emotional intelligence in how we structure businesses
Imagine a world where man is in harmony with himself, his colleagues, his children, and his neighbors.
What does it look like? To serve and coach growth seems integral to all human endeavors. Certainly when wisdom is involved.Every organization, be it a business, NGO or charity or a government body is peopled by individuals. And what we draw out of ourselves is born of what we see in ourselves.
It all starts and ends with the individual. We can create all kinds of technological advances but fear is what keeps man bound. Wisdom, therefore, prioritizes valuing the human spirit; listening to his or her nuanced sensitivity and innate intelligence. Not being lulled into deceptions about their apparent obstacles to growth. To embrace the inspiration that is aligned with our spirit - rather than a mindstate populated by the imposition of inhibition and emotional baggage requires being attentive to our intuition and sensitivity; practicing gratitude and forbearance. We can choose to look with fear or we can re-focus our intent and our attention and see in to form a deeper perception of ourselves. One that is more freeing and liberating. One that breaks the boundaries of the limits we have unconsciously imposed upon ourselves.
There are two forms of charity. One is ego based. It sees a world of victims. It seems to help those victims. It is founded on fearful empathy. Fearful empathy is: “ I see and feel your pain.” It is naive, for even though it comes from a place of 'meaning well' it tends to perpetuate the victim mentality. True charity is founded on wise empathy. This sees only the strengths in us, it sees what is innocent and when can and did transcend painful past experiences...what reaches for the stars, both literally and figuratively.
An NGO or charity can create many problems or help liberate the world of them.A business can do the same.Surely a business should do good and an NGO should enrich the economy. It Is not difficult to ponder a time when these two approaches merge. Take, for example, a shoe company that makes shoes that are very aware of the impact of the shoe on the curvature of your lower back. That is a form of preventative care. The lines between business and NGO seem quite arbitrary and not so intelligent.If our products and services are doing well in the marketplace they are serving people. If we are creating problems for ourselves/others or if we are perpetuating a victim mind state - in ourselves or others are we being emotionally intelligent?
We can be efficient at being ineffective. We can be inefficient at being effective. And efficient at being effective and inefficient at being effective. And: "The busier you are the lazier you are." Tara Singh True productivity has space to it. It focuses on what is important. Being efficient at being effective is working smart. But we must be emotionally smart as well as logically so. An NGO can "teach men to fish" or it can give out handouts that sustain victim stories. The first activity is effective and hopefully productive. The latter is ineffective. Aid has to be emotionally intelligent to be truly productive and see only the strengths before us and within us. Since the dawn of industrialized society and the digital age man has been through many changes. Things have sped up. Watch a movie from 50 years ago and how slow is the pace compared to one of today.
The shift from the natural rhythms of homesteads and farming communities with their rotating and varied crops and livestock - that creates and sustains rich soils - to the modern pressures on the human being can be considerable. Unemployment has come like a scourge on the landscape. But it need not be a part of our society. Every human being can contribute. We grow when we do. Among the great minds that have turned their attention to the impact of industrialized society, there was the visionary engineer Buckminster Fuller who saw the planet itself as a spaceship and wrote a book about it with that as its title. He said: “Dare to be naive.” We disagree. We believe that is folly. Dare to be innocent yes, but not naive. That is a fool’s wisdom.
There is a parallel between the story of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park and the homeless situation in many cities today.
When the wolves are absent the ecosystem (natural economy) degenerated. When they were reintroduced their presence made sure the deer moved away from eating all the fresh growth. The wolves tend to eat the sick and the old and so the herd is kept healthy and streamlined.
With the reintroduction of the wolves, the deer couldn't just hang out at the watering holes and eat all the vegetation by the river. They had to move more and this meant the fertilizer of their droppings got spread out, enriching the land more uniformly. The saplings came back and with them, the songbirds returned and the river banks became stronger.
Recently, the shanty town has come to America - from Los Angeles to Pittsburg, the homeless have arrived because society, in part, has lost it's focus on self-worth. Affluence without wisdom is self-destructive. But affluence with wisdom is creative. With the homeless unemployed population comes hygiene problems, economic challenges, and social decay. All these things are the products of a lack of vision. And a lack of vision always comes down to a lack of self-love, emotional intelligence, and imagination.
These lines by Buckminster Fuller really has captured many an imagination:
“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.” "Bucky" is to be admired on many levels but this quote should be examined carefully for a number of important reasons. Earning a living is not "nonsense." It's an essential part of being an animal; of being in harmony with one's environment. Ants, monkeys, man...all of us work to live. When we do it wisely, there is ample space and no fear and we flourish, as individuals, as families, as nations and even as species.
Kahil Gibran, the poet, wrote:
"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, It is better that you should leave your work and sit and the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger."
Work can be seen as a great blessing. To put ones hand's do good use. The word for hand in Latin is ‘manus." It gives us the words:
Man is he ‘who uses his hands.’
He can do it wisely and that, essentially, means that the hand is connected to the head which, in turn, is guided by the heart.
Or he can feel overwhelmed and fearful by the pace of changes and a kind of apathy can set in when a lack of emotional intelligence smothers out the wisdom of the human heart and takes over the running of the mind.
There is no finger pointing or blaming in this way of perceiving things; the opposite is in fact true. To go to the root of things one must probe and see what is at the core of a situation, so to be emancipated from the problem which is, of course, essential to embracing the solution most fully. What makes man ‘man’ is his capacity to use his hands and to do meaningful work. Work is not the purpose of life but it gives man a structure and dignity. It helps hone his purpose. The land needs tending, there is so much we can do to improves our society through the wise application of our hands and management of resources. Creativity is deeply connected to happiness. And when wisdom is at work, there is the courage to go beyond fearful approaches. To foster real change, to be creative and share of our worth through our endeavors, our imagination and our spirits are brought to life by questioning the status quo and investing in the potentials we harbor. Regarding Bucky's second point about technology being a source of liberation, great, we should welcome that. Embracing technological advancements is natural and healthy. But “waiting by the river” and propping up dejected spirits in the name of the “spurious” second coming of Bucky Fuller is not.
It is inspired to contemplate using technology for more refined and liberated lives.
Yet an economic story where man has stepped away from his creative output is like the deer who are not kept in check by the presence of the wolves. The police are not wolves. They do not solve the homeless situation, They do not regenerate the river. They put the homeless on the greyhound bus. Or they clear out the tent cities and the disenfranchised move on to somewhere else. The problem is not cured. Not resolved. Just a band-aid on a broken leg. Seeing people as victims is not compassionate. Real compassion sees the strengths in people. Their “get up and go,” their innate talents, their wisdom, and innate power. No, what heals that situation is a different path inwardly regarding self-worth and passion for the creative experience. Is it 'compassionate'’ to keep people down living by the river waiting for the second coming of Bucky or is compassion seeing such people genuinely engaged in the thriving economic heart of the community? Surely, the latter is based on true vision.
Sometimes, the apparent story isn’t what it seems. Alan Savory in Africa is the perfect example. He was hired by the Zimbabwean government to figure out land management to reverse desertification and he discovered that the conventional wisdom was wrong. Conventional wisdom said that the land could only handle small amounts of grazing animals otherwise desert formed. The opposite is actually true. Given the natural predators were gone, large amounts of grazing animals destroyed the land - but when kept in check by putting them in makeshift pens at night they pooped all over their confined area and that fertilizer was vital to regenerative processes in the ecology of the land. This reversed desertification absolutely.
There is a direct connection between economic regeneration and how we engage with each other. Trust is key to man’s flowering. Trust in himself. Trust in each other and who we are. When people are given a fish, rather than taught to fish, we create dependence. We do not educate. Educate means to pull out what is inside us.
Villgro is an organization out of India that coordinates philanthropy with mentors and a deliberate focus on leveraging latent talent and maintaining sustainable economies. They are by far one of the most successful charities in their field, for the simple reason that they recognize how people need the right quality of relationships to truly feel appreciated and to appreciate - to really flower and flourish.
Image courtesy of Villgro.org
No money is given to an entrepreneurial project unless there are mentors in the story. providing that vital human connection. This fosters strong supportive communities and happy thriving businesses. There is great wisdom in these collective approaches. And profound emotional intelligence.
When we come to ourselves in such a spirit - we are choosing to sink or swim. We can swim and enjoy the journey or we can lose site of the emotional wisdom that matters. That is surely not a choice. It is a vital decision. Such intelligence can inform our economic stories. Indeed, it is absolutely vital that it does. A choice is one that is made between alternatives. It is arbitrary. In contrast, a decision is a decisive action. It is made because we have recognized the path of least resistance, of greatest meaning, of deepest value, of clearest harmony...because we have looked without distraction, we see to the core of things and we are not deceived. Such things give us reason to pause...and cause for celebration.
They are the weave of who we are.