What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
"The advice was not directly addressed to me, but what I find a very poignant text is: 'life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans', from John Lennon. For me this boils down to the essence: don't live in the past or the future, experience happiness in the here and now.
I notice that I am happiest when I am intensely engrossed in what I am doing at a particular moment. It doesn't have to be anything grand: like the telephone conversation that we are
having, or just now as I was brain-storming with students about a new festival on the TU/e campus: I was completely absorbed by the discussion. Many people are focusing mostly on the future, for instance the moment when they can retire. If you live consciously every day has its own moments of happiness."
What is your favorite spot?
"I am blessed with a house that borders on the river Dommel and yet is located in the center of Eindhoven. My favorite spot is in the garden behind our house, on a small jetty. When I am there I'm in the heart of the city, while it looks as if I'm surrounded by nature. The river Dommel gives me a feeling as if I am connected with a vast hinterland and there's a canoe waiting for me that I can sail away in any time. On this jetty I have a feeling of freedom and being unattached."
In whose shoes would you like to be and why?
"To be honest, I don't really have the ambition to be anyone else than myself, and I prefer to be in my own shoes. Still, if I did have to select a person and a time, I would select Obama during his inauguration speech, right after having been elected president. It was a speech that touched and moved an immense number of people, including myself."
Who at TU/e deserves a pat on the back and why?
"Jeanette Schoumacher (departmental communication officer for Industrial Design, HB). This week she has been employed here for 25 years, and she has filled 7 different positions within TU/e. In all those positions she has achieved special things for the organization. She is an unseen power who contributes so much." (HB)