IN THE MA­CHINE

What is your vi­sion for your­self? Now, stop. Re­ally. Stop. And read slowly, be­cause it is not in­tended as a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion. I ask you again, what is YOUR vi­sion? For your­self, and for your busi­ness? What is your ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive in life; for what e

Business First - - ENTREPRENEUR -

Jack Delosa

is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at The

En­tourage.

What is your mis­sion? What is the ul­ti­mate goal for your busi­ness; who is it you want to be­come? And your val­ues – what are they? What are the prin­ci­ples and stan­dards that gov­ern who you are? Who do you choose to be as you ful­fil your mis­sion and ac­tu­alise your vi­sion?

Whether you are aware of it or not, your vi­sion, mis­sion and val­ues are the most im­por­tant facets of your busi­ness. And if you can’t ar­tic­u­late them – if you don’t know what you want to achieve and what it is you stand for – then some­one else is go­ing to tell you what they are. And al­low­ing so­ci­ety to tell you who to be and what to strive for is un­wise in a num­ber of ways.

The in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion of the late 18th and early 19th cen­turies was a time of pro­found change, in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneurism. The in­ven­tion of au­to­mated ma­chines – the loom, the print­ing press, the steam en­gine – en­abled the rise of the rich mer­chant class and in­sti­gated a new ur­ban econ­omy. Af­ter cen­turies of feu­dal di­vide, those ded­i­cated and savvy enough could in­vent, cre­ate and pro­duce them­selves into the up­per-classes of so­ci­ety.

For many dur­ing this time, the ma­chine be­came a god; a tech­no­log­i­cal mar­vel that sym­bol­ised the ir­re­press­ible su­pe­ri­or­ity of hu­man­ity. The idea of mech­a­nism be­gan to thrive as a phi­los­o­phy and slowly started to in­vade the over­all fab­ric of so­ci­ety. The sciences, led by Rene Descartes and Isaac New­ton, be­came purely mech­a­nis­tic and the uni­verse (and every­thing in it) was re­duced to the level of mind­less au­to­ma­tion.

This view was best summed up by Nikola Tesla, an engi­neer, in­ven­tor and pro­lific creator who nonethe­less be­lieved that “Man, like the uni­verse, is a ma­chine. Noth­ing en­ters our minds or de­ter­mines our ac­tions which is not di­rectly or in­di­rectly a re­sponse to stim­uli beat­ing upon our sense or­gans from with­out.”

Even­tu­ally, and in­evitably, this mech­a­nis­tic point of view be­gan to per­vade our ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. The word ed­u­ca­tion de­rives from the Greek word ed­u­care, which means to ex­tract; to bring forth from within. Ed­u­ca­tion was ini­tially de­signed to high­light a stu­dent’s la­tent knowl­edge and abil­i­ties; to draw out of them that which they did not yet re­alise they knew.

How­ever, af­ter the rise of philo­soph­i­cal mech­a­nism stu­dents be­came noth­ing more than ‘learn­ing ma­chines’. The heart and soul was ban­ished from our ed­u­ca­tional pro­cesses and em­pha­sis was placed on pro­gram­ming stu­dents with suit­able knowl­edge and for­mu­lae. Ed­u­ca­tion be­came a process of putting stuff in and in­nate knowl­edge was ridiculed or ig­nored.

Let me em­pha­sise that point be­cause it is im­por­tant: you have been largely taught, by so­ci­ety and by the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem, that your in­nate vi­sion doesn’t mat­ter. You have been taught that con­form­ity brings re­ward. You have been pro­grammed to be­lieve that suc­cess will come if you, like a ma­chine, can just get the data right; if you can find the right for­mula. Fol­low the rules. Com­ply. But this idea is fail­ing. If mod­ern busi­ness has shown us any­thing, it is the in­escapable con­nec­tion be­tween great­ness and in­di­vid­u­al­ity. It is not con­form­ity that ac­cel­er­ates op­por­tu­nity; it is cre­ativ­ity. It is not com­pli­ance that pre­cedes suc­cess; it is dis­rup­tion. Re­bel­lion. What Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Richard Bran­son and Elon Musk have re­it­er­ated is that, if you truly want to leave an in­deli­ble legacy on this world, then you had bet­ter know who you are and where you are go­ing. You had bet­ter be pre­pared to de­fend your per­sonal vi­sion in the face of staunch op­po­si­tion and al­low your own voice to be heard above the din of the out­side world.

Carl Jung, the fa­ther of an­a­lyt­i­cal psy­chi­a­try, re­marked that “Re­sis­tance to the or­gan­ised mass can be ef­fected only by the man who is as well or­gan­ised in his in­di­vid­u­al­ity as the mass it­self”. In other words, if you want to rise above the ma­chine, then you need to have more faith in your per­sonal vi­sion than the di­rec­tion be­stowed upon you by ed­u­ca­tion and so­ci­ety. You had bet­ter be tuned in to your own, in­ner GPS.

De­spite the mis­guided philoso­phies of the 18th cen­tury, you are not a ma­chine. You have ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to be an in­tu­itive, cre­ative and dis­rup­tive force of na­ture. An al­chemist. Sim­i­larly, your busi­ness will not thrive be­cause of some out­dated pro­ce­dure or metic­u­lously for­mu­lated (mech­a­nis­tic) plan. It has a greater chance of suc­ceed­ing if it is tied to a vi­sion, a mis­sion and a set of val­ues that in­spire you, the busi­ness leader, and cap­ti­vate those who you come into con­tact with.

So, I ask again. What is it? What is your vi­sion?

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