Dr. Ali Anani - Managing Partner
Dr. Ali Anani : As General Manager, Dr. Ali Anani heads and supervises a team of
talented young professionals, and manages the overall brand strategy - ensuring
the cohesiveness and creative parts of each campaign for all Agency clients.
Dr. Ali Anani holds a PhD from the UK (1972). He has a wide experience in many
ﬁelds. His accomplishments include the writing of more than eighty publications in
international journals, the writer of three printed books in Arabic and one E-book in
English. He has written widely for the media and presented a TV program and
many radio programs.
Dr. Anani main credit is his creativity thinking where he scored among the top %5
international conferences and an author of many business slogans. Moreover, he
has consulted for many international agencies including UNIDO, Atomic Energy
Agency, UNDP, ESCWA, private businesses and governmental agencies.
Conditions for Success
Wrong strategies Are Thorny
Crossing the Intangible Bridges
Societal Fragility Must Be Stopped
The Profits Syndrome
Inducing Opposites for Purpose
The C-Day Is Approaching
What Unites Us All?
Profits Weedy Ideas and How to Deal with Them?
Living on the Edge
Misunderstanding the Message
Live and Leave Good Leaves
Life below the Soil
A Fibonacci Perspective of Emotions
Holes in Minds
The Profit Paradox
The Opinion Path
Expecting the Unexpected
Building on Cores and not Arms
The Flaw in the Flow
Is Success the Organized Outcome of Chaotic Movements?
The Team Lab
Will People-Before-Profit Movement Succeed?
The Paradox of Fast Wins
The Dizziness of Employee Rotation
A Controversial Business Metaphor
A Metaphor on the Movement of Businesses
Arranging for Success
The Orbitals of Needs
Disturbing Social Competition
How Feeling Insignificant Makes You Significant?
Reverse Competition of Values
The Butterfly Effect of Time
Leaders with Wet Hearts
The Luminescence of Minds
Conditions for Success
It is amazing when people do more of the same and believe results will change. It is like if
I fry eggs with vegetable oil I would get a banana cake. Results shall not change unless we
have different ingredients that will make a banana cake.
Organizations that worked with the wrong ingredients are mostly continuing the same
thing and yet get surprised when results don›t change. One false ingredient is that profits
come first. Profits are the banana cake and will only come as a result of serving people and
not the other way round. This is a directional fact.
Organizations that worked with the wrong ingredients are mostly continuing the same
thing and yet get surprised when results don›t change. One false ingredient is that profits
come first. Profits are the banana cake and will only come as a result of serving people and
not the other way round. This is a directional fact.
This explains my unconditional support for the uplifting purpose of the People-Before-
Profit (PBP) Group. Having a purpose that serves people is the third party that glues
members of the PBP Group together. We need to remember that there exists no real strong
bond between two parties; it is always stronger through a third party.To explain, a wife and
husband might differ and come close to divorce. If they have a kid then both the father and
the mother would consider the ill-impact of divorce on the kid. They both have a shared
purpose: to give their kid the opportunity to grow up healthily spiritually and physically.
The kid is the third party that may prevent or delay divorce.
The PBP Group has the purpose of serving people before making profits. This is the gluing
third party among its members. Even though this is a pre-requisite for success; however it
doesn›t guarantee it. Like any group it takes positive thinking to plan out an action plan.
The question that popped up in my mind is why some groups or communities succeed and
others fail? My search led me to an excellent and thoughtful post in which the success of
local communities depends on completing repeatedly a four-stage process as is shown in
the figure below.
The PBP is not a transactional one in the sense it is not aiming at improving the current
understanding of business; it is more towards transforming the future of how to do business
by putting people before profit. The success of the PBP group depends on selecting the
right members who share the same passion for
transforming the future of business this way. This is
the binding glue for members of the group who come
from different parts of the globe. The purpose is their
concern to serve people first. The members have
other concerns in building strong clusters of different
everywhere to get their feedback. The PBP should not
only have its own resources; but also connecting with
people with particular interests so as the PBP may not
distant itself from the masses. It is through people
and their contacts that the reachability of the purpose
and services of the Group may be channeled to the
right people effectively. It is the entanglement of the
peoples› desires with those desires of people and their communication channels that will
The PBP Group is having its first global meeting in Las
Vegas on May 12th, 2016. This is the time when grape
yards will be blossoming. What does these yards teach
us? We wish the grape flowers of the PBP Group to
blossom to the best grape fruits. The growth cycle of
vineyards go through four stages as is shown below:
During the Bud Break stage, buds start growing shoots, which in turn and eventually sprout
growth. The buds of ideas of the PBP must grow shoots and generate many ideas, even
tiny ones, so as to accelerate the growth of the group. The early shoots are vulnerable to
frosting; likewise the PFP Group should pay attention that even though it is holding its
meeting in May, still some opponents shall try to «freeze» its shoots of ideas. The Group
should know how to sway away the freezing winds away from its shoots.
Depending on temperatures, 80–40 days after bud break the process of flowering begins
with small flower clusters appearing on the tips of the young shoots looking like buttons.
Here is the need for the PBP Group to enthuse the attendees and the public to the value of
its purpose. This shall reduce the time required for the flowering of its ideas to begin. It is
equally important to realize the time requirement here are lengthy and maximum patience
by all PBP members must be exercised. This patience shall be rewarding soon as the stage
of fruit set follows flowering almost immediately. Equally important is that the Group forms
clusters based on clear criteria and to address peoples› desires. The next stage is veraison,
which means the onset of ripening.The grapes remain mostly sour so that they may not be
eaten by predators.The strategy here is that the grapes remain «sour for the foxes» to ripen.
This is followed by reversing the strategy and turning grapes into sweet ones. The reason
is survival is that animals may distribute the seeds. There is a great lesson here for the PBP
Group in that it should be «sour» to opponents till its purpose meets support enough to
turn the idea into very sweet ones so that people may adopt and distribute them. It is at
this stage that people shall connect and commit themselves to the group purpose.
It is by linking the two diagrams above that PBP Group shall be able to strategize it efforts.
The grape yard is a great metaphor for this course of action. It is a nice surprise that the May
conference is held close to grape yards.
Wrong strategies Are Thorny
shapes us the way we are? The question spurred my mind having noticed how plants
respond to critical environmental conditions repeatedly. This behavior ends up as a habit
and a way of living. Are thorny behaviors of some people right in being forced to behave
the way they do? It is not only behaviors; it is also making thorny assumptions that make
life difficult for all.
Showing by examples is a good approach to explaining what I mean. Many plants have
thorns, prickles or spines. Prickles, for example
Harsh environments can create harsh behaviors and self-defense strategies. Pickles, thorns
and spines are examples of such strategy. When they are noticeable to the naked eye they
send a warning of don›t get near me or try to «eat me». Other behaviors resulting from
scarcity of resources in harsh environments include being «extensive exploiters». Many
smaller shrubs have a dense network of shallow roots that allow them to compete with
other plants for water. Survival needs may even turn some plants into being very cunningly
aggressive. For example, few shrubs are heavily branched and are pungent-smelling with
roots which have roots that secrete chemicals that are toxic to nearby plants. The harsher
the environment is the more aggressive plants may get. The self-defending strategies may
change to aggressive strategies in some cases.
The aggression behavior may be so well disguised that it takes years to uncover them.
Recent research (See the article «Plant biological warfare: thorns inject pathogenic bacteria
into herbivores.» in Environ Microbiol, volume 9 on page 584) has revealed some disturbing
findings. The nicely-colored thorns may release toxic pathogens to the wounded victims.
This is death hiding in colorful thorns.
Scarcity may lead to different strategies. Plants have four different strategies to cope with
the problem of water and nutrients scarcity as outlined in my presentation below:
Human may apply similar strategies to cope with harsh business environments. The lack
of resources may send businesses into heated competition. Examples include wounding
a competitor›s reputation and injecting the wounds with killing rumors. They could
lead to depriving other competitors from resources by buying out all sources of a raw
material. Establishing entangled networks so as to mutualism is another form of depriving
competition from customers.
The problem extends to work environments. Depriving employees from useful information
is creating a harsh environment for employees. This in turn could shape up the behavior of
employees to adopt thorny strategies, which could develop into aggressive ones. This is a
crucial issue for fear that employees who develop such behaviors at work may spell same
behavior out to customers as well. Harsh work environments when combined with harsh
business environment may inflame self-defense strategy into aggressive ones.
Making profit more important than people has the recipe of disaster. Profits drive managers
to apply excessive pressures on employees signaling the start of a harsh work environment.
If the prevailing economic conditions are lagging or getting slower they feed back on the
internal work environment. Again, more pressure on employees is applied.The result is that
aggressive employees may apply all sorts of negative strategies to protect themselves. A
chaotic society may result.
Companies that have profits-Before-People strategies may be responsible for creating a
society in which individuals may have to have thorns, prickles or spines if not all combined.
The decreasing opportunities are for these companies to make profits, the more aggressive
profits. These are strategies of tightening the rope of profits on their necks. We know what
results to expect.
Crossing the Intangible
A recent post by Sara Jacobvici enlightened me and surely changed me. Sara wrote in her
post «I’m never in the same place twice. In other words, I’m not stuck in a transition, I am
always moving from one transition towards another. What this means for me is that I need
to adapt to the process of change which I need to experience in order for me to grow,
develop and succeed. I need to find my “settled” spots or resting places in different ways».
This is a profound statement. Change is a process taking us from one state to another.What
carries us from on state to the next is a bridge. This could be a moving bridge, a fixed one, a
straight one, an arched one, it could be wooden or not. It could be a tangible bridge or an
intangible one. It could be a lasting bridge or it could be a very short-lived ones.
Quite often than not, radical changes are associated with short «life spans». Take chemical
reactions and the transition bridges between reactants and products are of fleeting
existence. We can hardly capture them. If the products are firmly «settled» in their new
spots they don›t revert back to reactants.
The beauty of flowers, the dim lights of dawns, the sunset that separates end of daylight and
the arrival of night are the repeating bridges that never fail us. As we cross these bridges we
move from one state of emotions to different ones. Some people live in constant worry for
fear the lovely dawn hours shall soon disappear only to realize that the dawn has already
disappeared. Other people enjoy the dawn and once it disappears they know when the
next dawn shall arrive.
Emotional transitions are fast and as we move from one state of passion to another one
over short-lived bridges. These bridges may be branched into many directions. Let us
go back to the dawn example. One person will enjoy it and as the dawn disappears he/
she is in a new state being willed with positive emotions. The same person could have a
different perspective by complaining that the dawns are-only short-lived. By the time the
dawn disappears he/she shall be in a sad state. One bridge takes us to more joy and the
other bridge taking us to an undesirable state that doesn›t like to stay in that spot. But the
experience shall repeat itself the next dawn and the same person will have the choice at the
intersection of the two bridges which one to take. If this person takes the same saddening
bridge this becomes later a habit in which the person shall sadly stay in for long times.
Life is thus a continuous series of intersecting bridges that may take us to different states.
We experience this everyday while driving, to give an example. The driver in front of you
makes a sudden stop or changes direction and he endangers your life. You could say may
be he is sick and is not at his best times to drive and this fleeting thinking is your bridge
to the state of toleration. Or, you might get angry with the driver and do acts to stop him
or start yelling at him. This bridge shall take you to a negative state. Building negativity on
negativity shall become a trend. Staying in its «comfort» might be the consequence.
Small and fleeting bridges may as a consequence result in building lasting bridges. The
consequential moving to negative states may act at the same time in developing the
bridges of habit on crossing them without even thinking. This is worrying as it takes far
more effort to correct solidified bridges.
and upon repeating this behavior for long times walking this bridge becomes spontaneity.
And soon the building of more negativity of a negative bridge shall collapse the bridge.
Societal Fragility Must Be
Keep writing posts- is a call that I received from many thoughtful readers. Is this a good
strategy to follow? Or, is it better to write occasionally so that readers may miss your posts.
It is like a friend who makes rare visits and this way I miss the friend. Which option to take?
Is there a formula to help in answering these questions?
To write quite often may sound like a problem of surplus. Exceeding certain limits may
be counter effective. Writing very frequently may turn into a problem of «over feeding».
It is like over feeding a plant with fertilizers as over feeding plants with them can lead to
fragility including pest attraction and disease. If we consider posts the fertilizer of minds
then writing excessively can be a risky habit. Could this habit induce fragility to the minds
of readers or the writer›s relationship with them?
This leads me to the concept of emotional fragility and an author may turn the emotions of
his readers towards him into fragile ones. If the readers give strong emotions to a writer and
then get soaked with many frequent posts they may have dry emotions to the writer. Like
wet clay when it dries it cleaves and so are the emotions of readers. Emotional withdrawals
are hard to reverse again and due care is eminent.
consequences.The emerging societies are subject to increased emotional fragility.This was
shown in a great article titled «Causes of Students’ Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives».
Digging deep into this problem shows that it is a problem of surplus. Excessive controlling
by college students whose parents are highly intrusive, controlling, and over-protective
are especially prone to emotional difficulties and maladaptive feelings of entitlement.
The parents want their siblings to get a high grading to qualify for acceptance at reputed
universities. Their exert pressures on their kids, on teachers and on society to make sure
their goal is realized. The teachers are under pressure to give high grades even when some
students don›t deserve an A grade. Not all teachers have high resilience to pressure. The
performance of part-time lecturers is in part judged by students, who shall not give high
evaluations unless they get high grades. Once these students graduate and attend work
they have already formed the habit of getting what they want by applying pressure. The
conflict initiates as employers pay their salaries expecting certain levels of performances
by the graduates. The latter fail expectations. Tension builds up at work and productivity
Emotional fragility has its rippling effect and the society suffers. We are building systems
that don›t put people first starting from home. By not putting people first we are inducing
fragile habits and the whole society suffers. It is a mentality that must be changed.We have
seen many proofs of it. Shaky organizations because of falling performances, employees
who produce little but require «soft» work conditions are accompanied by declining
creativity. We have seen it in hospitals where some MDs make fatal diagnosis or give the
wrong prescriptions.The examples too many to count, but the idea is that we lost the vigor
to do the right thing right. We are putting family interests before societal interests. We are
making quick profits as our prime goal. Profits are centered in the hands of few and again
further fragility is introduced to our societies.
«People before Profit» is the way so as to restore the resilience of our societies. Continuing
with the excessive practices will only compound our problems. If the value of an individual
is «tell me how much money you make I tell you what your worth is» is a distortion of values
and shall only lead to further societal fragility. It shall penetrate to all societal levels. This
shall hurt all societal activities. «Profits before people» is simply a call for societal breakage.
I would rather be accused of writing in surplus rather than feeding the society of surplus
fragile emotions. That is my cry- put people before profits.
The Profits Syndrome
The ultimate objective of a business is to make profits, without which a business shall not
survive. There is no denial to this fact. It is when this objective overwhelms the mind that
things starts to get distorted. Profits for the business and excluding the interests of people
and the environment and basic human values are a recipe for disasters. Imagine a case in
which a tires manufacturing company produces mal-manufactured tires. These tires are
risky and could lead to fatalities. Still the company uses them in their manufactured cars.
The innocent people who pay for the cars end in paying for their death or serious injuries.
Who profited then?This is an appalling scenario because the profit of one side is at the cost
of lives of others.
Selling pharmaceuticals with side effects that offset their benefits is another example of
profits that are not. Shelves that are packed with expired products, selling meet that is
not suitable for human consumption and trading in faulty building materials that lead to
the collapse of buildings in which these materials are used are just few more notorious
examples of focusing on profits for one side regardless of the cost it inflicts on people.
Trading drugs is a sure way of making huge profits on the expense of the families and their
emotional and financial cohesions. The movie « Erin Brockovich» in which an unemployed
single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handed brings down a California
power company accused of polluting a city›s water supply is a shining example of the
distortion I am talking about.
Profits have their boundaries and exceeding those boundaries turns the profit desire into
a blind greed that is blind to peoples› interests. This burning desire to make profits while
causing severe hazards to the buying customers is a prescription for disaster. Seeing profit
in the sole perspective of money-making may deprive the societies from the limiting values
that keep making profits within its acceptable zone.
The rich becomes richer and the poor poorer is even further aggravated by using illegal
ways to satisfy the hunger for making more monetary profits. The result is a society with
huge discrepancies and differences in its void structure. The greater the differences are,
the weaker the whole society shall get and the possibility of its structure falling down. I
discussed this terrible consequence and its destructive impact in the presentation below,
which I urge you to scan through to fully comprehend this idea:
We cause a problem and then try to solve it. Making profits as the sole objective of
businesses is a problematic attitude that is causing huge harm on all levels. We waste our
energies in solving problems that we alarmingly created. This attitude has stretched too
many domains in our lives and crippled long-standing values. School teachers are among
the least paid in many countries. People avoid this job because a teacher is no longer
respected for the profits the society gets from him in bringing up healthy generations. The
attitude prevailing is that a teacher is a poor person. His worth is not what he provides the
society with; it is how much money he/she makes. The results are frightening as people are
avoiding teaching as a job or teachers get immersed in giving private tuition to make more
money. For me, this is the most alarming issue. It is not only the poor get poorer as much
as it is the values of societies are getting poorer as well. This unfortunate trend is spiraling
with its damaging effect.
equations. It is only through putting value to peoples› interest and serving them first that
we may reverse the wrong trend and make profits, and including non-monetary ones, of
value in our lives. That is the explanation of titling my post of yesterday «Social Fragility
Must Be Stopped».
We don›t to stand on icy glories that melt as soon as the sun of reality shines out. We need
to avoid sinking into the polluted waters of making monetary profits the sole value of a
We don›t to stand on icy glories that melt as soon as the sun of reality shines out. We need
to avoid sinking into the polluted waters of making monetary profits the sole value of a
Inducing Opposites for
I am writing from home because I am not feeling well; yet I can›t resist the drive to write
this post. The outstanding post of Sara Jacobovici of yesterday titled «Human Paradox
2#: Being Independently Dependent» exited me to the extent I find myself writing. In her
post, Sara wrote «From Ali Anani’s provocative post on negativity and positivity, and the
dynamic discussion of opposites that ensued, this series titled Human Paradox emerged».
The exchange of ideas with Sara is developing into a game by throwing an «idea ball» at her
and she responding by returning another «idea ball» at me.
Dealing with opposites is a tricky, but is an extremely enjoyable game. Building a strategy
to invest in differences is possible, even though it requires advanced creative thinking. Let
me start with a real story from which we may deduce a possible strategy.
My neighbor had two kids with opposite characters. One kid was nice and quiet; the other
one was trouble maker and rough. My neighbor lived on renting few flats in which he
collected monthly rents. As expected, some of the tenants procrastinated in paying the
rent on time. My neighbor used to send first his «polite» kid to them to remind them of the
due rent. Some tenants responded and the rest didn›t. So, the next time my neighbor sent
his rough kid to those tenants who didn›t pay the rent. The kid was so aggressive that most
of them paid the rent to him to avoid his harsh words and possible wicked actions.
The previous story shows how we may build a strategy to use opposite characters to our
advantage by applying one opposite at a time. The strategy would follow the steps shown
in the graph below:
Having opposites may be employed using a different strategy than the one I proposed
above. Here, we may learn from nature. If we look at the bizarre behavior of plants we find
that they use smell to repel and attract. That is to say same smell has dual, but opposing
from the smell that it gives off, which has been compared to the smell of rotting flesh. The
smell attracts pollinators so that the plant can continue to grow. The good thing is that
the smell is only temporary and does eventually go away. What a creative way of using
opposites! There are many other plants which behave similarly. They use the same smell to
keep away predators while inviting pollinators.
Storytelling benefits from conflicts in personalities. One extrovert and the other introvert
for example. When we wish to mix with people very similar to us we run into the risk of
staying in our comfort zone. We seek comfort and avoid disrupting it. That is great as long
as we don›t wish to experiment, discover and learn. It is in dealing with opposite characters
that we get challenged, find new zones to walk into and open our eyes to new possibilities.
I find homogeneous teams whose members share same attributes efficient, but not very
creative. It is in the diversity that we see new possibilities. This is one of the risks of having
social groups of similar interests as there is very little to disturb «their waters». Similar teams
or groups or two people are like two keys with no lock to open. The challenge is to find the
lock for the key and having the creativity to do that using smart approaches. I suggest to
you my presentation below which shows how to use the opposites of silk flowers versus
natural flowers purposefully:
The opposites that puzzle me the most are
optical isomers. These are molecules that have
same structure, but aren›t superimposable on
Notice how building up differences results in «emerging» properties. Notice that each
of the black atoms carries the same four different atoms or groups. Yet; they are not
superimposable on each other. This results in much diversity in their performances. One
molecule shall turn the polarized light to the right while the other molecule will turn the
light to the left.
You might ask, but so what? My answer is that our bodies are rich of molecules that
exhibit this character. Not only that as our bodies show different metabolic pathways to
the molecule rotating polarized light to the right than same molecules which turn light
to the left. There is need to separate the constituent of drugs and only use the isomer that
heals our bodies. Using the two together could lead to drastic harmful impacts. A still living
example is the Thalidomide. The drug was used o treat pregnant women from morning
sickness. Only years later it was discovered that this drug was responsible for the missing
limbs of babies.The drug had the two optical isomers: one active and the other causing the
Opposites may have their «butterfly effect. A small difference in one molecule turning light
right and the other isomer turning light left caused huge problems to humanity. Not all
opposites are innocent.
The C-Day Is Approaching
May 2016 ,12 is the date for launching the People-before-Profit global conference in Las
Vegas. The conference has +30 renowned speakers from different regions of our world. The
attendees will cover the five continents and more. The conference shall be a great event
by being a conference of brains and hearts united in putting people before profit. The
dedicated workshops accompanying the conference shall provide greater opportunities
for attendees to exchange knowledge and to strengthen their human bonds. It shall be a
thrilling experience to meet with virtual friends with whom we built spiritual relationship
in person. It is going to be a conference of minds, hearts, and exchange of knowledge all in
a joyful atmosphere.
Sounds too good to believe!Yes, it is realizing that the whole idea of the Group was initiated
by dear brother Brad Fergusson only few months ago. Dream big to achieve big, but the
bigger the dreams are, the more difficult it is to realize them. It is like a kid aiming to reach
the top of a high mountain with the harsh rocks of the mountain making the way up to
the peak even harder. In spite of all these challenges Brad Fergusson didn›t lose heart
and his unyielding determination made him focus on his noble goal with difficulties seen
as opportunities to achieve more. Amazingly, over the period of only few months Brad
successfully passed many milestones and is still heading his way relentlessly.
I find that nothing dilutes difficulties more than believing in a great purpose and following it
with enough determination.This is the story of Brad Fergusson as his achievements reached
the peak of his mountainous dream. This is a lesson for all that if there is a genuine will
there should be a way. A thorny way may be, but experiences are the gloves that protect us
from the thorns. It might get chilly at the top of the mountain, but the warm heart of Brad
Fergusson to his friends and his concerns are the blanket not to keep him only warm, but
also to those faithful friends around him.
I find the post of dear Jenna Stones on Brad Fergusson so fitting that I decided to make a
«public-known» stealing of her image and incorporate it in this post.
As the C-Day (I mean Conference Day) approaches and our hearts beat faster we feel that it
is time to take a pause and say: Thank You dear Brad Fergusson.
What Unites Us All?I find me asking myself questions that sound so naive that I fail to answer them. One
question is what unites people? What unites two members of a family, the whole family,
the community, the society, the neighboring countries, a geographical region or the whole
world? Is the uniting factor the same at all levels or does it vary?
Is it survival? That is an important factor because we see birds flock together and help each
other by flying in flocks and within V-formations. We see it in fish because they find better
survival opportunities in gathering in huge numbers. In wealthy families is survival an issue?
Most likely it is not at the moment. The creation of The United Nations has the purpose of
peace for all nations and this leads to achieving the purpose of survival for all. Apparently,
working from top to down approach is not good enough to keep this dream fully alive.
Is it trust? Is this enough to unite people? With all the differences we inherited over the
centuries we have created so many rooted differences that make full trust almost an
impossible dream. We lost trust by not being trustful to differences and accepting them as
a way of enjoying differences; instead to fight over them. Like a garden of flowers with so
many flowers with different colors and fragrances that live together has its beauty because
of the joy of differences that we experience. However; when it comes to humans and their
«garden of differences» we behave differently. We tend to see the thorns in flowers and
become self-defending with trust waning away. We have even created The Black Swan and
The BlackTulip when we were doing the wrong things to Black people. A car is good as long
as it is black. We started segregating beauty and enlarging our preferences. Is it then the
lack of enjoying differences that is preventing humans from acting together?
The agony is that our inability to enjoy differences extends to all facets of life. Religions
have been a cause of many wars. Religions are like flowers each with its fragrance; but we
other religions. Language is another example in which each language has its fragrance; yet
we failed to enjoy the differences and went into logical preferences that plant the seeds of
conflict. Race and country of origin are different; and again we fell miserably in enjoying
the differences and make them a source of conflict because we even scale u differences.
If an Arab makes a evil action the voices reach the sky kill Arabs. The evil act triggered the
wrong attitudes of hating a nation because of its race, language and the «stored» feelings
towards that nation.
We need to find an element that scales up from the individual to the whole world to act
as a real bonding element among people. An element that scales up regardless of the
differences, that only stands the test of time, but also strengthens with time. We need an
element that applies to all regardless of their differences. WE need an element that is not
based on profit from relationship because profits for some all losses for others. WE need a
concept that doesn›t disengage itself from us like paint disengages from its substrate.
Thinking about the factor I find it to be LOVE. But not any love. It is a conditional one. It
loves for others what you love for yourself. This is the fractal initiator that can extend its
roots from individuals to families and teams and all the way up to the world. When you
love others you think of their interests and grow to believe that if you do you are actually
serving yourself, your family and the world.
Loving people means doing to them what you like for yourself. This is the unifying concept
in a world that is fragmented because of differences rather than enjoying them.reached
To be living is to be growing for a plant to live it has to grow. Businesses need to grow. Our
hopes and aspirations need to grow.Trees need to grow. It is how trees grow that fascinates
me and is worthy of pondering on and on.
Trees grow and they keep their fractal shape. They keep their uniformity. They keep the
provision of equal opportunities for all leaves to have exposure to light and humidity. Trees
do that keeping the Golden Ratio. It is the fairness and loving for other leaves what a leaf
loves for itself that keeps the unity of a tree. The branches seemed to have a spiral pattern
that reached up into the sky. It is amazing that solar panels arranged in emulation of the
tree leaves and branches have the maximum efficiency in collecting sunlight.
It is fairness and loving for others what to love for self that builds the confidence for a
tree to grow. This collective action makes the interest of all higher than the interest of one
individual (leaf). As our societies grow it is important to realize that growth should serve
the interests of all that will keep the integrity of the social tree. It is not a genuine growth
that advances one part of the society while ignoring other parts. It is like a tree growing
healthily in one section and staying ailing in another. Soon the tree dies.
Within this frame of growth the tree grows tall. New heights impose new challenges. How
will the tree transport water from the soil all the way up to the top sections of the tree?Why
wouldn›t the lower parts capture all the water with its dissolved nutrients and deny the top
sections of them? Even if the lower branches of tree attempted to do that would they be
able to? So many questions percolate in my mind. But the one question of concern here
is the way the tree transfer nutrients-enriched water extracted from the soil all the way to
the top. It is by creating a negative pressure at the top. The majority of water molecules
fall from the top leaves downwards because of gravity. The difference in concentration of
water molecules creates a huge negative pressure at the top that overweigh the forces of
gravity. This corresponds to a pressure decrease of one atmospheric pressure every ten
pressure at the top of the tree. I call this positive negativity because the negative pressure
led to positive actions. If not, the performance of organizations shall fall as dead leaves do.
be the first to sacrifice water (resources, power, or whatever) and create negative pressure
and not a positive one on employees. This way the equivalent of water and nutrients in the
base soil get naturally to the top in which each layer of the tree acts as a supporter of the
water transportation. What is equivalent to water and nutrients is the information at the
base level of the organization. If the top management exerts positive pressure all it shall
get is the transfer of orders from top to bottom. Organizations can›t grow high without
having solid bases and the roots to extract information. More importantly, the unity of
purpose and loving for others what a human loves for himself that eventually lead to a
coherent structure that serves its own interest by allowing information to reach the top
managerial level. Nutrients are not in the air and they are near the base.
My previous post on «What Unites Us All»? received a wealth of comments and thoughts.
Some authors suggested thoughts as the unifying factor; others suggested power,
enlightenment and love. We have a living metaphor- the tree- and show us the way
ahead. It is when we serve each other as we want to be served lies the solution. Love and
enlightenment are great catalysts when we realize that good things travel up easily if the
pressure at the top is negative.This is only possible if people at the top give more than they
take realizing that it is the only way to keep the coherence of the growing tree.
To sleep is to awake; to live be to die, to think positively is to think negatively and the
examples roll on. We live in pairs in spite of us separating the components of the pairs. In
doing so, we lose. It is by accepting the pairs as a unity that we may arrive at even creative
solutions and I shall show with examples.
I follow up on my previous two posts, which drew quite numerous and valuable comments
that prompted me to write this post. I want to start with a simple example: the half empty
cup, but in a different perspective. I show first the cup filled with optimism and pessimism.
This cup could in reality be filed with any polar pairs (positive and negative).
I consider optimism the denser of the two pairs and therefore fill the bottom half of the
cup. The more we fill the cup the less of pessimism we have. We could fill the cup till the
brim so that no pessimism shall be left. Is that fine working with one component of the
My answer is that this could be counter-productive. This is simply we negating reality if
we do so. It is like having a day without the night and the terrible effects this will have
on our health. We need a stabilizing effect to our exaggerated sense of optimism like we
stabilize our body temperature with negative feedback loops. I am therefore in accordance
with the article on «How to Harness the Positive Power of Negative Thinking», in which
the author Oliver Burkeman states « Consider the logic: when you try to persuade yourself
that everything will work out for the best, you risk reinforcing your unspoken belief that it
would be utterly catastrophic if they didn’t. Instead, try soberly working through how badly
things could really go. You may find that your fears get cut down to manageable size».
We need to go with nature and not against it. That is why I find handling pairing is the
natural thing and the swing to one extreme without a solid purpose can fire back. When
our selectivity of going for one extreme polar end we fail to embrace reality, the natural
laws of pairing and we start to swim against the tide. This is a way of self-deceive.
«In simple terms I say we have to think positively about negativity».
I enjoyed reading the E-book on The Positive Effect of Negativity, the books offer four
examples of campaigns that benefitted from negativity. I produced the below figure from
the text extracted from the E-book to show how a negative, but active minority awakened
the sleepy majority to their case. It is an example of which the negative produces positive
I give another example from a post that Joanne Swecker shared recently. I love the way she
paired the mind and heart, as shown in her image below:
My dear friend Edward Lewellen shared a very thoughtful post recently on «The Death
of Your True Values», which is quite relevant to this post. Equally important are the great
comments there contributed by many thinkers such as Yogesh Raheja, Rod King, Ph.D and
JENNA STONE. The comments are of great value to this post.
And the big question now «Is it People before profit, or profit before people? I am separating
the two opposites. I am saying people come before profit and that does not mean profits
are unwelcome. It doesn›t mean turning a blind eye to negative comments. It simply means
it is the determination to turn negativity into power to awaken the passive masses into a
powerhouse to make the cup mostly full with supporters of people before profit. It is the
negativity that shall keep the wave going. I wonder what my friend Brad Fergusson thinks
of this post. I think I guessed the answer rightly.
Profits Weedy Ideas and How
to Deal with Them?
Obstacles have to be removed. If they stay for long they become deterrent to our progress,
which brings in fear, diminishing self-confidence and plants all kind of evil weeds in us. How
to remove obstacles is an issue that warrants thinking about. A comment by the honorable
lady Isabella (Demetriou) Wesoly, BA Hons, Dip.IRIS, FRSA on one of my posts invoked the
idea of this post. In her comment Isabella wrote «In creating a business plan here, there are
various levels of ‹pairing› going on, (including a content/discontent 15 year old). It›s as if I
am a colander: A colander separates what we mix into a pot of boiled vegetables = SOLID/
LIQUID both are useful for the same and different reasons EATING/DRINKING do we eat or
drink soup? I feel we do both, considering that any liquid soup contains particles of food.
USEFUL HERE/USEFUL THERE Things that I do not need are useful somewhere else».
Things that I do not need are useful somewhere else.This idea brewed in my mind.We have
so many tangible and intangible wastes. Emotional wastes, energy wastes, time wastes and
food wastes are just few examples. Worse, may be, are the ideas and emotional wastes that
stay in our bodies and intoxicate us. Nobody shall remove those wastes for us. It is the
individual responsibility first.
One possibility is eliminating wastes by treating the waste someone as the starting material
for another.Thinking this way proved to be very viable in negotiations and leading them to
success. I explained this possibility in the embed presentation:
But then the idea of using colanders to separate liquids from solids strokes my mind. Solid
ideas that might not be «solid» and thus sticking to them become blocking obstacles to
our progress. The low efficiency of our thinking results in wastes that stay in our bodies?
Don›t we have colanders to remove them? Or, are the colanders blocked by the vastly
growing seeds of negative thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and bad habit patterns? Or, may be
the colanders are glassy and they got broken leaving sharp pieces of irritating glass in our
I feel that we get hot-headed sometimes and try to purify our ideas by adding them to a
plastic colander in our heads while holding it. This is risky and the hot ideas may penetrate
the holes in the colander and burn us. It is not enough to have hot ides; equally important
is purifying them correctly.
Hot-headed people and hot ideas need another type of care to contain them in the
«colander». We need a breathing period to deal with them to deal with them successfully.
Remember that you should never add cold water to hot oil for the oil shall splash around
causing risk to people around. It is far better to either add the hot ideas slowly to our
«colanders» or wait for the hot person to cool down. We want an approach «colander» that
removes obstacles without creating new and major problems.
We rinse fruits in a colander to wash the fruits. We brain «wash» people to clean them and
reform their ideas and thoughts. Great as we achieved that- but where the washing water
ended up? If it is not released outside it allows for the growth of weeds that shall block the
colanders of those people we brainwashed.This reminds me of the 1964 movie «36 Hours».
Germans kidnap an American major and try to convince him that World War II is over, so
that they can get details about the Allied invasion of Europe out of him. The kidnapped
walked up to the fact that a small wound in his body did not heal yet. How could the war
have ended then? He uncovered the plot. We may brainwash people, but this is subject to
finding out the real facts later.
use them to sprout beans. If you wish the video below shows you how. This way you may
a constant supply of fresh beans. Be careful not to leave the sprouts to grow for extended
periods for the sprout beans are best when young. This shows us we need constant supply
of fresh ideas and that it is best to use them when are young. Blocking the colanders in
our brains will only block us from sprouting them in the colanders, but also to inhibit their
sprouting because of the colanders are already blocked by old and irrelevant ideas. Best is
if we could use our brains colanders to turn wastes no matter of what origin to into useful
Little strain or pain can be of help in somewhat straining some people.They are like strained
yogurt to make your own Greek-style yogurt: Line the colander with cheesecloth and. drain
plain yogurt overnight in the fridge (remember to place a bowl underneath to catch all the
We need to wash old thoughts such as profits come before people. Those weedy ideas
grow fast and so they lose their tastes.They grow fast and block our colanders and we must
remove them first. Streams of new ideas are needed to keep the momentum of «People
before Profits». We need to carefully understand that blockage of the colanders is always
possible. We need to understand that we shouldn›t waste our times and resources in vain
because we then block our own colanders. Instead of wasting times cleaning them it is far
better to keep the colanders clean to host other functions and including turning the wastes
collected by the colanders into useful products and ideas. We don›t assume easiness of the
road ahead, but we shall turn the wastes resulting from own effort into useful applications.
This is how people benefit and we benefit.
I hope we are not trying to remove misunderstandings, bad ideas, habits, behaviors and
emotions with the same blocked colander.
Living on the Edge
death is eminent, but full of a lively desire to communicate to the world my experience.
The two opposites almost meeting in one point and living the death experience. This is
an amazing experience where the swing of the pendulum is frozen in one point. Too tired
to write, but energized to exploit the last drop of living. It is a situation in which I find all
opposites meeting in point. I find myself looking in the back rear and asking myself have
I been honest or dishonest. What would I have done better for myself and others? Have I
cheated being dishonest?
When people build trust in a person and have no reason to be skeptic about him/her
and suddenly this person behaves in a dishonest way the consequences are terrible for
all parties. In a story a woman told her friend» dear X… I am sorry to tell you that your
husband is living with another woman». Mrs. X blew up and started screaming and cursing
her husband. When she cooled down a little, her friend told her «now I have to tell you the
truth.Your husband passed away». Mrs. X replied «Oh, now I feel better that he didn›t cheat
on me». Cheating was more injurious to her than death.
The longer a wife and husband live together, the more the trust is the other partner is
honest and is not cheating. When a solid foundation is established between the couple,
trust is taken for granted. If this trust is then violated the consequences are dire. The wife
reaches a stage where even she would prefer her husband›s death rather than cheat on
her. Cheating can thus turn a relationship that is as bright as a diamond into charcoal that
is dull. Why would we do that and how to combat it? What are the consequences of rapidly
falling expectations on human relations
It seems to me that people great a natural concept- if you cheat and betray the trust people
put on you then same people would react to counter your betrayal. This is not only in the
human domain; it extends to the animal and plants worlds too. For example, Yucca plants
and moths have a mutual interaction to benefit both.The female yucca moths deposit their
egg one at a time to the yucca flower. At the same time, the female moth also deposits
a small amount of pollen from yucca flowers as nutrition for the yucca moths. Because
most of the pollen is not consumed by the larva, yucca moths are therefore also the active
pollinators for the yucca plant. “Cheating” sometimes happens when the yucca moth
deposits too many eggs in one plant. In this case, the yucca plant has little to no benefits
from this interaction. However, the plant has a unique way of constraining this behavior.
Whereas often the constraint against cheating occurs directly to the individual, in this case
the constraint occurs to the individual’s offspring. The yucca plant can “abort” the moths
by aborting the flowers. Notice that the yucca plant prefers aborting its flowers to being
cheated.This reminds me again of the lady who found the death of her husband less painful
than finding him betraying her.
Trust and love are a genuine mixture. Loving your wife and gaining her trust that you shall
not betray her or cheat on her is a the way to live a life that keeps you in sheer joy of not
negative feelings. Losing trust and love lead to mounting doubts, building of worries and
anxiety and developing feelings of suspicion of self and others as well.
It is love combined with trust that does the miracles. The opposite is at least equally true.
Like living between life and death on the edge; it is also the same living on the edge of
lovable trust and hateful betrayal. Betrayal signals the death of a living life vividly.
Businesses should realize that customers are people who shall behave similarly if their trust
to the businesses is exploited.The same lessons and the same repercussions are derived.
I recall my days when I have just completed my doctorate degree becoming a university
lecturer. The campus was lively with sports and entertainment facility. The swimming
pools in particular were very inviting. I couldn›t swim and the kids started mocking at me.
I didn›t try to swim again for a while. Realizing this was a negative thinking I decided to
teach myself swimming. I based my thinking on trying at night so that nobody could see
me «faltering» in water. Using my scientific background I realized that if I could float while
relaxed I should self-learn swimming easily. I accomplished that in a short while. The next
step was to synchronize my breathing while pushing water backwards so that it may push
me forwards. I watched movies of great swimmers and how they do that. Soon, I managed
to swim. Next time I joined other swimmers they thought that I was acting not knowing
how to swim. The feelings that my self-worth was diminishing was the true force towards
me to learn swimming and restore my self-worth.
Only two years later I decided to study the French language being a frequent traveler and I
needed to understand some French. I had moved already to a research job and seconded to
teach one course at the university. The French classes were evening classes. To my surprise,
two of my female students at the university were my classmates in the French class. No
text was given and we had to learn French like babies do. Watch a video in French and then
repeat what you here. I still remember the first class in which the first phrase was «Je vais
avec vous». I had difficulty repeating it while my students did very successfully. For two
days I was under the heavy embarrassment of my students doing better than I. I could have
quitted, but this was to be considered as an escape. I could tell my two students reported
my failure to their friends. I decided to work on two fronts: to find out if there was a ‹secret
formula» for my two average students to perform better than I in French and find a way to
accelerate my learning of French. It turned out that in the country students study French
at high school and that the students get the text of the videos from last year students. So,
I was racing with a class who started the race before the whistle was blown. These findings
restored some of my self-worth. I brought a private teacher for the weekend only to teach
me French all day long. He would read French text and I had to repeat after him. My ear got
«tuned» to the French language. I ended the first semester with Bien whereas my students
got bien evaluation only. It amazes how times have changes. My daughter Sara speaks
fluent Turkish only by attending Turkish TV programs and listening to Google Translate.
The rapidity of not only technological changes, but also the provision of tools and apps
to foster the use of those technologies are mind-boggling not only in learning languages,
but in every facet of life. I do routine screening of tools used in social networking. As soon
as I have familiarized myself with one, a new tool or apps appears. I find myself losing self-
worth for being unable to cope with the rapidity of change.This diminishing return on self-
worth may be expounded in the following illustration:
This negative effect of change may crop in. Realizing that social networking is causing
another negative phenomenon, which is increasing distraction and losing focus warn us
that we are swimming in different waters and that we may need to adjust our swimming
into diving in the ocean of rapid changes without losing our confidence of self-worth.
The propagation of technologies that is able to overcome the obstacles of time and space
are rapidly diminishing time and creating new spaces that we are unfamiliar with. We need
to upgrade our social skills and not only social tools. The feeling that we may suffer from
«growing Ignorance» may damage severely our social and individual worth.
Trustphobic CharactersMy dear friend, Rod King, Ph.D is the father of the ratio (Delight/Pain). As simple as this ratio
is, still it has great repercussions on what we do. We wish to change, but change is painful
as it takes us out of our comfort zone. The greater the displacement from this zone is, the
greater the pain is. This means that we must anticipate change to give us greater delight
than the accompanied pain of change if we are to change.
Change for me is of two major parts: voluntary change and compulsory change. If we
communicate to people that change is for their benefit and delight their resistance to
change me shrink making the change process much easier. In contrast; people will not
change unless it is a compulsory change if not convinced of the outcome of it.
Change has its depth as well. It could be superficial or it could be deep. Superficial changes
heaviness; it shall not if coated with a fatty lubricant.The coating induces new propertied on
limestone that create an opposing force to gravity strong enough to offset the gravitational
force. This is how a duck floats on water instead of sinking in it. Plants do it as well. May be
you heard of «The Lotus Effect». This super water-repellent plant (superhydrophobic) plant
because of the presence of fatty materials on its leaves cause water to roll off the leaves and
in the process washes away foreign materials. The lotus flower has become the symbol of
purity for this reason.
It is painful that the purity of the lotus flower has been abused by some humans. You meet
a person who shows you deep smile with whitish teeth and he makes you think this person
is the symbol of purity.To your dismay, you find that below the smiles lies a different person
with a cunning character. It is turning delight into pain that causes us to change our opinion
of this person, but in the wrong direction. I have experienced this effect on LinkedIn. Few
supposedly friends wrote to me urging me to read their posts and like them. No matter
what, I shall only do that to a deserving post. If I read a post and it doesn›t resonate with
me I don›t comment or surely will not click the like button. But then I noticed something.
The number of likes decreased on some of my posts. Few likes were turned to unlike. You
guessed right as this was done by the same people whom I liked their posts. This is what I
call a «trusthobic character». These people roll off water but water drops are not enough to
remove all their dirt. Interestingly, these people keep writing to me asking for my comments
and likes! I changed my feelings easily because the delight of not responding to them is far
greater than the interim pain they caused because of their unprofessional behavior.
Sometimes we may hate people or avoid them because of their religion, race or color and it
is deep and difficult change to reverse the attitude. This is wrong, but we know it happens.
The examples are too many to numerate them.There is an inherited hatred that can›t roll off
from the leaves of our memory. Running across those people accidentally will initially cause
feeling of avoidance. Changing feelings has to surmount a mountain because meeting
them is devoid of delight and is full of pain. However; how many times we discover the
wrongness of these behavior that base themselves on false assumptions. I experienced this
and it turns out that the change of enmity to friendship may become a lasting one. This is a
profound change because it involves change of long inherited assumptions.These changes
uproot us from our comfort zones into more comfortable ones.
In businesses, a sure way to gain customers and change the hearts of your customers
positively is by removing their pains. Not only we may track customers› complaints on
social media, but also we may study customers› Journey Maps to identify painful points
and creatively turn them to delight points. This is a big change as churning customers who
return are the most loyal to your business.
Your comments and opinions shall delight me even if they are painful.
A heart-moving post that is written by Trish Goff and titled «The Power of Goodbye». In
the post Trish describes her experience when she was sixteen watching her mother die.
Before dying her mother gave her a note she could hardly write saying «Please leave». That
was the last time Trish saw her mother alive. The message was poorly understood by Trish
thinking her mother didn›t want to see any more of her. This faulty understanding led Trish
to lose her way in life for years. Only when she awoke to the real meaning of the message
that Trish corrected her paths. Her mother didn›t want her daughter to see her suffering
and hardly collecting herself writing the short message. She wanted to relieve her daughter
from experiencing the difficult times she was passing through. This realization and self-
awakening years later led Trish into new beliefs, healthy actions and selecting the right
paths to march on.
Trish post not only invoked my feelings, but also triggered an old memory of almost same
message that I received and misunderstood. I was doing my PhD in England. One day I
heard my name called upon in a loud speaker. I was requested to report urgently to the
Department of Students Affairs. I rushed with worries flooding my heart. It turned out
that a local hospital received an Arab lady from Morocco. The lady was in a poor health
condition, but couldn›t speak English. The doctors were at loss what to do. They contacted
the university to find if there is somebody who could speak Arabic. So, I rushed to the
hospital and did the translation. The lady had to undergo a major surgery. Unfortunately,
her husband had left one day before and didn›t know about the sudden surgery of his wife.
Two days later I decided to visit the lady just in case she needed help. She was recovering
and happy that her husband was due to come back in two hours. Having been pleased
with her recovery I said goodbye. She replied «Ismahli- meaning please permit me». So, I sat
again each time I said goodbye and she kept saying the same words. Finally, «I said I have to
leave». She responded «I have been telling you please leave». Even though we both spoke
Arabic, Ismahli turned out to mean «you have my permission to leave»
Please Leave was the same message Trish and I received and we both misunderstood it,
even though the repercussions were not to the same magnitude. The rush to misinterpret
the message of please leave led us to guilty behaviors. Both women- the mother and the
lady from Morocco- were being hospitalized and weak.Their weakness still prompted them
to send positively-intended messages that we failed to comprehend.
It is amazing how much pain teaches us. The pain coming from unexpected people like
mothers can be truly harsh and may lead some of us to do the wrong actions. It is the
accepting the assumption that we build on misunderstanding the message. In a rush of
invite for many more wrongs. It is only when we wake u to the real meaning and motives of
the messages that we wake up. Too late is better than never. The guilt of misunderstanding
clouds our minds and hearts. And when the clouds turn rainy, they rain regret and sorrow
for not trusting the people who cared for us enough to accept our mistaken interpretations
of their messages.
From the great pain comes the great regret and self-correction. It is comforting that we
may misread the intentions of others. It is comforting that this self-induced pain may be
our source of strength and self-correction later on.
Please leave… reading this post
Please leave…a comment
Please leave…your opinion
Please leave… the interpretation of the message is yours.
Live and Leave Good Leaves
Human tragedies bind people and they rush for help voluntarily. The passionate feelings
turn into a driving force that pool people towards helping the deserving parties. In a video
that is becoming very popular in Jordan and was only published one day ago shows a kid
selling kids stories on the streets. It is a snowy weather and extremely cold. This prompts a
man stop his car and ask the kid why he was on the streets. The kid answered him because
he needs to make money to buy fuel to heat his home as his family is poor and can›t afford
it. As he lost his father the family is dependent on him. The man gave him money so that
the kid could buy fuel and go home. When the kid handed him the books the man told him
«I have no kids to read them». «But I take no money for nothing» and the kid insisted on
giving the man the books.
The kid is in need for money, but also in need to keep his dignity. The need for money is for
his family, but his dignity is for himself first of all. The man couldn›t drive away leaving the
kid with no dignity. In life, we may leave, but we must keep the dignity of others for them.
of the image is apparently unknown. I am not puzzling here how many leaders are in the
image; I am more interested in what these leaders left for humanity. Did these leaders
leave in the leaves great memories? We are the same. Instead of the Indian leaders we can
visualize the many faces we have each hiding in a leave. Are we hiding the faces of beauty,
love, affection or hatred, grudge and greed?
There are many faces for the same thing. Look at ice and how many faces it has. Look at
isotopes how many faces they have. Look at love and how many faces it has. Look at a cube
and how many it has. More dimensions we cover, the more faces we show. DO we want
faces of heroes or…?
It amazes me how many faces passions have. Love is a complex force, but it has many forms
as some minerals have. Depression has many faces as dear Dr. Edward Lewellen has shown
in his recent post «Costly Depression in Your Organization». Not all depressions may be
treated the same way. We call all cases depression, but forgetting they have different faces
in the tree leaves.
My last post «Misunderstanding the Message», which was inspired by another post by dear
Trish Goff and titled «The Power of Goodbye» the Leave order was the theme of both. Here,
the theme is Leave healthy leaves with each leaf showing different love. When the hidden
faces of love get exposed then people shall remember you for great things.
Leave, but leave good leaves behind
Life below the Soil
Amazing things go below the surfaces. We all know the Iceberg Effect. How about having
a «Sandberg Effect», or «Soilberg Effect»? What we see on the surface is different when we
travel below the surface. Why limit our thinking to what goes below the ice and not extend
it to the soil?
Examples shall explain what I mean. Take the cooperation between plants and fungi. The
fungi threads below the soil not only exchange nutrients between self and the roots of
plants, but also the threads act as information carrier to the plants so that the plants may
talk to each other. Plants have found other ways of communication to alert each other of
possible threats coming from approaching threats such as herbivores. They exchange the
release of volatile chemicals. Recent researches have shown that the plants have found
other formidable means of cooperation. The plants click to the sounds coming from other
plants to alert them to approaching threats. Amazingly, plants send sound vibration, which
are inaudible for the human ear that can travel through the soil and which the other plants
respond to. It is amazing how threats unite living systems and leads to the finding diverse
creative solutions to combat the threat. Small plants tend to grow faster when receiving
such threats to protect themselves. This is in contradictory to what most small businesses
do as they tend to shrink as a means of survival when they in fact may need to grow faster.
Survival is a great way to promote voluntarily collaboration. Collaboration need not be
observable and mostly goes below the soil. This is what I termed «Soil Iceberg». That is not
the end of the story for this iceberg has many more lessons to teach us. Research has shown
that plants have not only diversifies their strategy to combat threat, but also to satisfy their
energy requirements. Research has shown recently that plants may draw energy from each
other. Again, it is the algae that provided the example. The green algae not only engage
in photosynthesis, but also have an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other
plants. The alga secretes enzymes that break down the cellulose from neighboring down
into smaller sugar components. These are then transported into the cells and transformed
into a source of energy: the alga can continue to grow. The waste of one plant is the source
of energy for another plant.
What is far more fascinating to me is the human may apply those simple concepts and
develop them into feasible applications. The waste of one plant may be the seeds of great
potential applications by humans. Here, imagination has a great role and that imagination
should reach below the sandy surfaces of the familiar thinking. We need «Brainberg
Thinking». Brains realize what great possibilities exist below the surfaces. Does the waste
of plants need to be a physical material? Not necessarily as it could be a strange waste
as electrons. That is right. Plants generate organic wastes that go into the soil. Great
and cheap source these wastes are for bacteria neighboring the roots of the plants. The
breakdown of these wastes by bacteria is accompanied by the release of electrons. The
use of electrons is for what? It is for electricity generation. This genius idea was developed
by Dutch researchers and they have now succeeded in making a pilot plant of this idea.
“Via photosynthesis a plant produces organic matter. Part of this organic matter is used
for plant-growth, but a large part can’t be used by the plant and is excreted into the soil
via the roots. Around the roots naturally occurring micro-organisms break down the
organic compounds to gain energy from. In this process, electrons are released as a waste
product. By providing an electrode for the micro-organisms to donate their electrons
to, the electrons can be harvested as electricity. Research has shown that plant-growth
isn’t compromised by harvesting electricity, so plants keep on growing while electricity is
concurrently produced.” (source)
You can see a video below of this concept and how it works:
Below the soil there are so many possibilities for humans to uncover and find innovative
applications. I should not leave without mentioning that low «profile» creatures such as
bacteria and algae happen to lead us to great discoveries.
Never belittle someone for being» little», for this little person could be the spark for great
collaborations and innovations. Our view of some humans or employees being waste is
distorted. If we can turn electron waste into high energy (electricity), do we fail to do the
same with humans?
A Fibonacci Perspective of
It amazes me how much people tend to swing to an extreme among polar things such
as emotions warning from negative emotions and encouraging positives emotions. Other
Positive and negative thinking
Positive and negative feelings
Positive and negative comments
Positive and negative opinions
Positive and negative beliefs
Positive and negative loops, and
Positive and negative numbers
Being named positive and negative means they are oppositely charged. One can only be
present in the presence of its opposite. Yet; we warn against all negatives.
What makes things worse is our Negativity Bias, in which we inflate the negativity far more
than we do with the positive ones. Inflating negativity may paralyze us and stop us from
has a positive face as well.
There are many negative feedback pathways in biological systems, including:
Blood pressure regulation
If too cold, the body shivers to bring up the temperature. If too warm, the body evaporates
Blood sugar regulation
Supply demand balance
Photosynthesis in response to increased carbon dioxide, and
Predator/prey population dynamic
The negative feedback loop may cool down the positive escalation of negative feelings and
emotions. Take anger as an example. Anger bursts as soon as they get started, they keep
growing until reaching a maximum point. We need a negative loop to subdue escalating
It is very unhealthy to have meetings in which all people express positive attitudes to an
idea.We may experience a positive loop and turn us blind to seeing the negative side of the
idea and we get off balance as we tend then to think irrationally. We need some negative
thoughts to bring us back to reality.We need negative ideas to oppress our chaotic positive
thinking and to awake our senses to the possibility of overlooking what I may term in this
context «The Positive Bias». Is this another name for «groupthink»? I dare say that too much
of sugar in your cup of coffee makes the coffee unpleasant to drink. No drinking of coffee
means no action. Too much of positive can also lead to no action and sleeping on sweet
dreams that shall not be realized.
Please refer to the two presentations below for greater details:
and, «People before Profit» is a positive concept. Its reverse «Profits before People» is a
negative one. We need negative thoughts and opinions to stabilize our zeal to the concept
and we see them as an opportunity to build on and purify the concept further. This is a
concept that id advocated by Brad Fergusson - PBP Heart Centered Leadership and is
assisted by great mind to carry it through with enough determination, but not without
some self-doubt to think and imagine the brighter future sensibly. But the question is
by how much? How much time and effort should be allowed for this mix of positive and
negative thinking? My answer is by following Fibonacci Rule»: %62 of time and efforts to
positive thinking and the remaining %32 for negatives ones. Is there a better way than
using The Golden Ratio of Fibonacci?
«Global Politics with the University of Oxford». In her response Sophie wrote «The reason
I write so freely about medical and therapy is because I have been through depression
and I have come out the other side with so much insight about ourselves and how we are
treated by ‹therapists›. My biggest mistake was to put my soul and life into the hands of
people who didn›t know me or understand what I was capable of overcoming. I am very
lucky that I had my creativity. Today, I teach the young ones not only painting techniques
but how to relate each stroke, dot and layer to their own life; painting a picture is similar to
painting your life picture. If a mistake happens I never allow them to rub it out - a mistake
can lead to another interesting part of the painting that your conscious mind would never
have dreamed. It is allowing mistakes and it is allowing yourself to go forward without fear
of making the mistake that you can find the jewel in the crown. This jewel is Creativity.
Creativity will give you the tools to break out of your own tundra». Is there a better way to
show how negative thinking may turn negative experiences into great positive ones?
I hope this post serves in painting a better future for all readers.
Holes in MindsHoles vary in shape, size and tangibility. You see holes in flowers, tree trunks, cement
structures, eggshells, rabbit holes, paint holes and that is to name few examples. You may
observe structural holes in social networks and these networks might send you through
rabbit-like holes while surfing. In this sense, the term «rabbit holes» is used to describe
online activities. You start with an idea in mind, but find yourself going into paths that
you didn›t intend to. You learn, may be lucky to run into a new discovery or a video that
explains a concept clearly, which was vague to you or run into a new interest. As much
as this experience might be enriching, it could also distract you from your initial intent of
surfing. Small observations while surfing may drastically change your path of surfing.
There are nine holes in the human body. It is amazing how these holes are connected
together. Just watch this wonderful video and see for yourself the miraculous human body
and how the integration of these nine holes affects the behavior of our bodies.
Structural holes in social media could be a source of information through the bridges
connecting the holes. It is again «location, location, location». Structural hole is understood
as a gap between two individuals who have complementary sources to information. A
benefits from having two bridges allowing him to get tangible advantage.
So, a hole might be advantageous for some people and need not be a bad thing. However;
it is the intangible holes that prompted me to write this post. These holes could have an
adverse effect in that A in the above figure may use his «arms» to exercise power and to
pass information that benefits him. Egoism and self-interest might be the consequences of
having such a powerful location. A hole is a way to promote self-interest by communicating
Holes in social network structures with their double faces are indifferent from holes in
the leaves of plants. Insects such as beetles that chew the leaves of your plants cause the
formation of holes in the leaves. This is the negative side and is not fatal as chewing shall
not kill the plants. On the positive side, these insects feed birds. This keeps the ecosystem
in balance. Somebody›s loss is somebody else›s profit. Thinking on an ecosystem level is
structures. Here is an important point to consider by the «People-before-Profit Group» as it
looks for the profit not from the self-interest only, but also for the interest of the ecosystem
Intangible holes result from our negative thinking. I would is that negative thinking is like
insects that bite leaves and leave holes in them. These are holes of low-esteem, of self-
poverty and indecisiveness. These negative insects (thoughts) may cause the formation of
many holes in the minds. These are dark holes that reflect no light. The adoption of wrong
concepts such as «Profits-before-People» may allow for immediate gains. But overtime
their harmful effects on the self as well on the ecosystem may not be curable.
Profits that lead to holes on the structure of the societal ecosystem are not profits. They
are based on self-interests making the interest of an individual or group higher than the
interest of the society. When you have a puncture in a tire the car doesn›t drive safely. A
puncture in our thinking will only do the same to our societies.
The Profit Paradox
Amazing is how life plans for us and we think we do the planning. Dear Sara Jacobovici
started a series of posts that are built on a post that I published before. Sara is writing
hugely mind-provoking posts. In her last brilliant one titled « Human Paradox 3#: How to
Be in the Process of Becoming» she discusses the paradoxes of becoming. The first paradox
she attunes to is «As we strive to become, we need to understand who we are, so as to
then find the way to be». Sara then moves on to arrive at a second emerging paradox «The
curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change - Carl Rogers».
This paradox then invites for another paradox «paradox of our need for novelty within a
structured and familiar environment». It is identifying paradoxes and their emergence that
act as a high-level octane fuel to prompt us to see new possibilities and uncover butterfly
effects that make businesses profitable while serving high purposes.
I commented on this post and I extract the following from my comment «I read the post
three times and each time get more amused with a paradox generating another paradox.
It is a rule that a paradox generates another paradox? Are we living in a state of fractal
paradoxes? Are we chasing an impossible dream by trying to solve a paradox because
as soon as we try to do that a newer paradox appears (or emerges)? You remind me of
a presentation I wrote few years back titled «The Cost of the Emotional Coast». In the
presentation I explained what you described ably in this post «This results from the fractal-
then the driver itself is fractal and it shall then be impossible to track or measure a driver
because it might change face into a similar, but different face. I have to think more of the
linkage between fractal emotions and fractal paradoxes and how they could be related».
The great post of dear Sara stretched my boundaries of thinking. Does profit have a paradox
attached to it? If yes, is this paradox fractal in nature in the sense that if we zoom in a
paradox another one shall emerge? Has anybody experienced this? What were the results?
My Google search led me to a heart-breaking and wonderful video. The experience sheds
tremendous light on what Sara wrote and on what I am trying to achieve. It is a must see
video and I embed it below for the readers› convenience. It is the proof that what Sara
wrote is supported by a great life example:
We want to be what? Profit-making machines, but what purpose does that serve? Do we
a source of happiness when we create unhappy and stressful work environments? Do we
create our own confrontations with embedded tensions and paradoxes and then we create
a losing work environment and then hope to make profits.
Who will win the cake? I believe it is those businesses that focus on the input and not the
output. The cake metaphor shall help in clarifying what I mean. If you make a cake that is
of low quality and nobody desires it then you need to see what went wrong. It could be
the high mixing of the ingredients (rushing the formation of groups or teams). It could be
using the wrong ingredients and mainly unsuitable flour.The presence of gluten in the right
amount to balance the formation of tiny voids and inflation of the cake to the desired levels
is a prerequisite. It could be the high humidity environment that changes the suitability of
gluten. Finally, it could be due to the baking process itself. Just think of the causes and they
are all input-related and not output-related. And here comes the paradox of making profits
in its alarming face: we stress people, overload them with work and make them work like
machines and then expect a great cake o be the outcome!
Profits are outputs and we are beyond our control. The cake of profits shall never come to
the right level unless the ingredients are right. A main ingredient is that «People-before-
Profit» concept is applied. Anything else is a mirage.
The Opinion Path
I want first to start with two real scenarios that we all experienced. Suppose you feel very
hungry and you want to eat. You also have an important appointment and you must eat
fast.You have one supply of canned food. Before opening the can you read the expiry date.
To your dismay, today is the expiry day of it. Would you eat? What would be your behavior?
Or, you have a supply of rotten potato would you fry it and eat it? Or you have yogurt whose
expiry date was yesterday- would you eat it, or throw it in the can?
People are in general risk averts. The instinct of survival will make them react violently if
they see the risk as a huge one that endangers their life. However; it is the risk assessments
that may people behave differently in above situations. It is also the tension being on the
edge between risk and safety. Some people will eat the canned food saying it is low risk
to do so because manufacturers tend to bring earlier the expiry date for safety and selling
reasons. Others will say why take the risk and add to it the risk of missing the meeting and
opt to discard the can. Still some people will at the canned food for economic reasons and
avert the loss of purchasing a can that they throw away. I am sure readers have many other
thoughts on what they shall do.
who would eat it?The group dynamics shall influence the individual path of opinion on the
same issue. Groups of opinion shall form. One group shall opt not to eat and leave. Another
group will be tolerant to the risk and eat the food. A third group shall be undecided and
stay on the edge. Same incident, same people but with some different opinions because
of the way we influence each other. Those people staying on the edge are the ones whose
opinion shall be difficult to predict because a word might send them into different paths.
The risk of losing and how it changes the paths of our opinions is well manifested in a soccer
game that I witnessed yesterday. Two football teams were competing. The host team had
an on-loan player from the competitive team. The match ended in the host team winning
one to nil. But the agony was that the on-loan player not only a goal-scoring opportunity for
his old team, but also one minute later he scored against his previous team with a brilliant
header. I made a point to read some of the comments after the match. It is incredible how
the pain developed.The «waste» player who had little value suddenly became the center of
interest, being a hero by the fans of his new club and a traitor by the old fans.That «double-
pain» came from a player who was relegated made the pain escalate and take a totally
different path than expected.
Change is painful as it takes people out of their comfort zone. Very rapid changes are even
more painful. New technologies are changing fast. As soon a firm buys a new technology a
new one emerges. Ideas are taking different paths and as soon as people come to grip with
one a new one appears. A scientific research reveals a new finding that makes our current
knowledge obsolete. As soon as we get over this pain a new research finding reveals new
facts, which make the newly acquired beliefs wrong. We experience the paradoxical pain
of knowing more to find how lesser we know. We are living on canned knowledge whose
expiry date is now and the pain of deciding is it worthy to acquire a knowledge that is
about to expire.
Our real dilemma is that we are on the edge having to make instant decisions on issues that
are about to expire.We know whatever decision we make shall take us into unknown paths
and that people shall never be in full agreement while staying on the edge.
If my thought are scattered then I hope readers will help me focus them.
Expecting the Unexpected
It is amazing how a small adaptation may lead to unexpected results and produce
«Butterfly Effects» on our lives.The need to adapt to changes is a hot issue. But could a small
adaptation lead to further adaptations that are disruptive to our lives? Are we aware of the
consequences urging people to adapt that in the asking is embedded the possibility of a
possible butterfly effect that may lead to heavy disruptions of our lives with its cascading
Let me explain. When Edward Lorenz constructed a mathematical model of the weather,
namely a set of differential equations that represented changes in temperature, pressure,
wind velocity and other parameters he focused on measurable ones to obtain data for
his weather simulation. That led him to the discovery of the butterfly effect wherein small
changes in weather parameters may cause drastic and unpredictable weather changes.
Now, new scientific discoveries shows a different butterfly effect- it is certain types of
bacteria, which were never accounted for in the equations by Lorenz, might be responsible
for the weather unpredictability. How will these finding reflect on our thinking shall be
discussed later in this post.
with P. syringae. The bacteria produce a special protein, InaZ, which can act as an ice
nucleus at the relatively warm temperature of °2-C, probably because its repetitive shape
is just right for coaxing water molecules into a crystalline ice. Pure water may go below
38- Celsius degrees before freezing. Water molecules enjoy being fluid water apparently! It
is the presence of impurities around which water molecules arrange into ice crystals that
water phase turns into the ice phase. Impurities include microscopic dust particles and
soot which may act as ice nucleation centers. But what purpose what serve the bacteria
to produce an ice-nucleating protein? It turns out that it is for a frosting damage. Ice has
a larger volume than water causing the plant to damage and release its nutrients upon
which the bacteria feeds. Later on, the same bacteria were found in the upper atmosphere
causing the conversion of water in air to ice. I wonder how such adaptations shall require us
to adapt our thinking, simulations and ability to predict the already unpredictable climates
If interested, you may watch this short video on «The bacteria that turns water into ice»
Adaptations serve a purpose. The purpose of one adaptation of a species might harm the
purpose of others in survival or living healthily. It is the «conflict of «purposes» that we
are witnessing. When a new business forms it ideally must have a clear purpose that is
well expressed. It is the «who» the business shall serve combined with why and how of
implementing it that count. It is quite helpful to consider business on different time scales.
These may include the far future, the near future and the present.
I call this «The Venn diagram of Time». It is great to have a look into the future; however it is
equally important to realize that the business climate is turbulent and «small» nucleating
agents may frost the climate and lead us to burst out our information like a protein from
bacteria forces a plant to burst and feed its nutrients to the bacteria.We need to be realistic
and do reverse thinking. We need to think of the near future and what to do and then we
need to focus on the present. Using this «time funnel» would help us spot adaptations of
«small players» who may be able to make life difficult for any business and even on a global
Not all purposes are equal- they have different impacts and these impacts might vary over
time. We may place them in a graph similar to those used for risk graphs. Some purposes
might be impactful and grand; others could be marginal with no impact. At least it is how
they appear today. Be aware for some purposes may be small in your opinion, but may be
the bacteria that defeat the purposes of others and frost them to deprive them of any value.
Work on grand purposes, but always remember the opposing purposes coming from small
players. Small purposes have the advantage of being almost unnoticed, while preparing
self for digesting a noticeable business.The grand purpose of survival of the weak might be
the most hidden threat to a business. Expect the unexpected from them.
Building on Cores and not
One book is surely that is written by the dear friend Edward Lewellen titled «The -90Second
Mind Manager». I am still privileged to have written the foreword for this «thinking book».
In the book Dr. Lewellen highlights the importance of mining out the core values of people
as a primary step in their healing.
The question that reminded me of this book is what happens if we don›t build on the core
values? Is there a metaphor to answer this question? And what lessons may be derived?
Having scratched my head I found what I believe is a good metaphor. It is the growth
of polymers either from the core or from the arms. The simplest polymer that has some
fascinating properties is Ethylene Oxide. The building block is ethylene oxide, which upon
reacting with itself it produces a polymer with many faces (morphs).This process of building
the polymeric chains may be by adding more molecules of other chemicals to the core
or arms of the growing polymer. It is amazing that the resulting copolymer of core-first
showed different behavior of the material produced by adding to the arms. For example,
the core-based one gave a copolymer that is soluble in water; in contrast, the arms-based
one is water insoluble and formed aggregates. The star-shaped copolymer remains «more
homogeneous» with itself.
Source: Tobias Rudolph et al. Published Tobias Rudolph. Published in Polymers ,5 ,2013
Edward Lewellen calls for identifying the core values to build on them, stretch them and
add to them if we are to stay homogeneous with one self. If not, we may be extending
the arms of non-core values and this way we become less homogeneous with self. It is
strengthening the core that matters. It becomes then of extreme value to identify the core
values and the «The -90Second Mind Manager» e-Book shows you the way on not only how
to identify your core values, but also how to build on them and stretch them to cope with
depression and low-energy states.
Trees define their attachment points so that dead leaves may fall. Attachment serves a
purpose. See in particular Slide 6 of the presentation in particular on how attachment may
be «tailored to serve certain purposes.
to stretch the arms of non-core values and still expect great results when in fact we are
making ourselves less «homogenous» with selves, others and the environment.
The story doesn›t end here as a new definition of leaders may be elucidated. It is amazing
how ethylene oxide might give so many different shapes of polymers to adapt to the
reaction conditions. This molecule, ethylene oxide, has a triangular shape with two carbon
atoms and one Oxygen atom. The triangle is stressed so that it loves to «open up» and with
other molecules rather easily.
Analogously, do we need leaders who have initially a closed and tight group of three
people who are «stressed» enough to open easily for others so that they may build a chain
of supporters? Are leaders more stressed with the prevailing situations so that they arrange
themselves in closed triads ready to burst and open up for energetic supporters? Have
movements such as «People-Before-Profit» started with a core of three people who were
highly energetic to expand by adding great supporters? Brad Fergusson surely has the
highly flexible polymers because it has no bulky groups to restrict the movement of the
resulting polymer chains. This way ethylene oxide polymers upon crystallization produce
so many different shapes- almost endless shapes that adapt to the prevailing conditions.
It is the flexibility of the linkages of the backbone of the monomer, ethylene oxide that
allows for the formation of so many different shapes. As with all crystallization, you have
the competing effects of nucleation and growth occurring.The relative rates determine the
shape of the final crystal. See figure below for examples of these shapes.
The take away here is that having a stressed triangle of people with enough flexibility shall
In the case of «people-Before-Profit» Group this means that they might be assessing two
different needs: the nucleation of new activities versus the growth of existing ones. It is the
flexibility in the structure that shall allow for balancing the two forces and new shapes of
growth, activities and responsibilities shall emerge. It is nucleation and adding to the core
or expanding and adding to the arms.
Based on my experiences I dare say that our efforts reach their climax when we are able to
turn negative events into positive ones.This change of direction requires momentum to do,
but with creative ideas we may turn them into great successes.
I had my share of negative situations. One example is a freely-distributed weekly newspaper
that carried the name of Al Madina meaning the city. The newspaper had a label in red and
bold letters saying it is for free for fear some distributors would sell it. Complaints soon
mounted because critics didn›t like the sound of their city being offered for free.They linked
for free with the city and not with the newspaper. The owners were at loss what to do. I was
consulted and came with the following solution «Al Madina for Free… it is too dear to be
sold». This became a trademark for the newspaper and people loved it. It proved to be a
great idea to dissolve all objections.
In a story from old Arab history a leading man was killed. For Moslems to dignify a dead
person you must bury him/her.The governor ordered that the corpse of the man be hanged
to a high tree so as not to dignify him and remind people of what would happen to them
should they carry on with the guidance of the killed leader. A brilliant poet passed be the