Potential Power

Today I read an article that I just have to publish:

Let’s not get tired of doing what is good… Galatians 6:9

Take your average tube of toothpaste and you will see that it is jam-packed with potential. Potential to keep those pearly whites of yours from becoming deep black cavities and your gorgeous gums from becoming a bleeding mess! There on the back is displayed a list of all the good stuff it contains with instructions as to the best way to use it. Yes indeed, your average tube of toothpaste has the potential to make your visits to the dentist a genuine journey of joy, rather than a torturous trip of terror.

However, if all you ever do is leave the cap of that toothpaste tube firmly shut, and the tube itself languishing at the back of your bathroom cabinet, then all that potential goes to waste. Potential has to be used for it to produce anything good. And it has to be used regularly, not just a one-off. You need to open that toothpaste top, release all that toothpaste potential on to a toothbrush and ‘brosses les dents’ at least twice a day in order to receive its benefits and unlock all that potential.

More importantly, you are packed with potential to do much good: ‘We are … created … to do good works’ (Eph. 2:10). So no more hiding that potential away. What now? Clean your teeth! As it says in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Let your potential self run free today: find an opportunity to demonstrate love, or to choose to be self-disciplined.

From the original Word4U2day POTENTIAL POWER

Unselfishness (negoism)

In an event such IgniteAlgarve where people want to promote the initiative it is normal to talk about the actions that should be taken in order to achieve success. People speak about the five rules to venture, the 10 steps to enrich, the 7 keys to be the best at what you do or how to be the greatest on our street. I wanted to talk about an attitude that is in disuse but is a valuable key for what one wants to undertake to thrive and to the community in general to follow the same path. This may be the most lame speech among all motivational speeches, but someone has to do it.

We live in a selfish society. I think that’s clear, isn’t it? Being selfish is wanting the best (or as much as possible) for his own. I remember the slogan that says:

If I do not care for me, who will care?

However, being selfish tends to negative effects on society. I think that at one end it’s a reason to facilitate corruption, it promotes the growth of crime rates, it is for this reason that the necks of soda bottles are increasingly larger … for consumers to drink more at a time and have to buy more. 🙂 For our own will we would have great jobs and businesses able to sell a lot of and make a lot of money. We would live in a mansion, have several cars, a boat, travel and have much fun. Leisure and indulgence would not be a problem or have limits! Society’s paradigms educate in this sense…
The point is that this lifestyle often has consequences and these consequences usually fall on the subsequent generations.

My generation is suffering the effects of the selfishness of the previous ones. And the generation that is emerging now will suffer even more! Each Portuguese born today inherits an immediate debt of € 18,000. Apart from the debt that he might receive as an inheritance to pay the loan from his parents’ house… If this is not selfishness, tell me what it is!

But just think: We live in a spherical planet that works with several laws, one of which says that everything here is attracted to stay as close to the ground (the law of gravity) and the other says that nothing is produced, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed (Lavoisier’s law). So when we have a population that is continuously growing (we have reached 7 billion people), I think that living in a selfish society becomes a paradox! It is impossible to accumulate more and more if we need to distribute more and more!
The overall attitude will change if the individual attitude changes…

I was looking for a word to describe the attitude of not being selfish. The dictionary says the opposite of selfish is altruist, but that is not what I’m seeking. An altruist is a person who only seeks the good of others. And we should say that a person is altruistic when he is well, then he can worry about others. The word I was looking for is unselfish! It is not trying to find only his own sake, but also looking for the good of others. It’s compressing in a single word the expression that is already said for many centuries on this planet:

Love your neighbor as yourself.

But how does this happen in practice?
Take the action of venturing as an example:

Portuguese people have to venture, is the alternative they have to being able to generate income.

How does unselfishness aid entrepreneurship?

Firstly, at the definition of the mission itself.
Why does a person undertakes a certain activity? He can do it with the selfish motivation of making money. Money money money. What matters is to be opportunist at all times and not wondering about things like sustainability, customer satisfaction or the consequences of his activities. It is all about thinking of him first and wanting to earn as much as possible in every existing opportunity.
On the other hand, his actions can be undertaken with an unselfish attitude. In this case the entrepreneur will make a question: How do my skills, gifts, talents, training and experience can be used to create quality products and services that can meet the needs those who are around me? It is an attitude of serving.
This is nothing more than going to the essence of marketing. This functional area of ​​business was born to answer this same question.

Second is synergy. I need and want to venture, you need and want to venture… After all there is a significant part of society in the same situation.
A selfish attitude will make us want to pursue our objectives on our own and without anyone’s help so we can keep all the results for us. The problem is that many opportunities are achieved only as a team and alone is complicated to get there..
An unselfish attitude will pose the question: “How can we serve us to each other?” There may be joining efforts and sharing resources. Some opportunities can only be taken in advantage if joining efforts. Two together make more than each one alone … This is called a synergy.
This requires sharing ideas, which is often difficult to do. We tend to keep our ideas to us as if in the intangible format they were worth something and we’re afraid of it to be stolen. The truth is that a stored idea that is never put into practice or is carried out only by one person is worthless or has a very low value.

And finally there is one area where I think this attitude is even more important. It has to do with the financing of entrepreneurial activities. As an entrepreneur, to put my idea to work I need a plot where to plant something, or I need machines, a van, software or anything else that can be translated into money.
With a selfish attitude I’ll think I’m worthy of the resources that I want and I’ll think others have to facilitate it to me. So I will apply for nonrefundable grants because I don’t have to be accountable to anyone. The problem is that these subsidies are running out!
On the other hand, an unselfish attitude leads me to think that if there’s someone willing to help me with what I need, I have to be aware that I will need to compensate this person. We cannot approach people who have the resources with the following thought: “I need something that you have”, but with an attitude of: “I want to bring return on something you have, and if you trust that to me I will work to have a certain return enough to pay me and to pay you.”

If we think of putting ourselves in the shoes of customers, suppliers, investors and even others in the same situation as us, there will be long-term benefits for all. In the ideal situation, the entire society would be unselfish and have their own initiative to facilitate resources to those who need them. As this is scarce, the attitude of each one makes all the difference!

A supply without demand

It is curious to watch the “needs” of the different actors of current Western society we live in. Younger people want everything to be given to them, because they are young. Older people ask to be spoiled at all, because they are elderly. The middle-aged people want everything to be as they intend because they’re at their golden age, and it’s the moment to receive high returns on everything they do.

A portuguese poet called António Aleixo wrote a famous quote saying the following: “For a lie to be safe and achieve depth it has to bring something true underneath.” I agree with it and I am in favor of part of what I wrote in the previous paragraph.Young people should be given opportunities and amenities because they are at the beginning of their lives. They don’t have have much experience yet and lack resources, so general society consents to facilitate them. Reality of older people varies greatly. Unfortunately we can not say that all of them enjoy broad prosperity, but perhaps as a reward for it and due to the effort made during all life, they deserve respect from the rest of society. 
Middle-aged people, who I guess that are a significant part of Western society’s working population, are not as coddled as the other two groups because they are expected to be the ones who coddle.

The difference between the two preceding paragraphs is like the most basic law of any market: on one hand there is demand and on the other there is supply. In the first paragraph I referred to what people want to receive (demand) and in the second I mentioned what society traditionally gives them (supply).
In a traditional market, and at the absence of an invisible hand, the balance between demand and supply would be found naturally through price adjustment. In this case, I think it is impossible because the demand mentioned before is a fictitious one and supply, which is very real, is disappearing. How so?

Consider then the following reasoning: The aforementioned consents have always been given freely and willingly to each of these groups because the other members of society understand the conditions that each group faces. Opening exceptions and giving opportunities to the younger and older has been a gracious act over the years and a consequence of the respect felt for them. 
As effect of this supply’s existence, both target groups became accommodated to it in such a way that they complain when not getting what they always received. That’s why I say that this is a fictitious demand. It shouldn’t exist, but given the decrease of supply, it became evident.

But let’s abandon metaphorical concepts and put the attention on the factual concepts: it’s not possible to provide as many opportunities as before to younger people and there is no longer much respect and granted benefits to the elderly. Many of the reasons supporting these attitude changes can be linked to the economic climate, but I believe there is an even bigger factor weighting in this equation: Society is becoming more selfish. I do not intend this statement to be understood as a criticism or a compliment, but simply as an observation.

I believe there is some correlation between the existence of principles aimed at supporting these two groups and prosperity of the whole society. I am sorry for the fact that this conclusion lacks scientific basis, I hope I can study it in the future. 
If we focus only on benefits given to young people, the existence of this benevolent act of all regarding a particular group can be compared with the existence of bees on our planet. In our daily life we are not aware of the existence of bees unless someone is bitten by one. However, although living so unnoticed among us, bees are responsible for the pollination of many plants and their fruiting. If an instant all the bees disappeared, several fruit and vegetable industries would suffer disastrously.

By creating opportunities for the younger generations, society guarantees that:

  • These generations become independent;
  • These generations will be able to support the retired and following generations;
  • The economy will naturally grow.
  • If the younger generations are not given opportunities, they arrive to the marketplace in frank disadvantage. They may have much knowledge (and that’s an opportunity that was given) but have no wisdom (experience) or resources.
    
I am not advocating that young people should complain for more opportunities, I advocate that all the others recognize the importance of giving opportunities to younger people.

    There is a famous question applied to entrepreneurs: Are they born or made? In a perfect and ideal world entrepreneurs are born but in our world many entrepreneurs are made by the absence of an alternative. The level of efficiency of the western economy allows that most most of it’s people live comfortably with only part of the population being active. This may seem a pleasant scenario but it is not due to a very simple principle: those who don’t work do not have income and therefore can not consume or survive in the efficient economy. At first glance there are three ways of resolving this problem: 1) The masonic way of reducing population, 2) Reducing the level of economic efficiency, 3) undertake new activities or replicate existing ones in new urban areas. The first option is immoral, the second is uncomfortable, so I think that the best is the third one. 
This third option begins having an obstacle even before being implemented: urban planning does not cooperate. The equilibrium of an economy should occur primarily at the local level so that housing, trade and production are geographically close. This would happen with the founding of new cities or growth of the existing ones through well-designed neighborhoods. Instead, what we can observe is the growth of existing cities through single purpose neighborhoods: residential, commercial or industrial. 
But this same third option is the one that the younger generations have to appeal to in order to generate income due to the lack of employment options in the efficient economy. Here is the answer to the previous question: Many entrepreneurs are made!

    It is exactly at this point that I think society has forgotten the principle of having to help the younger generations. For a member of a new generation to venture new activities, he needs a basic factor that his generation lacks: material resources. 
When discounts are given to young people so they can travel, attend cultural events or purchase a new computer the most basic principle behind this approach is as follows: do not cease to grow and gain knowledge because of having less available resources. Unfortunately, this principle doesn’t seem so evident when the aim is that young people endeavor entrepreneurial activities. I’m not saying that there is no support to young entrepreneurs. I’m saying that it is not an attitude deeply rooted in our culture, unlike others that actively use this principle. I can think of two examples: the Amish communities in the United States and Canada and the Jewish communities that can be found all over the world. The example of the Amish can be identified in the movie “Witness” (1985 with Harrison Ford). When a young couple becomes independent, the whole community comes together to build the farming facilities of the new family. The Jewish example is associated with the concept of loan. A member of a Jewish community having available resources is morally obliged to borrow money and transfer resources to another member needing them to start-up. This loan is also subject to a principle: it shouldn’t be a high amount, so that it can be returned within a maximum period of seven years. This is an attitude that requires integrity of both parties since that at the end of those seven years the debt shall be forgiven but at the same time the person who made the loan is morally obligated to return it within the stipulated time. In fact, the principle exemplified in both cases has the same origin and it is stated in Chapter 15 of the Book of Deuteronomy.

    I find three interesting aspects of this principle on entrepreneurship. The first is that the communities have taken the need to materially help the following generations as a paradigm. The second is that members of the younger generation are responsible for obtaining the best yield from the opportunity given to them. Finally, the activities do not necessarily have to be totally disruptive to the activities already known but innovative enough to be profitable. This happens because it replicates the local equilibrium in a new location and generates growth.

    It is curious to think of the loan as a basic form of supporting entrepreneurship. Currently the loan is the last resource to which an entrepreneur can appeal because he has no guarantees. A completely reverse perspective is the attitude of many entrepreneurs starting a company looking for grants, as if the State was the entity responsible for supporting all activities.

    There are more appropriate funding sources such as Business Angels and Venture Capital Funds. The truth is that there are few agents with this profile and therefore can only fund the more ambitious and promising projects. 
So how can all the other business projects, which although not being exuberantly ambitious are solid in risk mitigating, be financed?

    I’m afraid to say that the ones who have the capacity to finance such ventures are the individuals from previous generations. Not wanting to be pessimistic, I dare to mention that many of these people are hard to convince. It seems to me that stubbornness tends to gain dominion with age accumulation and our society’s culture has selfishness also in an increasing trend.

    Facing the growing indignation status that general population is living my question is this: Will society just complain or also want to respond?

    I proclaim: Youngsters, endeavor! Ones not so young, invest in young people!
    Dreaming does not pay tax. I dream and work for it. After all, what are dreams for if not to come true?

    Geração à Rasca mas Desenrrascada (PT)

    Houve em Março passado uma manifestação com focos por todo o país com o objectivo de protestar por vários direitos como o da educação, do emprego, do fim da precariedade e do reconhecimento das qualificações através dos salários.

    Eu não estou contra a dita manifestação. Acho muito bem que o descontentamento, seja ele qual for, seja dado a conhecer a quem compete e desde que o objectivo inicial do protesto não seja descambado por alguns elementos que não necessitam de uma genuína motivação para as suas acções, vejo-o muito correcto.

    Os bebés quando têm um problema choram até que a mãe resolva o assunto. Se não resolve… continuam a chorar até que sejam vencidos pelo cansaço.

    Até na Bíblia há uma parábola que incita à insistência. Fala de uma viuva que perseguia um juiz corrupto para que este cumprisse o seu trabalho e fizesse justiça no caso dela. Por não desfalecer e depois de tanto “incomodar” o juiz, a mulher acabou por ver o seu caso resolvido:

    Todavia, como esta viúva me molesta, hei de fazer-lhe justiça, para que enfim não volte, e me importune muito.

    A comparação com o juiz corrupto até pode ser apropriada, mas o que quero focar aqui é que a insistência, quando resguardada pelos verdadeiros motivos, tarde ou cedo conduz a resultados.

    No entanto, apesar de todas as dificuldades que esta geração sente, eu gostaria de ser positivista e levantar os ânimos.

    Como Tugas somos (pelo menos entre nós) conhecidos como desenrascados. Isso nota-se muito em contextos organizacionais metanacionais (e ponhamo-lo claro, fora de Portugal). Temos genes de iniciativa e empreendedorismo. Conseguimos descobrir meio mundo, somos pioneiros em tantos meios nas mais diversas áreas da economia. Continuar a ler “Geração à Rasca mas Desenrrascada (PT)”