Take the Road Less Travelled

Dear reader thanks for joining in, it makes me happy. I want to share a simple but strong and effective learning of life: “Always take the road less travelled.” To me personally, it means this: see the opportunities around you and take the courage to act upon these opportunities.

Let me tell you a brief story. This morning the air was very brisk, lots of fog, leaves were falling from the trees. Signs of autumn were clearly present. I went for jogging.


At one specific place in my route there is a very narrow path right next to a much larger road. It is so small that you can barely notice it. Normally I just ignore it and follow the bigger road, the excpected, the “status quo”.


Today, I decided to do something different. To explore this narrow path (you may see it in the pic if you look closely). It appeared to be a great decision, as I found this marvellous view to the Baltic sea.


A small step can lead to beautiful opportunities that you could have not imagined.

In life there is lots of uncertainy. If you actively take small steps to explore something new you rewire your brain to cope with the constant change. Suddenly chance will be a normal part in life, perhaps even something enjoyable?

Become more aware of your surroundings, your decisions, and ultimately your thoughts. Become more grateful, fill your life with new experiences – you shall find an inspiring journey deep inwards. Allow yourself new enriching experiences. Become the captain of your own soul. It is your life after all.

What will be “the road less travelled” that you will take today?

Finally, I want to thank my friend and collaborator Kyla Mitsunaga for sharing this idea of taking the road less travelled. Also I want to express my gratefulness to the amazing students of Laurea UAS who I get to spend time with and learn on a daily basis. Also please notice that all the photos in this post have not been edited for the sake of originality.

Elämä on tässä

elämä on tässä - sky - ilkka kurkela

Ihoni höyryää saunan jäljiltä. Avaan kaksi ruutua parvekelaseja ja pyyhe käärittynä lanteilleni nautin luonnon ensi vihreydestä. Suomen toukokuu näyttää parhaat puolensa, vaikka taivas onkin juuri nyt harmaan sateen kyllästämä. Tätä kestää vain hetken, tuumaan.

Alkuvuosi monenlaista ruuhkaa takana. Työtä, unelmien tavoittelua, tasapainon hakemista – elämän arkea. Mukana niin erehtymisiä kuin onnistumisiakin. Miten kaikki oikein menikään?

Autoinko ihmisiä ympärilläni? Saavutinko tavoitteitani ja osasinko olla itselleni armollinen? Vietinkö riittävästi aikaa rakkaitteni kanssa? Osasinko arvostaa sitä aikaa ja niitä mahdollisuuksia, joita minulle annettiin? Mitä tästä kaikesta jää jäljelle, kun minusta aika jättää?

Suljen silmäni. Pysähdyn. Tihkuava alkukesän sade tuoksuu luonnon raikkaille sävyille. Tunnen virkistävät pisarat käsivarsillani ja kasvoillani. Onko aistittavissa jo ripaus ajetun nurmen tuoksua? Tuskin sentään. Muuttolintujen viserrys kantautuu sulosointuina korviini. Ihmeellistä, mistähän ne mahtavat puhua. Tiedän, että en tiedä.

Vedän syvään henkeä, avaan silmäni ja kohdistan katseeni kaukaisuuteen. Sisältä kuulen vaimoni ja elokuussa 4 vuotta täyttävän tyttäreni hersyvän naurunremakan. Kaikki on hyvin. Mieleni valtaa suunnaton onnellisuus.

Elämä on tässä.

Feeling Proud of Students

Laurea UAS Digital Business students global studies graduation

Today we finished our Digital Business -studies at Laurea UAS. Our students totally exceeded all my expectations. These young talents will bring us a great future, I can tell you that!

This video shows what this is all about. It is done by Digital Coaches, senior students in Laurea. Thanks coaches! :)

We made it global

Many thanks to South-Korean, Spanish, Belgium, and Mexican students and professors who were involved in this. We made it global together. I am so much looking forward to our next course as we will deepen all this international cooperation into the next level. Boh!

Thanks to the companies and guest lecturers

We had the extreme delight to have dozens of guest lecturers directly from worklife to visit us. I am so grateful to you – we really brought working life and young students together. Many thanks to all the guest lecturers and companies who were involved.

Selected blogs & vlogs of our students

Please see some selected blogs by our students. These are the talents who made it to the “blog of the week” during the course. Aren’t they good or what!?

Taru Hellman – Living Life and Learning
Melissa Laitila – Diggin It
Elina Karhapää – Digi-Diary
Miikka Leppihalme – Digital Business
Mariam Nurminen – DigiFeels
Jenni Palander – Digijenni
Teemu Reunila – Digital Business
Sini Siltanen – Digi Sini
Maija Vakkilainen – Digital Business 2016

Congratulations to each an every student who took part in the course, digi coaches, and my colleague Anna. I am very proud of you and grateful that I have had the chance to work with you. Remember, life is very much about who you decide to spend your time with.

Tasks done, goals reached, now it is time to celebrate. Enjoy and live life to the max guys! :)

Life is about the PEOPLE you spend time WITH

I just experienced the most magical week ever as I got to host TED speaker Kyla Mitsunaga (Harvard, founder of WithVSAt -teaching method) in Finland as my honored guest. She is really one in a million. This week leaves me nearly speechless but I try to wrap it up the best way I can.

She gave us an amazing “Happiness and Leadership” workshop at Laurea UAS and our students were simply amazed. Her authentic way of teaching/learning WITH them is very unique. Personally, the “human power point” -method was the thing, aww, simply too cool and effective… Let’s get rid of the static powerpoints and move towards human interaction! Yes! Aww, Kyla you are really in the edge of education. Here is a 13-minute compilation of the highlights recorded and edited by Mira, one of our talented students.

I have to thank my former colleague Atte Aro at Innofactor for making it possible for us to visit “Empowering Business” -seminar at Microsoft Headquarters. We got to have fun and listen to Sarah Caldicutt, the grandniece of Thomas Edison talk about Innovation.

One of the highlights of the week was this videorecording session WITH some of Laurea’s Amazing students, Melissa and Ile. We went to some real Finnish environment and our students recorded this amazing video. We were living the moment and awesomeness was created! Thanks guys.

It all climaxed at Global Leadership Dinner yesterday, in which 20 unique people (talents, leaders, thinkers, positive people) had fun and defined the qualities of Future Global Leader. Thanks to everyone who attended, that was an event of my life. I will never forget it!

Kyla Global leadership dinner

In conclusion, there is never enough time to do ALL THINGS, but there is  always enough time to do the RIGHT things.

So, focus on the RIGHT things.

Remember to spend time with people who get you inspired!

Be happy and spread HAPPINESS around you. :)

Thanks Kyla for everything.

Where the Gods are Born

As I am waiting to my flight to departure from Mexico City back to Helsinki, I have to share something amazing with you.

I was really astonished by the visit to the Teotihuacan Pyramid area yesterday, a changed man. The area seemed to have an energy of its own, with thousands of years of history packed in one place. The people call the area “place where the gods are born”. It is very hard to believe that all the phenomenal monuments were built centuries ago. I wanted to experience the journey to the max so I climbed on top of both pyramids, “The Pyramid of the Sun” and “The Pyramid of the Moon”.

Ilkka Pyramid

Did you know these five facts about the pyramids and the culture?

1. The culture of Teotihuacan had come up with the “agricultural calendar” (18 months, 20 days each – 360 days per year). There are 18 temples that represent each month.

2. The arrangement of the pyramids represent exactly the orion star constellation (how AMAZING is that?)

3. The correct ancient way to climb up the stairs of the pyramids is to perform 7 steps left/right diagonally in turns. (Btw, I did all the climbing using this method) Why? This way you would not face directly the gods (who were believed to be present in the top of the pyramids), but you would neither complitely turn your back to your people. The number 7 was considered to be a magical number with many meanings.

4. The amount of steps to the top of the “Pyramid of The Moon” is 260. This relates to the the amount of days that women are pregnant before giving birth. Imagine that fact for a while, and think what climbing up there represents.

5. When facing “The Pyramid of the Moon” from the very center point of the Teotihuacan area (which is even considered to be the center point of the universe), compass points exactly at North-East. That is where the very first ray-of-light rises from the Sun.

If you carefully think through all the things I just wrote, your mind should be stimulated quite strongly. Those facts certainly impressed me at least! After the experience I had while climbing up the Pyramids made me think that the pyramids must have been symbols of life.

That leads to my final conclusion: appreciate life.

Thanks for sharing this experience with me. Dear reader, If you felt emotional and connected, in a way, we have met.

Pyramid of the Moon - Sky view - Ilkka 26.2.2016
As I was lying on my back at the top of the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan this is what I saw on the sky. Phenomenal!