not spicy, not sexy

Jan's blog about transformative science, his research, and his personal reflections


We are sitting in the heart of the Malaysian jungle. Our trekking guide has just prepared lunch for us. Now he is preparing his own lunch, chopping around five cloves of garlic and three big chilies for a small pot of food. When he sees our eyes staring at him in disbelief, he just smiles and says:

»Not spicy, not sexy.«

Besides making us laugh a lot in that moment, this phrase has great metaphorical power. If you are not used to it, spicy food will make your mouth burn like hell. It will make you sweat. It will make your heart beat faster. It will take you out of your culinary comfort zone. But if you withstand this pain and start eating spicy food regularly, something remarkable will happen. Your body will adapt and soon you will be able to eat much spicier food than before without having to break a sweat.

What is true for spicy food is true for any other development, from the personal, individual to the global, collective level. To transform ourselves, we need to leave our comfort zone. We need to go where we are vulnerable. If we don’t let this initial pain discourage us from going on, we get more resilient and can ultimately expand our horizon beyond what we took for granted.

What is transformation for me? To describe my understanding, I would like to quote an author who inspires me a lot:

»There are cycles of success, when things come to you and thrive, and cycles of failure, when they either wither or disintegrate and you have to let them go in order to make room for new things to arise, or for transformation to happen. If you cling and resist at that point, it means that you are refusing to go with the flow of life.«

Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now

That’s what this blog is all about. I would like to share my reflections about leaving my comfort zone and going with the flow of life.

Who am I?

Jan - Kopie

Who am I? I honestly don’t know (yet). My name is Jan Freihardt. I am an explorative mind. I like to explore new cultures, explore nature, explore the boundaries of our collective wisdom, and last, but not least, explore myself. I am keen to explore the interfaces between scientific evidence, technological progress and societal welfare. After graduating from Environmental Engineering and Science, Technology and Policy, I am currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science on the topic of environmental migration in Bangladesh. Besides, I have written a book on transformative science »Draußen ist es anders. Auf neuen Wegen zu einer Wissenschaft für den Wandel«, published in March 2021.

After my studies, I would like to contribute to the transformation of our societies based on equality and on respect for the natural boundaries of our planet, so that future generations have the same possibilities like I do to explore our world and the beauty of the Earth.

Find out more about my research on environmental migration!

Keep posted about my work on transformative science!

Read about my travel experiences and personal reflections!