alcramer [Alfredo Cramerotti]

How to change career

Posted in Tools.Coaching by alcramer on April 17, 2008

This article appeared on Times Online:

Most of us gaze in wonder at those bold souls who leap from career to career, but it’s not as difficult as it appears

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Protected: Summer of Love

Posted in StorieMicro [Italian/English] by alcramer on November 11, 2007

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Failure

Posted in shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian], Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on October 29, 2007

Since it makes uncomfortable, failure among our contemporaries has no space. No room for development. No room for address. Failure –in other words– should not exist, according to the present society. Do we feel the same? We shouldn’t, of course. Theoretically each of us allows a margin of failure in life. But maybe not this time, we tell ourselves…

We feel that if we fail here (and now), we could jeopardize our future credibility. For instance, from where I stand it’s impossible to talk about failure in a positive sense, nor develop a notion of failure, without suspicion for whom is reading and/or approaching me.

We set our expectations on a high level, and we don’t even consider the possibility of not achieving them: and this works also for the expectation in the others. If I say to you than this space about coaching creative people could be a failure in pursuing its goal, you get immediately on-guard.

Hence, what is important in any activity, professional or personal, for duty or leisure, for ourselves and the others, is to attempt to dispense with the error-phobia that envelop us in a perennial mist. Not only we are scared of failing, in physical and mental terms, sometimes we even set up mechanisms of self-censorship. We don’t even allow ourselves to think we could fail, and things could go wrong. What does exactly mean things could go wrong?

When we expect something from someone else or some situation, we want to enjoy the most of it. We get ideas; we plan them, put to work and enjoy the results. Still, the possibility to fail is not harming anything. Failure is a precious space where we can stretch our boundaries and experiment with another dimension of living. In this sense, failure is a vital component of our experience of life.

I bet most of you feel now the urge to ask why should we fail? It’s not that we should fail in order to live better. We should simply allow ourselves the space, the mental dimension, of failure. We live in a win-win society, where one cannot afford to step into something wrong. For instance, we cannot bear the thought to lose our time following someone or something, which in the end disappears and leave us alone. This can happen in love as well as business.

In our deeds we invest feelings, time, money, and precisely because it’s an ‘investment’ we expect something back. A return, some results. We cannot conceive an action freed from expected effects, freed from the obligation to avoid errors. It hurts us to see and to think about our failure. We can bear only someone else’s failure. And we don’t want to be that someone else.

There’s a school of thought arguing that there’s no right to fail, but a duty to experiment. Fine. Does it mean that an experiment cannot fail? Why do we take away the word ‘fail’? We fail in studies, jobs, loves. We fail permanently, as well as succeeding. In writing these lines, I’m probably failing to communicate exactly my thoughts to you, completely or to some extent.

I fail a lot, as well as not. And I fail sometimes because I’m overly generating, and couldn’t fit everything in place and in time. Other times because I wasn’t able to carry out a commitment, or didn’t feel like, and my project, or task, collapsed on itself for obvious lack of will, time and resources. Other times again, I fail because I initiated something already doubtful, and it went worse and worse.

And in some occasions I managed to successfully complete something totally different from what I started. Is that a failure?

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Trust

Posted in shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian], Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on October 29, 2007

It’s true that life sometimes is both painful and simultaneously rewarding, especially in moments where you feel lost, or stuck, or somehow put in a corner. Painful for the experience (a loss, a feeling of inconclusiveness); rewarding because, in the end, is what pushes us towards some choices (even the non-choice is a choice). I’m not sure, as I have read in an online forum (nettime.org, precisely), that this has to be realized at the expenses of trust. Trust in ourselves, and in the other.

A life centered on the trust in the self, would be challenging, difficult and fascinating at the same time, but how far could we go in this sense? What would be a human without the environment around, which include her/his similar? Isn’t the idea of only first-hand experience a bit too privileged?

Everyone of us has the possibility to choose among a range of solutions, for work and life: not only in the professional approach (the way one can ‘sell’ her/himself in life, or not) but also regarding information (what you want to become, through reflection, info-gathering and coaching, for instance), and distribution of this information (the context, restricted or enlarged, in which you want to act). True, I’m probably talking for the Western society, with all the ups and downs – not so sure if the majority of the world population can do the same.

In doing the above, trust in the other is simpler, and more human. I doubt all the time in my work practice and personal life, but at the same time I do trust people I have chosen to have around, or I share a life with. If I have to distrust everyone and everything, I would get stuck in my own thoughts. Is it really something wrong in trusting? I don’t want to get too transcendental (I know the term itself might rise some eyebrows), but isn’t all this also a matter of love? Do we have to confront each other and everything around us all the time to claim we are ‘free’?

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Filmtherapy, or the ideal cure for the soul

Posted in shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian] by alcramer on April 11, 2007

What is filmtherapy? It’s the idea that some psychological attitudes and mental behaviours can be influenced by a film, addressed and eventually corrected thereafter.

Pre-thouht.
Getting cured of crisis, stress, anxiety, or even an illness such a cancer, simply cinema-going, might provoke an outburst of indignation. But it’s not a new idea: the soul-touching power of representation goes uninterrupted from the cave age, straight to the art show, via Greek theatre. To use your local Blockbuster round the corner as the neighbourhood pharmacy might rise a few eyebrows, and so I wanted to get a slightly deeper opinion. I did my homework, and here are some considerations on regard. It’s not a therapy-description: it’s only what I got out of it, a strictly personal view. Comments welcome.

First.
It’s somehow easier to involve a patient to talk about him/herself in front of a movie, rather than during a psychological session. Provided that is the right movie.
The film on the screen will ignite some parallels with one’s own life experience, and consequently comments, opinions, judgements will become easier if referred to the movie characters than towards the self. The therapist, or the medical staff who has the responsibility to deal with the patient, will draw a range of data from the cinematographic experience. According to Birgit Wolz, counsellor on http://www.cinematherapy.com, an American organization devoted to filmtherapy, there are different approaches to involve a person in a cinematic experience: the let-yourself-go formula (watch the movie and relax, better with some popcorn supplies), the evocative session (to learn more about oneself), the cathartic experience (laugh, or cry, or scream, or fear, being in a state of deep involvement).
It works for the medical staff too: for instance, often doctors and nurses in exchanging opinions about terminal patients, such those suffering from cancer, often recur to a film scene, or dialogue, or story (take “Marvin’s room”, to give you an idea). They do this to better indicate their own, and the patient’s, emotional approach. And some hospitals (the Policlino Gemelli in Rome, among the others) started to include film sessions and screenings in the special training of their staff.

Second.
It sounds more a creative writing course than a therapy, but some counsellor advise their patients to write down their own fears, dreams, and expectation in the shape of a film.
We can easily admit the two areas are not very far from each other. One can be advised, for instance, to imagine her/his life, or to approach her/his worries, according to a film script. Like medicals one self-prescribes for the soul (never tried Prozac?), a film-subject or script can be prescribed to imagine life differently, with more fun, more depth, more success, or less hectic, less responsibility, and so on.
Throughout the process, what is intimately liked, hated, depressing or reinvigorating for the author will become easy to spot. In-between the lines, that is.

Third.
Filmtherpay is not only directly soul-building. It can also be self-indulging and self-commiserating, why not? Yes, exactly: this helps to stop+go. A couple of days of favourite, silly and not-engaging movies, by yourself or in company of friends, spouses, lovers, maybe with the help of unhealthy addictions (sweets, Linus-blanket, ect.) or in the warm and soft of one’s own bed (crispy crumbs around), will do better than a therapist. Bad-hair day, job commitments, identity crisis, broken dreams, all of them evaluated and re-addressed with the support of a good movie. Thelma & Louise, for instance, where characters free themselves from their routine. The ending is not so re-building in a way, but you got the idea.

Fourth.
This is pure Zen. Be your own cure. Just get in touch with someone who can ‘guide’ you through the process (like the pharmacist with medicine for a cold), and develop your own approach to what’s going on in your mind and soul. Through movies. Feeling underestimate? “My big fat Greek wedding”. Feeling trapped by a love story? “fatal attraction”. Etc.
Watch out: there are no films realized on purpose to solve crisis, depression, or illness. There is no such a thing like a film listing, with movies against mobbing, dumping, or to get promoted, or seduce. There is only a personal approach to it, which can be different according to time, situation, age, social status, family, and so on. Cinema can be a therapy, but not a cure (unlike medicine for the cold): it’s more an homeopathic approach, which use a small segment of your state to grasp the bigger picture.

Fifth.
Now the bad news: sorry, you cannot become a better parent simply going and watching “Kramer vs. Kramer”. Filmtherapy has a value only in perspective. Cinema as representation and experience has something to offer for those, who want to become aware about themselves, not those expecting results from seeing a shot about something. It’s a path, and it’s quite long.
A few medical institutions, such as the Neuroscience Institute in Florence, use films to enhance a psychotherapy process of the patient, in respect to one’s own attitudes and internal growth, and never, never substitute a film list with a medical rigor. A movie is a tool, and not an end in itself. Let’s relax, it’s not (yet) the end of the world.

After-thouht.
Cinematherapy is a development of booktherapy. Some doctors and therapists used to recommend a list of books to read, and discuss, in order to realize a path of self-awareness. At some point, someone wondered if there were any movie to implement, or even substitute, books. It make sense, right?
From there, it was a short step to establish cinematherapy as recognized practice. Relationship crisis, teenager problems, family issues, job stress, psychosomatic illnesses, are all but a few situations in which a cinematic experience can be revealing, according to “Filmtherapy”, a book by Vincenzo Matronardi, psychotherapist and director of the behaviours and deviance observatory at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome: 160 pages of psychofilmic compendium where he lists films, according to psychological themes, life phases, emotional contents and problems.
A good source to have an idea of the matter. But, hey! After that, I would follow my instinct…

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