Sovereign Immunity Litigation

Coaching Your Inner Child

The Leadership I Ching

Leadership & Career in the 21st Century

Creative-C Learning

Integrate Your Emotions

Krishnamurti and the Psychological Revolution

The New Paradigm in Business, Leadership and Career

The New Paradigm in Consciousness and Spirituality

The New Paradigm in Science and Systems Theory

The Vibrant Nature of Life

Shamanic Wisdom Meets the Western Mind

Creative Genius

The Better Life

Servant Leadership

Creative Learning and Career
Some Ideas About Not Getting a Job
by Peter Fritz Walter
Published by Sirius-C Media Galaxy LLC

113 Barksdale Professional Center, Newark, Delaware, USA

©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

This publication may be distributed, used for an adaptation or for deriva-
tive works, also for commercial purposes, as long as the rights of the author
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with the information available. Third party licenses or copyright of quoted
resources are untouched by this license and remain under their own license.

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Set in Palatino

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Self-Help / Creativity

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Author Contact Information

About Dr. Peter Fritz Walter

Pierre’s Blog
About the Author

Parallel to an international law career in Germany, Swit-
zerland and the United States, Dr. Peter Fritz Walter (Pi-
erre) focused upon fine art, cookery, astrology, musical
performance, social sciences and humanities.

From adolescence, Pierre wrote essays and received a high
school award for creative writing and editorial work for
the school magazine. Upon finalizing his international law
doctorate, he privately studied psychology and psycho-
analysis and started writing both fiction and nonfiction

In 1996, Pierre started his main career as a corporate
trainer and personal coach. He trained the management
staff of 5-star hotels in Java, Lombok, and Bali, Indonesia,
as well as an elite unit of the Indonesian government
(Lembaga Administrasi Negara), which trains all civil ser-
vants in Indonesia.

From 2000 to 2001, Pierre built a 3-villa compound in
Seminyak, Bali (Dua Bunga) which he managed until he
sold it in 2002. Likewise, from January 2011, Pierre man-
aged two real estate companies in Pattaya, Thailand, until
he sold his pool villas in 2014.

In 2015, Pierre extended his consulting business in the
private sector, both online with self-improvement media
content bundled in a subscription, and locally with pres-
entations about the unlimited scope of our human poten-
tial, and the spiritual teaching of the late Dr. Joseph Mur-

Pierre is a German-French bilingual native speaker and
writes English as his 4th language after German, Latin and
French. He also reads source literature for his research
works in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch. In addi-
tion, Pierre has notions of Thai, Khmer, Chinese and Japa-

All of Pierre’s books are hand-crafted and self-published,
designed by the author. Pierre publishes via his Delaware
company, Sirius-C Media Galaxy LLC, and under the im-
prints of IPUBLICA and SCM (Sirius-C Media).
To Victor

The author’s profits from this book are being donated to charity.
Introduction! 13
Why Getting a Job?

Chapter One! 21
Schooling vs. Career
Learning vs. Superlearning! 24
Holistic Learning! 46
Learning and Career! 61
Points to Ponder! 68

Chapter Two! 71
Creative Learning and Realization
What is Creativity?! 71
How Creativity Manifests! 79
Creativity and Democracy! 81
Creativity and Individuality! 86
The Creative Continuum! 89
The Creative Ones! 93
Points to Ponder! 94

Chapter Three! 99
Opening Inner Space
Introduction! 99
Classical Psychoanalysis! 103
Transactional Analysis! 105
Hypnotherapy! 107
Bioenergetics! 108
Shamanism! 109
Divination! 112
Sages! 117
Spiritism and Channeling! 121

Points to Ponder! 124

Chapter Four! 127
By Yourself About Yourself
Introduction! 127
You Got It! 129
A First-Hand Life! 131
The True Meaning of Education! 138
How Consciousness Works! 141
Points to Ponder! 150

Chapter Five! 153
From Imitating to Originating
Creator’s Essentials! 153
Why Attitude Counts! 156
Where New Ideas Originate From! 158
How to Nurture a Creative Mind! 164

Write Your Story

Practice Meditation

Note Your Dreams

The Adventure of Solitude

Points to Ponder! 172

Chapter Six! 175
Your Way to Be Different
Introduction! 175
The Art to Be Different! 176
Your Way to Be Different! 178

Task One : Roadmap for Distinction

1. My top ten reasons to be different …

2. This is how I value creativity and originality …

3. This is what I think about marginality …

4. This is how I admire, adore and imitate others …

5. This is how I differ from others …

Task Two : Attentiveness


Task Three : Just do it!

Task Four : Mark Your Path

Points to Ponder! 188

Chapter Seven! 191
Ten Success Principles
1st Principle! 191

Be Yourself

2nd Principle! 194

Respect Your Soul Values

3rd Principle! 194

Fight Timidity

4th Principle! 195

Handle Negativity

5th Principle! 197

Handle People

6th Principle! 198


7th Principle! 199

Resource Management

8th Principle! 200

Be Compassionate

9th Principle! 203

Be Ecstatic

10th Principle! 205


Live Your Love

Points to Ponder! 208

Work Sheets! 213
Doing the Work
Your Ultimate Decision! 215

Your Ultimate Decision and Contract

Your Ultimate Decision

A Contract With Yourself

Your Needs! 218

Your Needs Statement

Your Expectations! 220

Your Expectations Statement

Power Impediments! 222

Developing Your Inner Powers

Power Animals! 223

Developing Your Inner Powers

Power Problem! 224

Developing Your Inner Powers

Power Change! 225

Developing Your Inner Powers

Power and Ideals! 226

Developing Your Inner Powers

Power and Community! 227


Developing Your Inner Powers

Book Reviews! 229
Books on Leadership & Career

Laurence G. Bold! 233
Creative Career Design
• Zen and the Art of Making a Living! 235
• How to Find the Work You Love! 244
• Zen Soup! 250
• The Tao of Abundance! 257

Tom Butler-Bowden! 264
• 50 Success Classics! 265

Edward de Bono! 277
• The Use of Lateral Thinking! 279
• The Mechanism of Mind! 281
• Serious Creativity! 284
• Sur/Petition! 287
• Tactics! 295

James Borg! 302
• Persuasion! 302

Stephen R. Covey! 313
• The 8th Habit! 315
• The 3rd Alternative! 327

Napoleon Hill! 342
• The Law of Success! 344

Donald G. Krause! 362
• Sun Tzu! 362

Jack Welch! 367
• Winning! 367

Sergio Zyman! 384
• The End of Marketing as We Know It! 386

Bibliography! 395
Contextual Bibliography


Personal Notes! 423

Why Getting a Job?

Dolf de Roos, Ph.D., is a very successful real-estate in-
vestor from New Zealand. He writes in his books that he
never had a job in his life. And he says that with a certain
pride, let alone being ashamed about it. As a young man,
he found a mentor, and when he was starting out investing
in real estate, he met Robert T. Kiyosaki who shared with
him a lot of his success stories as an investor, and of course
also a lot of know-how. Rather early in his twenties, Dolf
was making his first million.
Now, Dolf de Roos travels the world around for teach-
ing investment strategy to large groups of people. I am one
of his students, for I always had a knack for real estate, too,
was successful at first and then loosing a lot, by doing a lot

of mistakes. That’s why, after those huge losses, I sought
him out, and bought several of his books. And I knew from
that moment that failure is not my accepted reality and
that I can win back those losses, even though they made out
one third of my entire fortune!
If you have decided to read this book just for getting a
job, you should look for someone else to help you. I am not
helping you for getting a job.

I think that the very idea of ‘getting a job’ is mistaken.
It’s a bottomline philosophy. If you love to work for some-
body because you are afraid to take charge of your own life,
that’s okay. But then, you won’t reasonably expect to be-
come a millionaire, right?

This book is written for those of you who do reasona-
bly except to become millionaires, and not by the age of 60,
for that matter!
To begin with, a good career starts with a creative atti-
tude. What is a creative attitude? It’s an attitude based on a
firm conviction, or belief, namely that you will make it. A
creative attitude is a flexible mind, a mind which can adapt
to about every possible situation. Creativity is nothing but
that: a non-stick Teflon pan. Let me explain.
When you have realized a project, or you created some-
thing out of nothing, a groove will be stablished in your
gray matter that is an image of the strategy you used for
solving that problem, and achieving the solution. It’s like a
recording, a track you can play back over and over again.


But life is unendingly changing! And the next time the
situation will be different, and you are applying the wis-
dom of your previous experience, activating the groove in
your brain, and you will see and experience that it will not
give you the solution!
That’s not because you were not smart enough, it’s be-
cause of an automatism of the human brain. The brain can
only see what it knows, it can only learn more of what it
already has learnt. In technical terms, the brain can only
add on new patterns to existing patterns; it can also create
new neuronal patterns or pathways, but it will do that only
in very exceptional cases once we pass beyond the age of

From our age two to six, the brain creates a lot of new
pathways, but once we complete the age of six, the brain
relies much more heavily on acquired pathways, reluctant
to create new neuronal highways.
As we grow older, the brain becomes more and more
wary to create more pathways. That means in clear text, as
we grow older, we become more and more awkward learn-
ing new things, and change the ways we do things, while
as children we were totally open for learning new behav-

This is something so natural that you should not make
a fuss about it, but you should definitely know about it. For
you will feel it yourself when you grow older. The secret of
growing old and still learn in old age is that you are crea-
tive; to be creative means to be destructive! For you have


to constantly destroy the old ways of doing things, the old
grooves in your brain, the old neuronal connections; only
then you have a chance to come up with something new,
something virtually unthought of.
In the words of think tank Edward de Bono, a new idea
cannot be unthought. That’s a good expression for the fact
that essentially all we create is a function of thought, or
rather, the way we handle thought.

Now, when you apply this insight to your career path,
you may shy away from a strategy that targets the bottom-
line: get a job! For you know now that’s not a creative way
of handling your life, your thoughts, the neurons in your
brain, and your relationships with others.

You will then think of learning, the learning experience
as such, as a meaningful and also pleasurable endeavor.
That means you do not focus on lack, as when you fo-
cus on a ‘job’ for when you say that, you mean ‘money.’
When you focus on your qualities, and you remain
steadfast with this focus, the money will come, and your
life’s work, as career coach Laurence G. Boldt expresses it,
will be meaningful and fulfilling.
Let us explore now in the seven chapters of this book
what this implies, what such a career path requires you to
do—and not to do—and how you prepare yourself for the
challenge. It’s basically that you start to coach yourself, by
developing vision, focus, emotional maturity, endurance,
persistence, and joy. Don’t forget, life should be fun as well


and the reward of a fulfilling career is that you do not feel
it to be ‘work;’ and you don’t mind to do your business, art
or whatever it is you happen to choose as your career path,
on Sundays or during holidays. This is actually the litmus
test: if you resent to ‘sacrifice’ time for your life’s occupa-
tion when your friends are partying, then it’s not meant to
be your thing, then you need to focus inside one more time
and find out what it really is that makes you happy.

If you focus on money only, especially in the beginning
of your career, you risk to spoil the outcome entirely. This
is so because money is not a value, it’s an energy that re-
flects your own spiritual energy. The more you develop
your true gifts and talents, the more you refine your spiri-
tual energy, and the more money you will attract as a re-
sult. Thus, money is an effect, not the cause. The cause is
your inner life, the way you think, the way you act on what
you fix in your mind as true, and the way you feel about
yourself. Feelings of self-worth are very important in this
process while self-condemnation is utterly destructive in
this process of developing your spiritual heritage, for you
yourself do matter in the universe. You yourself are part of
this creative process, and by self-abnegation and guilt, you
weaken your success chances.

This being said, and after you got your beginner’s fo-
cus right, we shall see what education truly means. I am
not using the word in its new institutional sense, but in its
oldest, most traditional meaning. The word comes from
the Latin educere, which means something like ‘guiding


along.’ Thus, education in this most ancient sense of the
word means self-education, it means to guide yourself, to
be yourself your own guide, your own light, your own
guru. I can’t stress this often enough in this book: all in
your career will visibly reflect how much you have guided
yourself, educated yourself, and coached yourself, and as a
result, how much your self-esteem has grown with you!
This in last resort also means that you are responsible for
your education, not your parents, not your teachers, and
not your professional mentors. To meet this responsibility,
you will stop complaining about conditions and circum-
stances and focus, once again, inside, too see how in your
thoughts and feelings you create your life, on a day-to-day
basis, and thereby, your future.
In your career, then, you will have many opportunities
to let others become aware of your emotional maturity, and
your self-knowledge. This is one of the strongest factors in
building good relationships, both professional and private
for it gives people reasons for trusting you! And trust is all in
professional life, and without trust, there will not be any
companies—for the people in a firm accompany each other
and thus they give each other company by giving each
other trust.

These values, if you will reflect throughout this book,
are much more important than any ‘first salary’ for ‘any
job’ for they build the rock-solid foundation for your suc-


Success is not something chance-like, volatile and haz-
ardous. Napoleon Hill has shown in his remarkable life-
long research of the common success principles with highly
effective people that success can be traced, demystified
and rationally grasped; it can be seen related, or in relation
with values, inner values, personal values, and principles!
Emerson said that all success in life is the triumph of
principles! In this sense, your focus on values and princi-
ples in your life will pay you a huge dividend. This focus
will also attract to you the right circumstances for your
professional deployment, and the right people to collabo-
rate with, work with, and do business with.

Chapter One
Schooling vs. Career

Most of us were taught that learning is the process of
absorbing knowledge. Only a few of us have absorbed the
knowledge that learning is more of a process of how-to-absorb,
rather than absorbing itself. The good learner, then, is the
one who knows the how-to of learning. And the good
teacher is the one who knows the how-to of teaching.

At the university level, we of course need lecturers,
because at that level we should have learnt how to absorb
lectures. The how-to of learning is unfortunately left to the
basic school system. And there it is in bad hands. Learning
innovations are generally not the outcome of the school
system but rather the result of professional training, coach-
ing, and management schools. In the past we went to

school once for a lifetime whereas today learning is pro-
grammed into our whole life cycle. Therefore it is so im-
portant to learn how to learn fast, effectively, and joyfully!
Clearly, if we want to come back to something over and
over, we need to experience pleasure doing it, and that is
what learning traditionally really never seemed to be:
pleasure. But ask the highly evolved scholar, as the famous
writer, ask the successful entrepreneur, ask the artist of
world renown: they will all tell you that learning is for
them sheer pleasure, and a challenge to grow.
Once we grasp the truth that learning is made for our
pleasure and not for our torture we are open to accept
change in our learning habits. It begins with questioning
the effectiveness of our former learning methods.
Sometimes we are motivated by a particular teacher or
the mentality of a particular school. But at the end of the
day, we might want to change the teacher or the school—
all schools. The learner is in us. It is inside and not in any
teacher, school or system. We cannot change our brain but
we can use it more effectively so that the results we get with
learning, memorizing and realizing things are enhanced. I
learnt this truth when I was confronted with my baccalau-
reate. This was something of a shock after eight years of
hanging around in a high school that bored me and where,
lacking stimulation, I was dreaming my days through.
Not that I was stupid in school, but I had been absent
almost all the time; not physically absent but mentally,
emotionally. I felt all through those years that the world I


was living in was strangely different from the world those
teachers and those other students were living in. I just felt
different, and they felt it too, and let me feel my difference. I
guess it is not helpful for career if others make you feel dis-
integrated or marginal. However, in a certain way it is an
advantage, for you mature more quickly. Since you do not
trust or believe your outside world, you begin to develop
more trust and belief in yourself, in your intuition, your
inner world, your creative intelligence.
And I really needed that trust then, because I was far
behind in some subjects. Yet despite all, I wanted to suc-
ceed above average in my diploma.
However, there was nobody to teach me what effective
learning was about. I had left the boarding one year earlier
and thus went home every day after classes, eighty miles
to ride every day. I thought I better use the time creatively,
and the car’s tape player.
Thus I prepared tapes for English and French vocabu-
lary, and Latin grammar. However, it was dreadful to pre-
pare these tapes because at that time I hated my voice, for I
did not love myself. But it was good to notice that as I took
a firm decision, then, I was able to change that condition
later on. So I listened to those tapes while driving to school
and back. No, I think the secret is that I did not listen to
them. I let them play while daydreaming. I did not con-
sciously listen. At the time, this was the result of my lazi-
ness, yet it was to my benefit. I did not know that it was
exactly this method that makes for maximum results!


I passed the baccalaureate so brilliantly that some of
my teachers looked at me angrily and said I had fooled
them for years! They could not believe it, yet the results
were there. The creative writing I had submitted for the
German examination was recited by our German teacher
in front of the whole school…
I was glad. I had made it, and without their support,
their school, their teachers. Simply by trusting my joyful
inner learner.
I guess for most of us school was pressure and fear. The
only difference between creative and uncreative people is
that the latter take ineffective learning for granted. Creative
learners either change the system or drop out of it.

Learning vs. Superlearning

Recent research in the United States showed that a high
percentage of the young is illiterate! And this despite a so-
phisticated and highly expensive school system. Most col-
lege graduates, although studying languages for years, are
unable to lead a simple conversation in the languages they
major in. Why? Because our mainstream learning methods
are not among the most effective. In the 1960s, we had Su-
perlearning coming from Bulgaria to the States and then the
rest of the world. Dr. Lozanov’s Suggestopedia, as he named
it originally, seems to be in alignment with natural laws
and the way our brain functions.

—Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Schroeder, Superlearning 2000 (1994)


It shows how to combine conscious and unconscious
memory so that we learn and memorize with our whole

Using music, our right-brain capacities are enhanced in
Superlearning, and the learning stuff is absorbed by little
chunks that are written into our long-term memory. The
chunks are patterns, and the whole approach could be
called a patterned learning approach.

How can this be done? How can we realize virtually
unlimited learning ability? The answer is, by learning pat-
terns, not singular elements. The brain learns patterns by
using both brain hemispheres simultaneously engaged.
Most of us are so used to the fact that we only use a
fraction of our potential that they do not inquire further. In
fact, we use in our culture most of the time only the left
side of our brain, our so-called left brain hemisphere. We try
to cope with progress and challenge using our conscious
mind, our ratio, the intellectual mind, disregarding the in-
credible potential of both our subconscious and our asso-
ciative mind, which is located in our right brain hemisphere!
It is not by chance that our brain consists of two hemi-
spheres. The right hemisphere coordinates while the left
brain hemisphere analyses, and when the right brain hemi-
sphere assists the left brain hemisphere in the learning
process, a holistic understanding of the learning content is
brought about. The right hemisphere functions in an in-
ductive and associative manner. It does not, like the left
hemisphere, memorize abstract concepts but the images


associated with those concepts. Since a concept does not
per se have an image connected to it, it is useful to make up
images about all we learn. The more vivid our imagina-
tion, the better we memorize! Simply because imagination
and visual thinking gets the right brain involved in the
learning process. Every poet knows that images, symbols
and metaphors can convey much more information in
much less time than strictly verbal transmission. Therefore
true poetry is acrobatics; it achieves the impossible, by ex-
pressing what cannot be expressed. It puts in words what
is rather of an imagery quality and beyond words.
Dr. Lozanov and creative thinkers like him are the true
poets of our times. Their poetry brings revolution in evolution!
They have changed the world with their strong belief in
our unlimited potential. In his research Dr. Lozanov found
that our passive learning capacity is about five times higher
than our active learning faculties. To give an example. Our
passive vocabulary in every language is five times as high
as our active vocabulary. This means that we understand
five times more than we are able to express.
It is funny because the negative thinkers conclude from
this fact that our brain suffered from an innate deficiency
when learning languages. In reality, this very feature of our
memory surface is a true advantage. It namely ensures the
fundamental understanding of a foreign language actually
before we are able to speak it. In fact, this characteristic of
our memory interface enables us to learn passively, that is to
say almost without effort.


We learnt our mother tongue without studying gram-
mar, didn’t we? Children pick up foreign languages while
adults try to translate them into the structures of their
mother tongue.
However, this latter procedure, while it is used by the
majority of people, is highly ineffective and inappropriate.
It prolongs the learning process and is responsible for the
accent we bring into the foreign languages we speak. Dr.
Lozanov’s method, by contrast, has been seen to produce
native speakers. Learners speak foreign languages without
any accent, like native speakers, simply because they have
absorbed the language by patterned recognition.
Before I go in more detail about highly effective learn-
ing, let me first glimpse on the subject of learning from a
more global perspective. I am conscious that I am not deal-
ing with reforming existing organizational structures, but
with nothing less but a revolution in education. This revo-
lution has since long been on our evolutionary agenda.
Great writers, philosophers and teachers like Jean-Jacques
Rousseau, John Locke, Maria Montessori or Alexander S.
Neill have prepared the shift which is now taking place all
over the world. This is not a shift in styles or methods or
ways to perform, but a real paradigm shift.

The old paradigm holds that learning is an unpleasant
and mechanical activity that is a necessary but unavoid-
able sacrifice on the way to higher achievement. The new
paradigm holds that learning is an essential ingredient of


life, a part of the human nature and naturally as pleasur-
able as breathing, playing, eating or taking a hot shower.
It further holds that unpleasant learning is the result of
ignorance and a deep mistrust in the human potential if not
a form of outright violence originating from a pleasure-
denying ideology. The old paradigm favored oligarchic sys-
tems of power, based on the ignorance of the masses, while
the new paradigm strives for effective and nurturing forms
of learning as the very foundations of democracy!
The new paradigm associates learning with creative liv-
ing and, as such, as a part of human dignity. The paradigm
shift in learning stresses human values such as respect for
the individual’s natural learning faculties and intuition. It
has given rise to a higher value of personal choices and
The paradigm shift in learning deeply affects modern
society, which is currently evolving into a global learning
society with a supreme esteem for the individual’s learn-
ing capacities and choices. Hundreds or even thousands of
new ways of learning are presently being born all over the
world, and the common denominator among them is di-
versification of the learning process. The media, and even
good old television are going through a deep identity crisis
and a transformation that will get them ready to cope with
the global need for more and better education on a mass-
scale level. In a globally networked and value-based con-
sumer culture, we need to learn constantly, effectively and


Many of us, and among them the highly gifted ones,
practice this already now and probably since their child-
hood. The impact learning has on our creativity is not to
underestimate. To be creative and not to learn is sheer im-
possible! Creativity and learning go hand in hand. I would
go as far as advising everyone who complains about lack
of creativity to simply start learning something new and
then begin with practicing this new learning.

As a result, creativity will blossom, and not only in the
particular field you have chosen to learn about. It will be a
general creativity and can affect areas of your life that you
considered dull and stagnant. More generally put, we can
say that every learning experience rejuvenates us from the
deepest of our bones.
Expenses are currently reducing on a large scale and
the one who still invests a fortune in getting a master’s de-
gree or diploma will tomorrow be considered a fool!
Learning will be tightly interwoven with daily life, and
it will be for the most part electronic. It will on a lesser
scale be left to professional teachers to teach, as the culture
will provide virtually everybody the opportunity to share
information and thus become a public teacher.
From such large-scale information distribution, income
will be created and this in a more diversified manner. Since
the individual will not have much to pay to get informa-
tion, the per-client profit of information providers will be
relatively small, yet the great mass of potential clients net-


worked within the global learning structure will do for
great profits!
The areas where new learning is required are as large
as our whole scale of interests. We will have to master
about a dozen languages fluently if we want to cope with the
global marketplace, and this can be achieved once learning
is felt as pleasure and as an essential enrichment of life.
By playing with knowledge, we overcome learning barri-
ers that result from negative past experiences. Learning by
playing helps thus to overcome past learning frustrations
because learning will be such a tremendously new and en-
ergizing experience that we do no longer associate it with
the old frustrating patterns that damaged our self-esteem.

Naturally learning really is pleasurable since it reflects
to us our unlimited potential, and because it empowers us
and boosts our self-esteem.
The learning barriers many of us have are not in our
nature and certainly not, as some misanthropes say, in the
human nature. They are but conditioned responses to in-
human learning experiences! Love for learning actually is
similar to love for life.
Children learn by play. They learn language by absorbing
language and by playing with words and phrases that they
have already captured. The way children learn languages
can be compared with a scanner. A scanner transforms pic-
tures or writing in electronic signals that the computer can
identify and retransform into pictures.


Children indeed scan the language they are exposed to
on a daily basis, with all its complex grammatical struc-
ture, intonation, syntax, and vocabulary, and they memo-
rize these whole patterns, not just single elements such as
words, or grammar. They never learn isolated words and
phrases, nor any grammar, as most of us traditionally did.
Rather do they absorb language within a context, a
frame of reference, which is a patterned structure. This is the
secret. This context, this patterned frame of reference in
which we learn, is responsible for a much higher learning
input. The more our brain can associate new knowledge
with existing or contextual knowledge, the more easily it
can store it away in long-term memory. This has to do with
the neurological fact of preferred pathways in our brain. That
is why mental pictures help tremendously in memorizing
language or any other kind of learning material.
Another factor is that children never are in a learning
environment specifically designed for them.

Behold, this is a major advantage! It means that they are
every day bombarded with new words, and that they are,
technically speaking, exposed to a much higher input com-
pared to the actual output they are able to produce. Tradi-
tional learning completely disregards our passive learning
capacities; it starts from the wrong assumption that learning
must always be an active process! And that it must be hard
and painful to get learning results. This assumption is dis-
proved by holistic learning that engages our full potential
and that thus activates our full memorization capacities.


Superlearning techniques are natural in that sense since
they are based on the way our brain functions when it
functions as a whole brain. They recognize that we can learn
passively, just as we did as children, by absorbing the whole
of the learning stuff, using our unconscious as a major recep-
tion antenna.
These modern learning techniques are not only much
more effective, they are also healthier since stress is re-
duced on a major scale and frustrations are reduced to a
We speak of playful children. Nobody has yet spoken of
playful learning. Playful learning is however something that
really makes sense. Who ever met a genius knows what I
am talking about. Geniuses are playful learners! They have
never left childhood. Not that they remain immature, but
they voluntarily keep their playful attitude in learning be-
cause they have preserved the most precious we have, the
inner child.

Geniuses like to play, with thoughts, with images, with
strategies, with concepts, with patterns, with theories, and
some also with people or countries, or with life as a whole.
In a way life is a game and can be considered as a context
where nature plays a game with herself, where creatures
play games with each other, in order to survive, but also in
order to have fun! What we need is positive stimulation in
order to learn effectively.


Learning brings more results once it is done in a way
that is fun, that feels good, that is lively, that motivates us
without frustration.

Traditional learning is basically centered upon sweat
and potatoes. It is based on life-denying beliefs such as life is
a hard job or life on earth is a sacrifice for later heaven, and
similar nonsense. Therefore traditional learning has bred
pressure and fear and got many people to become non-
learners who were enthusiastic learners as long as they
were innocent. It has built hero philosophies, which tell us
that only some people are winners and that all the rest will
become losers. And this rest are we.
The hero cult has deeply affected our self-esteem in the
most negative way. Many people were crippled by tradi-
tional education to a point to be unable to pursue life in a
naturally pleasurable manner; they turned foul and bitter.
However, life has not born us to torture ourselves. Our
brain is not a stubborn old donkey that has to be beaten in
order to run in high gear. It has only to be motivated to
learn and it will learn—and frantically so!
Learning is an essential part of a human life. Life rec-
ognizes the enormous potential we got as human beings
and tries to activate this potential through effective and
joyful learning. In fact, most of us never learnt to learn, and
in school, then, unlearnt the little what life, or the street
taught us about this important subject. All the virtues that
are connected to understanding the learning process are
bluntly disregarded in the traditional educational culture.


The first and foremost of those original virtues is flexibility.
Instead of teaching us flexibility, school taught us rigidity.
Flexibility is the highest virtue because life itself is un-
endingly flexible and yielding. Survival is that, the ability
to flexibly adapt to any new situation or environment. The
dinosaurs disappeared because they couldn’t adapt to cli-
matic changes. And many people today are jobless because
they are at pains with anticipating structural changes in
the world economy or unable to cleanse their mind of out-
dated knowledge. Relying on what you have learnt in
school is not only silly but dangerous for your professional
career. Among all what makes a modern society, the pri-
mary school system is the end where we are still with one
leg in the dark ages. More and more structural transforma-
tions change the world presently and we all know that in
only ten years from now the world will be more different
than a hundred years ago compared to now. The accelera-
tion of development on both an individual and a collective
level is a fact of life that even non-intellectuals today are
beginning to face.
We cannot rely on school systems that teach this or that
stuff instead of teaching learning skills. And we cannot rely
on governments since the broad majority among them fol-
low outdated paradigms and even fascist ideologies in-
stead of democratic growth-fostering paradigms.
Often, because badly needed reforms are postponed,
huge unemployment and misery are the result. And in ad-
dition, because of insufficient knowledge about how to


learn, masses of people are maladjusted in a world that is
developing far beyond the concepts traditional education
was based upon.

Needless to say that all this is a bad mix and potential
root of upheaval and social unrest. There is an urgent need
for groups of enlightened individuals to take responsible
control of the media so as to spread information about the
following topics:

‣ The unlimited and divine nature of the human soul;

‣ The unlimited range and power of our human potential;

‣ The most effective forms of learning and self-study;

‣ The art of learning-how-to-learn;

‣ The art of peaceful and joyful living;

‣ The art of holistic problem solving;

‣ The philosophy of the information age;

‣ and related subjects.

Learning-how-to-learn is what we call philosophy in
the original sense of the word. Philos originates from the
Greek philein, to love, and sophia, wisdom. Philosophy thus
is the love of wisdom, and truly the original source of moti-
vation to study intriguing phenomena such as learning.

Let me ask: ‘Why do some people remember almost
everything they ever heard or saw, while others, perhaps


the majority, have rather bad memory capacity?’ I am con-
vinced that the answer to this very old question is simple.
The first group of people have learnt how to learn, the
second are too much centered upon what to learn instead
of realizing the primary importance of the learning process.
If the process of learning was not felt as a pleasure and an
adventure for growth, the result of learning will always be
poor. I had a colleague at law school who was gifted with a
phenomenal memory. He told the professors right away
when they made a mistake, citing by memory from volu-
minous commentaries, indicating page number and exact
location of the quote on the page. When I asked him where
he got his extraordinary talent from, he replied, smiling:

—Oh, that’s easy. I just visualize everything I want to
learn. I look at the page one moment with high concentra-
tion, very intensely, and thus photograph the page into my
memory. It’s just like scanning the page—and that’s it. Like
that I scan whole books, law texts, commentaries, every-
thing I want.
Needless to add that this lad was the best of our law
class, if not of the whole university. In addition, he was
blessed being from one of the finest families in town. He
drove to law school in an old classic Mercedes 500 Road-
ster, but despite his extraordinary gifts and his royal-class
family life, he was one of the most modest and friendly
people I’ve met in my young life.
This example may raise your awareness to the impor-
tance of memory. Usually we are not conscious of how im-


portant it is to have good memory. You may say that good
memory serves to keep track with phone numbers, birth-
days and faces. But it’s much more than that and it’s much
more basic, too. Good memory is not all in life but it facili-
tates life tremendously. We should not underestimate it in
the daily running of our business or in whatever we do.
People who cannot remember faces live through many
awkward situations and their relational life is deeply af-
fected by their incapacity to keep in mind the features of
another person. Whatever the deeper psychological rea-
sons for this strange inability may be, there is no doubt
that people who easily remember others give the impres-
sion to be more open, more friendly, more accessible and
competent, if not more social and communicative. How-
ever, as important as memory is, it is only one element in
the learning process, which is concerned with the know-
how of storing pertinent information. The most important
word in this sentence is pertinent. Why do we forget certain
things and not certain other things? Do we forget at all? In
fact, the truth is that we don’t forget anything. Research
has shown that our unconscious knows exactly how many
steps we go to get to their office, and back home.
Why not consciously, then? The reason is obvious, we
would be submerged with information.
The information is all the time present in the memory
surface, but it’s hidden away from conscious awareness.
You can figure this as some sort of backup tape where you
have more data stored than on your hard disc, data that


you archived because it could be important one day, or
that you need to keep for other reasons, but data that you
do not need to have on your active hard drive.

Now, there are people who, by nature, have got such
an extraordinary conscious memory surface that they vir-
tually can’t forget anything. The famous pianist Svjatoslav
Richter was one of them. Even in old age, he knew sixty-
three complete concert recitals by heart, which means about
two hundred hours of uninterrupted music, note by note,
including fingerings, tempi, dynamics and other important
details important for brilliant piano play. In some inter-
views shortly before he died, he said he could remember
events and people from his childhood, and their long Rus-
sian names, as clearly as he had seen them the day before.
He admitted actually in this interview that he was suf-
fering all his life from his unnatural incapacity to forget.
What is it that makes good memory? Is it perhaps mo-
tivation? Is it involvement? Or is it even something like a
playful attitude toward learning in general?
Or is it direct perception, or else a combination of vari-
ous factors in play? Excellent learning certainly is based
upon strong learning motivation, high degree of involve-
ment and, as research has shown, a playful attitude toward
learning in general, as well as high curiosity.
Direct perception is the faculty to achieve results with-
out involving analysis or theory. It is the use of intuition
and spontaneity to perceiving reality in a non-mental as well
as a non-judgmental way. Small children learn directly, ho-

listically, by absorbing the whole of the experience and
importantly so, without judging and without the past get-
ting involved in the learning process.

The past gets in the way because of thought. Thought
which is the derivative of past experience and its projec-
tion into the present moment, blocks learning instead of
enhancing it. Thought generally is concerned with the use
or the usefulness of some endeavor or activity. Those wor-
ries keep us from being completely absorbed by the learn-
ing experience.
It is irrelevant if the specific content of what we are
learning is useful. What we learn with learning is learning it-
self! Even if we forget the content of what we have learned,
if we have learnt the right way, that is, through direct percep-
tion, the fruit of the learning process will be there: we will
have enriched our learning-how-to-learn experience. And
this, by itself, is worth any kind of learning. Motivation is the
door and it is the guide to highly effective learning. We can
reach such insight only through understanding learning as
a holistic experience. The traditional approach to learning
is reductionist in that it deprives learning of a whole lot of
its implicit and contextual content.
There is a broadening of our intelligence in every sin-
gle learning experience. Even if the learning content is ir-
relevant or becomes futile, if we have passed through the
experience with enthusiasm and have been immersed in it,
there is a subtle essence that positively touched our human
potential. This is valid not only for single learning experi-


ences but, more in general, for learning systems or meth-
On the other hand, it is typical in our days to overesti-
mate the effectiveness of electronic media for learning. To-
day’s enthusiasm for electronic learning is the natural out-
come of our moving into the information age and our al-
most child-like joy to indulge in those exciting new media
features. I am not different in that and was from the start a
fervent prophet of the New Age of Information. However, we
should not forget in our i-fever that the computer does not
change our thinking habits; it’s our brain that created the
computer, and not the computer that created our brain.
It is through studying our brain and our natural ways
to handle information, and not through imitating the very
incomplete way how computers deal with information that
we progress in understanding fast and effective learning
for ourselves and our children.
Traditionally, teaching languages was teaching a gram-
mar. Until now in English the term Grammar School is used
for a basic, elementary school. Just recall what you learned
about grammar in school and then evaluate how well you
could speak a foreign language with this grammar knowl-
edge only.

I guess, zero percent! 
We do simply not learn languages by gathering knowl-
edge about grammar. This is a fact that has psychological
and neurological reasons, which are in the meantime also
scientifically corroborated. Our brain simply does not need

grammar to learn a foreign language, but something to-
tally different!
But despite this knowledge we go on to teach children
the grammar nonsense and let them lose their time with
mechanical and highly boring activities!
And then we wonder why they feel bored and want to
break out! They should break out because this proves that
their creative impulse is strong enough to survive the
prison of routines in which we want to incarcerate them. 
I already mentioned Dr. Lozanov who found that we
learn better when our brain functions in the so-called alpha
state. The alpha state is the state in between wake and sleep.
In this state of consciousness, our left and right brain
hemispheres function in sync, thus ensuring the full poten-
tial of creative possibilities we dispose of. 
In our waking state, by contrast, our brain functions on
beta waves, and most of the time invoking the left-brain
hemisphere, enabling us to straightforward, logical and so-
called rational thought, to the detriment of our intuitive,
receptive and truly creative possibilities.
It can be said that the whole of modern culture is based
on a predominance of our left brain hemisphere! Logically
then, within this reductionist system, it was upheld that
language learning meant the study of grammar. But times
have changed. Today, not only with Superlearning have we
got a method that is revolutionizing learning since it is de-
void of any conscious effort to learn.


There are nowadays other methods around that are
perhaps less sophisticated, but also less expensive, among
them, for example, the Assimil method.

This method, like Superlearning, is based upon the fact
that our brain picks up whole patterns, and this including
the grammar structure of the language. That is why Assimil
does not teach any grammar and yet is one of the most ef-
fective modern language teachings worldwide. And in ad-
dition it’s highly affordable!
But Georgi Lozanov did not only revolutionize lan-
guage teaching. After he was already a famous psychiatrist
and parapsychologist in his home country Bulgaria, Lo-
zanov went to India in order to study the astonishing psy-
chic capacities of Yogis. At the same time, the Russian sci-
entist Alexander Luria spent decades to study Venjamin, a
man who remembers all, and found his memory capacities
unlimited. Venjamin never forgot anything and could even
remember the setup of the dishes and the flowers on a ta-
ble of an afternoon tea forty years back in time. Lozanov
knew Luria’s books and found similar phenomena among
the Yogis in Bulgaria and India. Some of them had an al-
most total photographic memory.
What Lozanov did, then, was to combine his research
on language teaching with what we know about the func-
tioning of the human memory.
And here we have a method that is, despite all similari-
ties with Assimil, very different and unique. While Assimil
and most of the newer programs for language learning are


made for self-teaching, Superlearning cannot be applied
that way, and some people who have tried to transform it
into a self-study method failed. The original Superlearning
technique needs a specially trained instructor. This teacher
must have qualities of an actor. Students are in armchairs
and enveloped by soft string sounds, by preference Ba-
roque airs. The teacher, standing in front of the audience,
recites long texts in the foreign language. The tone of his
voice alternates. One moment he shouts, then he whispers,
then he talks normally. The rhythm of his speech is exactly
in sync with the rhythm of the music, which in turn is in
sync with the breathing rhythm of the learners.
The results are nothing short of astounding! You can
learn difficult languages such as Arabic, Russian or Chi-
nese in two months; children learn to read and write in no
more than six months—and this with an almost total per-
fection. The foreign languages are spoken without accent
and written in exact orthography and this despite the fact
that no grammar is ever taught. 
Dr. Lozanov was convinced that our brain, our subcon-
scious mind, knows all grammars of all languages, and
therefore picks them out of the spoken phrases, which are
listened to in the alpha state. His theory must be right since
the results show that all tested students of his programs
knew the grammar of the foreign language—without ever
having studied it.
The reason why the speaker alternates the volume of
his voice has to do with the reception capacity of our brain.


First of all, our subconscious mind picks up what is
underlying in a mixture of different sounds, and not what
is dominant. At the beginning of the sessions, Dr. Lozanov
puts specially chosen music to help his audience to relax.
The airs and andante are adjusted in tempo so that they fit
exactly our natural heartbeat which is around 62 beats per
minute, thus relaxing those who are nervous (heartbeat too
quick) and stimulating those others who are apathetic and
unmotivated (heartbeat too slow).
Later Dr. Lozanov found another important function of
the music: its transmitter function. The music was seen to
serve as a transmitter for the spoken texts. As the phrases
were spoken in exact accordance with the tempo of the
music, the music in a way became a transmitter for the for-
eign language reach the subconscious mind of the listen-
From Bulgaria, Suggestopedia spread very quickly, first
of all to the United States, and from there back to Europe
and all high-tech nations. The essential new discovery,
however, penetrated only into very few societies. It has, to
my knowledge, not reached the level of public education
where students still sit on benches, with a crushed stom-
ach, and are pumped up with grammar knowledge, leav-
ing their classes with a feeling of having done ‘hard work.’
Hard work indeed, but work without significant re-
sults. Lozanov’s findings are just a beginning for us, today.
The great psychiatrist was for us a pioneer and we have to
continue the research that he so brilliantly begun. In our


era of mass culture, the struggle for every single youngster
to succeed in the rat-race is harder than ever before. On the
other hand, the challenge to reach more satisfying lifestyles
and careers, more satisfying in creative realization, is today
present in all societies that have reached a certain level of
progress and a basic level of democratic freedom!
There is not one process of creativity, there are many.
They are interwoven in a complex network of brain func-
tions, on one hand, and behavioral attitudes, on the other.
The study of education therefore is very large. It is the
study of man as a whole, and of his culture. Our research
must have a theoretical basis as well as a practical dimen-
sion. Without theory, our experiments will not explain us
why things develop in a certain way and not in a certain
other way and without practice our hypotheses remain
Theoretical work means the review of the abundant
and rapidly growing literature on the subject of creativity
research in order to find out the state of the art in this field,
to see what is admitted in the meantime and what has still
to be proven.
It equally encompasses the working out of new hy-
potheses, even if they revolutionize our findings from yes-
terday. Progress has become rapid all over the globe and
the human development takes big steps in new directions.
Faster, more effective and more relaxed learning is only
one of them, but a very important one!


Holistic Learning

All learning is a process. When we focus upon the proc-
ess of learning we learn about learning.
What we did traditionally was to focus upon the learn-
ing content. Thus, we can say that in the past learning was
considered as something static and mechanical while to-
day we see learning as a dynamic process, something ongo-
ing, organic and that is somehow part of life. This process
of learning, if we are to understand it intelligently, must be
seen in alignment with our totality of perception.
Learning is the way we deal with what we perceive,
and it is all about how we process the information that has
been collected by our brain, but not only our brain, through
a rather complicated process that we call perception. Thus,
when we want to find out about the process of learning,
we need to look what perception is and how it works.
Perception, it seems, is a subject not very broadly dis-
cussed in modern science. This obvious neglect of scientific
in-depth study of the holistic process of perception has vari-
ous reasons, one of them being the general focus of mod-
ern science upon information processing. There was a his-
toric shift around the end of Antiquity that led to a trend
away from direct perception and toward information proc-
essing, archiving or mere information reproduction.

And yet, direct perception is our most natural, sponta-
neously intelligent mode of perception. It is the way our
brain receives and stores information. New research has
fully corroborated the teachings of the old sages who af-


firmed that learning has to be holistic and whole-brain in
order to be truly effective. We can only wonder when we
hear scientists state that generally we use only between
about five to eight percent of our brain.
Why are we so terribly uncreative, so utterly ineffective
in our learning performance? Despite this whole process
called civilization, despite schooling, despite the printing
press, Gutenberg and all the rest of it, we have remained in
a truly primitive state of evolution regarding learning.
I am not concerned with finding out about the causes
or reasons for this terrible waste of human potential, but
with the possibilities to take action here and now to change
this state of affairs.

Changing the world comes about through individual
changes. Once a sufficient number of individuals quantum
leaped to a higher evolutionary scale, there will be a major
paradigm shift in the whole system. This is how civilization
develops about; it all begins in the cell and then expands to
still bigger patterns. Nature is programmed in a system of
patterns that are holistically related to each other and where the
information of the whole is contained in every single cell
of the pattern. The pattern structure is typical for the in-
formation the brain receives and stores information. New
information is added on to existing patterns of informa-
tion. Without such connections which in neurology are
called preferred pathways, memory is not possible. The bet-
ter the brain can manage to associate new input with al-
ready stored patterns, the better the information storage


will be, and the higher will be the memorization result.
Our brain does the entire process of perception and infor-
mation storage automatically, passively, without a need for
us to set a decision about it. This fact is important for the
understanding of the functioning of the brain. There is a
positive side and a negative side about it.
Positively, the passively organizing perception struc-
ture of the brain insures that we continuously receive and
store information, at any moment of the day and the night.
Also during sleep and even in deep coma all the in-
formation from the five senses is stored in the unconscious
memory surface. So the apparently passive functioning of
the brain is actually an extremely active process. The im-
portant point about it is that the organizer of the informa-
tion is inside and not outside of the system.
To give an example, let us have a look at two groups of
children. The first group is raised freely so that they can
pick up any information from their environment and grow,
from the information they get, into what they are destined
The second group, however, is strictly regulated, pro-
tected and guarded off from unprocessed information.
Which group, would you think, will be more intelligent
and more creative, the first or the second one? Of course
the first one. Simply because in their case the freely organ-
izing and unhindered system of their perception and the
free flow of information, combined with high input, made
that their brains were working in high gear whereas in the

second group creative learning processes were for the most
part impeded and blocked. In the first group the organizer
of the information was inside, within the children, while in
the second group it was the tutelary adults around the chil-
dren who were installing valves for the free flow of incom-
ing information filtering out the larger part of it.
We can also put it that way: in the first group it was
nature’s intelligence that cared for those children’s evolu-
tion, in the second case it was shortsighted human willful-
This example shows the impact the early environment
has on the development of our intelligence and our later
use of the potential we’ve got.

In my opinion we all got high potential but only very
few of us were exposed to the necessary amount of envi-
ronmental support and have, in addition, developed the
creative will for freeing themselves from the dangers of
conditioning; we need both these factors working in a posi-
tive direction if we are to fully develop our talents and
creative powers.
I am convinced that people like Leonardo da Vinci, Al-
bert Einstein or Pablo Picasso, were they scored for the use
of their creative resources, would have been found to use
more than eighty percent of their creative intelligence po-
tential whereas for the common individual four to eight
percent might be realistic. Behold, one of the greatest er-
rors consists in assuming that this state of affairs could not
be changed or was inherent in our human nature! Darwin-


ism has contributed to spread this error as one of the most
destructive and absurd lies about the human nature and
the hero cult has built it into the belief system of millions
that forms part and parcel of postmodern international
consumer culture.
The truth is that every single human being has got this
incredible power that enables us to achieve whatever we
wish, if only we set our minds to it and develop tremen-
dous focus on realizing our creative will.
In his book Serious Creativity (1996), Edward de Bono
states that education does very little indeed about teaching crea-
tive thinking. For more than two decades, de Bono stressed
that there was an astounding lack of creativity not only in
schools and universities, but also in business, even in the
highest ranks of management, and the even higher ranks
of government.
Edward de Bono’s creativity teaching focuses on en-
hancing business creativity as a deliberate approach, some-
thing that can be learnt and that he called lateral thinking.
Lateral thinking is not a special wondrous skill of the right
brain, but simply a particularly coordinated way of both
brain hemispheres working in sync.
The discovery of lateral thinking came about through
the observation of the human brain’s unique capability to
collect and store information through pattern recognition
and pattern assembly. The brain does not store isolated
pieces of information but always organizes information in
patterns. De Bono states on page 11 of his book:


What computers find so hard to do (pattern recogni-
tion) the brain does instantly and automatically.

When de Bono released his theory of passively organiz-
ing systems in one of his first books, The Mechanism of
Mind, scientists at first disregarded these astonishing find-
ings. However, later Nobel Prize winners confirmed them;
in addition, the amazing new discoveries in neurology cor-
roborate them brilliantly.
The preferred-pathways system of the brain, nowadays
presented as common knowledge even in popular science
books, is but another way of formulating de Bono’s early
theory. And de Bono equally saw the negative side of this
mechanism whereas neurologists continue to acknowledge
but the positive effects of it. The essential negative point in
passively organizing systems is that the recognition itself is
conditioned upon the already existing patterns. Bono said
that when we analyze data we can only pick out the idea we al-
ready have. And even more clearly does he state on p. 24:

Most executives, many scientists, and almost all busi-
ness school graduates believe that if you analyze data,
this will give you new ideas. Unfortunately, this belief
is totally wrong. The mind can only see what it is pre-
pared to see.

That de Bono’s insight is about more than neurology is
shown by the fact that no lesser than Krishnamurti stated
exactly the same, saying that only passive awareness and not


active thought can help us understand the world intelli-
Thought or what we call our ratio is not able to recog-
nize patterns, it can only process patterns that are already
In addition, the conditioning of perception by thought
and past experience was a major argument Krishnamurti
used to overcome the limitations of the conscious mind,
showing that there is unlimited intelligence and awareness
not in thought but in the realm beyond thought.
Creativity, then, is strictly speaking not a product of
thinking, but of creative thinking which is more than think-
ing. De Bono was outspoken about the destructive process
of creative thinking. What he calls the creative challenge ba-
sically consists in destroying existing patterns or just dis-
regarding them in order to be able to free one’s perception
from their conditioning influence. In this sense, creativity
comes close to love, or else love could be seen as a form of
Krishnamurti stated that love is destructive in the sense
that it destroys existing perception patterns and thus pow-
erfully refreshes our regard on life, and on ourselves.
It also happens, as de Bono repeatedly pointed out, in
humor. This is the reason why humor heals and exerts such
a positive influence not only on our mind but also on our
organism. Humor detoxifies the body from accumulated
old patterns that have restricted our evolution.


To understand this reasoning we should keep in mind
that evolution can only take place where our regard shifts.
Evolution proceeds in a spiraled manner, repeating the ba-
sic processes of one level of evolution on the next level,
thus climbing one step higher in the evolutionary scale. The
form of the DNA, symbol of all life, reminds it plastically.
Our regard can only shift in moments where condition-
ing ends. This can happen during meditation or during
what de Bono calls the creative pause. The way de Bono de-
velops creativity is based upon actively implying right-
brain capacities in our regular thought processes for bring-
ing about a more holistic process of thinking. It is quite differ-
ent from the Eastern approach which was traditionally ob-
sessed with the idea to deliberately stop thought in order
to connect to the higher realm of wisdom and creative
thinking. For de Bono, it is not to stop thinking but to think
differently. Another difference would be one of dynamics.
Both approaches, the ancient Eastern approach to com-
plete perception, and de Bono’s, have in common that they
stress the ultimate importance of the perception process as
what it is, a movement.
In terms of the dynamics involved in the process of
perception, the Western and the Eastern approaches differ.

The latter starts from the premise that only by slowing
down thought, by one’s detaching from the thought con-
tent and by becoming passively aware, we prepare for the
unknown and thus become creative. For de Bono it is in
the contrary a very active and deliberate process of think-


ing to be learned and carried out that will trigger the crea-
tivity response. This difference in approaching the ques-
tion typically represents the fashion in which East and
West are structurally distinct.
It also makes clear what the essential difference is be-
tween creativity and creativeness. De Bono’s lateral think-
ing method is intentionally limited to bringing about crea-
tive results on demand. It is not meant to be an artist’s way
for constant creation—it is not meant to teach creativeness.
Krishnamurti’s educational approach, as the basis of
the Krishnamurti Schools definitely is a way to educate chil-
dren within a continuum of gradual unfoldment through
creative and holistic living. Krishnamurti’s starting point
was that institutionalized education destroys intuition.
The third important factor in learning, next to direct
perception and intuition is self-regulation. Observation of
nature, psychoanalysis and permissive, non-authoritarian
educational projects such as Summerhill as well as modern
systems theory demonstrate the existence of an inherent
mechanism of self-regulation in all natural growth processes.

—See A.S. Neill, Summerhill (1961), pp. 29 ff. and Neill! Neill! Or-
ange Peel! (1972).

Permissive Education assumes that as a matter of fact,
children grow by themselves and thus we do not need to
artificially stimulate children’s emotions, children’s sensitiv-
ity and children’s creativity. What we have to look for is
only that these values, which are naturally present in every


child, are not destroyed, and thus preserved. Children are
by nature emotional, sensitive and creative. It is society
that destroys this integrity in schools that are more like
prisons than anything else, and that subdue children and
undermine their natural self-esteem.
What we only have to care about is that children re-
ceive adequate support so as to grow in an environment
that is nurturant for fostering their uniqueness, their crea-
tive potential and their intrinsic talents.
Before the existence of schools, children were raised by
their parents and other adults present in the extended fam-
ily. They learned primarily by observation or by direct per-
ception, picking up what they needed for their later career,
from their early environment. They do this still today, but
there is less freedom in our society for children to grow up
uncontrolled and unsupervised and develop their own emo-
tional and cognitive insights.
Conditioning is very strong in today’s industrialized
societies and the culture tries to impregnate children from
early age with its agenda and values.
De Bono, much like Lozanov, found that only in early
childhood learning, and especially in the way young chil-
dren learn their first language, we see nature’s full intelli-
gence at work.
It is a well-known fact that geniuses such as Einstein or
Picasso and most of our cherished cultural heroes never
entered or finished school, dropped out or flew it. These
people know that they know better and follow their inner

instinct rather than an artificial learning system that repre-
sents a considerable waste of time and resources and that
essentially violates human dignity in the most flagrant way.
Life, seen through the eyes of a school system, is but a
mechanistic, dead system that, pretty much in the style of
the vivisectionists, has to be killed in order to be ready for
Until today, international organizations such as the
United Nations or UNICEF still adhere to concepts such as
alphabetization of the masses, and this despite the fact that
more and more research is accumulated that shows that
alphabetization alone has no value at all without being imbed-
ded in a school system that respects the child as a unique
individual and creative and spiritually minded person in
her own right. Mass civilization, mass learning, mass stan-
dardization and mass indoctrination have led to a dehu-
manization of culture, and this on the global level. These
reductionist principles have led to worldwide destruction
and violence.
This cycle is currently undergoing a revision through a
total reformation of the educational and pedagogical sys-
tems on a worldwide scale.
Learning through direct perception is the key. This form of
direct learning is not new, but actually very old. Many of
those who were and are considered as stupid, recalcitrant,
refractory or even criminal in the traditional educational
system are actually the intelligent ones, the highly gifted
ones and the ones with a unique and original mindset.


They regularly know that true and original learning is
not what they can find in schools or colleges, religious or
worldly, but what they directly and spontaneously compre-
hend, by observation, by the experience of immediate per-
ception that passes not through the reasoning mind but
through the still mind of the passive observer.
Let me explain more in detail what direct perception is
about, using a famous example, Krishnamurti. While in the
meantime K is recognized to have been one of humanity’s
greatest spiritual teachers, he was beaten daily in school by
a stupid and ignorant teacher.
He was left utterly alone and would probably have
ended as the village idiot in Madanapalle, India, if not the
theosophists had taken him to England where he was edu-
cated under their patronage.
Announced by seers as the New Messiahs, this boy was
found, at fourteen, at a beach side, neglected, almost tooth-
less, malnourished and in a precarious health condition.
His whole early environment treated him without any re-
spect, without any dignity and, needless to add, without
any intelligence.
Krishnamurti, as a little boy, rejected all knowledge he
was supposed to assimilate. He rejected the whole of it, the
whole of conditioning, societal, religious, moral or what-
ever; and because of this refusal he was treated with utter
disrespect and violence, as so many other children who,
like him, prefer to remain in their original state of mind
that is pure and unspoiled, the mind of a totally conscious


direct observer Once freed from the uncivil early environ-
ment, Krishnamurti learnt everything, languages, behavior
patterns of many different cultures, religious customs and
traditions, philosophical doctrines, literature, poetry, and
even worldly matters such as driving.
He, the little neglected boy became one of the greatest
teachers and philosophers of our times and of all times.
Krishnamurti learned through direct perception and there-
fore his learning was immediate, spontaneous and almost
instantaneous, the learning of a genius.
From his experience and deep insight into the spiritual
nature of man, he founded the Krishnamurti Schools in In-
dia, Britain and the United States which are truly alterna-
tive in terms of teaching because they teach the wholeness
of life and not fragmented and isolated subjects.
Direct perception is the key to using our hidden poten-
tial in hitherto unforeseen ways so as to achieve miracu-
lous results that we know only from people who are called
geniuses. Truly, we all possess the spark of divine intelli-
gence, able to pass beyond the limitations of our condi-
tioned mind once we are able to use our whole brain.
Direct perception is a whole-brain experience. Since the
left brain is not primarily involved in it, the language cen-
ter is not, either. When we perceive truth in an immediate
way, it cannot be put in words, because it does not come to
us through words.
People who report direct perception experiences al-
most always have difficulties to put their holistic view into

the limited corset of language. For example, when children
report to have seen Virgin Mary, as it happened at repeated
occasions in Zeitoun, Egypt, in Fatima, Portugal or in
Lourdes, France, they are speechless at first. Even adults,
when witnessing a miracle, tend to lose control over their
choice of words or just repeat the same words over and
over again.

—See Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe (1992).

Similarly, in situations of shock or trauma, we lose
speech for a while. Why is that so?
I suppose that in such situations, our brain uses tempo-
rarily an archaic survival pattern that energizes first of all
the brain stem and the right brain, activating basic mecha-
nisms of flight and fight. Survival works without the in-
volvement of the neocortex and thus without the involve-
ment of the language center which is located there. It is in
this mode of functioning that direct perception takes place.
When there is danger for life, the brain switches into
survival mode and triggers the survival response. It does
so because this mode of reaction is much faster than rea-
soning, thought and language.
Of course, what the brain does in danger, it can also do
in peace. We only have to understand how the brain trig-
gers the immediate response so that we can let it work for
learning purposes.
What then is evolution actually about? Looking back in
history and becoming aware of the high level of wisdom


that humanity possessed in ancient times, we cannot seri-
ously claim that there was evolution at all. In the contrary,
humanity has devolved during the process of what we use
to call civilization, at least since the last part of this process,
which are grossly the last five thousand years, the time of
It is for this reason that today we must head into de-
veloping the parts of the brain that have been left out by
evolution, the right brain hemisphere and the brain stem.
It will begin with relearning how to learn, with unlock-
ing our potential for true receptiveness, for whole-brain
learning, for using our brain for what it is destined for:
learning by absorbing whole patterns instead of isolated pieces
of knowledge.
It will begin with consciousness-based holistic educa-
tion, and it will be with electronic learning. And eventually
it will pass into the school and schooling systems world-

As long as we continue to bring up and being brought
up in systems where our true intelligence agonizes and
dies, we will breed but confusion and violence. And there
is no question that, then, we will not be able to master the
challenges of the new era we are heading into: the Informa-
tion Age, the New Age, the Aquarius Age. Only through holis-
tic solutions that involve our wholeness and the integration
of all parts of our being will we be able to survive in the mess
that we ourselves, or past generations, have left over to us.


Learning through direct perception is the way out, and
it is actually a way back. Back to true intelligence and to
the teachings of the ancient mystery schools where peren-
nial wisdom was once taught to an elite.

Learning and Career

Creative career design is one of the most important yet
also one the most challenging tasks of civil administration.
It actually requires a joint cooperation of government and
industry so that workable solutions can be implemented.

This is even more so as career design or generally pro-
fessional formation is a long-term endeavor.
Educational structures are rooted in social and cultural
conventions and are therefore not easy to change. It takes a
considerable effort from the side of the decision-makers
involved to come up with creative new solutions.
Our times bring profound change in all areas of life.
Jobs get lost through structural changes on a worldwide
scale. Rebuilding the world economy brings much suffer-
ing if educational needs are not met in time.

One of the most urgent educational needs is a closer connec-
tion between education and the industry. That is where career
design comes in.
Creative career design remodels education in a way to
be more flexibly adapted to the demands and expectations
of the industry. This can for example be done through im-
plementing think-tank classes like The Art of Learning in the


school system. In those classes no specific skills are taught,
but the how to of learning. Social scientists and psycholo-
gists agree that in the future job changes will occur much
more often in our lives and careers as before.
This brings about the need to take up learning almost
constantly during one’s lifetime. Formerly, it was generally
sufficient to have learned one specific job or skill in order
to survive as a craftsman or employee. Today and tomor-
row this is going to change drastically. Individual devel-
opment and social change are required today and tomor-
row at such a speed that there is certainty about one thing
only: that there will be change!
Laurence G. Boldt, career consultant, stresses that most
of his clients come to get a ready-made solution for their
career problems. Boldt says that most people lack initiative
to see a wider perspective of professional possibilities and
do not understand that it was their limited thinking much
more than a lack of specific skills that led to their unem-
ployment. On the other hand, Boldt found that people can
hardly be blamed for their apathy since they come out of a
highly rigid educational system that is impregnated with
the belief that once you went successfully through the re-
quired stuff, you will make it later on.

—See, for example, Laurence G. Boldt, Zen and the Art of Making a
Living (1993) and The Tao of Abundance (1999).

What we learn is at the end of the day far less impor-
tant than how we learn what we learn, and what we gener-


ally think about learning. Specialists agree that those who
rapidly acquire a wide perspective about opportunities,
and who develop motivation and excitement for new learning
easily overcome recession periods and find new ways of
successful employment or even entrepreneurship. For ex-
ample, they may choose freelancing as a new and creative
possibility of earning their life.
Freelancing has gained widespread reputation because
it is much better adapted to the quick changes modern life
brings along. Freelancing also ensures a basically free and
relatively creative professional life without too many re-
straints and thus contributes to an independent lifestyle.
On the other hand, the financial situation of the free-
lancer typically is unstable and rather fluctuant. But for
many people, especially in creative professions such as
creative writing, design, art, music production, consulting
and nowadays telecommunications and networking, free-
lancing is preferred because it ensures space for creativity
and inventiveness. Another quality freelancers must pos-
sess is aggressiveness or toughness to market their product
through a morass of competing alternatives.
However, freelancing is not based on knowledge we
acquire in school. Much to the contrary, none of the typical
characteristics a successful freelancer needs are taught in
There is almost no emphasis, in traditional upbringing,
upon independence, nor on creativity or positive forms of ag-
gressiveness or at least carefreeness.


Yet, compared to both employment and entrepreneur-
ship, freelancing is one of the fastest growing fields of pro-
fessional realization. Freelancing is also well suited to sur-
vive structural change and diversification. Compared to
employment, it offers a lot more freedom and space for
creative impact on one’s life while it does not generally
require the huge financial investments that are typical for
free entrepreneurship. It is after all irresponsible from the
side of governments to stay with our outdated and de-
pleted educational system. This system namely is funda-
mentally inadequate to keep up with the present, and even
more so, the future requirements for successful and satisfy-
ing professional endeavor.

We are since long beyond the times where govern-
ments educated people to become either blissful soldiers or
thankful breeding machines for new offspring to be readily
killed in the next war or civil war.
Despite the urgent need for reform, governments tend
to cut costs at the frontline of education rather than in mili-
tary budgets or through bureaucracy reduction. This is
why chances are that only through a well-thought strategy
of intervention from the side of the industry itself, changes
may occur on the government side.

Bureaucracies are not likely to initiate change from in-
side out. Evolutionary processes therefore have to take
place from outside in, through consultancy or through joint-
ventures between government and industry.


The first step in this process of structural change would
be to raise awareness about how and to what extent a net-
worked world and an international marketplace molds the
human potential, and what we can learn from that. This is
an assessment that is relatively easy to be done. It will
bring about the insight that there is an amazing similarity
of the human qualities needed in modern market competi-
tion all over the world, which are not dependent on cul-
ture, race or social conditioning.
Some of those qualities are:

‣ Flexibility, adaptability

‣ Intellectual mobility

‣ Curiosity

‣ Ability to play with concepts

‣ Creativity and response-ability

‣ Integrity and commitment

‣ Readiness for change and personal growth

‣ Readiness for team work

‣ Readiness for sharing

‣ Interdependent thinking

‣ Understanding about networking and team leadership

‣ Readiness for stewardship

‣ Care and quality management


‣ Awareness of social, cultural and environmental factors

Individuals who possess these qualities can learn any
of the skills needed for the specific tasks they are dealing
with in their career. Skills are always at the periphery of the
personality whereas qualities are part of our inside nature.
Skills are built on qualities, and not vice versa. Where there are
no inner qualities, skills may be trained but they will van-
ish because the fertile ground for their growth is missing.
Typically, inner qualities are assembled in an attitude.
Hence, the importance of attitude training and its superior-
ity over mere skill-based training.
Human resources and endowments are often wasted
because this fundamental distinction is widely misunder-
stood or even ignored in the business world. In my experi-
ence, in management training all over the world, the gen-
eral emphasis is on skills. However, the truth is that a per-
son who is really dedicated and possesses the right attitude
will easily acquire the skills she needs for realizing her in-
ner qualities on an outside level. 

Skills incarnate qualities and make them visible reality.
Before they can be learnt, a seed must be planted inside.
Qualities are these inner seeds. And there must have been
a growth process to let this seed unfold.
Seen from this perspective, the obsession with inculcat-
ing skills seems almost grotesque, as if people were dis-
cussing a lot about the color and furnish of a new car they
want to buy while they do not even know if this car can be


built and construed and made available for purchase in
their market economy.
Only a deep concern and commitment from the top of
both government and industry can bring about a funda-
mental reform of the existing vocational training.
This must result in providing the funds, in bringing the
right people together, and in a consistent implementation
of the new career policies. It cannot be done through quick
fixes such as putting computers in schools or stating in
curricula that creative input from pupils should be encour-
aged and valued. Only a holistic solution that is brought
about in joint cooperation by all decision-makers involved
will finally assure the victory over the deep crisis of educa-
tion we presently face. These are some of the changes that
could and should be implemented:

‣ Joint operations between government and industry for the
adaptation of education to modern standards;

‣ A task-force that is jointly composed of government repre-
sentatives, industry leaders and consultants to work out
operational solutions that provide a high-quality and at the
same time flexible educational standard that allows gradu-
ates to adapt creatively to every possible professional chal-

‣ Educational curricula to be worked out jointly with industry
experts, such as H.R. managers, training consultants and
teachers in order to ensure their effectiveness; 

‣ Curricula to be revised on a more consistent and more fre-
quent basis than ever before;

‣ Learning results measured more in terms of integrative and
holistic thinking capacities and solution-centeredness than


measured in terms of specific knowledge or skills;

‣ Learning strategies implemented that focus on the develop-
ment of creativity and integrated or parallel thinking capaci-
ties as an add-on to analytic and merely logical forms of
thinking training;

‣ Industry funding for educational innovations from the ra-
tionale that the industry has a vivid interest to sponsor more
practice-oriented educational solutions; the higher the prac-
tical usefulness of graduates for the industry, the less train-
ing budget corporations have to spend on them;

‣ Job search offices or resource centers at every school and
university that provide service for graduates to find a job,
that organize regular meetings with representatives of the
industry, that provide free writing facilities such as comput-
ers, phone and fax connections, and C.V. writing services for

Points to Ponder

‣ In the First Chapter, we have seen that ‘schooling’ and ‘ca-
reer’ do not necessarily mean the same, and that upon a
closer look they actually reveal to be quite different experi-
ences in the sense that our schooling simply is inadequate to
prepare us for our career.

‣ As most mainstream schools around the world have not yet
implemented effective learning methods that are based upon
the brain’s functioning as a patterned and neuronally structured
system, the ‘learning’ part of school for most intelligent peo-
ple consists in more or less elaborating their own learning
effectiveness. In other words, these people achieve brilliantly
not because of school, but despite of school.

‣ For most high achievers, decision-making about school and
emotional survival is clear-cut in the sense that it regularly
turns out to be that either the person develops their own
learning system and persistently follows it, or the person
drops out. Examples for the latter type of learners are noto-
rious, to cite only Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. An ex-
ample for the first type of learners is myself.


‣ We also saw in this chapter that when we follow the brain’s
inbuilt patterned structure, when we setup learning in the
way that children learn their first language, that is, by pattern
recognition instead of ingesting fragmented learning input,
we learn much faster and our learning effectiveness will be
much higher.

‣ On this same line of reasoning, learning motivation evapo-
rates when competition thinking creeps in or when learning
is coercive in the sense that failure is met with punishment.
That is why under the old paradigm school was often trau-
matic for sensitive, gifted and intelligent children in that it all
happened in a climate of terror and fear. In addition, people
might then be blocked for lifetime against new learning of
any kind.

‣ For learning foreign languages, no study of grammar is
needed, as all grammar of all languages is known by our
memory interface in the sense that when we pick up whole
patterns of the new language, we automatically pick up the
grammar. So learning grammar is actually a gigantic waste
of time and energy. Among other modern learning tech-
niques, Suggestopedia or Superlearning, created by the Bulgar-
ian psychiatrist and pedagogue Dr. Georgi Lozanov, proves
that foreign languages can be learnt perfectly and comforta-
bly, and almost effortlessly, without learning any grammar,
without even looking in a book, and in a minimum of time.

‣ Regularly, with this method, difficult languages such as Ara-
bic, Chinese, Russian or Turkish can be learnt in two months,
at conversation level, and speakers will pronounce words
like native speakers, without accent.

‣ When we look at the notion of holistic learning, we see that it
is closely related to perception, and that perception as a holis-
tic process has never got much scientific attention in our
society because our science is so much focused upon infor-
mation processing. Hence, we should take a pragmatic ap-
proach and ask how we can improve learning results despite
of our culture’s aloofness for changing the learning para-

‣ The first factor to consider in our endeavor to improve learn-
ing effectiveness are preferred pathways, and the fact that we


can create, even in advanced age, new preferred pathways,
thereby deliberately changing our neuronet.

‣ While early neurology was telling us that after the first six
years of life, the neuronet in our brain got its definite form
and could basically not be changed, cutting-edge research in
psychoneuroimmunology showed that we can impact upon
our neuronet at any time in our life, and that we can both
dissolve and build new neuronal connections through ap-
propriate techniques, the use of deliberate intention and what
is nowadays called ‘Creating Your Own Reality.’

‣ The second factor to consider is to realize what direct percep-
tion means and how we can improve our ability for perceiv-
ing reality directly, and not through the filter of our belief

‣ The third and last factor to consider is how learning and career
hang together and what could be done for improving career
design in the sense of increasing our personal career chances
and long-term professional satisfaction.

Chapter Two
Creative Learning and Realization

What is Creativity?

In order to find out about the process of creativity, let
us see the factors that produce non-creativity. More than
90% of our life is routine!
We move, clean, plan, manage events, we arrange, we
prepare, we repeat, we store, and so on. Not even ten per-
cent of our time do we spend with creating things, invent-
ing new methods, changing existing routines, or finding new
ways of doing. We all have creative impulses, but for most
of us, when they surge up, they pass unnoticed because we
do not value them.
The majority of people think that we can’t change the
awkward misbalance between routines and mechanical pro-

cedures, on one hand, and creative, inventive work, on the
other. As exceptions from what they take as the rule, they
cite the geniuses, people like Picasso, Dali, Bach, Rachman-
inov, or Gershwin, people who were creative all the time.
Let us have a look at art, first of all. Let us find out why
at all humans produce art. Has there ever been a serious
inquiry about how art comes into being, and why? What
drives us to become artists, to develop artistic talent?

Most of us seem to think that artists are born and that
not everybody can become or be an artist. However, work
with children has shown me that basically everyone has
creative capacities and is a potential artist. This is an in-
sight not personal to me, but common experience of educa-
tors, psychoanalysts and art therapists.

—See Otto Rank, Art and Artist (1932), Brewster Ghiselin (Ed.), The
Creative Process (1952/1985), Shaun McNiff, Trust the Process (1998)
and Art as Medicine (1992). More generally, see Don Richard Riso &
Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram (1999), Jean Houston, The
Possible Human (1982), Michael Murphy, The Future of the Body (1992)
and George Leonard & Michael Murphy, The Life We Are Given (2005).

As every child is an artist, why then do so many adults
perform so poorly when asked to be creative or spontane-
ous? The simple reason is that most of us do not realize
their inherent artistic potential and disregard artistic intui-
tions and creative impulses they possessed in childhood.
This is so because many, if not the majority, are caught
in a network of obligations that they have themselves cre-
ated, and which renders them deaf to the voice of their in-


ner guide. Some however are searching for a way back to
the connection they had as small children with their origi-
nal unspoiled mind. They try to get away from second-hand
lives in order to live a first-hand life, which is their own life,
their true destiny.
They may search religious paths or follow a therapy, or
whatever, to get started in the daring adventure of finding
back to themselves. Yet not all therapies or spiritual paths
lead to the desired liberation. Some of them have the con-
trary effect and incarcerate their followers in a still tighter net
of rules and musts or even try to destroy any creative im-
pulse in them.
As a matter of fact, art seems to be of primary impor-
tance for sublimating our asocial urges and longings. This
is not only a Freudian theory, but the result of research on
biographies and autobiographies of a great number of art-
ists. This research shows that most artists actually suffer
from high psychic tension.

In fact, many artists carry a childhood trauma all along
their lives. This is generally known more from the lives of
writers than from musicians or visual artists. Yet some
painters were open about their inner life, such as Salvador
Dali, and wrote extensively about it.

Others, such as van Gogh or Juan Miró, did not. But in
these cases, we have biographical sources and documen-
tary reports from their contemporaries and know details
about their life stories. Sometimes it is not much and there-
fore the theoretical ground for extracting knowledge from


personal biographies is still quite slippery. To summarize,
much more research needs to be done on the psychological
function of art.

The next point to elucidate is the effect art production
has in the life of an artist. Does the production of art lead
to a liberation of inhibited or blocked emotional or sexual
longings, or to instinctual sublimation? Is the major effect,
thus, of art, in the life of the artist, a liberation of the inner
tensions the artist suffers from? Can it also be said that art
leads for the devoted artist to liberation in the spiritual
sense? In other words, is art an essentially spiritual activ-
ity? Besides, does it have a therapeutic effect, in the sense
that it brings about a kind of healing of childhood or kar-
mic trauma?
As a matter of fact, art is for most artists the outlet for
tensions, the way they channel their energy in a construc-
tive trail, and their own unique manner to overcome deep

Of course, all of us experience frustration and hurt, but
the problem is that most of us do not act counter to it and
let these negative imprints on their self-esteem penetrate
inside and break something off. I am speaking of a critical
moment when something hurts so much that we give up,
that we abandon our efforts and begin to pity ourselves.
This inner rupture in the creative flow can indeed have a
traumatic effect in case we remain completely passive, and
when we share some or the other fatalistic life philosophy. 


Strong natures, by contrast, act immediately! Not on
the outside level perhaps, but on the inner level. They
don’t allow being hurt deep down and instead use one
method or the other to overcome their hurts and frustra-
tions. They may pray, if they have got a religious mind, or
they create, if they are artists.
Or they travel or go gambling. But they do something
about their problem, about their damaged self-worth, and
positively so, namely by building positive appraisal and self-
appraisal through overcoming, without resentment, the
frustration or the hurt, thus becoming stronger.
Artists surely spend considerable time working out
their artistic inspirations, but in their lives there is what I
call a creative balance between creation and some routines,
some techniques. 
Picasso mastered painting techniques despite the fact
that he never attended an art school. He simply learned it,
but of course in his own unique way, and not by joining
schools. Picasso did not spend ninety percent of his time
working on improving his mere technique, and only ten
percent on creating paintings. What he actually did was sim-
ply painting. In painting like other people eat or drink, in
painting what came to his mind, he held the flame of inspi-
ration burning while at the same time improving his paint-
ing technique.
That is why Picasso’s life was balanced and—happy!
Svjatoslav Richter, in an interview where he was asked to
give advice on effectively training piano playing said: ‘The


best way to train piano is to play piano, to play music as it
should be played—perfectly.’
That sounds like a truism; yet I followed Richter’s ad-
vice for now about forty years, and the result is that I can
today not only perform piano better than at twenty, when I
was practicing the piano for several hours a day, but I also
realized a whole series of collections with my own music!
Richter did not mean to be tautological in his state-
ment, but implied that it is better to play a piece that is
technically demanding but of high musical quality, and to
play it in a masterful way, instead of hacking around in an
etude that may be easier to perform but that is a piece of
musical crap.

In one word, it’s not the technique that makes the ex-
cellent pianist but the excellent musician inside the pianist. To
train this musician, you have to use music, not pseudo-
music. And there is a lot of pedagogy built in real music
because most great composers were reputed piano peda-
Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Debussy, to
mention only these, were genially gifted composers, but
also outstanding instrumentalists, and excellent teachers.
They did not want their students’ creativity to be ruined
by dull repetitive etudes without musical value. So they
created their own pedagogy. To begin with, Johann Sebas-
tian Bach wrote the Inventions and the Well-Tempered Clavier
for this purpose. The same standard is set for the organ by


Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, composed as a study for beginners on
the organ. These pieces are true musical jewels.
To play them perfectly, on a piano, a harpsichord, a
church organ or even a modern synthesizer is the best
technical and musical school for Baroque style a musician
can ever have.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote the Sonate facile, the
C-major Sonata KV 545, for teaching purposes and as a
study piece for every new student that joined his master
class. To play this sonata with perfection is the best exer-
cise for playing Mozart, and also for playing scales, and
can never be equaled by any of those stupid dry exercise

Frédéric Chopin was even more radical; he revolution-
ized the entire piano technique and declared as abysmally
wrong most of Czerny’s pedagogy. He composed two vol-
umes of piano etudes, op. 10 and op. 24, that each contain
twelve etudes of major difficulty and extraordinary beauty.

They serve today in the formation of virtually any con-
cert pianist around the world. Chopin not only revolution-
ized musical harmony, but also the fingerings, allowing
inter alia for the thumb to play on black keys, something
that was taboo in classical piano pedagogy à la Czerny.

Franz Liszt, like Chopin, was an excellent pedagogue
and revolutionized pianistic theory and practice; his Tran-
scendental Etudes are real show pieces of glamour, virtuos-
ity and genius that can only be mastered by very advanced

Liszt, like Chopin, was expanding the dynamic range of
the piano in ways that would have sounded like utopia in
classical times.

Serge Rachmaninov’s Etudes Tableaux, op. 33 and op.
39, are based very much on the artistry and technique of
Chopin and Liszt, but bear their own, very uniquely Rus-
sian musical language. Contrary to many musical critics, I
defend the view that Rachmaninov also contributed to the
piano world with a huge body of pianistic novelty, but he
was not well understood in the Western world, which I
think simply is due to the neurosis of the ‘classical music’
world that is simply stuck with their Beethoven, Mozart,
Chopin and Liszt to be repeated ad absurdum. It was largely
the merit of Svjatoslav Richter to have changed the musical
world’s understanding in this respect; it was Richter’s gen-
ius and commitment that made many in the West under-
stand, perhaps for the first time, the tremendous musical
power and the etheric beauty and distinct emotionality of
Rachmaninov’s, Scriabin’s, Prokofiev’s and Shostakovich’s
musical language.
Debussy then further revolutionized piano technique
as he went beyond Liszt and Chopin, and has to be consid-
ered a real modernist. His two volumes of piano etudes
belong to the most difficult-to-play pieces in piano litera-
ture, and they are not played often, probably because of
lacking understanding of their very modern and avant-
garde harmonics and their hairy difficulties.


How Creativity Manifests

We all need to cut off the flow of thought from time to
time and take a leave from thinking and planning. Most of
us are stuck in repetitive thought patterns, bored and lack-
ing motivation for regular travels into the landscape of the
right brain.
You can use relaxation, meditation, yoga or Zen, spon-
taneous art or writing, whatever gets you more integrated
will do. If you refuse to take regular leaves from what
seems all-too-important to you, you will get stuck, and
your creativity potential will go down the river.
We should not wonder why the world changes so
slowly for the better. As long as the deepest source of our
human potential is not only a desert land, but even dis-
dained, we can fly a hundred times to the moon without
ever grasping it! The real flight to the moon is that of our
imagination, not that of armored astronauts and robots
who carry out the orders of bureaucrats who want to make
history. History—with what? The general lack of creativity
that is part of every bureaucracy is especially destructive at
the university level and, even earlier, at school. Children
brought up in the tiring boredom of school-prisons will
never really fully access their deep-down creativity and

As civilization progresses, creativity is more and more
linked to technology. Today, universities in the United
States, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong that are
deeply involved in providing the best in new technologies


and new forms of learning are also very concerned about
awakening and maintaining creativity in their students
and, first of all, their teachers! For the rest, I question the
general excuse that there is no money or no budget or no
whatever. In most countries, there is no creativity at the
top government level! That’s where the root of the problem
is! Governments that are merely focused upon problem
solving or problem-maintenance, have no idea of what the
potential of a creative government is.
The first step towards a creative government is not, as
many believe, more money or more technology, but more
interest! Without interest, genuine involvement, openness
and flexibility it is impossible to progress on any level. In-
terest is the fruit of motivation, and motivation, in turn, is
the result of high self-esteem.
Creative people I know and have heard of all share one
common character trait: they are very curious. They are
interested. They feel involved. They have high self-esteem.
They are non-conformist.
All uncreative people I know or have heard of share
their general lack of involvement, their general disinterest
in life, their lack of curiosity combined with a certain level
of accumulated frustration and negativism, and a high
level of conformity.
Curiosity and joy are very closely related. There is lots
of joy in curiosity. And lots of sadness in people who lack
this primary quality of being human.


Creativity and Democracy

Creativity is democracy. No dictator can rule a mass of
creative people. Thus striving for more democracy means
enhancing creativity in our pre-schools, schools and uni-
versities. Those who have developed their creative poten-
tial are individuals in the true sense. What is individus can-
not be divided, cannot be split off, cannot be manipulated.
Therefore creativity is threatening dictatorial governments
and, generally, stiff hierarchical systems that are based on
people to be and remain eternally stupid.
This is also true for the private sector. Organizations
that put their trust in a system of punishment and reward,
regarding their employees as machine wheels will never
really motivate them to give their best. By contrast, com-
panies adopting a person-first approach and stimulating
the originality and creativity of their employees will defi-
nitely profit from the input their staff will provide, and
prosper on many different levels.
Fortune 500 companies around the world have given
positive evidence for that truth. Since creativity is deeply
linked to the expression of human potential, it is related to
self-esteem and self-worth. It is impossible to enhance self-
esteem in people without respecting their creativity. There
is nothing more satisfying and rewarding than to create
and express oneself through the channel of one’s intrinsic
and original talents and gifts. This is true also on a political
level. Governments who lead with policies that enhance
creative living and favor new inventions will make their


countries prosper whereas those who belittle human crea-
tivity will decay at the end of the day. We may produce
marvelous tools for creativity such as the personal com-
puter or the World Wide Web, but without implementing
policies to make sure that a large number of people have
access to those media and can express themselves crea-
tively in them, we have a paper democracy.
Democracy and human dignity being interdependent,
it is vital in an advanced civilization for the new media
and technologies to really enhance creative expression and
to not just represent wonderful shells without content, or a
content that is not worth its wrapping. Imagine how much
more effective our schools would be if more space was
given to children’s creativity instead of wasting time and
resources with struggling year by year through boring cur-
ricula that satisfy only the needs of bureaucrats rather than
enhancing the effectiveness of learning!
And it is there where democracy begins: in the school,
in the kindergarten. Election strategies are ridiculous in-
ventions as long as the people who choose do not know
what they choose or have no choice for a better alternative
because all the political candidates play the same false
game! Therefore it is vital for any democracy to reform the
educational system and adapt it to the needs of the future.
Presently, there is no higher priority than the need to
create a creative and playful learning environment where
the human potential is really put to the service of the indi-
vidual and the community at the same time.


Creative balance in this context means to shift the em-
phasis from advancing in technology to a cultural mix and
equilibrium between left-brain and right-brain policies so
as to foster our natural human ability to create and to find
new original solutions within established technical and
procedural frameworks.
We can have hundreds of ‘creativity boosting’ work-
shops that pursue this goal, but with a fraction of the in-
vestment of time and resources the same can be achieved
on a much larger scale once we educate our children dif-
ferently, giving them more space and freedom to express their
natural creativity. Since children without anxiety and neu-
rotic blockages are naturally creative, we do not need
much input to stimulate their creativity. What we have to
do is rather to diminish the factors that block their creativity,
by for example doing away with authoritarian forms of
education, stiff hierarchical structures in the organization
of schools and the teaching staff, and first of all punish-
ments, be they moral, psychological or corporal, and, most
importantly, the modeling of children after heroes or other
figures of veneration. The latter is perhaps the subtlest,
most effective and most destructive form of dictatorship.
Many societies today follow the example of the United
States since they consider the American system as the most
advanced. What they forget is the origin of the American
culture, which is quite unique in that it was, since its start,
based upon hegemony, genocide, cultural rape and patri-
archal dominance. Cultures are living organisms and grow


organically. Social institutions and all the ingredients of a
civilization cannot be seen separated from the culture in
which they were born. It is therefore erroneous to just cut
off a piece of flesh from a culture in order to feed another
with it. Human history is full of attempts to deport not
only humans but also systems or organisms from one cul-
ture into another. If the outcome is not a complete disaster,
something different of what was expected will surely be
the result.
For example, the Japanese, when they began producing
cars, thought that their key to success was to copy the
American car. The result? The Japanese car. After admitting
their failure the Japanese saw that their market was not
within the large and expensive car range but in the small
and economic one. So they set out to copy the European
car. The result? The Japanese car. Now judge by yourself. Do
Japanese cars really look like European ones? Of course
not. Because through all the copying the Japanese finally
saw that people, if they wanted to buy a Japanese car
wanted a car that looked like a Japanese car and not like a
European car. Which meant that the Japanese car looked
better, and often was also technically better, than a Euro-
pean counterpart of the same price range.

So with the Japanese car market it was not a failure but
the second alternative: the outcome was totally different of
what the Japanese had expected when they started out
producing cars.


We all know examples of technology transfer falling
within the first category. We do not even need to remember
spectacular cases like old factories that India bought from
Krupp in Germany without thinking that they also needed
skilled workers to operate them—with the disastrous re-
sult that huge investments were done for nothing and In-
dia was sitting on their inoperable factories like the hen on
the egg, only that this egg remained sterile. It is everyday
experience in a world that gets more tightly interconnected
that governments, organizations or private companies try
to implement policies into other governments, organiza-
tions or private companies in other parts of the world, in
other cultures, without considering that cultures create their
own bio-organisms within which certain things grow and
certain others not. Even if they flourish elsewhere.
Creative governments and organizations will keep in
mind that creativity is always connected to the human
element, and they will therefore value the human element
before all! They will not so easily fall in the trap to overes-
timate technology and rather stay away from transferring
technology or concepts from one culture into another. They
will rather want to enhance the creative potential of their
own people, their own students, their own professionals,
their own civil servants. And creativity will mean to them
an important requirement to exploit the human resources
they naturally have at their disposition within their own cul-
ture, instead of grafting their plants with sprouts that grew
in a different soil.


Creativity and Individuality

Creativity is directly related to individuality. This may
be one reason that in cultures where individuality is re-
garded as a secondary value, creativity is not considered as
a primary value either. As a general rule, it is true that cul-
tures that value the individual only as member of a greater
unity such as the group, the clan, or political, religious and
social communities have little or no regard for the inner-
most potential of the individual.

Astonishingly in such cultures, teamwork is not func-
tioning better than elsewhere, but worse.
This is a paradox since in those cultures education is
much more community-oriented than in the West, and
much less centered upon the individual. It took me quite a
time to find out the cause of this seeming paradox.
For more than a year I was carefully listening to dozens
of hotel and bank directors, airline top executives, human
resource directors, university deans and government offi-
cials in Indonesia. And I heard everywhere the following
unison complaints:

‣ General lack of effectiveness;

‣ High level of miscommunication;

‣ Lack of team stability and team effectiveness;

‣ Lack of loyalty;

‣ Lack of responsibility (response-ability);


‣ Lack of innovation ability;

‣ Lack of flexibility;

‣ Lack of personal profile.

This valuable information helped me to coin my train-
ing approach into a product that was really useful for the
needs of my corporate clients. My creativity-oriented train-
ing concept had to be completely modified if I wanted to
succeed in that market. Yet I could not figure out why team
work was so difficult in the Indonesian corporate culture
considering the fact that education in the family in that
culture is highly clan-centered and community-oriented.

—See, for example, Gordon D. Jensen & Luh Ketut Suryani, The
Balinese People (1992)

Was this not the ideal soil for socializing people, for
getting them to be highly synergistic in the team?
It should be so. Logically. But it wasn’t, in the opinion
of most of the leaders of that country, and in my own ob-
servation. Why?
I again evaluated my previous research on the roots of
creativity and personal effectiveness in order to find the
key to this riddle. ‘What is a team?’ I asked myself, repeat-
edly. ‘What is it that makes a team effective?’ And where is
it? Is it outside or is it inside?’
And suddenly it flashed through my mind that it is not
outside, but inside. ‘Inside, where? Inside the team?’ No.
‘Inside the individuals that make out the team?’ Yes. ‘So if


it is inside the individuals, is it perhaps something related
to individuality itself?’
But, this cannot be, this would be highly, highly para-
dox! The more somebody is individualized, the more he or
she is able to function effectively in a team? No, that could
not be. Could it? I went again through my research on co-
dependence and my extensive work with the inner dialogue,
and suddenly I saw it as clearly as a diamond in front of
my eyes! There was no doubt that effective relationships
on the outside level, with others, require an effective rela-
tionship of the person with herself, with all our different
inner entities.
In other words, somebody who has never built his in-
ner team cannot function well in the teamwork with oth-
ers. And further, somebody who is pseudo-symbiotically
attached to others, family, friends, siblings, spouse, clubs
or sects will not be able to work creatively with others be-
cause creative relationships require space for every partner
involved in the creative relationship.
After having reached this insight, I modified my origi-
nal concept for corporate training and inserted a basic voice
dialogue and spontaneous art program in it. Later I saw that I
had been on the right track with this, my workshops hav-
ing become highly successful. However, success was only
possible if I was able to motivate the group on a deeper
than conscious level so as to enter this journey.
Still today, 15 years later, individuality still seems to be
considered either a Western invention or a threat to many


societies. I had learned a lot from the experience, because I
saw that I imperatively had to begin on a personal, and not
a corporate level.

Society is formed by individuals, while cultural norms
define the individual’s involvement and behavior in the
group. That is why, serving the individual rather than the
group, and focusing on enhancing individuality rather
than group-adherence, group thinking and group progress,
I serve also the group and the culture. It goes from bottom
to top and from inside out—and not vice versa.

The Creative Continuum

Let us shortly inquire what is the general impact that
creativity has in our life, and particularly why it changes
everything and brings everything to change, why it trans-
forms our body, our soul, our whole organism, why it even
influences the growth of our cells?
If you don’t believe in the miracle of creativity, if you
deny its existence, the whole process cannot unfold effec-
tively for you.

It is very important that you develop first of all a basic
openness for wonder, for the unexpected, the miraculous
in life. And then, that you also expect it to happen in your
life! As it is written in A Course in Miracles (2005), miracles
are habits, and should be involuntary.

They should not be under conscious control, and they
are natural, they are an exchange with love, the great po-


tential of love in you and in all. What I call The Creative
Continuum (CC) is the whole of this process.
One of the general traits of the Aquarius Age into which
we are presently heading is a strong emphasis on the indi-
vidual as opposed to the collective, the group. This will have
important repercussions on professional choices and, in
general, career options. While it is true that many jobs are
presently getting lost during this global structural change,
it is equally true that a lot of new professions are surging
up with the creation of new markets. And these new pro-
fessions deal a whole lot more with entertainment, pleas-
ure, health, beauty and lifestyle than ever before. This is so
because Aquarian society is a complex, pluralistic, indi-
vidualistic, hedonistic and freedom-oriented society.
This means that everybody will attain a considerable
capacity of expressing themselves in public. All the tools
will be at hand, and already are so today, for those who are
willing to throw themselves into the exciting adventure of
However, schools do not educate our youth in any way
for this new adventure. In the contrary, our outdated, mor-
alistic and highly patriarchal school system handicaps
children emotionally and raises them with very low self-
esteem, like irresponsible slaves who have to be protected.
The fundamental paradigm shift in networked culture
is one from uniformity to diversification, and one from
group choices to individual choices. This is why our edu-
cational system has to change as well, in order to reflect the


paradigm shift. For if we refuse doing this, we will end up
either producing people for non-existing professions or
have more and more unqualified people on the job mar-
kets. As governments are not seeming to see the urgency of
this task, there is no other way than to appeal to private
creativity to bring about this necessary change.
The secret of high creativity is a close contact with self or
soul. A continuum is something like a holistic framework
of references that determines our life and is at the very ba-
sis of our specific way of experiencing living.
The continuum concept also implies that this frame of
reference is harmonious and makes that our life is well

—See only Jean Liedloff, The Continuum Concept (1977/1986).

When we live within our continuum we are generally
happy, aware that our life has a deep fundamental mean-
We may even better understand this expression if we
look at it from a negative point of view.
Those who do not live within their continuum tend to
be unhappy, depressed, neurotic, schizophrenic, and they
often depend on artificial stimuli like the media, drugs, or
alcohol, if they are not outright suicidal. It means that one
is alienated from one’s inner self, determined by outside
forces, and regulated by random influences.
Living in our continuum means to lead a first-hand life.
We have never learned this in school since schools do not


teach happiness nor wholeness nor even understanding of
the regulating principles of life, the truly religious princi-
ples in the sense of the word religio that originally means
back-link to our true identity.
All our power hangups come from the fact that most of
us feel they are impeded from creating their own reality. But
this impediment is inside, not outside.
It comes about through inner fragmentation. We are
split into a real me and a moral me. The first lives with what
is, the second strives for what should be.
As a compensation for this basic lack of happiness, we
condition and violate ourselves into conformity, thereby
conditioning us also into violating others, into overpower-
ing others, and in regulating and manipulating others, in-
stead of caring for ourselves in the first place.
At the same time, alienated from our true source, we
try to imitate and follow others, gurus or political leaders.
In following people who seek power, we lose power. And, what
is even worse, we may then equally try to seek power over
others, and so the vicious circle is taken from one genera-
tion to the next. We can avoid this pitfall by simply recog-
nizing the soul power in us, the universal wisdom in us
and actively deny any organization, be it political, relig-
ious or other, to determine our life—which means that we
take our life in our own hands!
If we apply this principle in education, we really help
the new generations in growing up responsibly and hap-
pily at the same time!

The Creative Ones

Do you think that one who exercises piano by using
Czerny etudes or other piano exercises becomes a wonder-
ful pianist? You may answer ‘No, there is something fun-
damental in place already, because it is not the exercise but
the one who uses it that will make the difference!’ Success
truly depends not so much on the exercises and tools I lay
into the hands of students, but how consequently and con-
sistently they apply them. It is said that good tools don’t
make a master, but it is also true that a good master will
excel also with bad tools.
When Charlie Chaplin started his fabulous career as a
film comic, he used the simplest means, and much of it
was improvised in the beginning of his new career as a
film clown.
Chaplin was not interested in the ordinary roles that
were offered to him by producers. Deep down he knew
that he owned more power and creativity than all those
mediocre film producers. Charlie, the figure of the street
vamp, clown and charming guy was created from scratch,
utensils that Chaplin found in the studio and spontane-
ously fit for costumes. If Charles had not followed his in-
tuition and not played out his own cards, Charlie would
never have been born. Charlie was the ingenious Pygma-
lion of Charles.
During my younger years, I studied biographies and
autobiographies. Among those that fascinated me was
Charles Chaplin’s autobiography.


—Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography (1964)

The man was unique because of his trust in his own
nature, his own creativity, his own star—although at the
decisive point in his life, when he began carrying out his
first vision of Charlie, everything and everyone seemed to
be against him.
We have a tendency to look at famous successful peo-
ple only after the moment they have made it, thereby over-
looking the many years of sacrifice and failure they have
lived through before they were famous.
Edward de Bono, the leading think tank, has written an
extraordinary book entitled Tactics: The Art and Science of
Success (1993). This book, which is based on the thorough
human resource studies of Piers Dudgeon and Valerie Jen-
nings, presents a precious analysis of how to be successful.
The study is based on fifty interviews with men and
women who have been outstandingly successful, among
them David Bailey, Hans Eysenck, Malcolm Forbes, Clive
Sinclair, Jackie Stewart and Virginia Wade. With his usual
lucidity Edward de Bono analyzes their different paths to
success, revealing some striking truths such as ‘Building
your strengths brings you more success than compensating
for your weaknesses’ or ‘People care is of huge importance
in achieving success.’

Points to Ponder

‣ In the Second Chapter, we have seen that the only difference
between geniuses and ordinary people is that the first group


are always creative, while the second group are only once in a

‣ For artists, creating is often a must in that art brings balance
to their vivid emotional life. Many artists actually carry a
childhood trauma all along their lives, and their art serves as
a healing agent. But being aware of this fact, we should not
for that reason reduce the activity of the artist to a ‘psycho-
logical’ necessity, as Freudian psychoanalysis argues, but try
to see that after all, art does not need a justification for its
existence! In addition, there are certainly many other impor-
tant factors why people do art and become artists.

‣ Highly creative people, contrary to most people, do some-
thing about their psychic condition when they have been
hurt, humiliated or when they live for years and decades
without significant recognition. The difference here is one of
attitude. While ordinary people would indulge in self-pity,
frustration and depression, the creator person does something
about their condition, and immediately so.

‣ This something could be called ‘the way of art;’ it is to use
art as a catalyzer of higher potential and as a cathartic in-
strument at the same time. The recurring catharsis can be
seen as a constant in the lives of all great artists, and it is this
very catharsis that is the empowering and rejuvenating force
in their lives. This is especially visible in the life of Pablo
Picasso, who was perhaps of all artists the one who despite
the high challenges he set for himself, was overall a happy
human, who lived life wistfully, while not at all passively.

‣ We also have seen that creativity often means to help others,
not just being oneself brilliant. We saw with some famous
examples that most outstanding musicians are equally good
pedagogues for teaching the technique that allows students
to play their music. And this is very smart, when you think
about it, because most people would hardly be able to un-
derstand great music if there were no great musicians per-
forming it.

‣ Creativity is smashed through actually overdoing education
by coercing children into doing art or musical performance.
It is important to realize that human creativeness is some-
thing linked to freedom, not to being obliged in doing some-
thing. The more you force yourself for being creative, the less you


will be! That is why those who have liberal and understand-
ing parents have always the better starting position, even if
they might have wasted time, for they can make it good later

‣ We can learn all and everything, it is only a question of moti-
vation. However, motivation is strangled through coercion
and a feeling of obligation. The danger is to regard musical
performance as a mechanical activity which in turn will ren-
der yourself dull and mechanical, and such an attitude dam-
ages not only your soul, but also the very art you are trying
to learn. Art is a fragile thing, it can only be approached with
care and love, not when you make a routine out of it.

‣ Great spiritual teachers gave clear warnings. Krishnamurti
said that thought and most of our brain functions, including
perception, are rather mechanical processes, and that creativ-
ity does not use those pathways, but is rather using intuition,
the space in between thoughts.

‣ And Gurdjieff even thought man is entirely a machine, not
by nature, but precisely through the conditioning influence
of our misconstrued and life-denying civilization.

‣ Hence, the human who is really alive, in full possession of
his gifts and genius, is a multidimensional personality.

‣ On a social level, it is important to realize that creativity and
democracy go hand in hand in the sense that without a basic
level of personal freedom and safety, humans cannot be crea-
tive, as the creative condition needs a state of abandonment,
a state of letting-go, which is impossible when one lives in a
terror regime.

‣ By the same token, creativity and individuality go together. As
long as the Japanese thought they had to imitate European
or American cars, they were not successful; only when they
realized they can build the identity of a truly Japanese car,
and really follow this concept, they became hugely success-
ful on a worldwide scale.

‣ Last not least, there is something like a Creative Continuum
that is just another continuum concept. That means that crea-
tivity is an original genuine kind of human behavior that is


not the result of cultural conditioning but the outflow of
innate wisdom.

Chapter Three
Opening Inner Space

Your career can be compared to a voyage in space and
time, the space and the time of your life. Both inspired
writers such as Joseph Campbell and brilliant psychiatrists
such as Carl-Gustav Jung compared our professional ca-
reer with following an inner call, bringing about a state of
bliss, or fulfilling our higher destiny.

Career consultant Laurence G. Boldt in San Francisco
talks about our professional orientation as our life’s work,
thus expressing the uniqueness and importance of realiz-
ing the best of our talents and capacities in our work. We
could also say that giving birth to, and incarnate, our life’s
mission is an opportunity put in our cradle that we surely

should not miss. And yet this is something we do not gen-
erally learn in school and if not parents are mature enough
to be mirrors to their children, the latter are at pains to rec-
ognize and nurture their unique talents and gifts.
There are methods and techniques that help us find out
about who we are and what we are to do in this world.
These methods range from simply asking ourselves, a
technique Laurence G. Boldt advocates, to more complex
strategies, group interactions and self-finding therapies.
You can also use esoteric techniques such as astrology,
numerology, or using divination, the Tarot, the Runes or
the I Ching.

—See also Peter Fritz Walter, The Leadership I Ching (2014).

This chapter, then, presents some of those techniques
that may appeal to those of you who, like myself when I
was young, are so sadly alienated from their true being
that they would not be able to tap into their true potential
by just asking a question to themselves. For me, it was po-
tential astrology that brought the solution and showed the
way to go.
Excited about the perspectives of a career as a spiritual
teacher and 1-2-1 counselor that was traced out in my birth
chart, I was honest enough to admit that I was suffering
from a certain amount of neurotic symptoms that made it
extremely difficult to do the necessary personal changes
without competent help. Thus, I engaged in a hypnother-
apy that helped me integrate all I was forced to split off,


during my childhood and youth, from my true personality,
my soul and my feelings. With this therapy that I com-
pleted with private work on my inner selves, I became pain-
fully aware of the fact that I had been living an extremely
residual existence, a life of utter self-denial while on the
outside level I had been well adjusted and succeeded to
become an international lawyer, doctor of law and legal

In this chapter I will thus walk you through some use-
ful strategies that may help you open this space that you
may still ignore and that you cannot simply access using
your wake consciousness because during the years of mere
survival, as a child, you had to repress certain intuitions
about yourself and your life, and certain feelings, because
you were not accepted as you were, but as the person you
faked you were. This fake existence as it were was not your
choice, but a necessity for you to survive in an environ-
ment, be it family, be it school, or both, that you felt was
hostile to your true existence and what you most wanted
to be. Thus, what you did was to repress your true self and
create an artificial mask, a fake-me, that you put in place as
a protective shield and that helped you to survive this hos-
tile childhood.

I intently say survive because that’s what it is. You were
not living this childhood, but you lived through it to get it
behind your back as soon as possible; for living it, truly
you would have needed to be accepted for what you were
because life requires a certain amount of autonomy.


If autonomy is denied to us as children, our courage to
realize our innermost desires is thwarted and our will is
bent. Without courage and will, without knowing who we
are, how can we ever achieve to find and realize the career
of our heart?
In my experience this fate is even more often experi-
enced with boys than with girls, especially when the con-
stellation is single female parent left alone by her husband raises
a single male child. In that constellation which was the one I
myself experienced as a child, the amount of alienation a
boy may be facing to go through can be extreme. Females,
in my experience, have an easier connection to the ground,
the earth, the roots of their being, than males. This is per-
haps not biologically so but it is certainly culturally so, be-
cause it has been so since the beginning of patriarchy and
thus since about five thousand years.
Thus, a single girl being raised by a single father does in no
way face the same psychic constellation as a single boy
raised by a single mother.
I have laid out the deeper intricacies of such personal
fates and destinies in other publications, and will therefore
restrict myself here to a general overview over methods
that can help us in our quest for self.

There are three different kinds of methodologies: thera-
peutic methods, shamanic methods and divinatory methods. Re-
garding therapeutic methods, I am going to give you an
overview over classical Freudian psychotherapy, Transac-
tional Analysis (TA), Hypnotherapy and Bioenergetics.


With respect to methods of divination, I will shortly pre-
sent you Potential Astrology, the Tarot and the I Ching. In
addition, there are teachings that have not developed pre-
cise methods for finding your life’s work, but that help you
finding out who you are, and thus help you to gain more
Please be aware that without self-knowledge, without
knowing who you are and why you have come into this
existence, you cannot really find out what your life’s mis-
sion is. Both quests are interconnected while I would say
that the spiritual quest, the quest for self-knowledge, is the
more basic one. These teachings, that I will be mentioning
shortly, are shamanic teachings or generally religious teach-
ings with an emphasis on the individual soul and destiny.
Please note that these teachings are not moralistic but
scientific in a sense that they try to look at life with what in
Zen is called a beginner’s mind.

Classical Psychoanalysis
There is a strong impact on artistic self-expression in
classical psychoanalysis as it was created by Sigmund
Freud. One of the declared goals of psychoanalysis is to
help sublimating the instinctual drives in man that have an
antisocial impact or that bring us in conflict with societal
rules and moral attitudes of the community. Freud saw the
emotional survival of the creative human in a midway be-
tween total adaptation to the demands of civilized society,
on one hand, and total revolt against it, on the other. This


midway is however only available for those who recognize
and acknowledge their instincts and thereby achieve to sub-
limate them. Sublimation, in the Freudian sense, does not
equal repression, since the latter would mean total adapta-
tion of the individual to the needs of society, a form of be-
havior that Freud considered as similarly destructive for
the individual as the total revolt against the demands of
the collective.

Freud understood sublimation as a kind of channeling
of instinctual drives into a constructive mission or life’s
work, thus preserving the energy of the drive and not re-
pressing it. The drives or instincts, or sexual energy as such
is, in Freud’s opinion, a powerful motor of creation in gen-
eral, and of art creation in particular. Therefore he called it
But not only social disapproval might prevent us from
living our desires to its fullest. Some desires may for our-
selves have detrimental effects, such as negative effects on
our health or our relationships, be it only through some
kind of perpetual fear or guilt that shall keep us from feel-
ing well during longer periods of time. After all, there may
be a need for every one of us to become an artist of life be-
cause not all our instinctual energies can be sublimated.

But apart from its conflict-resolving effect, art is cer-
tainly primarily a way to express our individual creativity.
Art is a way to achieve human perfection!
Among psychoanalysts we find many artists, having
discovered or freed their artistic potential during their own


analysis. Otto Rank was among them the one most out-
spoken about the function of art and the relationship be-
tween art and psychoanalysis. In his famous book Art and
Artist (1932/1989), he wrote:

I myself approached the problem of art from the indi-
vidualist side of the artist’s personality a good quarter
of a century ago, after my first introduction to psycho-
analysis. In 1905, when Freud’s investigations stood at
the zenith of pre-war materialism, I wrote a short study
on The Artist, in which I tried to produce a psychology
of the creative personality; simultaneously, however, I
developed a new theory of art up to a point which
made it possible, quite recently, for the German art-
historian E. von Sydow to say that I was ‘the only one
who had produced a system of aesthetic within the
framework of a / general cultural philosophy with
psycho-analytic material. (Otto Rank, Art and Artist
(1932/1989), Preface, pp. XX, XXI).

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis (TA), established in the 1950s by
Eric Berne, proved to be an effective therapy, showing re-
sults already after short-term treatment and was especially
beneficial for liberating personal creativity.
The transactional method starts from the insight that
life is primarily communication, not only between others
and us, but also, and primarily, inside of us.
Communicative messages are called transactions, from
which the term transactional therapy is derived. The hu-


man personality is taught as consisting of a range of inner
selves, the most basic of which are the Inner Parent, Inner
Adult and Inner Child. Psychic health is defined as a flexible
balance between the three entities in us, psychic problems
seen as the stiff predominance of one or two of the entities,
to the detriment of the others.
In this form of therapy, psychic disorders are simply
seen as communication errors, first of all errors in our in-
ner communication system, between the different entities
of our personality, and, as a result, also in our outer com-
munication system, the dialogue with others. The analytic
aspect of this theory is very strong and reaches, far from
being limited to analyzing dialogues between different
persons, out to the research in societal or inter-societal
communication problems.
There is some deep truth in this approach since it is
true that every war is an ultimate failure of communication
between two or more states, peoples or political entities.
By the same token, civil war reflects communication prob-
lems inside of nation states, between different entities or
social groups.
The strong point of the theory is that it is sufficiently
pragmatic and can be verified in experimental groups. As a
matter of fact, we all suffer from communication problems,
inside ourselves, in our families, and our work places, and
most of the conflictual situations that produce negative
feelings have their root in simple communication errors, or


total lack of communication in the form of the disruption
of dialogue.
Where dialogue has stopped, the projection mechanisms
become predominant and irrational images about the other
arise easily. Once they have risen, it is difficult to erase
them again. If there is new dialogue, however, and a mu-
tual effort for communication, projections can be overcome.

Hypnotherapy can be said to represent the most popular
of therapeutic methods in our days, especially in the
United States. The most famous representative of medical
hypnosis is Milton H. Erickson.

—See, for example, Sidney Rosen, My Voice Will Go With You
(1991) and Milton Erickson, Complete Works (2001)

Hypnotherapy has the advantage of achieving signifi-
cant results after extremely short periods of treatment, but
it bears also the danger of alluring the patient. It works
with medical hypnosis or auto-hypnosis, situated between
relaxation and deep hypnosis, also called light hypnosis or
light trance. In hypnotic trance it is safe and easy to let sur-
face deeply repressed past emotions and feelings, trau-
matic experiences, frustrations, humiliations and extreme
pain, and let them pass through the mind; it is this medita-
tive attitude, the passive experiencing of the original
wounding in light trance that triggers the healing.


Hypnotherapy is sometimes associated with medita-
tion; both can be said to be auto-therapeutic. And in both
we encounter the phenomenon that the person lets pass, as
in a film, parts of their life, situations, relationships, trau-
mas in front of the imaginative eye, being again confronted
with the repressed feelings that once accompanied those
situations and encounters. By confronting those feelings,
the psychic energy that was blocked in them is freed and
can be used for creative goals and purposes, or just for re-
activating one’s life and getting new motivations to pro-
gress and to succeed.


It is no other than Wilhelm Reich who is to be credited
with conceptualizing the original bioenergetic approach to
healing. As Reich was largely discredited over the major
part of his scientific career, the method was later devel-
oped in the United States by one of Reich’s patients and
most committed disciples, Alexander Lowen.

—See, for example, Alexander Lowen, Love and Orgasm (1965),
Bioenergetics (1975), Narcissism (1983), Pleasure (1970), and Fear of Life

This approach, if one hears about it for the first time,
seems to suggest that bioenergy is transmitted onto the
patient, such as, for example, in Reiki.

However, this would be a misunderstanding of bio-
energetics. Reich himself stated that bioenergetic therapy
only consisted in liberating and strengthening the patient’s


endocrine energy resources through the dissolution of deep
muscular fixations and the destruction of mental as well as
emotional shields that keep the patient from experiencing
the natural streaming of the bioenergy.
Alexander Lowen has from the start combined bio-
energy and group therapy, as well as role play between the
participants, and this approach became very successful
and popular. Others have developed only this aspect of the
therapy, especially in combination with techniques from
Gestalt therapy, and have given personal interactions in
form of spontaneous role play a predominant importance.


Shamanism is an old tradition that teaches ways of in-
ducing a voyage into the spiritual world, typically by en-
tering a deep trance through the ingestion of plant hallu-
cinogens. Shamanism is rooted in the traditions of many
tribal societies, in Siberia, Africa, Asia, Australia and on the
American continent, as well as in the folklore of Scandina-
via and the Caucasus. It is within these traditions consid-
ered as a religious way of realizing a broader form of exis-
The two main purposes of shamanic interference are
healing psychic and physical disorders and guiding people into
the afterlife. The local shaman is a very respected person in
all these cultures and societies while he lives at the border-
line of the group.


Nowadays, Westerners are developing a growing in-
terest in shamanism and shamanic rites and their effect on
us. There are many reports, after voyages induced by sha-
manic practices, about clearer self-vision and an enhance-
ment of people’s creative capacities and possibilities.
What is shamanism? Let me state first that mainstream
society’s notion of reality and that of most native popula-
tions are worlds apart. Michael Harner, in his leading
study on shamanism, defines it:

Shamanism represents a great mental and emotional
adventure that implies both the patient and the healer.
Through his voyage and his heroic efforts, the shaman
helps his patients to transcend their normal, ordinary,
definition of reality as well as their self-definition as
being sick. (Michael Harner, Ways of the Shaman
(1990), p. 1).

Interestingly, this same statement could be made about
hypnotherapy, in particular medical hypnosis as applied
by Milton H. Erickson; you only have to replace the terms
healer and shaman by hypnotherapist. In fact, Erickson cer-
tainly learned many of his secrets by studying shamanic
theory and practice.

In some way our modern psychotherapists are some-
thing like Western shamans. This idea has been taken up
by the famous shamanic healer Dr. Alberto Villoldo, who
defines his mission as the training of Western shamans for
accelerating individual and cultural healing in our modern
Western society.

—See, for example, Alberto Villoldo, Shaman, Healer, Sage (2000)

Shamans are borderline figures in a worldview that
normally excludes soul values. Or, to remind the saying of
Carl Jung, psychotherapy begins with the study of dreams,
and thus our individual unconscious, as well as myths and
cultural sagas, which are representing our collective uncon-

—Carl Jung, The Meaning and Significance of Dreams (1991)

A native would qualify somebody with a narcissistic
hangup as a person who lost a part or the whole of their
soul. A psychotic patient who, in his delirium, says that
he’s Jesus Christ would be qualified by a native shaman as
somebody whose soul is possessed by a spirit who, for
whatever reason, speaks through him.
According to Mircea Eliade, one of the most respected
researchers on the matter, shamanism is to be defined as
‘deliberate use of archaic techniques of ecstasy’ that were
developed apart from religious dogma or philosophy.

—Mircea Eliade, Shamanism (1964)

You can trigger ecstasy in your adult life as I was my-
self able to awaken this basic innocence; then, you are able
to live those moments of full and unhampered happiness
when they come; they come spontaneously, without being
asked for and without being triggered by any drug. But I
know that not many have been innocent as children. I was
not. That’s why you may want to build original innocence


through techniques of ecstasy that are available within the
array of shamanic magic.
The books of Carlos Castaneda are well known in edu-
cated circles all over the world.

—See, for example, Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan
(1985), Journey to Ixtlan (1991), Tales of Power (1991), The Second Ring
of Power (1991).

Their success was phenomenal! Carlos Castaneda, an
American anthropologist, went to Mexico in order to fol-
low a seven-year apprenticeship with a local sorcerer, Don
Juan. The initiation he went through was initially induced
by the intake of mushroom tinctures that were producing
hallucinating effects, and that temporarily altered the re-
searcher’s state of consciousness. Going through all kinds
of experiments, partly dangerous for his health and psy-
chic integrity, Castaneda followed meticulously a notebook
in which he tried, with great difficulty, to capture more or
less profound insights about the experiences. Subsequently
he profited from these notes in writing his books.


Astrology, with its long tradition, has been revived dur-
ing the 20th century and made accessible to a larger circle
of people than a few sages and initiates who knew it back
in Antiquity. In the United States and Great Britain, astrol-
ogy is taught in the meantime at several reputed universi-


Moreover, astrological advice is more and more sought
after by leading officials, stars and business people all over
the world.

Many different astrology schools and techniques have
diversified the astrological landscape. One of the strongest
and perhaps most important aspects of astrology is its ca-
pacity to tell us more about our true destiny. This so-called
psychological or humanistic school of modern astrology,
mainly developed by Dane Rudhyar and his followers is,
from an empirical point of view, more precise than the
prognostic part of astrology, which is the branch of astrol-
ogy only portrayed by the mass media and thus known to
the general public.

—Dane Rudhyar, Astrology of Personality (1990), An Astrological
Triptych (1991), Astrological Mandala (1994).

This is so because we change and have free will to di-
rect our lives. The stars only indicate potentialities, which
means they incline us to follow certain paths, but they do
not determine us. It is our own thought, our own desire,
our own intention that direct us, and not any fixated notion
of destiny. Astrology is often erroneously taken as the mir-
ror of predestination we are fatally submitted to. In the con-
trary, astrology is taught since Antiquity as the science that
provides us with self-knowledge and helps us realize our
true potential in a creative, happy and constructive way.
Popular thought sees always more astrology’s forecast-
ing aspects, with all the Nostradamus and Wallenstein sto-


ries and their more recent vintages. Forecasting bears, to
repeat it, always a certain risk since we can change our in-
tention and our desires from today, thereby changing our
future accordingly. The astrological forecast is rather stiff
and mechanical, compared to the ever-changing nature of
life and the unpredictable nature of the human being. On
the other hand, the psychological, characterological advice
of potential astrology is in most cases surprisingly accurate.
The birth chart is an open book for one who is able to in-
terpret it; it reveals with truly scientific exactitude our tal-
ents, capacities, creative possibilities, but also our weak-
nesses and challenges for self-development.
In my personal coaching approach, I use pure potential
astrology as a diagnostic tool. This means that I don’t do
any kind of forecasting, but use the astrological projection
system as a tool for finding the client’s, or their child’s, life
mission and innate talents and capacities by a karmic analysis
of the birth chart, mainly by examining the Moon Nodes
Numerology is another method to detect astrological
data. It can be held that astrology is but a specific form of
numerology and vice versa. To say, both techniques lead to
the same insights.

The I Ching, the five thousand years old Chinese wis-
dom and oracle book, is of primary importance in any se-
rious discussion about divinatory practice. Famous writ-
ers, psychologists, musicians and writers such as Hermann
Hesse, Carl Jung, Joseph Murphy, John Lennon or Terence


McKenna have used or analyzed it, not to talk about the
Chinese sage Confucius who literally slept with the I Ching
under his night pillow. They and many others profited
from the advice the book can give on virtually all life situa-
The Tarot is not as old as the I Ching and astrology. It
has been conceived by medieval alchemists who took their
knowledge from old traditions and distilled it into a set of
game cards, composed of twelve large arcanas and a num-
ber of small arcanas, to be interpreted as to their impor-
tance in the divination process. The advice-givers, tradi-
tionally people who went through initiation in esoteric
knowledge, are bound to a set of ethical rules and obliga-
tions. For the application of the most famous of Tarot
decks, the Tarot de Marseille, the advice-givers were for ex-
ample bound to not ask for pecuniary remuneration. They
were generally paid with food. However, if the advice-
seeker put some money in a place designed for voluntary
contribution, the advice-giver could take it.
Nowadays, we can observe that the Tarot again takes
an important place alongside various other methods for
building self-knowledge, for exploring our greater life cy-
cle and for self-transformation. The abundance of litera-
ture, in re-edition and new editions shows that many now
are searching for their roots and the significance of life.
Among all divinatory practices, the Tarot seems to at-
tract the most of attention from the greater public and from
young people, perhaps because it is more propagated


within popular culture. The very fact that the Tarot has
been created shows that there is still space and need for
integrated approaches, even after thousands of years of
tradition and the most erudite writings already existing.
Every tradition has to be adapted to the period of time
where it is to be considered. There are in fact many new
Tarot decks, and new divinatory games based on the Tarot
system, but more adapted to the psychological insights of
our era. Actually, the young generation today got an acute
interest in all they judge as magic in a larger sense, or that
is considered as a tool for exploring invisible realms of re-
ality. It is perhaps that the Tarot looks like a game which
makes it more attractive for the young than other divina-
tory practices.
As a result, new magic games are booming within that
niche market. The power of creativity behind this vague of
new productions is considerable! Despite the fact that there
is hardly something really new, the way the old traditions,
especially as divinatory card games, have been inspired
with new life proves that there are creative impulses in our
young generations that are going to foster a revival of per-
ennial science and philosophy during the Aquarius Age.
There are many other systems of divination. The more
well known among them are geomancy, and the Runes,
which is originally a Celtic divination method, and nowa-
days again sought after in initiated circles.



The teaching of Ramana Maharshi is astounding. For
some people it is disturbing. When you have searched the
world for a guru, and then one day you meet one who is
known worldwide and whom the local people venerate
like a god, and this man tells you that you did not need to
search a guru because you are yourself and thus have al-
ready got what you are searching for, then you are begin-
ning to shiver or even make serious depression!

—See, for example, Matthew Greenblatt (Ed.), The Essential Teach-
ings of Ramana Maharshi (2002).

Ramana Maharshi tells us the same with regard to our
creative potential. He would say that we have already and
from the start got it, that it is in us, more precisely even,
that we are this potential. In fact, it is the very energy that
created us, which gave us all our potential, and we dispose
fully of this energy, if we are conscious of it or not.
Krishnamurti, in many of his talks, held that most of us
are utterly uncreative and that the last residue of creativity
we possess is sex. For this reason, many of us, he said, are
so obsessed about sex. Sex is for us a kind of second-hand
creativity, an ersatz for what we lacked.
What is for Krishnamurti this original creativity? This
seems to be the decisive question about the whole of his
teaching. K said often that this question could not be an-
swered since we could not put in words what cannot be an
element of thought, because it is beyond thought. This x,


he said, was not definable, and can only be invited to join
us once we were ready to receive it. This x is the strongest
creative force that exists; it is pure creativeness. We cannot
search for it or run after it, since more we put efforts into
this search, less chances are that the unexpected is going to
Second, K insisted, we have to decondition ourselves,
not by chastity or masochistic self-denial, but by the strict
denial to assimilate what we identify to be untrue for us,
and by the intelligent understanding of ourselves as mov-
ing, changing beings, which implies intelligent understand-
ing of our desires, wishes, habits, emotions, and reactions.
Krishnamurti repeated saying that we should passively
observe our inner and outer life and our relationships,
without judging or labeling them in any way.
There is something in K’s teaching that has no parallel
in all existing teachings, something entirely new. It is the
refusal of discipline, of effort and any form of chastity.

In fact, almost all religious teachings favor one or the
other form of sex repression. K’s teaching is more subtle;
he says that love is not pleasure. He doesn’t say sex is bad,
but he does say that when we endlessly strive for pleasure,
in an exclusive sense, we may miss to hit the goal of our
But the question is, what is pleasure and what did K
understand under this word? For example, is a shallow life
focused upon repetition and enjoyment a life of pleasure?


Or is pleasure something much greater, something re-
lated to creative realization? Is pleasure only sensual and
sexual pleasure or is pleasure also intellectual pleasure. To
put it even more aggressively, is the striving for ‘spiritual-
ity’ not just another form of pleasure-seeking?
K analyzed our striving for pleasure saying that pleas-
ure is a necessity for the brain as a storing device of many
thousands of years of human and pre-human history. In
fact, if we understand our deep concern about pleasure
and all we do to satisfy our desires, we have done the first
step on an evolutionary ladder leading to greater inner and
outer freedom and happiness. As a matter of fact, if we are
serious about this, we have no choice since repression sim-
ply does not work as it reinforces desires because it makes
us more dependent on them.
The only way to achieve greater independence and in-
terdependence with others is to understand desire and ac-
cept desire as the single most important vital force! The
change, then, will come not by the suppression of aware-
ness, as it is the case with repression, but in the contrary, by
a higher level of awareness.
There is something in K’s teaching that is really unlike
any guruism. K never tried to convince people of his teach-
ing since he was not concerned of having followers.
What he does in his talks is to attract our attention to
certain facts which are inherent in human nature, certain
mechanisms in our thought process, certain functions of
our brain, or more generally, our human structure. As he


did not search for followers, K cannot be said to have cre-
ated a system of thought; and he has not founded a philo-
sophical school in the sense this is understood by religions
and their dogmas.
Everything in life that has deep meaning seems to arise
spontaneously. This is so in love, with the conception of a
child or the birth of any major creative idea that arises in
us despite our lack of knowledge where our intuitions pre-
cisely originate from. K wanted to show us that we do not
need to put endless efforts in whatever we do, and cer-
tainly not in matters of religion and spiritual evolution. He
basically said that the more effort we put in what we do,
the more we cut ourselves off from true creative resources
that are available to everyone of us. It is not important how
we call it, faith, god, higher self, inspiration or relax-and-
let-things-happen or stop searching!
If we have understood that our rational thought can
only progress in a linear way but not in a spiraled manner,
and that every true evolution comes about by a spiraled
movement, we have got it! The empty circle in midst of the
spiral is faith, is let go, is creative reception without effort!
The Austrian Rudolf Steiner was deeply influenced by
the theosophical movement. Yet Steiner founded an origi-
nal method that is strongly motivated by an ideal of ‘right
Steiner was concerned about the child’s natural creativ-
ity, and harshly criticized in his writings how our culture
systematically destroys it.


As a result of his great knowledge about Eastern cul-
tures and traditions, he created a new and for his contem-
poraries revolutionary approach to education. In all his
writings he criticizes, just as Krishnamurti, the utter brutal-
ity of the traditional school system and how it approaches
the individual child by applying a standard concept. Ac-
cording to Steiner, right education should take care of the
child’s soul and help the child develop his or her spiritual
receptivity and expression.
Steiner created special methods of working with colors
and music. Through his research on how music affects the
human psyche, he found that the occidental tuning and
scale, with its half tones, is rather irritating the natural vi-
brations of the soul. He therefore began to focus upon the
Eastern whole-tone scale that was in Antiquity also used in
Europe, for example in the tuning of the ancient Lyre of the
Greeks, which was tuned in whole tones; based on these
insights, Steiner created an entire curriculum for musical
Steiner school children, especially handicapped and
emotionally disturbed children are enveloped by sound-
carpets of whole-tone lyre music and are seen to be con-
siderably improving their behavioral patterns.

Spiritism and Channeling

Spiritism was widespread in Europe at the end of the
19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It was a
sort of fashionable pastime in the distinguished classes.


Behold, however, that dealing with energies of other
dimensions or parallel universes must be learned and
should not be taken as a distraction or society game. It is
possible to call spirits of other dimensions when there is in
a group a strong common will to achieve this goal, and
specific setup of the experience is provided. Yet there are
inherent dangers that most of the people engaging child-
ishly in those experiences are not aware of.

For those who profit positively and competently from
the experience, spiritism can provide tools for enhancing
individual creativity.
Many of the spirit entities called upon in spiritistic sé-
ances are reported to have spoken about the realization of
creativity or listed even a number of reasons why most
people today have become so utterly devoid of creativity.
It seems there is with guides from other dimensions a
particular concern to communicate to us the ways to en-
hance new potentials of creativity and personal realization
within the whole of humanity.
Channeling is a more recent vintage of spiritism. It is
true that many people who, like me, received a traditional
academic education and, moreover, have been trained in a
quite Cartesian profession such as law, are brushing this
kind of knowledge off as charlatanism.
However, I can say with conviction that channeling has
provided me with extremely valuable teachings for my life, for
change management for finding the career I really love.


Channeling is for me one of the important sources of
knowledge gathering today. Whatever the precise tech-
niques that are at the origin of channeling, and whatever
we already know about them or not, I can say that for me
this teaching was more important than all and everything I
learnt in school and university.
Let me mention here particular books that provided me
with a slice of that immense cake of knowledge. When I
opened myself to channeling, about fifteen years ago, it
was first of all the books of Jane Roberts, the so-called Seth
Books that began to open my eyes. I carefully studied two
of them, The Nature of Personal Reality (1994) and The Nature
of the Psyche (1996). In both books, Seth repeatedly teaches
about personal creativity and the development and de-
ployment of our unique talents and gifts through our life’s
mission and our work.
After that, I read one of Sanaya Roman’s Orin books
entitled Opening to Channel (1987), and did not regret read-
ing it. Finally, another channeling book really captivated
my attention, so much the more as it came to me in a quite
unusual way. I found it at a children summer party’s kiosk
among all kinds of plunder and used children toys, where
it obviously made a strange appearance. This book was
Barbara Marciniak’s Bringers of the Dawn: Teachings from the
Pleiadians (1992).
These channeled messages converge in stating that our
human potential is unlimited, thus confirming the oldest
teachings of the sages.


Let me close this chapter with the advice that you
should accept as truth for yourself only what you, in your
heart, hold is true. All the rest, while it may be truth for
others, is just not true for you. And as you are the master
of your life and have in yourself the guide, you should al-
ways stay true to your truth. It sounds commonplace, but is
not. It was over millennia a secret teaching but now is cor-
roborated by new consciousness research.

Points to Ponder

‣ In the Third Chapter, we have seen that there are several
unique methods for finding out what your life’s work or mis-
sion is all about, what your intrinsic talents and gifts are, and
what your purpose is for this lifetime. They range from sim-
ply asking yourself certain key questions to esoteric tech-
niques as astrology, numerology, or divining with the Tarot or
the I Ching.

‣ There are three different kinds of methodologies for finding
your true self and mission, therapeutic methods, shamanic
methods and divinatory methods. Among therapeutic methods,
psychoanalysis stands out as perhaps the most culturally de-
manding, but also the least effective theory, while Transac-
tional Analysis (TA) is less culturally normative, but more
effective in actually healing the source trauma because it
focuses not on behavior or norms, but upon communication;
that is why it most often helps to access and integrate our
inner selves.

‣ The most effective of therapeutic methods is hypnotherapy or
medical hypnosis, especially the Ericksonian vintage of it. It
is effective, while respectful and safe, because it uses a par-
ticular language capacity of our organism, which is hypnotic
language, the language of the body.

‣ Hypnosis allows a safe journey into the time and the feeling
universe of the actual trauma or imprint, thereby facilitating
the healing process through building awareness, conscious-
ness being a most powerful healing agent in our organism.


Once we remember what caused the wound, we are beyond
it, and healing occurs. This is the power of hypnosis, which
is thus a pure application of consciousness to healing.

‣ Shamanism is a set of techniques that bring about a state of
inner contemplation; these techniques use religious ecstasy, a
state of meditative contemplation, for invoking spirit helpers
and guides who enable the shaman, after formal initiation, to
heal himself and others. Shamanic healing is powerful and
effective but it requires dedication; this means it cannot be
achieved with a light-hearted intention or for indulging in a
fad or fashion, as when serious interest and commitment is
lacking, or one’s intention is not pure of self-interest, things
may go in ways not expected, and not desired. In the regular
case, the seeker of health or personal transformation doesn’t
himself go the rather burdensome way of becoming a sha-
man, but will be guided, by his inner voice, to a competent
shaman, who acts as an intermediary or catalyzing agent.

‣ Astrology is one of the most ancient methods for gaining self-
knowledge, and in this respect, it is not divinatory, but char-
acterological, and psychological. The psychological school of
astrology, which is part of perennial science, was revived by
Dane Rudyar and Alexander Ruperti during the 20th century
and is today an established method of assessing human po-
tential for adults and children. It is also taught now at many
universities in the United States, Britain, France, Germany,
Australia, and many other countries. Instead of astrology,
numerology may be used, which is essentially the same
method that only uses another vocabulary, but comes to the
same results.

‣ Along with the I Ching, the five thousand years old Chinese
wisdom and oracle book that is used for divination and ad-
vice by many scholars, the Tarot has gained more of popular
interest during the recent decades, especially among young
people. The Tarot is more psychological than the I Ching in
the sense that it works with archetypal images that are open
for interpretation and that can be meditated upon.

‣ The pictorial and game-like aspect of the Tarot may be one of
the reasons why Tarot games have become so popular within
the new age business world. However, their use is beneficial
only when there is a serious commitment to deriving mean-
ing and advice from consulting the cards, not when the ac-
tivity is a mere leisure and done for curiosity only.


‣ When we evaluate the teaching of sages, for showing us the
way to personal growth and realization, we find two who
are exceptional in the sense that they do not teach a doctrine,
nor recommend any form of self-discipline to realize awak-
ening. They are Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti. They
were teaching all through their long lives that most of our
cultural achievements do not assist us in finding inner peace,
and spiritual guidance, hence one of the motivational trig-
gers for their careers as spiritual guides and personal gurus.

‣ These spiritual teachers or sages emphasize the need to have
faith in the highest possible outcome while putting our focus
upon what we really love and wish to do.

‣ They emphasize freedom, and creativeness, not ‘hard work’
for the sake of joining both ends. They basically say that we
are living in an illusion when we think we are lacking any-
thing in life as we are the creator force ourselves and thus, all
apparent lack is a lack of conscious awareness of what-is, and
a result of of our conditioning which stands in the way of
freedom, self-realization, power and abundance.

‣ Another pathway of finding your life’s work and a creative
approach to living is spiritism, also called spiritualism. While
today less popular, it was one of the favorite pastime activi-
ties of the distinguished classes during the 19th century and
the first decades of the 20th century.

‣ Today, what gains more and more importance is channeling,
which is perhaps just a new word for an old hat. Channeling
is a technique that provides us with often uncanny informa-
tion that comes from sources other than the rational learned
mind of the medium, the person who does the channeling. It
is information that is often surprisingly accurate and that
bears a note of freshness to it. I have myself received many
valuable insights about life and my own path of life through
channeling and feel very grateful for that.

Chapter Four
By Yourself About Yourself

Though the content of what I will be writing about in
this chapter is philosophical in nature, the application of
this knowledge is immensely practical.
This being said, these lines only make sense if you put
them in practice. As the title suggests, this chapter gives
you hints or a guideline for work that you have to do with
yourself. You would probably be reluctant to begin if you
were put alone in a room, the door closed and said ‘Now,
transform yourself! Tomorrow I want to see another you
sitting here!’ You may smile, but is it really as farfetched as
it sounds? Does it not reflect a bit the way most selfhelp

gurus approach their clients? And most of us try hard to
comply with our guru’s method and perhaps it helps.
The chance that it helps is as high as the chance that it
fails. This is so because we are all different as human be-
ings and what works for one does not necessarily work for
This does not mean that nobody could teach you any-
thing in matters of self-improvement. It only means that a
particular method is not going to work for you just be-
cause it has worked for Mr. Guru. If it works for you, it
does so because it is in accordance with your continuum. If
it does not work for you, this does in turn not mean that
Mr. Guru is a charlatan.

Our present social and educational paradigm makes
you perhaps believe that there are standard truths for all of
us, standard values, standard forms of behavior and a
standardized morality framework for all of us.
Natural science that was deeply alienated from spiri-
tual truth and whose main advocate was Charles Darwin
has led many to simply compare humans to the animal
race and to deduct social, political and psychological con-
clusions from such a haphazard premise.
The fact that we all got two arms and two legs does not
mean that we can compare human beings with each other
on a soul level. If we could, it would be easy and practical
to work out standards for self-improvement and promote
them worldwide in schools, universities and the media.


The methods taught are only pathways to guide people
toward their own inner guru, and not to establish the ulti-
mate Big Brother Gurus & Co. multinational.

You Got It

The only wisdom you can learn is the one you have got
already, that is contained in your continuum, your own
inner space, your timeless soul, your potential.
All wisdom, all knowledge that we can find, we knew
it before, and if we wish, we can find it again. I think we all
have gone, as humans, through the loss of connectedness
with our true source. From this experience of loss we keep
a deep-down memory, somewhere in our collective uncon-
scious. From this memory and the depression and loneli-
ness that followed, we have developed a feeling of antici-
pation, a deep anxiety regarding the lost knowledge. This
is why many of us today still reject what they call esoteric
knowledge or make it down as superstition or imagination.
This chapter is a guide that tries to direct you toward
your own Tao, your own Way. It’s about a first-hand life and
I will have to explain more in detail what I mean by this
term. My quest and perhaps contention is that most of us
today lead second-hand lives, rather than living lives grown
on the fertile ground of what perhaps could be called self-

Most people today, as I have observed over more than
forty years, do not own themselves. They are neither the
owners of their bodies nor even of their thoughts or feel-


ings. They live shallow lives, at the periphery or even out-
side of their continuum. They are the product of input
given by others.

Honestly, I find this state of affairs frightening. This is
why I wish to address you these lines. If you do care about
yourself and are searching, you are still on the way to what
is your Way. I indeed believe that wisdom can only reach
those who are ‘on the way,’ not the ones who have settled
down in their graves of social status, of establishedness,
self-satisfaction, or who are imbued with so-called success.
This is to tell you that being-on-the-way is the Way, is
the Tao. The point you are going to reach is by far less im-
portant. When you look closely at it, you will see that you
are constantly reaching points, and that you are constantly
passing by points. By doing so, you namely let them be-
hind and face new ones. Points, goals, achievements are
transitory. This does not mean that they are worthless, in
the contrary. They possess the worthiness to contribute to
our growth. They are valid and precious in their being
transitory. Were they not transitory, they would be useless.
Thus points, goals, and achievements are necessary but
not essential. They are steps on the Way, steps toward per-
fection. Mastering the steps does not per se imply master-
ing life. Many people confuse the steps with the Tao, and
forget that the most important is to be consciously on-the-
way, and not to consciously take the steps.
In our culture, it is fashionable to be goal-centered in-
stead of way-centered. If I understand that every goal is


transitory, how can I be goal-centered at all? To focus on
the Tao is to see the futility of goals, without however dis-
regarding them.

The difference between a master and a daydreamer is
that the first sees the futility of goals whereas the latter
completely disregards goals. There is a tremendous differ-
ence between both, also an energy difference. If I do not
invest energy in achieving goals but invest this energy in
the Way to achieve them, I preserve my energy for the ul-
timate purpose which is the Tao, the Way, itself. As long as
I focus my energy, it is preserved. If, however, I daydream,
I spill my energy without focus. This is precisely the differ-
ence between a sage and a fool.

Creativeness is invisible. It only is seen or heard once
the creation is born, once action has been initiated at the
outside level. However, during gestation, when others per-
ceive nothing, there is most vivid action going on in the
invisible realms of the creator.

A First-Hand Life

Life is our creation at every infinitesimal point of the
lifeline. The lifeline itself has no beginning and no end and
therefore is more appropriately described as the circle-of-
life, or the spiral-of-life. There is no doubt about our im-
pact upon the invisible threads out of which the web of life
is woven. However, our today’s depressed and alienated
masses tend to believe that there is, if ever, only negligible
individual control over life and that life is per se destined to


be this or that way, according to some mysterious heavenly
plan. In reality, there simply is no such plan.
Contemplating the power of nature, of creation, how
can one associate anything but freedom with the fundamen-
tal force from which sprang all the thousand and million
This force has created unlimited freedom and power.
However, humans have limited it to the tiny petty thing
that they have made out of life and that they use to call
their life. They talk of ‘my’ life and ‘your’ life, as if we in-
dividually owned life, as if life could be owned at all. Only
things can be owned but life is not a thing, but a dynamic,
energetic process—a cosmic dance.

Only ignorance about the spiritual roots of life could
bring about the present state of affairs among us humans,
this desperate dependency, this fatalism and passivity of
people worldwide. Of course, we are very busy imitating
others and in that many people find their shallow satisfac-
tion. It is a lack of energy, of commitment to ourselves and
our individual, very specific mission that makes us comply
with the baseline of living and transforms us into bad cop-
ies of ourselves. While few people live first-hand lives.
Compared with the masses of imitators, these people
represent a tiny minority. And if you look closely at them
you find out quickly that they are always the contradictors,
the ones who try to do things differently, the ones who are
not easily satisfied, not easily duped into some petty me-
diocre thing, be it a job or a partner or the proverbial ‘mil-


lion in the lottery.’ Their value system is different from the
one most people have blindly adopted. When they were
children, they were keen, curious, sometimes excessively
inquisitive, yet not out of low intention but from a deep
thirst for human experience and interest in the human
soul. In school, or more generally, in systems, educational,
military or otherwise, they are the big or small disturbers,
the ones who never fit in, the ones who won’t comply with
most of the rules, the ones also who spontaneously create
different rules that, typically, function better than the rules
they broke.
I do not say that you have to become a rule-breaker in
order to get to know your original self, while rule-breaking
at times does trigger a personal path of self-perfection. I do
say, however, that in order to get in touch with your own
originality, you have to become acutely aware of all the
influences you are exposed to at any moment of your life.
Why? Because there are influences that are beneficial
for your growth and there are others that are harmful for it
or that for the least are going to retard it. The art of life is
all about being able to distinguish the latter influences
from the former. Some authors and gurus require an inner
purification before they admit that our soul can grow and
develop. However, this means to put a time element in
something that is beyond or outside of time.
Matters concerning the soul or our higher self are out-
side the time-space continuum. If we assume that growth
processes on this level can only take place after going


through a sort of soul graduation, we assemble events on a
timeline that have no place there.
It seems smarter to admit that the process of growing
implies in itself a purification of old soul content. There is
probably, without our knowing of it, a continuous process
of renewal going on in the soul. In addition, it seems more
effective to think in terms of evolution than in terms of pu-
rification. Purification focuses on the past, evolution on the
future. If I want to ride a bicycle or a car and watch the
road too closely, I am accident-prone. I ride safely if I gaze
within a farther distance.
The same is true for personal evolution. Directed, vol-
untary progress is possible only if there is vision, and a vi-
sion that heads farther into the future than just tomorrow
or next week. True vision is created by your higher self, af-
ter deep relaxation, by centering within and focusing upon
your uniqueness. Many people, especially from the older
generation, find it against the rules of good taste to focus
upon themselves, to practice introspection or generally to
bestow attention on themselves. Many of them carry along
deep guilt feelings from childhood, often having suffered
mistreatment and neglect in their early years. As a result,
they tend to block off when they are asked to take care of
They may well indulge in a good deal of social help for
others, assist in welfare projects, or be otherwise useful to
the community. More often than not, their self-neglect ends


with a cancer or some other violent disease that crowns the
big sacrifice they wanted to offer with their life!
We cannot be ultimately useful if we regard ourselves
as useless. We cannot bestow loving attention upon others
if we do not give it to us first. True religion, in the sense of
the word, begins with taking care of self.
This is not a religion of egotism as you may haphazardly
consider it, but the only true religion. We do never know
others good enough to judge their spiritual views, needs
and belongings. We are all on different levels of evolution
and different spheres of existence and belong to different
soul groups and energy fields; and we all have had differ-
ent former lives, incarnations and challenges, and we all
carry different visions about our individual evolution and
the evolution of our clan or race.
It is this difference about our soul origins that makes us
so helpless when we talk about what we call spiritual mat-
ters. Have you ever observed that people talk on different
levels of consciousness when they discuss about what is
called spirituality? The true lover of truth does not make a
distinction between spiritual and non-spiritual matters since
this distinction is artificial and without value. For the spiri-
tually minded being, everything is spiritual. For the materi-
alistically minded individual, everything is material. Life is a
whole process and every attempt to divide it up, to section
it, to dissect it into various parts is detrimental to grasping
its perfume.


The central issue of this chapter, then, is about how to
gain a deeper understanding of this process that we call
life. We are part of this process and therefore, understand-
ing ourselves is a condition to leading a first-hand life and
at the same time goes along with understanding life as a
This holistic way of looking at things may seem strange
to you and you may not have looked at it that way until
now. However, much of the shortsighted views that have
been developed by mechanistic science were based upon a
fragmented view of life. We cannot understand ourselves
being part of this creation if we do not care about its other
vast aspects and dimensions. Religion, therefore, is truly a
science! True religion is the science of the interconnected-
ness of all creation and the study of this interconnected-
ness, which can only be a holistic study.
Since the intellect is only a smaller part of the mind, we
must pursue this study with a greater ensemble of tools
than mere intellectual understanding.
Meditation, in its original meaning, is a different form
of information gathering, and thus a way of holistic under-
standing of the patterned nature of living. As a matter of fact,
meditation is not sitting for hours cross-legged trying to
control your breath, and it is not forcing spirituality upon
you, which is merely another mental concept. It is more of
being open and soft, and able to gently flow with the cur-
rents of life, to adapt flexibly to it and, most of all, under-
standing the why of circumstances, things and events.


Meditation is a way of perceiving the whole of the proc-
ess and dynamics of life. It is a form of direct perception.
Meditation is not different from any other activity. It is
not an exercise or a special thing to do for some chosen en-
lightened beings. Krishnamurti defined meditation as be-
ing undivided attention; he repeated many times that we do
not need to take any special posture for doing it. He even
said that driving a car with full attention to every single
detail of the process of driving is meditation.
Read Goethe or Schiller, listen to Baroque music, and
you feel that in pre-industrial times, people were meditat-
ing when walking in nature, sitting in a boat, having a pic-
nic in the forest, or go to a river or lake for an afternoon
walk. There are a thousand ways to meditate, and since we
are all different, everybody should freely find out about his
preferred way to meditate.
Small children also meditate spontaneously and can
even get into theta brain waves for short moments, without
however losing consciousness of the outside world. It is a
wonderful thing to happen.
You are challenged to perceive this life in your own
unique way, once you are ready to open up your inner
view. Then you will see and understand to what extent our
perception of life differs, and that we all live in different
worlds, even though, outwardly, we seem to live here, in
one and the same dimension. And yet, inwardly, our range
of experiences is very different, depending on our mindset.
Even if you take two individuals who have lived through


the same experience, they will report it differently because
they have perceived and felt it differently.

The True Meaning of Education
Once you are ready to guide yourself along, to educate
yourself, you are able to educate others. It works less the
other way around. The word education has its origin in
Latin, stemming from the root educere which means some-
thing like to guide along. Perhaps some of us were guided
along by our parents and teachers, and perhaps others not,
or they were misguided. However, the decisive question is:
How can we guide ourselves along? The question opens a
door since it gives rise to another important question: the
question about the direction. Where do you want to go?
Is there any predetermined path set for us? Or did we
choose such a path at the onset of our incarnation? Many
spiritual teachers tell us that, in fact, we have chosen eve-
rything we want to realize in this life, and in the greater life
cycle of which this present incarnation is only one element.
However, for most of us this question is not really im-
portant. Why? Because we have forgotten about this deci-
sion we have once taken before we incarnated.
What I want to convey is that we can at any time renew
that decision. We are not bound by any decision we have
once taken, be it in this or any other dimension. Each point
in the time-space continuum is of equal importance. There
is no reason why a decision taken before the moment we


incarnated should be more important than a decision we
take after our incarnation.
In addition, there is good chance that if we focus inside
and look at the question innocently, we are likely to take
the same decision again. But it could also be that we have
matured to a point to change our self-vision and thus to
project another self into the future.
Educating ourselves can therefore only refer to our pre-
sent valid self-vision. We have to guide us along the vision
that we have set for ourselves and that we consider so
fundamental and important for our evolution that we re-
affirm it over and over. For that purpose, I do not consider
it important to indulge in regression therapy or deep hyp-
nosis in order to find out about that decision we may or
not have taken before birth. Because of the cyclic nature of
life, nothing is lost forever, and there is no barren path to
truth. If this decision was so fundamental that it is part of
our truth, we will easily take the same decision again, once
we center and are connected to our inside reality, our con-
To get there, suffices to relax and ask the universe for
guidance. If, on the other hand, this decision was not that
important, it would be rather confusing to use the armed
forces of the hypnotist to get there again. Of course, those
who like to go this way at any price are free to do it. But it
is not necessary for soul development.
The only true education is the one we give to ourselves. The
only true guru is the one we carry within. The only truth is


that we grow, constantly, from life to life, experience to ex-
perience and year to year of existence. Our teachers and
gurus are outside mirrors of our inner guides. Education,
as most of us have experienced it in school is a most deca-
dent whitewash of what education was originally about
and what it is going to become again in a future Aquarian
Education in the true sense of guiding ourselves along
our primary vision is the highest task that is set for us dur-
ing life, within all its cycles, not only the earthly one. It
means to be truly responsible for our destiny.
When you are ignorant about your unique, original
and true being, you lead a life of imitation, having sold
your soul to the gods and devils of modern consumerism.
We live in a society where originality is seen as a lux-
ury. It is hard to find people who dare to be truly original.
We all tend to fit in one or the other standard that we
adopted as valid for us, without perhaps being aware of
the damage that constant imitation will do to our original
Standards are dangerous to our true nature. They al-
ienate us from our own truth and lead us on the slippery
path of imitation. They keep us afar from original creation,
which is our natural, subtle Tao.
And how much more dangerous is it for our Tao when
we live in a society which is impregnated with standards,
molds and labels, and that spits out endlessly repeated be-


havior patterns through the mass media that reach the new
generations as early as in babyhood.

How Consciousness Works
Conscious living and realizing our highest self-vision is
the best armor against any form of involuntary condition-
ing; this is why true creativity is the best shield against al-
ienation, in which form ever you may face it.
Consciousness works in a somewhat paradoxical man-
ner. The information we receive from the senses is filtered
by our belief system, and our conditioning. There are three
possible dimensions in consciousness.

‣ Spontaneous acting without thinking, without observer;

‣ Action based upon thought, involving the observer;

‣ Action based upon guilt, involving the observer-observer.

The most direct action is spontaneous acting without an
observer. In this highest quality of action, thought is not in-
volved. This is beneficial because thought is based upon
the past thus conditioning the present pattern along previ-
ous ones that were initiated by different frames of refer-
ence. If there is no thought, the present pattern can fully
grasp the present framework and conditions and, there-
fore, effective solutions are easily in reach. However, most
of us unlearnt spontaneous action through the school envi-
ronment; while, when we were small children it was our
normal daily behavior. Only sages and geniuses, it seems,


consciously maintain and cherish the treasure of sponta-
neity until old age. They are at odds with conditioning and
the herd values set by mainstream society.

Spontaneous action is thus based upon direct perception,
which I discovered to be the secret behind fast and effec-
tive learning. Direct or immediate perception was once, in
ancient times, the regular mode of learning for the upper
range of society. It was taught in the mystery schools of the
East and the West. It was primarily the mode of perception
to be learned among philosophers and religious leaders.
Direct perception is rooted in the present moment. Some
call it the ‘eternal now.’ When perception is direct, there is
no need for interference of thought or of past experiences
to perceive reality. There is no judging involved in this per-
ception and no conditioned response. For these reasons it
can be said to be the purest way of perceiving reality.
However, because of our strong conditioning in the
opposite paradigm, the intellectualizing and rationalizing
mode of perception, immediate perception is not easy for
modern man to get into. Not by rejecting thought or trying
to stop thinking can it be triggered but solely by under-
standing the mechanism of the thinking process. The brain
must learn to understand the brain. Thought is not some-
thing we can or have to get rid of for it’s impossible to
‘control thought’ because it means to control the thinker.
While it is true that what is beyond thought cannot be
reached through thinking, many of our earthly endeavors
need thinking and rational planning.


Please be aware that to reject thought means to reject
civilization or technology. Technology has certainly no ab-
solute value, but it has a high relative value. It ensures not
only survival, but also comfort and, what is perhaps more
important, safety and worldwide communication between
humans of different cultures. Global international culture
could not have come to exist without the high technology
involved in electronic communication. Nobody would fly
an airplane without international conventions and agree-
ments on inflight security.
Action based upon thought, then, is not by itself bring-
ing about holistic or wistful action, but it plays a valuable
part in the preparation of such action. Action based upon
thought such as rational planning, logic reasoning or aca-
demic research is important, however limited because of
its adherence to the past and to cultural, social and relig-
ious conditioning.
Thought always is conditioned by the thinker since there
is no thought without the thinker who produces it. This is
why there is also an observer which is but another part of
the thinker. The observer looks at thought and comments
upon it. That is why action necessarily is delayed because
the incentive for action will be inhibited as long as the ob-
server does not fully agree with the action that the thinker
wishes to take. In extreme cases the personality is going to
split. In schizophrenia or paranoia these two parts or proc-
esses are so divided that they incarnate different split per-
sonalities that lead their own lives.


In the normal, non-pathological state, the two parts are
still under the control of the ego but in either case immedi-
ate action is impossible; in situations of shock, however,
when the survival response is triggered and thought is tem-
porarily disabled, such action can spontaneously arise. In
situations of immediate danger, to be true, nature triggers
the flight-or-fight response that disables thought in order
to shortcut the observer. The result is immediate action
that is almost unconscious but effective. Look at the exam-
ple of the German mother in World War II who was re-
ported to have lifted a car with her bare hands, so that her
husband could pull out the badly hurt child and save her.
How can a human being lift more than two thousand
pounds? Not even an athlete could. The answer is that the
human being has got infinite power. This subtle power can
be activated through appropriate work on the self. Our in-
ner wisdom or self understands the functional scope of
thought so that it can reassign thought the relative place in
the whole of the human consciousness process.
The least effective action is action based upon guilt. In
this action there are two observers involved in the thinking
process, the observer and the observer-observer.
The observer-observer is a second observer that ob-
serves the observer. This second observer is not originally
built into the human psyche; it is the result of guilt. While
the primary observer is a consequence of social condition-
ing, the secondary observer comes about through guilt and
shame. It’s the result of a neurotic condition. The observer-


observer is an inner critic that judges and evaluates, some-
times very harshly, every thought, every intention, every
desire and every action of the thinker and of the observer.
Therefore its task is twofold: observing the thinker and the
Imagine how many possible alternatives this observer-
observer can come up with regarding every single thought
or intention of the thinker! Action, then, becomes almost
impossible or is considerably delayed. And there will be a
high level of procrastination. Even when action is taken, it
will barely be whole and consistent as it should since the
observer-observer will change position many times during
the process, trying to influence the actor to modify action
according to the judgments of this ultimate inner judge.
Guilt feelings are destructive because they fragment
the integrity of the personality.
After this summary explanation about how conscious-
ness operates, I come back to the original question of how
to get to live a first-hand life, a life that is our own unique
It now seems easier to understand that direct percep-
tion is the way back to our original source of knowledge
and eternal wisdom, our self. Logically, the first thing we
must get rid of is guilt. Second, we have to understand the
thinker and the observer so that they cannot interfere with
the action but act as mere inner consultants. At this point, I
am often asked the question why, actually, the observer,
too, must get into a kind of limited mode of action? The


question is twofold, actually; some people ask if the ob-
server could be completely annihilated? They seem to rea-
son that if conditioning has brought about the observer,
then by undoing conditioning the observer will logically
This is of course a correct reasoning. However, it is not
that easy to completely free oneself from conditioning; it is
notoriously reported that when Krishnamurti, toward the
end of his life, was asked if he had the impression that his
teaching was understood by humanity and if there were
people who have realized total freedom from conditioning,
he answered that he himself had not known one single
human being who had mastered that decisive step during
his lifetime. Intuitively, I agree with the rather pessimistic
outlook of K in his old age. I myself cannot say that I have
got there, after so many years of practicing direct aware-
ness and even though I learn relatively fast using direct
perception as a learning tool. I can affirm that some years
ago I was able to annihilate the observer-observer and that,
further on, the primary observer has lost a lot of impor-
tance for me and its voice has become rather soft. But I
cannot say it has altogether disappeared, while at least in
meditation, it is now completely absent.

When I discovered Krishnamurti’s writings and teach-
ing thirty years ago, I could at first master only a time span
of one to three minutes to be completely without thought.
Now, this happens for several hours. Especially when writ-
ing and editing books like the present one, thought is al-


most completely absent, as I am doing all repetitive work
in a state of meditation. And while this book looks like the
production of thought, it is not. It is a product of intuition
and spontaneous creation.
It is not thought that brings about original creations. It
is that something is coming through, in a state of mind that
is relaxed and comfortable. Without practicing automatic
writing in the strict sense, I feel that when I write, draw or
spontaneously compose music, thought is absent and there
is some kind of total awareness or presence. In this aware-
ness, something clear and authoritative manifests through
Without these concrete results, I would probably not
dare to publish my hypothesis about direct perception and
the fact that indeed tremendous learning results can be de-
rived from it. When you do something constantly and you
get visible and verifiable results with it, you can safely take
it as part of reality and not a mere fantasy product.

It’s you who is going to make up the techniques and
first of all the lifestyle you are going to adopt in order to
manifest your first-hand life. I can only know what is good
for me, but not what is best for you. This is valid for all
people, also your highest spiritual teachers for they if they
are honest at all, will tell you exactly that. Maharshi tells
you that, Krishnamurti told you that. Jesus told you that.
Buddha told you that. But you did not understand them.
The obstacle for your understanding is your lacking free-
dom and your stubborn obedience along with your crav-


ing for imitation. However, in spiritual matters nobody can
tell you anything. Now, if this is so, how can I help you to
free yourself from all sense-givers that interfere with your
own private, personal religious quest? In reality, there are
no sense-givers and only you yourself is going to give your
life and destiny the meaning it needs to assume so that it is
a fulfilled and happy one.
You cannot get to realize the true sense of your destiny
in brushing away your material wishes and desires, your
longings for fulfillment, judging them childish, nonsensi-
cal, selfish, irrational or megalomanic. There is beauty in
our wishes and desires, material, emotional, sexual, spiri-
tual or religious. There is deep significance hidden in them.
In brushing them off, you will miss a part of the signifi-
cance of your life. We all are dreamers, and that is the magic
of human nature! And the creator force that you may call
God, Brahma, Allah, Zoroaster or Buddha or otherwise is
the greatest of all dreamers. This force has dreamt this world
into existence!
We are not the kind of robots many so-called spiritual
teachers wish us to be in order to better manipulate us for
their personal glory! Your spiritual side and your material
side cannot be separated until the moment we die. Then
they separate naturally. But as long as we are incarnated
and on this earthly plane of existence, the two spheres are
intertwined into one single whole. You may wonder how it
can be that the realization of material wishes contributes to
connect you to your true selfhood; truly, the split of our


endeavors in ‘material’ and ‘spiritual’ ones is merely artifi-
cial. It does not exist. Every material wish is the manifesta-
tion of a higher purpose, an evolutionary quest of a higher
order that is hidden behind the wish—and that is often un-
known to us. There is a deeper reason and a purpose why
you want this or that car. Psychologists may say that you
have a power hangup and need this car to compensate for
your feeling powerless or even worthless and that I suffer
from megalomania.
Let us be careful with such quick judgments. The psy-
chologist may be right but in another way as he intended
to. He may be right in that the car will help you heal your
power gap and channel misdirected energies into construc-
tive paths. Second, the car may be for you a manifestation
of belonging to a higher social class, while your power
setup is probably not defective. Let me try to explain more
carefully what I wish to convey. Spiritually and materially
we do have classes.

Wherever you look, there are distinctions, classes, lev-
els and hierarchies, or castes. We all have a natural striving
to move upward in the hierarchy, be it in our personal evo-
lution or on a social scale. It is infantile to belittle this fact
and to label such behavior as immature. The best way to
handle your desire for constant self-improvement is to be
conscious of it, and not to repress or belittle it. You may not
easily discover what the higher purpose is behind each
and every of your material wishes. You do not need to dis-
cover it, to be true. It is much more important to listen to


your inner voice and work actively and in a focused man-
ner for making your wishes come true. Then you will see
for yourself, for something in the quality of your life will
subtly change without you becoming aware of that change.

Points to Ponder

‣ The Fourth Chapter was about a first-hand life, the true mean-
ing of education and the way consciousness works.

‣ Contrary to what you may have learnt in school and univer-
sity, in life there are no standards, and there are no standard
values. All values are individual, and need to fit your contin-
uum. That is why it’s really not easy to go for your first-hand
life, because it means you have to make choices, and these
choices must be in alignment with what might be called your
cosmic purpose. All choices that you make, especially in spiri-
tual matters, and that you make by following your inner
guidance, are choices that somehow comply with your full
cycle purpose, the purpose not only of this present existence
but the much more encompassing purpose of your wander-
ing soul, across all incarnations.

‣ The fact that we all got two arms and two legs doesn’t mean
we are standardized into a mold also on the soul level. On
that level we are as different as the sun and the moon. This is
the reason you need to be careful when trying to find out
about your soul values, those values that enable you to live a
first-hand life, a life of your own unique creation.

‣ Few people live original lives, and if you go for it, I can as-
sure you that you will have few friends. Gandhi said, ‘When
you are a friend of humanity, you will have no friends.’

‣ When you are a friend of humanity in its highest possible
evolution, you will see how quickly you will make empty
space around yourself, and I do not tell you it’s all sunshine,
because you have to cope with being alone, and see the beauty
in it all. Only then will you understand by and by that com-
pany is not something to get at any price, and certainly not
at the price of your soul. A social life doesn’t mean you fid-
dle around with all and everybody, but that you align your


purpose with a select few people who are reflecting in their
vibration the same wave length you are emitting.

‣ The true sense of democracy is not to become a herd animal,
but to be truly yourself within a group whose interactions
are based upon mutual respect and freedom.

‣ Today more than ever, you are supposed to find your soul
mates everywhere in the world, and the likelihood you find
them in the place you were born is rather low. Today, more
than ever, you can bond with people around the world, us-
ing the electronic media highway, but that also implies a
danger, namely that you become soulless and mechanical,
assuming you can build a lifelong friendship with people by
exchanging a few emails. It is possible of course, but it’s not
the regular case, simply because when you require more in
life than ordinary folks, it’s harder to get it.

‣ And this truth is not bound to culture, it’s universal. When
you go for a first-hand life, you want to be around people
who did or do the same, and then, you are among a minor-
ity. So either you howl with the wolves, or you remain in
your own reality and seek out company among those who
have been reality creators just like yourself. Then, you are in
a private club, and the space in your galaxy is huge as the
space within the atom. Then you live in colder spheres,
where there is more oxygen, but also more solitude!

‣ When you reject thought, you reject technology and civiliza-
tion. You reject a necessary part of your human machinery.
While thought is mechanical, it serves us. Without thought,
there could not be memory, and without memory there
could not be civilization in the sense we know it.

‣ Thus, thought has served survival and this was intended to
be so. However, this doesn’t mean you should boost think-
ing, while this is the pathology most of the people in hyper-
tech civilizations are suffering from.

‣ When you connect with inside, by doing regular meditation,
thought will still be present when you need it, but vanish off
when you don’t need it. When you are simply sitting quiet,
you don’t need thought. While in the beginning thoughts
will be recurring to a point to bother you, this will gradually


cease to happen when you are persistent and regular in your
meditation practice.

‣ You cannot get to live a life of your own creation without
meditation, and authoring your life in a consistent manner.

‣ Authoring your life means to develop your language skills,
to be able to write spontaneous texts, compose spontaneous
music, do spontaneous art, to be able to answer loaded ques-
tions in a stream-of-consciousness style manner, where you
abandon your intellect and let your heart speak. Authoring
your life means to get into a vivid dialogue with your inner
selves. Authoring your life means to give up control and let
go for the god in you to take over control. This means you
need to develop faith on top of it all.

‣ Behold, faith is not belief; faith is a form of putting your
knowledge to work. When you know you do not depend on
your thoughts because they are the past, nor on circum-
stances because they are the result of projections, you focus
inside to see what kind of reality you are going to create
right now, with this inner mix. When you see that this mix is
predominantly negative, you are doing something about it
until you are satisfied that your inner state of regular peace,
happiness, and a poised assurance will bear positive fruits!

‣ Then, and only then, you can publish your life—go out and
make it all happen. And contrary to the Toltec teaching I am
adding on here, when you publish your life, you may pub-
lish your story, on a web site, in a book or by making a film
about it. Your story does count, while it’s not having a mold-
ing influence over you anymore, but it counts, because with-
out your story you would not have come where you are.

‣ This is why, contrary to the Toltec teaching as it was brought
to us by Castaneda or Ruiz, I am saying, publish your story
and feel happy about it. You will then see that it’s that, a
story, nothing more or less. But it’s what adds on poetry to
your life, for that’s what your story is: a poem.

Chapter Five
From Imitating to Originating

Creator’s Essentials
The decisive step for you to take on your way to a first-
hand life is the one from imitating to originating. In author-
ing your life, you learn the basics of creating your own life
and of gradually letting behind patterns of imitation that
you may have carried over from your earliest days.
The world has known a few independent thinkers. Yet,
the reasons most psychologists cite for this fact are wrong.
It is not that human nature is prone to imitation and that it
lacks creativeness; the culprit is the worldwide plague of
social, moral and religious conditioning that brings about

standardized norms and behavior patterns, and social systems
that are static and rigid. Here is the root of the problem.
Most of us take for granted that the human lot has to
be molded into a residual norm where all parameters are
following the outdated paradigm of linear logic. They are
alienated enough from the logic of life to believe in such a
grotesque myth!
The human being is a free creature who doesn’t need to
comply with any norm other than its own. Great thinkers
and sages such as Lao-tzu, Schopenhauer, Kant or Nietz-
sche have unveiled draconic and rigid systems as pure hy-
How to undo conditioning for unleashing your original
creativeness? This is the decisive question I am asking you
in this chapter.
Much has been written about creativity development.
From my experience with self-development, I can say that
without developing yourself and complete your individua-
tion, you cannot really develop your highest creativity po-
tential. Of course, my view may sound queer in the ears of
those who wait for quick fixes and who believe in what
Edward de Bono called the removal techniques.

—Edward de Bono, Serious Creativity (1996), pp. 35, 36. Edward de
Bono expressly states in ‘Misperceptions about Creativity’ that one of
those misperceptions was the idea that it was enough to remove inhibi-
tions or the fear of being wrong that would trigger automatically the
creative response. De Bono found that it is simply not enough to remove
inhibitions for helping people within corporations to be more creative.


These techniques claim it was enough to remove some
inner barriers for a person’s original creativeness to bloom
up. Edward de Bono has found in many years of creativity
training for major corporations that these techniques are
ineffective. He concluded that it is simply not enough to
remove some obstacles so as to trigger in us our highest
creative potential.
Creativity is not a mechanical device that can be turned
on and off. It is an outflow of the whole of the personality, a
vibrational effect of the flowing together of the spiritual,
mental and emotional vibrations. This healthy energy flow
will be triggered once the self is integrated and can be con-
tacted in a state of relaxation or meditation.

In our daily life we can learn step by step to become
more original, more daring and less imitating. I mean that
we can work on two levels, an inside level and an outside
level which is your behavior in the outside world. You can
change this behavior here and now!

It is really important to me to make sure you under-
stand this not as a ‘philosophical’ opinion advice with high
practical value. Philosophy that cannot be directly applied
in life is not philosophy, but speculation!
My practice of Zen taught me that the slightest gesture
counts and that we cannot grow in wisdom by just reading
and digesting opinions, discussing views, without inte-
grating what we have learnt. That is why the second step
is as important as the first! The second step is how we be-
have in our daily relationships, the one with our self, the one


with other humans, and the relationships with animals,
with plants, with the earth and the universe.
These five forms of relationship are actually only manifes-
tations of one single relation: the relation with yourself—
your self. The way you relate to the you in you, you relate
to others. There is no difference between inside and out-
side relations.

Why Attitude Counts
Originating new forms of behavior means to build a
different relation with yourself first.
But this first is not meant as a time factor! I do not want
to say that you have to first work on the inside level and
wait what happens, and that only later, once you have
done the changes inside, you are going to work on the out-
side level. It does not work in a sequential way. The changes
have to be made simultaneously on the inside and the out-
side levels! This is why your attitude counts!
The way you present yourself to the world is not some-
thing involuntary or hazardous. It is not completely volun-
tary either. The more our individual consciousness is de-
veloped, the more we are able to display a consistent atti-
tude, an attitude that is positive and that brings us com-
pliments and rewards on our way to successfully realizing

Communicating these guidelines to you and not caring
about your attitude would be only half of the work. Your
attitude mirrors your inner orientation. To neglect attitude


would mean to work in the shadow. Shadow work surely
is important and it is perhaps a good way to begin with,
but it must soon be accompanied by the development of a
conscious outer attitude.
In Zen, all this is done. Zen teaches us that mere theory
or high morality is of little or no value if it is not accompa-
nied by actions that incarnate it. The inner rectitude cannot
be achieved by mere learning mere intellectual concepts of
‘goodness’, ‘moral standing’ or ‘righteousness.’
All these words are but concepts as long as they are not
rooted in our attitude. This is why attitude training is so
important—and also why it is time-consuming and not a
matter of quick fixes.

Attitude building requires commitment first of all, but
also a psychological understanding of human nature—and
finally patience. A lot of patience. Many people have high
opinions and when you talk with them, they are able to
say nice things about others and the world. They think of
themselves as highly educated and considerate, yet when
meeting a beggar or a sick child, they turn away quickly. I
have seen this many times in my life. I do not care what
people think and even less what they value or depreciate. I
just watch how they act. And I guess that you do the same,
that we all do the same—more or less consciously.
Switching from imitating which is often the result of
the fear to be different to a new and original way of life is
not easy. It requires courage and the will to succeed on
one’s own—and not as a follower of a group, or of the ma-


jority, the herd, or a guru. It requires a strong sense of in-
dividuality, and, to repeat it, cannot be achieved without

Where New Ideas Originate From

One or the other of you may think that ideas are pure
chance or that some people just get many ideas whereas
others are dry like the desert sand when new ideas or in-
ventions are called upon.
Some may have more natural talent to be creators than
others, but basically we are all equal in the ability to learn
the techniques that bring about new ideas.
Edward de Bono, in his book Serious Creativity (1996)
has demystified creativity and shown that producing ideas
can be taught as a deliberate activity that brings results for
virtually everybody.
However we trigger the subtle mechanism of creativity,
there is something of the unknown involved in it, some-
thing that has to do with chaos, with ‘Freedom from the
Known’, to cite Krishnamurti, with serendipity, with syn-
chronicity in play. It is obvious that the new cannot come
from the old, that the unknown will not flow out from the
known, that the new and original will not be a clone of the
established. However, many of us disregard this simple
truth and wonder why they cannot find new solutions by
thinking about old problems!
Thought is always in the past and can only operate
from a limited perspective.


Einstein said that a problem can never be solved on the
same level it was created. New ideas come from a realm
beyond thought, beyond experience and beyond expecta-
Original creators, among them Leonardo da Vinci, or
Thomas Edison, generally believe that genius is a not a
special benediction, but something as normal as eating and
sleeping. Creators are simply free to be themselves, all the
time, which is why their human potential is fully complete,
not residual as it is with most people because they do not
live their own lives. I am convinced that everybody is a
genius in the sense that we all receive great ideas once in a
while, often in dreams or intuitions while we are in the
bathroom or taking a rest. The problem is that most of us
simply disregard these valuable, precious intuitions by—

‣ belittling them;

‣ making them down as nonsense;

‣ calling them fantasy or imagination;

‣ denying their reality;

‣ considering them as childish;

‣ considering them inspirations of evil.

The first step is to take serious the perhaps confusing
messages from inside. Doing this will open your mind to
another dimension or dimensions, to a deeper and more
holistic vision of living. The old sages knew details about


the fantastic interactive nature of life, its paradoxical com-
plexity in simplicity and the possible ways to interact with
life in a way to create in much the same way as nature cre-
ates. This is a learning process, however an extended and
multi-faceted one, and generally one that takes many years
or even decades of diligent work.
I equally deny the distinction between ordinary life and
spiritual life that many people today tend to emphasize. It
is an artificial distinction and one that is tautological. Life
is all of that—and more!
The unique thing about life is its variety and its unend-
ing change. To divide life into different sections alters the
subtle magic that is inherent in holistic living into a set of
rigid behavior patterns—the typical way modern man is
living. You cannot be productive in new ideas and original
ways of doing things and of realizing yourself if you cut
off this deep magic of life, if you rationalize it away, if you
raze off the roots that emerge every day from the seeds
that your potential has planted. Another reason why crea-
tive energy is stuck is attachment to—

‣ the past;

‣ other people;

‣ the family;

‣ the partner or children;

‣ the parents;

‣ groups;


‣ organizations;

‣ the nation or your country.

All these attachments consume vital energy, and crea-
tivity is but that: energy. How to dissolve these attach-
ments; how to empty you from this garbage? It is difficult
if not impossible to do that in a day. I needed about fifteen
years. Meditation greatly helps in this process. This is so
because thought has a natural or physiological tendency to
attach to its content. Thought cannot by itself leave the
boundaries of its content. It is confined within the limits of
the past, the vécu, the remembrance of what has been lived
—and what is thus dead. This is not a negative or fatalistic
opinion, but a fact. Thought cannot master thought.
There must be some kind of higher authority that can
direct and renew thought. This authority does indeed exist.
It is the self. The self is not bound by thought since it is not
bound by time and space.
The self is not the accumulation of experience; it is not
thought, it is not the remembrance of past hurt and pleas-
ure, neither is it originating from this life nor from past
lives. The self or higher self is beyond life and death. It is
not the transformed but the transformer, not the learner
but the teacher, not the actor but the director. Some people,
when I get into this subject, ask me if my vision of the self
is what in Hindu philosophy is called atman.

The answer is that there is no answer. I have not really
gone into this. It is of no importance how you call it. I can


confirm that your intuition is correct in that there is in fact
some parallel and that indeed, generally speaking, most
Eastern religious concepts bear some striking logic that one
misses in other religious teachings. Yet, my knowledge of
the higher self is not derived from tradition, but more from
the teachings of the most non-traditional sages, that I men-
tioned already—Maharshi and Krishnamurti— but also
from Western sources, the teaching of Master Eckhart and
last not least theosophical teachings, and, I do not hide it,
from channeled sources. And yes, I almost forgot, Edgar
Cayce’s teaching also had a strong impact upon me.
I explained it once to a friend who asked me to clarify
this question for her:

‘Concepts are vessels and carry messages. They are
themselves not the messages! I do not offer a vessel
since the vessel is provided by your own inner guide.
From a certain level of spiritual development, we do
not need vessels any more. This is when we can di-
rectly receive the messages. I have rejected the vessels
since my childhood which enabled me to advance
more quickly on direct perception which I am now
teaching, joining a tradition that was practiced several
thousand years ago and then destroyed by moralistic
thinking (which has got us where we are now: bare of
any true and valid life-philosophy that understands
life instead of judging it).’

The self is not the ego, but a higher, eternal energy code
or pattern that is distinct and individuated, but that flows


within the ocean of the primordial cosmic energy so that
there is living exchange between all beings.
Most Western people call it the soul. The self contains
all the wisdom of the universe; it is the individuated aspect
of the divine soul.
I do not know if ‘self’ and ‘soul’ are identical or sepa-
rated but I would say that this distinction is of a mere
theoretical nature. The higher self or inner guide is our
source of wisdom, creativity and prosperity.
The ego or shell can touch it once it is connected. How-
ever, we need no –ism to understand, to directly perceive
truth. It is not important if atman, as a concept, is valid or
not. It is only important what is true for you. We can only
grow on what we can hold true! And the rest we have to
reject, or we can accept it as something that has a certain
probability of truth but that is not of direct relevance for
To awaken creative thinking and get out of our estab-
lished concepts, there is no other way than going beyond
thought and language. Once you touch your self, by being
yourself, you are no more reasoning in terms of concepts
and patterns that are made from past experience, but pat-
terns that are universal. New ideas namely come from the
realm that hosts this immense reservoir of universal pat-
terns. In order to incarnate these universal patterns, we
must mold them into our spacetime reality. We do this con-
stantly, however most often without being aware of it.


When man created the wheel for the first time, they
incarnated the universal pattern wheel into our space-time
continuum. This pattern already long before formed part
of the universal pattern library. By receiving an inspiration
that did not come from thought, man was able to improve
life on earth. With every new invention it proceeds alike.
Practicing direct perception greatly enhances our chances
to grasp bits of the essential patterns life is made of.

In the following sub-chapter, we will see what it means
to nurture a creative mind and how to foster and maintain
abundant creativeness beyond this little work book.

How to Nurture a Creative Mind

A creative mind is the essential divide between an origi-
nal person and an imitative one. A creative mind is not
afraid to be different and to do things differently. It is to
the contrary focused upon the unusual, the unexpected,
the unpredictable, and the miraculous.
For a truly creative person, nothing is impossible in a
strict sense, and life becomes something like a precious
thunder box where new marvels happen at every moment.
A creative mind also is a childlike spirit, a beginner’s mind
as it is called in Zen.
How to nurture and maintain such a mindset? It is not
an easy task, especially for those of you who so far only
imitated others. Yet it is achievable. I myself went through
a childhood totally devoid of support for my very bold
and premature creativity. In the contrary, I had to fight for


it and against all opposing forces until I could eventually
realize it, about thirty years later. My personal story may
signal that it is essential to clear the mind from the old
garbage that accumulates through passively absorbing the
opinions of others and the immense amounts of gossip that is
spread around the world by a mediocre, mass-oriented
and for the most part utterly stupid media world!
Most people live alienated from their continuum, their
inner world. This is an incredible waste of their lifetime.
We are here to live our own lives and not washed
down versions of other people’s lives or some form of col-
lective living standard that is imposed on us by a rapa-
ciously greedy consumer culture that we silently accept
and conform with.
How to effect that clearing process that liberates us
from the known and prepares us to receive the unknown?
There are methods that will help you refresh your
mind and clear it from all that does not belong to yourself.
I will elucidate, then, the clearing techniques I have come

Write Your Story
Write your story in a single run.
Sit down and spit it out, and do not give up until it’s
done; if it takes one page or one thousand, this is entirely
up to you and to your inspiration.
You may begin innocently and think that you will have
done it in three days and it may take you one month. Or

you may think that this is so difficult a task that it will take
you one year, and later you do it in one week. All is possi-
ble, but there is no excuse valid enough for not doing it.
Writing our life story is one of the most effective ways to
get rid of repetitive thought patterns relating to the past.
This is not an easy task because most people think they
have no gift for writing. However, you don’t need any
writing skills. There will be no judge and certainly nobody
asking you to publish your scribbles. There are some im-
portant points to observe for carrying out this task:

‣ Do not judge yourself!

‣ Do not show it to others before it is ready!

‣ Do not require from yourself to be a good writer!

‣ Do not give up while half way through!

In my own experience with writing my life story, I can
say it’s really a primordial means to trigger creativity. The
liberating effect that goes along with simply writing down one’s
story is almost unbelievable. Try it! I would go as far as say-
ing that your whole metabolism will change and even the
cells in your body will reflect the fundamental change that
will happen on all levels of your mindbody. One of the di-
rect effects will be that your emotional flow will be en-
hanced and you will feel more alive than ever before!


Practice Meditation
When I mentioned the word ‘meditation’ in my corpo-
rate training seminars, I always got more or less intelligent
questions. There are so many misconceptions about medi-
tation in today’s international culture. The meditation I am
talking about does not need any specific technique. It is
rather a state of non-action, of quietly sitting down for a
time-span that is entirely up to you.
Most Westerners perceive doing nothing as some sort
of punishment! I do not exclude myself. It was for me ex-
tremely difficult to get out of the rails of the have-to and
should-do and ought-to, and just let go and accept life as it is
—which of course means to accept ourselves! Meditation is
an activity that teaches us acceptance and moving with the
flow of life.
It is not an exercise, something rigid, something like an
obligation. If you do it that way, you certainly do some-
thing, but what you are doing is different from meditation.
The problem with meditation is that many people have
preconceived knowledge about it and may even have tried
it out, but since they have not seen results they think that it
does not work or that it is silly. If you are tense or you have
problems that tear you up emotionally, do not even try!
Learning meditation is difficult if you do it in a state of
inner conflict. In order to see results, and that is what mo-
tivates us to continue, we need to learn in a state of mental
and emotional peace.


This is the reason why schools that teach and practice
meditation are often in the mountains or at remote places.
However, this is not a guarantee either! If you bring your
emotional turmoil with you to the highest mountain, the
mountain as such cannot help you to get rid of it.
You, only you, can do something about it! What the
mountain can do is trigger in you a slightly shifted per-
spective of yourself and the world.

If you take this perspective really serious and are ready
to go from there, it will help you to entirely shift your in-
ner mind and to get clarity about your truth.

Note Your Dreams
Writing down your dreams every morning helps in
many ways. To be in touch with your inner mind, the con-
tent of our hidden consciousness is an important aid in
Furthermore, it helps you maintain emotional balance
even in times of great personal or collective turmoil. But
there is another thing about dreams that is lesser known to
most people. Writing down your dreams every day en-
hances creativity since it is the primary pathway to crea-
tive writing. I have found this as a result of my own expe-
rience. Some years ago, I experienced an explosion of crea-
tivity while engaging in a hypnotherapy during which I
had to write a lot. First I wrote down all my dreams every
morning and this took sometimes pages and pages since
my dreams were rich and long like movies. Then I had to


write reports about my therapy sessions, a task that I took
very serious. And while the therapy ended, and with it the
session reports, the dreaming continued. And I kept main-
taining my dream journal. The result was that my high in-
spiration for creative writing continued to blossom for
years without end.
The difficulty in writing down dreams is that there are
many things in dreams that are very hard to put in words.
This is the best school for becoming a writer, Besides that,
this exercise helps you to awaken your creative mind. Of
course, it is sometimes hard work. But creativity is only in
part inspiration. A good part of it is hard work, believe it
or not!

The Adventure of Solitude
For most of us it is gruesome to be alone, to have no-
body to share our free time with. It is today a rather un-
usual idea to pass essential periods of time, such as leisure,
holidays, and weekends without company.
I go as far as saying that most of us are addicted to
some kind of company, be it a partner, be it a group or be it
media entertainment as an ersatz of all that. What are the
deeper reasons of our need of company for enjoying life?
Why do we invite people when we want to give a party?
Ever thought to give a party for yourself—and only for
you? Perhaps you find that idea crazy but once you have
done it, you will probably change your mind.


Some of you have reached a point to avoid others be-
cause of previous bad experiences, and they turn to ani-
mals, to pets. They need the company of pets as they for-
merly needed the company of other humans. They still are
in need to be comforted.
There are two kinds of company, one that is genuine
and based upon mutual sharing and one that is false and
based upon dependency. The first type of relationship is
fulfilling and rewarding in the long run; the second kind of
relationship is exhausting and destructive in the long run.
The first augments the exchange of vital energies, the sec-
ond diminishes or obstructs the exchange of energies, and
in extreme cases it can leave you exhausted when the rela-
tionship is finally broken off! To be social doesn’t mean to
seek company at any price; it means to choose and to dis-
criminate as to who are to be or become your real partners,
friends and associates and then relate to them according to
this choice. It does not mean to use others as gap fillers for
your many hours of loneliness.
The fact that you cannot be alone without getting into
anxiety and depression is pathological. It is not normal.
Don’t be surprised that all boils down to the question
of identity. That may bother or even annoy you, but it’s as
it is. I have researched many years into this complex net-
work of problems that are all inter-related and found that
they all flow out from a false identity.
People with a genuine identity do not have these prob-
lems, they do not get sucked empty in codependent vam-


pirism, they do not need heroin or perverse wars, genocide
and crusades, or domestic violence, and they are not afraid
to be alone. In the contrary, they are alone very much and
this with a certain logic: in a society based on fake-values,
those who represent true values are forcibly isolated and
considered as strange, marginal or arrogant. All our great
creators, artists, stars, scientists and geniuses are the most
lonely people you find on this globe! Don’t get blinded by
the glitter that surrounds them. The glitter is but the façade
made up by the media and it is as false as those media are.
Ask some of the stars or geniuses you worship, and write
to them, and you will see for yourself!
All things that are true and vital in my life are the re-
sult of my own fight; society, family and environment con-
stantly tried to bog me down and get me away from what
is good and true for me and made down all the artistic and
religious values I cherished. They constantly pushed me to
reduce myself to a consumer-robot. It was only through
my struggle and input that I built some things of value to-
day, after more than forty years of contemptuous resis-
tance. As a consequence of my choice to go my own way, I
have been isolated in the strangest ways and had to get
familiar with the most atrocious forms of solitude there is
within this perverted rot of humanity today. But I got to
love my own company beyond all, and found the true
value of identity after having shed many tears.


Points to Ponder

‣ The Fifth Chapter was about nurturing a creative mindset. In
what would you think is the life of a creator essentially dif-
ferent from the life of an imitator? Is it not that the creator
relies on his or her own intuitions instead of looking at what
others do? Is it not that the creator is focused upon inside,
and the imitator upon outside? Is it not that the creator fol-
lows his own god, while imitators seek to follow the stan-
dard gods?

‣ Few of us are born creators in the sense to incarnate with a
clear genius for one or the other sphere, be it art, music, or
literature, sport or dance. Most of us are coming here with a
range of more or less undeveloped talents that we of course
could develop, if we wish, and some of these talents, in the
life of every person, could be used for a professional career
in that particular field.

‣ Hence, there is one essential characteristic that creators have,
and imitators not: it is daringness and courage for going against
the stream, and for being different from the norm.

‣ We have seen that by just removing uncreativity, it’s not like
peeling an apple. By removing uncreativity, you aren’t going
to develop creativity.

‣ It doesn’t work with a negative approach. To become an
original creator, you need to create, and nothing but create
—whatever it is. Some people create movies, or novels that
are a symphony of hate and murder. Be it. At least, it’s their
creation, and somehow it puts on stage their inner violence.
In that sense, their creation might contribute to their inner
healing, while for the world, such creations may bring about
the very contrary. Be it. We are not here to judge. It is better
someone creates something negative than creating nothing
at all.

‣ All creation is the fruit of relation, first of all the relation to
self, your inner self. Once you are in touch with yourself,
you are in touch with all-that-is, and then you create sponta-
neously, and effortlessly. So the first step is to get in touch
with the five relationships, which are flowing out from the one
relation you maintain with your self. Then you build your


outside world, your relations with others, and here attitude
comes into play and needs to be built.

‣ To build a consistent attitude is not easy, it needs time, pa-
tience, commitment and persistence.

‣ An attitude reflects inner strength and a certain character
structure, and these qualities in turn are the result of indi-
viduation, which is a process, not something that arises spon-
taneously. The process of individuation in our culture is un-
fortunately not smooth, and it is not really supported by our
educational system, which is why this system breeds passive
consumers, and imitators, not creators in their own right.
Hence, when you want to get on the creator track, you need
to work yourself on building yourself, building an original first-
hand identity.

‣ New solutions cannot result from thinking about old prob-
lems, but by making space for the unknown, for novelty in
your life, and in your creation. New ideas obviously do not
originate from established ways of doing. Edward de Bono
said that the brain can only see what it is used to see, and
Einstein said a problem cannot be solved on the same level it
has been created. Genius, or high individuation, then, is the
result of giving ample space to self, to your own inner
world. A life where you are truly yourself is per se a spiritual

‣ When you create and you are original, the creator is the self,
not the ego. The ego is made up by thought and therefore is
the past, but the self is able to produce novelty because it is
connected to the timeless and spaceless continuum of the
soul. New ideas originate from the timeless realm of univer-
sal patterns.

‣ This is something you can imagine like a huge library of
thoughts, ideas, emotions, and where you find whole struc-
tures that are built already and can be used in your creation.
To access this universal library is a result of meditation and
introspection as part of the process of creation.

‣ For nurturing a creative mind, there are some specific tech-
niques you may practice and that bring about something like
an inner clearance.


‣ These techniques, some of which I mentioned, are story writ-
ing, meditation, noting your dreams, and learning to be content
with your own company—the practice of solitude.

Chapter Six
Your Way to Be Different

In the present chapter we are going to focus with quite
a decisive spell on our difference!
We live in a culture that stresses uniformity and adap-
tation as the highest virtues of the good citizen. I contradict
vehemently, and virulently, and since my childhood to this
defeatist worldview. In my opinion, high achievement and
distinction never are the outcome of adaptation and uniformity
but clearly of individuation and nonconformity.
The present chapter is destined to help those who are
seriously interested to develop their difference and base
their success in life upon their uniqueness and primary
power instead of letting others, their family or a community

determine the outcome of their lives. What I am going to
offer here is something non-intellectual, something with
little steps that every good-willed person can do, and that
harnesses intuitive insight much more than your intellec-
tual understanding. If you do not like to do all the tasks,
do at least one of them.

The Art to Be Different

I do not want to bore you with psychological explana-
tions, yet we have to dig a little bit into the stuff dreams
are made of. To be different from the mass is only possible
if you tender your own garden and find the treasures in
your own soil. Individuation is a complex thing to happen.
It has to do with how we have made our first steps and
how far our mothers or nurses have let us go on our
own—autonomy or else dependency are learnt in babyhood!
The early years of conditioning have a strong impact
upon our whole life. It is not easy to change. I have gone
through all myself and talk not from a book-knowledge

I am motivated to share my positive outcome with you
and the world at large, for it has shown me that there are
real possibilities of change, provided one is motivated to
change, and persistent enough to get through the whole of
the process of inner change and reconditioning. Where do
these difficulties originate from?
First of all from the restriction of freedom. The human
nature is basically built upon freedom as a motor for all living.


From my experience I know that all that is forced upon the
human nature cannot endure. All moralistic systems fail
and have failed throughout human history. On the other
hand, it is not easy to develop a kind of self-discipline that
is not rigid, not judgmental and not moralistic yet effective
and consistent. And yet without self-discipline and regular
work, ongoing effort and high flexibility, nothing of value
can be achieved in the long run. However, by applying the
traditional rigid concept of self-discipline, to say it right
away, the work I am going to propose here will not work!
The secret of working on attitude is something like flexible
persistence. Better to make every day one small step instead
of a marathon jump once in a while.

The second secret on being different is acceptance! As
Lao-tzu says in the Tao Te Ching, it is through accepting the
world that the sage wins the world. It is namely not through
conquering it, and not through opposing it, as most people
today believe.

Lao-tzu shows us the Tao or Way of being different and
unique. This way appears to be quite paradoxical. It is by
not trying to be different that we achieve to be different.
Originality thus after all is an outflow of spontaneity; it
is born from a natural being at home in one’s own contin-
uum, not from the desire to promote and display fancy at-
titudes and lifestyles so as to mark one’s difference. It does
not originate from will at all.
Attitude has little to do with will. It comes from deep
inside, from a source where will has no influence.


Therefore it is not possible to just wanting to be different,
to just have a will to change the conditioning influence of
our childhood. Willpower may trigger the change process,
okay, but not more.
It is through understanding the process and practicing
a deconditioning method that we can achieve this goal.
Combining information and practice creates a substance
in you that is living, and organic, while pursuing a rigid
method kills the most precious in you rather than inspiring
you and lifting you up. Every practice, if done correctly, is
an art—an art of living, an art of learning, an art of grow-

Your Way to Be Different

Task One : Roadmap for Distinction
It is essential that you write your answers intuitively,
without thought getting involved in the process. Try to do
it with a playful, curious attitude and see what happens!
You should do these tasks right now, as I did not in-
clude them in the worksheets below.

1. My top ten reasons to be different …

Write what you wish here and now. In which ways do
you wish to excel with your own intrinsic gifts and talents,
to be different from the herd, to be unique, original, daring
and bold? Write your answer here:



2. This is how I value creativity and originality …

Even if you think you are leading a dull and boring life
right now, imagine how different it could be if only you
took the first step into being truly creative! Write your an-
swer here:


3. This is what I think about marginality …

Even if you always have been rather conservative and
tend to avoid marginal people, try to see the value and the
necessity of marginality, and your own intrinsic marginality
as a unique being of light. Write your answer here:


4. This is how I admire, adore and imitate others …

Even if you always have been rather anxious to do
your own thing, try to honestly relate here how and why
you think that others are always better than you. Write
your answer here:


5. This is how I differ from others …

Get the truth about your uniqueness, your difference,
despite the fact that hitherto you may not have considered
this knowledge as something precious. Write your answer


Task Two : Attentiveness
The first task was a precise activity that you had to sit
down for. The next task is very different in that it is more
something ongoing, something to be done daily: it is to
develop attentiveness.
In which ways are you—

‣ trying to imitate others;

‣ restrain from new original endeavors because of

• fear;

• procrastination;

• negative thinking;

• worrying what others think about you?

Now, you may react with the thought ‘Well, to watch
this and not do something about it, what’s the purpose of
it all?’

The purpose is that by simply watching it, by develop-
ing this awareness and practicing watchful attentiveness,
your consciousness changes and with it your life. This means
the problem will disappear by itself! You do not need to do
anything about it. At least not something more than being
Being attentive, being passively watchful requires a high
investment of vital energy. Krishnamurti has shown it in
all his writings and talks.


Task Three : Just do it!
When you have original ideas, intuitions or impulses,
just do what you wish to do, and do not worry!
When I was young, my whole energy, my whole spirit
was focused on becoming a pianist. Yet all circumstances
of my early life contradicted my wish. It was almost hope-
less. I had to wait many years until I could begin with tak-
ing piano lessons. I was eighteen when I started, yet my
left hand was totally undeveloped and hopelessly weak.

At the age of twenty-one I could eventually study with
a well-known university professor and pianist. Yet I never
could achieve the standard of technique I needed to pos-
sess in order to play the compositions I loved, the piano
preludes, etudes and concertos by Rachmaninov, Tchaik-
ovsky, Chopin, Liszt and Scriabin—all the wonderful pi-
ano literature that is awfully difficult to perform. And this
despite my exercising the piano up to eight hours per day.
My teacher was telling me that I had the spirit of a
graduated pianist with the hands and the technique of a
child! He said it well with a touch of humor, but for me it
was like a sword penetrating into my heart and the flesh of
my musical passion.
The result of all this? I abandoned completely and for-
ever any kind of training, any kind of lesson, and any kind
of help for piano playing. I continued on my own.
I continued despite all, and also despite all the turmoil
I had with the neighbors who wanted to set me out of the
apartment because of the ‘noise’ I made and even won at


court action against me. And yet I continued, but without
musical scores, without the classical training and without
hope to ever achieve something valuable with my efforts
on the piano. And yet today I have realized more than two
dozen music collections, all composed and played by my-
self, and in addition, publish them myself as the world’s
attention, in that matter as well, has largely bypassed me!
This little story may have no value for you as far as my
person is concerned. But if you abstract the message from
the story, you can apply in your life what you learn from it.
And you can see miracles happen in much the same
way as they happened in my life!
As I said in the beginning, nothing works if you are not
persistent. That’s why you need self-discipline which is,
however, not control. It is not meant to burden you, to push
you into self-sacrifice. It is rather some kind of passion or
even madness that drives you to the point to realize your
ultimate vision. When I say ‘do it’ I mean do what you can in
the moment. It does not mean to shoot and rob somebody so
as to have the money to realize your dream. The universe
stops helping you when you are violating universal laws,
while when you patiently comply with them, the universe
will truly support your dream, once you are investing the
necessary vital energy to keep focus and persist despite all.
Sometimes little steps or endeavors that lead to your
goal may seem almost ridiculous if you compare them to
the final result you want to bring about.


Task Four : Mark Your Path
Task Four requires you to put little road signs for your-
self that you are walking a certain path.
There is a funny little anecdote told by Anthony Rob-
bins in his book Awaken the Giant Within (1991). Robbins
said that it was not possible to always do the right thing at
the right time. It was only important for us to put little
signs along the road, signs which serve as signals for us to
see that we feed our vision, that we take it serious! He then
reports the story of a man who took his gun and shot his
old car in pieces. ‘This man wanted to set a sign that he
wishes to have a new car! That’s a bit extreme, isn’t it?,’
commented Robbins, chuckling, ‘but at the end the man
was right in setting an act. To have done it will greatly ad-
vance his project to eventually get a new car.’
What did Robbins mean? Did he want to convey that
we should do something crazy and outlandish to show we
are in the world, and to attract attention? No, he wanted to
say that when you set your new course in life, you should
celebrate it! You should set a markstone, for yourself, not
necessarily for others.
The goal of setting an act is not to attract attention, but
actually to give a signal to your own inner mind, to your sub-
conscious, that you are taking this new direction serious,
and that you are not going to waver with your decision.
That means you root yourself in your new energy, and
then the energy will take over. All in our universe works
that way. There must be an idea first, a thought, an intent,


then its expression in the outside world through a decision
or, stronger, a dedication to that idea; a dedication is what
reinforces intent, and gives a signal to the universe to at-
tract all is needed for the realization of the initial idea or
project. This, then, will attract all the help needed, and the
energy that is going to propel the idea into tangible realiza-

Points to Ponder

‣ In Chapter Thirteen, I provided you with a roadmap for being
different, and accepting your difference.

‣ Have you ever thought about how much strength, power,
and original creativeness lies in your difference?

‣ Autonomy, the natural growth condition, or codependence, a
pathological condition, are both learned in babyhood. While
most of us were conditioned to be codependent with our
parents, or a single parent, we can work on building auton-
omy. I acknowledge that the change is not easy but it’s not
impossible either. It took me thirty years but I come from an
extreme condition of mother-son codependence, and for
most people it won’t be that difficult and time-consuming to
develop their true originality.

‣ You may trigger the change process by willpower and inten-
tion but to get through the whole process, you need to build
an attitude that is consistent and that supports your specific
inner setup. For this to happen, you don’t need to oppose
the world, and you do not need to develop a fancy lifestyle
or mannerisms, but you simply stay connected with inside
and let the change come about spontaneously, and incremen-
tally, doing one step at a time.

‣ There are four tasks you may accomplish on your way to
build personal distinction and creatorhood, and for affirm-
ing your difference. In the first task, entitled Roadmap for
Distinction, you write spontaneous essays about, for exam-
ple, your Top Ten Reasons to be Different, how you Value Crea-


tivity and Originality or what you think about the Value of
Marginality. These essays may be door openers for you as the
questions are loaded with meaning, but the condition is that
you write your answers fast, in stream-of-consciousness
style, without letting your observer come too much in the

‣ In the second task, you are developing attentiveness, or what K
called ‘total attention.’ Attention is something magic as the
power of consciousness is self-executing in the sense that
anything you focus upon is strengthened and anything you
wish to disappear, you can make disappear by simply with-
drawing your attention from it. For example, if you wish to
be more healthy, withdraw your attention as much as possi-
ble from your ailments and focus it on your wellbeing and
strengths. Then there is nothing that can defeat your long-
term health. It’s as simple as that, while it’s not simple to do
it because it requires you to invest vital energy in the quest.

‣ When you live a sluggish, luxury life, indulging in all kinds
of debauchery and pleasures, you are unlikely to have this
amount of energy at your disposition. This is why a certain
purity and self-discipline in your inner and outer life is nec-
essary to bring about total attention.

‣ The third task, if you remember my music story, consists in
just doing what you intuitively feel is right. I felt that pursu-
ing a piano career is not for me, so I studied law, but did not
let teachers or written music spoil my passion for music,
continuing piano on my own. There was no immediate re-
sult. Twenty years went in the land until my inborn creativ-
ity was strongly enough built to see its day, and back in 1994,
I started to record my musical inspirations.

‣ This is what I mean when I say ‘Do it!’ It means solve all the
problems that are in your way, one by one, and one at a time.
But persist, do not let anybody defeat you, and do not get on
a track of self-pity and procrastination.

‣ The good news is that when you just do it, when you are
active in creating your dream, such moments of frustration
are only coming up once in a while, and are easy to master.

‣ The forth task is to put up little road signs that mark your
trace, which for me was recording my music.

Chapter Seven
Ten Success Principles

1st Principle
Be Yourself

There is self-publishing now established, and you can
tell your opinions to all the four directions. But when you
look around with what kind of content people come up,
you may be surprised to find very little original ideas. You
find very rarely that people express their worldview in a
way that really makes sense. Either they imitate others or
what they say is outright off-track, subjective, outlandish,
if not outrageous. This teaches with lots of evidence that
self-thinking is really not the order of the day today among
humans. Never before in human history did we have such
an array of free options for people to express themselves

creatively, using modern technology and the international
networks provided by the www protocol that is used all
over the Internet. And what do they do? For the most part
they complain about the ‘bad world,’ and talk about con-
spiracies and secret governments, as if there was nothing
else to talk and publish about. These are the younger ones.
And for the rest, what do you find? House and garden,
cooking recipes, home sweet home, how to feed your pets,
and the so-called selfhelp world of Mr. and Mrs. Little.
And within this glorious publishing revolution, an
author like myself is to this day rejected, just as before, by
literary agents and all those busy in the channeling industry,
the industry that makes sure to keep the world informed
about feeding dogs and cats, and how to cut your Bonsai
trees, and that makes equally sure that issues that concern
all of us in this catastrophic world are not published about.
I have something to say and as it’s something substantial,
they take good care that I am silenced. And when I publish
with self-publishers I know already how I will look within
the weeds of the worldwide garden, and in the showcase
of worldwide selfhelp, as just another vanity author, as they
call it …
Yet, this is exactly what I wish to tell you. I have under-
stood my fate and do not worry, nor complain about it.
When you are like me, a true creator, when you are a
self-thinker, you know that you won’t have an easy kick-
start in this kind of society that while it affirms everybody
can publish what they like, is actually very self-protective.


The managers of ‘worldwide democracy’ know they don’t
need to be afraid of the youngsters who yell their conspir-
acy stories out on Youtube and the elders who talk about
their pets, plants and emotional pathologies on Lulu.
But they may be afraid of people like me, and perhaps
you, who really have something to say, and are not stupid
enough for being offensive or outrageous, but rational-
minded and smart.

This example may teach you that success is not your
petty home world, nor your youthful paranoia that some-
how compensates for your emotional and sexual depriva-
tion; and it also teaches both you and me that nothing in
life is given for free—except life itself.

It needs a lot of belief in yourself, and the active work
on your inner mind, day by day, to not succumb to nega-
tivity and frustration, but sympathize with those who are
like you, and there are a few, perhaps less than a percent of
the world population, but that is still quite a lot of people.

When you are bathed in silence, despite all your mail-
ings well-done, despite of your well-designed and exten-
sive web sites and the many books you offer there for sale
or free of charge, and that are truly useful, not just fake, as
most what you find on the Internet, then, when you still
get only silence—I tell you, you can know that you are on
the right path!


2nd Principle
Respect Your Soul Values

Never follow anything that is not in accordance with
your soul values. Social values, as you see them around as
societal guidelines of conduct do not guarantee your ulti-
mate happiness and fulfillment as a soul being!
They are robot rules in a robot agenda. Soul values are dif-
ferent from social values in they are coming from a deep
source, your spiritual origins, the light that created you
(and me), your inner god, angel or guide, the higher self,
the ultimate source of our beingness.
When society or any guru tells you to follow their doc-
trine, hold on and reflect inside first and consult your inner
guide; check if this teaching is in accordance with your
deepest intrinsic soul values.

Behold, soul values go over many life cycles not just
your present life cycle, thus they are cyclic, not transitory.

3rd Principle
Fight Timidity

Some people believe that timidity or shyness was natu-
ral, especially those cultures where it is frowned upon to
show emotions, and where carefreeness and closeness with
others is supposed to be intentional because probably sex-
ual; in fact, when behavior is natural and spontaneous,
there are hardly any afterthoughts when people meet with
other people. It’s like breathing, then, largely unreflected,


and there is a goodness connected to it. However, when
people retreat in their inner world, and avoid meeting oth-
ers, they bear most of the time one or the other prejudice
against the group, and networking with others, which
means they have developed a defensive worldview.
While in our culture, still some time ago, timidity with
women was considered a form of decency and of good edu-
cation, the same doesn’t apply for men. Men who are timid
suffer real disadvantages in social and professional life. I
was one of them for about the first fifty years of my life, so
I know what I am talking about.
Missing out on contact-making and befriending others
is about the worst that can happen to you, except you are
happily married, enjoy to be with your children, and are
working in a stable, long-term government job.

4th Principle
Handle Negativity

I suffered from negativity for many years. Having been
brought up in a problem family, I had been conditioned to
be fatalistic and negative, and my own rather large mindset
and positive outlook on the world and people was system-
atically eroded by my mother’s fearful and revengeful atti-
tude, and her eternal complaints about the bad world. As a
result, since my most tender years, I was eaten up by anxi-
ety from morning to evening. Still back in my forties, I was
suffering from compulsive sweating, while I could reduce
a number of neurotic habits in earlier years. I have been

robbed and cheated by others over years and years, losing
two thirds of my fortune, and developed a self-defeating
pattern that made me work against myself, becoming my
worst enemy. The fears by and by grew in a real paranoia
and I was at a point to face therapy, suicide or serious ill-
ness. Yet my facing the bottomline of my life triggered a
turning of the wheel! Instead of blaming myself or fate, I
began to pray. Upon my prayers and extended meditation,
my dreams slowly began to change and were mirroring
my behavior.
I could hardly believe that through those dream vi-
sions, I was able to see myself, as a third person would see
me. This allowed me to become fully conscious of my lack-
ing relationship skills, and exaggerated fears, and I became
painfully aware that all my life I had been living a shell ex-
istence. In one dream the inner voice said:
—You do not believe in freedom!
I woke up with great relief, realizing that indeed I had
denied to myself the most basic freedom over years and
years, having lived in a tight net of complexes that were
more and more strangling me.
The turning point occurred a few weeks later, and it
appeared to be a miracle! I was once of a sudden, virtually
from one minute to the next free of all that—what today I
call a curse. I was simply free of it, it was behind me, and I
felt like newborn.


5th Principle
Handle People

A French hotel manager I met one day in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia, thought that the people of that country were
difficult to motivate. Life acted upon his inner belief and at-
tracted him staff that was generally unmotivated, hanging
around lazily all day, complaining about their salary, and
blaming the manager for their condition.
This was quite astonishing to see because generally, in
Cambodia, local staff does not behave that way!

That French manager was unable to motivate his staff
because he projected upon them his stern belief they were
‘anyway lazy and unmotivated.’ The result was a whole
list of complaints I had collected over five days staying in
that boutique hotel, that was excellently furnished, yet so
badly managed. That manager had put his single focus on
the hardware, and badly neglected the software, that is, the
human element, which is unfortunately often done wrong
in managing hotels.
There is an old saying we should not only look at the
beautiful motif on a vase or bowl, but also regard what it
contains. Would you feel attracted to buy a China that con-
tains spider webs, or a dead rat?
Would you not be shocked and appalled when you
discover the inside of the beautiful vase? Would you not
become angry at the shop owner to show you such a beau-
tiful object that yet contains such unpleasant items?


Would you not think that such a shop owner must
have an upside-down mind, caring only for the outside of
things, and neglecting the inside?

And yet, many managers have this attitude, worrying
their corporate limousine not being the newest model, and
at the same time overlooking that the driver of the car is
underpaid, and overworked, thus risking an accident to
happen because of his lacking sleep, and his high stress

6th Principle

A friend of mine in Phnom Penh, a 72-year old Korean
banker and CEO of a small exclusive investment bank was
telling me that with property acquisition the most impor-
tant factor was not, as it is often said, location-location-
location, but timing. He explained to me that all the factors
could be handled intelligently and dealt with, except tim-
ing. When timing is wrong, all is wrong, he concluded.
This man had given me excellent advice for my own
anticipated investment in real estate; as I was rather anx-
ious to invest, he offered me his help and support, but I
was still too little aware of the big opportunity and missed
it. Two years later he told me he had invested five hundred
thousand dollars at that time, and in only a few months,
the land he had bought was evaluated a net worth of five
million dollars. Yet I had missed the moment, and time
had been running against me. When I eventually wanted

to climb on the bandwagon, he told me it was too late as
property prices had virtually exploded and real estate was

7th Principle
Resource Management

I met a property developer who had made twenty mil-
lion dollars two decades ago. He considered himself very
lucky, and began to lead a luxury life. He told me he had
owned two handmade Porsche, that each cost him half a
million dollars, and that for one birthday party he had
spent one hundred thousand dollars. He proudly added
that one bottle of Premier Cru red wine he served that night
for his illustrious guests had cost him eight thousand dol-
Not for overstating I may add that the man is not of the
shy rut and acquainted with statesmen and some very rich
and famous entrepreneurs, a fact that of course gives him
repeatedly new self-esteem boosts. Yet he spent his money,
obviously not caring for maintaining his fortune and just
living from the interest; he touched the substance.

So he really spent 18 million dollars in about twenty
years. When I met him he had just two million dollars left
and moved to Cambodia where he could play the big man,
just as before, as in that country, at that time, two million
dollars was about as much as twenty million in his home
country. He told me in his usual grand allure he is spend-


ing more than twenty thousand dollars every three months
only on call girls, bars and massage parlors.
While he prided himself working for the renovation of
his home country’s embassy and was allegedly the best
friend of the ambassador, the week thereafter he said that
all ambassadors ‘were madmen’ and that he had quit the
contract, as their demands had been excessive.
I then found out he simply had acted against the safety
regulations of that embassy and thereby endangered their
security. And despite his played-out professionalism and a
grand seigneur attitude, every time I met this man, he asked
me to invest money in a joint-business, and every week it
was another project.

This man defied an old and established wisdom. While
allegedly having much more money than I, he was asking
me for money every time I talked with him.
What would you think of such a man? Is he on the suc-
cess track? Will he ever attract good and trustworthy part-
ners and investors? Is his allure and entire lifestyle trust-
inspiring? And last not least, does this man know to man-
age his resources?

8th Principle
Be Compassionate

This is one of the strangest stories I have witnessed in
my life. Some years ago, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I met
a sexagenarian billionaire from Australia. We had sponta-


neous sympathy for each other and met at breakfast in a
hotel in Phnom Penh. He was a small, fat man, very easy-
going but with a trait of vulgarity, a true original. I had no-
ticed him two days before we met, as he was regularly
shouting at the staff in the restaurant, calling them lazy,
stupid and all kinds of names.
He invited me over to his room that same day, together
with the hotel manager he had equally befriended, and
showed us a box of raw diamonds. He took several of them
out, as if playing with glass balls, and slightly noted that
that box had a value of approximately twelve million dol-
He left it on his night table, without locking it, without
even putting it in the cupboard. The room was very dirty,
and the man was eating only junk food, not taking care of
messing up the floor and his bed.
The room actually looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned
for at least a week. To make it worse, the man was smok-
ing heavily, to a point that the air in the room was foggy.
Later on he told me his net worth was about fifteen billion
Not long after that, he presented me to a friend of his,
who founded an NGO for helping children who work, un-
der terrible conditions, in a huge garbage dumb outside of
the town. We had been chatting with him for a while, and I
found he was a witty and courageous man and engaged
myself at once to sponsor one of his trips, an investment of
just a hundred and twenty dollars.


After putting the money on the table, I asked my bil-
lionaire friend if he didn’t want to join, so much the more
as he had presented me to that man. He shook his head,
with a grin, saying:
—Are you kidding, buddy … me and give a penny to
such nonsense? No, that’s not for me. You won’t see me
giving my money for any of such humanitarian crap.
Upon which he put his arm around the bar girl who
was sitting next to him, and I did of course not insist.
I met him several more times at lunch or dinner, and he
was telling me he was not only lucky financially, but also
in love, because he was married with the most gorgeous
young woman, and that she was just twenty-five, a Procter
and Gamble top manager in Thailand, and from a very good
family from the Thai upper class. And that he was hard-on
for her and couldn’t wait to fly back to Thailand to meet
As I did not hear from him for two weeks, I called him,
to learn he was in hospital and recovered from an urgency
operation of his colon; that he had eaten in a good restau-
rant in Bangkok, but that the food had been poisoned with
the result he had suffered a total colon closure.
The colon thus had to be opened surgically, which had
been a painful operation. As he did not seem to recover, his
assistant told me he had returned to Australia without tell-
ing him and even his Thai wife where he was. He had cut
all contacts from one day to the other.


And I was thinking very strongly of him and how his
body had been putting on stage his words when we visited
that organization. His body had said:

—I do not want to give, I do not want to let something
out of me, I want to keep it all inside.
His body had incarnated his words that said he was
never wanting to give a penny for humanitarian nonsense.
His assistant later told me I had not understood the
severity of his illness and operation, and that he had al-
most died.
It made me pensive.

9th Principle
Be Ecstatic

Many people think it was inherent in modern culture
that people are egotistic, and do not want to share.

They ignore that the true reason for the inflation of the
personal ego is lack of ecstasy. Ecstasy has never been un-
derstood in our industrial culture, while native tribal socie-
ties around the world have an ecstasy pattern built in their

The truth is that we need ecstasy as much as we need
to touch and being touched, as much as we need sleep and
laughter. But ecstasy is not what most people in our cul-
ture think it was. It’s not group sex or any kind of fancy
lifestyle, partying, ‘high life’ and all the rest of it. Ecstasy is
a truly religious experience that is characterized by the fact


that the ego is momentarily dissolved, and one experiences
a deep union with all that is. Thus contrary to folk wisdom
ecstasy is an ego-dissolving journey.

It is amazing to see how much of their time and energy
humans invest in veiling the truth; in fact if the human was
not by nature a truthful individual, only little energy would
be needed. The fact that we need a gigantic worldwide media
machinery for manipulating humans into corrupt and false
ideas and ideologies proves this fact more than all. The
human is a redundant wistful animal that always springs
back to truth, because the mind may be able to bear distor-
tions over long periods of time, but not the body.
You can experience ecstasy while watching a sunset, or
being around people you have never seen, in a village, ob-
serving their interactions, or you may experience it when
you play with children, or ride through the streets during
the water festival in Thailand and get some water sprin-
kled all over you, or you may experience it while going on
a boat tour, or in a villa in Bali, where late at night, you
have a glass of wine near the pool, watching the silent
moon and the stars, and feeling in union with all creation.
How you experience it is up to you, and different for
all of us, but that you must experience ecstasy once in a
while is a fact, for otherwise you easily slide into robotism,
which is the lot of most people in today’s technological so-
Behold, as long as you remain locked in your ego, you
cannot realize great and worldwide success because typi-


cally huge, overwhelming success comes through serving others,
through doing things that are beneficial not only for your-
self but for a lot of other people, or even humanity at large.

To integrate your ego, you don’t need to get involved
with any organized religion if you don’t want to. Suffices
you remain open for wonder, the miracle, the unusual, and
that you keep your heart open for novelty, and your skin
receptive for the osmosis of love.

10th Principle
Live Your Love

I honestly never met anybody who was really success-
ful yet was inhibited, trying to hide his loving attraction.
When you meet really successful people you may be aston-
ished how outspoken they are about their love choices!
Their loves may be completely against the rules, and
yet they just laugh about the common lot of those who are
conformist and comply to society’s written or unwritten
This is not just chance. To be successful needs a lot lati-
tude, a great and open mind, for if you are petty, you can’t
find the great solutions that others haven’t found, and you
can’t think big enough to realize them.
When you do anticipate those needs and when you do
engage in thinking big, then you will do that also regard-
ing your love, and you will not allow homo normalis or the


boulevard papers to tell you what or whom you have to
love, and whom you have to avoid.
We all have different love options, and we choose dif-
ferent love objects. We all have different fantasies about
love and what we desire most in love.
There are no standards in love and the fact that human-
ity came up with marriage doesn’t mean anything, and in
particular it doesn’t mean marriage is good or bad. Now in
most Western nations, homosexuals can marry as well, but
will that have really a positive impact upon their lives?
I doubt it. Many men are happily married in the sense
they enjoy to have a home and children, but their loving
focus is not their home but mistresses they keep and that
are kept secret, or not so secret, from their families. This is
also something women are now claiming for themselves in
most Western countries. Does that mean they are happier
than before? I doubt it.
I think that love is fundamentally opposed to any kind
of formal arrangement, however you may call it, as even
concubinage now has legal consequences. Love is volatile
and the excitement and value in love is exactly its freedom.
To enclose and lock love in certain institutions, how-
ever you may call them, surely destroys it. All those love-
regulating institutions namely are based upon possession
thinking. I own that partner, I own those children who are
mine, I own this household with all living and dead objects
in it, I am the owner of cars, houses, staff and family, I just
own everything, and that is why I am rich!

That is how many people think, and I guarantee you
these people may be rich, but they are not happy. They
have transformed their lives and loves into cemeteries of
dead possessions.
What keeps you alive and full of vitality is real love,
which is never established, never respectable, like a per-
fume in the air that you can’t store away, like a flower that
you pick at the roadside. The flower will keep alive for a
few hours and may have a wonderful fragrance, but a day
later, the fragrance has turned foul and shortly thereafter,
the flower dies. So it is with love, which is a symbol for the
temporary state of what we call life. It reminds us of the
most important, which is death. It is through the presence
of death and through the acceptance of death that we
really live vibrantly, and joyfully.
You can’t take your possessions with you to the other
world, but the loves you lived, the respectable ones and
the non-respectable ones alike, you can bear them in your
heart and they won’t vanish away after your passing over,
for they are an energy, they are within your soul and thus
Our society knows nothing about love, otherwise we
wouldn’t be at the border of global ecological disaster and
we wouldn’t have wars and genocide all over the world, and
that’s why our society has no right and no mandate to tell
you, and me, how we have to live our loves!


For one thing is sure, if you are going to dig your grave
before you die, you will have a hard time to live, for you
will be focused on your grave, and not upon your love.

So the solution is, if you want to be at all successful in
life, socially, in your business, in your relationships, in
your humanitarian activities, that you try to be successful
first of all in your love, by living it without shame and
guilt, by defying all the rules and all the moralistic trash
that keeps you from engaging in the love that you feel and
know is yours! Then, and only then will you be successful
also in the rest of your life.

Points to Ponder

‣ In Chapter Fourteen I proposed you some uncanny 10 Princi-
ples of Success. This is something like a wake-up call that
was growing out, paradoxically, from all my defeats in life—
simply because I did not accept them as defeats! Ten princi-
ples of success? What does that mean? Just another quick fix?
No. I tell you it means that these ten principles of success are
first of all ten principles of how to deal with defeat.

‣ The 1st success principle tells you how to deal with those nice
or not-so-nice citizens that tell you you are a piece of crap or
just ignore you (which essentially boils down to the same).
Behold, I have done my homework, have you done yours?

‣ The 2nd success principle suggests you to respect your soul
values, which are not transitory but cyclic and thus valid not
only for this present existence, but your whole cycle of rein-
carnations. This means that in a conflict of interests, you
should abide by your soul values instead of conforming with
the conflicting social values.

‣ The 3rd success principle is about fighting timidity. Part of your
social existence is that you learn to be around others without
shame or guilt. If you went through a guilt-inducing educa-
tion, as many of us, you need to do something about this


timidity that is a real handicap in social relations, especially
when you are a man. While with women, timidity is often
associated with decency, with men, in our society, timidity is
considered a weakness, or, worse, a lack of smart. So learn to
fight timidity, by doing something about your condition.

‣ For example, you may follow a hypnotherapy or setup a life
plan to approach all people you feel funny about, females,
pop stars, or your favorite scientist or pianist. Learn to ap-
proach them freely, and politely, and claim to get an answer,
even if that answer consists only in a one-liner email, but
still. And if you don’t get an answer, do by no means associ-
ate it with defeat—but take your conclusions about the hu-
man integrity of your great star. He or she might well melt
down to human proportions, or even below!

‣ The 4th success principle is to handle negativity. We all are nega-
tive once in a while, and it often comes over us without hav-
ing been invited. And yet, it can destroy much. This foul mix
of frustration, depression and negativity that is the result of
high performance, and that comes up when things don’t go
as expected while you invested all your skills and all your
energy, is normal, but it can destroy relationships if you can’t
control it. When you leash out on others, every time you are
in this condition, and others don’t have enough latitude to
understand why you do what you are doing, then you may
lose many friends. It happened so in my own life, and it took
me years to handle this problem. How did I handle it?

‣ First of all by reducing alcohol intake when alcohol served as a
stimulant for workaholism. Eventually realizing that alcohol
had become for me a medicine for fighting fatigue, and let-
ting the fatigue take over, I was able to normalize my feel-
ings, and my behavior, and my relationships normalized as a

‣ We have a natural way to deal with negativity: it is sleep. In
sleep all our wounds are healed, but alcohol prevents sleep,
and thus prevents healing, and makes it all worse.

‣ The 5th success principle is about handling people, which re-
quires tact, sensitiveness and smart. It requires you to re-
main as much as possible free of second-guessing people,
free of limiting beliefs and projections, and free of general
judgments about ‘all and everybody.’ And when you are in a


position that you have to motivate people, try to motivate
yourself first, to perform at the highest possible level.

‣ The secret is when you do that, you motivate the people
around you without talking, by your mere beingness, non-
verbally—and effectively. This is how real leaders behave.
The way we act is what motivates others, not what we say
and preach.

‣ The 6th success principle is to have a sense of timing. Timing is
often crucial in business, be it publishing a certain book, be it
the acquisition of property, be it the opening of a restaurant
in a strategic location.

‣ All our dealings on this plane are bound in time and space,
which means time and space do have an impact on them.
Time is especially crucial in banking matters, and in cur-
rency trading, as everybody knows, but also in subtler ways
in other business decisions, such as regarding real estate.

‣ On the other hand, sometimes, people are not, like myself,
late in decision-making but act prematurely which can
equally have disastrous results. For example, if you miss
thorough inspection of all parameters upon entering a new
business and you rush into it, simply for ‘gaining time,’ you
may meet with failure. So neither procrastinating, nor rush-
ing ahead is the recipe for success, but spotting the right
timing by getting a felt sense from your intuitive mind. What
is good feels good!

‣ The 7th success principle is about managing your resources
wisely, and lead a lifestyle that inspires others to trust you;
trust is needed, whatever business we are in. I have given a
living example in the text without judging this person in any
way, and leave it over to you to ponder it, and do an esti-
mate about this person’s chances for future success.

‣ The 8th success principle is to be compassionate, not ruthless, to
understand others in their situations, to have a feeling for
their misery or their luckiness, to empathize with them, and
to be true in one’s feelings, not faking anything just for being
‘good and decent.’ This means to be honestly interested in
others, for when you are not, compassion is just a word. True
compassion means that you see not only your own life, be it
a lucky or less lucky one, but actually see a natural equality


among all beings, as everybody has chances to make it, and
become happy, wealthy and powerful. This equality or its
contrary, our difference, is what should humble us, not in the
contrary make us proud and selfish.

‣ The 9th success principle is to practice ecstasy. I found through
long research on native tribal cultures that one of the eight
patterns of living they practice is ecstasy, and that’s the secret
why they are happy and peaceful. Ecstasy is a state of relig-
ious union, or deep meditation, where you and the source are
one. It is a state of union also for mind and body, and for
psyche and soul, a state of bliss.

‣ How you practice ecstasy is largely up to you, but keep in
mind that it is not an ego-inflating but an ego-dissolving jour-
ney and that it’s not linked to pleasure.

‣ The intricate fact about ecstasy is that it brings about joy,
which is not pleasure but an entirely different vibration. Joy
is not induced by pleasure and it’s not related to the ego and
its remembrances of past pleasure.

‣ It is a state of novelty where the ego is temporarily put at rest
so that the whole being can unfold. Let me relate that, not
surprisingly so, I am experiencing deep ecstasy when I play
piano, not when I play any written music, but let my own
intuition guide my fingers and produce what cannot be put
in words because it’s sheer bliss.

‣ The 10th principle of success is to live your love, whatever it is
and however society or homo normalis think about it. Love is
never respectable and you can be sure that when it’s neatly
packaged in conformist marriage, it’s no more love, because
the perfume of it is gone.

‣ Our society has never practiced love which is why it has
genocided so many tribal peoples who knew what love is,
and what love is not. Our society thus cannot tell you any-
thing about your love. You have to know for yourself, and
this knowledge unfolds gradually through experience.

Work Sheets
Doing the Work

Print these worksheets, take a pen and do the work.
You may write directly in your book. This makes your ex-
perience authentic and adds your own positive vibration
to your copy.
Doing this, while you may find it unusual, has the ef-
fect to imprint in your copy of the book your own vibrational
code. This will enhance the impact and success of your
study, and in addition will make this really your own! If
you need more space, add additional sheets and attach
them to the worksheets in the book.
Giving your input is essential for realizing the benefits
you can reap with this guide. If you are more comfortable

writing on your computer, you can write your answers in a
text file and save it for later review.
However, the emotional or soul value of doing the work
is higher when you print the sheets and use a pen or pencil
because you will keep something original and your hand-
writing testifies about the soul condition you were in when
you did the work.
This gives you the additional advantage that you can
scribble on the pages, color them, put little drawings or
even a mind map—all this will enhance the soul quality of
your work and help your subconscious mind trigger the
changes that you expect to happen in your life.


Your Ultimate Decision
Your Ultimate Decision and Contract

Your Ultimate Decision
Our life is directed by our decisions, if we want it or

✐ not. In the latter case others take the decisions for
us and we are not really in control of our destiny.

Therefore, if you want to seriously subscribe to and engage
in a process of self-empowerment, of asserting yourself
within your life, if you want to take the key to open the
locker of your highest potential, you have to make decisions.
After all, you have to take only one decision, your ultimate

This decision is simply a choice, the choice to realize yourself
exclusively on your highest possible level of achievement. It
is your decision for becoming a leader. The quality of the be-
ginning is more often than not the quality of the end result.

And because I want you to succeed with this guide, you
must take your ultimate decision first. And more than that, I
require you to make a contract with yourself.

If you take a decision for change lightheartedly, there is not
much chance that you sustain your efforts beyond your first
phase of enthusiasm and overcome the inevitable drawbacks
that are part of the way to high leadership ability.


A Contract With Yourself
If you are afraid of decisions, life takes them for you!

✐ No decision is also a decision. In one word, you
can’t avoid to making decisions, it’s only the ques-
tion if or not you begin to make them consciously
and intently. Thus, if you want to enter this new path of
leadership, you may want to profit from the techniques of
programming yourself so that you imprint upon your con-
scious mind what exactly you want. In this contract which is
like a vow taken for your life, you assert for yourself your
devotion to the path of change and achievement you want to
take. You affirm your absolute intention and will to get rid of
your problem forever and to make the change which will bring
about all that you desire for improving your life. This con-
tract is for yourself your substantial investment of will and
energy which serves as a motor for your change.

Your ultimate decision is a unique command that you imprint
upon your subconscious mind. It is a signal to your mind
which automatically triggers the change mechanisms in it.

I, undersigned, hereby conclude a contract with myself
which follows the Ultimate Decision that I have taken. This
contract is binding for myself. If I break the contract I impose
on myself the following fine:

—Work through this guide once again from the first to
the last page.


I hereby ultimately decide that I apply from now

✐ on the universal laws and principles that are basic
for every form of life in the cosmos. Knowing that


these principles are the guarantees for raising my leadership
abilities to a higher level, I do all I can to study these princi-
ples and to apply them in my life. I call these principles from
now on: ‘My Leadership Principles.’


I give all my devotion to the fulfillment of my

✐ Ultimate Decision and sign this contract with my-
self in the conviction that I follow from now on
‘My Leadership Principles’. I hereby declare that I
have the firm and absolute will to master any kind of fear,
especially the fear of failing.



✐ Your Signature


Your Needs
Your Needs Statement

There is unison agreement among psychologists that
✐ for any form of self-improvement, we need to
know our present condition or state of mind, and
inquire into our present state of consciousness,
including our subconscious mind which speaks to us
through dream monitions, mistakes, fears and accidents.

One essential element in our status quo to be assessed and
checked out are our needs. We all have basic needs, which are
first of all the need for food and shelter, the need for touch
and closeness with others, the need for sexual relations, the
need for peace of mind, the need for creative expression, the
need for social recognition, and others.

Now, for any kind of personal evolution to take place, we
first need to assess and render conscious our needs, all of our

Here is a list for you where you should cross the needs you
feel are most urgently to be met, and that you feel are not
adequately met in the present moment.

[ ] I need better food and/or more comfortable housing
[ ] I need better relationships and friendships
[ ] I need more regular sexual fulfillment
[ ] I need more touch and closeness with others
[ ] I need to marry and have children
[ ] I need my sexual difference to be recognized socially
[ ] I need more peace of mind, and quietness all around me


[ ] I need more creative expression
[ ] I need more social recognition
[ ] I need my achievements to be awarded and rewarded
[ ] I need a better workplace where I can unfold my talents

If you have individual needs that are not listed here, get full
clarity about them and state them in the box below.

My Individual Needs


Your Expectations
Your Expectations Statement

There is equally unison agreement among psycholo-
✐ gists that for any outcome in personal evolution,
we need to know what our expectations are. Why?

Have you ever observed how expectations seem to mysteri-
ously program and condition the outcome of our experi-

Generally speaking, in life we get what we expect. If I expect
not much, being just satisfied with the bottomline, I am not
likely to attain the highest possible result. Therefore it makes
sense to check out my expectations before I engage in some-
thing new, and deliberately set my expectations as high as

Check the boxes where you feel the answer applies to you.
Be honest with yourself!

[ ] Thinking about leadership is for me a pastime
[ ] To know about my leadership is entertainment for me
[ ] I expect to have a good time with this guide
[ ] I expect to be successful when being a servant-leader
[ ] I expect to acquire a new skill called ‘servant-leadership’
[ ] I will know myself better once being a ‘servant-leader’
[ ] I expect to acquire a new human quality
[ ] I expect to get along better with others
[ ] I expect to understand the sense of life better
[ ] I expect nothing; I think we shouldn’t expect much in life
[ ] I expect this kind of work being boring and unfulfilling


[ ] I expect nothing short of a miracle
[ ] I expect a steep learning curve ahead
[ ] I expect an exciting time to pass with this new learning

If you have individual expectations that are not listed here, get
full clarity about them and state them in the box below.

My Individual Expectations


Power Impediments
Developing Your Inner Powers

What do you think are the obstacles that keep you
✐ away from realizing your full power potential? In
other words, what do you think are your power
impediments? Please jot it down in a few seconds!


Power Animals
Developing Your Inner Powers

Some people believe that certain animals have a
✐ significance for us regarding our power or power
problem. What do you think about that? Please jot
it down in a few seconds …


Power Problem
Developing Your Inner Powers

How would you describe shortly what your intrin-
✐ sic power problem is and, perhaps, how it could be
solved? Please jot it down in a few seconds …


Power Change
Developing Your Inner Powers

Is there any change or was there change in your
✐ recent past regarding the fundamental way you
perceive your power? Please jot it down in a few
seconds …


Power and Ideals
Developing Your Inner Powers

Do you see a connection between power and ide-
✐ als? In which way could an ideal enhance your
power? Please jot it down in a few seconds …


Power and Community
Developing Your Inner Powers

Is there change or was there change in your recent
✐ past regarding the way you face the community?
Is it okay from the perspective of your Inner Child
to be vulnerable to a point to risking reject, or is
that child rather up to hiding its vulnerability and thus try-
ing to please others? Please jot it down in a few seconds …

Book Reviews
Books on Leadership & Career

These book reviews were an effort for making a contri-
bution not only to academia, but more so, to college stu-
dents around the world who wish to be informed about
books that cover the exciting adventure of the present
paradigm changes in business, science and society that we
are currently living through.

This journey, undertaken with the intention to share
knowledge that I believe is useful to many people, was a
great challenge and adventure for me; it opened me new
pathways that were confirming my research on the peren-
nial holistic wisdom of ancient civilizations who were
thriving before the advent of patriarchy.

Currently, with the networked global society, and sys-
tems theory as its scientific paradigm, we are virtually look-
ing into a different world, with a rise of ‘horizontal’, ‘net-
worked’ and ‘sustainable’ structures both in our business
culture, and in science, and last not least on the important
areas of psychology, medicine, and spirituality.

—A paradigm, from Greek ‘paradeigma’, is a pattern of things, a
configuration of ideas, a set of dominant beliefs, a certain way of look-
ing at the world, a set of assumptions, a frame of reference or lens, and
even an entire worldview.

While most of this new and yet old path has yet to be
trotted, we cannot any more overlook the changes that
happen all around us every day.

Invariably, as students, scientists, doctors, consultants,
lawyers, business executives or government officials, we
face problems today that are so complex, entangled and
novel that they cannot possibly be solved on the basis of
our old paradigm, and our old way of thinking. As Albert
Einstein said, we cannot solve a problem on the same level
of thought that created it in the first place—hence the need
for changing our view of looking at things, the world, and
our personal and collective predicaments.
What still about half a decade ago seemed unlikely is
happening now all around us: we are rediscovering more
and more fragments of an integrative and holistic wisdom
that represents the cultural and scientific legacy of many
ancient tribes and kingdoms that were based upon a per-
ennial tradition which held that all in our universe is inter-


connected, and that humans are set in the world to con-
sciously live in unison with the infinite wisdom inherent in
creation as a major task for driving evolution forward!

It happens in science, since the advent of quantum
physics and string theory, it happens in neuroscience and
systems theory, it happens in biology, in ecology, and as a
result, and because science is a major motor in society, it
happens now with increasing speed in the industrial and
the business world, and in the way people earn their lives
and manifest their talents through their professional en-
More and more people begin to realize that we cannot
honestly continue to destroy our globe by disregarding the
natural law of self-regulation, both outside, by polluting
air and water, and inside, by tolerating our emotions to be
in a state of repression and turmoil. Self-regulation is built
into the life function and it can be found as a consistent
pattern in the lifestyle of native peoples who live close to
It is similar with our immense intuitive and imaginal
faculties that were downplayed in centuries of darkness
and fragmentation, and that now emerge anew as major
key stones in a worldview that puts the whole human at the
frontline, a human who uses their whole brain, and who
knows to balance their emotions and natural passions so as
to arrive at a state of inner peace and synergetic relation-
ships with others that bring mutual benefit instead of one-
sided egotistic satisfaction.


What all these books convey is that it’s not too late, be
it for our planet and for us humans, our careers, our sci-
ence, our collective spiritual advancement, and our scien-
tific understanding of nature, and that we can thrive in a
world that is surely more different in ten years from now
that it was one hundred years in the past compared to


Laurence G. Bold
Creative Career Design

Books Reviewed

Zen or the Art of Making a Living (1993/1999)
How to Find the Work You Love (1996/2004)
Zen Soup (1997)
The Tao of Abundance (1999)

Laurence G. Boldt is a writer and career consultant in
the San Francisco bay area. Boldt is highly versed in Orien-
tal wisdom and especially Zen, and his books are beauti-
fully designed and edited, with a true abundance of quotes
from wisdom books, and Zen inspired artwork.


I have been enriched by Laurence G. Boldt’s profound
practical and spiritual wisdom and do not presently know
of any career coach who can tip even remotely at the ex-
pertise and holistic insights of this great human and pro-
lific author. I have reviewed all of his books in this volume
and can recommend and endorse each of his books. His
publications are—
Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to
Creative Career Design, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1993;
How to Find the Work You Love, New York: Penguin Com-
pass, 1996; Zen Soup: Tasty Morsels of Zen Wisdom From
Great Minds East & West, New York: Penguin Compass,
1997; The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Principles For
Abundant Living, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999.
I shall review these books in the order of their first
publication dates.


Zen and the Art of Making a Living
A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1993
New and Updated Edition, 1999
(Quotes are from the Original Edition)

Zen or the Art of Making a Living is a highly useful career guide, and at
the same time more than a career guide.

Laurence G. Boldt is not just an excellent coach; he also
comes over as a wise man. His many years of studying Zen
and Taoism left their traces in this extraordinary book, and
it’s more than a book—it’s crafted, an art work. In the pre-
sent case, Penguin did an excellent editing job. The book is
one of the most cherished I have in my library. I read it
twice, entirely, and filled out all the worksheets, and still
sometimes just look through it to read quotes or contem-


plate the wonderful reproductions of Japanese and Chi-
nese ink art and calligraphy.
Let me comment on a few quotes from the text, so that
you can learn appreciating the style Boldt writes in, a style
I find easy and inspiring to read. The central focus, to be-
gin with, in Boldt’s art of career coaching is his definition
of work as art. He explains at the onset of the book:

For many who came to me seeking career guidance, a
better job (as defined by pay and benefits alone) was
not enough. There was a real desire for a broader con-
ception of work—one that would reflect the spiritual as
well as the material life of man. My search for such a
vision of work let me finally to the notion of work as
art, the unique creative expression of the

What this book is about can be described as: life, work,
love, relationships—and energy! It’s the energy input that
lifts you out of a standard life and triggers your quantum
leap to a first-hand life. Without energy input, to be honest,
you won’t create anything worthwhile in either of these
fields. What does that mean, energy input? It means vision,
dedication, commitment, and persistence.
This will be all at your disposition at a condition: you
must come to consider work as your life’s unique fulfill-
ment or dharma. You will naturally find out that this won’t
be the case with any kind of work, when you come with an
attitude to ‘just find a job.’ It is the result of an inner jour-
ney that gets you in touch with your soul desire which will


dictate your true life’s work. It’s up to you of course if you
obey to this inner voice, this inner call, as Joseph Campbell
put it, or if you refuse to listen.

Very modestly so, Boldt refers to his book as a transition
resource book, but I can testify that it’s much more than that:

This book is, of course, a transition resource book and
hardly the last word. It provides a technology for ap-
plying a love-inspired orientation toward work within
the existing economic, educational, and social struc-
tures. We might add that these structures do not, for
the most part, encourage one to be oneself to serve
one’s fellow man in a spirit of love and beauty./xiv

The important detail in this quote is that Boldt speaks
of a ‘love-inspired’ orientation toward work, and here we
get to the core of his message. It namely shows the reader
right at the start that this attitude toward work is not one
you find in selfhelp manuals with their quick fixes ‘for get-
ting a job;’ actually, none of Boldt’s books is a quick fix—
fortunately so. The author states that when you just want a
job that pays your bills, you are living with a bottomline
paradigm that will lead you nowhere. Where there is no vi-
sion, the people perish, says the Bible.

Yet, if we are not builders, if our dreams are not given
the shape, form, and substance of living reality, then
they are nothing more than phantoms and platitudes,
the mirages we chase to escape a world we are unwill-
ing to confront and love. The true idealist is no dewy-


eyed dreamer, but a committed foot soldier in the cause
of his vision./xxii

Ego-bound living with all its limitations is one of the
core issues of being jobless, or for going along with a pay-
job over decades. But what is actually ego? Let us be care-
ful with jumping to a definition, for it’s not that easy. Let’s
try to approach the question by asking what is not ego. Can
we say that what we do with passion and love, we do
without ego? I think most people would agree with that.
Boldt metaphorically depicts the ego as the ‘little king’ in

We were promised that we would be little kings, and
yet it seems we have so little control over the direction
of our lives. The little king is a prisoner of his own
freedom—from responsibility and conscience. His in-
ner life is barren and hollow; his humanity, atrophied;
his creativity, flat./xxxiii

Today it is common to raise children like little princes
and princesses; however, spoiling children is not condu-
cive to bringing out the best in a human. We want to face
reality, not standard reality.
Children want to grow in autonomy, and not in entan-
glement with their parents and educators. The more we
keep children tight, the more we infantilize them, the more
we render them inapt for mastering their lives and careers.
All is set and setting in life, and especially work. All
work is imbedded in a culture, and to work in San Fran-


cisco is not the same as working in Bangkok or Rome, and
it requires different attitudes and experiences. On the other
hand, it’s true that international lifestyle standardizes job
expectations more and more, and that we are gradually
heading into a globalized job environment. In this overall
grasp of the globe by international business culture, some
values may get lost. Boldt writes:

Today, even art has become commercialized. It has be-
come a tool for profit and, therefore, a means for better
controlling the environment, rather than the revelation
of deep inner experience./xxxvii

There is a spiritual quest to be felt throughout the
book, expressed by the author appealing to his audience to
be cautious with applying standard consumer values to
their lives. He puts the focus throughout this book on our
inner life, our individual values, and our special gifts and

You are to depend on society for its evaluation of your
sanity—measured, not in terms of the ancient wisdom
or sacred psychologies, but in terms of normality—the
sharing of the society-dominant world view./xliv

Boldt means here that when you want to survive as an
individual in a highly labeling society, you must not look
at normalcy, but in the contrary at what is unusual, what is
exceptional, what is extra-ordinary in the real sense of the
word—outside of the ordinary. And you have to mold


your self-vision accordingly, because if you envision your-
self as an ‘in-fitter’, you are done as a creative individual.
Boldt’s cultural criticism is not a per-se item in the
book but it serves to open our critical mind so that we are
able to build true autonomy, that we become self-reliant,
and acknowledge the value of our individual difference.

The Roman Catholic tradition epitomizes the king
model. Early Roman Catholic churches were called Ba-
silicas, or royal houses. The Pope wears a crown and
carries a staff; you kneel to kiss his ring. I once saw the
Pope entering Saint Peter’s at the Vatican. There he was
with all his attendants—being carried slowly down the
aisle on a palanquin—the Swiss Guards standing
sharply at attention. When at last he sat upon the
throne, the entire congregation broke into applause.
This is a king. The Pope standing in for King God. The
accent in this model is on authority and decrees issues
from on high./lii

These images are mediatized and become almost ar-
chetypal, and they also become models of behavior, as they
are part of our collective unconscious. If you are driven by
them, you won’t be able to manifest your creative differ-
ence through your life’s work.
As long as you play hide-and-seek with yourself, you
remain shallow, disinterested, uncommitted, scant and su-
perficial. And if you are like most people, you will not get
to do the work you love, for your distinction must come
prior to your job search, it must come from the whole of your


being, not just your so-called ‘professional life,’ which is a
mask, just like other masks we are all wearing.
Now, what does it mean to look at life the way non-
ordinary people look at it? Boldt gives a hint, and his ex-
ample really is well-put:

To describe Michelangelo’s David as a marble statue of
a Hebrew king in his youth gives you the facts, but
none of the spirit or emotional power of the work. To
say that Don Quixote is the story of a madman wan-
dering about in hallucination strips it of the power,
spirit, and art of its message. It is no less ridiculous to
reduce your life to a set of facts. You are not your place
of birth, your height, weight, or degrees, your résumé,
or credit history. You are a being of spirit, emotional
power, and intelligence./6

Boldt has a wonderful sense of humor and that makes
reading this book an adventure! To look at art as a soul ex-
perience, and from a soul perspective, and not from a ma-
terial, object-centered perspective is what makes the differ-
ence. Boldt explains:

Many today would have us believe that art is for the
cultured few—the museum hounds and the wine and
cheese set. The implication is that art is too good to be
contaminated with the vulgar business of living. While
art is safely locked away from the soiling hands of the
common man, the greatest vulgarity of all is perpetu-
ated. Art is reduced to an investment commodity. In


the name of protection (from the masses), art has be-
come a favorite form of capital speculation. /37

When we see how the business worldview distorts the
meaning of life, and of art, we get a feel for taking care of
our real values, instead of selling ourselves for pseudo-
values. The moment you take the perspective of looking at
yourself as a precious and unique individual, you will proba-
bly stop taking your life as an assembler-machine of labels,
and you will start to reflect upon your uniqueness. And
then, Boldt says, you become the hero, after your have
shifted your self-vision:

The Hero decides for himself what to focus his atten-
tion on (what is important), and in so doing, what the
story of his life will be about./50

When you decide for yourself instead of leaving it up
to society to decide for you, you take charge of your life,
you become response-able for your living experience and
all that it involves, including your love life.

Work and love, love and work, are one unit. Boldt em-
phasizes this over and over in all his books. Love is not
that big word without meaning our media suggest it was;
it is not a word, but simply pure meaning.
Does your work have meaning for you? Before this can
happen, Boldt says, you have to begin asking questions,
and not let society ask the questions for you. It’s by asking
questions to yourself that you get answers, not by taking
over answers from others.


What distinguishes the hero from the rest is that he or
she chooses the questions and earnestly seeks them; the
rest blindly, and often half-heartedly, follow the con-
ventional questions of their society./91

I shall stop here with this review, but not without men-
tioning that for Boldt imagination is a very important in-
gredient in the toolbox you need to build for realizing a
meaningful career.
Imagination is not very much stressed as a value in our
present educational system, and so we are called upon to
develop it against the stream, so to speak, or by recovering
our younger self of the past, which surely was a very imagi-
native child:

Contemplating—seeing through the game—allows you
to reclaim your imaginative power. You are free to use
your imagination to build a life born out of the im-
pulses of your own creative center. You put your faith
in your creative intuitions and capacities rather than in
the hope of some future reward or fear of some future
punishment. You see your happiness in expressing
what you are, not in gaining approval or avoiding its


How to Find the Work You Love
A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design
New York: Penguin Compass, 1996
New Edition, 2004
(Quotes are from the Original Edition)

How to Find the Work You Love is a highly recommended career guide
pocket option for those who won’t work through Zen or the Art of Mak-
ing a Living.

Now, when I say this, I have to justify it. I have worked
two times through Zen or the Art of Making a Living, and yet
did not find this smaller book obsolete because the books
serve different purposes. The present booklet is not just a
thinner copy of the larger career guide, it’s an entirely dif-
ferent book. It may also address a different audience.
To begin with, Boldt stresses in this book that you burst
your limits if you are serious about finding really meaning-
ful work.
Bursting your limits doesn’t mean you have to become
a superman or superwoman; it rather means bursting your
understanding of the world, and your humanness.


It means accepting your soul identity, and do away as
much as you can with social conditioning. That in turn re-
quires you to get in touch with inside and give priority to
your inner world:

At times it may seem that our inner world is nothing
more than an endless chorus of conflicting voices. We
hear them rattling around in our heads—the voices of
the media and popular culture, the voices of our par-
ents and peers, the voices of our escapist fantasies and
infantile fears. To engage the creative life, you must be
able to discern the voice of your own best self amidst
the clamor and confusion of this strange and bewilder-
ing cacophony. You must be able to discriminate be-
tween what is really true for you and what merely
sounds good./26

I have done this work from A to Z, over more than two
decades, and can testify for the validity of this statement.
This is your turning point or perhaps the test that the uni-
verse or ‘destiny’ puts up for you. It’s really that hard, and
the author did not joke when he said bewildering cacophony.

It’s not a movie that you can store away after having
watched the journey of the hero. The movie reassures you
because you know how the story ends, but in your own
life as a potential hero, you don’t know how it’s going to
end. When you read the Bible, do you get a feeling that life
is easy? Then read the Koran, the Tora, and then the Vedas.
In none of the scriptures you are told that life is easy. So
why do you believe it?


You believe it because television tells you so. And it’s
here where you are knocked out of your soul-being, like a
football that is kicked out of the terrain, and lost some-
where in a street, where it has no more meaning. And if
you are not connected with yourself, with your self, with
what are you going to be connected?
What Laurence G. Boldt says is that life while it’s a
game somehow is not an amusement, and that if you take
it as an amusement, you are like the pack who go for eve-
rything just because everybody else does. If you are seri-
ous about your life and yourself, you will not take a job
haphazardly, and you will do all you can to steer clear
about what you really want in life, and about what you want
in your career. And to do this, you have to be honest with
yourself. Boldt confesses:

In my work as a career consultant, I have observed that
men, especially, have difficulty admitting that their
work life is not working for them. They endeavor to
conform to the cultural stereotype of the macho man—
the strong, silent type who has everything under con-
trol. They try to uphold the illusion that they have it all
together, even though on the inside they may be falling
apart. (This may be one reason why suicide rates are so
much higher for / men).
Women generally seem more willing to acknowl-
edge their pain. Among the men who seek my services,
I see three general categories: young men or sensitive
types who are not invested in the stereotype, those
who come at the urging of their wives or lovers, or


those who have already achieved considerable finan-
cial success. /35-36

You may think this is not the quick-fix career book you
were searching for? Yes, right, it’s not, and that’s why it’s a
good book. After all, you can win a million in the casino,
tomorrow night. And what are you going to do with the

What touched me very deeply is what Boldt conveyed
about his younger years, and how it came about that he
embraced the career of a coach. He writes:

In my youth, I spent a portion of my spare time visiting
the elderly in nursing homes. I was struck, time and
again, by how many of these people expressed regret
about things they had always wanted to do with their
lives, but hadn’t. It wasn’t just that they had failed to
achieve their dreams: they had never even worked at
them. Many had secretly cherished an idea of some-
thing they wanted to do for twenty or thirty years or
more, but had never taken even the first step./76

Can you imagine? Can you see yourself there? My
grandmother, the day before she died in a hospital without
being really sick, at the age of seventy-three, said that all
she did in her life had been wrong. It was a shock for me.
My grandmother was the only person of the whole ex-
tended family that I always respected, and who taught me
much, who also had a noble attitude that contrasted very


strongly with the attitude of her four children. Why did
she say this?
Later in life, through research on my family roots, I
found the answer. She had a dream of something grander
and much greater than she had realized (and which was
already great), but she had given up on that dream about
twenty years before she died. That is probably why she
died and did not live twenty years or thirty years longer.

What my grandmother said on her death bed was true
and not true at the same time. She was the person I had
most admired in my young life, and for whom I witnessed
to have done everything right in her life. But she saw herself
differently, because she had much higher expectations of
herself, and never had revealed those to us.
The lesson of this is that you have to communicate your
expectations, without being afraid you are going to be ridi-
culed for your ambition. Life is a strange soup, our uni-
verse is a strange pudding, it’s all about communicating vi-
sion. Yes. If you keep it inside, it’s like a plant you put in a
cellar and that can’t really grow because it lacks sunshine.
When you tell people what you want, and if it’s the
craziest idea in the world, you get that sunshine, even if
they criticize it, then you get the sunshine in the form of
anger, which is also a sun. But when you keep it inside, you
bury it alive. And these elders, in the nursing homes, had
done exactly that, they had buried their lives long before
they themselves were buried, because they had buried their


The prevailing atmosphere of nursing homes I visited
was one of profound sadness and regret. It was poign-
ant to hear these people—many bedridden, some with
trembling hands—tell their stories of regret./76

This experience touched the young Boldt so much that
he took something like a vow, dedicating his life to not
only help himself avoiding the denial trap, but helping
others to avoid it, too:

Even more moving was the emphatic way they urged
me, with all the strength and force they could muster,
to follow my own dreams, not to allow what had hap-
pened to them to happen to me. Had this occurred
once or twice, it would have made a strong impression,
but its repetition left an indelible mark. I learned more
about how to live from these people than from all the
books I had ever read or classes I had ever taken. At
that point, I determined not only to follow my own
dreams but to dedicate my life to helping others, in
whatever way I could, to avoid the fate that had be-
fallen these poor souls./77

Your time should be dedicated to your mission—all the
time! That is what this book is telling you.


Zen Soup
Tasty Morsels of Wisdom from Great Minds East & West
New York: Penguin Compass, 1997

Zen Soup is one of the most original little tea table books I’ve got my
hands on. It’s definitely more than a tea table book with the profound
wisdom it shares and promotes.

I should say first that this little booklet is not limited to
sharing Zen wisdom, specifically. It’s well in the spirit of
Zen, and there are among the many quotes also those from
Zen masters.
But there are also quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Albert
Einstein, Seneca, George Bernhard Shaw, Thomas Merton,
Ralph Waldo Emerson—to name only these.
This book in my view belongs in a business library
more than in a Zen library because it contains not only
wisdom quotes but also smart and pointed introductions
into each of the 25 chapters. Only reading over the chapter
titles, you will see that the booklet is something like a
companion guide to the two reviewed before in that it has
a strong and purposeful orientation toward the career


path. I say this because there might be many interested in
wisdom who are not particularly attracted to the teaching
and the practice of Zen. Accordingly, my focus will not be
in reviewing the quotes, but some of the introductions to
the chapters, as here lies the original part of the book.
The chapters read as follows:
—Be Here Now
—Beginner’s Mind

—Right Thinking
—Be Yourself


—The Game of Life

—Selfless Service
—The Art of Zen


—Letting Go

—Everyday Zen

Be Here Now
Living in the present is perhaps the greatest art in
life— and it certainly has an impact upon professional life
as well. When you are fixated upon your past, you will not
be totally open to deal with your professional challenges
for a part of you will be untouched by the perception of
the now. The author points out:

The mind, with its guilt and resentment about the past
and its fears and hopes for the future, the mind that
confuses thoughts about people, things, and events
with the people, things, and events themselves—must
be transcended. /1

As the saying goes in Zen, the finger that points to the
Moon, is not the Moon. We will always confuse the map
with the landscape when we are not grounded in the pre-
sent so that we can perceive the real, not our inner picture
of the real.

Beginner’s Mind


The ‘beginner’s mind’ is a metaphor in Zen. It says that
whatever we do to perfect ourselves, we will never be per-
fect, which is why humility is considered as important in
the self-development approach of the old wisdom tradi-
tions both of the East and the West. There is a psychologi-
cal truth in this saying in that when you remain ‘young’
inside of you, and you don’t believe you possess ‘ultimate
knowledge,’ you remain fresh, curious, and intuitive, and
before all: flexible. You will then easily learn new skills or
whatever you need to keep up with the changes in life, and
in professional life. The author writes:

The beginner’s mind applies not only to learning new
skills, activities, or information but to all we think we
know about life. Many of us walk around with deeply
ingrained beliefs that limit our experience. (…) When
we embrace the humility to meet life head-on, without
the baggage of what we think we know, we make room
for ourselves to grow. /7

It is obvious that courage is important in life, and even
more so in your professional career. Courage is an ability
to go beyond fear.
Contrary to common belief it it not true that the coura-
geous person never knows any fears. Quite to the contrary,
the strength of courage, its energy so to speak, is built from
the precise energy contained in the fear that preceded it. In
other words, fear is the fuel of courage.


What does that imply? Very simply so, it means that
you shouldn’t go around your fear but right through it,
and toward your goal. The author writes:

We have no greater enemy than fear. It hems us in,
sucks the joy out of life, and leaves us with disgust for
ourselves. Nothing of importance can be undertaken or
achieved without facing, challenging, and finally mas-
tering fear. If it takes great courage to attempt and ac-
complish things of real merit, it takes even more to be
what we truly are. /17

Right Thinking
Right thinking is a concept that is not only related to
Buddhism, Taoism, Zen or Eastern thought, while it’s often
associated with these doctrines. But it also is an old teach-
ing in the West.
All our scriptures are very much focused upon teach-
ing that right and wrong of action, and what precedes ac-
tion is thinking. The Proverbs, in the Bible, for example,
focus upon ‘righteous thinking’ as a way to moral perfec-
tion. In a pragmatic sense, and even if you are agnostic,
right thinking is a way to deal effectively and wisely with
karma, the law of cause and effect. We reap what we sow,
we harvest as a result of our investments. We shout in the
forest and we hear the response. This is a very basic law in
life, and it is certainly also very important in business life.
Laurence G. Boldt writes:


We can think ourselves into happiness or a deep de-
pression. We can think ourselves into health or illness.
(…) By our thinking, we create our individual and col-
lective experience of reality. Changing our thinking for
the better improves the quality of our lives, and in so
doing, uplifts all around us. /28-29

Responsibility is often perceived as a burden. In truth it
is the only way we receive real appreciation in life. It is
through taking responsibilities.
The more you are responsible for others, the more you
are influential in society. Many do not see this and creep
into the victim role which is in reality an escape from life.
Nothing we have experienced in life justifies this kind
of behavior, and that is probably why it’s so unproductive.
When you stand up for yourself, and your choices, you
gain respect. And you avoid the temptation to judge or
blame others or ‘the world.’ The author writes:

When we give up the habit of making mental compari-
sons, we release our psychological investment in what
we like and dislike and say yes to life—total and com-
plete. /45

Be Yourself
There is a strange confusion about selfhood and the
ego. People in new age circles often say they want to ‘be-
come more spiritual’ and make trips to India to see X or Y
guru who tells them to ‘abandon their ego.’

But sorry, without your ego you will turn psychotic
(mentally ill) almost instantly. Are you aware of that? The
challenge in self-development is not to give up your ego,
but to strengthen the relationship with your self. The self is
not the ego, but this distinction has been blurred by a
number of spiritual teachings. When you are guided by the
self, you will transcend your ego, and as a result, your ego-
tism. The author writes:

There is no point in trying to be somebody else or in
letting concern with what other people think dictate
your life. We must each find our own path and dis-
cover for ourselves the joy of being what we are. /55

Imitating others is a behavior that is luring when you
are not grounded in your self. You need to structure your
ego, not abandon it, to get there. When you value your dif-
ference—and even your marginality—you honor your self,
and you won’t have a problem with your ego!


The Tao of Abundance
Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999

The Tao of Abundance is perhaps the best book that Boldt has written. It
goes way beyond the stuff you would expect from a career coach, was
he only a career coach!

This book is not a career guide, it’s not a guide at all.
It’s the life vision of a Bodhisattva. I believe Boldt has attained
the spiritual level of a Bodhisattva, a spiritual guide. And
this is what this book provides, spiritual guidance, nothing
lesser and nothing less noble than that, however not in the
usual new age wrapping that you are used to get when
you expect somebody to talk about so-called ‘spirituality.’
Boldt will never obfuscate the message by rigidity of mind
or of language, or by putting up inflexible strict rules. This
is his unique genius.
This book is written from the perspective of an accom-
plished master, if he calls himself a master or not doesn’t


matter! It is one of the most beautifully composed books I
have ever had the privilege to read. But I admit that the
book is not an easy read because of its complexity and in-
tegrated, holistic view of life.
Why should we always want to understand a book on
first read? I guess we have been conditioned to believe that
well-written books have to be easy to understand. Is that so?
Have you ever studied the Cabala? Is that easy to under-
When I was reading Plato, Kant and Hegel at the age of
fifteen, I found their philosophies were not easy to under-
stand, and when I read them again now, in my fifties, I still
find them difficult to read. And I then discovered that the
difficulty mainly comes from their particular point of view
being different from mine. Upon which I tried to put my-
self wholly in their world, in their shoes, in their skin, try-
ing to think from their perspective, and suddenly I found it
was easy to understand what they were saying. So it seems
my ego had been in the way, and thereby, my conditioning,
my little opinions, my experiences, my way of looking at
the world. To get to realize this, you actually step beyond
your world, and when that happens, in that very moment,
you forget about yourself and begin to focus on what the
other is saying.
By the same token, when you want to realize some-
thing that seems far beyond your present achievements
and your present lifestyle, it is much easier to look into it,
to imagine it, when you forget a little about your present


world and your present ‘I’. This sounds very clear-cut, but
it’s not. It is a dialectic process. We are actually always
with one foot in our future. Boldt elucidates:

In the West, we have identified the ego as the final term
of the self. The modern economic view of life, which
pervades our culture, assumes the psychology of the
ego, that is, the feeling of lack and the struggle for self-
preservation. We have, more than any culture in hu-
man history, committed ourselves to the ego and its
consciousness of lack. As a result, we are haunted by a
prevailing sense of spiritual and psychological poverty
in the midst of unprecedented material prosperity. We
have elevated the ego to the status of a god and sought
our happiness in its endless desires. Modern economic
life demands the continuous expansion of these de-
sires. Yet no matter how much we acquire, it never
seems to be enough. We are never satisfied./xxviii

Of course, when you see your realization in material
satisfaction only, you can never be satisfied.
Self-realization, mind you, is not the shallow consumer
credo that longs for material fulfillment.

Work that is nourishment for your soul provides the
streaming of love which is a fulfillment not easily put in
words, but nonetheless real. This fulfillment comes from
your being properly aligned with purpose.
But you can’t really separate material abundance from
the abundance of love for both are melted, not synony-


mous. But typically, the two go together, while one does
not match out the other. Boldt writes:

When we embrace our unique gifts and capacities as
individuals and put them into expression, the road to
true abundance opens before us./xxxiv

Now, what is abundance? Let us first ask what is not
abundance. Ask billions of people around the globe. They
will talk about lack, because the mass mind, the pack rule,
the herd instinct is focused upon lack. It’s the scarcity para-

The first task is to recognize the inner and outer forces
that conspire to make us believe in scarcity and thus to
feel lack. Awareness of these factors will help us to
overcome their influence over us. The second task is to
cultivate a spirit of abundance in our lives, celebrating
the gift of life with joy and thanksgiving. As we focus
on our thoughts and actions on things that bring a feel-
ing of connection with all life, we begin to move with
the flow of the Tao. In this way, we allow blessings to
come to us as a part of the overflow of an abundant
spirit—not as things we crave and struggle for from a
sense of lack or desperation. To come from lack can
only bring lack, even when we get what we think we
need. On the other hand, when we come from the spirit
of abundance, we attract ever greater abundance./13

There is a rather queer parable by Lao-tzu that teaches
what is essential in life and what is not, thereby conveying
that abundance or lack are a matter of perspective, of how


you get at the world, how you look at life, and how you
envision yourself:

Lao Tzu reminds us that the useful part of the pot is
not the outer rim that gives it form but the empty space
within; the useful part of the house is the empty space
within the walls, not the walls themselves. /53

How can something be useful that does not exist or
that is defined by its very contrary? Here you see how use-
ful it is to focus on the paradoxes in life, because they teach
us long lessons about wistful living.
As Krishnamurti pointed out, it’s the same with love.
We cannot define love, but we can well trace out nega-
tively what is not love. While we cannot really describe
what makes out loving behavior, we can easily list patterns
of non-loving behavior.
Abundance also means accepting your perverse behavior,
because it comes from denial, and by accepting your stray
energies, you open the door to revise that decision to deny
parts of yourself, and to suppress certain longings. It was
perhaps not a conscious decision, as it’s part of your condi-
tioning. In truth, when you dissect your perverse longings,
you dissect all of your love.
In other words, when you really yield to love, you must
accept all and any of your perverse desires! And you will
be surprised to discover that when doing so, those desires
stop haunting you.


The classical Taoists take a much more positive view of
human nature. For the Taoist, all depraved or perverse
manifestations of human behavior result from rejecting
our deepest nature, not from following it. It is by deny-
ing the unity of all life and committing to the attach-
ment of the ego that we go astray./97

And here, many of our young men and women today
are stuck! They feel that some of their sexual desires are
perverse according to the standards of current society. And
this inner conflict affects their professional performance.

I am asking ‘Is there a way out of the maze?’ My an-
swer is to ‘Free your Minotaur,’ which means to work on the
denial pattern so that your vital energies will flow again
instead of being stuck in a neurotic condition.
If you don’t want to go a daring way, there are other
options. Boldt, referring to William James, proposes to act
as if, and thus to simulate the behavior pattern or role you
would like to mold yourself into:

The noted American philosopher and pioneer psy-
chologist William James advocated the act-as-if princi-
ple as a powerful tool for transforming consciousness.
According to James, it is easier to act out your way into
a new kind of thinking than to think yourself into a
new way of acting. As you begin taking definite actions
toward the accomplishment of your goals, you demon-
strate to your subconscious mind that you are serious
about attaining them. If you want to be a writer or a
painter, begin writing or painting, even if you can do it


only part time. The body of work you amass will con-
vince your subconscious mind that you are indeed se-
rious about your new career and on your way to mani-
festing it. (…) Dare to begin taking immediate action
toward the results you see, and you get energy moving
in that direction. You build a force of momentum to-
ward the results you desire. /114

The as-if method has proven very effective, for exam-
ple, in pilot training. A good part of pilot training is done
by simulation, using the flight-simulator.
This principle, you can apply it to all of your life, and
all your desires, because indeed you can simulate every pos-
sible situation in your mind, by using the power of your
imagination. I hope that by now you see that abundance is
just that: an immeasurable wealth behind the little that can
be measured. You can measure the present book by count-
ing the words, but you can’t measure the depth of the book
when judging it by its size …


Tom Butler-Bowden

Books Reviewed

50 Success Classics (2004)

Tom Butler-Bowden is a young author from Britain
who has written and produced a series of highly successful
books that are to be found in bookstores around the world.
The book I am reviewing here, 50 Success Classics, I found it
in a bookstore in Manila, Philippines.
Besides, the author has published similar titles, such as
50 Psychology Classics, 50 Self-Help Classics, 50 Spiritual Clas-
sics, or 50 Prosperity Classics. These books are obviously
manufactured from a smart marketing concept that makes
success literature accessible in condensing the content, and
presenting the essence to the curious reader.
Napoleon Hill was perhaps the first author to have
done that, and Tom Butler-Bowden is a worthy follower of
that brilliant idea. The author is gifted with brilliant lan-
guage skills, wit and a sense of humor that are truly inspir-


50 Success Classics
Winning Wisdom for Work and Life
London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2004

50 Success Classics is a useful sampler that surely was much work to
produce; in addition it’s true that writing your own ideas is easier than
correctly sharing the ideas of others in your own words.

In this sense, the book has high value and is a precious
asset in your business and personal growth library because
many of us won’t have the time to read all the books and
life stories reviewed by Tom Butler-Bowden: exciting, in-
teresting life stories of highly successful and extraordinary
men and women.
This unabridged guide to the literature of prosperity
and motivation surveys fifty of the all-time classics, giving
you their key ideas, insights and applications—everything
you need to know for benefiting from these legendary
works. From rags-to-riches stories of entrepreneurs such as
Dale Carnegie, Warren Buffett and Sam Walton, over mas-
ter motivators like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Napoleon


Hill, to contemporary business blockbusters as Jack Welch,
Spencer Johnson and Robert Kiyosaki, these are the leaders
and pioneers who have helped generations of readers un-
leash their potential and discover the secrets of success.
Let me first point out what the author understands un-
der ‘success.’ It was thoughtful of his part to define what
he means by that term as after newest stress-research, the
term success itself has become controversial. This research
namely found that in modern consumer society, success is
actually a trap for many, a high-voltage trip to the grave, a
cosmetic and socially accepted form of suicide that comes
with a golden coffin!
It goes without saying that Tom Butler-Bowden does
not talk about this kind of success, but about real success
which always involves the soul and which is not based
upon greed, but a true mission.
So let me provide some quotes that indicate of what
kind of success the author is actually talking about in his

You need to make a distinction between a compulsion
to succeed for the sake of winning, and the desire for
enduring achievements that will enrich your life and
the lives of others./2

Success requires a concentration of effort. Most people
disperse their energies over too many things and so fail
to be outstanding in anything. /2


The greater part of genius is the years of effort invested
to solve a problem or find the perfect expression of an
idea. With hard work you acquire knowledge about
yourself that idleness never reveals. /3

Great achievers know that while the universe is built
by atoms, success is built by minutes; they are masters
when it comes to their use of time. /3

Successful people have a good relationship with their
unconscious or subconscious mind. They trust their
intuition, and because intuitions are usually right, they
seem to enjoy more luck than others./3

The greater the risk, the greater the potential success.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained./3

These quotes show that the author talks about success
that is wholesome to the person, that, while it entails hard
work, is in accordance with the greater picture of our inner
life, and especially our higher direction. It is by no means
the compulsion-like success that many today take for the
one and only form of social advancement. In the same vein
of thought, the author defines leadership as the ultimate
form of expression, not a selfish power drive that needs to
be acted out on the back on others. He writes:

True leaders are not interested in proving themselves;
they want above all to be able to express themselves

Structured education and society often get in the way


of leadership: What we need to know gets lost in what
we are told we should know./19

Real learning is the process of remembering what is
important to you, and becoming a leader is therefore
the act of becoming more and more your true self./19

Discussing Warren Bennis On Becoming a Leader (1989),
the author notes the following criteria describing what it
entails to becoming a leader:

‣ Continuous learning and never-dying curiosity

‣ A compelling vision: leaders first define their reality (what
they believe is possible)

‣ Developing the ability to communicate that vision and in-
spire others to follow it

‣ Tolerating uncertainty and taking on risk: a degree of daring

‣ Personal integrity: self-knowledge, candor, maturity, wel-
coming criticism

‣ Being a one-off, an original: Leaders learn from others, but
are not made by others

‣ Reinvention: to create new things sometimes involves recre-
ating yourself

‣ Taking time off to think and reflect, which brings answers
and produces resolutions

‣ Passion for the promises of life: a belief in the best, for your-
self and others

‣ Seeing success in small, everyday increments and joys


‣ Using the context of your life, rather than surrendering to

The author explains that to lead, ‘you have to make a
declaration of independence against the estimation of oth-
ers, the culture, the age,’ that you have ‘to decide to live in
the world, but outside existing conceptions of it,’ because
‘[l]eaders do not merely do well by the terms of their cul-
ture, they create new contexts, new things, new ways of
doing and being.’/21
In this sense, real success also comes with certain obli-
gations. It’s no free lunch. It has to be managed. Managing
success means, according to the author, that you manage
your time, and your productivity. And your advancement,
or the advancement of your organization at that has to be
incremental, one step at a time, but that step done safely,
thoroughly and carefully. He writes:

Success may look fully formed when we behold it with
the perspective of years, but those who have achieved
it know that it arrived because they made every hour
and every moment productive./27

We are often so fearful of whether or not we can
achieve something that we cannot see that if it is bro-
ken down into smaller, daily steps it becomes much

Real success also involves people management, both
the people you are working with in a team, and the people
who buy your product. And, last not least, the people who


are in the ring with you—your competitors—that you
ought to consider not as your enemies but as your friends,
for through their eyes, you can see your weaknesses. When
you talk with customers, will you smugly tear down your
competitors? The author sees success potential in the pre-
cisely opposite attitude, and stresses values like optimism,
friendliness, openness, and a positive attitude:

In contacts with clients, praise your competitors. It
shows clients you are even-handed and won’t hide
anything from them./28

When you greet someone, say their name./28

For 30 days, smile frequently and watch it transform
your life./28

Don’t ever engage another person in argument. In-
stead, ask questions whose answers are likely to bring
them round to your viewpoint./28

Now, a very important point. What is the place of dis-
cipline in management and in leading people? Is it really
effective or does it have side effects? The answer is it does:

Discipline doesn’t work with people who are not se-
cure in what they are doing, only encouragement does.
Praise gets them moving in the right direction. Though
it need take up very little time, praise is the fuel that
can drive a whole enterprise./32


Another value is what the author calls continuity, and
what the I Ching discusses under the header of hexagram
32. Constancy. What is the meaning of constancy, and what
does it mean in business? The author illustrates this value
in discussing Warren Buffett’s stock management strate-

What is most radical about Buffett is that once he
chooses a stock, he hangs on to it. (…) Buffett had al-
ways craved, and had always felt enriched by, continu-
ity: to work with the same people, to own the same
stocks, to be in the same businesses. Hanging on was a
metaphor for his life./52

Benjamin Graham said that one of the three important
elements of a successful investor was firmness of char-
acter. Buffett has this in spades, because his style of in-
vestment has required him to stick to his convictions.
As Lowenstein correctly notes, Buffett is so attractive
because his value investing goes hand in hand with
ideas like loyalty, integrity, and keeping things for a
long time. These seem out of step with our era, yet they
prove their worth in their results./54

Next, the author elucidates some other values needed
for building long-term success, such as focus, honesty, self-
confidence, a set of positive beliefs and a sound minds that
is able to evaluate reality with a minimum of perception
bias. The author writes:

This is the power of focus, of sacrificing what you
might gain by broadening in order to gain a smaller


but well-defined market. /58

Speaking comes from the heart, which is always

If you exude self-confidence, people will naturally
want to let you succeed. Self-doubt creates a perception
of incompetence. /63

What you believe about yourself, the world will be-
lieve about you. /64

The higher level of black heart is reached when you are
not driven by your shortcomings or emotions, taking
action that is driven by your true spirit. /64

If you like to present yourself as sugar-coated, you will
lose out on any opportunities that may require you to
seem sour or hardened. /64

If you are a naturally negative thinker, make the most
of it and don’t try to adopt false positivity. Don’t fall
into the trap … of thinking / that you must change
yourself before you will have success. You can succeed
just the way you are. /64-65

Another value or virtue of the successful entrepreneur
has been called a sense of duty or fulfilling one’s dharma.

At the personal level, dharma is the duty that is yours
to fulfill in your lifetime. You cannot be a soldier and
refuse to fight; you cannot be a doctor and refuse to
operate. If you are a writer, you can’t work in a bank.
Once you commit yourself to your duty, the universe

has a way of protecting you and freeing you from other

We were discussing the value of time management, but
what is perhaps more difficult, and yet a duty to fulfill for
the successful business person is managing money. The
author elucidates:

Although money itself is a mystery, whatever best ex-
presses your brilliance will inevitably lead to wealth. It
will free you from poverty and give you a mindset that
attracts abundance./66

Money comes to those who save. Money multiplies for
those who invest it. Money stays with the person who
entrusts it to wise people. Money is lost when invested
in things with which you are not familiar. Money is lost
at a fast rate by pursuing get-rich-quick schemes. /71

Although it seems obvious, the richest man in Babylon
got that way because he lived within his means. In
time, anyone who can live on 80 or 90 percent of their
income can become rich./72

Last not least, the perhaps most powerful driving agent
for success simply is desire! But for making desire the mo-
tor of your success, you must know what you desire, what
you want!

That sounds simplistic, but it is really not as simple as
it sounds. When you are not clear about your true wishes,
you may run for twenty years in the wrong direction, only
to see afterwards that the effort was not worth it because


all the riches you acquired on the way mean nothing to
you—as it was not what you really desired. Discussing
Robert Collier’s The Secret of the Ages (1926), the author ex-

Collier notes that once you have achieved, you are
more likely to achieve again because you now have it
in you to succeed. In a further analogy, he suggests that
when you strongly desire something and believe that
you will have it, it sets in motion a mental whirlpool
that sucks in the things, people, and circumstances
necessary to enable its realization. You develop a mo-
mentum that allows you to continue achieving but
with less energy./76

The greatest discoveries, Collier notes, came from a
person who actually noticed something everybody else
had seen. The biggest fortunes, he says, were made out
of opportunities that many had but only one person
grasped. It is not that unsuccessful people never see
opportunities; they do. But they differ from people
who are called winners in that they rarely have the will
or the courage to act on a good idea. They give them-
selves only the reasons why something could not be
done, while the winner only thinks of how it could./76

Why is visualizing something you desire so important
to its attainment? Everything made in the real world,
Collier says, begins as an image. … By looking at these
images several times a day, you prepare the way for
their entry into your life. … There is an occult law that
power flows from the higher to the lower potential, not


the other way around. Therefore, always imagine the
best possible outcome, and the forming of reality will
follow this design./77

It may seem paradoxical, but few people know what
they want. Humans may be a bundle of wishes and
wants, but unless we hone these hankerings to a sharp
point we will forever drift in a sea of unfulfillment./77

The challenge is to refine our longings and discontents
into a single powerful purpose. You begin this process
… by making a list of everything you could possibly
desire, then weeding out the things that won’t serve
you in the long run. If you’re not sure which desires are
best, ask, Will this tend to make me better, stronger, and
more efficient?/77

Once you have this sense of purpose, be willing to pay
the price. Impose discipline on yourself and never let
up on attaining your one true desire. Even if you are
not brilliant, it does not matter in the long run, because
the law of averages means that if you persist you will
reap rewards./78

This book is brilliant in every respect, and I have great
admiration for the author to have mastered such difficult a

The price of the book, by the way, is very modest com-
pared to what you get out of it. What is my overall feeling
regarding this book? It’s gratitude!


Did you know that a sense of gratitude and a conscious
awareness of the blessings that are already in your hands is
a thousand times stronger than the most excellent time

Singularity of purpose can produce a relaxed knowing,
a faith in your future triumph that all really successful
people share. This sense of gratitude and knowing at-
tracts what you want on the principle that like seeks
like: things flow to the person who already appears to


Edward de Bono

Books Reviewed
The Use of Lateral Thinking (1967)
The Mechanism of Mind (1969)
Tactics (1991)
Serious Creativity (1992)
Sur/Petition (1992)

Edward de Bono has been a think tank, corporate con-
sultant, writer and philosopher of world renown for dec-
ades. His creative impact upon business and conceptual
planning can’t be underestimated. He has been a corporate
consultant for DuPont, Exxon, Shell, Ford, IBM, British
Airways, Ciba-Geigy, Citibank—to name a few.
He has contributed in a unique, outstanding manner to
the progress of education, creative thinking and human


resource development and, more generally, the intellectual
evolution of humanity.
Unlike many other corporate
training experts, Dr. de Bono was
never restricted to this in many
ways rather limited profession, but
went way beyond, and is to be con-
sidered a true business philosopher
and conceptualist. His research on
perception and the memory matrix of the human brain has
had a decisive impact upon accelerated learning, whole-
brain learning, new approaches for learning languages,
such as Superlearning®.

I found de Bono’s books at the onset of my career as a
corporate consultant, in 1998. At that time, as work notes
for myself, I made a quote collection, and then wrote these
book reviews about a decade later, after choosing the ca-
reer of a full-time writer.

However, since then, my interest in Edward de Bono
has only increased, despite the fact that I am now working
on quite different projects. Whatever you do in your career,
even after your retirement, is guided by firm principles
that are universal, not cultural, and Dr. de Bono is one of
perhaps not more than a handful of coaches who show you
how to bring your genius to the world, and earn fame and
recognition for your creative contributions to the intellec-
tual brilliance of humanity.


The Use of Lateral Thinking
New York: Penguin, 1967, reedited 1990

The Use of Lateral Thinking is one of de Bono’s first publications, a book
written in the 1960s; but it is one of his most important books.

It seems that few understood the book when it was first
published more than forty years ago. In the first chapter of
the booklet, the author introduces the idea of lateral think-
ing and defines it as a concept.

Orthodox education usually does nothing to encourage
lateral thinking habits and positively inhibits them
with the need to conform one’s way through the suc-
cessive examination hoops. /15

The second and third chapters prepare the ground for
the main part of the study which unfolds as a meticulous
examination of perception habits.
In these chapters, the author makes interesting remarks
about how ideas are born. Where are ideas coming from? How
to generate new ideas? Truly, these questions are important

not only for artists, writers or designers, but also for busi-
ness leaders. We can observe in recent years that it is sur-
prisingly not always large corporations but more often
than not mid-sized or small companies that are leading the
competition by an intelligent and novel approach, focused
customer care and an effective cycle of innovation.
For de Bono, this was not new thirty years ago. He
wrote that it is ‘not possible to look in a different direction
by looking harder in the same direction.’ He thought that
for innovation, the tough, hard-working approach is dys-
functional, which is why he advocated flexible intelligence
as the prime mover for ultimate success.
One of the major tasks of lateral thinking is to identify
and overcome dominant ideas because a dominant idea can
be a real obstacle in the creative thinking process.
In every business, dominant ideas are very subtly and
often imperceptibly built into the system through the for-
mulation of strategies, marketing slogans, habits and tradi-
tions, the archaic ‘we have always done it that way and it
has worked for us.’
In the fifth chapter, the author summarizes his thor-
ough examination of thinking habits and writes:

With most situations, what starts as a temporary and
provisional manner of looking at them soon turns into
the only possible way, especially if encouraged by


The Mechanism of Mind
New York: Penguin, 1969, reedited 1990

The second of the five books I am reviewing is a booklet that develops
and elaborates Edward de Bono’s approach to creative thinking, as it
was first exposed in The Use of Lateral Thinking.

The book is quite uncanny in that the author examines
with scientific exactitude how our brain handles percep-
tion and how it processes information. Using many exam-
ples for demonstrating his theory, Edward de Bono finally
concludes that the specific memory surface that the brain
uses for information processing is in itself a highly unreli-
able system. In Part II, 29: Overcoming the Limitations, de
Bono writes:

The errors, faults and limitations of information-
processing on the special memory-surface are inescap-
able because they follow directly from the nature of the
organization of the surface. /218


In the next four chapters of the study, Edward de Bono
analyzes the process of thinking. He divides thinking into
four categories, natural thinking, logical thinking, mathemati-
cal thinking and lateral thinking. He then discusses each of
these modes of thinking. Natural thinking that de Bono also
calls simple or primitive thinking is characterized by being
fluent yet its very fluency is the source of its errors.
This mode of thinking, de Bono says, is the natural way
the memory surface behaves and its thought-flow is ‘im-
mediate, direct and basically adequate.’
Logical thinking is characterized as the management of
‘no,’ most logical processes being forms of binary equa-
tions of identity and non-identity. Logical thinking is seen
as a tremendous improvement of natural thinking, in spite
of the limitations that he pointed out in detail. Mathematical
thinking is held by de Bono as useful, however with the
limitation that it is more adequate to describe things than
people. Lateral thinking as a genuine mode of thinking has
been coined and developed by Edward de Bono.

The purpose of lateral thinking is to counteract both
the errors and the limitations of the special

De Bono states that lateral thinking is concerned with
making the best possible use of the information that is al-
ready available in the memory surface. He then gives ex-
amples to illustrate in which ways lateral thinking is essen-
tially different from vertical thinking. To say it with a slo-


gan, lateral thinking is a way of thinking that lets a door
open for the unexpected to occur; in other words, with lat-
eral thinking you may not know what you are looking for
until after you have found it.
There are several broad characteristics that show the
obvious usefulness of lateral thinking. Edward de Bono
discusses them one after the other in his book:

‣ Seeking alternatives

‣ Thinking non-sequentially

‣ Undoing selection processes

‣ Shifting attention

‣ Giving random input

I do not need to further comment on this brilliant study
which bears the stroke of genius.
I guess that it was this book that laid the foundation for
de Bono’s overwhelming success as a think tank and busi-
ness coach later on. Strangely enough, then, this booklet is
the least known and perhaps the least popular among all
his books. But for one who is seriously interested in the
foundations of lateral and of creative thinking, it is an ab-
solute must-read.


Serious Creativity
Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas
New York: Penguin, 1992, reprinted 1996

In Serious Creativity, de Bono continues the line of thought previously
exhibited in The Use of Lateral Thinking and The Mechanism of Mind.
However, Serious Creativity is a more elaborated study of lateral think-
ing in its broadest and most practical dimensions.

The book consists of three major parts. In Part One,
Edward de Bono writes about the need for creative think-
ing and shows its theoretical and practical applications.
The author leaves no doubt that his approach is not
destined for artists and creators, but primarily for business
people. Thus, not artistic creativity or inspirational creativ-
ity is the main field of application of de Bono’s approach to
creativity, but creativity used for developing new and prof-
itable ideas for marketing products and for succeeding in


the market place. Accordingly, the style and the language
of the book are ideally suited for entrepreneurs and execu-
tives, and it provides what the author calls take-away value.

Interestingly, and unlike the two predecessors, lateral
thinking is now only one element among others within the
ten sub-chapters that throw different lights on the impor-
tant question for every innovative company: how can we
find and develop new and successful ideas?

Part Two is a detailed and highly elaborated analysis of
the use of lateral thinking in the brainstorming process.
The quality and exclusiveness of the material presented
here is such that it by far outreaches the competence of a
creativity manager or innovation department; but on the
other hand, corporate leaders or executive committees will
seldom have the time and tranquil setting needed to digest
the ideas and creative tools presented in this book, and to
make the utmost profit out of it. It is therefore important to
emphasize what de Bono repeatedly suggests in his books,
that is, to create special Concept R&D Departments that are
to be created for the purpose of providing new organiza-
tional concepts for the growth of business acumen.
The material presented is so vast that it by far sur-
passes the space to discuss it in a book review, so much the
more as de Bono walks you through his famous Six Think-
ing Hats brainstorming technique in this book, among six-
teen other creative thinking techniques that are worth to be
studied and tried out in practice.


The third part of the study is concerned with the prac-
tical application of creative thinking. This chapter is indis-
pensable for anyone who wants to setup training seminars
or workshops on serious creativity.
It is written in an exemplarily clear and practical style.
Every suggestion the author made here is useful in the
day-to-day running of seminars or company workshops on

Not to forget the Appendixes which are true jewels for
the training practitioner:

‣ Appendix One: Lateral Thinking Techniques;

‣ Appendix Two: Use of Lateral Thinking Techniques;

‣ Appendix Three: Harvesting Checklist;

‣ Appendix Four: Treatment of Ideas Checklist.

To summarize, this book has more practical and direct-
to-use value than its two predecessors that however laid
the theoretical foundation so that this book could come to
De Bono’s brilliant diction and his smart in presenting
highly complex content makes this book, among all others
by the same author, a true enrichment of any business li-


Creating Value Monopolies when Everybody Else
is Merely Competing
New York: Fontana, 1992, HarperCollins, 1993

Edward de Bono’s book Sur/Petition is very important. All the issues
that he tackles in this extremely well-written book are still today hot
issues, in the sense that they are unresolved so far in most businesses.

But let us ask, ‘What is Sur/Petition?’ The basic subject
matter of the book is the issue of creating value monopolies.
Competing literally means ‘struggling together,’ whereas
surpeting, by contrast, means struggling ahead of others.
How to get ahead of your competitors? The answer is
by offering more value, integrated value, value that is yet
unmatched by others and that, therefore, reaches the status
of a monopoly. As de Bono explains, value monopolies are
not illegal forms of business conduct because they serve
the customer; they are specific solutions for the paradigm
that Karl Albrecht called Total Quality Service or briefly
TQS, as a parallel to Total Quality Management or TQM.


This approach puts the customer first in the agenda,
not housekeeping or the company tradition.
Value monopolies can only be created after brainstorm-
ing has taken place which is based on a serious effort to un-
derstand and value the needs of the customer. It seems to
me that presently, after we have passed the first decade of
the 21st century, multinational corporations are beginning
to grasp the importance of providing their customers with
solutions that are of real value.
De Bono, as always, has looked into the future and of-
fered solutions that most people, at the time of publishing
the ideas, were not ready to grasp.
The example that de Bono cites regarding Ford strikes.
He consulted Ford Britain to buy a company that owned
large car parks all over Great Britain. He argued that cars
are no more than a lump of engineering and that a cus-
tomer who buys a car wants and needs more, and more
service in the first place. One of those needs being the urge
to find a parking lot in town, de Bono’s idea seemed bril-
liant. Now Ford could have connected a value to the exist-
ing value ‘car’ which would have created a value monop-
oly for the company. De Bono’s idea was precisely that at
the entrance of those car parks a note would have been put
that only Ford cars could enter them—and not other cars.
However, Ford did not see the chance nor the need of its
customers for more integrated value and thus did not fol-
low the proposal.


Some years ago, the popular German car maker Volks-
wagen was brainstorming on the same lines and they cre-
ated Volkswagen Bank as a result, and a free basic insurance
for home and family, given as a free add-on value package
to every car buyer. To make it round, third in the package
was a credit card offer for new car customers. Not only did
Volkswagen sell more cars, the Volkswagen Bank surpris-
ingly for many became one of the most successful and ef-
fectively managed banks in Germany.
The example was so inspiring that Mercedes-Benz and
BMW developed similar concepts and opened their Mer-
cedes Bank and BMW Bank. What they give is even more.
Every new customer, besides the afore-mentioned benefits,
receives a credit card that gives a range of benefits so nu-
merous that it fills a little booklet.
De Bono always questions traditional ways of doing
business and goes straight to the root of problems.
In the first chapter which is entitled What is Wrong with
the Fundamentals? he calls efficiency and problem-solving
mere maintenance procedures and concludes that only ef-
fective solutions can bring success in the long run.
Today, most of the Fortune 500 companies have real-
ized this and other of de Bono’s early ideas, but when de
Bono voiced these requirements twenty years ago, he was
taken as a visionary with lacking sense for reality. As it is so
often the case, in hindsight we see that he had more sense
of reality than all his contradictors since what he predicted
so many years ago is business reality today!


Reading this book, you will get a feeling that in most
businesses, there is a desperate longing for more creativity
whereas, at the same time, and perhaps paradoxically so,
creative thinking is rejected as an illusion, time waster, or
as something for artists only. Intelligent ways of dealing
with business, and effective solutions, in the past as today
are the exception.
Even among multinational cor-
porations which are the most likely
to adopt strategies and fixes as de
Bono suggests them, are not im-
mune against old mistakes. The
high turndown rate in the group of
Fortune 500s is an indicator; in fact
80% of those existing in the 1970s
have disappeared from the globe by now. It is not enough
to just understand the principles and to establish planning
committees. The art of management is to walk the talk one
wants all in the company to walk.
My experience has shown me that corporate leaders
are well ready to follow the advice of consultants but they
think that they themselves are beyond the need for consul-
tancy. The hairy truth is that, in the contrary, the boss has
to adopt the new attitude first and walk it through before
he can duly expect others down in the corporate hierarchy
to adopt it.
Interestingly, when we study highly successful entre-
preneurs, we see that they intuitively apply the principles


de Bono writes about. I would like to cite Bill Gates as an
example; his extraordinary success is not chance and it is
not just luck. What I found after having studied various
sources about him as well as information received from
people closely working with him is that he exactly applies
all these principles in his leadership
style. Gates goes even beyond. He
is one of the few entrepreneurs who
voluntarily apply chaos principles in
their management to get out of lin-
ear movement and into the magic
of serendipitous strikes. What is perhaps the final secret for
the success in business is the combination of technical
competence (the hardware) and people competence (the
What Microsoft has done to get out of the claws of its
competition, and sur/pete was:

‣ Creating value monopolies based upon precise knowledge
regarding to what the mass customer expects and needs;

‣ Intelligent concept design that gives a familiar look to all
Microsoft software;

‣ Superior striving for providing the utmost user-friendliness,
intuitive handling and ease-of-use;

‣ Very conscious and careful approach in customer care and

‣ Leading position in advancing new technologies, and cour-
age and expertise to do so;

‣ Most advanced approach for people care;


‣ Very careful examination of what the competition is doing
for quickly and often boldly sur/peting it.

Value monopolies namely begin
with providing value and with valu-
ing both the customer and the com-
pany. The latter if often forgotten.
A company that does not value
its own achievements and strength, and their staff will not
succeed. However, high self-esteem, as de Bono observed
in his book, is in practice often replaced by complacency.

Complacency is such a destructive attitude that he de-
votes twelve pages, a whole subchapter, to its discussion.
More than once, de Bono reports in the book that arro-
gance and complacency are what he found to be the two
strongest impediments for implementing new customer-
focused management strategies.
A very interesting part of the book, for those who are
not yet familiar with value-based management is chapter
eight entitled The Three Stages of Business. These three
stages are outlined as—

‣ Product Values

‣ Competitive Values

‣ Integrated Values

It is only logical that at the end of this thorough study,
de Bono suggests to implement Concept R&D Departments,
a brilliant idea. The author notes that in traditional busi-


ness settings, it is still considered a threat to empower em-
ployees and to establish think tank groups. As long as
business or government is managed like the military—and
this was after all the traditional way to manage large cor-
porations and government agencies all over the world—
we will not be able to move into management and leader-
ship that is—
—Team driven instead of person driven;

—People driven instead of technology driven;
—Progressive, effective and ecological;
—Flexible and unbureaucratic.
Hence the need for organizations to move away from
this archaic and ineffective management paradigm, and
replace it by an effective, sustainable and people-driven
business management that is based on values and the vir-
tue of satisfying value-driven customer needs.
To summarize, this book that is supposedly not one of
the most well-known Bono books, is yet one of the best
productions of the author. For all people concerned with
management, it is one of the most original and valuable
books on management success strategies that have ever
been published. I would even go as far as saying that it is a
must-read for everyone who is in some way involved in
leading people into the postindustrial era. At the time de
Bono wrote this book, most of his ideas were rejected by
the mainstream management paradigm reigning at that
time. The author’s reputation as the leading think tank and


trainer did not change this fact, nor the fact that among his
clients were large multinational corporations. This is the
somewhat frustrating point of departure of the book in the
author’s own words:

Government needs thinking very badly but does sur-
prisingly little of it. (…) Business handles the analytical
side of thinking quite well. But there is a need for im-
provement in the constructive, creative, and conceptual
side. In the future, this is the aspect of thinking that is
going to be essential for success./XX

With his habitual lucidity, Edward
de Bono shows the present discrep-
ancy between a new paradigm of
quality management and the em-
phasis on housekeeping that used to
be the flaw of traditional manage-
ment. Down the road, you have to
provide values that customers want,
writes de Bono. We can only hope that both government
and business leaders will eventually comprehend and im-
plement de Bono’s futuristic ideas so that the new business
culture will be more customer driven, more flexibly intelli-
gent and more creative.


The Art and Science of Success
London: Pilot Productions Ltd., 1985
Fontana, 1991
Harper & Collins, 1993

Edward de Bono’s book Tactics is a thoroughly empirical study on the
subject of success and the various factors that contribute to a person
experiencing success. Together with a team of researchers, fifty-five
highly successful people from business, finance, sports, art and fashion
were interviewed.

Excerpts of these interviews together with the author’s
very original classification of success into various catego-
ries and subcategories make the core of this most unusual
and highly readable book.
To be true, the book is a treasure! The information you
get out of it is among the most valuable you can obtain not
only for your business career but for your life as a whole.
Most of the people interviewed show really uncommon


views, high originality, and a daring, non-conventional, high-
spirited, intelligent and bold approach to life, an approach that
is never, in this form, taught or encouraged in school or
Let me start this review by having a look at the main
characteristics that the author found to be valid for success
in life and business:
—Creative style;

—Energy, drive and direction;
—Confidence and self-confidence;
—Stamina and hard work;

—Ability to cope with failure;
These were found to be the positively stimulating fac-
tors of success. Interestingly, not only the positive stimu-
lants such as power, money or self-image were found to be
contributing to success but also negative stimulants such
as anxiety. The latter view is uncommon.
Especially the exponents of the positive thinking move-
ment seem to suggest that a well-directed life is one free of
anxiety. Nope! Very successful entrepreneurs such as Rob-
ert Holmes à Court speak another language. Let me quote
a passage in which de Bono summarizes the findings col-
lected from different interviews on the matter of anxiety:


It is interesting that with successful people the anxie-
ties are propellant rather than retardant. The anxieties
push the entrepreneur forward rather than hold him
back. There does not seem to be a search for the easy
way or for security as such./60

Edward de Bono lists several traditional positions that
he has seen to play a major role in success, such as—
—Being lucky;

—Being a little mad;
—Being very talented;
—Operating in a rapid growth field.
An important part of the study deals with the way
ideas are relevant for practice and for successful action.
Let’s see what one of the interviewees, Lord Grade, has to
say on this subject:

The ideas you want are real ideas; they’re not fantasies.
There is a difference. The real ideas can be put into ac-
tion. They are not dreams; they’re something real. And
what gets the team confident is that the entire team, the
whole company, is successful./38

The question of style emerges boldly in this study. De
Bono observes that changing one’s personal style and imi-
tating somebody else’s style is not a success formula.

De Bono states that success is based upon polishing
and refining one’s style, even though it may be a style that
few people possess. In a paragraph entitled Characteristics
of Typically Successful Styles, de Bono gives examples for


energy, drive and direction as being one successful style
among many. This is what David Mahoney, named in For-
tune Magazine as one of the ten toughest bosses in America,
has to say about this subject:

I just keep moving every day as hard and fast as I can.
High-intensity and high-voltage. Light comes from
that, not from passivity. I insist we all do our best every
day. I’m intense in everything I do and I expect others
will be, too. There may be timing factors in it, good
luck and fortune factors, but the question is, do you
utilize it? Some of it you can’t control—some of it goes
against you—it works both ways. You run to day-
light—where you see the break you go. Most people
aren’t even aware of what’s happening around them.
Two-thirds of the people don’t know what’s going on
to them, personally./39

There are of course other styles, such as the creative
and inspiring style of Alex Kroll, president of the world’s
largest advertising agency, who transforms every challenge
into a game-like arrangement that is inspiring himself and
his staff for finding creative solutions.
In addition, there are the managerial and the entrepre-
neurial styles. The question is if ego-based styles or can-do
are original styles or if they are just attributes to other
Chris Bonington who climbed Annapurna II, the Eiger
North Wall, Kangur, Ogre, Annapurna South Face, and
South-West Face of Everest says that it’s also the great


drive to find something in yourself, or the curiosity of
finding whether this can be done. The question if one can
achieve something daring and difficult is a constant tenor
in ambitious people’s life. There is no security in this, no
There is only intuition, and it can be very strong, as in
case of Paul McCready who incarnates the can-do style or
attitude. This man made the first plane that flies only by
using muscle power, without any motor, and he says:

I went single-mindedly and with considerable assur-
ance towards the goal./41

Nolan Bushnell, creator of the video game industry,
worth $70 million after the first decade of running a com-
pany with a $500 investment, says that he always feels like
there is a solution. There we are indeed in the realm of an-
ticipation, of sixth sense, of intuition.
Another style or style element is self-confidence and a
certain amount of conceit. Roy Cohn, described by Esquire
Magazine as a legal executioner … the toughest, meanest,
vilest and one of the most brilliant lawyers in America

You also have to have a certain amount of conceit,
which leads you to believe that you and you alone can
get things moving./42


In this chapter, de Bono examines all these possible
styles and gives examples from the abundant material that
the interviews provided to this purpose. He summarizes:

‣ Develop your personal style and refine it;

‣ Build on your strong points or characteristics;

‣ Do not try to alter your weak points or characteristics;

‣ Make sure that every decision complies with your style;

‣ Choose the circumstances that best fit your style;

‣ Be bold and egocentric;

‣ Use failure as a shadow that gives dimensions to the picture.

And the author to comment: ‘An inflated balloon is
vulnerable, but that is the only way it is going to fly.’/57
The following chapters deal with what triggers success,
and what are the factors that may have a more subtle im-
pact upon success. Part II of the book teaches how to pre-
pare for success and Part III points out six factors that are
important to practice for everyone who sets out to be suc-

—Strategy for people as resources;
—Tactical play.


I can only express my admiration for this careful and
precious study that has enriched my life in an extraordi-
nary manner.


James Borg
2nd Edition
New York: Pearson Books, 2008

James Borg’s acclaimed book on persuasion and the art of listening has
enriched me. I must admit I was never into business literature that deals
with the various aspects of the business relation.

This book is about the art of making business relations,
of engaging another business person in dialogue, mainly
with the purpose of selling a product or service.
As business and family are amazingly similar in their
principles, it doesn’t surprise that the techniques here pre-
sented and elaborated also profit the private sphere and
intimate and family relations. The author gives several ex-
amples for when companies trained their staff in various
aspects of business communication, there was an immediate


positive impact also upon the family lives of these employ-
ees, namely an improvement of the intra-familiar commu-
nication, both in the couple and between parents and chil-
The book is systematic, well-researched, yet amusing to
read. It shines by its pragmatic and down-to-earth approach,
which is perhaps why it appeals to such a large audience.
In addition, the author has a light and witty tone that is
useful when you consider the formalism of psycholinguis-
tics, a science that is rather tedious to study. To be honest,
this book is full of real-life examples and anecdotes that
make the richness of the texture, and show the author’s
large experience in the field of building and maintaining
relationships, business and private.
I shall first give an overview over the subjects the book
covers and then discuss some specific issues that I docu-
ment with selected quotes from the book.
Every chapter ends with a ‘Coffee Break’ section where
the reader is invited to give some basic input, and the Ap-
pendix provides the solution of these little recapitulations
of the content. Here is a chapter overview:

‣ The power of persuasion

‣ Being a good listener

‣ Attention please

‣ Mind your body language

‣ Memory magic


‣ Make words work for you—the power of psycholinguistics

‣ Telephone telepathy

‣ Negotiating for mutual benefit

‣ ‘Difficult people’ (and their behavior)

‣ The personality spectrum

The art of listening is really a center point in this book,
perhaps the most important single issue discussed in it. To
begin with, the author writes:

Powerful persuasion begins with the ability to hear
what others are saying. And listening is about far more
than being quiet when somebody else speaks. In the
divorce courts and in the workplace, a breakdown is
often attributed to poor listening. If it is carried out ef-
fectively, it creates and improves personal and business
relationships. In every situation in life, effective listen-
ing will help you to understand another person’s
thoughts, feelings and actions. /13

Since listening is a sign of affirmation, it promotes self-
esteem; the opposite usually occurs if there is a break-
down. /15

People who are poor listeners often see listening as a
passive—and therefore unproductive—activity. Their
ego gets in the way. They feel the need to be talking in
order to make any impact with the other person. /15


Listening isn’t merely saying nothing while the other
person is talking. It’s deriving meaning from what’s
said. And that’s what people find difficult. They think
it’s just hearing. /17

Listening […] denotes the process of interpreting and
understanding. It means deriving meaning from what
has been heard—it is a psychological process. /18

The next central point of the study is memory and how
to improve memory. In my research on human genius, I
found that people of genius are generally outstanding in
the techniques of mnemonics. So let us ask what is the use
of a memory in business relations?

I think it serves more than one purpose. It is important
to recapitulate and present facts to back one’s claims or
point of view with facts. In addition, it is necessary to re-
member dealings you made previously with a particular
person or business. In job interviews, it is often necessary
to shine with facts and details from your previous em-
ployment. But most of all, as James Borg explains, we need
to memorize names and faces, and as a second step, then,
to associate those names with the faces.
This is essential for contact making, both in the formal
and the informal setting, at business meetings and during
company outings, parties and excursions when teams meet
other teams for the purpose to collaborate more closely.

The problem is that a lot of people have very average
memories and many others have very bad ones. If you


can break from this mould, you’re in a very powerful
position. In business and personal life, the confidence
that comes from a good power of recall is valuable be-
yond measure. And we all have it within us to improve
our memories and therefore our lives. /83

[…] to optimize our memory capability we need to en-
gage both sides of the brain; in other words, the logical
(left) and the creative (right) side. /83

You can improve yourself mentally, just as you can im-
prove your physique from working out in the gym.
Everyone has the ability. Become your own personal
trainer. Conditioning the mind through mental jogging
can help develop a more effective memory for names.

Our names are the most personal things we pos-
sess—they’re unique to us. A name forms a big part in
the psychology of the self. Consequently, people are
often more responsive to those who use them. /93

The next central issue I have chosen to present and dis-
cuss is how to make words work for you, how to choose
the correct wording in each and every possible contextual
situation, so as to be most effective with getting your mes-
sage over to another, or an audience. James Borg elaborates
this part of the book very carefully and it’s really impor-
tant, and was important for me to read and digest.

The wrong choice of word has precipitated many wars,
divorces, fights, arguments and business bust-ups. We


make assumptions based on what people are saying or
doing and quite often respond before testing the valid-
ity of our assumptions./119

In some cases, […] words may convey an accurate
statement (a person could have been late six times for
the six meetings you've had), but we tend to use them
to make a point, and it can lead to the opposite

You have to use words to communicate. You may as
well use the best. /131

Another topic is how to make effective phone calls, and
how to use a sort of telepathy or intuition to correctly sec-
ond guess how one ‘comes over’ to the other in the various
stages of a business conversation, and how the other might
be distracted in various ways to ‘receive’ one’s message,
which then imperatively requires the change of tactics.

People generally respond better if they’re in a good
mood and not under pressure, and when things are
going fairly well. Show some perspicacity. Time your
requests to your advantage. In other words, call when
the other person is able to give their best attention.
Good thinking is essential in personal relationships,
and it's crucial in the business world. We should con-
stantly be aware of this. We know it’s true. /158

The next topic that sounded to me like written for me
is win-win negotiations. While I always committed to win-
win in all business dealings, the reality of my life was atro-


ciously slapping in the face of this principle. In clear text, I
was almost always the losing part, and here I learnt why
this was so. It had nothing to do with my principles or my
intentions, but what the principles are in communicating
your point successfully so that you come to at least a 50-50
agreement, not one where the other gets 80 and you get 20.
Well, in my long academic career, this skill and most others
discussed in this book were never taught, they were not
even thought of as important in my university environ-
ment. But I saw their relevance in my work life as a lawyer
later on, where I was constantly underpaid despite of the
excellence of my work. Some friends said I was too peace-
loving, my own mother and my psychiatrist said I was
lacking aggressiveness and other people even reproached
me I was masochistic. In truth, I am none of this, but I had
no idea how to negotiate, what it means, what it implies.
When I was assertive, I felt I was throwing my weight
around, when I was making my point, I felt as if I was hav-
ing ‘utopian ideas.’ Probably, I came over to others simply
as a fool, or in more polite terms, as a ‘hopeless academic.’
It went to a point that still about ten years ago, when I
had developed a villa project in Bali, and before I sold it as
I felt incompetent to manage it profitably, a potential client
told me on the phone: ‘Can you tell me why you are rent-
ing out your villas for so cheap?’
James Borg’s advice comes over to me as a joke, or al-
most, as I was listening too much to my clients, to a point I
forgot about my own interest, my own need to make a


profit to get a return on my investment, and to appear as
credible in the business world.
I was considered ‘too cheap’ in all senses of this ex-
pression, or ‘too good to be true’ in the eyes of both my
competitors and my potential clients. So when the author
advises to being empathetic and respectful, I can only say
from my personal condition, that’s of course true, but there
is something prior to that: it is being respectful of yourself

The focus should be on finding a solution to the prob-
lem. The problem is not the people you are dealing
with. They should be treated with respect, with all due
empathy displayed; above all, they should be listened
to, regardless of whether you agree with their

Well, we know that the ideal table that promotes a
nonconfrontational atmosphere is a round one. It
avoids the ‘them’ and ‘us’ of the long rectangular table,
with the two sides sitting directly opposite each other.
However, if you’re stuck with this kind of table, then it
softens the proceedings a little if you don’t site directly
opposite the other party./184

If you watch the pros negotiating (at wage tribunals,
economic summits, in the boardroom, etc.), you’ll no-
tice how they let the body signal their response to a
demand. You’ll see them shaking their head, smiling,
flicking an imaginary fleck of fluff off the tie or jacket,
or giving occasional outbursts of laughter in disbelief.


They’re trying to let the other person know, without
actually saying so, that the request is over the top. It’s
less offensive using body language./187

Before the author discusses the various personality
types, he gives substantial advice on how to deal with
what we might call ‘difficult’ people—while we should be
well aware that this is a judgment that the person herself
will contest in most cases.
I would like to caution the reader here as from this
point in the book, I felt I was more in contradiction with
the author than before, and this for three fundamental rea-
sons. First, I believe that judging is generally wrong; sec-
ond, we most of the time have no valid reasons for our
judgments, which are more often than not based upon ap-
pearances; and third, I am convinced that psychiatric ideas
of ‘personality types’ are just another mental drawer that
does basic injustice to the human nature that is too com-
plex too be drawn out in lines and circles. I would go as far
as saying that the very attempt to 'categorize' human be-
ings is a basic error, while I do admit that we all have per-
sonal or transpersonal behavior patterns.
So what we are talking about is behavior, not people or
personalities, it’s patterns, and patterns can be changed as
they are not carved in stone, and when they are used as
judgments about people, we are on the wrong track alto-
gether to ever negotiate peacefully and respectfully with
people. We are just all too different to allow us saying we
were fitting in certain mental or psychological drawers.


This being said, while some of the ideas the author
may be useful, I do generally not think that even if we
have all the psychological knowledge needed about differ-
ent personality types, in real life we most of the time apply
this knowledge intuitively. The author classifies difficult
people into these categories and then briefly discusses each
of them, while admitting that ‘most people become less
difficult after a discussion in the open.’

[Procrastinator] The important thing is not to show
through your conversation and body language that
you are irritated with them. You’ll need empathy to get
to the root of their indecision and also sympathy for
their predicament (having to make a decision). Then
you can set about helping them through a process that
will unfold at their pace./215

[Explosive] A placatory ‘keep calm’ or words to that
effect, usually makes things worse./216

[Self-Important] They’re playing a ‘role’ (an irritating
one at that), so—as with your dealings with any kind
of difficult person—separate the behavior from the

What I said as a precaution when discussing the previ-
ous chapter is so much the more true for the last chap-
ter of the book that deals with Carl Jung's theory of
'personality types'. The author's obvious intention is to
make this famed theory useful for the business world,
and the process of negotiation, with the result of per-


Psychological research into the study of personality
types has centered on the aspect of personality traits.
Psychological typing categorizes a number of related
personality traits. There is almost universal agreement
that we are a product of both nature (biology) and nur-
ture (experience)./230

According to Jung, even though these attitudes are op-
posite, each person possesses both, and one attitude is
dominant over the other. The dominant one is ex-
pressed in conscious behavior, while the subordinate
one is representative of the person’s unconscious./231


Stephen R. Covey

Books Reviewed

The 8th Habit (2004)
The 3rd Alternative (2011)

Steven Richards Covey (1932-2012) was an educator,
author, businessman, and keynote speaker, and one of the
most successful corporate consultants and think tanks the
world has seen to this day. He was one of Time magazine’s
twenty-five most influential Americans, and dedicated his
life to demonstrating with profound yet straightforward
guidance how every person can control their destiny.
He has sold over 20 million books (in thirty-eight lan-
guages), and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was
named the One Most Influential Business Book in the 20th


Century. His other books include Principle-Centered Leader-
ship, First Things First, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fami-
lies, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, and The
Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World Are
Inspiring Greatness One Child at a Time.
In 1985 he established Stephen R. Covey and Associ-
ates which in 1987 became The ‘Covey Leadership Center’
which, in 1997, merged with Franklin Quest to form Frank-
linCovey, a global professional-services firm and specialty
retailer selling both training and productivity tools to indi-
viduals and to organizations. Their mission statement
reads: ‘We enable greatness in people and organizations

Dr. Covey was a tenured professor in the Huntsman
School of Business, Utah State University, where he held
the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chair in Leadership.


The 8th Habit
From Effectiveness to Greatness
London: Simon & Schuster, 2006

The 8th Habit is a brilliantly written and extraordinarily useful book for
solving conflict, build synergistic and truly outstanding relationships,
and bring team interaction to a point of effectiveness that may never
have been reached with any other method. Besides, it is a truly inspiring
book by a great personality!

No words are too boastful to describe the achievement
this book represents! It is a true marvel in each and every
business library. As The 3rd Alternative, Covey’s last book
which I review further down, the book is a treasure hunt
for stories produced out of the lives of truly great people.

Here, the figure of Mohammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace
Prize winner in 2006 and creator of microfinance in Bang-
ladesh, stands out as an example. After years of struggle
and hardship, Grameen Bank, the bank Yunus created for


granting small loans to poor people, then worked in more
than 46,000 villages in Bangladesh, through 1,267 branches
and over 12,000 staff members. They have lent more than
$4.5 billion, in loans of twelve to fifteen dollars, averaging
under $200. At the time when Yunus became aware of the
burning need for such tiny credits, when he himself ven-
tured to give them from his income as an economic profes-
sor, microfinancing was not only non-existent—it was con-
sidered as an outrageous idea and the man had to fight a
very hard and sometimes almost hopeless struggle against
prejudice and red tape, even though he could prove that
the credits he had granted were invariably paid back. Any
collaboration with existing financial institutions failed, de-
spite the fact that Yunus offered himself as a guarantor for
the loans, and he finally saw only one solution: to setup his
own institution. But it took three years to get the license
from the government to setup the bank!
I have not been unfamiliar with Dr. Covey’s leadership
approach. After reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peo-
ple back in the 1990s, I felt inspired and empowered for
starting my own corporate training business.
To begin with, Covey argues against what he called The
Personality Ethic, something he saw as prevalent in many
modern selfhelp books.
He instead promoted The Character Ethic: aligning one’s
values with universal and timeless principles. He consid-
ered these principles as universal laws, and values as in-
ternal and subjective.


Covey proclaimed that values govern people’s behav-
ior, but principles ultimately determine the consequences.
He presented his teachings in a series of habits, manifest-
ing as a progression from dependence via independence to
It is the sequel to The Seven Habits, Dr. Covey held that
effectiveness did not suffice in The Knowledge Worker Age.
He said that ‘[t]he challenges and complexity we face to-
day are of a different order of magnitude.’
The 8th Habit urges us for finding our voice and inspir-
ing others to find theirs. The following synopsis of The 7
Habits is adapted from The 8th Habit, pp. 152-153:

Habit 1—Be Proactive
Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is rec-
ognizing that we are responsible for our choices and have
the freedom to choose based on principles and values
rather than on moods or conditions. Proactive people are
agents of change and choose not to be victims, to be reac-
tive, or to blame others.

Habit 2—Begin with the End in Mind
We ideally shape our future by first creating a mental
vision for any project, large or small, personal or interper-
sonal. We don’t just live day-to-day with no clear purpose
in mind. We identify and commit ourselves to the princi-
ples, relationships and purposes that matter most to us.


Habit 3—Put First Things First
This means organizing and executing around our most
important priorities. Whatever the circumstances, it is liv-
ing and being driven by the principles we value most, not
by the urgent agendas and forces surrounding us.

Habit 4—Think Win-Win
Thinking win-win is a frame of mind and heart that
seeks mutual benefit and mutual respect in all interactions.
It’s thinking in terms of abundance and opportunity rather
than scarcity and adversarial competition. It’s not thinking
selfishly (win-lose) or like a martyr (lose-win). It’s thinking
in terms of ‘we’, not ‘me.’

Habit 5—Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
When we listen with the intent to understand others,
rather than with the intent to reply, we begin true commu-
nication and relationship building. Opportunities to then
speak openly and to be understood come much more natu-
rally and easily. Seeking to understand takes consideration;
seeking to be understood seeks courage. Effectiveness lies
in balancing or blending the two.

Habit 6—Synergize
Synergy is the third alternative—not my way, not your
way, but a third way that is better than either of us would
come up with individually. It’s the fruit of respecting, valu-
ing and even celebrating one another’s differences. It’s
about solving problems, seizing opportunities, and work-


ing out differences. Synergy is also the key to any effective
team or relationship.
A synergistic team is a complementary team—where
the team is organized so that the strengths of some com-
pensate for the weaknesses of others.

Habit 7—Sharpen the Saw
Sharpening the saw is about constantly renewing our-
selves in the four basic areas of life: physical, social and
emotional, mental and spiritual. It’s the habit that increases
our capacity to live all other habits of effectiveness.
Now, of course, the question is legitimate what that 8th
Habit really is? One may have thought that the set of hab-
its—call them also behaviors or paradigms—was com-
plete, was it not? So the challenging question is of course
what is this 8th habit all about? Well, let me anticipate: we
can ask the same question regarding the author’s latest
book, The 3rd Alternative, which I shall review further
down. Is that really something new?
Honestly it is not, but an extrapolation of Habit 6—Syn-
ergize, as Covey himself points out in that book. I do not
wish to put this up as a criticism. But it shows that all in
the creative life of a person is a result of patterning. We
formulate a pattern but it’s not complete. Then, later, we
expand it again, and thus write another book.

How can somebody come up with the idea to say: ‘The
author should have seen that before and implemented it
from the start!’ This would be an inhuman attitude.


We are evolving beings, and even more so, and with the
specific focus provided by the systems view of life, we are
co-evolving beings. That basically means that we find our
wholeness in the exchange with others. It was probably
through Covey’s lecturing about his ideas and the large
feedback he got that he expanded his approach and so to
speak appended his concept through the means of a new
book. That doesn’t mean that the older publication is obso-
lete. We are talking here about the evolution of a creative
Let me give an example. Picasso’s Rose Period or his
Blue Period were not obsoleted by his subsequent discovery
of Cubism and his many successful cubist paintings.

Right at onset of The 8th Habit, in Chapter 1, entitled
‘The Pain’, the 8th habit is made part of the famous 7 Habits
structure. Another graphic illustrates it even more clearly,
showing that the ‘Voice’ is situated exactly at the intersec-
tions of Talent, Passion, Need and Conscience.


The author writes:

The 8th Habit represents the pathway to the enor-
mously promising side of today’s reality. It stands in
stark contrast to the pain and frustration I’ve been de-
scribing. In fact, it is a timeless reality. It is the voice of
the human spirit—full of hope and intelligence, resil-
ient by nature, boundless in its potential to serve the
common good. This voice also encompasses the soul of
organizations that will survive, thrive and profoundly
impact the future of the world. /5

In my own words, I would describe this new element
in the author’s comprehensive scheme of ‘leadership effec-
tiveness’ as a definite overcoming of the mechanistic para-
digm that reigned in science and the social sciences until
very recently. Just about 15 years ago people in the busi-
ness world would have frowned upon the idea to bring
‘soul’ into the daily life of organizations, and even to speak
about feelings, emotions or ideals in mainstream business
publications. But the world has definitely changed for the
better here for after all, we are humans, not robots, and we
want to make the world a more human one, not a more
robotic one. To develop our voice—which is a metaphor
for our unique contribution to the world, and society at
large—we need to find our identity because our identity, as
the author writes further down, is our destiny.
This is a long process, it won’t happen overnight. It
means to gain awareness of our basic vision of the world,


our unique way we come up at the world. The author

As I have studied and interviewed most of the world’s
great leaders, I noticed that their sense of vision and
voice has usually evolved slowly. I am sure there are
exceptions. Some may have a vision of what is possible
suddenly burst upon their consciousness. But generally
speaking, I find that vision comes as people sense hu-
man need and respond to their conscience in trying to
meet that need. /9

What Covey called ‘The Knowledge Worker Age’ may
also be called the information society. Peter Senge called
this new institutional paradigm ‘The Learning Organiza-

It is our presently evolving scientific, social and busi-
ness paradigm. It recognizes that all in life is connected by
patterns that inform each other in a flat horizontal network
structure, while the former mechanistic paradigm saw the
world as a huge conglomerate of isolated ‘things’ and ‘ob-
jects’ arranged in hierarchies of dominant order. Covey
remarks that during the Industrial Age, people were seen
like things as in a mechanistic set of beliefs ‘you have re-
duced a person to a thing.’ Now the reason why he wrote the
present book becomes more evident:

The problem is, managers today are still applying the
Industrial Age control model to knowledge workers.
Because many in positions of authority do not see the
true worth and potential of their people and do not


possess a complete, accurate understanding of human
nature, they manage people as they do things. This lack of
understanding also prevents them from tapping into
the highest motivations, talents and genius of people.

Building our identity, our unique vision and voice, we
need to work on our inner complexes, and one of them
that my research revealed to me as perhaps the most im-
portant is codependence. In my corporate training seminars I
realized how much ingrained the mutual dependency is in
the daily life of organizations with all the conspicuous hi-
erarchical thinking that this implies.
Also, personally, I saw that codependence as a psychic
complex prevents us from loving others; it is fusional
thinking, symbiotic thinking, which is ultimately a confu-
sion about our boundaries.
Covey called it ‘the downward spiral of codependen-
cy’—as he spelled the word. He explains:

This widespread reluctance to take initiative, to act in-
dependently, only fuels formal leaders’ imperative to
direct or manage their subordinates. This, they believe,
is what they must do in order to get followers to act.
And this cycle quickly escalates into codependency.
Each party’s weakness reinforces and ultimately justi-
fies the other’s behavior. (…) The codependent culture
that develops is eventually institutionalized to the
point that no one takes responsibility. Over time, both
leaders and followers confirm their roles in an uncon-


scious pact. They disempower themselves by believing
that others must change before their own circum-
stances can improve. The same cycle reappears in fami-
lies between parents and children. /17

Covey then explains in more detail that only a ‘whole
person paradigm’ can fulfill the needs of today’s highly
complex international business world.
This can be measured as science has indeed confirmed
what philosophers said over the ages—laboratory studies
are producing increasing evidence of a close relationship
between body, mind, and heart. Such is for example the
research at the Institute of Heart-Math®, which I reported
in chapter one above.

This evidence demonstrates that the heart has its own
intelligence, which is just as important, if not more impor-
tant, as the brain to our day-to-day functioning. The heart
was also found to coordinate the function of other organs
in the body. The old view that the heart is just a ‘blood
pump,’ similar to a mechanical water pump, is thus clearly
superseded by this cutting-edge research on mindbody
coordination. As a result of this insight it becomes obvious

that approaching humans as if they were machines can
only deliver mediocre results, for in that case they are re-
duced to a status of robots. Covey writes:

The path to mediocrity straightjackets human poten-
tial. The path to greatness unleashes and realizes hu-
man potential. The path to mediocrity is the quick-fix,
short-cut approach to life. The path to greatness is a
process of sequential growth from the inside out. /28

He then explains more in detail what it means to dis-
cover and express one’s voice in chapters four and five.
While it is virtually impossible to review this 400+ pages
book that is full of highly original ideas and enriched by
the author’s immense wealth of training experience, I can-
not close this review without reporting an integrative ap-
proach to human intelligence that Covey explains quite at
length and that is backed up by cutting-edge genius re-
search. In genius research publications it is commonly
termed ‘The Four Quadrant IQ.’ Covey termed these ‘four
intelligences’ as:
—Mental intelligence (IQ)
—Physical intelligence (PQ)
—Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
—Spiritual Intelligence (SQ)

I will not paraphrase Covey’s explanations of these
principles as this would make this review definitely too
extensive, but quote what he wrote—with quite an original


flavor—on how to develop these four ways of being smart.
He writes:

For the body—assume you’ve had a heart attack; now
live accordingly.

For the mind—assume the half-life of your profession
is two years; now prepare accordingly.

For the heart—assume you have a one-on-one visit
with your Creator every quarter; now live accordingly.

I honestly admit that working through this book seri-
ously requires a lot of stamina for it’s not an easy-read.
Much is repeated over and over in different wordings,
which may fit the demands of a learning audience—for
example, a middle management leadership training semi-
nar—than an intellectual audience. Even though I am fa-
miliar with corporate training issues, to get through this
book was a more hassled sensation than working through
the 7 Habits. I admit this honestly and it may be entirely
my own personal perception. What I do highly appreciate
and value, however, is the material given in addition to the
book itself, the 8 Appendices which provide a wealth of
information. For example, Appendix 1 provides a practical
action guide for developing our four intelligences, Appen-
dix 2 a highly interesting literature review of Leadership
Theories which was compiled by the research department
at FranklinCovey, and Appendix Four an example from


daily life about how high the cost of low trust can be for a
company—in fact it can be devastating in the long run.
Also the development of little films, an original idea,
serves to illustrate many of the ideas in the book. These
films and other educational material can now be down-
loaded for free from the Covey Community—and in so far
the hyperlinks provided in the book have been super-
seded. The URL of the community is now here:

The 3rd Alternative
Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems
London: Simon & Schuster, 2012

The 3rd Alternative, Stephen Covey’s last book—actually published in the
very year of his death—is perhaps more than this great man could give.
It is more, much more than a ‘business’ book, as the vision of leadership
it teaches and embodies surpasses by far the realm of business. It widely


covers the adjoining fields of social leadership, nonprofit leadership and
political leadership.

This book that I found only recently, and to my sur-
prise, in a book store in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is an eas-
ier read than its predecessor, The 8th Habit. Covey’s ideas
are presented in fluent style in this book, which has really
touched my heart. It is less schoolmasterly than the books
on effectiveness and leadership in a stricter sense of the
word. But like those others, it is richly illustrated with
comprehensive graphics, so typical for all of Covey’s
books. And what I normally don’t do in book reviews, for
one time I will do it, presenting here some of the many
praises this book has received. Needless to add that I quote
them here as they reflect my own deep impression of the

“In this book, Covey reaches out way beyond his famil-
iar domain, to the universe, and has come up with a
social vaccine capable of addressing if not resolving the
existential agonies and angst that we all face as indi-
viduals, as well as the organizations and societies that
we work and live in. In this Olympiad vault, Covey has
written his most ambitious and hopeful book, in my
own view—a masterpiece to benefit all of us doing our
best to live in peace and justice in this messy world.”

—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of
Management at the University of Southern Cali-
fornia, and author of the memoir Still Surprised


“Even in our conflicted times, now and again we catch
a glimpse of the better thing. Dr. Covey shows us how
to seek that better thing and transcend our deepest

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“In The 3rd Alternative, Dr. Covey inspires us to think
differently about solving problems than we ever have
before. We must set aside our differences, including
our boundaries, languages, economics, politics and cul-
tures and work hand in hand together to create solu-
tions which are greater than the problems we now

—Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner

We know that a picture goes a long way and explains
contextual meaning more easily than verbal language
does. This is the reason I will reproduce two of these
graphics here in this review, as I did in the review of The 8th
Habit, and with the specific copyright argument that those
few graphics are published in the pages of the books pro-
vided by Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature.


As I mentioned briefly already, the 3rd Alternative Lead-
ership and Conflict Resolution Approach was developed
as an extension of the 6th Habit: Synergy. I personally see
the emphasis more on the conflict resolution function this
approach facilitates and believe that the methods taught in
The 8th Habit are largely sufficient for leadership purposes
in general. But as life in general, and human relations in
particular, always engender problematic situations, we can
easily see that we need to be prepared ‘for a leak in the
boat’—as the I Ching expresses it. For the Chinese execu-
tive, preparedness is crucial for good and effective leader-
The present book shows how extensively Dr. Covey
has learnt both from Middle Eastern cultures, from African
traditions, and from the wisdom traditions of the Far East.
The book abounds of examples that show how cross-
culturally Covey has worked perhaps all his life, but espe-
cially in his later years. It is the examples of outstanding
human achievement that captured me throughout this
book. The author first presents the basic problem in simple


terms; it becomes evident when you read these quotes that
this is not a ‘business book’ in the narrow sense, but shows
how business and life are actually interconnected, and that
in a complex world we are today at pains to learn the
greater vision that we need to develop in order to master
our lives and run our businesses:

Perhaps you’re in a marriage that started off great, but
now you can barely stand each other. You may have
estranged relationships with your parents, siblings, or
children. It could be that you feel overwhelmed and
out of balance at work, always trying to do more with
less. Or maybe, like so many others, you are tired of
our litigious society, in which people are so quick to
sue you don’t dare make a move. We worry about
crime and its drag on our society. We see politicians
going at it and getting nowhere. We watch the news at
night and lose hope that the perpetual conflicts be-
tween people and nations will ever be resolved. /1

Most conflicts have two sides. We are used to thinking
in terms of ‘my team’ against ‘your team.’ My team is
good, your team is bad, or at least ‘less good.’ My team
is right and just; your team is wrong and perhaps even
unjust. My motives are pure; yours are mixed at best.
It’s my party, my team, my country, my child, my
company, my opinion, my side against yours. I each
case, there are 2 Alternatives. /8

The scope of this book is huge, and reading it you will
experience surprises, things, events and changes in rela-


tionships that seem almost incredible. When we learn in
what manyfold enterprises Covey was involved, we may
get a glimpse how he was able to build such a wealth of
He recounts for example that he belonged to a leader-
ship group seeking to build a better relationship between
the West and the Islamic community, that it includes a
former U.S. secretary of state, prominent imams and rab-
bis, global business leaders and experts on conflict resolu-
tion. He also relates that his firm FranklinCovey surveyed
people around the world to find out what their top chal-
lenges were personally, on the job, and in the world at

It was not a representative sample: we just wanted to
find out what different people had to say. The 7,834
people who responded were from every continent and
from every level of every kind of organization. /4

The survey could identify three levels where those
challenges manifested:

In the personal lives

The tenor here was overwork, dissatisfaction and relational
problems, as well as burnout and the neglect of the family.

On the job

The tenor here was the fear of losing one’s job in the global
game and the vain search for meaning in a seemingly mean-
ingless industry.


In the world

Here the tenor was the threat of war, terrorism, poverty and
the destruction of the environment, as well as lack of em-
ployment, poor education and lack of infrastructure.

Now, when he begins to outline the solution of the 3rd
Alternative, the higher octave of the synergy principle as
Habit 6 of the 7 Habits, Covey teaches it as a 3-step proc-
—Paradigm 1: I See Myself

The first paradigm is about seeing myself as a unique
human being capable of independent judgment and
action. /25

—Paradigm 2: I See You


The second paradigm is about seeing others as people
instead of things. /33

—Paradigm 3: I Seek You Out

This paradigm is about deliberately seeking out con-
flicting views instead of avoiding or defending your-
self against them. /40

—Paradigm 4: I Synergize With You

The last paradigm is about going for a solution that’s
better than anyone has thought of before, rather than
getting caught up in the cycle of attacking one another.

So far, I think this is quite easy to understand. The
question is only how, in real life, we are able to make such
a quantum leap, to go that much out of our way and to-
ward another, and to overcome our own conditioning?
There is no doubt that most of us have been condi-
tioned to 2-Alternative Thinking, to use Covey’s terminol-
Regarding the first paradigm, I See Myself, Covey
points out that we can ‘think about what we think’ in the
sense that we can challenge our common assumptions,
which is something only we human beings can do because
we are self-aware. He writes:

A 2-Alternative thinker plays the role of the put-open
protagonist locked in combat with the antagonist. But
there is a third voice in the story that is neither the hero


nor the villain. This is the voice that tells the story. If we
are truly self-aware, we realize that we are not just
characters in our own story but also the narrator. We
are not just written, we are the writer, too. /31

He goes on to explain that our stories are always em-
bedded in a larger family, societal or even cultural context
and that we need to see and understand this interconnect-
edness in order to be able to surpass the strict duality of
the ‘two alternatives.’
Regarding the second paradigm, I See You, I found it
highly interesting how Covey came to find this idea real-
ized in the Bantu wisdom of Africa. It is called Ubuntu and
means something like ‘personhood’—or interdependence
between people. Even more so, it means that we can only
accurately know ourselves when we see ourselves re-
flected in the eyes of another person. Thus, we really need
others in order to recognize who we truly—and fully—are!
Covey explains that the spirit of Ubuntu is essential to
3rd Alternative thinking and that it means more than just
having respect for all sentient beings. It means to overcome
the dehumanizing influence of our machine age and rec-
ognize our own humanity in the eyes of another, or a
whole group of people:

This dehumanizing of others—what we often refer to
as stereotyping—starts from a deep insecurity within
the self. This is also where conflict begins. Psycholo-
gists know that most of us tend to remember negative
things about others more than positive things. /36


He quotes Oscar Ybarra, Professor of Psychology at the
University of Michigan, who found out that when people
begin with a healthy, realistic regard for themselves, the
negative memories of others fade away. This is how indeed
seeing myself, I can come to see the other!
Regarding the third paradigm, I Seek You Out, Covey
relates that when we deliberately seek others out for their
share of truth, we can reach insights and conclusions that
we never thought were possible. This is in his own words a
‘radical shift in thinking’ and I agree, for I myself was
never before seeing conflict as a potential resource for new
insights. He points out that while the technique of negotia-
tion tries to find points for agreement, the focus on conflict
leads us to exploring and capitalizing on the differences:

It’s not only natural, but essential for people to have
different opinions. I’ve said many times over the years
that if two people have the same opinion, one of them
is unnecessary. A world without difference would be a
world of sameness where no progress is possible. /42

We can get there only if we break our inner walls of
opinion and the many political clichés put into our mind
by the mass media. The next step, then, is what he calls The
Talking Stick, which is another metaphor borrowed from
native peoples, this time from North American natives,
which is a symbol for peaceful communication. So long as
the speaker holds the stick in hand, no one may interrupt
him; but it also means that the speaker assumes the full


responsibility for what he is saying and how he is saying
What is valid for the speaker is also valid for the lis-
tener. They need to not only listen, but listen empathically.
Regarding the forth paradigm, I Synergize With You,
Stephen Covey points out that synergy is a process that
passes through 4 distinct stages:
—Ask the 3rd Alternative Question

—Define the Criteria of Success
—Create 3rd Alternatives
—Arrive at Synergy or 3rd Alternative

Asking the 3rd Alternative questions essentially means
to ask if the other is willing for a solution that is better than
any of both have come up with yet? Then a clear vision
and a set of criteria needs to be put on the table that show
the other how a successful outcome of the conflict can be
brought about. Once this criteria are found and defined,
the two parties will brainstorm, create scenarios and envi-


sion new frameworks, while suspending judgment. Once
the 3rd Alternative, the synergistic solution has been found,
it needs to be elaborated further to work out a real solution
of the conflictual situation or relationship.
After explaining the principles of going for the 3rd Al-
ternative and build synergy instead of being caught in
either-or solutions, Covey then systematically walks the
reader through all areas of life and explains with many
practical examples how to apply this concept in daily life.
The areas he covers are Work, Home, School, the Law Pro-
fession, Society, and the World.
Being myself a jurist, I would like to report here some
examples from the world of law, and how the concepts of
this book can be successfully applied to find new solutions
to legal impasses and conflicts. Interestingly, as a young
lawyer, I had basically the same ideas for peaceful conflict
resolution as Justice Larry M. Boyle with whom Dr. Covey
has co-authored this part of the book (Chapter 6, 247-277).
When I voiced my opinions, however, I was being told by
various people that I was lacking out on the ‘necessary ag-
gressiveness’ a lawyer must have for being successful in
this profession. As Larry Boyle relates in these interesting
pages, this is chiefly true; however it’s exactly this fierce
aggressiveness embedded in litigation that causes bad
health not only for all parties involved—and here espe-
cially the lawyers themselves—but that also causes the
worst of impasses, if not rampant injustice, that one can
think of.


The chapter starts recounting a case of the kind every
jurist is all-too-familiar with. I quote this here in its entirety
because it can serve as an infamous example of how easily
justice can turn into the most flagrant injustice, and even
more so, into the long-term destruction of valuable rela-
tionships between people and within communities:

In the little English village of Breedon-on-the-Hill, the
annual pantomime brought all the townspeople to-
gether for a night of silly songs and fancy-dress theatri-
cals. It took weeks to prepare, and everybody loved
watching their neighbors make fools of themselves.
The tradition was to hold the panto in the school hall,
built decades before largely through donations from
the village. /247

But the tradition abruptly ended when a new headmis-
tress took over the school, involved new safety codes,
and suggested staging the panto elsewhere. The town
balked, and she raised the fee for the use of the hall to
£800, which made everyone gasp. Nobody could pay
that kind of money. So they demanded the local council
give them free access to the hall, but the council barred
them,and for the first time in half a century, no panto
was held in Breedon. /247-248

Soon the quarrel went to court. The villagers protested
the fee and the new Criminal Records Bureau checks
that had to be done on anyone who entered the school
buildings. Years before, they had paid £3000 toward
the construction of the hall and felt entitled to use it


free of charge outside school hours without being in-
vestigated like criminals. /248

School officials argued that the expense of maintaining
the hall had shot up and that they couldn’t afford to
host the panto any longer; the request was ‘unreason-
able and unworkable’. They couldn’t bear up under the
‘massive exercise in form-filling’ required on every vil-
lager who came into the hall. /Id.

After seven years and $6.7 million in fees, the lawsuit
worked its way through the High Court of England,
where the Lord Chief Justice finally decided it—against
the people of Breedon. He also ordered them to pay the
crushing costs. The headmistress and the vicar of the
parish have long since resigned over the tension. Old
friends no longer speak. Relationships between town
and council are irretrievably broken. And the villa pan-
tomime, where foolishness was once a source of fun, is
gone for good. /Id.

The authors report that such stories are endless. They
report another case, in which a young volunteer with
Teach for America was sending a misbehaving boy out of
class, the parents sued the school for $20 million. In still
another case, a man sued his dry cleaner for $67 million for
losing his pants. The authors conclude:

No one knows how much money is awarded in judg-
ments each year—the number would be astronomi-
cal—but in the United States alone, billable hours for
attorneys add up to $71 billion. /249


The authors blame the adversarial mindset which is in-
herent in our justice system, which they say qualifies as an
infamous example of 2-Alternative thinking that became
institutionalized. They quote from a book entitled ‘On Be-
ing a Happy, Healthy and Ethical Member of an Unhappy,
Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession’, by Patrick J. Schiltz
who wrote about lawyers:

People who are this unhealthy—people who suffer
from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, di-
vorce, and suicide to this extent—are almost by defini-
tion unhappy. It should not be surprising, then, that
lawyers are indeed unhappy, nor should it be surpris-
ing that the source of their unhappiness seems to be the
one thing that they have in common: their work as
lawyers. /251

Then, the authors go on to systematically apply 3rd Al-
ternative thinking to the way legal conflict—which is al-
ways human conflict—can be solved in different ways,
namely by carefully preparing the stage for synergistic so-
I will end this extensive review here in high spirits
about this precious book, and in the hope that it will in-
spire many people, and that it will reach especially those
who are torn up in the claws of either-or thinking with all
the unhealthy and often also unethical consequences it im-


Napoleon Hill

Books Reviewed
The Law of Success (1928/2008)

Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 in Wise County, Vir-
ginia. He worked as a secretary, a ‘mountain reporter’ for a
local newspaper, the manager of a coal mind and a lumber
yard, and attended law school, before he began working as
a journalist for Bob Taylor’s Magazine—a job that led to his
meeting steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, which changed
the course of his life. Carnegie believed success could be
distilled into principles that any person could follow, and
urged Hill to interview the greatest industrialists of the era
in order to discover these principles. Hill took on the chal-
lenge, which lasted twenty years and formed the building
block for Think and Grow Rich. This wealth-building classic
and all-time bestseller of its kind has sold more than 15


million copies worldwide. Hill devoted the remainder of
his life to discovering and refining the principles of suc-
cess. After a long and rich career as an author, magazine
publisher, lecturer, and consultant to business leaders, the
motivational pioneer died in 1970 in South Carolina.
—The Law of Success (1928/2008), About the Author


The Law of Success
The Master Wealth-Builder’s Complete and Original Lesson
Plan for Achieving Your Dreams
New York: Penguin, 2008
First published in 1928

Years ago I have read Napoleon Hills’ famous bestseller ‘Think and
Grow Rich’—subsequently I lost the book which is the simple reason
why it’s not reviewed here. But just recently I found this perhaps less
famous, but very important book by the same author.

Napoleon Hill’s approach to the teaching of the law of
success is systematic. This can be demonstrated quite evi-
dently by having a look at the table of contents of the book.
There are 15 Lessons, each explained in a dedicated chap-
ter. Be not mistaken, this is a huge volume with more than
600 pages and in 7.5x9.25 in format. It is too heavy to be
held up when you like to read on a sofa or in bed; you will


have to put it on your knees or on a pillow as it’s so heavy.
But it comes at a very affordable price for the quantity of
material offered: USA $16.95, Canada $18.10 (list price).
Here are the contents, by chapter. I will then proceed by
lesson and give a few quotes and comments for each of

‣ Lesson 1. A Definite Chief Aim

‣ Lesson 2. Self-Confidence

‣ Lesson 3. The Habit of Saving

‣ Lesson 4. Initiative and Leadership

‣ Lesson 5. Imagination

‣ Lesson 6. Enthusiasm

‣ Lesson 7. Self-Control

‣ Lesson 8. Habit of Doing More Than Paid For

‣ Lesson 9. Pleasing Personality

‣ Lesson 10. Accurate Thought

‣ Lesson 11. Concentration

‣ Lesson 12. Co-Operation

‣ Lesson 13. Failure

‣ Lesson 14. Tolerance

‣ Lesson 15. The Golden Rule


Let me make a few comments upfront that are not to be
meant as critique nor do they infringe with the value of
this book. As the author wrote this book back in 1928, you
need to tolerate some outmoded ways of putting things,
spelling also, and many words spelled as capital letters.
To some people such a diction comes over as ‘boastful’
or imposing; in addition, there are repetitions so frequent
that it makes the lecture of the book sometimes a bit tough.
But the reader is rewarded by the many highly original
insights that the author presents; and his honesty and
straightforwardness is perhaps his highest virtue. In my
personal view, the most rewarding, I think for any and
every reader, are the many stories from the lives of highly
successful people—which was after all the initial research
subject of the author, and one of the reasons why he be-
came rich and famous later in life. But it was a quite
though pathway, with many repercussions, as any bio-
graphical study of the author will show. In the face of such
hard-to-overcome obstacles, one can only admire the in-
credible self-discipline Napoleon Hill has employed in or-
der to steer his path to final success.
It seems to me that success cannot be taught by just
words and phrases; it must be lived so that it can impress
others. We are all not modeling ourselves by the way peo-
ple we admire talk about life or about themselves, but by
the way they live their lives. And it all starts with what
Hill calls a Definite Chief Aim, today by most success
coaches called ‘Purpose’ or ‘Life’s Purpose’ or, as you may


remember, ‘Your Life’s Work’ in the words of career coach
Laurence G. Boldt.

Lesson 1. A Definite Chief Aim
In fact, I admit that I was slightly shocked to find out
when reading the first chapter that I myself never have
found in my entire professional life something like a pur-
pose—let alone that I had sat down and wrote it out. This
may surprise you as I am in my fifties already, but I think I
am here just a typical case, as polls have shown that for
example in the United States only 12% of college students
apply this principle and write down their purpose in life,
their wishes and goals, and update this list all through
their lives. Not surprisingly, it was then equally found that
all highly successful people are within this tiny sub-group
of just 12% of the working population.
Some career coaches, such as Laurence G. Boldt from
San Francisco, even quote statistics that are much more
pessimistic still. From this findings we learn that fewer
than 3 percent of people have written goals, and less than 1
percent regularly review them. We spend a dozen years
being schooled, but the most important contributor to suc-
cess in life—how to make our wishes and ambitions con-
crete—is rarely learned.
In other words, this proves statistically that becoming
highly successful and wealthy is almost impossible if we
are not consciously aware of our life’s unique purpose, and
take it as the baseline of our strategy to build wealth. For


doing this it doesn’t suffice to just ‘think about’ it; we need
to fix the idea firmly in our mind and write it down, and
then read this statement at least once a day until it has be-
come a firm goal we want to realize and for which we have
built a strategy.
Napoleon Hill explains that most people waste their
efforts in trying to find their life-work, largely believing
they needed ‘luck’ or ‘good connections’ for succeeding.
He shows with very sobering and clear language that such
thinking is fundamentally flawed and that reality works in
a different way. He writes:

Your definite chief aim in life should be selected with
deliberate care, and after it has been selected it should
be written out and placed where you will see it at least
once a day, the psychological effect of which is to im-
press this purpose upon your subconscious mind so
strongly that it accepts that purpose as a pattern or
blueprint that will eventually dominate your activities
in life and lead you, step by step, toward the attain-
ment of the object back of that purpose. /76-77

That working with our subconscious mind is abso-
lutely essential for bringing about success in life is further
shown by the books of Joseph Murphy, three of which I
shall review further down in this volume.

Lesson 2. Self-Confidence
As I always found that I am lacking self-confidence, I
read this chapter with special attention. Right at the onset


of the chapter, Hill emphasizes that skepticism is counter-
productive to building self-confidence:

Skepticism is the deadly enemy of progress and self
development. You might as well lay this book aside
and stop right here as to approach this lesson with the
feeling that it was written by some long-haired theorist
who had never tested the principles upon which this
lesson is based. /95

He then goes on to emphasize how important it is to
clear our thought process of fear, any kind of fear. He lists
as the ‘Six Basic Fears of Mankind’:
1. The fear of poverty;

2. The fear of old age;

3. The fear of criticism;

4. The fear of loss of love;

5. The fear of ill health, and

6. The fear of death. /96

He reminds the reader of the power of thought as ‘the
most highly organized form of energy known to man’ (id.)
and then walks you through all those fears, and how to get
rid of them. At the end he points out that adversity is a
good experience in life for, if properly understood, it helps
building self-confidence. But the most useful is a statement
written out at the chapter that he asks the reader to copy
and sign. It is really a powerfully suggestive statement that
consists of 5 points. For copyright reasons I will not fully
phrase it out, but just mention the essentials in each point:


1. Promise to yourself to act upon your definite purpose;

2. Concentrate your mind for 30 min./day for creating a
mental picture of the person you wish to be;

3. Devote 10 min./day to study all the 15 Lessons of the

4. Set a price for your services for the next 5 years;

5. Seek positive cooperation with people and relate to them

Having reviewed The 8th Habit by Dr. Stephen Covey
above, it is interesting to find the expression and definition
of ‘habit’ also in this present course. The author recom-
mends the reader to build good habits strategically and to
get rid of bad habits as a matter of self-cleansing. He

Others will believe in you only when you believe in
yourself. They will ‘tune in’ on your thoughts and feel
toward you just as you feel toward yourself. The law of
mental telepathy takes care of this. You are continu-
ously broadcasting what you think of yourself, and if
you have no faith in yourself others will pick up the
vibrations of your thoughts and mistake them for their
own. /127

He then points out the important difference between
self confidence and egotism. In fact, the self-confident per-
son will never boast with their trusting in themselves, they
will not proclaim anything verbally, but prove their self-
confidence ‘through intelligent performance of construc-
tive deeds’ (id.).


Lesson 3. The Habit of Saving
This is an important lesson and was for me when read-
ing the book. I have taken it really to heart. I have never
been saving all my life through, and this has not been to
my advantage. While I was educated toward saving and
caution in spending, I have had a mindset of being more
than sluggish with keep my wealth together and have lost
a dear lot of money. After another big loss that occurred to
me two years ago, I have started to save money. And I was
astonished how good that actually feels, and how good it
feels to be mindful about our financial resources. After this
learning experience, I can only say that every word in this
chapter is worth to be printed on a wall and looked at
every day. And the old wistful saying comes to mind that it
doesn’t help you to get rich how much money you earn
but how much money you keep!
The matter is actually a hot topic that hits home espe-
cially for Americans. It has been found through recent sur-
veys that most Americans live way beyond the living stan-
dard they can reasonably afford. Unfortunately their gov-
ernment seems to educate them exactly for this careless
spending of money and for heavily relying on consumer
credit, as the public debt crisis becomes more virulent with
every coming year, and the debt having already reached
alarming levels. On the other hand, polls found that the
Chinese are great savers and that the strength of their
economy has been found to be exactly their savvy habits
together with their thrifty and balanced lifestyle.


Finally the author narrates a striking example of a man
who has made one million dollars but squandered it all
over a number of years. It was only when he was without a
penny and virtually restarted his life, that he began to save
money and began to be prosperous. One of the reasons
why saving money makes sense is that often in life when
opportunities arise, we need cash to grasp them and use
them profitably.

I shall now briefly go over the remaining lessons for it
would be beyond a book review to peruse all the wealth of
this material.

Lesson Four. Initiative and Leadership
In this lesson, the author emphasizes the importance of
rendering service and contends that the space we occupy
and the authority we exercise may be measured with
mathematical exactitude by the service we render. This has
been a tenor in the literature on leadership since quite a
time now, and I can only refer to the two books I reviewed
above by Dr. Stephen Covey in which the exact same prin-
ciple was pointed out at great length.

Lesson 5. Imagination
I found this chapter especially well-written and help-
ful. The author gives many examples to demonstrate how
imagination can help us reach new solutions in business
and find needs that are not yet recognized and fulfilled so
that we can step in and offer exactly the service that is
needed, focusing our business strategy upon it.


Lesson 6. Enthusiasm
Napoleon Hill considers enthusiasm as a vital force; so
vital, in fact ‘that no man who has it highly developed can
begin even to approximate his power of achievement.’
He writes that it is something difficult to put in verbal
language that somehow is related to the power of sugges-
tion, the fact of planting in the mind of others, for example,
one’s customer’s, a firm belief and conviction that one will
fulfill one’s promise of effective delivery. Hence, the ‘tone
and manner’ in which we convey our business attitude are
essentially important, even to the point to learn what he
calls ‘the psychology of good clothes.’ At the end of the
chapter, he warns the reader of the ‘seven deadly horse-
men’—negative emotions that interfere with enthusiasm.
This is easy to realize; enthusiasm requires an innocent and
free mind in order to unfold. It may also simply be termed
‘positive energy.’

Lesson 7. Self-Control
This is a principle that is quite self-understanding. In
every busy life, in the course of everyday life, there are
situations that require holding back with one’s emotional
reactions. A customer gets upset, a delivery failed, an asso-
ciate or staff member had a ‘bad day’ and so forth: show-
ing confusion, upset or negative reactions comes over to
the customer as weakness, or an unprofessional attitude,


and it needs self-control to keep one’s tenure upright and

Lesson 8. Habit of Doing More Than Paid For
This part of successful behavior was termed by other
writers as ‘going the extra mile’. This lesson conveys the
simple, straightforward idea that overperforming on one’s
promise is always a good idea and comes over as being in
control, and professional. It also has an importance feed-
back function in that it reinforces one’s self-confidence.

Lesson 9. Pleasing Personality
The author asks the question upfront—what is an at-
tractive personality? He answers it with: A personality that
attracts. What the author discusses here is the whole table
set of manners, presentation, clothing, and all the other
accessories that convey one’s character. Again, this charac-
teristics would today be put in different terms, as the word
‘pleasing’ today has a slightly negative note and could be
replaced by ‘professional.’

Lesson 10. Accurate Thought
Napoleon Hill opens this chapter with the remark that
it’s the most difficult one in the entire course. This comes
from the fact, as he explains, that we are not accustomed to
consider ‘thoughts’ in any way as having material effects.
Yet one may realize here that all authors of some renown
who write about the laws of success and prosperity em-
phasize in one way or the other that thoughts are fertile,


that they are a form of energy, that they have an impact in
the world, and that they ‘matter’ in all our interactions
with others, and the environment. In this chapter, the
author repeats what he says over and over in this course:
our character is always broadcasted through our thoughts
and prevailing emotions. This is why it’s quite useless to
pretend a certain attitude when it’s not grounded in one’s
character. Stephen Covey called this ‘the character ethics’,
and it is a principle valid independently of certain trends
or fashions in the way of doing business. Sergio Zyman,
former CEO of The Coca Cola Company, as we shall see fur-
ther down, wrote an entire book on marketing based upon
one single basic idea: accurate thoughts bring accurate re-
sults, which can be measured. Confused thought may lead
to nicely setup promotions but does not produce measur-
able profit. I think the gain of accurate thinking in business
produces both immaterial and material results. The imma-
terial results, such as gaining trust and cooperation, may in
some cases even be more important than material profit,
despite the fact that they may be difficult to measure.
To sum up, accurate thought is everything from cor-
rectly assessing how you perform as a business, which is
perhaps the main expertise of Sergio Zyman, to refusing to
numb your mind with the common assumptions of scar-
city, lack and doom that seem to get hold of our media
more with every coming day. Even if you do not have a
spiritual view of the world, suffices to look at life, the
process of procreation, or generally the universe, to see


that we are living virtually in a sea of abundance, wher-
ever you look. If the human condition doesn’t follow the
abundance of nature, that’s the fault of humans who have
learnt to think in wrong ways!

Lesson 11. Concentration
Hill writes at the onset of this chapter that concentra-
tion has a key-stone position in this course and is to be de-
fined as ‘the act of focusing the mind upon a given desire
until ways and means for its realization have been worked
out and successfully put into operation.’ /439 The author
advances here, as he does repeatedly in this course, that
there are two important facts to consider in the process of
learning to concentrate: it’s to help oneself through the fre-
quent use and repetition of suggestions, and through
building good habits. What other authors, such as Joseph
Murphy, call ‘positive affirmations’ or ‘prayers’, Hill terms
it more profanely as ‘suggestions’. For example, one may
suggest to oneself in a tranquil relaxed state:
—I concentrate easily and joyfully upon my desire so
that it grows into bearing positive fruits.
One may equally build a habit, then, to do self-
suggestions regularly at certain times through the day,
every day, on a consistent basis. I use this technique profit-
able since more than 20 years and know that it produces


Lesson 12. Co-Operation
The author writes that cooperation is the beginning of
all organized effort. He points out that there are basically
two forms or modes of cooperation:

—The one between conscious mind and subconscious
—The one between self and others.
One may term them inner and outer cooperation. Re-
garding the first form of cooperation, I speak in my own
writings of building our inner team, which is essential in-
deed for building positive relationships with others. Napo-
leon Hill repeats often times in this book that in order to be
successful we need to form a ‘master mind group’, a
grouping formed with certain other people with whom we
can build a high level of synergy and where there is a con-
stant exchange and proactive cooperation for achieving the
common objectives. He then condenses his teaching of
those principles by aligning them around the term ‘organ-
ized effort’. Here he lists the three most important factors
—Cooperation and
When these are combined, the result if power. And
power leads one to the breakthrough experiences that ul-
timately build the basis of our success.


Lesson 13. Failure
In this lesson, the author clothes the term ‘failure’ into
another meaning as the word leads to confusion in the
sense that it is not definite, that it is almost always tempo-
rary. When we consider a failure as definitive, we are not
going to rebuild our lives and businesses so as to persist in
being ultimately successful, but we will stagnate. This is an
important truth, which is why we need to be correct on
using positive terms, not negative, disempowering ones.
This chapter is largely autobiographic in that the author
reports here seven ‘turning-points’ in his own career that
all seemed fatal and definite, but were turning out as suc-
cess factors after all.

Lesson 14. Tolerance
It may not seem obvious why tolerance is a factor that
contributes to success. Many people believe they can be
successful in business and life in general by being intoler-
ant and judgmental. Napoleon Hill firmly believes, how-
ever, that intolerance is a form of ignorance that needs to
be mastered until we can build success. The main reason
why this is so is that a judgmental attitude will hardly win
you friends and cooperation with others. Second, he con-
siders intolerance as the ‘chief disintegrating force in the
organized religions of the world’ and this is certain true. In
my own personal consulting I emphasize tolerance toward
oneself, as crucial for building tolerance toward others. All
those who are caught in a harsh judgmental mindset are
intolerant first of all toward themselves. They treat them-


selves not as a friend but as an enemy who must be con-
stantly conquered and subdued. However, such an attitude
really contributes to defeat as we reflect our inner self and
project it upon others. In one word, we treat others as we
treat ourselves.

Lesson 15. The Golden Rule
This is a basic rule that humanity shares since times
immemorial: it may be called the principle of genuine mo-
rality. It is also called the law of cause-and-effect (karma).
It means that we use the laws of the mind, and all what is
presented in this course, in a constructive manner, and
with a virtuous goal. The author writes:

During ages of less enlightenment and tolerance than
that of the present, some of the greatest thinkers the
world has ever produced have paid with their lives for
daring to uncover this Universal Law so that it might
be understood by all. In the light of the past history of
the world, it is an encouraging bit of evidence, in sup-
port of the fact that men are gradually throwing off the
veil of ignorance and intolerance, to note that I stand in
no danger of bodily harm for writing that which would
have cost me my life a few centuries ago. /567

This is an important insight for indeed many have paid
with their lives for the constitutional liberties we enjoy to-
day, and this should be encouraging us to apply the golden
rule equally in our own lives so that we propagate freedom
and tolerance, and help breaking the cycle of violence that


is the result of the age-old principle of ‘eye for eye’ that is
the embodiment of the principle of negativity or intoler-

Needless to add after this rather extensive review that
the present master course is a great achievement in con-
densing the most important ‘habits’ of a successful person,
and even more so, a systematic road map that contains the
principles of ‘self-building’ as it be be termed, so as to
bring about success from inside-out, in the firm conviction
that we are not thrown around by circumstances, good
luck or bad luck, or any of the factors superstitiously held
for ‘being responsible’ for our successes or failures. There
is only one road to success while it may be sowed with
many temporary failures or defeats; the important thing is
to persist and to remain positive!
The biography of the Napoleon Hill, whose life was
not easy at all, is by itself a strong argument for this truth.


Donald G. Krause
Sun Tzu
The Art of War for Executives
London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1995

All our attitudes have to do with relationship, the way we relate to our-
selves and to others; since relationship is an art, building an attitude is
an art. The wisdom that attitude is an expression of character is age-old
and part of the unique teaching of Sun Tzu, the author of the famous
book The Art of War.

Already 2500 years ago, Sun-Tzu (544-496 BC) devel-
oped a philosophy based on attitude rather than belief.
Sun-Tzu was primarily thinking of warfare, and he ob-
served that the great general Pan Lo followed principles for
mastering what he called The Art of War. Sun-Tzu, inspired
by Pan Lo’s ideas, wrote a book with the same title, and


this book, that was long overlooked, is today considered as
a foremost leadership manual.
In fact, the principles Sun-Tzu presented and elabo-
rated have found to be universal; and quite surprisingly,
they also have been seen to cover the art of peace, or the art
of relationship. It can be said that business is an art, too, and
this art is akin to the art of relationship. Business is relation-
ship. When we are in business, we are in relationship with
each other.
In the introduction to his book, Donald Krause first
outlines Sun Tzu’s principles of warfare. They are:

‣ Learn to fight

‣ Show the way

‣ Do it right

‣ Know the facts

‣ Expect the worst

‣ Seize the day

‣ Burn the bridges

‣ Do it better

‣ Pull together

‣ Keep them guessing

The author discusses these principles more in detail in
the annex of the book. The book itself, its main part, how-


ever consists of the adaptation the author made of the
book for the world of business. This become clear when
you skim over the contents, for they have pretty little to do
with war. This is the unique transposition, as it were, of
Sun Tzu’s book for business; it must be seen that it’s a
metaphor and doesn’t imply that the world of business is
‘eternal war.’
To assume what would be a misunderstanding not
only of Krause’s book but also of Sun Tzu’s original: when
Sun Tzu made his famous dictum that ‘to maintain peace
is to be prepared for war’, he did not mean to run through
life with a basically aggressive attitude. He meant that
preparedness is what makes the Warrior and a warrior is a
person who is basically at peace with himself and the
world, and who has developed self-discipline and masters
his emotional nature. This is not something unique in Sun
Tzu’s teaching, by the way. It is the profound message of
the I Ching as well, especially in hexagram 63 (After Com-
pletion) where the old wisdom book advises to safeguard
and protect what has been achieved instead of being care-
less and wasteful at the end of one’s victory.
Thus, in the time of success and accomplishment, when
one has finally reached one’s goals, one must be especially
watchful so that decay and decline not will set in.
This is a basic principle in the systemic and holistic
view of life that the I Ching fosters. It is also expressed in
part in other hexagrams. Thus, when we situate Sun Tzu’s
teachings on war in the right cultural context, we see that


they are not as unusual and ‘paradoxical’ as they may
sound to modern readers. From that point of departure,
the author’s idea to extrapolate these principles to the
world and strategic environment of business appears to be
sound and organic.
Strangely, the book does not contain a Table of Contents,
so I will outline the structure here. The author explains he
wanted to replicate the 13-Chapters Structure of the origi-
nal Art of War by Sun Tzu which is a good idea:
I. " Planning

II. " Competitive Action

III. " Competitive Strategy

IV. " Positioning

V. " Opportunity and Timing

VI." Control

VII." Managing Direct Conflict

VIII." Flexibility

IX." Maneuvering

X. " Types of Competitive Situations and Causes of Failure

XI." Competitive Conditions and Offensive Strategy

XII." Destroying Reputation

XIII." Gathering Intelligence

This is a highly readable book on principles that are
age-old and have proven their value uncountable times in
both the war and the business setting. The book is well
written and to the point, and the extrapolation of those an-
cient principles to the modern business setting is a unique
accomplishment of the author. During my years of work as


a corporate trainer in South-East Asia I have found many
similar books on those same principles—as that’s one of
the most fashionable topics in the Asian business culture
(which after all is based on age-old Chinese business prin-
ciples)—but I found that none of them was written in the
same vein of accuracy and welcome puritanism (to keep
out the many superstitious beliefs that were rampant in the
ancient popular Chinese Taoist culture).

I do agree with any objection that it’s far-fetched to ap-
ply business principles from the Far East to modern tech-
nological societies, but that’s a trend you need to watch
and follow—if you agree with this tendency or not, for it’s
a fact, and the trend will strengthen and the principles
adapted from Eastern culture will influence as more in the
future, not less.


Jack Welch
With Suzy Welch
New York: HarperBusiness, 2005

Winning is a book that has received lots of praise and also lots of criti-
cism, the latter mainly because of Welch’s concept of ‘differentiation’,
which I will discuss in depth in this review. Overall, the book is a treas-
ure of human and expert experience in the realms of leadership and
management, written by a man who comes over as the prototype of the
bold, decided and tough leader.

I think I didn’t need to write a bio sketch about this
famous man. But just to recall, he began his career with the
General Electric (GE) company in 1960, and in 1981 be-
came the company’s 8th chairman and CEO. During his
tenure, the GE’s market capitalization increased by $400
billion, making it the world’s most valuable corporation.
He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Jack:


Straight from the Gut. His wife, Suzy Welch, is the former
editor of the Harvard Business Review.

Let me say upfront that this is not the kind of books I
am reading when I consciously choose; but in this case
somehow destiny was choosing for me, as I found the
book in a bookstore in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, actually a
lousy copy of it, with lots of truncated pages and ortho-
graphic mistakes (yes, that’s how it is here!), and was at-
tracted by the big smile of the author, and his bright yellow
tie, as well as the title. Winning! Don’t we want to win, all
of us?
You may think that these are ridiculous reasons for
buying a book—and I agree. But this is the funny thing
about our intuitive mind, the reasons why we do certain
things, and buy certain other things, are hardly rational.


They are often plain out-of-place and even hilarious. But
now let’s get serious, for while I have not enjoyed a train-
ing in management and leadership (which I regret), this
book was a real wake-up call for me! But it came rather
For my part, my life having been losing most of the
time, it was definitely an ‘attractor.’ And there was also a
design argument (as I am designing my books myself). I
found it really well-done to put the author name in exactly
the same color of the tie on his white shirt. And as the book
was so cheap—exactly $3.80—I just grabbed it, without
much thought actually. And I did not read it for a long
time. It was there stored away in my library—over a whole
period during which I was losing even more money. And
believe it or not, one day to my own surprise I felt the de-
sire to read it. And it captivated me so much that I decided
to read it a second time. I did, just before writing this re-
view. And suddenly I got a glimpse of what management
actually is, while I had some idea about leadership already
And I agree with what Warren Buffett said about it:
‘No other management book will ever be needed.’ Also be
reminded what Stephen Covey said in one of his books
reviewed earlier in this volume, namely that he only began
to make money with his leadership seminars after his son
took over the management part of his consultancy firm.
Covey by his own revelation was a strong leader but a
poor manager. This strongly resonated with me. And that


was perhaps the motivating factor to read a book I would
not have consciously have ordered for the very idea to
read something about management would have reminded
me to painfully about my own shortcomings. (See, this is
why it’s often good to choose books when browsing them
and just buy them, following your inner voice, instead of
following the often convoluted arguments of conscious
reasoning. It has happened so often in my life that I now
believe it’s a kind of ‘good habit’ in Covey’s sense).

Now, what is winning anyway? Let’s get that point
straight. I am not apologetic in any way to say this: moral-
ity has a place also in business. Welsh writes that winning
means to play ‘cleanly and by the rules’ and that compa-
nies and people in business that are honest, which is the
great majority, must find the way to win.
Now let’s get into the little critter. What are the pitfalls
of the art of management? And pitfalls there are, and huge
ones—and I am beautifully reminded of my own shadow,
my own defaulted learning curve in this most important


domain in the everyday life of any business person around
the world. Jack Welsh writes:

You will meet a lot of people in this book. Some may
remind you of yourself, some may just seem very fa-
miliar. There’s the CEO who presents the company
with a list of noble values—say, quality, customer serv-
ice, and respect—but never really explains what it
means to live them. There’s the middle manager who
fumes during a meeting with another division of his
company, knowing that his coworkers could do so
much more—if they just stopped patting themselves on
the back for a minute. There is the employee who has
been underperforming for years but is just so friendly
and nice—and clueless—you can’t bring yourself to let
her go. There is the colleague you can’t look in the eye
because he is a ‘Dead Man Walking,’ slowly and pain-
fully being managed out of the door. There are the em-
ployees who eat lunch every day at what they have
dubbed ‘The Table of Lost Dreams,’ making a show of
their resentment of authority. There’s the engineer who
spent fifteen years building a great career, only to
throw it in one day when she realized that she had jug-
gled life and work to make everyone happy—but her-
self. /5-6

There is a structure in this book that I feel I need to
convey in this review. It’s not just the Table of Contents but
was communicated by the author in the ‘Introduction’ of
the book. The 5 points are these:


1. Four Principles
(Mission, Values, Candor, Differentiation)

2. Your Company
(People, Processes, Culture)

3. Your Competition
(Strategy, Budgeting, Mergers, Six Sigma)

4. Your Career
(Promotions, Handling a Bad Boss, etc.)
5. Tying Up Loose Ends
(China Threat, Diversity, etc.)

Explaining what these five important points really
mean, Jack Welch starts with mission and values and ex-
emplifies with two well-known examples—Arthur Ander-
sen and Enron—how, by steering away from them, a hith-


erto prospering corporation may face total defeat. In the
case of Andersen, a top-notch accounting firm, steered
away from their core business and started a parallel con-
sulting business. Welch writes:

Throughout most of the ‘90s, Arthur Andersen was a
firm at war with itself. The consulting business was
subsidizing the auditing side and didn’t like it, and
you can be sure the auditing side wasn’t crazy about
the bravado of the consulting types. In these circum-
stances, how could people know the answers to ques-
tions like, ‘What really is our mission?’ ‘What values
matter most?’ and ‘How should we behave?’ Depend-
ing on which side of the firm you pledged allegiance
to, your answer would be different, and that’s ulti-
mately why the partners ended up in court with each
other, trying to figure out how to divide the firm’s prof-
its. Eventually, in 2002, the house collapsed, due in no
small part to the disconnect between its mission and
values. In many ways the same kind of dynamic was
behind the Enron collapse. /22-23

A really important chapter, then, is the second. It’s all
about candor that the author calls ‘the biggest dirty little
secret in business.’ He writes:

What a huge problem it is. Lack of candor basically
blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people con-
tributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer. /25

Positively, Welch gives three reasons for his view that
‘candor leads to winning.’ First, it gets more people in the


conversation, second it generates speed, and third, it cuts
costs. In one word, candor is an effectiveness motor, but
why, then, the author asks, is it used so sparely all over the
world and why is there so much scheming? He explains it
with the fact that we are conditioned from childhood to
soften bad news or make nice about awkward subjects.
Should we wonder why, in such a situation, people don’t
speak their minds? In other words, candor facilitates trust
and truthful communication.
If people criticize Welch’s approach to being outspoken
in any kind of situation, they do so with even more argu-
ments regarding the fourth principle: differentiation. It is to
a point that many people who haven’t learnt much about
Welch’s management style, have come to associate him
with the quintessential ‘tough boss’—because of one single
element in his style, which they think characterizes him as
a leader.


Having read the entire book, let me say upfront that
such is of course not true. Welch’s leader style is of course
much more complex than that, but on the other hand, he is
perhaps one of the few who are outspoken and candid also
about things that are ‘not nice’ at first sight. He writes:

Companies win when their managers make a clear and
meaningful distinction between top- and bottom-
performing businesses and people, when they cultivate
the strong and cull the weak. Companies suffer when
every business and person is treated equally and bets
are sprinkled all around like rain on the ocean. /37

Jack Welch admits that, without a doubt, differentiation
receives the most questions he gets from audiences around the
world. However, it’s not a behavior easily to build. He re-
counts that at GE, it took them about a decade ‘to instill the

kind of candor and trust that makes differentiation possi-
ble.’ This statement shows that candor and differentiation
are related, they are two elements in one and the same
strategy which may be called ‘streamlining business and
people’. It sounds hard regarding the second element, of
course. While he relates that the concept may sound Dar-
winian in the ears of some people, one has to see that when
it’s applied to the ‘hardware’ of the company, it’s nothing
novel. The stepping stone in most people’s view is that’s
also applied to people. It may sound ruthless to carry
streamlining through to people management—to what he
calls the ‘software’—, but Welch defends it in these terms:

A company has only so much money and managerial
time. Winning leaders invest where the payback is the
highest. They cut their losses everywhere else. /38

Now let’s have a look at how this works in practice.
Welch defines it as a process that ‘requires managers to as-
sess their employees and separate them into three catego-
ries in terms of performance: top 20 percent, middle 70,
and bottom 10. Then—and this is the key—it requires
managers to act on that distinction.’/41
He explains further that when differentiation is prac-
ticed as it should, ‘the top 20 percent of employees are
showered with bonuses, stock options, praise, love, train-
ing, and a variety of rewards to their pocketbooks and
souls.’ /41 And further:


The middle 70 percent are managed differently. This
group of people are enormously valuable to any com-
pany; you simply cannot function without their skills,
energy, and commitment. After all, they are the major-
ity of your employees. And that’s the major challenge,
and risk, in 20-70-10—keeping the middle 70 engaged
and motivated. /41

The bottom 10 percent’s fate is to leave the company.
He argues that these people ‘know who they are’ and thus
when you tell them how they perform, most of them go
before you ask them to:

No one wants to be in an organization where they
aren’t wanted. One of the best things about differentia-
tion is that people in the bottom 10 percent or organi-
zations very often go on to successful careers at com-
panies and in pursuits where they truly belong and
where they can excel. /42

I know from personal experience that this is true. A
friend of mine was doing well as a salesman in a small gift
shop where he enjoyed to be in touch with foreigners and
could practice his skills of French and German. Then he
thought he would do better as a teller in a bank and he
was indeed successful—but not happy. He found the work
was mechanical and he felt as a ‘work slave’. I had of
course told him that a teller job is quite a mechanical kind
of work, and also needed a certain perfection that needs to
be trained and learnt. He got all the good training he
needed and the regular feedback about his performance


was helping him a lot to get a clear picture about himself,
and the reasons why sometimes he was performing well
and sometimes not at all. But instead of taking this feed-
back positively, and build an attitude, he was thrown into
panic attacks by his episodes of underperforming, yet was
not positively encouraged by the brilliant feedback he got
at other times. At least at two occasions his boss told him
how much fond she was about him and how well he was
performing—actually in just two months he had become
the best salesman in the bank and was promoted to lead
teller, then to personal banker.
He got honest feedback about his performance which
was sometimes brilliant and sometimes poor, depending
on his moods. His overall perception of life being negative,
he was not aware how well he actually succeeded and how
many brilliant job reviews he got. I was convinced he
would work his way up to the top, but one day, to my sur-
prise, he quit and went back to work at the gift shop, hav-
ing been so lucky that they again needed him. But he again
complained that he had to tighten his belt. In fact, the bank
job got him a new car and new apartment for him and his
mother. Now he enjoys going to musea and meeting
friends who are like him, having quit their jobs, and dis-
cussing life’s cruelty and injustice.
I have done my part of research on the laws of prosper-
ity, as some of the book reviews in this volume show; and I
came to think that the life you get is pretty much the one
you want, as it is what you focus upon in life is what you


strengthen. This man was always a negative thinker and
goes from one depression into another, over the whole of a
decade I am helping him to cope with life. In his thirties
now, he still lives with his mother, and is unable to get a
date, while he had several times the chance when working
in the bank, but he let the opportunities pass, in this do-
main as well.
While I first had a negative reaction about differentia-
tion, his and many other examples of people behaving in
‘negative sync’ both in their careers and in their private
lives showed me that it’s not an inhuman approach. After
all, my friend left the bank in good standing. He was not
complimented out of the door. Not at all.

Welch responds in the book to all kinds of accusations
he got regarding differentiation. He summarized them into
2 most voiced criticisms:

Differentiation is unfair because it’s always corrupted
by company politics—20-70-10 is just a way of separat-
ing the people who kiss the boss’s rear from those who
don’t. /43

Differentiation is mean and bullying. It’s like the play-
ground in the worst possible way—weak kids are
made into fools, outcasts, and objects of ridicule. /44

Welch admits that in some companies, differentiation
may be corrupted because of favoritism, but he believes
that such a ‘merit-free system’ destroys itself, and that ‘dif-
ferentiation abuse’ can be prevented by a clear-cut per-


formance system, with well defined expectations and
goals, and timelines, and a program of consistent apprais-
als. This was exactly how it was handled in the bank my
friend was employed by—the system was transparent, and
there was no cronyism, not to mention that my friend was
well appreciated not only by his boss but also by co-
workers. He was constantly helped and encouraged, as he
admitted himself repeatedly, but the next depression was
then wiping all that again under the carpet. And my re-
peated advice to seek out therapy was equally overheard. I
came to believe, after more than a decade, and endless
hours spent in exchanges with him, that he is a hopeless

And my question as an employer would naturally be:
is it my duty to keep such kind of people, who, given all
the incentives they got, persist in focusing on the wrong
side of life and are thus unable to build a positive attitude
and an effective work style?

Welch writes that protecting underperformers always
backfires. He even believes that protecting these people
doesn’t really help them, as they may find their place
elsewhere where they feel more at home. The case of my
friend proves this point of view. I also believe that feed-
back about one’s performance is always a good thing,
given that it’s given with a friendly attitude from the side
of the employer which was absolutely the case in the bank
where my friend had worked. But the heaviest argument is
when there is a downturn in the market and the company


is forced to streamline itself for reasons of market adapta-
Then, what happens is that layoffs are necessary and
the underperformers are anyway the first the company
will have let to go, but if they haven’t got any performance
feedback prior to such an event, they will of course be sur-
prised and resentful.
There are four more accusations against differentiation
that Welch discusses in this chapter, but I will stop here
with this topic as it would be too extensive for a book re-
view. I found chapter 5 especially useful and interesting as
Welch puts up a list here that he calls ‘What Leaders Do’,
and I found that really ingenuous as a kind of recipe for
‘cooking a leader’. I shall present it here in its integrity,
taken from p. 63 of the book:

What Leaders Do

• 1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team,
using every encounter as an opportunity to
evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.

• 2. Leaders make sure people not only see the
vision, they live and breathe it.

• 3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding
positive energy and optimism.

• 4. Leaders establish trust with candor,
transparency, and credit.

• 5. Leaders have the courage to make un-
popular decisions and gut calls.


• 6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity
that borders on skepticism, making sure
their questions are answered with action.

• 7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning
by setting the example.

• 8. Leaders celebrate.

I haven’t found such a useful list of leadership charac-
teristics anywhere else. Now, again, to avoid making this
review too excessive, I will only discuss the point that I
didn’t get under my skin on first sight. It is point 8: Lead-
ers celebrate. I thought what kind of fancy is that?
I couldn’t figure why celebrating should be necessary
at all, and why it’s a leadership quality? So I skipped all
the pages that explain the first seven qualities and found
rule 8 discussed on page 78 of the book. To my surprise,
the author seems to have anticipated a reaction like mine,

What is it about celebrating that makes managers so
nervous? Maybe throwing a party doesn’t seem profes-
sional, or it makes managers worry that they won’t
look serious to the powers that be, or that, if things get
too happy at the office, people will stop working their
tails off. … But to my question ‘Do you celebrate
enough?’ almost no one raises a hand. /78

Welch writes that celebrating makes people feel like
winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and
positive energy. This is certainly true also for the example
of my friend. They had regular parties in a nice bar, but the


only thing he remembered was the that he got drunk and
afterwards had strong headaches. He never even once re-
ported how the good atmosphere was positively impacting
upon him while he casually managed to tell me that those
events were ‘nice’ and that his company’s attitude was
‘nice’. And yet he quit. Think about it. I believe for some
people even the nicest approach is not ‘nice enough’. In
other words, it seems to me that winning is even more an
inner quality than anything else, and that while the book
convinced me that celebrating is important for building a
good team, and managing a company humanly, some peo-
ple, namely the bottom 10 percent, are not likely to react
positively and upgrade their attitude because of the sup-
port they got from the employer.
Despite the fact that I discussed only the first 60 pages
of this 360 pages book, I feel I should stop here and
warmly recommend you to read this book. It’s not written
only for managers, I believe. It offers a wealth of life expe-
rience that was shared in a witty tone, easy to read, and
sometimes Welch makes a point that stands out and that
convinces on the spot. A very well-written book indeed!


Sergio Zyman

Books Reviewed
The End of Marketing as We Know It (2000)

Sergio Zyman has been a leading figure with Coca-
Cola, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. His ideas are labeled
as ‘controversial’, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot
learn from them. In fact, my long-term study of biogra-
phies showed me that most smart and effective people are
found to be ‘controversial’ by some of their contemporar-
ies. Let me only mention Leonardo da Vinci as an example,
and Albert Einstein. We should always consider that judg-
ing ideas is okay, but judging people is not! This being
said, every college student knows that marketing strategies
are aggressive and ruthless, and when they are fueled with
power, they also may adopt destructive tendencies.


I do not understand a great deal of marketing, but
that’s exactly why I decided to read this book, and it pro-
vided me with a great learning experience—a door opener,
so to speak.
I keep recommending the book to various audiences
for we all need to know a little more from the thunder box
of real life, the know-how of making things happen in this
world. To sell a black soda over decades with gigantic un-
rivaled success is something that you have to respect, even
if you do not happen to appreciate the product itself.


The End of Marketing as We Know It
New York: Harper & Collins, 2000

The End of Marketing as We Know It is a highly interesting book, even if
you are not a marketing man. This is so because you can learn a lot from
the wisdom expressed in this book.

It’s the wisdom of being successful in this consumer
society, where marketing simply is tremendously impor-
tant. And you get insights from the book that the media
will not reveal to you, while every little free-lancer today
thinks he can write his smart essay about marketing. Not
so. What you get in this book is first-hand stuff that you
won’t find elsewhere.

Zyman does not convey academic knowledge, but per-
sonal experience, and that he got in spades, known as a
former CEO and marketing man of Coca Cola.
For Zyman, positioning is one of the most important
tasks in marketing a product or brand. He reveals many


secrets in this book, one of them being the power of canni-
balizing your own product by creating a fake competitor.
In case it was Pepsi which he put up against Coke; then,
cunningly, he positioned Coke against Pepsi.

While Coke stands for continuity and stability, Pepsi on
the other hand, does stand for choice and change. Its
positioning has always been about youth, doing things
differently and unpredictably. Pepsi is the insurgent,
not the incumbent, but this has its limitations as well.
For Coke, a sentimental ad about going to a family re-
union and warm fuzzy images of Santa Claus drinking
Coke might be perfect, whereas for Pepsi drinkers, ads
like this would be a major shock. Managing these limi-
tations is very critical./86

Some of my friends asked me why I was reading such
a book as it would not fit in my ‘new age library’. Well, I
must admit that I don’t care about those labels and distinc-
tions. I was always bad in marketing, all my life, and have
rarely understood a bit of the economics lectures I had to
attend as a law student in the first semester law school.
Zyman’s book captivated me, and this was truly the first
time in my life that anything pertaining to economics and
marketing could get my attention. Actually, as a result of
reading this book, I began to develop an interest in market-
ing, a matter that in the past I used to brush off as being
‘pure manipulation.’ When you read this book you won’t
probably unlearn that marketing is manipulation, but you
will see that it’s a science of manipulation, and that even if


you manage a highly successful brand such as Coca Cola
and you are not strong in this science, you are soon out of
business. On the other hand, if you have a bad product, the
best marketing can’t remedy that and you won’t make it
through. This shows you that marketing is not only ma-
nipulation, for if it was, you could sell everything if only
you cheated enough, but that is not what the market and
life experience tell us. Consider what this man says, for he
says it better than possibly could:

I have succeeded in the marketing business not be-
cause I was just playing around, or because I had great
artistic intuition. I have succeeded because I understand
that it is a business. I have approached every new cam-
paign, every new promotion, and every product as an
investment that has to pay a return. A profit producing
business. /6

In fact, the strongest point Zyman makes in this book is
that marketing is not an art, not a creative muse where
people engage in for fancy reasons, but that every dollar
invested in marketing must return through sales.

The truth is that, if you want to, you can measure the
return on just about every dollar you invest in market-
ing the same way you can measure the return on a bot-
tling plant or a new truck./7

When marketers understand that the goal is selling and
not just running promotions, they sell a lot more


The next point that Zyman stresses in his book is strat-
egy. But he defines strategy differently than most other
business people when they talk about strategic thinking in

Strategic thinking is one of those terms that people use
a lot to indicate that they are important people who
only think of big things and can’t be bothered with the
little stuff. But that’s not what I mean when I say that
you need to make strategic thinking a way of life. What
I mean is that you have to think about everything. You
have to look around you. You have to see what is really
going on. You have to understand the connections
among seemingly different things, and then you have
to form an opinion that will serve as a basis for how
you are going to act, and what you are going to do./39

And my friends who found this book a no fit in my
new science library are short-eyed; they ignore that mar-
keting people are those in modern society who take psy-
chology for granted as they are working with the princi-
ples that rule our   subconscious mind, because publicity
works that way. This is a simple fact, but often overlooked.
And then we talk about success.

Put it another way: if you want to be successful, / then
you must clearly define, in detail, what success looks
like. Then you’ve got to figure out how to get

This quote seems to be taken from a new spirituality
book that gives precise instructions about how to make a

wheel of fortune or how to define all you wish to receive
from life. These books tell you that success is just a word
and that you have to fill that word with meaning, the
meaning success has for you. Some life coaches even add
that you have to express it in precise numbers, like ‘I am
going to have one million dollars in one year from now.’
And once you do experience success, you need to debrief
it. Debriefing is an important notion in Zyman’s marketing
vocabulary. He says you have to debrief both success and
failure, and then adds:

One reason to debrief success is obviously to figure out
what is working and why, so that you can replicate the
success in other circumstances. But there is another
reason to debrief success. Don’t be blinded by your as-
sumptions. Just because you run a promotion and it
works doesn’t mean that it worked for the reasons that
you thought it would./51

Zyman has many original ideas that you won’t find in
any university lecture on marketing. For example, he
writes about incremental marketing versus horizontal

Incremental marketing is much cheaper than horizon-
tal marketing. You can spend less and sell more. You
still have to spend on refreshing your brands, remind-
ing people why they like your stuff, and giving them
more reasons to buy it. If you want people to buy your
product every day, you have to market every day, and
if you want them to buy more, you have to give them


more reasons. But it is much more efficient to build re-
lationships with consumers and then work on getting
the people who know you to buy more stuff than it is
to go out and find new customers every day./69

Zyman warns repeatedly about complacency and the
need to challenge your own product over and over. I think
he has walked his talk here when he was working for Coca
Cola, for part of his success was to challenge the good with
the better:

You need to constantly challenge your own concept,
even if you are proud of what you have created, even if
it seems original, even if on the surface it looks like
something totally proprietary. You have to make sure
that it is indeed proprietary and remains that way, and
that you can go up against your competitors day in and
day out by defining and redefining yourself, and them,
in unequivocal terms./74

Now, as I won’t abuse with quoting from copyrighted
material, I will supply just two more quotes for showing
that this book is not an academic manual on marketing but
gives very valuable and practical advice. I will provide
two examples. The first quote regards portfolio manage-

Portfolio management says that you create artificial
categories for each of your products and you don’t let
any of them cross over into the others. Why? To avoid
cannibalizing your own customer base. That’s a great
idea, and while drawing these faint lines in the sand


sounds nice in theory; in the real world, things aren’t
so neat and tidy. Somebody is going to compete with
your products and try to steal your customers. If
someone’s going to do it, why shouldn’t it be you?/75

Creating the Sprite brand was indeed cannibalizing
Coke’s customer base, but at the same time it was an ex-
pansion of sales; instead of one portfolio you got two, and
the impact on the competition was confusing, to say the
least. The second quote shows the pitfalls of portfolio
management if your core product is weak, and this may
explain why it worked in the Coke-Sprite case, for Coke
was indeed a strong product:

Go simultaneous, don’t go sequential. And it’s okay to
cannibalize your own brand, because it’s better to eat
your own babies than have a competitor do it. If for
any reason your core brand has a weak spot and an-
other brand is likely to take volume from that brand,
you better go fix your core brand. Don’t try to fix your
problem by artificially protecting your core brand with
portfolio management. Deal with your competition,
internally and externally, by being competitive! After
all, it’s much better to lose volume to yourself than to
your competitor./76

I think this suffices to show that this book is somehow
invaluable, that it has no equal because it’s not a text book
on marketing, but rather a text book on going beyond
marketing. You have to read it all, from the first to the last
page, to understand what the author conveys because it’s


not taken for granted to put decades of day-to-day experi-
ence in a book; that means in fact that the author has done
a major work of compression, of condensing the input to
some kind of essence. You get the feel when you read these
quotes, and read them over and over again. There is much
more to it, and probably, if you are yourself not a market-
ing person, you should do your research on Coke, Pepsi,
and Sprite.

I regret to not have found this book earlier in my life
for I would not have run around for so many years as a
blind hen and complete marketing idiot! But of course, for
me, as a ‘university guy’, I feel I am exploring uncharted
territory when reading this book – and this was a good
thing to happen. What I learnt from it is to see things from
a perspective not known to me at the time. In fact, I would
never have considered buying such kind of book if not, by
a magic stroke of destiny, and on a business trip, eventu-
ally relaxed and open-minded, I had seen the well-
designed cover in that bookstore in Singapore …
And still relaxed, and at that moment not considering
my usual interests, I was just reading a couple of pages.
What captivated me at once was the language of the author,
his way to express things succinctly that had something
almost amusing about it. To tell the story in one sentence, I
found it refreshing that the book was not academic and that
it was not new age, and that it was, perhaps deliberately so,
not spiritual. And perhaps it’s good to read it as a wake-up
call when you are on your next new age trip, or your next


spiritual trip, courting the danger to lose ground with eve-
ryday reality …

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Translation and Elucidation by Hua-Ching Ni
Santa Monica, CA: Seven Star Communications, 2003
First Published in 1979

Nichols, Sally
Jung and Tarot
An Archetypal Journey
York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1980

Odent, Michel
Birth Reborn
What Childbirth Should Be
London: Souvenir Press, 1994

The Scientification of Love
London: Free Association Books, 1999

Ody, Penelope
The Chinese Medicine Bible
The Definite Guide to Holistic Healing
New York: Sterling, 2010

Ostrander, Sheila & Schroeder, Lynn
Superlearning 2000
New York: Delacorte Press, 1994

New York: Carroll & Graf, 1991

Ouspensky, Pyotr Demianovich
In Search of the Miraculous
New York: Mariner Books, 1949/2001

Pearce Myers, Tony (Editor)
The Soul of Creativity
Insights into the Creative Process
Novato: New World Library, 1999


Penrose, Roland
His Life and Work
New York: Harper, 1959

Petrash, Jack
Understanding Waldorf Education
Teaching from the Inside Out
London: Floris Books, 2003

Rank, Otto
Art and Artist
With Charles Francis Atkinson and Anaïs Nin
New York: W.W. Norton, 1989
Originally published in 1932

The Significance of Psychoanalysis for the Mental Sciences
New York: BiblioBazaar, 2009
First published in 1913

Reich, Wilhelm
Children of the Future
On the Prevention of Sexual Pathology
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983
First published in 1950

CORE (Cosmic Orgone Engineering)
Part I, Space Ships, DOR and DROUGHT
©1984, Orgone Institute Press
XEROX Copy from the Wilhelm Reich Museum

Early Writings 1
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975

Ether, God & Devil & Cosmic Superimposition
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972
Originally published in 1949

Genitality in the Theory and Therapy of Neurosis
©1980 by Mary Boyd Higgins as Director of the Wilhelm Reich Infant


People in Trouble
©1974 by Mary Boyd Higgins as Director of the Wilhelm Reich Infant

Record of a Friendship
The Correspondence of Wilhelm Reich and A. S. Neill
New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981

Selected Writings
An Introduction to Orgonomy
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973

The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983
Originally published in 1935

The Bion Experiments
reprinted in Selected Writings
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973

The Cancer Biopathy (The Orgone, Vol. 2)
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973

The Function of the Orgasm (The Orgone, Vol. 1)
Orgone Institute Press, New York, 1942

The Invasion of Compulsory Sex Morality
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971
Originally published in 1932

The Leukemia Problem: Approach
©1951, Orgone Institute Press
Copyright Renewed 1979
XEROX Copy from the Wilhelm Reich Museum

The Mass Psychology of Fascism
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970
Originally published in 1933

The Orgone Energy Accumulator
Its Scientific and Medical Use
©1951, 1979, Orgone Institute Press
XEROX Copy from the Wilhelm Reich Museum

The Schizophrenic Split
©1945, 1949, 1972 by Mary Boyd Higgins as Director of the


Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
XEROX Copy from the Wilhelm Reich Museum

The Sexual Revolution
©1945, 1962 by Mary Boyd Higgins as Director of the Wilhelm Reich
Infant Trust

Riso, Don Richard & Hudson, Russ
The Wisdom of the Enneagram
The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth
For The Nine Personality Types
New York: Bantam Books, 1999

Roberts, Jane
The Nature of Personal Reality
New York: Amber-Allen Publishing, 1994
First published in 1974

The Nature of the Psyche
Its Human Expression
New York, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1996
First published in 1979

Robbins, Anthony
Awaken The Giant Within
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991

Unlimited Power
The New Science of Personal Achievement
New York: Free Press, 1997

Roman, Sanaya
Opening to Channel
How To Connect With Your Guide
New York: H.J. Kramer, 1987

Rosen, Sydney (Ed.)
My Voice Will Go With You
The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson
New York: Norton & Co., 1991


Ross, George H.
Trump Strategies for Real Estate
Billionaire Lessons for the Small Investor
With Andrew James McLean
New York: Wiley, 2005

Trump Style Negotiation
Powerful Strategies and Tactics for Mastering Every Day
New York: Wiley, 2006

Rothschild & Wolf
Children of the Counterculture
New York: Garden City, 1976

Rudhyar, Dane
Astrology of Personality
A Reformulation of Astrological Concepts and Ideals in
Terms of Contemporary Psychology and Philosophy
New York: Aurora Press, 1990

An Astrological Triptych
Gifts of the Spirit, The Way Through, and The Illumined Road
New York: Aurora Press, 1991

Astrological Mandala
New York: Vintage Books, 1994

Ruiz, Don Miguel
The Four Agreements
A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
San Rafael, CA: Amber Allen Publishing, 1997

The Mastery of Love
A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
San Rafael, CA: Amber Allen Publishing, 1999

The Voice of Knowledge
A Practical Guide to Inner Peace
With Janet Mills
San Rafael, CA: Amber Allen Publishing, 2004


Schlipp, Paul A. (Ed.)
Albert Einstein
New York: Open Court Publishing, 1988

Schwartz, Andrew E.
Guided Imagery for Groups
Fifty Visualizations That Promote Relaxation, Problem-Solving,
Creativity, and Well-Being
Whole Person Associates, 1995

Sheldrake, Rupert
A New Science of Life
The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance
Rochester: Park Street Press, 1995

Science Set Free
10 Paths to New Discovery
New York: Deepak Chopra Books, 2012

Shone, Ronald
Creative Visualization
Using Imagery and Imagination for Self-Transformation
New York: Destiny Books, 1998

Singer, June
New York: Doubleday Dell, 1976

Smith, C. Michael
Junge and Shamanism in Dialogue
London: Trafford Publishing, 2007

Spiller, Jan
Astrology for the Soul
New York: Bantam, 1997

Stanley, Thomas J. & Danko, William D.
The Millionaire Next Door
The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealth
New York: Pocket Books, 1996


Stein, Robert M.
Redeeming the Inner Child in Marriage and Therapy
in: Reclaiming the Inner Child
ed. by Jeremiah Abrams
New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1990, 261 ff.

Steiner, Rudolf
An Introduction to the Spiritual Processes in Human Life
and in the Cosmos
New York: Anthroposophic Press, 1994

Stekel, Wilhelm
A Psychiatric Study of Onanism and Neurosis
Republished, London: Paul Kegan, 2004

Patterns of Psychosexual Infantilism
New York, 1959 (reprint edition)

Stone, Hal & Stone, Sidra
Embracing Our Selves
The Voice Dialogue Manual
San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1989

Suryani, Luh Ketut & Jensen, Gorden D.
The Balinese People
A Reinvestigation of Character
New York: Oxford University Press, 1993

Szasz, Thomas
The Myth of Mental Illness
New York: Harper & Row, 1984

Talbot, Michael
The Holographic Universe
New York: HarperCollins, 1992

Tao Te Ching
An Illustrated Journey
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
London: Frances Lincoln, 1999


Tart, Charles T.
Altered States of Consciousness
A Book of Readings
Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley & Sons, 1969

The Ultimate Picasso
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000

Trump, Donald J.
Never Give Up
How I Turned my Biggest Challenges into Success
With Meredith McIver
New York: Wiley, 2008

The Art of the Deal
With Tony Schwartz
New York: Ballentine Books, 1987

Thinking Big
Make it Happen in Business and Life
With Bill Zanker
New York: Harper, 2007

Vasari, Giorgio
The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects
Modern Library Classics
New York: Modern Library, Reprint Edition, 2006
First Published in 1568

Villoldo, Alberto
Healing States
A Journey Into the World of Spiritual Healing and Shamanism
With Stanley Krippner
New York: Simon & Schuster (Fireside), 1987

Dance of the Four Winds
Secrets of the Inca Medicine Wheel
With Eric Jendresen
Rochester: Destiny Books, 1995

Shaman, Healer, Sage
How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine
of the Americas
New York: Harmony, 2000


Healing the Luminous Body
The Way of the Shaman with Dr. Alberto Villoldo
DVD, Sacred Mysteries Productions, 2004

Mending The Past And Healing The Future with Soul Retrieval
New York: Hay House, 2005

Welch, Jack
With Suzy Welch
New York: HarperBusiness, 2005

Whitfield, Charles L.
Healing the Child Within
Deerfield Beach, Fl: Health Communications, 1987

Whiting, Beatrice B.
Children of Six Cultures
A Psycho-Cultural Analysis
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975

Wilhelm, Richard
The I Ching or Book of Changes
The Richard Wilhelm Translation rendered into
English by Cary F. Baynes
Foreword by C.G. Jung
Princeton: Princeton University Press (Bollingen Series XIX), 1990
First Published in 1950

Znamenski, Andrei A.
Critical Concepts in Sociology
New York: Routledge, 2004

Zukav, Gary
The Dancing Wu Li Masters
An Overview of the New Physics
New York: HarperOne, 2001

Zyman, Sergio
The End of Marketing as We Know It
New York: HarperCollins, 2000

The only valuable thing is intuition.
—Albert Einstein

Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to
be the extrasensory perception of reality.
—Alexis Carrel

Often you have to rely on intuition.
—Bill Gates

You must trust your intuition—you must trust the voice
inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to
—Ingrid Bergman

The fact that modern physics, the manifestation of an
extreme specialization of the rational mind, is now mak-
ing contact with mysticism, the essence of religion and
manifestation of an extreme specialization of the intui-
tive mind, shows very beautifully the unity and com-
plementary nature of the rational and intuitive modes of
consciousness; of the yang and the yin.
—Fritjof Capra
Personal Notes