To Start Page

Voice of Diaspora

English - L'Anglais
Important News

Dutch - Nederlands
Belangrijke nieuws

French - Français
Nouvelles importantes

German - Deutsch
Wichtige News

Važne vijesti

Important News, Belangrijke nieuws, Nouvelles importantes, Wichtige News, Fontos hírek, Importanti novitŕ, Pomembne novice, Importante Notícias, Viktiga nyheter

Ing. Salih CAVKIC
orbus editor in chief

Belang van Limburg
De Morgen
De Standard
Het Laatste Nieuws
La Libre Belgique


Deutsche Welle
West-D. Zeitung

The man of the year

Guy Verhofstadt
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt

The man of the year
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar

A proven Democrat, protector and fighter for justice and human rights in the World.

Een bewezen Democraat, beschermer en strijder voor rechtvaardigheid en mensenrechten in de Wereld.

Un prouvé démocrate, protecteur et combattant pour la justice et des droits de l'homme dans le Mond.

Eine bewährte Demokrat, Beschützer und Kämpfer für Gerechtigkeit und Menschenrechte in der Welt.

Dokazani demokrat,
 zaštitnik i borac za pravdu i ljudska prava u Svijetu.

Peace in the World

Mr. Barak Hossein Obama

peace in the world

vrede in de wereld

la paix dans le monde

Garantie des Friedens in der Welt

mieru vo svete

mira u svijetu

Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis

Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities.
Murray Hunter

The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies
Murray Hunter

There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially
Murray Hunter

Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter

Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter

The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter

Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter

Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter

Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity - Murray Hunter

   The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter

How motivation really works - Murray Hunter

Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter

The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter

Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter

 How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter

How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter

How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter

People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter

One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunte



Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Volume 3(2), 2011, pp. , ISSN 1948-9137

Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities

Murray Hunter
Centre for Communication & Entrepreneurship
University Malaysia Perlis

Abstract. This paper considers the nexus between the environment, self and reality, and the influence upon ethics, entrepreneurial opportunity, and sustainability. It is postulated that perception and interpretation by individuals creates meaning and that this is regulated by self identity and corresponding levels of awareness. A model of awareness and identity is presented where it is further argued that our ethics, perceptions of opportunity, and views of sustainability are a product upon what level of awareness we are anchored. Finally, this paper postulates that new paradigms of ethics are required to create a sustainable society and that individuals must achieve humility and personal mastery in order to be a creative and effective entrepreneur and leader who will be concerned about ethics and sustainability this century.

Keywords: awareness, self identity, ethics, sustainability, emotions, opportunity

1. Introduction – Complexity of the Environment

Critical to opportunity is the entrepreneur’s inner world. Within every entrepreneur there is perpetual struggle for self awareness going on, even if we don’t know it. Richard T. Pascale stated that the assumptions of people act as fences, thereby keeping some things in and other things out of their awareness.1 Our inner world not only influences, but is paramount to how we see the outer world, how our ethics are shaped, and how we perceive and act upon opportunity. However constructed meanings also depend upon a grounding of relatedness with others, where our meanings are socialized, as we don’t live an autonomous existence.2

It is our perception and the meaning we construct to what we see that defines the environment that we exist within. Without our perception, the environment has no definition and no meaning; the meaning originates from our social relatedness and consciousness. For example, if one views a cube like the one in figure 1. in a relaxed way, one can see two very different perspectives.3 In one perspective viewing the cube from a slightly lower elevation, we can see the left hand side panel sloping downwards from the front panel and can also see the outer side of the bottom panel. From the other perspective, we can see the right hand side panel sloping upwards from the front panel, and can also see the outer side of the top panel. Thus two independent views of the same thing exist. Both views are real and have inherently independent existences, but are actually one and the same thing. As we will see in this paper, we project our own versions of reality onto the environment and make interpretations through introspection, and this is what defines the nature of the environment. The cube also shows us that even the simplest environments are complex, something we usually don’t consider, having multiple meanings for us to interpret and understand. When it comes to our reality, our self and environment cannot exist without the other. Our individual perspectives can only be the partial truth.

Figure 1 A simple cube metaphoric of the complexity of our environment

A person is in a perpetual struggle for self awareness. This begins as Melanie Klein describes straight after birth where an infant’s first relationship is with the mother’s breast. At this time the only object within the infant’s environment is the breast, where it is identified as ‘good’ when he or she can feed upon it and feels secure and nourished. When there is trouble feeding or the breast is not available, it becomes the ‘bad’ breast. Thus perpetual conflict first begins where the infant unconsciously splits the breast into two; the ‘good’ breast and the ‘bad’ breast. These experiences create a range of feelings, object relations, and thought processes, where the infant feels ecstasy, happiness and joy in the ‘good’ and anxiety, sorrow, and a persecutory fear of annihilation, giving rise to the emotions of anger and even a destructive ‘death wish’ for anything that threatens their survival with the ‘bad.’4 Psychotherapy and psychology are based upon the concept of perpetual conflict and learning how to deal with it.

If opportunity is related to our nature, then many streams of thought, conjecture, argument, metaphor, philosophy, mythology, science, metaphysics, and naturalism become relevant. In the area of psychology, cognitive theory is very quickly superseding psychoanalysis and other psychology theories of perception, the mind, and behavior. Schema models are slowly taking over from the concept of the ego and archetypes in explaining our perceptions, self and behavior. Any complete view of self and the psych requires a synthesis of views from evolutionary, social, and behavioral psychologies, neuroscience, biology and genetics, because of the richness multiple metaphors can add to explanations. However the advancement of cognitive science risks becoming a soulless and mechanistic approach towards psychology. In a clinical way, it may isolate the subject away from some of the great philosophies of the ages. Metaphor and analogies as a way to explain the psych may disappear. Only the fact that we exist within a cocoon of emotion prevents this. Our emotions and emotional behavior are still probably best explained through metaphor. Even schema therapy still relies upon metaphor.5

Currently there is also an increasing consensus and mutual understanding between quantum mechanics and theology, particularly Eastern theology. Each stream of thinking is coming to some accommodation with the other,6 although this is not abetted by grave criticism from some quarters.7 Nonetheless the meaning of our very existence and self identity, awareness, and consciousness has become a very popular subject, not from the 19th Century philosophical perspectives, but from the spiritual viewpoint, free of institutional religion. A crisis of faith and rapid political and socio-economic structural transformations are taking place which is leaving the classical ethical philosophies to the history books, as if they are deemed not relevant to today’s post industrial societies. Obedience to traditional authorities and institutions have waned in favor of geographical and social mobility where urbanization, new emerging technologies, media and peer opinion. Membership and identity is anchored to different symbols, values, and institutions than was the case twenty, thirty, and fifty years ago.

In a similar manner to cognitive science, quantum mechanics is on the verge of new understanding of the universe, totally changing the way we understand it. The Newtonian paradigm of a set order, place, and independent existence, where objects are tangible, definable, solid, existing, and where interaction with other objects was of secondary importance has influenced our comprehension of conceptual reality. Independent reality prevailed. However within the quantum world objects exist in a relational manner to each other in a phenomenal reality, far from being the static entities that Newtonian physics envisaged.8 This relational manner infers interdependence for existence, rather than independence.

These relational concepts are difficult to comprehend within industrialized occidental society, where orientations have been towards independence rather than interdependence, probably a paradigm that blocked physicists’ awareness of quantum interdependencies for many years.9 When relational principals are applied to the humans, we see the inter-connectiveness of our body where all organs are somehow linked and must work together to create continuous interactive processes or else we will not exist as a person. Humanity itself lives within an interconnected Earth that is able to seek self-balance, as if it were a living entity.10 Humankind, the Earth, and the universe are interconnected and only exist through our perception. Our realties are culturally defined which connects us as a society.11 According to Daniel Goleman, our brain has developed where our interrelationships develop a brain to brain link up, primarily through the communication of emotions.12 Even our thinking and reasoning depends upon socially manifested language for meaning. We are not independent of anything.

This complexity is contrary to how the brain tries to order things, as our cognitive architecture is limited. The French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s postulation that we are not human beings having a spiritual existence; we are spiritual beings having a human existence brings us into the metaphysical esoteric, which cannot be avoided in such subject material.13 What we must ask here is whether we are really getting closer to understanding the concept of our true self reality, or are we just creating another paradigm to explain our identity in a different way.

What is important to this argument is what is our “true nature” and how does our “true nature” link to ethics and sustainability? Is this a socio-cultural link? Or is this a link of universal nature? In other words are there inner assumptions and values inherent within us or are they completely socialized? How are they relevant to the phenomenology of our thinking, opportunity, action, strategy, and the universe of objects within our environment?

We must identify the phenomenon that blocks us from seeing our true self, so we can understand the interrelationships between self, ethics, sustainability, and opportunity and strategy. What gives us our ethical outlook? Are our ethical bondages associated in any way with our true nature? How have they been covered up by
our society, civic and religious values? And, if so, how do we handle them? Are we just encoded biological robots, or is there something much more substantive in us?

What gives us our views about sustainability? Why do we believe in the human mythology about our immortality, superiority of the human species, and our ability to dominate nature? Is the realization of our “true nature” going to change anything? Is our awareness important to survival as we know it? Why do we create defense mechanisms to deny these realities? Why do we continue to deny these realities that conflict with the myths we live by?

The rest of this paper argues that ethics and our views towards sustainability come from our “true nature”, which is usually lost during our living within our myth laden society. We need to develop our own “true nature” that manifests our self with a sustainable identity, free of ego and negative emotion to achieve the essence of personal mastery.

2. Awareness and the Self

Multiple aspects, terms, and views exist about the subject of self. These come from philosophy, religion, spiritualism, popular and academic writers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists. Much myth and knowledge about the self has been reframed, reemphasized, reformatted, re-orientated, reworded, reprioritized, re-metaphorized, and rewritten in different analogies, where anyone who starts to read widely very easily becomes confused. Ever since the “I’m OK – Your OK” awakening of the 1960’s,14 more than half of Americans have embraced to varying degrees some form of ‘off the shelf’ self-fulfillment spiritual philosophies, that in itself has become a society related pursuit.15 To a great degree ‘soapbox’ spiritual philosophy is the ‘quick fix’ alternative to seemingly authoritative institutionalized religions.

How we sense, perceive, acquire knowledge, think, and reason is governed by cognition. The advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and position-emission tomography (PCT) which can measure cerebral blood flow in the brain through sensing magnetic signals or low level radiation respectively to determine brain activity levels has greatly deepened our understanding of the process of cognition. Quite remarkably, the cognitive process has many similarities with computer information processing steps of acquisition, storage, retrieval, processing, data organization, and artificial intelligence structures.16 That is until we factor in emotion.

Our emotions play a major role in cognitive appraisal, deciding our likes and dislikes, what is agreeable and disagreeable to us and the decisions we make. Many of our emotions are primal in origin, once vital when we were hunter gatherers. Upon any sign of danger the emotional system would take over from the cognitive system and prepare us for fight, flight, or freeze stances against any external threat.17 Emotions would physiologically prime us by pumping adrenaline into our blood, releasing our bowels to make us lighter for flight, move blood to our arm and leg muscles and raise our blood pressure, ready for the next move we make for our survival. Primal emotions, independent from our thought and reasoning processes focus our attention to what we see in the environment.

Emotions can have a great advantage in making quick decisions without the need to make lengthy deliberations. However at the extreme, emotions can distort perception, reason, and result in less than optimal decision making. As we will see emotions play a major role in the development of our self identity.

Emotions can also trigger memories and memories can also trigger emotions. Memories are orientated around “I” and constantly redefine the nature of our existence relative to the past and future, and our sense of power over any situation. Thus memories have an important influence in forming our identity and guiding our behavior according to our perceived nature.

The questions of who are we really? and what is our purpose in life? have been pondered upon by humankind through the ages. Since the time of René Descartes in the 17th Century, scientists and philosophers in the modern era have been contemplating the concepts of consciousness and reality. Descartes concluded that thought is the essence of consciousness.18 He also eluded that reality only exists through ideas coming from the external environment and without thoughts, there can be no meaning. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz during that same period applying his mathematical work on differentiation and integration postulated that consciousness had many levels and degrees.19

Numerous scientists, intellectuals, and philosophers have offered accounts of consciousness from the philosophical, religious, psychology, metaphysical, naturalist, neuroscience, quantum mechanics, and esoteric paradigms. Each account is limited in explanation due to the non-physical nature of consciousness, the absence of any particular area of the brain that houses consciousness, the multidimensional nature of consciousness, and the lack of any agreement about what consciousness really is. In fact, some people believe that the human mind is incapable of explaining itself20 and we can never have an objective account of consciousness.21 Although consciousness is one of the major questions of science, we are still not really too sure what we need to ask.22 Although no complete explanation of consciousness, self, and meaning of life has been provided, various works and authors have offered a number of different perspectives.

Consciousness needs meaning and humanity’s search for meaning posed another important question. An Auschwitz inmate and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl believes that man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose in life. Frankl postulates that meaning and purpose can be found through work and deeds, experiencing people and things, or through unavoidable suffering where everything has been taken away, except for one’s ability to choose their attitude.23 The ability to wonder is perhaps one of the great cognitive abilities any individual has.

Ernest Becker saw that all human meaning is based on factiousness and dependent upon the contrived social nature of our civilization. Man is a social animal and therefore his meaning and reality is built from the outside-in, rather than the other way around.24 Our reality is therefore cultural, based upon the myths and meaning society has created. Further, Michael Polanyi postulated that the total basis of our meaning is through our creative imagination, where this is metaphorically experienced in poetry, art, stories, myths, symbols, rituals and routines, and religion.25 Through our imagination we assemble meaning and truth from our chaotic and disjointed lives.

The experience of having no meaning can be depressing and even terrifying if one realizes that their whole life has come to have no meaning.26 Ideas about meaning and self are rampant in popular literature and experiential workshops that create magical, mystical, universal connotations about consciousness that may or may not be really there.27 Religious and quantum consciousness concepts about the non-physical offer a basis of faith, a commitment, a path to follow or a security blanket that people can embrace and cling to, in a quest for spiritual immortality, once they realize that physical immortality is impossible. Because of humankind’s fear of death, the concepts of consciousness may have been elevated to a new mythology that provides unsubstantiated promises based on faith and belief alone.

The average person, most of the time is not consciously aware of their ‘self’. Their awareness is like a fish in a fish bowl, where the fish can’t see the water they are surrounded with. We are aware of “I” and “me” and associate our identity with ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’. I am a parent, I am a husband, I am a teacher, I am a Christian or Muslim, I am an American, Japanese, or Australian, etc. These identities also create barriers between us and compartmentalize society, i.e., I am female, they are male, I am black, they are white, I am heterosexual, they are homosexual, etc. These barriers or separations are sources of emotion, our sense of self-esteem, power, social positioning, and locus of control. Self concept is a combination of our cognitive, emotional and social orientation.

3. The Self Concept

Our self concept is not a single, unitary identity. It is layered and complex, developed through our interaction with society and personal experience throughout our lives. Some aspects of our identity dominate, while other aspects are suppressed. These influence the level of our consciousness, filtering our awareness. Everything a person experiences creates their own reality and sense of “I” or “me”. In other words, “I” and “me’ is a construction of our self.

Our self concept could be considered to begin with the environment. At the beginning of this chapter we discussed Melanie Klein’s concept of object relations, the first experiences outside the mother’s womb that give us a sense of identity, related to objects outside of our self. We experience streams of sensation through our feel, sight, hearing, sense, and taste. These all provide relativity, helping us to define the internal and external. Emotions are generated with these sensations which begin to create the first aspects of our identity. In this early infancy all our actions are based upon our emotions, thus setting emotion as a driver of our behavior in the absence of reason.

We are not born with any sense of social identity and emotional bias. Emotions stimulated from sensations very quickly suppress our true inborn essential nature, which in most cases is lost forever as people are nurtured and brought up in the environment around them. From our infancy, who we are, how we are, and who we will become greatly depends upon this process of cultivation. Many of our personality traits will develop at this stage, where for example, an infant often neglected in feeding may develop a sense of insecurity, which may lead to aggressive tendencies in later life. In contrast, a person well nourished and weaned may become a contented person in later life. However the causes of personality development and behavior still until today remain more conjecture, as we still can’t explain these processes in their entirety.

4. Perception

It’s very important to have a basic understanding of the perception process because of the influence over our awareness. Perception is such a complex brain activity that a large part of the brain is totally dedicated to these processes. All external stimuli are detected by the five senses and environment energy is transformed through enzymatic processes into neural electricity called transduction. Neural electricity carries information within its original format, cell to cell to the sensory stores by the process of transmission. The sensory store is not a single area within the brain, as different areas of the brain process different types of sensory information. These sensing stores can only keep unanalyzed sensing information for very brief periods of time for identification and pattern recognition. Information that cannot be identified by the pattern recognition process is lost.

Many stimuli can enter the sensory store at one time but only one pattern at a time can enter the pattern recognition stage. This is controlled through perpetual limitation which prevents people from becoming overloaded with too much information at any one time.28 The attention function determines the sequence and amount of information that will be identified at any one time, which restricts the amount of information that can reach the memory, like a bottleneck.29 This bottleneck occurs at the entrance to the to the pattern recognition stage, where only one piece of information can be processed at any one time, thus preventing information overload.30 This is metaphorically shown as marbles being poured down a funnel in figure 2.

Figure 2 Limited Capacity Entrance Channel into the Pattern Recognition Stage

Within the pattern recognition stage, incoming information is matched against known patterns through a number of methods, of which all we do not understand at this point of time. Perception also takes place consciously and unconsciously, competing for limited capacity. Some tasks are so routine they are processed automatically. However when one comes up against unusual objects, then a great conscious effort is required to process and make recognition. For example, when we learn to drive a car we must initially concentrate on every decision and action we take. Once we are familiar with the skills of driving a car, we do this without taking any conscious actions. This is the advantage of patterning.

What information finally enters into our limited capacity short term working memory depends upon current memory capacity at the time, enduring dispositions, momentary interventions, and conscious and unconscious evaluations.31 Our basic patterning mechanism is biased and distorts information in particular ways depending on our knowledge structures we already have. Thus our previous knowledge of the environment influences our perceptions. Therefore our perception is influenced by prior knowledge and the heuristics and cognitive biases they create. This is how the brain cuts down on information overload and assists a person make sense out of the confusion and uncertainty of the environment where thinking is focused upon finding thinks that we are already familiar with, i.e., assisting a person to drive an automobile. Thus our thinking is really based upon hindsight rather than foresight in gaining insights and ideas about the world.32

The patterning mechanism may partly explain why people have different perspectives from the same stimuli and may also partly explain why some people see opportunity while others don’t,33 although this process is still far from understood.

Our emotions influence our patterning through diverting our attention, which distorts our perceptions. It is the ability to manipulate of change these patterns, which are like colored lenses that we look through,34 that gives us the ability to look at the world in different ways.35 Patterning influenced by bias, delusion, distortion, heuristics, and socio-cultural influences on our schemas, guide our approaches to reasoning, decision making, and problem solving.

5. The Primal Self

The outer level of our self awareness is the “primal self”. The “primal self” is concerned about the basic physiological needs required for existence including food, water, shelter, sleep, sex, safety, and security. The “primal self’s” awareness is physical and immediate, concerned about the now. Associated with the “primal self” are the basic primal emotions concerned with survival, physical fulfillment and contentment. These range from the emotions of ecstasy, joy, contentment, and lust, to anxiety, fear, and anger. These emotions are usually short lived as they automatically activate through the amygdala, separate from our cognitive architecture, previously important to protect a person in a hunter gatherer environment. Behavior is almost controlled by primal emotions which focus attention on objects of physical fulfillment and drive almost instinctive behaviours.36 Research has shown that when people are deprived of their physiological needs, they will go to the extremes to fulfill them, even if that means breaking social morals, culturally accepted behavior, civic codes, and religious morals.37 Although the primal self is very powerful, as a person’s instinctive survival is hardwired into the primal emotional level, a person learns that other levels of the self are better able to fulfill their needs in more sophisticated ways.

6. The Material Self

The “material self” is concerned about pleasure, comfort, and the avoidance of pain. Goods and other material things metaphorically extend the boundaries of a person through the things that they own. These may include real estate, land, cars, and also extend to intangible things like degrees, honors, social status, and other things that bring notoriety and respect. Even a marriage partner is important to the “material self”. The mythology of the trophy wife comes from the times when ancient warriors captured the most beautiful women during times of battle to bring them back to their village as wives. This is still a part of many cultures today, often encouraged by the media attention the wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of celebrities receive. This layer of the self is influenced by both the primal and social emotions as motivators including greed, envy, jealousy, and attachment. Thus at one end of the continuum a person desires objects for the satisfaction of greed, while at the other end of the continuum objects are desired for the social status. Self worth is perceived through the things that a person owns, where valued objects provide comfort, pleasure, prevent pain, are attractive, socially desirable, and a rarity in society.

The “material self” is the source of narcissism, where an individual requires a continual source of nourishment in the same way an infant requires a supply of food.38 The “material self” can be envious and even depressive when needs are not fulfilled. However when the individual is in possession of prized and valued items, he or she can verge on a narcissistic disposition. In some cases the material self can also exhibit attention seeking and dramatist behavior in order to attract attention to themselves,39 where attention itself can be considered a valuable commodity. On the positive side, the material self will tend to be highly motivated and very hard working to fulfill their perceived need for material possessions. The “material self” is easily suppressed by the higher levels of the self which can achieve the desired objectives for fulfillment through more sophisticated strategies.

The “material self” can be a trend setter, as setting trends is a sophisticated form of status. However the majority of those dominated by the material self paradigm are impulsive followers, influenced by peers, and usually adopt likes and dislikes of trend setters. Trend following therefore occurs over the whole range of material goods, fashion and brands, and also include preferences for the types of work desired.

The “material self’s” awareness is a social one where what others like and dislike, do and follow is of extreme importance. This is a lower form of imitative behavior that has not developed into full empathy. This may be a very good quality for picking up new consumer product and service opportunities within the environment, but the majority of people pick up the collective norms of society and can’t see outside this social cocoon. Collective awareness suppresses a person’s ability to see things that are different until someone else brings attention to it. This can hinder innovation in firms led by a person dominated by the “material self”.

7. The Social Self

The “social self” plays a very complex but vital role in one’s self concept. Self concept is very much relative to others. The essence of humankind is a social existence, where people have a strong need to identify and belong to groups.40 Being accepted by others seems to be a more important driver of the self than physical and material needs. Autobiographical accounts of hermits, prisoners, and those deprived of human contact show the pain of isolation that individuals feel over time.41 This need for affiliation can be seen in the way societies have organized themselves throughout the centuries by the creation of families, extended families, clans, guilds, unions, specific interest groups, and ethnic groups, etc. This atmosphere of identification and belonging existed in small towns and parts of larger cities right up to recent times. Many sports codes and competition is based upon group belongingness, i.e., cricket, football, and basketball, etc. Belongingness can also be seen in today’s social media where particular special interest groups bond together and thousands of people participate on mass in online games interacting with each other through fantasized personas or avatars.

Aloofness and aloneness is generally considered abnormal behavior by most of society, and one of the most punitive sanctions a group can put on a person is exclusion from the group. Many disputes and wars have occurred because of differing group ideas, objectives, and philosophies. Outside groups have often been used as objects of hate, and idealization projection and introspection to justify a sense of right, superiority or hope. German society made categorical judgments and projected all their blame and hate on the Jews in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. People projected so much hope and idealization on Princess Diana and so publicly mourned her loss. Minority groups like homosexuals are often persecuted because they remind us of the shadow within ourselves which we cannot bear to see.42

There is probably a relationship between disassociation, dislodgement, or disconnection and anxiety and fear, which can lead through projection into hate. Street gangs offer the opportunity to those who feel oppressed or otherwise feel alienated by society or feel inferior to others to gain strength through the sense of belongingness a group provides. Fear itself is a powerful social bonding mechanism which can unite groups together in the face of a common enemy, whether real or imaginary. Many of our social struggles are seen in black and white, where both sides see right and the high moral ground or “God” behind them.

Social awareness is extremely important to the concept of cultural capital where empathy is important toward, to appreciate, or to have competence in working within cultural rules and norms within society.43 Empathy is a powerful component of our imagination in enabling us to understand others, their situations, predicaments, and outlooks. Empathy links the individual to the larger community. Empathy can assist a person’s awareness move into the spiritual awareness domain.

Empathy is also a way of learning. Empathy is the ability to enter into the world of another and understand it.44 However, too much empathy may lead to deep emotions triggered by observing the suffering of others and in the extreme lead to depression and lethargic states. Lack of empathy into the needs and feelings of others is a trait of ego-centricity and narcissism which destroys the potential for insightful thinking, where in extreme cases the destructive forces of social prejudice, conflict, anger, and depression may occur. The absence of empathy will leave a person within the primal and material domains.

8. The Ego Self

The “ego self” is the most common domain people exist within.45 The ‘ego self’ is primarily concerned about self survival. This continuum includes the domains of how people see themselves, and how they want others to see them. How a person sees him or herself is often suppressed and they live within the “idealized self”. If the real self emerges and is too different from the “idealized self”, great conflict will occur within the person. The “idealized self” gives a person confidence to deal with and cope with all the dramas that go on within their world. How a person wants others to see them is like a shell that protects a person’s self esteem. It is within the ego self that we develop the labels that give us our identity.

The ego self is the part of our self the which develops sophisticated coping mechanisms to deal with realities that don’t fit into a person’s self view and view of the world. For example, if a person enters into a community 10 KM run and expects to complete the distance in 45 minutes but actually takes just on one hour, the ego will try to explain not meeting personal expectations away through self excuses like “it was too hot”, “I didn’t have time to prepare for the run”, or “it really doesn’t matter anyway”. The “ego self” copes with fears, anxieties, and disappointments through defense mechanisms like acting out, altruism, anticipation, denial, devaluation, displacement, distortion, fantasy, fixation, humor, idealization, identification, introjections, intellectualization, passive aggression, projection, rationalization, regression, repression, splitting, sublimation, and suppression. The individual learns the boundaries and how to control complex emotions so they can interact within the social environment without endangering their affiliations or harming others. They live an emotional life which links them to others with shared values important to their own self identity.

Within the “ego self” there is a need to glorify ourselves and distance ourselves from the feelings of not being good enough. This is the idealized self that exists within the “ego self”, nurturing and evolving through the journey of our lives. For example, if we rebel, we see our combative ways as heroic and standing up for what is right. If we are compulsive, we see ourselves as hard working and diligent and if we are clingy, we see ourselves as very loyal and faithful. This is what we call our survival personality which assists us to cope with our anxiety, insecurities, and fears. However if we continually fall short of our expectations, this may lead to deep depression. Likewise if our coping mechanisms one day fail with a relationship break up for example, we are likely to suffer a traumatic shock and go into denial, rage or even develop suicidal tendencies. These types of shocks can cause fundamental crisis of our self identity.

The whole purpose of the ego self is to give us an identity. We develop social identities with a fitting socialized world view where “I” and “me” is in the centre. Everything that occurs and everyone we interact with is relative to the “I” and “me” stance. We become lost within this socialization and don’t even realize it, accepting this as “who we are”. In this way the “ego self” controls how we perceive, feel, think, and act. We are strongly driven by our social emotions, not being able to think or reason without their influence. Awareness is our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This becomes our self – a person who is a member of a family in a particular role, with a particular occupation, with an affinity to a particular group, with its own set of thoughts and feelings based on a cocktail of emotions created from fear, trust, happiness, curiosity, anger, inspiration, etc. The ego self is not interested in higher awareness and often utilizes intelligence as a block against a person becoming spiritual.46

Emotion has a strong determination upon our actions where we become sociologically ideological-ized with feelings of righteousness, superiority, pride, with stereotyped judgments about people, objects, and events. What we do becomes who we are giving us the identity of “I am”. We are a creation of our own mind and the mind is partly a creation of the events and history that we have experienced. Through this identity we see the world from a biased position, attentive to how people, objects, and events will affect the “me”. Our identity and role in life demand that we act out these identities, thus locking us into a certain view and place within the world, where we are largely unable to see outside of it. We take society’s measures of success, i.e., education, career, net worth, real estate holdings, rather than what we might individually like. Society has indoctrinated us to the point where we tend to think alike within an acceptable continuum of thought. Our morals, ethics, and views are formed, shaped, and supported by our socialization within these continuums. How we act is also socialized – we can never be who we really are within the ego self.

Socialization forces are so powerful that it is difficult for anybody to free themselves from society’s defined positions, thinking, and identities. However the “ego self” can operate along a continuum of self awareness. At the lower end some people are more concerned about materialism, while others within the middle ranges are concerned about their social esteem within the community. At the higher end there are those who are concerned about high achievement and working for causes that don’t directly benefit themselves. Of course various actions may be based upon different motivations from seeking genuine self satisfaction or need to achieve, to undertaking compulsive behavior to suppress some form of feeling within themselves like neglect, non acceptance, or feeling of inadequacy.

The ego self is most powerful during times of success. When one is successful and attributes this success to themselves, their innate awareness and humility can be totally suppressed. This is the time when many business partnerships of long time friends can break up over monetary issues and disagreements about shared efforts. This often brings out selfish ruthlessness that is new behavior on the part of these individuals.

9. The Spiritual Self

It was the evolution of our frontal lobes that gave humankind the ability to communicate giving rise to symbols and language thereby enabling our search for meaning in our lives.47 Human beings are creatures of meaning. Without meaning people very quickly become ill and die, which is a fate installed for many retirees if they have not planned out meaningful activities for their retirement.48

Within the continuum of the “spiritual self” people attach different values to the concept of “I” and “me”. Only a very small percentage of people in society reach this stage as most people are trying to achieve personal, career, and financial security, work on developing relationships with their families and others, satisfying their primal needs for sex, or seeking esteem from the their peers and the rest of the community. Under the other continuums individuals are not well acquainted with themselves, however within the spiritual self, people begin to feel integrated, more deeply question “who they are” and “their meaning and purpose”.

The “spiritual self” represents the culmination of all other continuums of self where a person looks for self actualization and some form of intrinsic self fulfillment. At this awareness level, self esteem comes from a person doing what they believe is right. A person who is spiritually aware is willing to sacrifice themselves for what they believe are higher causes than themselves. This is part of the psychology some social entrepreneurs and also ironically of suicide bombers. There is a distinct move from the trait of selfishness, common in the lower continuums to selflessness and giving.

The higher awareness of the “spiritual self” drives a different set of behaviors than people orientated around the other continuums. Individuals are able to transverse the basic emotions of excitement, fear, anger, and anxiety, etc., avoiding being trapped within defense mechanism centered behavior patterns. For example a person will not play out games to seek affection from their spouses and loved ones, motivated by the fear that they may lose them. A person will not love someone out of fear of being alone, or of the fear of having no one to love them. Instead they overcome that fear and are able to carry out much more mature behaviors.

Within the lower continuums, peoples’ streams of thoughts tend to be negatively based where fear manifests itself in worry, anger, judgment, and general anxiety, leading to generally pessimistic and negative narrative, i.e., “you can’t get away with doing that”, “that’s so difficult to do”, and “they don’t want you to do that”, etc. Within the spiritual continuum there will be little negative narrative on the part of a spiritually aware person. Spiritually aware people are aware of their patterns of thought and can consciously change these patterns when they notice that they become negative. He or she will be curious, reflective, exercise great patience and be a good listener before personally jumping to quick conclusions about matters. Discussions will take the form of dialogues rather than opinionated and advocating debates. A spiritually aware person still experiences emotions but the difference is that they are aware of them, and the consequences of blindly following the whims of these emotions. They will be able to reframe their thoughts from something like “I don’t know how to do this” to “this is a great opportunity to learn something”. Therefore a spiritually aware person is self disciplined.

The “spiritual self” enables one to examine information and knowledge without the bias of emotion in deep wisdom. A spiritually aware person should possess some of the traits and abilities listed below:

· A relatively unbiased view of the realties within the environment, aware of their own wishes, desires, and emotions that may influence their perceptions,

· An acceptance of themselves, others, and the nature or fate, realizing that things are not perfect and that people, including themselves will make mistakes, which they can accept. They see setbacks, natural events, and disasters as part of life,

· Adversity becomes a positive frame where it is seen as a challenge rather than a setback,

· Their life is simple and honest. Spiritually aware people don’t need to put on airs and acts,

· Spiritually aware people trust their own intuitions,

· They know their own strengths and weaknesses,

· They are very responsive to changes within people, events, and the environment,

· They revel in diversity and contrast, rather than uniformity and sameness,

· They like to learn and wonder about new things and the big questions of life,

· They are interested in the larger philosophical and ethical issues of the time,

· They feel comfortable about being alone and don’t need company just for the sake of having company,

· They tend to think independently from the prevailing culture, continuum of ideas and thinking of contemporary society, and consequently are often non-conformists to cultural rules and norms,

· They have their own predetermined interests and commitments that they deeply believe in,

· They are willing to serve the community, humanity, and causes greater than themselves,

· They are able to hold these convictions against the differing opinions of others,

· They appreciate challenges and see them from a resolute freshness,

· They have a deep sense of compassion, a desire to help others and contribute to the human race,

· They have close ties to a relatively small number of people rather than loose ties with a large number of people,

· They have a profound sense of fairness, not prejudiced, and don’t stereotype or look at people superficially,

· They value the journey rather than the achievement,

· They have the ability to reframe, look at things differently, see connections in a holistic manner and are thus creative people,

· They have a great sense of gratitude to those that help them, and

· They have a sense of humility and are on the whole humble people.49

The big test for the “spiritual self” is the ethical dilemma one would face when their values are challenged. For example, a person who upholds life and is against abortion may face a massive moral dilemma if they become or make someone become pregnant outside of a married relationship. It is only the decisions made at these times that truly show whether a person has reached the level of “spiritual self”, or not.

10. The True Self

There is one final level of awareness, the “true self” which is something like the eye of a hurricane, peaceful, harmonious, and averse of emotion. This centre of contentment is surrounded by the turbulence of crisis, emotion, distortion, culturally based ideas and practices, prejudices, and orientations of the other levels of self. The “true self “ is full of humility, empathy, forgiveness, compassion, deep trust in life, love for the moment, gratitude, joy, and wonderment.50 A person becomes very humble, knowing that they don’t know, curious and eager to learn as much as they can. These are the innate qualities of children who haven’t learned the deceptive ways of we develop our social identities. They are free of guilt ridden emotions and spontaneous towards life. We can feel some of our true self when we hear of kind acts and shed a tear – this is a sign that there is a true self within us, even though our experience of it is very short. This is our inborn essential nature which has been covered up through our socialization by society and layers of emotions we have accumulated through life. Only a very small percentage of people ever reach this level, and only for short periods of their consciousness.

The concept of the “true self” shares an analogy with the concept of “emptiness” in quantum physics. Critical to this is the nature of “the first act of symmetry breaking” that acts upon the “empty” informational ground of potentiality.51 A soul or self of purity connected to the mind, body, and environment – one’s true nature – will reflect the images of nature around the self. Our “worlding” is an ongoing process of constructing and enhancing our world views and realities through movement, openness, and perpetual becoming. Through worlding our structure of knowledge and understanding emerges.52

The “true self” is awareness without labels, feeling without thinking, learning with an unbiased innocence, orientated within the present moment. We find out that the true self does not have any tangible “I’ or “me”. If one experiments with meditation and escapes thinking and emotion, they may feel the sensation of emptiness where “I’ and “me” doesn’t exist. In the true self there is an emptiness when searching for “I am” in both mind and body. We cannot locate the source of our self, which is consistent with the brain not having a specific location associated with the self.53

This is the height of emotional sensitivity or state of mindfulness where one is aware of what is happening as opposed to letting things dwell in the semi-consciousness as emotions. Thus one is able to see the environment without the baggage of assumptions, heuristics, and other cognitive biases. One sees what is actually in front of them. Emotional sensitivity involves unbiased perception to stimuli within the environment of any particular situation that may house potential opportunities or require decision making.54 Most people’s emotional sensitivity is inhibited by past categorizations, rules, and routines that cloud the ability to view any current situation with novel distinctions.55 Therefore the greater the emotional sensitivity or more mindful a person is, the more open to the environment they will be. Emotional sensitivity is a tool that can be used to discover opportunity, due to the nature of opportunity being a nexus between the self and the environment.

The more one is mindful, the better the potential perception of opportunities, however other facets such as prior knowledge are still vitally important, which without any individual will not be able to perceive opportunity for new ventures, products, and services.56 Langer proposed that mindfulness may enhance the ability to perceive and shape new opportunities through five components that have been empirically tested;

· Openness to novelty – the ability to reason with relatively novel forms of stimuli,

· Alertness to distinction – the ability to distinguish minute differences in the details of an object, action, or environment,

· Sensitivity to different contexts- tasks and abilities will differ according to the situational context,

· Awareness of multiple perspectives – the ability to think dialectically, and

· Orientation in the present – paying attention to here and now.57

At the other awareness levels we find that “I” and “me” are associated with labels of what we do, who we are relative to others, and who we identify with. “I” and “me” is part of a bundle of emotions, which mentally construct who we are, i.e., I am an angry person, not satisfied with the job done, I am a wealthy person, driving a luxury imported European car. To many, not having these identities is like being naked and feeling defenseless. Our constructed identities protect us from the environment, relationships, and events we feel anxious and apprehensive about. These are the personas or false identities we live by that cover up our true nature and drive our behavior in certain ways to alleviate our anxiety and satisfy whatever we desire; mistakenly thinking this is self fulfillment.

If we internalize a positive sense of self within us, we would tend to have a more trusting relationship with the world around us. If however, we internalize a sense of fear and distrust, then the world around us will seem threatening and we will tend to seek ways to protect ourselves. Thus we respond to the world through what Virginia Satir called survival stances, such as placating others when feeling helpless, blaming others when feeling worthless, rationalize like a computer when feeling vulnerable, and distract attention away from issues and ourselves when feeling purposeless.58

We think through the false self but we feel through the true self. This is important about how we approach the ethics of life and exist in harmony with the world we live in. The closer we get to our “true self”, the more we understand humility. The further we deviate from our “true self”, the more we deviate from our innate nature, and thus ethical behavior. Any mode of ethics not based upon our “true self” relies on guilt, shame, fear, status, compliance, punishment, rewards, and even damnation as motivators.

We see the world through the different levels of self. Viewing the world from each level provides us with different sets of realities which shape our assumptions, beliefs, values, and attitudes. The levels of awareness a person are anchored to will help shape the type of personality and source of their personal motivations. From the perception perspective, each individual will be unique in the way they perceive objects, people and events. At each level a person is also influenced by a different set of emotions.

Figure 3 The Various Levels of Self and Awareness

11. The Emotional Orientation Matrix

We view the world through the level of awareness we are anchored within and the various identities we have developed to cope with what we believe threatens us. Our awareness is also orientated toward the past and future and our perception of the degree of control we have over objects, people, and events (the environment). These are the psychological realms of our consciousness that influence what types of emotions we manifest towards objects, people, and events. Our reality exists according to our orientation within the matrix (see figure 4). The further away we move from the optimal region of awareness or “the now”, the more our realities are distorted by the future, past, internal or external locus of control. The closer to the centre or “now” of the matrix, the less delusion exists upon our sense of awareness. At the centre, or “now”, the past, present, future, and perception of our influence over the environment is integrated.

The past holds memories upon which we have emotions. In the past position we live with stories that generate feelings of blame, regret, guilt, pride, and/or nostalgia. We regret past mistakes or relish past successes, holding past situations in either a positive or negative light which becomes the basis for interpreting the present. Past stories explain what we feel today and influence our form of action. We project the past into the present and lose awareness about the reality of the present. For example, if we are competing in a squash tournament and draw up against someone who has consistently beat us, based on the past we will believe that we will lose again. Therefore we lose confidence and play like a defeated person. Our past becomes our fear, which we seek to avoid. Our past successes may influence us keep our routines the same because they have worked in past situations without questioning suitability for the present situation, often bringing rigidity to what we do. The past influences our relationships and controls our focus and attention on areas that have been successful for us. When we live in the past, memories determine how we feel in the present. It isn’t the truth about the past that is important, it’s what we believe.

The past is our memory which has been recompiled and reconfigured to fit in with our sense of self. In addition, our attachment to the past is reinforced by the stories, myths, symbols, heroes, values, and beliefs that are manifested through our culture. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to escape the influence of our past.

The future can represent excitement, hope, potential for dreams, aspirations, and plans to be realized. The future can also be a cold void of anxiety and uncertainty, which could be a source of fear. Some people develop anxiety about not being able to control the future. The future brings mortality, a grim reminder to many that we live a finite existence. Like the past, the future exists within the domain of our imagination, a vision, a feeling that someone may cling to suppress the anxiety of the present. The hope of the future can suppress the distresses of the present and becomes the basis for interpreting the present. We may install excessive controls to minimize uncertainty thus stifling creativity and initiative within an organization. We may keep postponing things like retrenchments that cause potential unhappiness to some other time to escape the pain. Alternatively we may justify our work in the present for something we visualize in the future, maybe at the cost of missing opportunities in the present. Some future orientation is necessary for holding visions that can be enacted upon, which is the basis of all change. However total absorption within the future can delude the reality of the present, where nothing gets done.

The image of the future is constructed through our aspirations which can be powerful motivators and drivers of our behavior. This is reinforced by the cultural expectations for success from the society we live in, as we have seen that success is measured by material criterion.

The other axis of awareness is the locus of control. The locus of control is a person’s perception of their influence over objects, people, and events within the environment. A person with an internal locus of control expects they have influence over objects, people, or events, while a person with an external locus of control expects that they have little control over objects, people or events. Consequently a person who believes that they can have some control over their grades at school who behave differently than someone who believes they have little or no influence. The locus of control tends to be specific to certain types of events and thus a person will differ in their perception of their locus of control across a range of different activities. One may have a high degree of self efficacy in one area and lack of self confidence in another.

Within the continuum of locus of control a person will develop feelings about responsibility, degree of influence, involvement of luck, fate, and chance, the value of hard work, the value of networking, what are the necessary attributes to achieve success, and generally whether the ability to succeed is within his or her own grasp. This strongly influences a person’s perception of self efficacy, personal power, and self esteem. People with an external locus of control may feel they depend upon others for success. This belief may help groom them to become effective leaders who empower the staff, or to become compulsive and paranoid leaders who develop strict organizational controls due to lack of trust of their staff that stifle creativity and innovation. In the market and strategy area, people with an external locus of control will tend to seek soft markets and uncontested niches, as they feel vulnerable and even paranoid. They also have little trust in customers and suppliers, and tend to rely on distributors rather than directly intervening within the market. An external locus of control tends to make a person underestimate their skills and abilities.

On the contrary individuals with an internal locus of control tend to be fearless within the market, and like taking head-on challenges, where there are winners and losers. They tend to be aggressive, intervening directly into the market. This could be at the risk of being overconfident which if not checked, can lead to disaster. A high internal locus of control correlates very well with individuals within the ego-self where “I” and “me” perceptions may motivate grandiose visions and behavior.

Views towards sustainability originate here. People who believe that they can control nature may tend to discard the potential effects of nature when making decisions about activities like farming, whereas people who believe that nature cannot be controlled will develop their decisions based on a respect for the power of nature and possibly try to find ways to work in harmony with nature. However society has generally been developed on the belief that we have power over the environment, a view supported by the advent of ‘technology’ and the ‘green revolution’ after the Second World War. Society thought during the second half of the 20th Century that they could control the destiny of the environment. Even today many in society are still in denial about our true impotency within the environment. Reality only emerges from a natural disaster like a tsunami, hurricane, drought, volcano eruption, flood, earthquake, or forest fire.

The now position is the optimal area of awareness. The past is a memory and the future is a fantasy. The only position of truth is now. Awareness is not about intelligence and knowledge it is about understanding and wisdom. Awareness accepts whatever arises within one’s field of knowing. Awareness is not about analyzing in detail; it’s about what appears and how you respond to it.59 Interpreting “now” at a later time changes meaning. Within the now a person is not burdened by the emotions of the past or future orientation, so there are no feelings of remorse, guilt, regret, attachment to what worked in the past, no fear or anxiety about the uncertainty of the future. Likewise there are no feelings of overconfidence, grandiosity, inadequacy, or depression. The now position is free of distorting emotions that bias reasoning and thinking. This focuses psychic energy to the now as it is not wasted on physically and mentally draining emotions. Living with this high level of emotion continually drains psychic, intellectual, and physical energies. The centre of now is calm, focused, simplistic, connected, empathetic, and a place of humility. In contrast to the outer plain, the centre is an area full of energy.

However as the optimum region of awareness is a smaller circle within the matrix, a slight future orientation allows vision, and a slight past orientation allows learning.

Figure 4 The Emotional Orientation Matrix

12. Meaning and Reality

Perception and emotion help shape the meaning of our environment. If we live within the fixed emotions of our reality construction, our meaning will remain one dimensional and rigid. It will be very difficult to see any other possibilities while our perceptions and thoughts are patterned in a particular way. If we believe that opportunity is about personal discovery, then finding new meanings is paramount to finding new opportunities.

We create meaning from what we touch, small, hear, see, and taste. Most meanings we create are within social contexts which are up to us to interpret. Take for example a parent who has aspirations for their children to go onto further education. What are the sub-conscious reasons behind these aspirations? This is not necessarily easy (even for trained psychologists) to determine without time to compare narratives and other signs given at other times by the parent. The potential motivations for the parent’s aspiration for their children’s higher education could be any one or even mixture of the following: keeping face, an attempt to impress the listener, keeping up with the “Jones”, deny an unhappy family life, a narrative device of optimism, showing off, meeting cultural expectations, or it is the truth. Thus we cannot assume with this simple example that meaning is always easily accessible to us. We can lose meaning through our perceptions, our interpretations, or lack of empathy with the person involved (see Figure 5).

Figure 5 Possible reasons why a parent has aspirations for their child to undertake further education

We need to discover, reflect upon and challenge the realities we think we see. Most people accept their perceptions of reality without question and consequently very few people actually test these realities, as we tend to think of reality as an absolute. Only the creative test reality through imagination, reflected in art, writing, poetry, invention, and even some forms of entrepreneurship.

One way to see other potential realities in everyday situations is to reframe the current prevailing emotions that exist in a situation. For example, if you look at a poor job done by your employees with anger and blame, you would tend to look repressively at them and seek ways to control them more, or take some other form of retribution. If however you look at the same situation with calmness, empathy, and forgiveness, you may find other reasons for your employees’ poor performance, such as high work load, not understanding the importance of the job, or a response to some source of anger that triggered their poor effort. Rather than repress your employees further and increase the scope of the problem, the reframed perception brings a new reality to the source of the problem which may be solved in a positive way.

This involves moving your awareness to the now, not thinking from the past or the future. This means reading the situation as it exists now and not putting the emotions of your history into your interpretation. In the case above, this may involve dropping the assumption that all workers are lazy, which will create conditioned responses such as repressing and controlling the staff more. This assumption based on our experience impedes learning by experimenting with other potential solutions. Looking from “the now” eliminates predetermined assumptions, enabling a reframing of our thoughts into potentially positive solutions.

Handling both strategic and organizational situations requires a capacity for reflection without direct emotional influence and the baggage of yesterday and tomorrow’s assumptions, so that meaningful insights can occur. We can thus disregard our old patterns of behavior in favor of new patterns. Once we can achieve this (and this requires mental discipline), we are able to eliminate the emotions that influence our thinking, in favor of humility, which opens up our mind to new possibilities. Approaching problems with humility is better than approaching with feelings of over-confidence or powerlessness at the other end of the spectrum. Making new meaning is about changing the narrative.

13. Complacency and False Urgency Change Our Perspectives of Reality

A leader after a period of time often becomes tired and complacent. This is very common with entrepreneurs who have led the company from an initial start-up and corporate leaders who have been in their position for a long period of time. After some time, leaders and entrepreneurs become tired, run out of new ideas, lose their drive, and become complacent. Complacency is a characteristic that gradually sets into a person who becomes very comfortable, gets bored, and is tired of the same issues and problems each day. Work becomes a drag rather than the challenge it once was. Complacent leaders believe that they know all that is needed to be known about the market and cease to scan the environment for new threats and opportunities. Within this scenario, motivation slowly declines, self discipline, general focus and concentration wanes. The narrative of the leader becomes reflective of complacency and repetitive without the conviction that it had during the infancy of the firm. As a consequence, subordinates loss interest, their sense of creativity declines, productivity decreases, along with customer service, supplier and other stakeholder relationships. The future reality becomes a negative one rather than a positive one.

Complacent people will never see themselves as complacent as they will be proud of their past successes, believe that they are invincible, and that life will go on as it is. Sense of purpose becomes a sense of status quo and being lethargic as the firm begins to slowly decline. Complacency is based on fear and anxiety about being helpless and having no control over what is happening. People seek power over others to protect their own existence through controlling their immediate internal environment. This leads to ignoring the outside environment where strategy becomes very passive due to denial of change and the wish to cling to the past.60 People use up all their psychic energies to cope with the anxiety and fear of feeling helpless. This brings on narcissism, paranoia, rigidity, cynicism and politics where people become too burned-out to deal with the external environment.

John Kotter elaborated of the concept of pseudowork and described a phenomenon opposite to complacency called ‘false urgency’.61 False urgency is a situation where the organization is busy undertaking tasks for things that are not important to its progress or survival. False urgency takes up a lot of energy for what many see as causeless activities. Employees become angry, anxious, frustrated and tired. Similarly, leaders who continually drive their staff to higher and higher levels of activity, drain their energy until fatigue sets in. Both these situations takeaway focus from the environment where potential threats and opportunities that may emerge are not seen, and if seen, ignored. Our emotional dispositions create our realities.

14. Ethics, Sustainability and Our New Realities

The development of our cerebral cortex gave rise to our higher levels of consciousness.62 This gave humankind many new brain functions with the capacity for both social and environmental interaction.63 We became thinking mammals that could take account of both the self and the environment in our actions. This brings back the question of who are we?

As we have seen “I” and “me” is a constructed identity and all of our behavior is construed within this identity. This is the false self that we live within which performs the role of a macro-defense guarding mechanism maintaining our survival, and suppressing the innate qualities of our true self. However this comes at great cost. The identity that we create to protect ourselves becomes our identity, and we don’t even know it.

When we can escape the influence of our emotions, and this requires a massive effort focusing our attention, we begin through our innate empathy to develop an understanding of our self, others, and the environment. The intensity of “I” and “me” sublimes into the background with our emotions. The boundaries become blurred and we start coming in touch with part of our self that we are not normally aware of. For example, a ‘macho’ male may find doors to his feminine side, a hardnosed accountant may develop compassion for others in need that he or she previously didn’t realize were in need, and a person may come to the realization that they are hurting people with their behavior. These are all insights into other realities that we don’t normally see. Eventually under all of our emotions we find a simple state of humility, awe at life around us, and a feeling of joy.

This is where we can see connections like never before. We see the world as a connected entity, connected by stories, interactions, proximity, phenomena, and being. When we buy a pair of shoes from a shop assistant in New York, Sydney, or London, we see the life of the person as a human that has meaning. We see the organization he or she works for, the immigrant workers who work behind the store, their stories, disappointments and aspirations. We see the people assembling the shoes in factories in far off lands, their life and challenges, their children, and the schools they attend. We see the farmers grazing the cattle that will end up as leather for the shoes will use. This is all part of an interdependent chain of activity and being. This creates meaning. We are connected as one system.

If we accept these interconnections, interrelationships, and interdependencies, we have a collective unconscious. Jung went further and posed that there is a collective unconscious as a prehistoric collection of information, instincts, myths, stories, images, universal symbols that are universally understood across all cultures. The ‘collective unconscious’ embeds all our ancestral experience and concepts of religion and morality. This inherited content is passed from generation to generation and is part of a transcendental reality, linking mind to mind and mind to nature. All people are born with this reservoir of our experience as a species. Although we are not conscious of it, this collective past influences our present behavior. Some experiences that may come from the ‘collective unconscious’ include, love at first sight, déjà vu experiences, immediate recognition of some symbols, reactions to music (like the drum beat), and near death experiences.

To Jung this proved some connection with all nature through the ‘collective unconscious’. Jung likens the external world to one of illusion, something similar to the world of Maya in Hindu theology.64 Our egos (jivatman) are individual souls which are actually extensions of the one and only Atman, universal energy or God who allows an independent identity to manifest itself in part of himself. Through this we are all connected, independent, but interdependent. When we die we realize the illusion that we actually existed as we are part of God.

These ideas were considered esoteric at the time but are becoming integrated into the concepts of quantum mechanics today.65 If we disagree with Jung, we can believe in institutionalized religion, a supreme being and our supreme place on Earth. Another alternative is that we are biological robots with brains that function in a similar manner to a computer with schemata as programs. When we die, the brain goes dead and our identity is lost, just like machine-code being erased from the RAM when a computer is switched off.

A realization of the humility of our true self will bring a profound realization of our interdependence with each other and the world around us. This decreases our sense of “I am” and “me”, increasing our concern for all life. If we stare at the planets in the night sky and try to imagine the distances from Earth involved, we soon realize how insignificant we really are. We are just one person in the whole universe, so how can I focus on ‘me’ without harming the whole. We have no worldly justification for our self centeredness, yet our emotionally attached self is usually painfully connected to the emotions and desires that we have learned to have from our social constructions. This colors our sense of humility, takes away our awareness, sense of fairness to others and our innate sense of morality.

Our abstractions have evolved to a paradigm where everything is commoditized to the extent where relationships can be seen as a trade of favors, affection, support, sex, and service in exchange for the fulfillment of personal needs and wants by others. Value to the individual and others is the denominator and definer of relationships.

Our tendency as individuals is to make decisions that tend to benefit the self over decisions that fulfill ethical obligations to others. Again there is a conflict between ‘what is best for me?’ and ‘what is the right thing to do?’ which is usually answered according to the constructs of our self. Everyday decisions often have paradoxes due to their particular situational circumstances that are not covered by civic and legal codes. For example a salesperson desperately requiring a large order to achieve his or her budget, may accept an order from a customer knowing that his or her firm doesn’t have the capacity to supply it, which would put the customer to great inconvenience. In such cases only decisions based upon our “true nature” without the influence of emotions will be able to govern ethical conduct. The ultimate test is whether we feel comfortable, where the answer will most often depend upon the level of self one is anchored to.66 Most issues are complex situations, not easily addressed by ethical rules, thus relying on our intuition for solutions.

Some people don’t realize we are doing destructive things that hurt others.67 Sometimes this hurt can lead to grave and serious illness. If we switch our self from the usual “I am” to a different viewpoint, i.e., the feeling of being superior, equal, or inferior to another, from one of these viewpoints we can generate new sets of emotions. For example, if we take a superior view point to others we may generate intensive highhandedness. If we view others as equals we may generate feelings of jealousy and competitiveness, and if we view others from an inferior position, we may generate feelings of jealousy and envy. This helps us see the perspectives of our false sense of ourselves and the source of our behaviors. If we can substitute humility for our emotions (humility does not mean subservience or inferiority), we can see our relationships without the emotional intensities that existed before. We can see our inter-connectiveness, how our actions hurt people, and how we stray from our innate morality.

As we have seen, it’s easy for us to be destructive. It’s easy for us to be complacent. It’s easy for us to follow society and go with the flow. What is difficult is to accept who we are, and from the humility of our self be creative. Humankind is good at being destructive and maintaining what is, as it feels secure. One of our deepest desires is to feel secure and this is what society and belongingness provides. Our innate sense of humility has been covered up by our primal sense of greed.

On the scale of civilization, many nations have amassed more resources than they really need. This drives the economic system where greed translates into borrowing and consumption. All done because this is what society expects and we are shaped and nurtured by what society collectively values. As Garrett Hardin postulated, justice, liberation and natural self determination, serve to cover up the true motives of greed, envy, and power.68

Our economics paradigm is partly based on our greed, rational in the sense of being efficient. Therefore the cheapest and most economical way of doing things is the most desirable. As resources don’t necessarily reflect their true costs and the cost of waste doesn’t as yet form any part of the accounting system, our current methods of exploiting resources, farming, and manufacturing will always be unsustainable. Mines, logging, conventional mono-cropping systems, massive centralized urban development creating mega-cities, are affecting life as we know it, changing both the balances of the eco-system and the psycho-system of humanity. Our consumption has great costs whether we like it or not. Production and consumption are expressions of power. We have the power to utilize the resources of the Earth and produce what we want. This marking of the environment is not much different than cats marking their territories with their urine. Our behavior is just sophisticated animal behaviour.69 We don’t know any better as we are socially programmed to act this way.

Technology has enabled the exponential growth of consumption. Through technology we have been able to extract more resources from our biosphere and let go of the wastes back into the troposphere with the blessings of institutionalized religion which deemed mankind the master of all species on the Earth. The digging up of our resources, amassing them for ourselves, and dumping the wastes after our consumption is just the reality created by our primal and material self on a global scale. And just as our primal and material self operates, all this was done without much thinking as a collective being. Rather this is being done through our ignorance and reptilian greed – disconnected from our reasoning. Our cerebral cortex is still dominated by our reptilian brain which keeps us territorial animals, greedy to amass more resources for select groups, without the ability to see consequences of our actions.70 Our discoveries, knowledge, development have all been undertaken in the fear of survival and in the fulfillment of our collective ego to show how great we are over others, with the narrative of “we are superior to you”.

Our existence through socialization and religion on Earth has been arrogant, when we are actually only one of many passing species calling the Earth our home. Humans have been on the earth for about 100,000 years, only a very short time in relation to the age of the universe, which is approximately 4,000 billion years old. Civilization only developed around 4,000 years ago, yet over the last 200 years, the biosphere has been threatened in a profound way, unprecedented by any other species over the last billion years.

Nature has created almost two million species of which humankind are only one of them. The earth has been inhabited by an additional 7.8 million species which don’t exist today. Humankind depends upon the other species and environment for survival, yet humankind has developed it’s own arrogance and ignorance of the environment, enforced by collective beliefs, which are reinforced by culture, religion, morals, and laws. It is the system of current ethics and beliefs that are restricting us, as life on Earth is sustainable, but we are not.71 This narrow ego-centric sense of who we are is only a social construction that has been at the centre of our humanity, holding back progress. For example, up until the Seventeenth Century, we thought that the Sun, Moon, and planets of our solar system all revolved around the Earth.

We actually own nothing. “I am” and “me” is only a passing entity that is custodian of an illusion. We share the Earth, can never control it, we can temporarily occupy it, but the moment we think we own it, our awareness falls into one of the domains of our self that deludes our perceptions and sense of morality. A custodian rather than an owner has a responsibility of mutual respect to share the resources of the Earth and consider the other custodians. Taking would be on the basis of need rather than want. Therefore our ethics and responsibilities are not civic, are not philosophical, are not doctrine, are not dogma, they are part of our innate true nature.

Our emotions enable us to take specific paths within a universe full of multiple possibilities of reality. It is here that our emotions override our innate sense of morality taking us away from the potential universe that our true self could prevail within. As emotions are universal to different cultures common archetypes of greed, indulgence, envy, jealousy, need for power and control, etc., take us down a universe of reality that is parallel but different from a universe of innate humility. The universe is a state of mind and through the dominating archetypes of emotion, they become physical ones with phenomenon occurring according to the laws of the archetype governing it.72 We are locked through socialized psychic constitutions with certain sets of emotions that endlessly go around and around creating the same history, without any possibility of seeing that we are hurting others.73

It is the archetypes that we see the world through that gives meaning to the world.74 This defines our own reality and potential future possibilities. The values we put on things are the “truths” – all reality is our construction. As Jung postulated, mankind is the second creator of the world and gives it objective existence.75

15. Towards New Ethics and Sustainability

The problem with the above arguments about ethics and our responsibilities towards sustainability is that the ideas of self humility are too far away from the mainstream of world philosophical thought. This was unlike the American Indian, Australian Aboriginal, and New Zealand Maori civilizations that saw their role in life to act as custodian of the land for future generations. These were sustainable civilizations that only demised because of invasion and massacre. The contemporary world is caught up in the narrative of economic development and progress.

The ego-centric focus on “I” and “me” prevents humanity even understanding what the true problems really are. Current liberal ethics that most societies are based upon have little room for personal enlightenment. Institutionalized religion sees personal enlightenment as an affront to traditional theology and is therefore not condoned. Our personal sense of sustainability is confused with the myths that religion has given us, deeming ourselves as the master of all species, where in fact we are just one of the species and caretaker of the earth for the next generation. Through our technical progress we feel that we can control nature, which we can’t, so when we realize that we are not immortal and don’t control nature, we either become spiritual beings, work hard to build a legacy to surpass our own death, or become psychotic trying to deny the truth.

Environmental destruction simply continues because it creates profits for those in control of the resources and the global markets that demand them. Powerful organizations both control and depend upon this. As we saw with the 2008 bail outs of US corporations, they are a protected species, not just embedded within the fabric of capitalism, but they are capitalism itself. We have also seen that central planning does no better of a job than the capitalist model,76 and the capitalist model itself is under threat.77

The capitalist system, although providing growth, has failed in providing wellbeing and equity in most national scenarios and on a global basis. Economies are facing grave macroeconomic imbalances that are reflected in high rates of unemployment, massive budgeting deficits, highly unstable currencies, balance of payments imbalances, and highly volatile resource, commodity, and equity markets. In addition most country’s resources have been exploited at rates that will see their depletion within a relatively short time span. A by-product of the current capitalist system is the increase of carbon and other ‘greenhouse’ gases released into the atmosphere and waterways to the extent never seen before in the history of world evolution. This has been accompanied by high rates of urbanization, the loss of traditional ways of life, the declining rate of biodiversity on the planet, stress, frustration, crime, mental illness and suicide. Absolute poverty in the underdeveloped world is still in mammoth numbers and relative poverty is on the rise in the developed world.

The prevailing nature of ego-centric organizations and the geo-political divide and their conquering mentality is driving this destruction even further. Our unsustainable practices are linked to the myths that humankind has created to cope with our mortality and powerlessness. We live with a “scorched Earth mentality”, with little concern for the coming generations after us. Current solutions on the table for solving climate, food, population, resource, and sustainability issues are like what Ulrich Beck called “a bicycle brake on an international jet.”78

The restriction of plastic shopping bags, reduction of air conditioning temperatures, and the use of biodiesel are measures that won’t make a significant difference. These measures look and sound good on the surface, and are measures governments and corporations are employing as a fallacy to save the world. For every plastic shopping bag saved, a tree is being illegally chopped down in a tropical rainforest somewhere without any hesitation at all. More ecological problems are caused by the primitive rather than industrialized practices.79

Most popular literature on sustainability is devoid on the morality of the issue and offer a functionalist and instrumentalist approach within the narrative of branding, strategy, competitive advantage, and market. They offer solutions to the symptoms rather than the root causes of the problems.

There needs to be a paradigm change in our logic and narrative that can transcend our rigid and culturally set ways of doing things to a new level. The current ecological crisis is primarily a crisis of our own ideas and approaches to the human-nature nexus. We have measured success and wealth by what we have, therefore a new definition of wealth and success is required. Our development must take account of both the present and the future to meet our entire needs and keep the environment in equilibrium. This means redefining the goals of humanity which would result in new cultural and social traditions that can form the foundations of a new society. This will involve replacing technological dominating, reductionist, mechanistic orientation with an anti-mechanistic orientation that promotes a new social order.80 Anything else would be superficial, appeasing, and stopgap.

Ethics and sustainability cannot be treated as being independent of everything else within our lives. These concerns must be integrated into the person before they can be integrated into the organization. To think otherwise would be a big mistake.

Our economic system is supported on the basis that human beings are rational and calculate matters according to their own interests. This translates into selfishness and greed where natural resources are harvested and used wastefully, often in the most uncreative ways. Likewise technology increases productivity and enables the production of surpluses which can benefit many. If this waste did not exist and our resources were distributed fairly, poverty would no longer exist today. The problems of the world can be fixed by a matter of redistribution. In addition, through proper practices more than double the population of today can be fed through agriculture. By definition there can be no sustainability without equity.

However in actual fact poverty is not the real problem, it’s only a symptom. The real problem is the hijacking of our innate humility by our emotions. Most attempts to solve world poverty have failed because they have been motivated by fame and gain by many of the World’s institutions. How many times have they tried? How many times have they failed?

Leadership is a matter of morality, rather than a tool for looking after sectional interests. Even our concept of freedom is based on individualism. Liberal parliamentary democracies are adversarial in nature where the winner takes all.

The world is always changing according to the doctrine of natural selection. Natural selection is the basis of competition through the Schumpeterian concept of creative destruction that has driven our evolution and development.81 According to the doctrine of natural selection the species struggle for survival culminates with only the fittest surviving. However we are finding out plants, animals, and even the biosphere works in cooperation rather than competition with other entities to survive. We still live in a state of blissful ignorance; the metaphor of Adam and Eve taking the forbidden fruit of sustainability.82 Our current practices as a species have evolved out of our lack of awareness and cultural ignorance of the consequences for survival. We still have not developed the correct practices required for survival in our global situation today. The shifting balance of power between humankind and the Earth is a question of great importance. Natural selection is about trial and error until a species determines the current practices that are necessary for survival.83 Our constructed human paradigms need to change.

16. Towards a New Mastery

To run any enterprise a person needs skills and abilities. The ideal entrepreneur according to Kao is enthusiastic, creative, a risk taker, have a strong drive to succeed, have broad vision and an eye for detail, be assertive and also friendly, cool headed, and able to make assessments and decisions in a calm manner and quickly, and have a strong motivation to overcome hurdles.84 In addition to having the cognitive attributes necessary for entrepreneurship, a person must have a range of skills to successfully start-up, develop, manage, and grow their business. These core skills include basic finance, marketing, manufacturing, and interpersonal skills. If the entrepreneur has knowledge and experience of entrepreneurship, he or she will very quickly be able to build up a set of personal competencies.85

Personal competencies can be considered higher level characteristics encompassing personal traits, behavior, knowledge, and groups of skills.86 For example, swimming is a skill and synchronized swimming can be considered a competency. Competencies are much wider than skills, expertise, motivation, personal traits, self concept, knowledge, and acumen, as they combine to form a platform for future behavior. Personal competencies are also situational and socially defined. For example, the ability to find where schools of fish exist is a maybe a very important competency for an Eskimo in Alaska, but useless to a stockbroker in Wall St. New York. Personal competencies are the total ability of a person to perform a job or a task successfully.87 They are a set of attributes that are relevant to the exercise of successful activities, in the case of entrepreneurship, the creation, growth and survival of a firm. Personal competencies have important implications for firm performance.

To develop our personal competencies, one must develop what Peter Senge calls ‘personal mastery’. Personal mastery is concerned with personal growth and development so that real learning can take place. Personal mastery involves using our skills and competencies at the highest possible level where we achieve creative fulfillment and spiritual growth.88 Personal mastery enables a person to see things more objectively without biases and other cognitive blocks. An individual with personal mastery has vision and the desire to be creative. He or she remains curious and inquisitive about why things occur the way they occur. People with personal mastery are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and their ability to achieve. They are on a continual quest to learn and improve. Personal mastery also brings true courage and commitment to pursue the personal objectives a person may have.

To develop personal mastery, one must work on a series of ‘principals and practices’ According to Senge, these principles and practices include;

· One must develop a sense of vision, ‘a big picture’ of what they want out of life. This goes much further than goals and objectives that don’t carry the same deep meanings about life that a vision contains. Visions are intrinsic that gives one a sense of purpose, motivating action and persistence.

· One must create tension inside to generate energy to pursue the vision from where they are today.

· We must overcome our own deep feelings of powerlessness and recognize our own coping and defense mechanisms.

· We must see our true selves and our respective dysfunctional behaviors, and

· To master a large repertoire of skills so that they can be carried out almost sub-consciously, i.e., the task is integrated with the self.89

People with personal mastery are able to integrate intuition and reason which is where personal competencies can be utilized very effectively. Competencies are thus multidimensional constructs.90 They are deeply rooted in a person’s background, being acquired through education, training, and experience.91

To truly achieve this requires awareness. Seeing through our dysfunctional behaviors needs awareness. Vision needs awareness, living in the now and a balanced locus of control. This is vital in tapping our psychic and physical energies.

We must also forget about our past stories of successes and failure so we can look at any opportunities in unique ways, rather than the ways of the past that emotionalize what we see. We must also eliminate the hopes and excitement we might have for the future so that we can evaluate the issues without allowing expectation to influence us.

Through mastery we don’t mean perfection, as perfection itself is just another form of emotional defense. Perfection may stop learning, which is vital to any opportunity, strategy, and organization. The goal should be balance between all the competencies we have, rather than perfection in any one area. It’s the journey we must value, not the end. Reaching the end is just another delusion which puts finality to something, where it may just be the beginning. Systems never have beginnings and ends. Believing one has reached the end will stifle initiative, creativity, and ingenuity in favour of complacency.

Intellect triggers rational consideration and adversarial debate about issues which brings up our defenses preventing feeling and intuition. Mastery is not based on intelligence and knowledge. It’s about experience and the feelings one derives. It’s possible to read everything and gain instruction about how to drive a car. But until one has actually sat in the car and tried to drive it, one will never experience the feeling of what it is like to drive a car. Without experience intelligence and knowledge has little use. Awareness is the key to feeling. If we are not aware, we can never experience. Intelligence and knowledge without awareness is just like a book on a shelf. Without the knowledge from the book being used and felt, it is primarily useless. Mastery is not about success, it is also about failure and learning. True mastery is about persistence and perseverance.

Once our awareness develops, we will start to see the multiple perspectives the environment offers. Just like the line drawing of the cube at the beginning of this chapter, everything has multiple perspectives. However these multiple perspectives can bring contradictions and confusion. Our intelligence and knowledge cannot easily make sense or meaning out of it. Only our feelings from experience and intuitive skills develop a perspective from which we can make meaning. We have to learn that life is not based on fact, but perspective. The major decisions made in business and war, have been made from perspective, rather than the facts. Perspective defines our reality and how we respond accordingly, which is counterintuitive to how we have been made to believe we should think. We need awareness to have true wisdom.

The simple act of listening shows how we sometimes wander through life with a low level of awareness. How many times when someone is speaking to you, are you preoccupied with other things? How often do we daydream when others are speaking? How often do you believe that what you think is right and what the other has to say is not worth listening to? How often are you just waiting for an opportunity to espouse what you think? How often are you just thinking of rebuttals, arguments against what a person is saying rather than actually listening to the content of what they are actually saying? How often are you making judgments about the person speaking or what they are saying? How often are you looking for an opportunity to disagree, agree, or run away? How often are you evaluating and comparing what a person is saying against what you believe? How often do you fail to seek clarification about something you don’t understand? Do you try and control the interaction by trying to dominate the conversation? Our listening habits usually show that our level of personal awareness is low and we are influenced by so much of our own emotion just in the act of listening to someone. This is at the cost of seeing new perspectives and exercising our ability to empathize with others.

The ability to listen effectively is a powerful tool in developing awareness, empathy, humility, and consequently understand new perspectives. Listening is much more than hearing, it involves being attentive to what others say, observing emotion, behavior and body language, facial expressions, and fighting off our own internal distractions that lessen of ability to listen. Listening requires much more discipline, attention, and concentration than we expect. Think about it, how much self discipline do we need to really effectively listen to someone? Once we have achieved the discipline, attention, and concentration really needed to listen, we realize how powerful a tool listening is in understanding what a person has to say, and from where emotionally a person is saying it. Listening skills can be developed and refined through active and reflective listening techniques, where the listener repeats, paraphrases and reflects upon what the speaker is saying as a means of clarifying the message that the speaker is intending to convey to us.92

Mastery is a personal struggle. When we are aware that our thinking is slipping into the negative, focus on thinking uplifting thoughts, as the brain can only process one thought at a time. In this way, through disciplined practice, one can reduce the negativity within the mind, by changing the thinking flow, in a similar way one changes slides on a projector.

Our identity begins to evolve, becoming sustainable and able to flow with the forces of change around us. We are aware of our own emotions and what delusions they try to develop in us. Once we can see through these delusions, our ego-centric tendencies begin giving way to a real sense of humility. Our innate sense of morality emerges. We see the crisis of meaning around us, the lack of morality, greed and selfishness, capitalism for what it really is, and the unsustainable ways of our society. We begin to question society’s dreams and replace them with our own, gaining our personal freedom from the repression of our society, our freedom to have and follow our own aspirations. This is where our personal transformation takes place and we reincarnate or regenerate into a new sense of self and orientation towards life.

It is only when we have this personal ability to change that we can work through the pain of changing organizations. Leadership is about shifting style to fit changing situations, although values and ethics will remain as solid as a rock. Liberation is about awareness to see new ideas, opportunities within a complex environment and have the confidence to transcend our current state of mind through enacting upon our new perceptions. The most probable ethical leadership qualities that will have importance to management for perhaps the rest of this century may include;

· A leader must have empathy to understand. However this empathy must not be mechanical, it must be a way of being. People need the quality of the leader’s presence in the ‘here and now’ committed wholeheartedly to the interaction.

· A leader should always have an ethical framework within his or her mindset that looks at possibilities that maximize benefits for the Earth and welfare of the people.

· These ethics should be applied consistently without any lapse. This may often mean that many decisions may not make financial gain for the firm in the short term. This may also mean that some decisions may not have a clearly immediate ethical path to follow. This will be a quality that will be extremely critical to the survival of firms in the future.

· A leader must perform his or her duties without fear or favour to stakeholders. Decisions and appointments must be merit based, fair, transparent, sincere, and not in any deceitful way to the public.

· A leader should never exploit others.

· A leader should ensure that his or her organization puts more resources back into the community that it takes out.

· A leader must be close to his or her people, working alongside (if possible), and interested in what is happening. Leading by example is the most powerful way to win respect and change the assumptions, beliefs, and values of a firm when needed.

· A leader should be very self disciplined and never lose their temper, succumb to anger, or show their stress, etc., to others.

· A leader should not be motivated by personal gain and fame.

· A leader should show humility and not arrogance, and

· A leader should not be deluded by past successes and rest on their or the company’s laurels.

Research has shown that high ethical standards on peoples’ behavior has a high influence on the level of trust by potential customers, suppliers, financiers, and employees, the public and business partners and as such creates opportunities for a firm that may not have otherwise existed.93

The mistake people make is that they may do these things once, when this must be a continual process, a journey, not an end. Just look at the number of declining Fortune List companies. Morality and sustainability are linked to survival, and survival is linked to adaptation, which humans are loathed at doing.



1. Pascale, R.T. (1978), “Zen and the Art of Management,” Harvard Business Review 6(2): 153–162.

2. Spinelli, E. (2007), Practicing Existential Psychotherapy – The Relational World. London: Sage, 12.

3. When a person stares too hard or takes the environment too literally, much meaning will be lost, i.e., analysis is one-dimensional perception.

4. Klein, M. (1975), Envy and Gratitude and Other Works 19461963. London: Hogarth Press, 287.

5. Young, G.E., Klosko, J.S., & Weishaar, M.E. (2003), Schema Therapy: A practitioner’s Guide. New York-London: The Guildford Press.

6. Smetham, G. (2011), The Grand Designer: Discovering the Quantum Mind Matrix of the Universe. Brighton: Shunyata Press.

7. Dawkins, R, (2006), The God Delusion. London: Black Swan.

8. Hawking, S., & Mlodinow, L. (2010), The Grand Design. London: Bantam Books.

9. Bohn, J.D. (1983), Wholeness and the Implacable Order. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Also see: Chase-Dunn, C., & Lerro, B. (2004), Social Change and Evolution. Indianapolis, IN: Pearson Education, Ch. 1.

10. Lovelock, J. (1979), GAIA: A New Look at Life on Earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

11. Berger, P. & Luckman, T., (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Harmondsworth-Middlesex: Penguin.

12. Goleman, D. (2006), Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary Science of Human Relationships. New York: Bantam Press.

13. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1955), The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper & Row (translation).

14. Harris, T.A. (1967), I’m OK Your OK. New York: Avon Books.

15. Hattie, J. (1992), Self Concept. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

16. Reed, S.K. (2007), Cognition: Theory and Applications. 7th edn. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth.

17. For a good discussion on fight, flight, freeze and the influence of emotions upon our lives, see Jawer, M.A. & Micozzi, M.S. (2009), The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, Body, and the Sixth Sense. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.

18. Descartes, R. (1644), Les Principles de la philosophie. Translated by Miller, V.R. & Miller, R.P. (1983), Principles of Philosophy. Dordrecht: Reidel.

19. Leibniz, G.W. (1720), The Monadology. Translated by R. Lotte (1925). London: Oxford University Press.

20. McGinn, C. (1989), “Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?” Mind 98(391): 349–366.

21. Nagel, T. (1979), Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

22. Trefil, J.S. (1997), One Hundred and One Things You Don’t Know about Science and No One Else Does Either. Boston, MA: Mariner Books.

23. Frankl, V. (2006), Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

24. Becker, E. (1972), The Birth and Death of Meaning: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Problem of Man. 2nd edn. New York: Free Press.

25. Polanyi, M., & Prosch, H. (1975), Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

26. Erikson, E.H. (1975), Life History and the Historical Movement. New York: Norton.

27. Dennet, D. (2003), “Explaining the ‘Magic’ of Consciousness,” Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 1(1): 7–19.

28. Broadbent, D.E. (1958), Perception and Communication. London: Pergamon Press.

29. Broadbent, D.E. (1957), “A Mechanical Model for Human Attention and Immediate Memory,” Psychological Review 64: 205–215.

30. See Deutsch, J.A. & Deutsch, D. (1963), “Attention: Some Theoretical considerations,” Psychological Review 70: 80–90, & Norman, D.A. (1968), “Toward a Theory of Memory and Attention,” Psychological Review 75: 522–536.

31. Kahneman, D. (1973), Attention and Effort. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

32. Pang, J. (1972), “Towards a Certain ‘Contextualism’ II (Foresight & Hindsight) vs. Insight,” Philosophia Mathematics S1–9(2): 158–167.

33. Baron, R.A. & Ward, T.B. (2004), “Expanding Entrepreneurial Cognition’s Toolbox: Potential Contributions from the Field of Cognitive Science,” Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice 28(6): 553–575.

34. The metaphor of seeing things through tinted or colored glasses has been used for hundreds of years to describe various delusions or biases people may have. L. Frank Baum’s character Dorothy in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz asked the guardian of the gates why everyone has to wear green glasses in the Emerald City. The guardian replied so everything in the Emerald City would look green, so that people would think it really is an Emerald City (Baum 1999, pp. 130-131). Today for example, green is associated with envy, i.e., “green with envy”, blue is associated with depression, i.e., “the blues”, and rose or red is associated with optimistic delusion, i.e., “a rosier world”. Popular media has adapted this metaphor and used many ad hoc terms like ‘green glasses’, Dole-coloured glasses’ and ‘private sector glasses’, etc. Baum, L. F. (1999), The Wonderful World of Oz. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. (Republished)

35. Ucbasaran, D., Westhead, P., & Wright, M. (2004), “Human Capital-based Determinants of Opportunity Identification,” Bygrave, W., Brush, D., et al. (eds.), Frontiers of Entrepreneurial Research. Wellesley, MA: Babson College, 430–444.

36. Although some psychologists recognize that some human motives and behaviours seem to be unlearned, a criteria of an instinct, the term instinct is rarely accepted today in modern psychology because humans have the ability to override these motives and drives.

37. Sorokin, P. A. (1942), Man and Society in Calamity. New York: E.P. Dutton, 81.

38. Otto, F. (1938), “The Drive to Amass Wealth,” Psychoanalytic Quarterly 7: 69–95.

39. The attention-seeking (dramatic) typology is manifested when a person is hyperactive, impulsive and dramatically venturesome in their lives. They work tirelessly to impress others, often appearing flamboyant, craving novelty and excitement. Attention-seeking (dramatic) leaders are usually great charmers of people they want to impress. They continually seek positive feedback and admiration of their actions. They are very opinionated on topical issues, but lack substance to support their ideas and will change their position to suit their audience. They have very low self-esteem and rely on others to suppress this. Being at the centre of attention relieves this tension and the insecurity they feel. Consequently it is hard to get along with these people unless one helps to fulfill this craving for attention. These leaders tend to surround themselves with people who will always agree with them.

40. Baumeister, R.F. & Leary, M.R. (1995), “The Need to Belong: Desire for Interpersonal Attachments as a Fundamental Human Motivation,” Psychological Bulletin 117: 497–529.

41. Schachter, S. (1958), The Psychology of Affiliation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

42. Hollis, J. (2007). Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Sides. New York: Penguin Books.

43. Drummond, G. (1998), “New Theorizing about Organizations: The Emergence of Narrative and Social Theory for Management,” Current Topics for Management 3(2): 93–122.

44. Man, T.W.Y. & Lau, T. (2005), “The Context of Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong,” Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 12(4): 464–481.

45. The word ego is a metaphorical concept, which originated in psychotherapy, that describes the phenomenon of emotions and our schemas (schema may also be a metaphorical concept) interacting with our experiences to manifest our disposition towards various types of feeling, thinking, actions, and behavior.

46. A person’s intelligence may prevent them from considering new information on the pretence that they believe they already know what needs to be known. Thus learning, particularly if this new information comes from a non-traditional source is inhibited – “The cup is full”.

47. Deacon, T. (1997), The Symbolic Species. London: Penguin Press.

48. There is abundant research into this area, for example see: Haynes, S. G., McMichael, A.J., & Tyroler, H.A. (1978), “Survival after Early and Normal Retirement,” Journal of Gerontology 33(2): 269–278.

49. Some of these traits are based on Maslow’s view of the self-actualized and Zohar & Marshall’s view of spiritual intelligence. See Maslow, A.H. (1987), Motivation and Personality. 3rd edn. New York: Harper & Row; Zohar, D. & Marshall, I., (2004), Spiritual Capital: Wealth We Can Live By. London: Bloomsbury.

50. Moss, R. (2007). The Mandela of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness. Novato, CA: New World Library, 271–272.

51. Vedral, V. (2010), Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 200.

52. Batros, J. (2011), “The relational Group World: An Existential Leap,” paper presented to the OD Professionals Conference Stories from the Field, Working with Groups. Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, 16th September.

53. Strawson, G. (1999), “The Sense of the Self,” in Crabbe, M.J.C. (ed), From Soul to Self. London: Routledge, 126–152.

54. Hunter, M. (2011), Opportunity, Strategy & Entrepreneurship: A Meta-Theory, Vol. 1. New York: Nova Scientific, 37.

55. Langer, E.J., & Moldoveanu, M. (2000), “The Construct of Mindfulness,” Journal of Social Issues 56(1): 1–9.

56. Corbett, A.C., & McMullen, J.S. (2007), “Perceiving and Shaping New Venture Opportunities through Mindful Practice,” in Zacharakis, A. & Spinelli, S. (eds.), Entrepreneurship: The Engine of Growth, Volume 2. Westport CN: Praeger Perspectives, 43–64.

57. Langer, E.J. (1997), The Power of Mindful Learning. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

58. Satir, Virginia (1972), Peoplemaking. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.

59. Batchelor, S. (2010), Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. New York: Spiegel & Grau.

60. Bardwick. J. M. (1995), Danger in the Comfort Zone: From the Boardroom to the Mailroom – How to Break the Entitlement Habit That’s Killing American Business. New York: American Management Association, 41.

61. Kotter, J. (2008), A Sense of Urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.

62. Eccles, J.C. (1992), “Evolution of Consciousness,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 89(16): 7320–7324.

63. Baars, B.J.A. (1993), Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

64. Burke, T.P. (2004), The Major Religions, 2nd edn. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 16.

65. Rosenblum, B. & Kuttner, F. (2011), Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness, 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

66. There are also a number of other influences upon our ethics. Our state of knowledge restricts our level of ethics. For example if we are not aware of ethical occupational health and safety ethics, we cannot practice them. We are also influenced by our cultural norms within society, operating with set value frameworks. This is reinforced by what our peers do. Attitude, intent, and motivation also play key roles in ethics, which are influenced by the level of our self awareness. Consequently ethical behavior will be situational.

67. Sharma, R. (1997), The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable about Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny. New York: HarperCollins, 177.

68. Hardin, G. (1993), Living Within Limits: Economics, and Population Taboos. New York: Oxford University Press.

69. Kochmer, C. (2011), A Personal Tao. Olympia, WA: Amberjack Software LLC.

70. Bajrektarevic, A. H. (2008), From Rio to Johannesburg: Diplomacy of Sustainable Development. Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations Malaysia (IDFR), Kuala Lumpur, 25th November.

71. The comments and arguments put by Dr. Anis Bajrektarevic at a public lecture at University Malaysia Perlis on 27th November 2008.

72. Goswami, A. (1995), The Self Aware Universe. New York: Penguin Putman, 40.

73. Hunter, M. (2011), Opportunity, Strategy & Entrepreneurship: A Meta-Theory, Vol. 1. New York: Nova Scientific, 282.

74. Stapp, H. P. (2011), Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics, 3rd edn. Berlin: Springer.

75. Jung, C.G. (1981), The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious: Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 48.

76. Pryde, P.R. (1991), Environmental Management in the Soviet Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

77. Harvey, D. (2010), The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism. London: Profile Books; and King, S. D. (2010), Losing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western Prosperity. New Haven-London: Yale University Press.

78. Beck, U. (1992), “From Industrial Society to Risk Society,” in Featherstone, M. (ed.), Cultural Theory and Cultural Change. London: Sage, 106.

79. Lovelock, J. (1979), op. cit., 104.

80. Gare, A. (1998), “MacIntyre, Narratives, and Environmental Ethics,” Environmental Ethics 20: 21.

81. Schumpeter, J. (1942), Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York: McGraw-Hill.

82. Lovelock, J. (1979), op. cit., 103.

83. Lovelock, J. (1979), op. cit., 25.

84. Kao, R.W.Y. (2001), Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in Asia. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 97–98.

85. Carroll, G., & Mosakowski, E. (1987), “The Career Dynamics of Self Employment,” Administrative Science Quarterly 32(4): 570–589.

86. Hunter, M. (2011), Opportunity, Strategy & Entrepreneurship: A Meta-Theory, Vol. 2. New York: Nova Scientific, 129.

87. Man, T.W.Y., Lau, T. & Chan, K.F. (2002), “The Competitiveness of Small and Medium Form Enterprises: A Conceptualization with Focus on Entrepreneurial Competencies,” Journal of Business Venturing 17: 123–142.

88. Senge, P.M. (2006), The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, rev. edn. London: Random House, 131.

89. Ibid., P. 136.

90. Smith, B. & Morse, E. (2005), Entrepreneurial Competencies: Literature Review and Best Practices. Ottawa, Small Business Policy Branch, Industry Canada. 91. Egan, G. (1986), The Skilled Helper: A Systematic Approach to Effective Helping, 3rd edn. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 95.

92. Rothwell, D.J. (2010), In the Company of Others: An Introduction to Communication. New York: Oxford University Press.

93. Boatright, J.R. (2007), Ethics and the Conduct of Business, 5th edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 15.

© Murray Hunter  


      One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunter

     People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter

How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter

     How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter

     Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter

     The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter

     Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter

     How motivation really works - Murray Hunter

     The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter

     Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity -
Murray Hunter

Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter

     Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter

     The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter

     Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter

     Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter

  Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities - Murray Hunter

     The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies - Murray Hunter

There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially - Murray Hunter

     Go Home, Occupy Movement!!-(The McFB– Was Ist Das?) - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

     Diplomatie préventive - Aucun siècle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Democide Mass-Murder and the New World Order - Paul Adams


Koninkrijk Belgie - Monarchie Belgique


Važne vijesti

Важни новини

Notícies importants

Důležité zprávy

Vigtige nyheder

Belangrijke nieuws

Important News

Tähtis Uudised

Nouvelles importantes

Wichtige News

Σημαντικές ειδήσεις

Fontos hírek

Fógra tábhachtach Nuacht

Importanti novitŕ

Svarīga Jaunumi

Svarbu Naujienos

Importante Notícias

Pomembne novice

Noticias importantes

Viktiga nyheter


prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Go Home, Occupy Movement!! - (The McFB – Was Ist Das?) -
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Diplomatie préventive - Aucun sičcle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic\/span|

prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Gunboat Diplomacy in the South China Sea – Chinese strategic mistake -
Anis H. Bajrektarevic

Geopolitics of Quantum Buddhism: Our Pre-Hydrocarbon Tao Future
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

Maasmechelen Village

Maasmechelen Village