when you’re walking around in the mall in need of a mobile phone, the second one of those kiosk people starts to approach you from too far away, you’re turned off. If they make contact and start asking you their dumb questions about what kind of phone you have and who’s your carrier and whatever, you immediately no longer want a phone. If the convo goes on much longer, you’re going to start hating phones.
No matter how much a girl out at a bar or club or social gathering place wants some male companionship, the second you start “spittin’ game”, they are likely going to start hating male companionship. Make yourself presentable, don’t act like an @$$, and roll with scene. If someone comes your way, be cool, stay open and put your best self forward. If no one comes your way in a variety of situations, ask yourself if you’re actually presentable, NOT being an @$$ or trying to rush the scene. It’s really not more complicated than that.
So, do our female friends a favor and chill the —- out. You’re so much more likely to find what you’re looking for when you take it easy and let the scene come to you. Trust me.
All love to all you lovers! -mighty
Throughout the Winter 2013 adult Hip Hop dance session, FUNKMODE’s fitness experts gave 12 essential tips to help all those making the New Year’s commitment to improving their health. Here’s a recap of those lessons …
WEEK 1 – GET BAD FOOD OUT OF YOUR HOUSE / ANYONE CANDO THINGS FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME
———– No magic here … if it ain’t there, you can’t eat it. However, some of us seem to miss this simple reality. If you’re doing the grocery shopping in your home, you control what enters your home. If someone else is requesting food that you don’t want to eat (i.e. evil spouses), make that person go get it and keep it somewhere out of sight. Sound hardcore? So is committing 100% to your goals. A theme of this list is that there are no shortcuts and you cannot find success without making the sacrifices and putting in the work. With that in mind, realize that no matter how hard it is to make any particular change, ANYONE can do any number of crazy things for a short period of time. Don’t tell yourself that you are going to stop eating sugar for the rest of your life. Tell yourself you are going to stop eating sugar for 90 days. That is very attainable, even if it seems insane at the outset. How many cycles of 90 days have you lived so far? The next 90 days will go by whether or not you make a change. However, the next 90 days can be the most successful of your life by doing something insane (but attainable) and sticking to it. You are capable of far more than you think. Give yourself the opportunity to show yourself how capable you are.
WEEK 2 – LEAVE YOURSELF WANTING WHEN SETTING GOALS
———– Can you stick to 1800 calories a day? Start with 2000 and work down over time. Can you workout for 1 hour a day? Start with 40 minutes and increase it over the next month. The trick here is to keep yourself wanting. Knowing that you can do more will make you continue to strive. Starting off at or beyond your abilities sets up a situation where you are potentially struggling from the get go. More importantly, it puts you in the habit of making and KEEPING promises to yourself. Most people fail with making changes because they know how many times they’ve told themselves they were going to make changes and then didn’t follow through. You walk in with baggage and it gives you an easy out. The more often you break promises, the less you trust yourself and the harder it is to believe that you will follow through in the future. When you keep your goals slightly below what you know you can do, crossing the finish line is easy. You start a pattern of continuously hitting your goals and you begin to trust yourself again. Success begets success. Keep your goals easily attainable and you won’t fail.
WEEK3 – TELL EVERYONE AND ANYONE ABOUT THE GOALS YOU SET – MAKE PLANS/GOALS WITH APARTNER FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
———– It’s a fact of life that we are much more likely to do something if we’ve told someone else that we are going to do it. We may let ourselves off the hook easily, but it’s much harder for most of us to break our promises when others know what we’ve committed to. With this in mind, set goals with a partner. Keep each other accountable and honest. A partner not only helps with accountability, but with problem solving when either of you hit a plateau or difficult challenge. Finally, there is power in declaring your goals. Spiritual beliefs aside, your mind makes things far more concrete when you say it out loud.
WEEK4 – SET A BIGGER GOAL THAT REQUIRES GOOD FITNESS/EATING
———– If you want to eat well, start an activity that is impossible to keep up with if you don’t eat right. If you want to be in great shape, start an activity that will be impossible if you are not in great shape. Most people don’t love going to the gym. However, they may love rock climbing or riding bikes or skating or gymnastics or softball or running or hiking or mixed martial arts or parkour or swimming or powerlifting or any other number of activities that require excellent fitness and nutrition. If you are going hiking tomorrow and you’re really looking forward to it, you are much less likely to eat in a way that is going to make you less than your best. If you are entering a race this weekend, you will do things throughout the week to set yourself up for success. If you don’t, you are going to know about it once you hit your activity of choice. When you are engaging in a larger activity that catches your interest, it is much easier to make the exercise/nutrition choices necessary to support that activity.
WEEK5 – FIND EXCUSES TO MOVE (STAIRS INSTEAD OF ESCALATOR, PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS)
———– Don’t go to the gym and try to find the closest parking spot. Fidget. Run don’t walk. Dance. Don’t use the remote. Take the scenic route. Movement becomes a habit. The more you move, the more your metabolism increases and the more calories you burn. Be like the shark … move, move, move.
WEEK6 – EDUCATE YOURSELF
———– No simpler way to state this. If you wanted to become a mechanic, you’d go to school or pick up a book or connect with your Uncle Ray who owns a shop or Cousin Vinnie (yeah, that Cousin Vinnie) who’s tinkered with his Camaro since ever you can remember. If you want to learn how to change your body, learn about exercise and nutrition. Is it easy? No. Is it worth the effort? Consider this … of all the things you’ve spent time learning about in your life, what has been more essential than knowing how your body works? Take away everything in your life for a moment. What you are left with is you. You will never escape having to be concerned with how your body works. You might as well learn how to make it work in the best way possible. If you take the time to learn about exercise and nutrition, you will be able to make any change to yourself at any time. What’s more, as new diets, workout routines and products come along, you will have the power to make choices about their usefulness or lack thereof. Take the time to learn about YOU. You’ll never regret it.
WEEK7 – START WITH THE THINGS THAT YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO DO
———– Again, success begets success. Gain momentum on your goals by knocking out the things first that are easier. Baby steps lead to big kid steps lead to tween steps lead to young adult steps lead to grown-up steps (yes, that IS a lot of steps). If you drink soda every once in a while but know you can do without it, knock that out first. Then increase your 30 minute daily walk to 40 minutes. Little by little you are making and keeping promises that will give you the confidence and power to take on bigger challenges. Start small then go BIG.
WEEK8 – CUT EATING PORTIONS IN HALF (ESPECIALLY WHEN DINING OUT)
———– Most of us in this country have less of a problem with food choices as we do food amounts. It is entirely possible to get overweight by eating entirely healthy foods. Do not get caught up in the errant thinking that you can have whatever amount you want of a food because it’s “good for you”. It simply is not true. At home, serve less. At restaurants, cut portions in half, thirds or quarters and bring the rest home. Most people should be eating 200-400 calorie meals 4-6 times a day. Most restaurant entrees are 1000+ calories. Eat smaller amounts and drink large amounts of water as you eat. You will find yourself satisfied far sooner than you think. Bonus tip: slow down as you eat. It takes 10-20 minutes for your body to register that it is satisfied. Give it the time to tell you what’s up.
WEEK9 – FAILURE ISN’T FAILURE (DON’T MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL)
———– There is always something to learn in every experience. Even when you fall short of where you wanted to be, you have the opportunity to correct your behavior in a way to guarantee success the next time. Furthermore, many people will fall short on some minor point (e.g. you overate at breakfast) and then completely give up on pursuing a goal (e.g. binge the rest of the day with the promise that you’ll start again “tomorrow). You didn’t “ruin” anything. You fell off the horse? Get back up and get back on. Don’t wallow in the mud. Let’s say you’re trying to stick to 2000 calories a day. But last night, you went buckwild on pizza and knocked out 4000 calories. HOLY SMOKE, YOU PIG! Kidding, kidding. Instead of just staying off the wagon for the rest of the week/month/whatever, consider this … it would only take eating under by 200 calories a day for the next 10 days to make up for that crazy night. Skipping 200 calories a day is pretty easy unless you are already very calorie restricted. Many would be able to skip out on 400 calories/day and knock that overage out in less than a week. Don’t make a mountain out of molehill. Stop giving yourself the easy out and get back in the game.
WEEK10 – SLEEP
———– You love to sleep, yet you constantly don’t get enough. You have good excuses but your body doesn’t care about any of them. Your body is an adaptive mechanism. It wants to maintain homeostasis. It doesn’t like change. However, when you give it enough reason to (e.g. take in less calories, work out harder every day), it has no choice. However, however, if you don’t give it time to recover and adapt, you put it in a position where it can do nothing but break down from being overstressed. Sleep is when our body makes all of the changes we are looking for. Sleep is when muscles grow, fat moves from storage to useful energy, and your body repairs. Without that sleep, you can make all kinds of positive change but your body won’t have the opportunity to deliver the results you want. Eat right. Exercise. Rest. Repeat.
WEEK11 – COMMIT TO WORK TOWARDS YOUR GOALS IN ALL SITUATIONS (SUPPORTED,UNSUPPORTED, OPPOSED)
———– Tell yourself that come hell or high water, you are going to make this happen. Don’t say, “as long as it’s easy, I’m going to do such and such.” Say, “even if the angels descend from heaven and try to stop me, I am going to get this done.” EXPECT things to be hard. EXPECT to be opposed. DO IT ANYWAY! There are no shortcuts. There is no easy way out. If you’re going to do this, DO IT! Stop giving yourself excuses of circumstances, people, environment, holidays, family visits, kids, spouses, health issues, dietary issues, money, work and whatever else your life concocts to prevent you from being the person you want to be. Know what you want and do not let anything or anyone stop you. Easier to say than do? Sure is. DO IT ANYWAY! But you don’t know my life? Sure don’t. DO IT ANYWAY! But I’ve been this way all my life? So what? DO IT ANYWAY! DO IT ANYWAY DO IT ANYWAY DO IT ANYWAY!!! You won’t regret it, whiiiiich brings us to the final point …
WEEK12 – THE SACRIFICE IS WORTH IT – NO ONE EVER SAYS IT WASN’T – PLUS, IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY ONCE YOU GET THERE, JUST GO BACK TO HOW THINGS WERE BEFORE. AT LEAST NOW YOU KNOW.
———– That pretty much says it. If the sacrifice wasn’t worth it, hey, you gave it a shot. At the very least, you gained the power that comes with setting a goal and overcoming all challenges in the way of achieving that goal. You were happier when you were 100 pounds heavier and you miss cheesecake? Go grab yourself 100 pounds of double chocolate and knock yourself out. But know this, very rarely, if ever, does this happen. Most people are so ridiculously pleased with themselves once the effort has been put in and the goal has been achieved that there are just not the words to express the elation, fulfillment and satisfaction. Doing positive things for your health and fitness are unlikely to ever be regretted. Give yourself the gift of health and you will not be sorry.
Finally, know that most or all of these principle are applicable to just about any other type of goal that you can set for your life. Consider what you want to see improved and adapt these lessons to help you achieve any thing you can imagine. Celebrate who you are today and continue to strive to improve. Being your best inspires others to do the same. Be a light and illuminate the world.
ALL LOVE – FUNKMODE
In the Maori society of New Zealand, there is a more than two-thousand year old custom called Ta Moko. Ta Moko is the process of what we would traditionally call tattooing (tattoo being a derivative of the Samoan word ‘tatau’, which described the sound of the tattooing process), and was a signature part of the Maori culture. Everyone, men and women alike, had some sort of Moko and each had great significance within the culture.
The roots of the Moko are in Maori mythology, where the son of the Earth and Sky took on a Moko to mark the separation of his mother and father at the creation of the world.
Originally, it is said that a less permanent version of Moko was used in battle and that eventually the permanent version came in to alleviate the trouble of reapplying it with each battle. Each design was completely unique and no Moko was done twice. The Moko spoke of many different things about a Maori man or woman. It signified rank, social status, work, skills, special achievements, eligibility to be a warrior, chief or priest, eligibility to marry and bear children, and the virtues of courage, strength and power. Through the Moko you could know everything about a person, and each Moko was designed specifically towards that end. For example, each division within each tribe had a specific Moko. As you ascended to head of the tribe there was a Moko there. Different generations of the same tribe had slightly different Mokos. The Moko also came to be used to sign documents. A person would write down his entire design as his mark. A person without Moko was called a ‘papatea’, meaning ‘plain-face’. These people were outcasts.
As a rite of passage, the Maori used Ta Moko for both male and female initiation. For males it was a sign of readiness for adult duties, marriage, reproduction and fighting. It also showed his attractiveness, and in a song sung during the ceremony there is talk of how females will want to do things to serve him after receiving his Moko. For females, it was mostly a sign of strength, fertility and beauty. However, within the tribe, the female Moko also designated speaking rights. The ceremony was overseen by a ritual Elder, the Tohunga Ta Moko. This was always a male and he most always worked with an assistant/apprentice. The whole ceremony and preparation was ’tapu’, or sacred. Before a person could get a Moko, he had to be approved by parents, tribe, and elders. This deliberation would last for months. It was necessary to determine whether the initiate understood the Moko’s significance, how it would change their status in the tribe, how it would change their views of the world and of the tribe’s views of them, the permanence and the spiritual value. Every time there was a new design desired, it had to be approved by all, since it spoke very specifically about the individual and his relation to the tribe. To prepare for the ceremony there is fasting and time spent with the family singing prayers, called ’karakias’. The Moko is done on ceremonial land or in the person’s house. All of the family would be there to support and keep a spiritual air in the environment through the karakias.
The Tohunga had a very elaborate setup for the ritual. It was usually to be carried out in one sitting, but could take longer. The Tohunga was the shaman of the tribe. He had a very high rank and was often given special living quarters and offered many gifts. He was the master of the craft and he was also a healer. He had special knowledge of all designs and is often the one who would decide what Moko should be done given the circumstance and who is ready. Because of the high demand of his work, his great rewards and his elevated status within the culture, it was often expect that he remain unmarried and freed from any permanent relationships. The Tohunga was under many restrictions to stay spiritually eligible for his duties.
During the ceremony, there were many tools used by the Tohunga. Foremost was the ‘uhi’, which was a chisel usually made from a piece of albatross bone. There was also a mallet made of maire wood and a carved pumice or wooden pot to hold the ‘awe kapara’, or pigment. These pots were treasured heirlooms. Also used and highly prized were the ‘korere’. These were funnel shaped feeding tubes for broth and water. These were decorated and ornamented and were used primarily to avoid contact with the Tohunga. Great lengths were taken to assure all parts of the ceremony remained untainted. No food could be taken by the Tohunga, and food was only given to the initiate at appropriate times by others. The healing process was very important. Pure spring water, ‘wai Maori’, was considered the essential cleaning agent. There was also the karaka leaf, which is used today for wounds and infections in the Maori tribes. After the process was completed, care was taken not to taint the Moko through intimate contact until it was completely healed. Also, it was said that the person should not look at his reflection.
After receiving his Moko, a man could then act in accordance with what it signified. He could become a husband, leader, warrior or start other work. If a boy were to become a chief it was required that he not cry out or show other signs of pain during the ritual. As stated earlier, this was not a one-time process. Ta Moko continued throughout a person’s life. The Maori had Moko over their entire bodies and each area had special significance. This practice was lost during colonialization in the mid-1800’s and was resurrected during the Maori resurgence of the late 1980’s. Today, the methods used for Moko are more similar to how we tattoo today and the meaning is not nearly as strong. Sadly, as is all too often the case, much of the knowledge has been lost. Today, many are working to preserve what is left to the greatest degree possible and pass it on to future generations.
University of Pennsylvania museum of archaeology and anthropology. Retrieved May, 2004 from
Maori and their tattoos. Retrieved from http://www.mala.bc.ca/~soules/media112/zine99/tasha/maori.htm
Pbs Skin Stories (2003). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/skinstories/culture/role2.html#moko
Kopua, Mark (2001). Retrieved from http://www.tamoko.org.nz/
Tattoo Archive (2003). Maori Moko. Retrieved from http://www.tattooarchive.com/history/maori_moko.htm
Research and experience has show that the surest way to becoming wealthy in this country is to become an entrepreneur. Though this path holds great risk, with most businesses failing within their first five years, those who do succeed often provide enough inspiration for the rest of us to brave the dangers in hopes of gaining the riches. The psychological concept of archetypes, brought into the mainstream by Dr. Carl Gustav Jung gives insight into the behaviors of people of all kinds, including successful entrepreneurs. This paper shows the reader how to use the understanding of archetypes to unlock the secrets of accomplished entrepreneurs while presenting a model which can be used to evaluate one’s own thoughts and actions in comparison. It further goes to detail the evolution of business from the older profit-centered, mechanistic model, to the more service-interested, conscious model, holding promise for those individuals who are seeking to work with greater awareness and responsibility. It concludes by presenting a new model for business, one which seeks to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle not just for profit and contribution, but for personal discovery, self-expression and fulfillment.
The Conscious Archetype: Using Awareness to Gain Abundance
As I have traveled extensively and lived throughout the world, it has become abundantly clear to me that one of the characteristics which distinguishes my U.S. homeland from the rest of the world is its dominance by capitalism. Even when I have lived in countries that are remarkably capitalistic in their own right, such as Singapore, there is still a pervasive belief among natives that the attitude witnessed there is a direct result of our Western influence. It is hard for anyone to debate that this country is one for the individualist, seeking to find his or her way to a personal pot of gold. Survey’s of today’s teens has shown that most expect to be rich one day (Morin, 2005). And these beliefs in potential riches are really nothing new, for stories abound of immigrants coming to this country with nothing more than a few dollars and a dream and finding their destiny in this land of opportunity (Caggiano, 2006). It is partially due to stories such as these that Americans are so eager to dream of riches themselves and to seek them out through participation in business.
Though there are many ways of becoming wealthy in this country, such as working into a high paying executive position, winning the lottery or inheriting a large sum from some distant relative, experts in the field seem to agree that, by far and away, the most common way to get rich is through becoming a successful entrepreneur (Tracy, n.d.). Entrepreneurship allows for individual talents, desires and beliefs to find a common point of expression in such a way as to receive an exchange from others for that expression. Yet, despite the fact that going into business for oneself holds such promise for creating wealth, it is also true that this road presents great risk. There are many obstacles facing new entrepreneurs and their businesses, and the U.S. Small Business Administration reported that, for various reasons, over half of them fail within their first year of operation and nearly 100% go down within five. (Longley, n.d.). Therefore, despite the fact that many people realize that others have built impressive businesses and seek this for themselves, there is no guarantee they will find similar success. This creates an interesting challenge because while the means and opportunities exist to become rich through entrepreneurship, when considering the numbers above, it seems almost magical that anyone succeeds at all. This challenge leaves many aspiring entrepreneurs wondering, why does it seem like some are destined to succeed in business while others seem doomed to fail? Because of this question, and because this question is so important to the maintenance and growth of our capitalistic culture, much has been done to try to identify key personality traits and actions common to successful entrepreneurs.
Over the years, in order to stay competitive, companies and entrepreneurial individuals have developed new models of business which attempt to align themselves with the newest findings of social scientists and psychologists. Organizational psychology, which is the study of the relational dynamics within an organization, is a booming field. Many universities, such as John F. Kennedy, now offer organizational psychology bachelors, masters and even doctorate level degrees. As a fusion of traditional psychological and business theory, organizational psychology has birthed new business models and also has helped to shed light on the question of why business success often seems so intermittent. Whereas traditional business theory studied production and distribution systems, the introduction of psychology has turned our attention to the minds of the people within the business for the answers to its success or failure.
While it is true that organizational psychology has given us many new ways to look at business, it is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss all of these in detail. In fact, entire books have been written on singular aspects of business such as leadership style (Beck, 2001). For the purposes of this discussion, I will focus on an area of particular importance to those who are seeking to develop and understand themselves as entrepreneurs. Gaining such understanding may be some of the most essential work one can do to ensure future business success.
In the early 1900s, a psychologist by the name of Carl Jung first started to advance the idea of archetypes to explain human behavior (Card, n.d.). An archetype is a pattern of action existing in nature, which has distinct characteristics, behaviors and manners of expression. While archetypes can also apply to explain the dynamics of concrete entities such as businesses, they can also describe the behavior of abstract items such as ideas. In this paper, archetypes are applied only to people and therefore the term is used synonymously with personality. In psychology, archetypes help to predict and explain behavior because, as just mentioned, archetypes follow a pattern as they express. Archetypes then can be helpful in answering our question above because they hold the possibility of shedding light on the dynamic that may be operating in successful entrepreneurs, which may then be studied and imitated by those looking to find success for themselves. Herein lies the major theme of this research: to identify an entrepreneurial personality for all looking to increase their opportunities for success in entrepreneurship through personal awareness and self-discovery.
In the course of this study I delve much deeper into the subject of archetypes, what they are, how they have been used traditionally within psychology, and how they are now finding application within business circles. I examine how understanding certain archetypes can be helpful in reaching one’s professional goals by looking at an archetype that applies specifically to entrepreneurs. I also present a model for comparing oneself to the entrepreneurial archetype in order to find what abilities may be as yet unexpressed but useful to entrepreneurial achievement. After that the discussion expands to include a larger look at business as being composed of evolving organizations which seek to find a competitive edge through using new technologies and findings from the social sciences. I draw a distinction between older profit and loss models of doing business and newer consciousness centered models which focus on societal contribution, environmental balance, and employee, customer and client fulfillment. Next, I introduce an example of a thriving company which has actually built itself on the latter philosophy of conscious business practices. This company serves as proof of how business is changing today as a result of human-centered awareness being used in the workplace. Finally, I suggest a new paradigm for entrepreneurs which empowers them to use self-awareness as the basis for business and financial success. As a result of this paper, both current and aspiring entrepreneurs will understand how to better prepare themselves for success in our changing marketplace.
The idea of archetypes has existed since before Jung introduced the idea within the context of psychology. The Greek and Roman gods represented recurring characteristics of man that had been observed throughout time (Encarta, 2006). The Western and Eastern systems of astrology also capture models of human behavior that seem to cycle with the movement of the planets. In fact, Jung (1962) actually referred to astrological models as representing “the summation of the psychological knowledge of antiquity” (p. 142). What Jung did differently was take the concept of archetypes beyond the realm of stories and parables and into the domain of science.
Jung actually used archetypes as a means to understand his patients and their traumas (Gale Group, 2001). In his work, he uncovered many different archetypes but most strongly established a few archetypal patterns of behavior – the self, the shadow, the anima and the animus (Boeree, 2006). To provide a better understanding of how archetypes operate, it may help to take a quick look into the characteristics of each of these patterns.
The self archetype shows our personality perfected. As opposed to us being caught up in a world of duality, the self is characterized by finding a harmonious balance among opposites (Boeree, 2006). It is the type of personality we encounter when a person is most at peace. This archetype is embodied in the great spiritual leaders, such as Jesus who the Bible describes as being as comfortable directing his ministry towards prostitutes as to holy men (Matthew 21:31, 32). The Buddha also fits into this category, as seen by his frequent teachings of the necessity to transcend opposites in order to see the essential unity of all things (Hanh, 1997). Both of these men are talked about as being equanimous, self-assured, and exceptionally loving despite external circumstances. There are times when we all channel this energy. Christians call it being Christ-like while Buddhists call it living with the Buddha heart, but Jung described the experience as the archetype of the self.
The shadow is that energy responsible for action which escapes our consciousness and seems fateful, unpredictable and uncontrollable. All basic survival and reproductive urges fall under this archetype. Because its source remains unseen, the shadow’s surprising actions also explain our capacity for what we call evil (Boeree, 2006). It is represented powerfully by the concept of the devil. The devil is all those things that man is incapable of facing within his own self and therefore seeks to project externally. Although Jung described the shadow as being amoral, just expressing out of instinctual drives, our insistence on duality causes us to see the shadow as bad, something to be avoided, repressed and overcome. Anytime unconscious urges manifest in our behavior in such a way as to upset our self-image or world image (e.g., an uncharacteristic demonstration of road rage upon being cut-off in rush hour traffic), we see the presence of the shadow. The shadow wishes to be revealed and integrated, but because it is the part of ourselves that we bury and turn away from, it expresses in ways which we often find sudden and painful.
The anima and animus represent female and male tendencies respectively. These are not necessarily male and female in terms of gender but more along the lines of the Chinese concept of yang and yin, aggressive and receptive. The anima is the mother, the daughter, that energy which seeks to nurture and be nurtured and is able to connect with knowledge superceding logic and reason. The animus is the aggressive force within us that seeks order and expression through directly physical channels (Boeree, 2006). Using somewhat exaggerated examples for the sake of illustration, Mother Teresa, who made it her life work to take in, care for and nurture those in need, embodied of the anima, while Malcolm X, who aggressively sought equality for African Americans, sometimes through forcible means, portrayed the animus energy. Again, neither of these energies is specifically male or female in the sense of gender, but rather they depict behavior that could be considered aggressive or receptive in either gender.
As stated earlier, Jung discovered many other archetypes such as the hero, the mother, the wise old man and the trickster, but for the rest of this paper, I focus on those particular archetypes that lend themselves to application in the business world and which are of special interest to entrepreneurs.
The King and the Entrepreneur
In the practice of psychology, archetypes assist in the understanding and discernment of the behavioral patterns exhibited by clients. A commonly used archetype is the king, which can be described as
the part of us that attempts to establish lawful order and moral virtue by developing and asserting our individuality and authority. Our King makes clear distinctions between “right” and “wrong” and addresses social problems and issues with clear, discriminating thinking about moral ideals such as justice and freedom. It is King energy that devises, enacts, and enforces rules via a hierarchy of authority, whether in business, law, education, government, or the family. (Raffa, 1999, ¶ 3)
By applying an understanding of the kind of behaviors a king typically expresses, a therapist can evaluate a client who seems to be exhibiting king-like behaviors and predict what issues might be causing an internal conflict. Someone having problems over perceptions of injustice in her life may be overly attached to king ideals. This realization could cause a therapist familiar with the archetype to help her healthily reframe the perceptions using the perspective of a grounded and confident king. In short, it gives the therapist a way to meet the client on her own terms, seeing the world as she sees it. Archetypes are universal; that is, they transcend geography, gender, age, time, even life (Agatucci, 2005; Jett, n.d.). As such, they provide a tremendous blueprint for understanding behavior. Furthermore, archetypes are extremely fluid, meaning that although a person may tend to exhibit behavior fitting a certain type most often, every action is still subject to its own evaluation within an archetypal context. This is important because it basically gives any practitioner skilled in the understanding of archetypes a way to assess the deeper motivations behind an individual’s actions, thoughts and feelings.
The king archetype is used here for an important reason. In a very simple sense what a business owner or CEO does can be compared to what the ruler of a kingdom does. A king has his subjects, his national goals, his advisors, his wealth, his military and his image. An entrepreneur has his employees, his financial plans, his chief officers, his budget, his security department, and his brand. In a real way, today’s entrepreneurs are the very embodiment of the king archetype which makes it indispensable for understanding their behavior, good and bad. It is at this point that the concept of archetypes starts to make a difference for the average businessperson. This is also where the concept starts to get a bit more esoteric. An archetype is a habit of action in nature, which means that if we see a person exhibiting what we call king-like behavior, they are channeling that particular energy which we call the king archetype. However, we only call it the king archetype because the king is a very commonly expressed and known manifestation of that energetic pattern. Today, if we were to rename the archetype, we could just as well call it the CEO or entrepreneur archetype because more people might relate to that descriptor than to a monarch. The king himself is not the archetype; rather, he is just a common expression of that archetype, a simple descriptive label. This is a very important designation because it basically states that it is not the station that makes the king, it is the actions. Therefore, anyone who acts like a king is manifesting the king archetype, or perhaps more appropriate for our discussion, the entrepreneur archetype.
Just as with kings of times past, some may believe that quality leaders are just born that way. While it may be true that some show natural gifts towards creativity and leadership early in life, they still have to practice and apply those skills in a systematic way to become great leaders. By observing the qualities and practices of strong leaders, we come to see the various manifestations of this archetype. These manifestations hold the key to success for aspiring entrepreneurs and the key to growth for established entrepreneurs. An archetype is like a script that can be followed. Once an archetype is understood, it is as if you have unlocked a secret code. In this case, the code is the mind of the successful entrepreneur. There is a pattern of energy that all of these entrepreneurs are consciously or unconsciously channeling which is facilitating their accomplishments. This knowledge is more than what one gains by just picking some successful businessperson and seeking to imitate his or her behavior. This is a deep internal awareness that comes from realizing that there are common elements underlying the success of all businesspeople which can be adapted to your personal situation.
It is important to note that some Jungian psychologists talk about archetypes as having a full, balanced expression and also an incomplete shadow side expression. In the case of the king, the shadow side can be exemplified by the tyrant who is destructive instead of creative and exploitative instead of supportive (Moore, 1993). History has provided us a long list of both beloved kings and tyrants, and today’s business world has given us almost as many examples of strong, creative entrepreneurs as selfish, destructive ones. In order to get the most use out of this archetypal model, you must understand the manifestations of both sides of this archetype.
The obvious question then is how does one harness such energy and translate it into positive action? The first step is to become strongly acquainted with and able to recognize the qualities, both good and bad, of the king/entrepreneur archetype. After that, to make sure you know your starting point, it is necessary to make a realistic inventory of your personal attributes, desires and dispositions. You then compare those to the archetypal qualities which will allow you to discern where you may be lacking as an entrepreneur and how you might improve. The third step is to make a plan for implementing practices which will allow you to start nurturing those aspects of the entrepreneur which are still undeveloped in your attitude and behavior. And of course, the final step is to execute and evaluate, taking the proper actions while constantly checking on your forward progress. To assist you in this process, what follows is a closer look into the qualities of the king archetype. This explanation will allow you to use the above steps to evaluate your own thinking and behavior to assess where you may be strong or lacking according to the archetype. As you read, it may also be helpful to reflect on how other entrepreneurs you know compare, to gain an even deeper understanding of how the archetype manifests in real life.
The foremost theorist on the king archetype is Jungian analyst Robert Moore. Dr. Tallman (2003) summarized some of Moore’s work as he describes the qualities of the king
Noble … high ethical standards … magnanimous … digni[fied] … genero[us] … above lowness and meanness … concerned for the welfare of all those below him … not threatened … at peace … responsible for the success or failure of the organization … does not shirk, blame others or make up excuses … keeps the big picture … represents stability … neither fickle nor rigid … has a vision for his organization and relentlessly pursues it … equanimous … develops their talents and rewards genuine achievement … goes out of his way to make each one feel important … just and fair, does not play favorites, physically, mentally and spiritually well … prosperous in an ethical way … rules by respect and love rather than force. (p. 4)
As a point of contrast, consider also a few more qualities of the shadow king:
The Tyrant leader is fearful and suspicious … condescending … rule[d] by fear … disordered … uncentered … prioriti[zes] around himself and his own prosperity … threatened by the power of others … constantly fears a ‘palace coup’ … suppress[es], transfer[s], fire[s] all those who he perceives as a threat … , self-aggrandiz[ing] … easily slighted … wants adoration and worship … ruthless … intimidat[ing] … ignore[s] injustices or justif[ies] injustice through twisted thinking … over-controlling and authoritarian. (Tallman, 2003, p. 5)
As stated earlier, by studying these qualities carefully and then committing to implement the positive attributes while carefully steering clear of the negative attributes, you can start to walk the path of many successful leaders throughout history.
By doing a thorough assessment of your skills and behaviors you can make a significant impact not only on yourself, but on your business, which potentially includes the lives of many people. This is no small feat because it also makes an impact on the business community as a whole. There are many books available which promise to improve leadership abilities through adherence to a particular expert’s system as well as many that detail how to navigate your way through particular industries, but what is much more difficult to find are guides which advise you to deeply know yourself first, before subjecting an entire kingdom to your reign. Strong, effective, respected leaders take the time for personal development, especially as it applies to their business and social skills, constantly seeking out other exemplary leaders from whom they can learn and associate. The king archetype, because it is simply a pattern of behavior found in nature unbounded by time or place, has been at the core of successful leaders since before the era of kings and will continue beyond the time of CEOs. The archetype will always be there to inform and to guide even when and where books and even other people are not available. Native people did and still do look to nature to find examples of how to behave as a human. The Native Americans consider the bear, the cougar, and especially the eagle, excellent examples of leadership and use their qualities as a basis for their own conduct. (Burke, 2006; California Raptor Center, 2002) The point here is that archetypes are beyond fads, systems, theories, experts and conventions; they are the foundation of all of these and why they are able to exist. If you are looking to become more successful as an entrepreneur, or to begin on the road to success, start first by seeking to understand the natural patterns of leadership that are expressing all around you and work to bring yourself in line with the qualities you observe. Once you are in sync with the archetypes, you will be able to create your own system, form your own theories and chart your own path through the unexplored territories of the business world. You start with a compass and then build a map.
Conscious Business – A New Paradigm
Business in this country, and the world, was significantly changed during the Industrial Revolution. Before mechanization, work was done using basic man, animal and naturally powered tools such as hammers, plows and waterwheels. Men dominated work requiring physical labor. But machines brought a new precision and efficiency to work that could not be matched by these older methods. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly for our purposes, machines allowed for a lower level of skill in the average worker, which created huge growth in the workforce. With machines increasingly being able to compensate for the inabilities of the workers, industrial managers were able to find capable employees in places previously not possible. Suddenly, women and children could work alongside able-bodied men, and in many cases, with just as much effectiveness and efficiency (Hooker, 1996; Montagna, 2006).
In this new, much less limited, technological environment, many of the laws that had once governed production no longer seemed to apply. On the farm, for example, no matter what types of tools or workers were used, production was still subject to the cycles of the seasons, the daily weather, as well as the health of the soil and the crops. The same applied to people working in the business of animal husbandry who despite great methods or tools would still be limited by animal lifecycles, health and fertility. Even those people involved in merchant trades still had recognize the bounds of their ability to craft or find new wares to sell which maintained a certain level of quality while also managing the limits of their energy and health for continued work. However, as mentioned earlier, machines could compensate for the limits of people, and in some cases it seemed, even for the limits of nature. A machine created to weave could do the work of several laborers at once, with the added benefit of only having to be concerned with the maintenance of one machine, not the health of several humans (Hooker, 1996). Through technology, lights could replace sunlight in food production and animals husbandry. Fertilizers and machines could allow crops to grow in cycles and places dictated by the human producer not the earth (Montagna, 2006). These unprecedented developments also brought with them a new mindset for employees and entrepreneurs, a mindset that has continued beyond the Industrial Revolution and into our present day.
Because of machines, managers could begin to turn their focus towards pure production and profit, or as we put it today, the bottom line. Entrepreneurs, managers and workers no longer had to worry considerably about the quality or consistency of the product; the machines took care of that challenge (Hooker, 1996). In addition, the human workforce had increased so dramatically that people, like machines, could easily be replaced. After all of those traditional problems were solved, the only obstacle to greater profits was the efficiency of operations. With this change of focus, workers increasingly found themselves burdened with the expectations of machine-like efficiency. They were required less and less to think and interact, as the jobs were made very simple, specialized and routine, which in turn required more and more management to maintain the continuity of the entire operation (Nardinelli, n.d.). In this structure, knowledge of the operation came from the top-down whereas previously it had been in the hands of the person directly handling the production of the product, such as a farmer or artisan. To further improve consistency of operations, just as the machines were assigned blind tasks to repetitively fulfill, workers were also given basic, unquestionable instructions which they were expected to follow. Efficiency replaced creativity, and control replaced autonomy. With higher production output capacity and lower production costs, profits were being realized such as had never been seen before (Porter, 2006). With the promise of such unparalleled profits staring would-be entrepreneurs in the face, the race was on to see who could create products and operations as efficiently as possible so as to realize the greatest profits. This atmosphere of competitive business was the beginning of the profit-first model we see in many businesses today.
As the efficiency-centered spirit of the Industrial Revolution evolved into our day, it spawned increasingly sophisticated operational models. “McDonaldization” is a term now used by lay person and expert alike to describe the elaborate systems, procedures and controls used by some companies to produce a certain consistency of products throughout the world. This term comes from the McDonald’s corporation which has prided itself on its a high level of standardization, having rules and accountability for every resource that comes through their restaurant, governing even how many ounces of cleaning fluid an employee should use in their bathrooms (Ritzer, 2004). But this exacting method of operation has drawn much criticism, and some who feel business should be conducted differently have started to create companies which use a markedly different approach to commerce.
While the Industrial Revolution helped us to find the means to produce at a level many had never dreamed imaginable, it also had the hugely negative side effect of making many lose touch with the human aspect of the production. The destructive effects of this era can be seen even today because the profit and efficiency oriented model of business is still the primary method of operation. This model has produced hundreds of what are now almost clichéd stories of mass layoffs due to downsizing and implementing more cost-effective and efficient technologies to replace more expensive workers (Uchitelle & Kleinfield, 1996). The efficiency approach has ignored and underutilized the one resource that many entrepreneurs today are claiming to be the most important tool businesses have, the creativity and loyalty of their workers. However, there is movement within business today which seeks to restore the balance between production and people, a movement some have called “conscious business” (Kofman, 2006). Instead of technology and procedure, conscious business relies on personal awareness and the creative power of people to create economic value. As opposed to being a complete redirection of the methods that grew out of the Industrial Revolution, the conscious business approach is more of an evolution of those ideas.
When efficiency is the primary focus, the desire is to get as much out for as little in as possible. Therefore, as it applies to machines, you work it as long as you can with as little maintenance as necessary in order to reap the greatest profit from its production. Because human workers are often seen as just another tool of production, they too find themselves being worked according to the machine model. But the conscious business paradigm suggests that we recognize that humans have potential far beyond even complex machines and that this potential can pave the way for still greater advances in efficiency and productivity. This approach then, like the efficiency centered model, still looks to get goods to the market at the lowest cost and with the highest profits, but the primary difference is the idea that people can produce even more and be more effective when they are allowed to use their natural gifts and talents. The conscious business model still seeks to get as much as possible out of every worker, but it does this by attempting to evoke the full range of a person’s abilities (Kofman, 2006). Essential to this model therefore, is the need for workers and managers who are in tune with who they are what they have to offer. In other words, the conscious business model has created the need for self-aware and personally responsible people in positions of responsibility. Entrepreneurs operating out of the conscious business model look to their workers for valuable input, realizing that the collective minds of those on the front lines far outweigh their own ability to creatively problem solve. Such entrepreneurs also realize that workers who believe that they are being fully utilized and appreciated for their diverse abilities are far more likely to make significant and consistent contributions to their company than those who believe they are not. Therefore they seek to find ways to connect personally with their employees so they can understand exactly what motivates them to be their best.
Those companies which have made the switch to or established themselves from the beginning as conscious are often pointed to as examples of the future of business. We take a look now at one particularly notable example to emphasize the importance of expanding one’s perspective to include the consciousness model in order to stay competitive and be successful as an entrepreneur today.
Southwest Airlines is recognized as being one of the most influential companies in the industry, significantly changing the ways airlines have done business since its inception in 1971 (Ritter & Jenkins, 2004). From the beginning they have had a unique approach to doing business which has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and lectures. What is so unique about their business model? Let the founder and former CEO, Herb Kellerher (1997) explain:
We’ve always believed that business can and should be fun. At far too many companies, when you come into the office you put on a mask. You look different, talk different, act different — which is why most business encounters are, at best, bland and impersonal. But we try not to hire people who are humorless, self-centered, or complacent, so when they come to work, we want them, not their corporate clones. They are what makes us different, and in most enterprises, different is better. (¶ 4)
This people-first attitude is also responsible for their unorthodox advertising which in the past has featured slogans about how Southwest “loves” its customers, such as “How do we love you? Let’s count the ways” and “We are spreading love” (Schwartz, 2006). As Kellerher mentioned above, humor is a big part of what Southwest looks for in new employees, asking questions like “Tell me how you recently used your sense of humor in a work environment?” in interviews (Friedberg & Friedberg, 1997). Southwest’s philosophy is the perfect example for the conscious business model. But how effective is this philosophy in terms of dollars and cents? In the early 90s, when the rest of the airline industry experienced a 12.8 billion dollar loss, Southwest alone recorded profits. In fact Southwest is the only airline to record profits every single year since 1973 (Friedberg & Friedberg, 1997). And the success of Southwest does not stop at income. From 1992 to 1996, the company won and unprecedented 5 Triple Crown Award from the Department of Transportation which means that each year they were the first among all airlines in being on time, protecting baggage, and having fewer customer complaints (Schwartz, 2006). More amazing still is the fact that Southwest’s employees are the most efficient in the industry (serving twice as many customers as the next closest airline), yet they still post among the lowest employee turnover numbers in the industry. It is no wonder they have been voted in the top 100 companies to work for in the US (Friedberg & Friedberg, 1997). The attitude which has created this environment is one which stands in stark contrast to the paradigm of mechanistic control that began during the Industrial Revolution.
Again, Kellerher (1997) elaborated
If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control … the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchs and control mechanisms you need … We’re not looking for blind obedience. We’re looking for people who on their own initiative want to be doing what they’re doing because they consider it to be a worthy objective. (¶ 5-6)
These words hold an excellent lesson for all entrepreneurs seeking greater success through unleashing the human potential within their company. Remember, this new conscious model of doing business is about contribution, both to customers and employees, which means the leader of the organization must be the model of service, looking for ways to empower these groups, not control them. Southwest has shown that not only is control of people unnecessary, but it is actually counterproductive in running a successful operation. Their vast army of happy workers and customers serves as further proof that this is true. Southwest showed great human self-awareness by building caring, heart, fun and personality into their business plan. In so doing they created a multi-million dollar empire that serves as an example to the entire business world.
In today’s competitive business environment, it is becoming increasingly clear that seeking profits without fully tapping the full human resources of a company is no longer enough (Gordon, 1999). Not only that, but people are not as willing to work anymore in environments where they feel on par with the manufacturing equipment. Expectations are higher both of employees and employers which is prompting everyone to step back and take a look at what they truly have to offer. Knowing whether or not you as an entrepreneur have the qualities necessary to be an effective and efficient leader could be aided by evaluating yourself thoroughly against the entrepreneurial archetype. The older industrial models of employer-employee relations gave little to no attention to introspection for the purposes of improving the bottom line of the company. The conscious business approach encourages self-awareness as a direct means of gaining personally essential self-knowledge to serve the ends of your company. Therefore this new business model is perfectly in line with the type of self-reflection encouraged by this research. By committing to practice and embody the archetypal qualities demonstrated time and again by successful entrepreneurs, you can make a huge difference in your life and the lives of your employees. You will likely notice your desire increasing to help your employees feel as fulfilled as possible in their work, just as you seek to be deeply fulfilled in your own. Most importantly, you can find yourself being able to get the most out of your workforce by giving them what they look for most in a company and employer.
A New Vision for Business
Churches operate according to a non-profit business model. Charities and other social programs also operate according to a non-profit business model. What often goes unrealized, however, is that all of these organizations can actually be substantially profitable (Billitteri, et al, 1999). Because of this misconception, and because non-profit organizations also include some of the country’s most important universities, social programs, and hospitals (which are often seen as essential to the public good), it is not uncommon to hear that non-profits are somehow more virtuous and public-centered than for-profit companies. It is not hard to understand when one is comparing Save the Children to Microsoft how someone might believe the former more deserving of social praise. That brings up the question then, is a non-profit really more socially beneficial than a for-profit? Though Microsoft sells its products hoping to gain a profit so that the company can grow (as do non-profits), where would the world be without the technology Microsoft has pioneered, technology which has, in large part, made possible the existence of so many of these non-profits? The point here is that the virtue of a product or service depends not on who delivers it, nor whether it is delivered for profit or for free, but the degree to which a good or service is of benefit to the peoples for whom it is intended.
What follows is a new idea for entrepreneurs, a new way of seeing yourself within the business world. It is for those men and women who have the desire to create sustainable, profitable and virtuous organizations for the betterment of society, and more importantly, as a means to express their deepest gifts and talents in order to share them with the world. Following the lead of the consciousness movement within business, it is time to bring together personal good and public good. Instead of seeing your business as simply a way to make money, it is time to consider it as a vehicle for self-discovery. By doing so, you open up the possibility for your business to become a channel through which both you and the public can find and manifest their fullest potential, which, I believe, is the most significant work any of us can do.
Assessing oneself according to an entrepreneurial archetype is simply a way to get in touch with who you are as an entrepreneur. It is an important step, but it is really only a first step. In order for this step to truly gain power, the personal information gained must be put into practical application, for business is a practical science. Just as an artist shows her mind, beliefs, gifts and individuality through creative expressions, so too is business an expressive medium for the entrepreneur. Your business is an extension of yourself, whether you are aware of it or not. This is what makes the first step of knowing oneself so important because we are completely reflected in the things we create. Those who are not aware of this truth often produce negative results in their lives which seem unexplainable to them, like parents baffled by the actions of their unruly children whose behavior is a direct reflection of their own bad habits. Just as with families and relationships, it is possible to do great good through the creation of a business. But if as an entrepreneur you have not made yourself fully aware of your personal shadow, you will only perpetuate those unseen parts of yourself on a much grander scale. Jung is commonly quoted as saying, “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate”.
The importance of determining whether or not you have the entrepreneurial personality has already been established therefore, this new model for entrepreneurs begins with a thorough self evaluation. One of the primary ways we learn about ourselves is by doing. For entrepreneurs then, business becomes a direct source of personal understanding. There can be potential problems however, if as an entrepreneur, your level of self-knowledge is relatively low upon starting your business. Though you will still learn about yourself, your talents and your failings, so will your entire company. Furthermore, your failings will immediately become your employees’ and customers’ problems as well. To avoid this damage, you will want to have a strong connection with yourself before you begin your business. This does not mean that you have to become a completely enlightened individual before you found a company, but you do want to have put in some time getting to know yourself apart from an organization.
One of the easiest places to start is with an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths are wasted when they are either not realized or expressed while our weaknesses create great problems when they slip through the cracks in our awareness. To help bring both of these to light, start by considering what deeply moves you as a person and what stands in your way of expressing that passion. Your passion is the gateway to your desires and gifts. Ask yourself, “apart from owning and operating businesses, what other things rouse my spirit and enthusiasm? During what kind of activities do I notice a high degree of happiness and fulfillment in myself? If I could be doing anything, and money were no object, what would I spend my day doing?” Even if being an entrepreneur is your greatest high, there is still something more there that longs to be expressed. For example, although a performer’s biggest love is performing, he or she is also roused by the content of the performances. One may find great joy in doing comedy while others go out of their way to be in or create pieces that address those social issues which are closest to their hearts. Even when people are not particularly talented at the things they love, because they love them, they have no problems spending countless hours immersed in them, which eventually brings out a level of skill sufficient to find success in that endeavor. Connecting with what makes you feel alive brings out a power in you that constitutes your most valuable gift to the world. By understanding these strengths, and owning them, you can then give them away.
But as mentioned earlier, passion and strengths are only of use when they are not blocked, and our weaknesses present the biggest obstacles to that expression. Hence, as you ask yourself the questions above, it is also important to consider the following questions: “What are the most frequent complaints I have heard loved ones express about me? What comes up in my mind when I notice myself shrinking back from pursuing what I really want? What habits, ideas, or beliefs are often at the source of my contentions with others? What thoughts come up when I am at my most frustrated?” If you do not know the answers to these questions, it means that you are not in touch with your shadow side. This ignorance, if allowed to continue, is guaranteed to be revealed within your business, just as an ignored flat tire is guaranteed to be revealed on the road. Immeasurable money and manpower can be lost if you do not face those personal issues that can lead to poor business decisions. Even the best business plan can still be displaced by your unconscious reactions to fear and pain, making this work of self-inspection an essential part of being a successful entrepreneur.
Once you have invested the time in personal introspection, the next step is to find a means to share what you have with the world. Even though it may seem like doing what you love is primarily benefiting yourself, a closer look reveals that it may also be the most selfless act you can do. Just as you have fingerprints which distinguish you from all other human beings, so too does your unique combination of gifts and abilities. Though having a unique fingerprint may seem unimportant, it is important to realize that no one can authentically express that fingerprint in the entire world but you. Taking this analogy a step further, based on your uniqueness as a human being, you have a combination of skills and talents which does not exist in any other human anywhere on Earth. This understanding of your individuality brings with it an essential responsibility because it means that you are the only one on Earth who has the capacity to express that exclusive positive combination. To state it more clearly, you have a unique gift that is uniquely yours to give. By sharing it with the world, you are giving away the most special part of yourself. This is the essence of selflessness.
It is important to note here that selflessness can, and must, coincide with self-interest. Notice that self-interest is not selfishness. Selfishness is acting with concern only for oneself. Acting with self-interest acknowledges the desire within yourself, but it does not mean acknowledging only yourself. Even the Mother Teresas of the world, who shine as examples of selfless giving, still operate out of the personal interest of relieving the suffering of humankind; because their self-interest coincides with their charitable actions, the world benefits. Even though it may not seem like their first motivation, givers always act out of the personal desire to give first, which then results in a benevolent act.
Making profits in your business can either be a selfish or a selfless act. Because the nature of existence is flow (try breathing in without breathing out), selfish profits cannot be sustained indefinitely. A truly successful business must create value for its employees and customers while serving the financial, creative and contributing interests of its creators and supporters. As shown above, it is impossible to engage in selfless giving without benefiting both parties. The challenge then becomes creating a genuinely selfless business. Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to lay down all of the details for such an adventure, the place to start is with your unique gifts and desires. Once you have a connection with those things you desire most to give, the question is only how to deliver them to your customers. Profits are the natural result of a valuable service well delivered.
It is helpful at this stage to meet with friends, family, trusted advisors, mentors or even potential customers to determine how to find your market. Outsiders are often able to see your product or service in ways that you cannot, which allows them to be valuable resources for developing unique methods of marketing and distribution. No business exists without a strong support structure; there is no such thing as a one-man show. In his book, “The Millionaire Mind”, organizational consulting expert Thomas Stanley (2000) reported from interviews with thousands of self-made millionaires that having a team of advisors is a critical part of their success. Translating desire into reality, especially for a profit, is likely to be the most difficult part of this entire process, which makes having people to help guide and inform you an indispensable part of your entrepreneurial success. In fact, when analyzing the causes of the overwhelming number of small business failures, researchers have shown that many of the top pitfalls could have been avoided with the help of experienced advisors (Longley, n.d.). Of course, sidestepping mistakes of ignorance becomes even more critical when you frame them within the context of missing the opportunity to share your unique gifts with those who need them most.
Finally, no matter how many times it has been stated before, it can never be emphasized enough how important it is to never give up. This process is not just one of building a business but of self-discovery. It is not possible as you are learning about yourself and giving birth to something of such great value that there will not be growing pains along the way. Trials are not only a test of the viability of your business, but the strength of your character and the firmness of your resolve. If you do not see the value in continuing forward despite the constant presence of obstacles, then you have not yet seen the true value of your offering. What’s more, you have not yet proven that you are ready for or worthy of delivering it. It is only by perseverance that you can build within yourself the strength necessary to nurture and protect such a delicate and high-maintenance entity.
Capitalism has been denounced because of its obsession with consumption, accumulation and selfish profit, to the detriment of natural resources, people and the environment. I believe this great imbalance is the result of trying to hold to a paradigm whose time is long passed. It is no longer necessary for wealth to be separated from social awareness, contribution, meaning or fulfillment. But in order for it to be different, it is essential to make a critical evaluation of thoughts and actions which might serve to grow this chasm. People hurt people when they act without awareness. Groups of people acting without awareness create greater damage still. A destructive business cannot exist without the blindness of large groups of ignorant people to support it. We all come to know ourselves by doing, by living out in the world. Every conversation, every interaction, every moment reveals another part of who we are. That which you do the most will reveal the most. For an entrepreneur, this great illuminator is the business. Use your business to know yourself and use that knowledge to make a positive difference in the world. Whether they believe they do or not, everyone participates in the economy, everyone is responsible for how it positively or negatively impacts the world. The destructive influence of business cannot be blamed on others. We all have the ability to make a difference and it starts by opening our eyes and minds to the attitudes and beliefs that lie within, attitudes and beliefs which are being expressed in every waking hour.
If there is one thing I hope you take away from this discussion, it is that business cannot be conducted responsibly or sustainably without conscious awareness. Understanding the attitudes and actions of those who are successfully operating businesses and seeking to apply these in one’s own life is a major step in the right direction. The next step consists of working to embody this archetype so that you in turn may serve as an example and inspiration to another generation of entrepreneurs. Real riches come from real contribution. Use your business to make a difference in the world. In so doing, you gain true abundance.
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What Planet Are You From?
Nature has been personified in stories and poems for hundreds and hundreds of years. The wind is said to be playful and malicious. The sea is said to be angry and compassionate. This personification even continues clear to the planets which are ascribed with powerful archetypal energies. With all of this comparison, it kind of makes you wonder, is nature acting like a human being or are human beings acting like nature?
In Western Astrology, people are described in terms of patterns of action seen throughout nature. Every astrological sign has a ruling planet, and every planet is said to have a particular set of qualities. Each astrological sign points to a set of behavioral tendencies which are supposed to be expressed by each individual falling under that sign. The basis of the ideas of astrology is the observation that there are tendencies in nature and that these tendencies repeat in cycles. So for example, in observing the seasons, Spring has a particular way about it. If you could break Spring down further, you would see that each of its months has a particular quality, unique but still indicative of the whole of Spring. As applied to humans, astrology holds that humans reflect the tendencies of the planets that were most prominent at their time of birth. Also foundational to the theories of astrology is the belief that everything has a connection and influence on everything else, the bigger the thing, the bigger the influence. Planets are huge and are supposed to have an immense affect on our behavior according to astrology. The bottom line here is, as the planets behave, so do we. We are all part of an organized living system. But what really is the cause, and what is the effect? Again, are we the planets or are the planets us?
Both are true. One is the other. The qualities that we are observing are qualities of the Universe of which we, the planets, stars and everything else are a part. We observe our tendencies of behavior in the planets because all things manifest are controlled and created by the same basic energies. The Indian and Chinese sages say that we are all just unique combinations of the five elements and that these elements represent the five basic behaviors of nature. Western Astrologers see twelve basic patterns of action. Others in new age mysticism see seven.
The source for which the idea of synchronicity is derived is exactly the same as astrology. There are unseen connections in everything and everything is in relationship. I read a quote today that said, “I’m not that complicated, I’m just misunderstood.” This reminded me of how the experience of synchronicity can be at the same time confusing and simple. If we see the world as a tangled mess of chaos, it is easy to want to construe some highly complicated theory to explain how synchronicities occur or you may even try to just dismiss the idea entirely. If however, you see the Universe as perfectly ordered and totally whole, then it seems obvious that seemingly unrelated things come together at just the right time in just the right way. What seems complicated is just misunderstood.
We are all the planets. We are all the seasons. We are all the stars. The question is, which one are you? Which planet do you come from? What tendencies of nature do you seem to most commonly express? We all have them. There are quiet, reserved and contemplative people, like winter. There are loving, beautiful, artistic people, like Venus. These are the qualities of nature and we and everything we see are the expressions of nature. By understanding these qualities, we understand ourselves. And just as everything in nature has a purpose, so too do we come to understand our own.
Synchronicity and Probability
Probability is the biggest argument against synchronicity in the scientific world. This argument states that every synchronistic event that we experience can be explained by pure chance. So you run into someone you haven’t seen in years exactly when you were looking for her without any idea of how you would find her. When you step back and look at the big picture of life, how many people do you think there are looking for someone that they’ll never find? How many are looking for people and will find them by conventional means in a conventional way? People are looking for and finding each other all over the world at all times of the day every day. Eventually, with the sheer abundance of interactions, you have to consider that someone will have a meeting that just seems highly improbable.
Consider another example. I couldn’t even begin to approximate how many people are shooting basketballs through hoops right now. One of them is going to hit a shot that seems absolutely ludicrous and impossible. I don’t know what the improbability of some of these fantastic shots would be, but I imagine it would be off the charts! But yet, people are still sinking these impossible goals (I’ve seen someone hit a shot from over a house into a hoop in the backyard.).
Combs and Holland state their belief that “arguments based on probability are not sound”. Their reasoning for this is that daily events are much too complicated to determine a mathematical solution for their occurrence. Especially in the case of highly synchronistic events, where there are so many improbable things coming together at once, is it difficult to determine with any accuracy the mathematical likelihood of such things. The frequency approach is what is used most often to explain events occurring as simply an expression of probability. This says that how likely something is to be done is based on how many times it has already been done. But once again, when things occur synchronistically but have never happened before, computing probability becomes impossible.
I do not agree with Combs and Holland’s argument. Although I believe that it is difficult and sometimes impossible given our current technology to calculate probability, that doesn’t mean that some degree of probability doesn’t actually exist. I believe that there are enough people doing enough things that eventually something unbelievable is going to happen. Even if something is extremely unlikely to happen, it still has a degree of probability. It is as simple as looking at the Bell Curve to know that while most experiences in our lives will fall into the ordinary and predictable realm, some will be absolutely unbelievable and unexplainable. But, I also do not agree that probability alone can explain synchronicity.
The hallmark of synchronicity is meaning. Meaning takes a simple coincidence and makes it life changing. Meaning is beyond the reaches of mathematics or probability. No equation can hold how significant an event is for a person. It really doesn’t matter if a synchronicity is actually a sign of a divinely ordered universe brought to us by a benevolent God wanting us to know we are cared for and loved – we feel like it is and that is all that matters. We give the event its special flavor by adding meaning to it and so it becomes significant. Whether the purpose is from the Universe or from ourselves, it still IS. I have the same argument about love. People ask, “Does love really exist or is it just a human creation?” Is there a difference? I say, we have the a feeling we call love and so it exists.
Probability provides opportunity. We create synchronicity. We create order out of chaos. All things are bound to happen, but we will decide what to do when it does. Some scientists tell us that the Universe is simultaneously random and ordered. From where comes its randomness and how does it derive its order? Being able to create meaning, we are able to see the magic of orderliness in the chaos of events. It is as if, as humans, we have been granted to see through the curtain of the Universal play to its backstage organization. Whether we through meaning are creators of the order or are just simply blessed to see it, the order is there, it does exist. Probability and meaning are the two sides of the synchronicity coin, showing both unity and disharmony all at once.
From the time I was very young I was enraptured with the archetypal energy of the gods. It started with superheroes, those otherworldly beings or sometimes ordinary people that showed us the magnificence of the human potential. It is always fate that puts them in a position where their destiny and god given heightened abilities are inextricably tied to the survival and progress of the entire human race. As a slightly older youth, I became fascinated with stories of the Greek and Roman gods who reigned on Olympus and were masters of everything in the natural world, including humans. I’d be fascinated by stories of their great powers, and how they challenged and helped the affairs of the humans they ruled. I also loved to hear about the mere humans who sometimes successfully and other times unsuccessfully challenged and helped the gods themselves.
As an adult, I am no less interested in mythology. I know now that my beloved superheroes were just modern day recreations of those ancient stories of the gods. More importantly, I see now how important these stories are as the manifestations of the conscious and unconscious awareness of every individual and even entire civilizations. Mythologies give people models by which they can better understand daily life. But these stories are not given to us, we create them. We create them from the stories brewing inside of us, from a knowledge hidden within. In a deep and often unseen way, we know everything about how our world works, including the marvelousness of our potential and the depths of our depravity. We understand the weather, the animal kingdom, the plant world, and the Earth itself. Even if we believe we have forgotten these things or never knew them, they’re still there within us. We all know how the world was meant to be and what it can become. Through our mythologies, however fantastic and unattainable the stories may seem, we are able to express these inner knowings.
It should come as no surprise then that while reading “Synchronicity: Science, Myth and the Trickster”, by Allan Combs and Mark Holland, I felt especially drawn to the chapter, “Hermes the Trickster”. While just a few pages into it, I realized that this had to be the topic for my final paper. What I read was perhaps more strikingly personal to me than any single other bit of information that I have come across during my few quarters here at JFKU. A bit of personal history is necessary to illustrate my point here.
My favorite superhero as a child was called The Flash. This was an ordinary man, a scientist, who by being struck by a combination of lightning and chemicals was given the ability to move faster than the speed of light with absolute molecular control. He can become almost pure energy as he draws from and is protected by an unlimited supply of energy called the “Speed Force” (think “implicate order“). And honestly, don’t ask me why I was so attracted to The Flash, I just was (maybe it was the red suit, I love red).
The Flash is obviously patterned after the Roman/Greek god Mercury/Hermes. Mercury is well known to be the swiftest and most athletic of the gods. The Encyclopedia Mythica tells us that he is “the messenger of the gods“, the “god of land travel, merchants … and thieves”, the guide to the underworld and other hidden realms, the creator of fire and sacrifice, and of course, the Trickster. He was also called the most entertaining of the gods and was known for his shrewdness and resourcefulness. Mercury wears a hat called a petasos or a traveler’s hat. He has winged shoes called talaria which aid in his speed. He has a bag of money with him symbolizing his tie to commerce, good fortune and riches. In his article, “The Caduceus vs. the Staff of Asclepius”, Dr. Keith Blayney writes that his staff or caduceus was originally a symbol for heralds and commerce, but later became connected to the healing arts and Western medicine when alchemists in their creations of medicines and other transformative endeavors came to be called “sons of Hermes, as Hermetists
or Hermeticists and as ‘practitioners of the hermetic arts’”, Hermes also being the god of invention and transformation. Again, it is important to note that all of this information, including each of these god’s symbols are very significant for me personally.
In the last few years I became interested in Yoga. I had the opportunity to live for a time in some Yogic monasteries, including one in India. During my time there, I learned that it was customary to take on a spiritual name. Usually these names were given by one of the senior monks. But for me there was one name in particular that called to me. I didn’t know what the name was, what god it went to, or what it meant, but it was a name we chanted everyday during our singing and it stuck in my brain like a catch verse. Even though it was against protocol, I chose the name for myself. When asked how I received it, I simply said, “it came to me” or “it chose me”. Later I learned that the name I chose was one of the names of Krishna, one of the most beloved of the Hindu deities. Krishna is a beautiful god, loved by everyone, including his enemies. He is a supreme lover, an wonderful playmate, the most loyal friend, undefeated in games and the ultimate Trickster. Stories abound of Krishna’s antics from the time he was young all the way through his adulthood. There are many stories of Krishna stealing and stealing from cattle as he was born in Vrindivan, a village of herders. One of the most famous stories of Hermes was of him stealing Apollo’s cattle minutes after he was born. Krishna, also like Mercury, is also an excellent musician and performer.
How I have been attracted to all of these Trickster archetypes over the years is amazing to me! When I read this chapter in the Combs and Holland book, I was about bowled over at all of the parallels and appearances of this archetype in my life. Here’s another example. A couple of weekends ago, I encountered numerology for the first time. Through it I found that I have a life path of 5. 5 means transition, change, travel, creativity, fortune, versatility, adventurousness, originality, seeker of knowledge, freedom and independence, ability to communicate and happy-go-lucky, and living in the moment; all qualities that anyone who knows me would say describe me perfectly.
My life today clearly reflects the presence of the Trickster archetype. Mercury is the god of creativity, adventure, transition and travel. The Flash is a master of the divinely awakened (lightening) human potential for speed and transition. Krishna is an entertainer and never stays still for a second, but is always caught up in some adventure or misadventure. One might rightly say that this is the dominant archetype of my life or even that I am the living embodiment of this archetype. I am a intense traveler, often living in the places I visit, whereas most would stay a couple of weeks. I am constantly challenged by impatience and am always looking for things to be faster and more efficient. I am a born performer and artist. I am quite happy and playful. My life has been one massive change after another, such that sometimes I wish things would just stay still for a second so that I may catch my breath (though secretly I know I’d likely be bored if they did). I am very involved in business and commerce and have had good fortune in these areas. I am always looking for adventure (I even have those words written into my personal mission statement) and enjoy taking on new challenges. However, as clearly as I know these things about myself, I did not put all of them together into this archetype until I read this chapter in “Synchronicity”.
And how is the Trickster viewed in the larger context of our discussion of synchronicity? The Trickster archetype is the force that brings these coincidental events together and then opens them up to our awareness. The Trickster is always playing, arranging the world to happen according to his desires. Combs and Holland say, “Play includes a synchronistic taking hold of whatever materials come to hand in order to break the boundaries of our usual perceptions of reality. In addition, Trickster stories almost universally emphasize his doing exactly what he pleases regardless of the consequences.” The Trickster requires us to “lighten up”, to take a more relaxed view of life. This means we also have to take on a playful spirit, which, as I’ve written before, causes us to become more receptive, ready to follow whatever synchronistic signs the Trickster presents. If we do not keep an open mind and receptive spirit, the Trickster is eagerly waiting for it, because, as Combs and Holland point out, he “enjoys nothing better than making us play the fool”. Relaxing is not just about physically loosening up, it is about relaxing our boundaries and limiting beliefs. If we insist on holding tightly to these, it is the role of the Trickster to unveil our rigidity and stubbornness, often in a way that brings a large bruise to our ego.
The challenge of the Trickster is found in our own selves. The Trickster reveals nothing other than what is. When we get caught in a cycle of repression, suppression or appearances, he is there to knock us out of our loop. Synchronicity reminds us that the world is rarely what it seems and just when we are certain about what we know, the Trickster goes to work. When we get stuck through unconsciousness, ignorance, or pride, the Trickster through his antics, holds up the mirror and shows us our own foolishness. To continue blindly would mean a lack of freedom, a lack of playfulness, which he will not allow. This can often be painful because we go to great lengths to perfectly hide our blind spots, but what incredible energy and life this effort steals away. The Trickster knows that no matter how painful it may be to see a part of ourselves we’ve longed to keep hidden, the pain of unconsciously acting out the repression daily is much worse. And the Trickster will put your weakness on a platter for all to see and do so with a smile. To him it is all a game for his amusement. Krishna once, while all of the milk maidens were bathing, stole all of their clothes and hid them in a tree. Once they realized what had happened, they begged for their clothes back and he reprimanded them for breaking a vow about bathing nude. He then made them come out of the water nude to get their clothes. In the book “The Play of God” author Vanamali further says, “they were forced to abandon their sense of shame”, meaning their ego and limiting beliefs. After this Krishna, “who had gone there with the express purpose of filling their desires”, saying “[they] cast off the last traces of [their] ego”, allowed the maidens to realize their ultimate goal of divine union with him. You cannot predict the Trickster and that is his power. Although seemingly cruel and random at times, he plays the tricks that are in our best interests. It is up to us to understand his mysterious ways.
The Encyclopedia Mythica also teaches us about Hermes that “it was his duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld, which is known as a psychopomp. He was also closely connected with bringing dreams to mortals.” As such, he is given access to all realms of experience. He is the ultimate boundary crosser, which will be explained in more detail later. He plays this role as well with travelers, helping them through foreign territory and sometimes guiding foolish ones into the hands of their enemies. We experience a boundary crossing every night as we go to sleep. And as we travel off to sleep, we encounter all manners of synchronistic messages, whether we understand them or not. These messages are the gifts of the Trickster. It is our job to try to apply their symbolism in our waking lives. I personally often notice the space right between waking and sleeping as being the residence of the Trickster. In those moments where I am just about to fall asleep or just waking up, I am frequently hit with amazing insights or creative ideas. As a dance instructor, much of my choreography has come during these times. But also, many problems have been solved for me here, and much direction has been given for the larger challenges of my life. The Trickster is a messenger, but not just to the gods. He is the guide of travelers and therefore brings us these messages to guide us as we travel in between realms of the conscious and unconscious. In addition, as we cross in our waking lives into unknown territory, such as when we take a big risk and quit a comfortable job, or take a chance at pursuing a lifelong calling, the Trickster is there to provide us with signs that we are (or are not) moving in the right direction.
In my life I have seen this happen many times, especially recently, but perhaps none more than when I crossed the boundary of my family’s religion. It took much courage, stupidity and faith to leave what I was raised to believe and often it was very difficult. But the Trickster was there perfectly in his dual role. It was the Trickster who initiated my crossing by painfully challenging me with ideas from deep within my psyche that caused me to rethink my belief system. When that wasn’t enough, the Trickster manifested in a psychosomatic illness that really pressed the limits of my beliefs. As I finally decided to go in the direction of my intuitions, the heat from my family grew intense. But the messages I had been given were too strong, and the Trickster stood by my side helping me to see the realities beyond what I had allowed myself to see as true. Time and again as I doubted my path, synchronicities were there like signposts guiding the way. And so, here too we must recognize another attribute of Hermes the Trickster. Mythologist Dr. Maggie McCrary in her excellent article entitled, “Hermes – Transgression of the Boundaries”, relates to us that a herm stone, from which the name Hermes is derived, was actually a boundary marker, a pile of rocks on the side of the road. These herm stones were originally just immovable signposts for travelers. In those times, myths sprang up about the dangers of crossing the boundaries into unknown territory and so Hermes came into being as the god of not only boundaries, but boundary crossings. This pile of rocks eventually got imbued with all of the qualities of a god. Dr. McCrary says, “The boundary is very important in establishing the world. It separates life into sacred and profane, civilized and wild. It establishes an ordered pattern to life. Being able to break through the boundaries is what creates movement and new ideas. The myths of Hermes are filled with his breaking boundaries, transgressing borders and creating new ideas.” Just like those ancient rocks, synchronicities today are guides for those engaging new psychic territory.
The Trickster is a master of myth and metaphor. He is the storyteller, causing his listeners to become enraptured by his tales. Krishna’s followers were always begging him to tell stories and lead them in song. His listeners would lose track of time in his presence, even losing sight of the others around and believing that he was only speaking to them. Metaphors and synchronicities have this effect on people. Although others may benefit from a synchronicity we experience, we feel inside that the message is most especially meant for our own self. Metaphors, like dream symbols, are guides to reality. They are not exactly reality, but they are not false either. They fall into that “no-zone”, like the place between dreams and wakefulness. This is the magic of metaphor. This is exactly why myths are so powerful. No expects them to be real. If someone seems to be taking them too seriously, one can simply say, “it’s just a story“. Myths and metaphor are not bound by factual obligations or historical accuracy. They are fantastic and playful, just as are the Trickster gods who spawn them. Myths let people who are unready keep their world, while serving as a compass for those seeking to know more. Myths come from an inner experience of reality seen manifest in the outside world, and here we are again at the boundary. Hermes is the god of imagination and of the imaginal. And so these myths are the same as our dream symbols, the same as our synchronicities, for in their ambiguity they’re meaningless to those who do not wish to know. But, at the same time, they are godsends for we who are calling out for answers and determined to unlock their meaning. Synchronicities, myths, and metaphors are obvious to those for whom they are meant.
Stories from times past we call myths. Today, I believe our myths are told through our comic books, fantasy tales and movies. Like ancient myths, people often do not object to these seriously, for after all, they’re just stories. But again, those ready to know see more in these tales, they see the world that exists right above and below our accustomed range of sight. True and fantastic stories bring us face to face with the world as it really is, at the same time limited and unlimited.
Although I have written a lot, I don’t think I can accurately convey in words just how powerful this archetype is for me. There is an old quote that goes, “He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything’s a nail.” This archetype is my hammer. It is the pattern of energy through which I process all experience, desire and creativity. The funny thing is, though I always identified with the playful, clever and impish aspect of this god, I never really thought about how he’s the one who’s been there all along to guide me in this material world. My mind has changed from feeling identified with the Trickster to actually feeling like I’m channeling his energy while simultaneously being guided and protected by him. Synchronicity and intuitive experience truly has become by modus operandi. This has been an amazing discovery, because I see now that the Trickster is and always has been my personal experience of God.
Holland and Combs. Synchronicity: Science, Myth and the Trickster (1996). Marlowe and Company, New York
Vanamali. The Play of God (1998). Blue Dove Press, San Diego, CA.
Ron Leadbetter. Hermes. Encyclopedia Mythica. Retrieved February 2005 from http://www.pantheon.org/areas/mythology/europe/greek/articles.html
Dr. Keith Blayney. The Caduceus vs. The Staff of Asclepius. Retrieved February, 2005 from http://www.drblayney.com/Asclepius.html
Dr. Maggie McCrary. Hermes: Transgression of the Boundaries. Myth and Culture.com. Retrieved February, 2005 from http://www.mythandculture.com/weblog/2005/01/hermes-transgression-of-boundaries.html