Moving from Self-Centred to World-Centred Business

There are five movements in Intentional Business Development.  The first moves from self-centred to world-centred business.

Here and Now

The focus is upon here and now.  It is not about looking to some idealised past or a fantasy future.  There is no business in paradise.

Perhaps our greatest problem is solipsism; the belief I am my sole concern and the world revolves around me.  The traditional way to deal with this is to encourage focus on God, not self.  Solipsism assumes a primitive understanding God.  God, understood as a man above the clouds, is a childish image many carry into adult life.

The danger is we get bogged down in a debate about whether God exists. Perhaps it is better to seek common ground; appreciation of here and now.

Solipsism presumes some idealised past or future.  Take a popular idea “Make America Great Again”.  This slippery slogan can never deliver for these reasons.

  • The least essential word is “America”.  Substitute “Britain” and you have a rallying call for Brexiteers.  Substitute “Christianity” or any faith and fundamentalists everywhere spring to attention.  The phrase is ultimately devoid of meaning.
  • Notice too “Great” is devoid of content.  What exactly does it mean?  How would anyone know when the task is complete (or even started)?
  • But the most powerful word in the phrase is not “Make” (who is asked to do what exactly?) but “Again”.
  • The phrase invites not action but a nostalgic imagining of what America was like in those halcyon days when it was great.  It is an invitation to live not in the present but in an imagined past.

When we turn attention inwards, we lose touch with reality, here and now.

Paying Attention

This is not to say we should avoid inner work.  Inner work avoids fantasies and teaches us to focus on here and now.  Religious traditions have many tools for this.  Prayer and meditation connect with what is real.

Let’s take it away from religion and strip paying attention down to basics.  What’s your relationship with silence?  Can you abide in stillness?  Listen to your breathing, feel the sensations in your body?

Are you adept at stilling thoughts?  Are you even aware of the clamour of your thoughts?

Do you reflect on your day or your life?  How do you express gratitude?

You can do this by keeping a daily journal where you note concerns, gratitude and anything else that’s on your mind.  Or take a walk and allow your thoughts space to develop in response to the reality around you.


How do I know what is fantasy and what is reality?  The act of telling truth from self-deception is discernment.

If paradise is truly the place where all our needs are met, then we know there is no need for business or indeed any form of relationship.  This is why many religious people do not believe in paradise.  We have need of one another and it is reaching out to the other that makes lives worthwhile.

Business is one expression of that need we have for each other.  Business conducted with integrity is the glue that holds communities together.  It depends on relationships of trust, keeps money circulating and contributes to all those activities that cannot generate income themselves (eg health and social care) from its wealth.

When we contemplate the world around us, we discover the needs of our fellows and develop the products and services to meet them.  Of course we don’t get them right.  This is why small businesses are important.  They are the people willing to try something at their own risk.

Many factors lead to successful business but the key factor that underlies all the others is: Do we have a viable business?  A viable business is where through discernment a business-owner identifies a real need.  They may not be competent or they may be outmanoeuvred by competitors, who have more capacity but if it isn’t viable it won’t survive the long-term.

This is the second in a sequence about intentional business development.  It’s all a part of Market Together.  Sign up below so you don’t miss a post and visit my new website by following the link.

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  • Chris
  • November 27, 2017
  • IBD

About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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