrated sportsmen are when they are not allowed to practice, but hey, this is something you still can do! You can get somewhere to walk, run, climb, swim, canoe... there are still ways to do it, in Nature. You don’t have to love Nature to go there. You search an alternative to do your sports, and you find it. But you can be polite to your host and do not leave garbage behind. You don’t have to love Nature but you should always act respectfully when you are in somebody else’s place. Mother Nature receives you. Behave yourself.

Many people use nature. There are countries where nature means not much more than source for raw materials, food or status symbols, for example. In many circumstances Nature’s inhabitants are killed without any reason than the lack of concern for their lives. Soils are destroyed by chemicals and woods and forests are put down, without concern on how to obtain the material needed to build our homes.

delicious 'pancakes'​ in New Zealand

delicious 'pancakes'​ in New Zealand

We humans are guests of Nature during our passage on the Earth. Differently of tourist holidays, our stay was not decided by us. Maybe somewhere else in the Universe is more fun? Most probably not more beautiful but maybe more... fun?

And because we landed here without having ‘chosen’, it may explain that some of us are indifferent to Nature’s beauty and charm. It can also be that we never took the time to think why we are here. The same way we don’t have to love Nature, we don’t have to try and understand the facts of life. Being a person and staying alive cause already too much effort and demand lots of brain energy. We stop there.

However, in spite of the so many reasons for not dedicating time to protect Nature, or even for not loving Nature, those who don’t are confronted with the objective facts demonstrated in statistic graphs: natural resources are limited and laboratories and industries have not been able (at least so far) to produce artificial elements to replace all that is being taken and fill our needs with them. Mathematics are against those who do not care for Nature: there are too many people and a constant population growth in comparison to what scientists and entrepreneurs can create to keep the planet livable.

Material accumulation won’t endure the pressure made by the exhaustion of natural resources. This is bad news for those who have no loving feelings for nature: you must care, you have to protect the Earth if you want to go on living and leave behind a possibility of life as heritage for your beloved ones.

You don’t have to love your descendants the same way as you don’t have to love Nature and animals. But loving Nature and its inhabitants surely makes your days on Earth much more meaningful and worth living.

We, Nature lovers, invite you to participate in our project. Let’s get together and save the Earth... while we still can.

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on April 22, 2021.
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Ode to Gentlemanship

Auctions are special and even kind of mysterious. Most people just know the concept of ‘auction’ because some films show it. Probably most people have never been to an auction. What is shown on films make clear that those who go to an auction belong to a select group of wealthy individuals – usually not present but represented by somebody not wealthy – who invest high amounts of money for the pleasure of possessing pieces of art created by (usually) poor artists in some past time. The possibility to buy the finest decorative arts, jewelry, fine collectives and other objects of high material value attracts royals and millionaires, confirming their power and high status.

An auction as those we see in films is very charming. Christie’s, probably the most prestigious and famous auction house worldwide often is the setting where ordinary people are allowed through the magic eye of cinema. It is a place for unique experiences, almost like a temple where rituals are observed and gods worshipped. Only the ‘Chosen Ones’ have access to these ‘cults’, and strict rules must be followed by all.

Not all elephants are pieces of art

Not all elephants are pieces of art

Of course the attitude and behavior of the members of this community is subject to those rules, which include hierarchy, dress code, gestures, movements... yes, a very conservative place, an event for traditional persons who value fine objects, many of them being so old as to be classified as antiques, a good definition for a very old something that resisted time and obtained the label ‘art’.

Our modern civilization maintains some traditions and creations in a special pantheon, where beauty, fineness, elegance, charm are the principles. No matter how ‘modern’ we became, our society has not lost the value attributed to these characteristics, be it in an object or in a person. Perhaps we never progressed that much... we still appreciate and applaud people for their elegance, charm... and gentlemanship. Maybe a young lady would be surprised if a man opens the door of the car for her to step inside, yes, but it is unlikely that she would ‘dislike’ the gesture.

Being a gentleman has something to do with Christie’s. Gentlemen are disappearing as time passes, however their ‘old-fashioned ways’ are welcomed any time and in any place. Would this apply to diplomats visiting the representative of a foreign country? What do you think?...

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on April 12, 2021.
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Looking for International Women

Not the calendar, neither marketing campaigns. Or lives, articles, speeches from leaders of specific movements. Demonstrations don’t do it either. Social media? Also a ‘no’. Go deep, dive into people’s intellectual minds and emotional hearts. Surf. Think. Search. Find.

Here is the thing: try and find a human being who you define as a Woman and then ask her if she sees herself as an International Woman. The answer may be surprising, the answer is a question: what IS an International Woman?

A ‘National Woman’s Day’ was held on February 28, 1909 in New York City, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel, an educator who was active in the defense of labour rights and became the first factory worker to be one of the leaders of the Socialist Party.

International Beauty

International Beauty

After a long sequence of manifestations from women in different countries, finally the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975, but it was only in 1977 that March 8th was proclaimed as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Yes, so are women, persistent beings and who would not give up the struggle for rights.

At some point in time a creative marketeer came with the idea, let’s make the Woman’s International Day be also known as a source of making money, yeah? This has been proved to be a very good business. In the Pantheon where so many other Days existed already, the establishment of such a day could only be applauded. It was more than time to celebrate women attributing them an officially recognized day. Justice was made and profits came along, as expected. Who would not support such a wonderful initiative?

Looking back in History women never really ruled except in a few cultures. Decision making has been a male role to be taken for granted and it took much courage and determination from women to come forth and demand equality of rights. Ok, ‘equality’ may be a too strong term... but... yes, this is what has been requested and fought for. And no matter how new the movement is it is undeniable that in the last two centuries there have been significant changes and more and more women get their recognition as entire persons instead of decorative complements of man’s figures.

Nowadays political leadership and important roles in different organizations and enterprises are in the hands of representatives of the ‘weak genre’. Innumerous businesses got started because some daring woman took the initiative of entering the entrepreneurial world. More and more products have been created destined at feminine clients. Female artists use their art to express, expose and denounce sub-life conditions of women in many places. Schools everywhere have a high percentage of female students and Universities are home to devoted ladies who go for better education and believe in progress as targets that pass through books. Definitely, remarkable changes. Even if conservative people, of any genre, do not acknowledge it, the fact is that the world today is very different from that of March 8th, 1977.

Now the challenge: how to become an International Woman? C’mon, ladies, do it. Being a Woman is not the opposite of being a Man. It means using talents, intellectual and emotional intelligence, sensitiveness, intuition, delicacy, in tune with strength and determination and cope with everyone around independently of genre or any other differences.

This is The International Women’s Day of 2021.

This is a globalized world in search of international women.

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on March 8, 2021.
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Carnival: past, present and future

The Past

Derived from Latin, the word Carnival can either relate to ‘carne levare’, which means ‘remove meat’ or ‘farewell to flesh’ as its origins refer to the Christian period of feasting and celebration before the spiritual rigors of Lent. A play written in 1605 spoke of Christians who painted their faces to celebrate the last days of Carnival. In the Middle Ages it took almost the entire period following Epiphany, between Christmas and the beginning of Lent. This indicates that from its earlier times, Carnival had a compensatory signification for those who were preparing themselves for hard times.

Interestingly, from an anthropological point of view, it has been considered to be a reverse ritual, a moment in which social roles are inverted and norms regarding ‘good behavior’ are suspended without criticism nor punishment. Thus it is rather understandable that some religious leaders started and continued to protest against the ‘excesses’ during Carnival days meaning for example the consumption of alcohol and the use of masks or disguises to mock the ruling classes. There are records from the 9th century of complaints about people coming out into the streets disguised as an animal or someone of the opposite gender.

© wallpapercave.com - parade in the 'sambódromo'​ - 2017

© wallpapercave.com - parade in the 'sambódromo'​ - 2017

Carnival parades and masquerade balls were first recorded in medieval Italy and the Carnival of Venice was the most famous of all. From Italy Carnival traditions began to spread to different countries based on the strong appeal to our needs of socialization, dancing, drinking, and all forms of liberation from social control, functioning not only as social catharsis but also as a moment of live-dream. As time passed, this situation led to more and more acceptance of diversity and all the laws in favor of equality of genders played an important role in the public celebrations.

Evidently, it did not take long for marketeers to realize what a gold mine these festivities meant. Carnival became a rich industry overall. Brazilian Carnival, especially the commemorations in Rio de Janeiro, turned into a strong source of profits for tourism in general. Special focus was given to the ‘samba schools’, social entities with thousands of members that organized a huge parade each year, each ‘samba school’ creating a special choreography, musical theme and costumes and making a public show at the ‘sambódromo’, a big place designed for this event. A jury selected the best school and winning the title has always been a plus. About 30 schools gathered hundreds of thousands of participants and people from all over the world paid high prices to be able to watch the big parade.

But not only the samba parade offered joy and excitement or the possibility to relax for a multitude of people. Very popular and free for all, it could be commemorated by anyone and anywhere. Different kinds of commerce also depended on the feasts and despite the violence and social disorder caused in many occasions, Carnival became part of our traditions and history of leisure.

The Present

Instead of music and festivities, the world got the spread of corona-19.

No comments needed.

The Future

Another ‘sambódromo’ where we will be able to dance to the sound of new ideas and creations.

Hope that the vaccine will open our windows to new possibilities. Businesses, Courses, Experiences, Rhythms and many, MANY hugs and kisses!

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on February 14, 2021.
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‘C'è una buona idea ma non la facciamo.’

This is a true story.

Sometime around the years 2010-2015, a group of adult students decided to learn Italian. The course is one of many offered by the administration of an important city of a rich country. In spite of the fact that the tuition fee is very affordable, not many people can follow it because the lessons take place during day hours, excluding those adults whose job hours clash with this.

At that moment there was no pandemic and working from home was a concept that would have been considered kind of science fiction: exciting but not feasible.

Allora... most of the students in the mentioned course were fine, well-educated ladies, who are now retired and want to keep their minds busy. It is well-known that learning languages helps your brain stay young and healthy. And Italian is a very beautiful idiom which opens your life to the fabulous cultural universe that Italy contains.

Exploring new directions

Exploring new directions

Most teachers are not Italian natives but they are very well qualified to do their job. Of course, there is this sottile però non tanto jealousy between the ‘local’ teachers and the ‘real’ ones but this is not a big issue at the school and the students don’t seem to care about the origins of their insegnanti, as long as they follow the program and perform well.

Okay. Now there is this ‘real’ Italian teacher, a woman in her 30's (or 40's) who is a good follower of the rules about how to teach adults to express themselves in Dante’s language without making Dante feel too despaired with what is happening to his beloved idiom. Not very knowledgeable about Italian literature, this lady focuses on lessons-as-they-must-be, dividing the students between those who are really glad to have such a serious teacher – most of the group – and those who kept on going just because there are no options for that level in the course, feeling sad that the situation is so.

The end of the year is coming and even if there is no special feeling of connection between the classmates, the tradition must be respected, and here we have all students and the teacher involved in an important discussion about what would be the best ways to commemorate Xmas among all.

The suggestions are basically a repetition of the previous years until a moment when a student from a ‘different’ cultural background suggests a special game used in her country, allowing all participants in a group to receive and give a gift in a well-humored way.

After a clear explanation about the rules of the game and despite the interest demonstrated by some students, the teacher cuts short and says: ‘C'è una buona idea ma non la facciamo’. End of story.

===

2020 is over and brought many new facts and ideas to our lives. The vaccine against covid-19 is now a reality due to the hard work of serious professionals who dared venture in new researches and trials, based in creative questions, proposals, suggestions.

It’s good that open minded masters and leaders of different communities gave chance to students, subordinates or just any member of any group who may have looked for new ways to solve problems or enjoy life together.

Hopefully in the future there will be less and less teachers and decision makers who discard new propositions because, let’s be honest, if you rate an idea as good and refuse to put it into practice, there is not much to say about your qualifications as a leader of any sort. Best said: ‘C'è una buona idea e sicuramente la facciamo’.

Touché Guimarães, published on Linked In on January 27, 2021.
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