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A simple story

“Why do you want this job?” – Everyone probably knows this question during an interview, no matter on which side of the process. (Side note: If you should be the questioner – at this point an urgent request to think of a new, meaningful question.) In a business environment, one often hears an answer from the applicants that includes “getting ahead” and “achieving something”. When I was at university we heard a very nice story from one of our professors, which I listened to with a smile on my face at the time, and which I hid from me for the next 10 years. Today it makes me think again and again and remind myself of what drives me to make which business decisions.

Here is the short version of the story:

A banker stood at the pier in a small fishing village and watched a small fishing boat docking with a fisherman on board; he had loaded some big fish. The banker congratulated the fisherman on his catch and asked how long it took. “Not long – just a few hours,” replied the fisherman.

The banker asked why he hadn’t stayed at sea any longer to catch more. The fish were enough for him to feed his family for the next few days, the fisherman replied. The banker continued drilling: “But what do you do with the rest of the day? The fisherman: “I sleep out in the morning, go fishing; play with my children, make a siesta with my wife Maria after lunch, go for a walk in the village, play guitar with my friends, so I have a full life”.

The banker explained: “I am a Harvard graduate and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and buy a bigger boat from the proceeds. You could buy more boats until you have a whole fleet. Instead of selling the catch to a merchant, you could sell it directly to a fish factory and finally open your own fish processing factory. You could control production, processing and distribution yourself. You could then leave this small fishing village and move to Los Angeles or maybe even to New York City, from where you can run your flourishing business.”

The Mexican asked, “And how long will all this take?” The banker replied, “About 15 to 20 years.” “And then what?” asked the fisherman. The banker laughed and said: “Then comes the best. When the time is right, you could go public with your company; sell your shares and get very rich. You could make millions.”

The Mexican said, “Millions. And then what? The banker said, “Then you could stop working. You could move to a small fishing village on the coast, sleep late in the morning, go fishing, play with your children, have a siesta with your wife, go for a walk in the village, play the guitar with your friends in the evening.

In recent years, I have repeatedly encountered (and in recent months felt increasingly) offers that want to scale my business into a public limited company and supposedly can. The competence and abilities of the providers, regardless of this, keep asking me the question – “Why? … “Why do I want to grow?”… “Why do I want this job?”… “Why do I do the job I’m currently doing?”… “What drives me?”….The fisherman reminds me again and again what really counts: “…so I have a full life”.

Now for now and not now for then!

In this context I observe that manipulation (of man) is at the core of all scaling. Those who are supposed to run & those who are supposed to buy are actually in the same boat. Everyone has his (probably originally) meaningful motivation, but is then seized by the fear. The tricks are often flat, but work well in a state of low awareness of oneself and one’s own drive, purpose and conditioning.

from “Push” & “Pull”

A simple concept that can be applied to most of our decisions: push & pull. If I decide something out of fear, I am driven. In this context something “pushes” me out of my current situation – fear. If I want to do something, e.g. to realize myself, to create something new or comparable, my passion/talents/”purpose” pulls me in this direction – the “pull”.

Since Freud it has been assumed that motivation is driven by pleasure and pain. For some time there have been new insights – motivation is neurologically the desire to escape inconveniences. All human behaviour, including the desire to do something pleasant, is indeed triggered by pain. This connection is referred to as the “homeostatic reaction”.

Our brain makes our body do what it wants through discomfort. When we are cold, we put on a coat. When we feel hungry, we eat. Does it bring joy to feel warm again or to eat? Of course. But this good feeling comes after we have been driven by an uncomfortable feeling that stimulates us to act. As you can see from this realization, the “push” sits deep in our subconscious. If we are not aware of it, it is very difficult to penetrate our own “pull” or to “hear” it when it reveals itself to us. The “push” screams much louder! Those who reflect on their own actions will therefore notice that the majority (if not almost all) of decisions (especially in business life) arise from the “push”:

  • “If I don’t go to this roundtable, I’m gonna miss important trends…”
  • “I have to meet my colleague, otherwise a competitor will grab his job…”
  • “We have to expand into this business segment, otherwise we’ll be dead…”
  • “I have to go to my parents-in-law’s, otherwise… (you know the rest yourself)” ?

All the scaling tools and corresponding offers play with the “push”. It is striking how the advertising videos, texts and conversations are based on it. Already in my early days as a consultant I learned a stupide-simple but powerful tactic:

  1. scare them!
  2. scare them even more!
  3. give them hope!
  4. offer the solution!

The vast majority of sales strategies that I (as a potential customer) have encountered recently are structured according to this scheme.

unconscious manipulation?!

What I ask myself in this context is whether it is clear to advertisers or providers that they are also trapped in a “push” scenario? In the context of the customer/supplier relationship, this may be seen as a meta-level, but it is also marked by fear. Some people have read one-two psychology books and apply the basics learned there manipulatively. For me personally this is the “dark side of power”. Only without real power, because even partly very unconscious about the pattern in which they operate.

In my work I pay attention to the “pull”. For me, this is the decision basis for acquisitions / orders / cooperations within the framework of automation, synergies and economies of scale. “What drives me” is the question that I have to ask myself again and again. Of course, my mind is not immune to the psychologically effective low blows of the advertising messages. Fear is a powerful opponent that binds a lot of energy in us. If we can transcend this fear, it releases a lot of energy in us, which we can invest in the search or execution of our “pull”.

For this reason we meditate daily and go into our fears, instincts and desires to identify the conditioning, imprints and faith constructs.

“Observation is alchemical.” (Osho)

Purely through observation EVERYTHING changes. If you don’t know the double-slit experiment, I advise you to invest the 10 minutes in one of the many YouTube videos that are available. Conclusion: Photons (smallest, massless particles) change their “random” behavior depending on whether they are observed or not.

Transcendence therefore arises in my experience through the continuous, value-free observation of myself.


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