Archive for September, 2010

The Positive World Manifesto is a vision of a better world that strives for high levels of well-being for all animals (including humans), ecological efficiency, social justice, and a better mindset of ethics; a world where the sum total of the effects of humanity on the natural world is positive, and increase over time.

Read the Positive World Manifesto

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Imagination is one of the most precious faculties of man. In addition to “providing meaning to experience, understanding to knowledge, and playing a key role in the learning process” (Wikipedia), imagination gives man the faculty to see things (himself, in particular) beyond the present moment. Combined with freedom of choice it makes him the master of his fate.

Imagination has been the seedling of all human progress but it’s also the motive power of our individual lives. The more one uses it, combined with a burning desire for its actualization and a definite purpose, the greater one’s achievements will be.

With experience and intelligence, imagination becomes creativity—the ability to create new things with some kind of value—and can then be transformed into riches. The transformation is not an easy step but we are all capable of achieving it, unless we surrender to the manual.

Man’s obsession with creating maps and manuals for how to live his life goes against the human nature, for there is no limits to what he can achieve and become. Maps, in this sense, are counter-productive because they set boundaries where none existed before. They help avoid the mental effort of finding a path, but offer no surprise to what the destination will be.

In the face of an infinite sea of choices, it’s natural to put blinders on, to ask for a map, to beg for instructions, or failing that, to do exactly what you did last time, even if it didn’t work.

— Seth Godin

Life offers an infinite sea of choices because man is always able to choose what his existence will be in the next moment. In this frightening journey, imagination is our own personal navigation tool. It’s always available to us, but we must deliberately and repeatedly make the choice to use it.

Today’s world of factories has created countless manuals and mapped a vast number of paths which are followed by many. Our education system reinforces this by making us believe that the only way for us to succeed is to follow those paths. They offer a quick and easy fix to a broader problem that is the meaning of one’s life, but do not come free of charge.

While following a map can offer a temporary remedy to some of our fears, it will only take us where someone else wishes us to go, usually for his personal benefit. Moreover, if you’re not prepared to work without a map and be wrong, you cannot let free of your creativity and achieve your full potential.

On the contrary, following your imagination won’t give you the comfort of knowing what to do and where to go at any given moment, but its rewards are invaluable compared to the wages that you can expect by working at the office. Beyond success, it’ll bring you happiness and fulfillment, for you will be the man in charge.

Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination.

— Napoleon Hill

Within the laws of physics, the power of our imagination is simply limitless.

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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? is an excellent book by Seth Godin that explains how and why you should become a linchpin—someone not easily replaced.

In the marketplace, the easier people are to replace the less they need to be paid and the easier they are to lay off. The industrial revolution has created a world of factories and factory workers—a world that goes against the human nature.

On the other hand, artists are now rewarded far more than they used to be. The new age of technology makes it possible for everyone to be both remarkable and remarked.

Artists are people who give more than they receive, drive change, and make things happen. They prevent organizations from falling into pieces because they do their best and more than what they’re paid for. They are the ones who keep the marketplace running.

There is an artist in each of us but in this factory world we’re being taught to follow the crowd instead of striving for our own, unique path. For millenniums man has been in charge of his own life; nowadays he is being brainwashed into thinking that the only way for him to succeed is to fit in the system and do what others think he should be doing.

I especially agree with Seth when he blames our education system for this brainwashing. Schools are on the front line of our education and yet they teach us to comply with a set of rules and to live only within those limits. They stigmatize mistakes, thus preventing the expression of creativity—the essential quality of an artist.

The essential thing measured by school is whether or not you are good at school.

But creativity, imagination, and the freedom of choice are all part of the human condition; they are always available for us to use and cannot be coerced into retreat.

Most of the resistance sits in our own mind. Fear is the greatest barrier to becoming an artist: fear of failure, fear of working without a map, fear of criticism… They can all be easily overcome once one has found a meaning to his life.

The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.

As Seth puts it, “every day is a new chance to choose”, and becoming a linchpin is certainly the best choice you could make. I leave you with one the most memorable quotes I’ve come to know about, from one of the most memorable man there is to know.

Why is it that human beings, surely the most intelligent life form on earth, do not strive to achieve their maximum potential? The reason is simple: we have been given the freedom of choice.

— Jim Rohn

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The first step toward making a change is to properly define it: the Positive Business Manifesto is a declaration of my principles as an entrepreneur and the basis of all my business dealings.

Today’s marketplace is an essential and central part of our world but its rules (or the lack of it) make it a completely unsustainable economic system. By permitting and rewarding selfish greed it creates conflicts that result in an outstandingly negative effect on our world.

A Positive Business, on the contrary, is striving for innovation and sustainable change. Although it shares the same objective of earning profits, it has a higher purpose beyond just money.

Read the Positive Business Manifesto

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I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”