How To Identify, Manage and Integrate an “Origo” Situation

I know: you have no idea what an “Origo” situation is. It’s ok, you’re not supposed to, anyway.

Because, you see, an “Origo” situation is something very personal to me. It’s part of my personal life and you’re not supposed to know anything about it, unless you’re part of my very limited circle of friends.

And yet, an “Origo” situation is something universal. It’s a place where we’ve all been at some point in our lives, whether we realized it or not. Confused? Good. Read on, please.

The Origo Story

If you read my blog regularly you know I love to work in coffee shops. I’ve been a digital nomad for years. Nowadays I can’t call myself a digital nomad anymore. Since a few months ago I started and currently manage a coworking space in Bucharest (which is basically like a permanent coffee shop, only with a business twist), but old habits die hard, if you know what I mean. Every once in a while I do like to sneak out in a coffee shop and do some quiet work on my laptop, while sipping a good cup of coffee.

A few weeks ago, I did exactly the same. Just a street away from the place I live, there’s this very cool coffee shop called “Origo”. It’s a small place, but filled with interesting people. I was passing by each day on my way back from Connect Hub and I couldn’t ignore the people or the smell of the coffee. Very good smell of the coffee, by the way.

So, one day I decided to get in and plug my laptop in. I spotted a small table (all tables were small, by the way), plugged my laptop in, and started to work. The water was free and the waitress was keep pouring and the coffee was really good. The entire place exuded a “moderately hipsterish and yet comfortable” attitude. There were coffee cups hanging from the ceiling, suspended by almost invisible strings. Very cool place. Felt really productive.

A few days after that I did it again: got there in the afternoon, found a table, plugged my laptop in (there was only one power plug for the entire bar, which was kinda strange) and worked for hours. Again, very productive. I posted on Facebook something about it (their WiFi password was something completely ridiculous, like “thejumpinggoat”, which kinda added to the hipsterish vibe of the place) and many people commented in, telling me that Origo was actually one of the coolest places of the moment. I felt inspired and in sync. “Look, when you’re aligned with yourself, you get to work in all those cool and trendy places like Origo”, I told to myself.

Slowly, I made a habit out of it. Every two or three days I took a few hours and worked from there. I also brought in my flat mates and friends. The place had an almost unbeatable advantage: it was so close to where I live, actually just a hundred meters away. Really comfortable.

So, one Sunday, while I was plugging my laptop in, a waiter came in and told me in a low voice that this is not allowed anymore. I wasn’t alone, I was with a friend (and flat mate also) and I admit I was kinda puzzled. “But I did this just a few days ago”, I answered. “Well, it’s not allowed anymore, he replied. You can’t stay here with your laptop.”

To be honest, my first reaction was frustration (why do they do this to me?). My second reaction was confusion (where do I work now?) And my third reaction was: “let’s find another place to work this afternoon, period”.

So, my friend told me about this other place she read about on the Interned, called (yes, I’m not exaggerating) The Garden of Eden. It was within walking distance form Origo, so we took our laptops and just went there.

The Garden of Eden. Literally.

The new place was near a crowded street downtown Bucharest, in the yard of an old house. The access was through a rather narrow, dusty path, but, once we passed the corner of that old building, something absolutely unbelievable appeared in front of us. A forest, a real forest, with beanbags every once in a while, with tables, small footbridges and improvised (or so they looked) bars, at which they served smoothies or unfiltered beer.

It was a dream come true. On top of that, they had free internet too.

So, we spent the next few hours there, catching up on our work, until the evening.

At some point, just when we’re getting ready to go, we both shared the same feedback: this place was way cooler for a digital nomad than Origo. It simply was better. Friendlier, more fit from the technological point of view (more power outlets, way more space) and, on top of that, it was actually in the middle of a forest, just 50 meters away from a busy street in downtown Bucharest.

Yet, if that grumpy waiter wouldn’t kick us out, we wouldn’t know about it.

That’s what I call an “Origo” situation.

Wait: What’s an “Origo” Situation Again?

Simply put, an “Origo” situation is the kick in the ass you get when you’re stuck in a situation way more than you have to. When you’re in your comfort zone for too long. When you get lazy or too relaxed.

That’s exactly what happened to us when we were working in that hipsterish place. It was good for coffee, for meeting friends, but it wasn’t fit for freelancing. Yet, because it was so close to our home, we kept coming. And, eventually, we got stuck. We swamped ourselves, without even realizing, in a comfort zone, bathing in that friendly atmosphere, but forgetting that we really have to create some value for other people, and, for that, we really need a fitter place to work from.

And the signal for that awakening came in the form of a grumpy waiter. To which I am, to be honest, very grateful now. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have discovered The Garden of Eden. But when he talked to us, frowning and being totally unfriendly, I was anything but grateful. I was angry.

The Uncomfortable Sound of Change

How many times you’ve been there? How may times you felt frustrated and confused? Asking yourself incessantly “why is this happening to me?”. Or, even worse: “what the hell am I going to do now?”…

You know, until this “Origo” situation I thought that this is the sound of change. Those questions, I mean. It’s the sound of change trying to shift your path towards a better place, whether you like it or not.

But I was wrong. The two questions: “why is this happening to me?” and “what the hell am I going to do now?”, well, they are the sound of you resisting to change. It’s the sound of yourself blocking your own way.

Change has a beautify sound. It’s refreshing and joyful an fulfilling and full of surprises. It’s fun. It’s nice. Change is good.

Resistance to change is bad. Bad for your mood, for your health, for your relationships.

3 Steps To Manage Change

So, now that you know what an “Origo” situation is (namely, a change in your life), let’s see how you can cope with it.

1. It’s Not Them, It’s You, Mate

So, one of the most clear indicators of an impeding change is your own victimization. If you start to think a lot in terms of “why me, why now, why always?” then you’re avoiding it. You’re redirecting the focus towards resisting to change, not towards the change itself.

Just like me becoming angry at the waiter, instead of focusing on finding a much better place for me.

2. Observe, Observe, Observe. And Then Observe Some More.

One of the best ways to manage change is to observe what’s happening. Step back. Look more at what’s happening. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t act. Just witness whatever is unfolding. At some point, if you keep observing with detachment, a new path will appear.

Just like I found The Garden of Eden, after stopped whining about those hipsters kicking me out.

3. Be Grateful

Just because a part of your life is ending, it doesn’t automatically mean it was totally worthless. It wasn’t. Don’t kick it away completely. Until now, you felt good in that stage and, in all honesty, you couldn’t be where you are now, if you wouldn’t experience that thing too. So, be grateful for what you leave behind, don’t cut it out. It may still be a part of your life, if you accept it for what it is, not for what you may need it to be.

To be honest, I still go to Origo, but not for work anymore. Just for fun. And, every once in a while, for the coffee.

They have a very good coffee.

3 thoughts on “How To Identify, Manage and Integrate an “Origo” Situation”

  1. Interesting story. The Garden of Eden sounds like a cool place. They have a really hip coffee shop by my house that is run by a “religious cult.” Sometimes the most awesome places to work are what we least expect.

    You are right about change. Sometimes something that annoys us in the moment will be a great blessing in the long run : D.

    • As I read this, it came to my mind that you also need moments in which you do act. Just by observing you’re not doing much. Observation and detachment are crucial, but so is conscious action.


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