Stephen's blog

Don’t compete, CREATE!

As a small business owner, you've probably heard about the growing need for creativity and innovation. Let's put things in perspective. Firstly, we know that franchised businesses are generally more profitable and successful. We've heard the rule-of-thumb regarding the 80/20 rule. 80% of small businesses go out of business in the first 5 years, while the reverse is true of franchises - 80% of franchises are not only still in business, but thrivingE-myth.

So what do franchises get right? Good systems, and strong marketing. Do you need to be a franchise in order to have good systems? No, there's good-value help available from companies such as "Brain in a box" who focus on providing robust, effective systems for small businesses.

At the very least, reading and applying Michael Gerber's E-Myth material (on systemising the business) is invaluable to your future business success. But having good systems is only half the story - creativity, innovation or being imaginative is highly important to small businesses, and increasingly so. Research confirms that Einstein was right all along.

Imagination really is more important and profitable than knowledge. Experience, and what you know about your market, together with good systems is helpful, but new data reveals that entrepreneurial startups are the real engine of economies:

The immense importance of understanding 'masculine' and 'feminine'

By coincidence I've only recently (namely, this morning) come across a 1991 paper by Prof. Robert Jahn of Princeton's famous1 PEAR laboratory.

Jahn's paper is quite extraordinary, at least for me, for it covers many of the basic concepts that I wrote about in my book Be and Become.2

One of the central points of Jahn's paper is that not understanding the complementarity of 'masculine' and 'feminine' fuels "immensely destructive" behaviours and results, both personally and socially. From Jahn's paper:

When posed in polar opposition, whether within a single personality, or in the context of the ubiquitous interactions between the male and the female sexes, the failures of this interface are legion, legendary, and immensely destructive, both personally and socially. Yet, when deployed in constructive complementarity, the masculine/feminine integration within the individual can enable the highest creativity and personal satisfaction, and in the male/female partnership can generate some of the highest accomplishments, profoundest insights, and most beautiful resonances of human existence. In this form, it is probably the species' most powerful resource for spiritual as well as physical survival and evolution.

Why I concur with Jahn is that the deeper nature of what 'feminine' and 'masculine' actually mean is not widely understood or appreciated.

  • 1. or infamous, according to skeptics and assorted naysayers. See my article on sceptics and their brethren
  • 2. I used to think that I was well ahead of other thinkers on the subject of the deep frameworks of life, but Jahn has demonstrated he largely got there first! I suppose my contribution is the comprehensiveness of my work, going well beyond that of Jahn's paper. Still, I freely give recognition when it is appropriate and deserved.

Calling Gurus to Account

There appears to be a large and significant blind-spot in the awareness of many people. This blind-spot can’t usually be seen or recognised directly. Like a galactic black-hole, we usually only learn of its presence by how it sucks the life and light out of surrounding bodies — in this case, ourselves and others in our communities, cities and world.

We can learn of its presence by the high and growing incidence of depression which is now recognised by the World Health Organization as “the leading cause of disability.”1

To some extent this black-hole, or blind-spot can be ignored by being busy, taking drugs, acquiring wealth or enjoying ourselves … but it remains in the background, sucking the energy and light from all. And no more importantly is its effect felt, than in the area of health and wellbeing .. the main focus for my contributions to this column.

It’s about time

I recently learned of this ‘blind-spot’ after reading about a self-development teacher who had achieved success; met and positively influenced world-leaders, and done or achieved many other wonderful things.

Why then did I feel deflated after reading about this person? Was it that, by way of comparison, I was left feeling inadequate, or a failure? Was it because I felt I hadn’t achieved great things?

No, I realised it went deeper and after sitting quietly and reflecting on the cause, recognised it … the blind-spot that many of us, if not most, don’t seem to notice. Part of the reason it is not recognised is that it is so simple to feel – it’s too obvious and taken for granted. So we ignore it.

The travesty of modern science


There are many who argue in various scientific circles and forums that mathematical theories based on unending, contiguous numerical continuity (infinite-series, calculus) are able to explain a series of perplexing theoretical dilemmas dating back nearly 2,500 years.

Those dilemmas, widely known as Zeno's Paradoxes raise issues relating to the apparent impossibility of everyday physical movement, which is assumed to occur continuously and smoothly.

Psychic abilities and skeptics

Being sceptical is perhaps one of the easiest means by which to protect ourselves from silliness, naivety and from being enlisted into the ranks of 'space cadets'.

Scepticism (or skepticism) naturally motivates one to question, to devise experiments, or thought-experiments to test the credibility of ideas. And asking questions is, in my opinion, one of the most noble, useful and valuable tools anyone can possess. It could be argued that a healthy scepticism amongst the populace and judiciary would have seen off some of the more pernicious superstitions and crowd behaviours in times past, such as the executions of those suspected of being witches during the Salem witch trials.

But from my experience the not-so-good side to being sceptical far outweighs the benefits. Being quick to dismiss claims of religious, spiritual, or psychic experience leaves one closed to possibility, and closed to finding deeper congruent frameworks of belief. As I have found, that closed-mindedness can result in quite debilitating health issues.