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Why Being Selfless is Good for Business
The monks of Mepkin and agnostics like Warren Buffett alike have been wildly successful in business not despite their fanatical commitment to the highest principles but because of them.
The current worldwide economic crisis is often blamed on the greed, selfishness, and unethical excesses of unbridled free-market capitalism. To a large extent, I agree with this analysis, even though as a businessman and entrepreneur, I love our free-market system. Most of us assume, however, that greed, selfishness, and unethical behavior are intrinsic to free markets, capitalism, and "profit." And since capitalism has proved to be the most productive economic model the world has yet seen, this has led many to conclude that all we can do is manage a painful deal with the devil. Capitalism takes on the role of a wild and dangerous animal sharing our house; an animal we can live neither with nor without. This analysis assumes that this selfish beast can never be tamed, so it must be constantly restrained lest it suddenly turn on its master with the kind of disastrous consequences we have recently experienced.
Unfortunately, this description of capitalism traps us in a painful dichotomy; things like higher purpose, putting people first, and looking out for the customer are invariably at odds with "profit" and "bottom line" considerations. In this war the bottom line always seems to win, and higher goals are perpetually damned to the realm of altruism. There these higher goals languish, their only advocates the bully pulpit of corporate guilt and futile appeals to mankind's "better nature."
As I spent more and more time living and working alongside the monks of Mepkin Abbey, I began to realize that at heart they are living an ancient yet emergent economic model that rejects the assumption that capitalism and selfless service are essentially at odds with one another and mutually exclusive. The monks of Mepkin and agnostics like Warren Buffett alike have been wildly successful in business not despite their fanatical commitment to the highest principles but because of them. The counter-intuitive secret that the monks, Buffett, and the world's greatest salespeople have discovered is that the more successfully we forget our selfish motivations, the more successful we become.
If this analysis is correct, then our task, though still daunting, is no longer just endless, acrimonious, time-consuming, and expensive trade-offs between capitalism and socialism, competition and cooperation, profit and nonprofit, growing people and using people, free markets and government regulation, altruistic motivations and selfish motivations. Instead we must transcend these false dichotomies by conclusively demonstrating that service and selflessness is not all "motherhood and fluff." We must prove that selfless service can be more than a thinly veiled PR campaign and corporate- recruitment strategy masking as "give back." For, as Warren Buffett, the monks, and my personal experience as a salesman, executive, and entrepreneur will show, service and selflessness will lead to businesses that are more profitable and productive than those we have today. Service and selflessness is not about sacrificing growth and profitability for some abstract and elusive "common good." It is just damn good business.
This model does not envision dismantling the capitalist system and the "profit" that has lifted so many out of poverty. Service and selflessness transcends all the painful trade-offs listed above. It does so by tapping into the universal longing we all have for a mission that is so much bigger than ourselves that it transforms us, both individually and collectively, from selfish to selfless people.
The above is an excerpt from the book Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity by August Turak. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2013 August Turak, author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity
August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, award winning writer and author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO's Quest for Meaning and Authenticity (Columbia Business School Publishing; July 2013). He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week, and is a popular leadership contributor at Forbes.com. His website is www.augustturak.com.
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The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Humans are particularly prone to shiver when a group does or thinks the same thing at the same time.
A few years ago, I proposed that the feeling of cold in one's spine, while for example watching a film or listening to music, corresponds to an event when our vital need for cognition is satisfied.
Certain colors are globally linked to certain feelings, the study reveals.
- Color psychology is often used in marketing to alter your perception of products and services.
- Various studies and experiments across multiple years have given us more insight into the link between personality and color.
- The results of a new study spanning 6 continents (30 nations) shows universal correlations between colors and emotions around the globe.
The root of color psychology<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9e40cf62fa8922fcca6c57e2fcb215b6"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OM4fXB23pCQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>There is a very likely chance you've even been "fooled" by color marketing in the past, or you've chosen one product over another subconsciously due to colors that were designed to influence your emotions.<br></p><p>Companies that want to be known for being dependable often use blue in their logos, for example (Dell, HP, IBM). Companies that want to be perceived as fun and exciting go for a splash of orange (Fanta, Nickelodeon, even Amazon). Green is associated with natural, peaceful emotions and is often used by companies like Whole Foods and Tropicana. </p><p><strong>Your favorite color says a lot about your personality. </strong></p><p>Various studies and experiments across multiple years (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49595886_Personality_Traits_and_Colour_Preferences" target="_blank">2010</a>, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopy.12087" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014</a>, <a href="http://oaji.net/articles/2015/1170-1448038739.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2015</a>, and more recently in <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-2795824#modern-research-on-color-psychology" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019</a>) have given us more insight into the link between your personality and your favorite color.</p><p>Red, for example, is considered a bold color and is associated with feelings such as excitement, passion, anger, danger, energy, and love. The personality traits of this color might be someone who is bold, a little impulsive, and who loves adventure. </p><p>Orange, on the other hand, is considered representative of creativity, happiness, and freedom. The personality traits of this color can be fun, playful, cheerful, nurturing, and productive. Read more about color psychology and personalities <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/color-personality-psychology?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2" target="_self">here</a>.</p>
Study reveals which colors best suit which emotions around the globe<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYzMTk5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODc4OTg5OH0.bY-pu-MFNivdJLDJuBp9TBKrhwuy7hngUa1aIWxQMVw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C93%2C0%2C94&height=700" id="33fff" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1a5d7bb00dac94bd6201616789fb4882" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of color psychology how colors make us feel color emotions" />
Certain colors are globally ties to certain emotions, the study reveals.
Image by agsandrew on Shutterstock<p>In this particular survey, participants were asked to fill out an online questionnaire which involved assigning 20 emotions to 12 different color terms. They were also asked to specify the intensity with which they associated the color term with the emotion.</p><p><strong>Certain colors are globally linked to certain emotions, the study reveals.</strong></p><p>The results of this study showed a few definite correlations between colors and emotions throughout the globe. Red, for example, is the only color that is strongly associated with both negative (anger) and positive (love) feelings. Brown, on the other end of the spectrum, is the color that triggers the fewest emotions globally.<br></p><p>The color white is closely associated with sadness in China, while purple is what is closely associated with sadness in Greece. This can be traced back to the roots of each culture, with white being worn at funerals in China and dark purple being the Greek Orthodox Church's color of mourning. </p><p>Yellow is more associated with joy, specifically in countries that see less sunshine. Meanwhile, its association with joy is weaker in areas that have greater exposure to sunshine. </p><p><a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910150247.htm" target="_blank">According to Dr. Oberfeld-Twistel</a>, it is difficult to say exactly what the causes for global similarities and differences are. "There is a range of possible influencing factors: language, culture, religion, climate, the history of human development, the human perceptual system."</p>