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Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First: A practical guide to living healthier, happier and more successful in 52 weekly steps

Paperback - 30 June 2019
Rp 445,000
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Alfons has been working at Amazon, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard in Executive and Senior Leadership roles for the last 25 years. He has studied various martial arts over the same period. As time progressed those worlds and their principles merged for him and enriched each other. When he became a parent, a whole new world of insights opened up.

Ulrike is a well-known Tai Chi and Ikebana teacher in her community. She serves as a staff teacher for 'Mindfulness for Kids' at our Elementary school, where she also leads the PTSA art docent program. Before moving to the US, Uli practiced as Medical Doctor (OBGYN) at the University of Aachen in Germany.


At many points in my professional life, I felt challenged to 'go all in' and sacrifice family health or my personal passions for success at work. Not that I was asked to do it, but I thought I had to. Luckily, I caught these imbalances early enough to avoid going down on a doom spiral. I started to pay close attention to principles and methods that helped me be more efficient and allowed me to have both a great professional career as well as a healthy and fulfilling personal life.

Live is a marathon, not a sprint.

Our lives must be balanced to have sustainable success and fulfillment. In this book, I want to share the principles that helped me achieve that balance. Those principles and methods are based on scientific research as well as what I learned from mentors and role models at work and in my personal life.

Much of what you will read stems from martial arts lessons and strategies I learned in business. A significant contribution also comes from my wife Uli and her thoughts on minimalism, simplification, the arts, and focusing on experiences rather than material possessions.

None of what you will read is rocket science or my own discovery. However, it is a summary of principles and approaches that worked for me over the past 25 years, leaving out all the things that I learned the hard way not to work. Those principles helped me stay sane and healthy in environments of extreme challenge and pressure.


When you travel on any commercial airplane, you will need to go through the safety briefing before taking off. One of the things that stuck with me was the advice to "put on your own oxygen mask first."
It seems to go against our instincts initially. We want to help our kids or the elderly before we turn our attention to our own needs. However, that is shortsighted. Even as we desire to help others, we first need to take care of ourselves.

This is how this book will start. We will go from the ground up, starting with habits that improve your health and physical wellbeing. Being healthy is the basis for everything. From there on we will take it to higher levels.

However, always remember: you need to get yourself into the right place first before you can have a positive impact on your work, the people you care about and society.


Whether you plan to read through the whole book once and then come back to tackle the things that resonate with you or you plan to go week by week and chapter by chapter, here is what awaits you.

This book is structured in four parts. The first three present a plan for weekly habits to add to your portfolio, the fourth is a reflection on general learnings and methods to achieve your goals at work and in life.

Part I - Healthy Habits
Part II - Be More Effective
Part III - Spiritual Balance
Part IV - Reflections on Achieving Your Goals

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