Just earlier this week, I received an email from Mindvalley’s newsletter, titled "How to raise the consciousness & vibration of 1 billion people?”
And I’m glad that I opened this email and went through the message.
The part that caught my attention was a segment of Q & A with Tom Chi, co-founder of Google X, where he was posted this question by Mindvalley during his talk:
“What is a global problem worth solving for a company like Mindvalley?”
Even though it is a big problem to look at, Tom hit the nail on the head with his response that goes something like this…
"Technology is getting more and more powerful while the level of human consciousness is far behind. If we don't advance the consciousness faster than the advanced technology, we're done.”
That inspired me to watch the entire presentation led by Founder of Mindvalley, Vishen Lakhiani, found in that email as well.
I was deeply touched!
I urge you to set aside some time to watch this 50 minutes presentation.
At the same time, I’m inviting you to take a step back from where you are in your business, career and life to look at what’s happening around you from a wider perspective, to look at the subtle and the invisible because they matter.
“The skillful are not obvious
They appear to be simple-minded
Those who know this know the patterns of the Absolute
To know the patterns is the Subtle Power
The Subtle Power moves all things and has no name.”
~ Power vs Force, David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D
Are we masquerading our fears and ignorance as success, contribution and growth?
In that video, one of Tom’s story highlighted an elephant in the room that we could have been ignoring all these while.
He was approached by a company and was offered hundreds of thousands of dollars asking him how he can help them promote carbonated sugar beverage to more teenagers.
When Tom questioned the integrity and the consequences of how this can lead to diabetes, the company twisted the argument mentioning that there are more than 100 factors that cause diabetes as sugar is found almost everywhere in our diet and there isn't any conclusive link that their beverage could lead to diabetes.
That company went on to justify the image they are projecting by indicating that they are the first beverage company to show multi-racial couple in an ad and that they had gay couple kissing in a TV spot, an indirect message that they embrace an open and diverse culture rather than discrimination.
Irregardless of their defense, Tom turned down their offer.
And he pointed out this, as shown in the screenshot from the presentation.
The underlying psychology of this misdirection is similar to the game of “greenwashing” - where a company spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.
Their hidden agenda is to raise the bottom line and stakeholders’ shares.
There is nothing wrong with increasing and growing the business.
What’s creating the issue is that there are people in the position of power, knowledge and resourcefulness who continue to position themselves in the good image of reputation, where underneath them are simply lies, denial and deception.
That becomes prevalent these days especially with the exposure of more fake news taking place in our lives.
It is by no surprise that sometimes, even people who has a high standard of moral and ethics are seen crossing the line.
And in the name of self-righteousness, they can even inflict sufferings unto themselves and others, unconsciously!
Given that we now have more means and access to cover up, to mask ourselves or to hide behind a facade via impressive digital footprints, one could easily masquerade their fears, ego and ignorance as success, contribution and growth.
But how long can we last?
More importantly, what is the state of the world we want to pass on to our next generation and so on?
We have come to a point in our existence that we do not need more smart people.
There are tons of smart and successful people out there who are living a disconnected life creating tension and disease in the world.
We need more people who has the capacity to love from their heart, influence with their soul and think with compassion and wisdom
According to Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, we need the quotient of love (LQ), which machines never have, if we want to thrive 30 years and even longer down the road.
When your inner work is great, your outer work can never be small!
Some time back, an entrepreneur that I know was complaining to me how his Fiverr guys had messed up with one of his client’s website.
Not only that, in such sessions, he would also usually lament about his business.
He attributed his lack of business growth as a result of not doing enough content marketing, weak branding, lack of SEO, not actively marketing himself through Facebook ads, Instagram, Linkedin and so on.
Though these are useful elements for growth, the real deeper issue isn’t so much about the tactical side of his business.
As I get to learn more about him, I realized he has been operating in a scarcity mode in his business, primarily driven by fear and anger towards his competitors who are not up to the standards and yet still getting a lot of business or publicity.
He held a strong underdog stance in his business approach and has been desiring to get back at those bigger players in his industry by proving himself right.
While it is necessary to stand for something, his level of consciousness, which is one of “fighting” against others, is also working against him.
He has self-sabotaged himself by fighting his worries with the fear of losing his position in the industry.
Fear and frustration is keeping him trapped in a hungry and desperate energy and level of thinking.
It makes him vulnerable to making a lot of decisions that eventually turned against him, which led him down the path of quick fixes.
That’s why he is often seen fighting fire with his clients.
The Fiverr episode is just one of those decisions he made because he is unwilling to invest in those areas necessary, where he could have engaged someone who is more professional to do the job.
And when he is stressed up with all these issues and phone calls coming to him (signs of being unhealthily busy), he unconsciously acted as a victim, expecting others to help him find the solutions for him.
Not only that, he has this quid pro quo tendency that was limiting him from growing his network.
In other words, his business has came to a point of stagnancy, not because of his lack in the business strategies(even though this is still valid), but for remaining at the same level of thinking where the problems are created.
I can also see that he is using his business as a way to heal himself.
He was going through what is known as the “dark night of the soul.”
Essentially, he was experiencing a deep sense of disappointment and meaninglessness where the current events back then were invalidating his worldview about life, people and business.
Then, I came to learn more about Dan Sullivan on his approach of abundance vs scarcity level of thinking.
And that reinforces one wisdom.
Your outer results cannot outperform your inner work.
I've seen a difference between someone who has integrated the stuff they are preaching in their business into their life or practice versus someone who simply combine bits and pieces from other people's system and deliver as their own.
The former can be gaining traction or attracting responses with ease, leverage and synergy while the latter can be seen doing a lot of things trying to increase their business but almost always met with poor responses, conflicts or resistance.
We can always give people the best solutions and strategies available in the world but can their inner development, maturity and consciousness keep up with it?
To sum up, I would like to offer this wisdom by Meister Eckhart, a 14th-century Christian mystic:
“The outer work can never be small
if the inner work is great.
And the outer work can never be great
if the inner work is small.”
From ME to we
Fear is showing up more often than ever in times of unknown and uncertainty like these.
Sometimes, we feel it in our gut and body, beyond our rational response. It can be a lonely journey especially in the business world.
While fear is what we don't want, there's actually a lot we can learn from it as well. Here's a message I received from a dear friend of mine lately.
That said, fear continues to divide us further - us versus them.
Coming back to the previous story of Tom Chi, even though he did not support what the beverage company was venturing, he did not judge them.
On the contrary, he held a space of compassion for them.
This was his response.
From a spiral dynamics integral map of consciousness development (click on below visual to expand), the world is going through a transition between the ego-centric levels of development and integral levels of growth.
How is this showing up in our lives?
More importantly, how can we shift from a ME paradigm to an inclusive and integral WE paradigm?
As entrepreneurs who are passionate in fulfilling our vision and building our brand, we tend to separate ourselves from the macro ecosystem we are in as we get locked into doing our thing.
I remembered this conversation I had with a friend who was transiting from his corporate career to start his cafe business. For the first six months, he had struggles growing his team.
What I found out was that he was still entrenched in his corporate habits of managing his staffs.
Even though he wanted to foster a people friendly and service oriented culture, his silo leadership style created a disconnect with his people.
Our old habits can be hard to change sometimes.
For him, he is strongly attached to his corporate management philosophy.
Ironically, it sort of gets amplified. He associated becoming a boss with the idea that he has full control and power over what he wanted.
But what he didn't realize was that he also lost the respect of his people.
To him, not having that sense of control and power is scary for him because it meant respect for him. It validates him.
He is passionate about building his business. But the way he held those values were working against him.
In the ego-centric world of ME, this ME wants to hold on to a definition, a position, a status, a title, a role identification or an entity approach to business and life that limits us from expanding.
This is where life happens to you.
You often felt compelled to endlessly fight external circumstances from lower states of consciousness such as anger, pride or shame.
You find yourself putting in a lot of effort to make things happen, yet no meaningful progress can be made!
That’s because you are trying to play in a league that is much higher than yours.
When you are relying on your will and exert your force to move something, it constantly depletes your life.
Even though you may have accomplished some results, it is often through pain, struggle and resistance.
You might also find yourself in a win/lose dichotomy, resulting in polarisation.
Hence, you find yourself having to face great stress and in some situations, fighting unfortunate vicious cycle.
To progress towards a more integral way of living and contribution would mean embracing a higher level of complexity.
To progress deeper, be mindful of these ego traps you might fall into:
Instead, do unto others and unto yourself whatever is the highest and best action you can perceive.
The place to begin with is to find yourself - who you really are.
And there are many layers of awareness.
Notice this constant tug-of-war you have between your Ego and your higher self.
In moments when your Ego is triggered by certain people or situations, notice when your Ego side gets activated.
Notice what happens in your body. Does your pulse rise? Do you clench your teeth or fist? Do muscles tighten? Does your stomach tense?
Your body can be your ally in becoming more aware of your Ego!
Next is to identify those hidden “rules” that were embedded in your life.
How are you creating judgments in areas where there are complexities and ambiguity as well as apparent conflicting views that are simultaneously true or valid?
When we're in that space of uncertainty, our mind has such a clever way to set up associations in us that tend to paralyse us from moving forward.
For example, if you know of a trainer who has a good brand, lots of credentials and having an extensive experience who couldn’t even get 5 people to show up for a preview workshop, you might think “what makes me able to get 10 people when I’m a nobody in the market?"
Or that I need to be even much better than this trainer in order to get more people to show up!
Either of this line of belief can cost you more obstacles than you think.
The former demoralises you because you'll think you are not there yet (the not good enough phenomenon). Which means you would probably give up and move onto something else but never lands.
Whereas the latter might get you working much harder and getting nowhere because you are barking up the wrong tree.
As you begin to evaluate your own values hierarchy, conflicting beliefs become clear.
The process helps you discover just how much false assumptions, cognitive dissonance and biases you have acquired over the years.
Review all your decisions in the light of your values ranking.
Consciously choose to live according to your values and their ranking...even when the immediate consequences might be unpleasant.
Update your values ranking if you find it is not really aligned with your behaviors.
Meditate upon the revised list.
Is it what you want it to be?
When you start listening to your inner voice of Wisdom and Compassion (your Higher Self), this process of living your values becomes easier.
To further sustain your development, besides working on your strengths and weaknesses, it is essential to define and work on your life mission and purpose as well.
The more you’ve worked on keeping your actions, inner wisdom and life purpose (mission) aligned long enough, the easier you’ll find yourself able to resist temptations and diversions that are happening around you.
Then you’ll also learn to see challenges as a gift and an opportunity to serve the world.
As you are becoming more aware in your service, also start to examine the teachers, mentors or role models you are learning from because they have a huge impact on your life.
Is their approach creating a sense of cult, where you are influenced to be dependent on the presence, rhetoric, charisma and personality of a single individual or a group for success?
Or is their approach creating a sense of empowerment and sustainable culture, where it encourages you to question reality, to define your own version of success and help raise your level of consciousness?
The more you understand about yourself, your worldviews and the ecosystem you are in, the freer you can become.
That’s when you begin to discover that there are no one, two, three etc... entities that are exclusively responsible for contributing a difference in whatever ways possible.
It is no longer just MY thing versus THEIRs. It is OURs!
That’s when you realized WE are all in this together.
No one is lesser or greater than the other when comes to co-creation. A termite is just as important as the Amazon forest in this co-creation. It's an ecosystem.
With that wisdom, there is no divide between spirituality, relationship, well-being, economy, business and life.
The boundaries of us versus them, competitors or collaborators, companies or individuals become permeable and robust.
This is where you shift into an integral growth of WE!
You see, change is an inevitable part of all our lives.
A "change agent" is someone who helps groups or individuals navigate through work or personal changes in a way that results in good solutions, whether as an entrepreneur or just an ordinary person in the streets doing what they do best to be of service.
Being an effective change agent requires bringing a lot of different skills together: compassion for people's feelings - even if you would not react the same way; an ability to "stay in the process" rather than jumping to a quick fix; seeking win/win solutions; seeking to get to the real (root) problem rather than being distracted just by the surface (presenting) problem.
You understand how to hear both the thoughts and the feelings of others and to help them work through their struggles wisely.
You help everyone seek win/win solutions that consider the view of all stakeholders.
You know how to release your ego-attachment to your own ideas and let the collective group choose how to proceed.
You are willing to play your part and participate wholeheartedly - even if the role is somewhat invisible, or the solution is not the one you suggested.
In the space of WE, you begin to feel the interconnectedness of life.
You have a desire to see the Earth's ecosystems be healthy.
And because of this motivation and purpose, you practice being a human being of making conscious choices in your consumption.
Every interaction with others becomes an opportunity to impact lives on this planet.
Every decision is based upon the wisdom that considers the tremendous complexity of ecosystems and social systems.
What looks "bad" can yield "good" and vice versa.
You understand that sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.
You will then discover your process of living, acting and receiving is becoming more aligned rather than having to constantly strive and struggle for it.
This is where you know which aspects need to be well-defined, while knowing the timing and context to consider the greater landscape of flow and unlimited power.
In the space of WE, there isn’t a need to even communicate with words, gestures or actions and yet everyone and everything is understood, connected and in synergy through meaning, energy, presence, love, wisdom, grace, simplicity, compassion, abundance and a sense of oneness and connectedness to life.
I believe this is where WE are growing, in business, in relationship, in well-being, in economy, in organization, in nature and in life.