Home page ; Archive desk ; READ MY BOOK ; Next newsletter


Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




Individuals, niches and whole systems

In a hectare of tropical jungle, countless thousands of species are trying to survive and prosper. All of them have needs that they have to fill by finding their place in the larger community. To do so, everyone of them establishes a particular "niche" in a fierce environment where the basic relationship is "predator/prey". No one takes it personally - the game of life fosters a very competitive climate where winners learn by copying whatever seems to work. In the last issue of the "Jungle Times" (see a HTML version at http://www.consult-IIDC.com), I mentionned how naturalists tell us that 99.99% of all species who existed on this Planet are extinct today. Power and might -as dinosaurs attest- are no protection against changing times and in their case, even proved a deterrent.

The organic management principles in Nature include (a) unicity - no two snowflakes, no two blades of grass, no two persons or situations are ever the same, (b) individuality - the conditions for each lifeform are entirely personal, and (c) interdependence - aware of it or not - life is a closed system where every individual has an influence on the whole. The jungle seems to want individuals to learn those win-win-win scenarios that interdependence implies. Are you fitting in ?

Successful species have a variety of ways of managing their influence on their environment. A kind of grasshopper -the Tettigonae- learned to imitate leaves so as to totally blend-in with its environment. Its strategy is to completely disappear into the background, there to make no noticeable impression but to thrive in secret. Transforming itself through successive moltings, it will shed its entire carcass to melt into its selected niche; it can look exactly like a fresh green leaf at the top of a tree, or a pale green and brown half-eaten leaf out there on a limb or like rotting dry brown leaf, down on the jungle floor. Invisibly, it enjoys the jungle's banquet unhurried by its own predators. By not even eating too fast, it doesn't attract attention and won't overstay its welcome.

Predators have long learned to set up shop in a niche where "customer's" gather and to wait there in order to "do business". And while waiting, they establish a unique market position from which to serve themselves. In the same jungle hectare, the "Net-casting Spider" hangs high above the waterhole; it will drop an intricate and incredibly well designed web down from the shadows above, onto its chosen lunch. The "Platform Spider" has a comfortable perch above a telecommunication maze of seemingly random wires and antennae; anything that flies into this network grid is detected, lassoed and quickly wrapped for later.

Climbing higher up the food chain, it becomes apparent that the greatest lesson in Nature is "survival of the wisest". In his book "Predatory Marketing", C.B. Beemer explains how the wise set up shop near one of 10 "niches" where individuals are known to gather. Shrewdly observing the marketplace, he noticed customers always gather where their needs are met; and he found that successful predators establish "a unique selling position" at those conjunctions. In a busy place, they conduct their business with "altruistic self-interest" - i.e putting their customers first will help them prosper.

In the marketplace jungle, people will "niche"...

(1)...where they can get their basic needs filled ;

(2) ...where their higher needs are considered;

(3) ...where they get the "best offer" in their immediate or a select geographic territory;

(4) ...where their needs are most quickly satisfied;

(5) ...where transacting business is easily accessible and trouble free.

(6) ...where their transactions are relatively risk-free - i.e. where they are assured easy trial, return and refund;

(7) ...where the premium charged for the "unique position" is not exorbitant;

(8) ...where they receive friendly service, personal acknowledgment or tangible reward;

(9) ...where the relationship has merit or provides them with ongoing promise and potential;

(10) ...and where they are participating in a larger momentum or good.

If you set up shop and serve people at one of those niches, most any idea, service or product will put you on the road to success; if you cater to a few of those niches, you'll thrive.

But don't forget - survival will always require continuous creativity. When the Fulgoridae moth discovered its particular strategy -matching a certain tree-bark's coloring- didn't always fool local birds, it had no resistance to adding a new one to its repertoire. Now, whenever Fulgo finds that its hide-out is ineffective with a predator, it unfolds its upper wings to reveal an exquisite pair of very large eyes staring fiercely that are "painted" on secondary wings. And while the startled predator adjusts its own strategy to allow for the possibility it is being invaded by a seemingly "new" species, Fulgo escapes to set up shop over there, invisible once again. Be "market-wise". Learn to out-think predators by investing in your "creative capital" and by developing your own "unique selling position" in the global economy.



"Strategic Thinking" is a creative exercise with a long history. It's described - using different symbols and names - in such formats as the Tarot and Van Hoeck's creativity books and is here explained according to the version handed down by the Olmec culture of Mesoamerica.

Strategic thinking is behavioral and allows one to shape new input into creative ideas and projects. It's based on the natural working of the brain's hemispheres and involves seeking out new information, treating it on both conscious and subconscious levels for insight, analyzing it to provoke creative breakthrough, implementing the fruit of that labor and adjusting it to the real world before communicating your intent.

You'll find details of the exercise and ways to practice the 5 strategic roles of Stalker, Dreamer, Seer, Warrior and Master-communicator if you click here.



E$P -Empowerment, $trategy and Persuasion- is a 7 day educational adventure that demystifies the motivation, strategy and creativity needed to sell ideas, products, services or "yourself" to another.

Agenda: Blitz across Costa Rica aboard a "classroom-bus" and stay in 4 great places along the way. During this incredibly powerful one week training course, entertain significant ideas on how the exchange of "transactional energy" is both an art and a science. See the daily itinerary of this outstanding adventure by clicking here.



Do you have to travel for work or play? The world is getting smaller and the new "open skies" policy is causing all kinds of new airlines to emerge.

Click http://www.http://www.smilinjack.com/airlines.htm to find a single stop for most of 'em. From there you can click onto most of the Airline web sites. Bookmark it to use when you need to figure out the direct route from Brownbagget to Paradise Beach. If you reserve, you might need a few simple phrases translated to or from English, French, Spanish,German, Italian, Portuguese or Dutch. They'll be translate in a second by the Lycos computer at http://translate.lycos.com/trans.asp - (it'll do a half-decent rough cut when you're in a bind...).



"Sit down before facts as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses Nature leads, or you will learn nothing." Thomas Huxley

"The voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

"Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it at the bud." Alex Osborn

"The man who has no inner life is a slave to his surroundings." Henri-Frederic Amiel



An expert in time management who spent a lot of his time in the countryside, came to town on occasion and spoke to business people. Now he stood in front of a group of high powered overachievers and talked about priorities, stress, relaxation and time for about an hour and half. At the end of his presentation, he answered questions and began to think that things had gone well, that his ideas were well received and accepted. Soon though, someone shouted out that he spent too much time with the birds and bears and was out of touch. When he asked what the questionner meant, a haggard-looking man answered that his own day filled so quickly with so many things to do - all of them important - that he didn't have time for theories, not even one that promised more time.

"If you remember", the expert answered, "I spoke about inner and outer clocks, about how the mind runs away to convince us everything is important; if you weren't in such an 'inner hurry', you would have dwelled on that part of my talk a bit more. I specifically pointed out that: 'There is no more time' - each day has only 24 hours. There's only our capacity to properly use what little time there is. "

He then walked to a small wheeled and cloth-covered table and brought it to front of the stage. He reached under it and pulled out out a one-gallon, wide mouth jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks could fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"

Everyone in the audience shouted, "Yes."

The conference speaker said: "Really?" - and then reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped gravel in the jar and shook it, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

And he asked the group again: "Is the jar full?" By this time the group was on to him and the haggard-looking man stayed silent. "Probably not!", someone finally said.

"Good!", he replied. And reached under the table again, bringing out a bag of sand. He dumped the sand into the jar, shaking it so that it fell into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.

Once more he asked: "Is this jar full?"

"No!", everybody shouted. Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the questioner and asked, "What is the point of my illustration?"

The man answered: "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"

"No!", the expert replied, "...that was not my point. The truth that I demonstrated is: 'If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

The expert finished off by saying: "Your days are numbered and your life is like that jar - limited. Every day will always be filled and can only hold so much. But if you put the big rocks in first, you'll be amazed at how much room there really is. Having priorities doesn't mean choosing among many things - it means choosing the important things. And then he added: "Please forgive me for being dramatic. I knew I'd only be with you a very short time and came prepared to show you how time must be managed. Thanks for your attention." - and he walked off to great applause.

So what are the "big rocks" in your life? Time with loved ones? Spiritual growth? Your personal education? A dream or hobby? A worthy cause? Teaching or helping others? If you don't put these BIG ROCKS in your day first, you'll never get them in at all.

Home page ; Archive desk ; READ MY BOOK ; Next newsletter