Why Should You Believe In Miracles?

Miracles happen all the time. We do not always sense them, or realize how full our world, and the universe, is with miracles. Very often we think about a miracle as something huge happening, a drastic shift or change in things, like a sudden strike of lightning in our environment, transforming our existence in a second. Miracles take place all the time, some of them bigger, some smaller. If we constantly expect a miracle to be a major event, we are likely to miss out the smaller miracles. 

One thing is certain: in order to experience miracles in your life, you have to start believing in their possibilities, if you already do not. The deeper your belief, and the more you trust in miracles taking place at all times, everywhere, and the stronger your affirmations are, the higher the probability of you starting to sense how full of miracles your surroundings, your life, and the whole world is. 

There is much more to life than the human eyes, or other senses, can explain. As rational individuals, we often prefer translating things, people, and circumstances through rationalism and facts. We are eager to find logical explanations for anything, although deep within us we do know how important it is to use intuition and feelings in order to be capable of expanding as individuals. A miracle is not bound to any certain culture or religion, and miracles are acknowledged in all religions. Miracles are a part of spirituality. 

Jon Bon Jovi has said: “Miracles happen every day. Change your perception of what a miracle is and you will see them all around you”.

Sometimes difficult circumstances or major life crises lead us to increasingly believe in miracles. We need something to believe in, something that motivates us, inspires us, and guides us further on our life paths. However, sensing miracles does not require having a difficult life, or difficulties in life. Miracles are always there for each and one of us, no matter what our situation may be. 

Experiencing miracles in one’s everyday life becomes easier with belief, increasing spirituality, and opening our minds to sensing small and big wonders, being grateful for anything that life gives us – even tough times, since they can be such important lessons for us. However difficult it can be, try to express gratitude even for setbacks and problems – they most often are the greatest lessons life has to offer us, and lead to personal development when we are open to learning. 

  • Without challenges, appreciating all the good things in life would be more difficult. 
  • Without rain, we would not be able to see rainbows. 
  • Without yin, there would be no yang. 
  • Without you, there would be no me. 
  • Without the Sun, there would be no Moon, no Earth. 
  • Without the Moon that we see in the sky each night, there would be no ebb or flood.

The Universe is full of miracles. Many of them so big, so familiar, so small, so everything that we have become too accustomed to even noticing them in our lives.

“Many people are alive but do not touch the miracle of being alive”. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer was an inspiring personality who spoke about experiencing miracles. Watch this video clip on YouTube to listen to his message: 








Valuation of Time

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you”. 

(Carl Sandburg)

(Hourglass. Artist: coward_lion. Freedigitalphotos.net. Published on 05 September 2012).
What does your average day look like? How do you fill your hours? 
If you do not know how, try to become more aware of it by keeping a daily journal. You can do it as a temporary endeavor just in order to increase your personal awareness about how, and on what kind of things, you actually spend your precious time. 
Time is our friend, if we let it be. Time can also be our enemy, in case we are not well enough focused upon involving people and things in our lives that really matter to us, and make a difference. When keeping a daily journal you will soon become aware of what kind of things take up your time. Divide those things into categories according to positive and negative time (and energy) consumers. I bet you will be surprised at how much of your daily, and weekly, time goes wasted upon things (and even people) of no relevance. Things (and people) that are meaningless, rather consuming your energy than helping you achieve your goals. 
I am not saying that we should ignore people, be cold-hearted or anything alike. The fact may just be that you are spending too much thoughts, efforts, and energy on people and circumstances that do not serve your life purpose. People, who want to rob you of your time without having space for you in their lives, or in their affairs. This is especially true if you are a giver by nature, rather than a taker. It is not always possible to know beforehand what is useful, and what only consumes your time without giving you anything in return. A good way of estimating whether something/someone is worth your time is to observe behavior (in regards to people) and concrete results (in regards to things). People who value you will not waste your time, or your energy. They will respect you, and stick to their promises. 
Tips for increasing your valuation of time, and making your days more effective: 
– Keep a daily journal. Yes, daily, not only on a weekly basis. The better you realize how you actually spend your days, the easier it gets to make important changes, and adjustments. 
– As soon as you notice which things (and people) consume too much of your energy, focus on diminishing their influence in your life. 
– If you are a giver by nature (hopefully), keep on giving. But do not let people and/or circumstances take advantage of you. 
– Be prepared to cut down on energy- and time consumers such as TV as well. If you spend three hours per day on watching TV, start by reducing it to two hours, and fill the gap with something else, like reading an interesting book, or an (extra) hour of exercise. 
– Cut down on unnecessary social media usage, and unnecessary e-mails. Only subscribe to pages that truly serve you, and unsubscribe from newsletters that do not. I can tell from personal experiences how much time we spend on useless e-mails, reading spam and all the like filling our digital mail boxes every day. 
– If you haven´t earlier, start respecting your time NOW. It is not too late. 
– Remember also to respect other people´s time. 
– Stop being too nice. If you have something scheduled, and your counterpart does not show up, or shows up too late without even apologizing, it is a bad sign. People and circumstances that do not value your time are not worth your time. 
– If you still, despite of integrating these tips into your daily life, have trouble with time wasters: consider hiring a coach who is helping you. However, be careful when selecting a coach and make sure that your coach is someone who values your time, and is worthy of it. 
Good luck!
(Deadline Calender Means Target And Due Date. Artist: Stuart Miles. Freedigitalphotos.net. Published on 13 May 2014).


Lead Change or Change Will Lead You

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ Whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something”.

(Steve Jobs)




Change Same Buttons Shows Changing Or Improvement. Artist: Stuart Miles. Freedigitalphotos.net. Published on 09 October 2013.
Steve Jobs was a wise man who died too young. Yet, during his short life, he drove and achieved an amount of change that many of us only dream of – although, each and one of us possess the capability of being catalysts and active agents of change. Our circumstances are different, but it is not about background who becomes a successful catalyst for change and who not. As a matter of fact, those who are determined to achieve will do so, no matter how difficult circumstances sometimes may be. 
Driving change is always individual. Driving change, and being a change agent is not about status or title, not even about material possessions. Change is continuous, and leads to evolution. Very often change management is referred to as change projects in IT, but change management is much more than that. Change management includes the capability of driving and leading change in one´s personal life as well. We are all affected by changes in society, driven by other individuals (change agents). Some changes are impossible to avoid, so adaptation and going with the flow is often necessary in order to stay well-integrated. 
However, there are many things we can influence on a personal level. 
“Be the change you want to see in the world”. 
(Mahatma Gandhi)
Advice for leading change in your life: 
– Always embrace change, and see it as something positive. Change often brings new possibilities. 
– Remember to rest, but also keep on moving. When life becomes too comfortable, there is a need for development and growth. 
– Be proactive. It is far better to have the ability to influence change than being hit by sudden, even radical change, when it is already too late to have a say in the course of happenings. 
– Make a long-term plan for your life, at least for the upcoming five years. Include both business and private life in your plan. Where do you want to be in five years? What do you want to achieve? How will you achieve it? 
– You can have several different plans: one for business life, one for your private life. If you have a long-term plan (say, for the next five years), divide your long-term plan into shorter time periods (e.g. the coming year 2015, for the coming quarter, a weekly schedule, and a daily schedule). Leave some space for adjustments as well, and for non-planned time (otherwise, life can become too boring).
Why is it so important to make plans, have goals, and lead change? 
If YOU do not take responsibility for your life, and make plans, you will either end up achieving nothing, or someone else making the plans for your life. Which do you prefer? Being guided/directed, or proactively leading your life into your desired direction? 
Leading change is important for everyone, not only for those with a professional designation for being change agents/leaders/managers. 
Change can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but the more you step out of your comfort zone, and develop your ability to live with constant, small changes, the better you will feel in the long run. It is far better to be proactive and lead small changes on a regular basis, than wait for something to happen (and the more you procrastinate, the more effort will you have to give at a later stage). 
“Change can be scary, but what is even scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing”. 
(Mandy Hale)
(Time For Change Shows Revise Changing And Difference. Artist: Stuart Miles. Freedigitalphotos.net. Published on 15 September 2014).

How Can You Increase Your Success With Passion?

“Light Yourself on Fire with Passion and People Will Come From Miles to Watch You Burn” (John Wesley)

Passion is an emotion often affiliated with romance, or sexuality, but it is only half the truth. It is also a tremendously important source of motivation and desire in hobbies, sports, and occupations. Referring to my previous post from last week, where I wrote about important success factors, including productivity – since passion increases motivation and desire, it is also an important factor of productivity, and enjoyment.

Think about extremely successful people throughout history, and at present. There are examples from all spectrums of life: art, entertainment, sports, business, and politics, including names such as Picasso, Lady Gaga, Diego Maradona, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Julia Roberts, and many, many others.

How have they become so successful? It is definitely not only a question of luck, or hard work, but the fact that these people have found their true passion, a desire so strong for what they do and achieve in life that makes them shine from within. 

There are a number of ways of increasing passion, including: 

– Overcoming fears, and working them through. Fear is a negative feeling, repressing passion and other positive emotions. 

– Stepping out of your comfort zone, setting goals, and increasing the amount of work you are willing to put in to reach your goals. There is a difference between working passionately, and being a workaholic. Passionate people work out of inspiration, and since they love (or enjoy) what they do. 

– Learning what makes you thrive, and tick. We are all different: some of us are excellent, outgoing sales people, while others love working in the back office. Some people love mountain climbing, while others prefer yoga or golf. Finding out what truly makes you happy will definitely increase your daily levels of passionate emotions. 

– Leading a balanced and healthy life. This definitely increases your energy levels. When eating and sleeping well, to begin with, positive emotions increase. 

– Increasing confidence, bravery, and focusing on positivity in life: the better you feel about yourself, the easier it gets to face less positive reactions. The more you focus on positivity, the more it increases in your life. Soon you will notice that you are surrounded by positivity, and your positivity will transform your surroundings too. 

If you feel you are surrounded by too little passion, start implementing small changes into your life which increase your personal level of passion. Start a new hobby, make new friends/get to know new people, open your heart and mind, network, stay active, be confident, and if you feel that your current job is not what you are passionate about – try to find out what it is that you truly have a passion for. I am not suggesting that you should quit your job (although some people do when they no longer feel happy about what they do for work), only that you can try increasing passion through other small changes in your life. If these changes do not increase your passion for your work, you probably should start working towards something that you know will make you feel passionate. 

Be brave, dare to seek until you find what truly nurtures your soul and lets you grow. Free your creativity, be even eccentric if it suits you, because very often the most creative spirits are those who in the end, enjoy the biggest of success, and fulfillment in their lives.

“When I began having a mad, passionate love affair with my own life, the rest fell perfectly into place”. (Katrina Mayer)



How Can Women Be Empowered and Gender Gaps in Economies and Societies Be Narrowed Down?

Majority of poor people worldwide are women. The reasons for this are manifold, with large regional differences, starting with a global illiteracy rate of 17 %. Two thirds of all illiterates are women, which makes gender equality even more difficult to achieve. 37 % of all 775 million illiterates worldwide are Indian, followed by China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three regions predominate in illiteracy rates: South Asia, West Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

In addition to the illiteracy problem, women continue to face many barriers in entering labor markets, holding not only women back, but also being an obstacle for economic growth and development in countries with large gender gaps.

Worldwide, between 2002 and 2007, women’s employment-to-population ratio remained constant at about 49 %, compared to about 73 % for men. On a global level, differences are large, with regional narrowings in the Developed Economies and European Union, Latin America, Caribbean, and in the Middle East. Only Central and Eastern Europe, and East Asia increased their gender gaps in employment.  

Furthermore, a lack of knowledge, together with deeply rooted cultural traditions and expectations as well as a complexity of the labor market, are general reasons for gender inequality – affecting and hindering women from having equal access to the labor market. 

Whereas conventional economic analysis is a comprehension of economic actors in mainstream economics, it excludes much of unpaid work, and sees people simply as labor inputs to production processes. Even in developed countries, most unwaged (home)work is still done by women – more than 60 BILLION hours per year including childcare, and women providing 59 % of unpaid services. In general, women ́s home work is ignored, classically “feminine” jobs are poorly paid, and of low status. 

A number of local and global organizations, either independently or/and in co-operation with the private and public sectors, are driving changes in order to improve women’s lives worldwide, and to narrow down gender gaps, including UN Women as perhaps the most widely known.

Gender equality is more than a matter of social justice – it is a fundamental human right, making good economic sense. Women having equal access to education, and women participating fully in business and economic decision-making, are a key driving force against poverty. Women with equal rights are better educated, healthier, and have greater access to land, work, and financial resources. The enhancement of women ́s control over decision-making in households, gender equality also leads to better prospects and greater well-being of children, reducing poverty of future generations. (UNDP. Gender and Poverty Reduction. 23.10.2014).

Women need to drive these changes, but equally, strong support from men is relevant, including an understanding of why gender equality is so important for humanity in the first place. 

Sources (quoted 23.10.2014): 

Coe, N., Kelly, P., Yeung, H.W.C. Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction. 2007.

Elborgh-Woytek, K. & al. IMF Staff Discussion Note. Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity. September 2013.

ILO. Global Employment Trends for Women. 2012.

Mapsofworld.com. World Illiteracy Map.

UNDP. Gender and Poverty Reduction.

Unesco. Statistics on Literacy. 

UNFPA. State of World Population 2002. Poverty and Gender. 

UNWOMEN.ORG. Economic Empowerment. 

world.time.com. 29.1.2014. 37 % of All the Illiterate Adults in the World Are Indian. 





How Do Technology and Creativity Reshape Economies and Societies in the 21st Century?

Followed by the industrialization age, the digital revolution is, and has contributed to major changes in all possible industries globally, given birth to a knowledge economy, where automation and computerization have led to increased productivity resulting in job loss. Technological advancement, with the Internet reaching a critical mass in the early 1990 ́s, has affected and reshaped economies, created new kinds of jobs, giving the opportunity to an emergence of completely new, creative ways of conducting business, networking, and global communications made possible for anyone. 

Automation and global competition has, in the developed economies, led to labor being obliged to move into tasks that are not easily automated. Traditional middle class roles disappear, forcing the affected individuals to become mind workers (knowledge workers), or settle for low-skill, low-wage service jobs.

Although, in many developing countries, agriculture is still the most important source of income, developed countries have for a long time been dependent upon the services industries. In Europe alone, the services sector holds a share of 70,7 % of Europe’s GDP (This Day Live. ILO: Weak Employment Growth Depressing Consumption. 21.10.2014; ESF – European Services Forum. Facts and Figures. 21.10.2014).    

According to Potts J.D. (2009. Why Creative industries matter to Economics of Innovation and New Technology) the service economy is continuously giving birth to new industries, in which creative industries form a significant part. Economic growth and development is an ongoing process, where an evolved order of agents, markets, enterprises, and laws result in an industry. Creative industries literally constantly contribute to creating the future, through experimentation, adoption, and retention of novelty.

In whatever direction evolution is heading, the fact is that the information age has changed, and affected, economies and societies on a global level. Technology has, at least on a virtual level, eradicated distance, affected global trade, given birth to a number of social media platforms and today, global enterprises that, through pioneering, have become global success stories, including names such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, just to mention a few among many others. 

O ́Brien (1992), presented an idea about a state of economic development where geographical location would no longer matter e.g. in finance, giving rise to “placeless” production, networks, satellites, 24/5 trading in different time zones.  

Technology truly is a social process facilitating and enabling change, including space-shrinking versions and those which change production processes. Technological development has also led to the emergence of completely new industries, such as biotechnology and new (alternative) sources of energy. From an evolutionary perspective, technological development has led to advancement in transportation systems, communication systems, changes in manufacturing processes and spatial disintegration of service activities (offshoring). Production process technologies have evolved from Fordism to After-Fordism, including flexible specialization, Fordist mass production, Japanese Flexible Production, and Just-in-case, and Just-in-time systems. Socioeconomic interaction requires relational thinking, with some operations requiring location, and spatial proximity.


Coe, N., Kelly, P., Yeung, H.W.C. Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction. 2007. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Creativeclass.com. Services and Economic Development. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

ESF (European Services Forum). Facts and Figures. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Potts, J. 2009. Why creative industries matter to economic evolution. Economics of Innovation and New Technology. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Technology Source.org. Technology and Change for the Information Age. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

This Day Live. ILO: Weak Employment Growth Depressing Consumption. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Wikipedia. Information Age. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Wikipedia. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Benkler, Y. 2006. Quoted 21.10.2014.  

World Bank. Growth of the Service Sector. Quoted 21.10.2014. 


What is Successful Change Leadership?

Change Leadership, in its very essence, should focus upon improvement and growth. Without an actual purpose, and driving change only for the sake of change, change is a waste of everyone’s time.

Well organized is half done, but only very successful plans always have space for modifications. Only geniuses can master chaos, and however much we love agile project management, an essential skill for any change leader is the ability of focusing on key strategic issues, drive change with a dynamic effort, and with the goal in mind. (Green, M. Change Management Masterclass. 2007.)

Leading change equals the ability of leading development through enabling continuous growth, and improvement. Leading change is also strategy, and an ability of analyzing the PESTLE environment. In organizational settings, change management programs and projects need to be based upon the organization’s vision, mission, and strategy. Change projects, however narrow or extensive, will be successful when core values, goals, constant work, and communication are well aligned. Depending upon the needs and the breadth of the change initiative, mobilizing everyone involved is of utmost importance. In the organizational setting, change has to be led simultaneously and with consistent throughout the whole organization, and on an individual level. Traditionally, change has been thought of as something activated and triggered from top management, but in today’s learning organizations change initiatives can come from anyone, and basically anyone in an organization can be a change agent, formally or informally. In any organization, it is important for management to understand, that the needs for change may also be communicated from employees who are in direct customer contact, e.g. based upon feedback from customers. Therefore, in traditional, hierarchical settings, change can very well be initiated from a “lower” organizational level upwards. In democratic, low-hierarchy organizations, change projects can be successfully executed through participation of everyone involved. Successful involvement also increases the level of integrity. The most successful organizations also know how to involve their clients when driving change.  


                   “One person can be a change catalyst, a transformer in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader”. (Mike Green. Change Management Masterclass. 2007)

Successful change management projects do require realistic, but also optimistic individuals with a strong desire for achievement. Change management also requires a lot of dreaming, and daring. A change project must be managed skillfully, and if there is a strict budget, it is even more important to meet the financial target. However, how can the final financial gain be calculated if the project is successful in for example advancement of knowledge and learning, or even satisfaction index of employees? If the organization e.g. sets a goal to develop sales skills, the return on investment may be a lot better than first calculated. Therefore, e.g. employee development is a very important factor for organizational development. 

In short, before becoming a change agent and thus a catalyst for change, practice on your pitch and make sure to have responses to the following questions:  

– What kind of change do I want to initiate?

– What are the circumstances (i.e. am I acting as an informal/formal change agent, and in what kind of setting, e.g. as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an employee, a middle manager, a customer/client, a member of an organization, a citizen and so on)?

– Who do I need to involve in successfully driving the change initiative? 

– What is/are the goal/s? 

– What kinds of risks are involved (if any)?

– What kind of communication does this require, and how will I communicate successfully?




How to Identify Weak Signals Before They Become Strong Trends?

“Interpreting weak signals into useful decision-making takes time and focus. It starts with the capacity of identifying them in the first place”. 

Weak signals are first symptoms or early signals of a change telling about a strengthening trend and bringing information that is not yet seen e.g. in statistics. Usually, there are several signals indicating to a similar development. Weak signals have to pass filters in order to influence the strategy process, being the phenomena that influence a company and its operational environment by being new and surprising in the framework of the receiver. 

Weak signals reveal threats and opportunities for a company, but also represent a chance to learn, grow and develop. They could also be defined wild cards that change the development and are unpredictable when turning up. Weak signals are events below the surface, overlooked, but that may be signs of big evolution. The approach to weak signals is experiencing a renaissance in strategic planning and they are to be found in the context of strategic flexibility of an organization. Successful organizations look for weak signals actively and continuously. As decision-making is a sense-making process, management has to secure the flow of knowledge from outside to the business and decide the actions based on it.

A weak signal has no history and no basis to build a pattern onto. They are unique, and not recurring. A weak signal can be recognized by its strangeness and its being an odd phenomenon. In order to be able to recognize weak signals one has to have a sufficient level of understanding firstly in that behind each change there are several driving factors and on the other hand by the fact that each emerging fact signals its environment in many different ways. No signals should be rejected in advance. The recognition, analysis and interpretation of each signal are only work processes that follow the creative and unbiased observation period.

In general, possible identification and interpretation methods of weak signals are: Think-tank groups, brainstorming, Delphi method, or a pattern management framework, which means collecting signs of weak signals from magazines, mainly economically related. General observations from one’s surroundings and environment are another way of identifying weak signals.

In the analysis of weak signals, it is useful to take into consideration at least the following: 

– To whom and for whom weak signals are identified? 

– How comprehensive/wide is the search area and fields? 

– How complete is the analysis?

The identification process of weak signals occurs before or simultaneously with an identification of trends. In a Delphi-study, experts must decide when a phenomenon should be defined as a weak signal. Challenges occur, when weak signals are not searched in right places or enough (detection filter). This is also the case when right persons are not looking for them (interpretation filter). Another challenge could be that discovered findings or made interpretations are invalidated or denied (power filter). To succeed in the identification, the identifier of weak signals should have a position or forum where to tell about opinions and impressions freely. The organization in question should be receiving and the environment should enhance creativity.

Most issues change very slowly while some are expected to change fast and very radically. Others are expected to remain always the same. Surprises may come from foreseeable sources that change slowly (e.g. China phenomenon, virtual technology, globalization and EU-integration). Common issues that may face surprising changes are the importance of home, the conception of time, importance of salary or money, ownership and ethics.

Pattern management (Kuosa 2010) suggests that the existence of phenomena is concluded in the same way as the existence of black holes or planets of near-by solar systems by observation of refraction of light, changes in the orbits of near-by planets, quantity and movement of energy etc. It uses the same way that also phenomena in our own operation environment can be concluded. There clearly exists information and signals in our environment that belong together and can be clustered. Several phenomena can rise from one observation. Phenomenon emerges through signal observation.


1.Totally unexpected

Observation is not linked to any other known clear trend

2. Changes in trends

Observation indicates a change in trends

3. Drivers of change

Phenomenon that leads to an observation or has a legal commission

4. What keeps us in the old?

Trends, mega trends and main stream

Figure: Four-step observation frame for weak signals (Source: Tuomo Kuosa). 

Weak signals are a continuous or non-stop process which should be taken seriously in any sector of business. The anticipation phase shows the opportunities of the future and helps in minimizing risks. The appropriation phase is where strategies are made by realizing how the future might affect the community in question. In the action phase, changes of the future and effects of chosen policies and operations are carried out in practice. As an example – although it might seem that e.g. the financial sector is static, there are always changes taking place, and these changes are caused by the actions of human beings not only in the industry itself, but by everyone who is somehow involved in the financial sector. A bank itself would be no bank without investors, loan takers, private persons keeping their money on their account etc. This is why the financial sector is as vulnerable as any other industry, and should respond to the market in a similar way as any other sector of business. 

(Pfeffer, J. & Sutton, R.I. 2000. The Knowing-Doing Gap. How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action. Boston: Harvard Business School Press;Kamppinen, M., Kuusi, O., Söderlund, S. 2002. Tulevaisuudentutkimus. Perusteet ja sovellukset. Senior, Barbara and Fleming, Jocelyne, 2006. Organizational Change. 3rd Edition. FT Prentice Hall; Kuosa, T. 2012. The Evolution of Strategic Foresight – Alternative Futures).




How Can You Become a Master Alchemist and Transmute Everything You Touch into Gold?

“Midas (Μίδας), a King of great fortune in the Greek Mythology, had everything a King could ever wish for. His life was surrounded by luxury in a great castle, and filled with abundance. Midas, spelled by gold, spent all his days counting his gold coins. He also enjoyed covering his body with gold objects, desiring to bathe in them, and obsessed with money.” 

One day, Dionysus, the god of wine, passed through the Kingdom of Midas. One of his companions, a satyr named Silenus, got delayed along the path. Silenus got tired, deciding to have some rest in the famous rose gardens surrounding King Midas ́ palace. Napping there, he was found by the King, who invited him to spend a few days at his palace. The days went by, and finally Midas brought Silenus back to Dionysus. The god of celebration, thankful to Midas for his kindness, promised Midas to satisfy any of his wishes. Midas, after a while of reflection, responded: “I hope that everything I touch becomes gold”. Dionysus warned the King, stating that he should think well about what he wished for, but Midas was certain. Obeying the King ́s wishes, Dionysus had no choice but to promise Midas that from that day on, everything he touched would turn into gold.

The following day Midas woke up eager to see if his wish would come true, extending his arm, and touching a small table immediately turning into gold. Jumping with happiness, Midas continued by touching everything around him, turning everything he touched into gold. At the breakfast table, he took a rose in his hands to smell its delicate fragrance. As you already can guess by now, the rose turned into gold, leaving Midas feeling disappointed. The same happened with his bread, and water, which made Midas feel fearful. With tears in his eyes, he hugged his daughter who had just entered the room, and she turned into a golden statue. In despair, Midas raised his arms, praying to Dionysus to remove the curse. Dionysus felt sorry for Midas, and told him to go to the river Pactolus to wash his hands. Listening to Dionysus advice this time, Midas did what he was told. After washing his hands in the river, everything went back to normal. Filled with joy, Midas hugged his beloved daughter, and decided to share his great fortune with his people. From that day on, Midas turned into a better person, generous and grateful for all goods of his life. With his help, the people of his Kingdom led a prosperous life”. (greeka.com. Quoted 14.10.2014).


Lessons of the story? Plenty:

– Be careful what you wish for – it may come true. 

– Learn to appreciate the differences around you, including things that may feel small, but are important in the cycle of life. 

– Listen to people, and people ́s advice (your personal advisers/trusted person/consultant, who or whatever that may be in your life/career). 

– Lead with your heart, and have respect for the people around you. 

– Take responsibility for your actions. 

– Being greedy can be destructive for the environment. 

– Being self-centered can be destructive for relationships.

– When accumulating wealth, do it for a good reason. 

– When accumulating wealth, be prepared and ready to share, help, and use your wealth for increasing prosperity for everyone, thus improving other people’s lives as well.

– Money is not the key to happiness. 

– Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are usually keys to (personal) development. Just make sure that you do not make mistakes that others have to pay for, or mistakes that have a disastrous effect on e.g. the environment. 

And, finally: You cannot eat gold!


Influence, Manipulation, Something Inbetween or Neither One?

“There is no such thing as a good influence. To influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him”.

(Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray)


Do you agree with Oscar Wilde´s citation? That good influence does not exist, since the purpose of all influence is to transfer one person´s feelings and ideas to another person, thus affecting the other person´s behavior? 


One thing is for sure: Oscar Wilde´s words include a lot of truth. With our feelings, thoughts, knowledge and actions we all do have more or less influence on people around us. The line between influence and manipulation, however, is often quite subtle. And the difference between influence and manipulation is merely that influence is often regarded as being something positive, while manipulation, a term originating from the Latin word manus (hand), means processing, and very often has a negative meaning while it refers to misleading, or forgery of evidence. Manipulation can also refer to concrete handling of something, e.g. the manipulation of stock markets. There are definitely many kinds of manipulation, such as magician card tricks. In this post, however, I refer to psychological manipulation, which actively aims at having an effect on someone´s, or something´s, behavior and thoughts.  


Influence, on the other hand, is the power of affecting, controlling or manipulating someone, or something; the ability of triggering change in the development of fluctuation in things, including thoughts, or decisions. Thus, manipulation can be regarded as the negative version of influence, although even influence itself can be regarded less positive. 


Influence can be actual, bad, beneficial, big, cultural, economic, good, harmful, heavy, huge, important, intellectual, mental, military, moral, negative, personal, positive, potential, primary, significant, social…and much more. 


Influence and manipulation are constant energies in our societies, and environments, starting from a crying baby´s cradle trying to manipulate (or influence?) its parents towards an action. Hence, the most primary ways of manipulation and influence can be observed in a child´s world. At least one could think so. However, very primitive influencing and manipulation techniques exist in all age groups, depending upon many different factors, such as an individual´s learned patterns, defense mechanisms, sense of self, morals, and ethics. An individual usually behaves in a way that he/she thinks is correct, without perhaps knowing or understanding better. Thus, bad influence and bad manipulation, unfortunately, together with primitive behavior, equally exists amongst all age groups. 


How can we learn to identify different ways of manipulation, and influence? And how can we cope with these? How can we make sure not to be the one´s negatively influencing, or manipulating other people, organizations, whole societies, or e.g. the economy? 


There are no simple responses to these questions. Since manipulation, and influence, both occur on a common level in our societies, it can often even be difficult to take notice when someone, or something, is influencing or manipulating you. Very often people influence or manipulate us without even noticing it themselves. Therefore, both influence and manipulation can happen somewhat by mistake.


A good guide for protecting yourself against both influence, and manipulation, is to listen to your intuition, and feelings. Another important thing is to stay grounded, and centered – again, listening to your intuition and your feelings rather than being too much affected by external sources or distractions. It is of course possible to learn these through experience, which can sometimes be a tough life lesson, especially if you are someone who is easily influenced or manipulated. There is much literature available upon influence and manipulation, the different types of both, and how to respond to either external influence or manipulation. 


Leading by example and being a positive role model is a way of making sure that you are not the one with the negative influence (or manipulation). Changing other people is impossible. Therefore, if we wish to trigger positive change, and be role models, we need to work on ourselves, on our behavior, our actions, our personal wisdom, and on our growth as responsible individuals in our societies. 

 “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours”.

(Dr. Wayne W. Dyer)