Archives for category: Business/Commerce

The increasingly fast-paced world of social media has conditioned us to be self-absorbed and self-centric. We are prompted to share our thoughts and feelings via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites as we feel more connected with others as we read their thoughts, feeds, and status updates.  A sense of virtual community emerges somehow, yet at the same time, there is a sense of remoteness which surfaces as we engage with others–friends, acquaintances, or even strangers–via technology.

It is within the crossroads of this ambivalent environment that we might lose sight of the fact that not everything is about us.  Even if we have been influenced by the pervasive preoccupation with sharing our lives, our thoughts, our photos, our feelings, and our random outbursts with people and commenting and like-ing their photos or statuses, it does not mean that every reaction we perceive from others whether virtually or in person reflects reality.  It is all too easy to take everything at face value without considering that other people have a lot going on in their lives too and their status messages or comments, and even actions, do not have anything to do with us.

The is a need to pull ourselves back from the fast-paced world of interaction and remind ourselves not to be so reactive to everything that we see and hear.  It is all too easy to forget the art of being objective and detaching from events as we perceive them because it may be that our perception is erroneous and had we learned to take a step back from acting or reacting upon our perceptions, we might avoid interpersonal mistakes, and/or inconveniences.

(c) Niconica 2013

We have been taught to dissect, analyze, and compute everything to bits since we were young that we may have tended to become more petty and calculating whether or not we realize it. It then behooves us not to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to life: whether in business or in personal stuff, we must always remember that our perspective is not the empirical truth and we may benefit from stepping back and learning to view and appreciate the elements involved in a grander and more cohesive manner.

We may be tempted to maximize our present gains at the expense of establishing trust and goodwill and this would cause our short-lived present victories to be at the expense of our future long term gains. We must remember that what may appear to be advantageous to us may not be for the greater good and we must balance our sense of entitlement with a sense of fairness if we are to have a chance in gaining and keeping the respect of people around us.

Marketing and business strategies are all well and good as long as they remain grounded in the fact that people do not enjoy being deceived and are likely to avoid experiencing being lied to more than once. We must consider that intelligence when not balanced with compassion and kindness becomes a liability instead of an asset despite evidence to the contrary which may appear briefly during the initial stages.

Eventually, we must learn that mutual trust and respect is the only way forward in all our relationships, be it in a personal, romantic, or business setting and this can only be established when we choose to keep our sight on the bigger picture so that we may not stand in our own way and compromise our own future well-being and success.

(c) Niconica 2013

Let’s try to move away from the stereotypical image of the shrewd and cunning businessman who would not blink at selling this wife and kids for the right price or who would lie, cheat, and steal just to get ahead.  For fellow Star Trek fans, this stereotype would call to mind the Ferengis who have as their revered codex the Rules of Acquisition as a reflection of their ultra-capitalist society.  We are at the age of intense capitalism, yet we must not forget that we are humans before we are capitalists.

As members of the human race, we must not neglect to espouse the qualities which humanity should be proud of and these would be generosity, faith, honesty, resilience, resourcefulness, kindness, compassion and goodness.  These qualities which we would appreciate in a friend, a family member, and/or a spouse, should also be the same qualities which we hold dear in the realm of business.  There seems to be a double standard in business at times where when someone is “too earnest” or “too honest” it becomes a criticism.  It reflects that the values which are seen as pertinent or relevant to the business world are not the same qualities which we might want to find someone whom we would idolize as the epitome of human goodness such as Mother Theresa.

This dichotomy in commendable traits creates a schism in our psychological development as we reach the age of maturity where one must earn a living whether through providing services or products.  While growing up, we are taught through parables and fairy tales about the importance of being good and honest, and yet when we enter the real world, we find that the qualities admired in a business person is aggressiveness and ruthlessness and we find that we might have been mislead and therefore all the cautionary fairy tales warning us of cunning and deceitful character ill-prepare us for entering a capitalist society where opportunism and shrewdness are admired, valued, or at least, become seemingly favourable traits to getting ahead.

There is a disconnect between the values and ethics which are espoused by our religious institutions and spiritual education with the worldly concerns and requirements of thriving and surviving in a complex society.  We then become schizophrenic in trying to both be a good person to our friends and family on a personal level and yet be calculating and cold on the business or career aspect and only very few people, if any, can sustain these unrealistic and incompatible expectations.

We must be aware that it is unfair to preach goodness, kindness, and compassion to our young ones while at the same time expecting them to thrive in a cynical and savvy world without considerable confusion, trauma, and upset.  There needs to be a paradigm shift in what is considered valuable in our society.  It need not be said that the qualities of goodness, kindness, and compassion are immensely preferable in every facet of life–even in business–though they should be balanced by awareness and applied with discretion and caution.  There must be a way of thriving business and society without losing our soul in the process.

(c) Niconica 2013

 

We might not all have the luxury of time or resources to pursue an MBA, yet there are many occasions where we learn by doing.  This is the case with learning the ropes of business and reading books which are relevant to business is invaluable.  It may be that we cannot stop working in order to pursue an MBA and are unable to devote limited resources to fund our education.

With this being the case, we must read voraciously and apply what we read in our business practices and see whether it bears fruit.  There are cases where one has not pursued a degree in business and therefore feels that one is lacking in this area and there are many books which help us learn more about business related areas such as finance, economics, marketing, sales, and branding.

It is very helpful to scour through used bookstores in order to find various titles which are may already be out of print or titles which come at bargain prices.  It is also beneficial to acquire books which are updated from updated bookstores.  Having grown up during a time when the Internet has not yet been created or widespread, it is almost too easy to forget that the internet also provides invaluable resources to learn more about any topics we wish to learn.

If we feel ill-equipped to conduct business without an MBA, we must remember that many of our forefathers have not had the benefit of completing their education and yet managed to survive and even thrive.  We have all the resources that we have at our fingertips if we are determined to move forward and be able to fill up the areas which we feel that we need to learn more from or where we feel that we are vulnerable.

With all this being said, experience proves to be the best teacher, second or equal to having a great mentor in the field.  Not everyone has the good fortune of having a mentor, and if this is the case, we must rely on balancing experience with spirituality and reading or self-research.  We must remember that business ethics are not separate from daily human ethics as it may be relayed to us.  We must always remember that thriving and competing need not be a ruthless game where someone gets hurt.

I would like to believe that in business, the commendable Buddhist principle of non-violence applies.  We must not profit at the expense of others, yet we must not allow people to take advantage of us as well because this gives them the wrong idea and encourages their bad habits.  It can be tricky to apply what we learn in theory in real life, but we must constantly reflect upon how to bring to life book learning and spirituality with our daily business practices. Having a healthy concoction of business, spirituality, and knowledge which is effective in securing business success without harming others can be considered a de facto MBA.

(c) Niconica 2013