“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” ~ Rumi
Back in the late ’70s when I was a young student in London, a friend loaned me “The Trial” by Kafka. I was depressed for over a month. The main character was a clerk who had always followed the rules. One day as he stepped out after work, he was arrested and faced a series of ‘trials’, going from one faceless room to another where he was grilled to confess his ‘crime’ of which he never got to find out the charge. And to the very end, he never found out what he was being tried for. Although I strongly identified with the character’s sense of confusion, and that feeling remained as an undercurrent for most of my life, I could never quite put my finger on it until I began walking down the road less traveled in my Nusantara journey of self-discovery.
But even before that, around 1997 a friend gifted me with a book called “The Road Less Traveled” by M Scott Peck. It totally captivated me. I then went out and bought every book he had written and devoured them. One book, in particular, fascinated me. It was his seminal work called “Community Building in Business”. A fascinating proposition but was it even possible?
’97 was also the year of the Asian financial crisis and my contracting business was in trouble. I was very nearly bankrupted. It took me 5 long and grueling years to turn things around and finally reach an even keel around 2002.
Meanwhile, Shoi, my partner in the contracting business, had moved on to her new discovery of internet marketing in the year 2000, just after the first Dot Com crash. By this time I was so traumatized and sick of the toxic corporate world that I found myself joining her on the WWW in 2002. It was at that time a World full of possibilities with nascent hopes and dreams. I took part in so many exciting conversations with new entrepreneurs. But as time passed the voices became fewer and less energetic. In its place was the growth of giant platforms. And more and more independent voices got edged out. We started emasters.info as a viral marketing company. When that didn’t work out we started 2 ezines, one in lifestyle and the other covering current developments on the WWW. And when even that didn’t work out despite our initial successes in the rapidly changing advertising and marketing models that preluded the giant platforms, we retreated to become a web design company with designbyshoi.com. And there we remained till, at the suggestion of a friend, we started nusantaracollection.com in 2016.
However, with the Nusantara project, I decided to relook at all my previously-held assumptions. This was to me an opportunity to start again with a blank sheet and to test the propositions of Scott’s “Community in Business” that captivated me back in ’97. And so, from what I’d learned from M Scott Peck, I ‘emptied’ and ‘bracketed’ in an attempt to see things in a fresh light. Please read my journey here — The Nusantara Story.
What if our assumptions of Business were reframed from “Competition” to “Collaboration” and “Authentic Communication” instead? Would that work? If so, how?
What if Business is reframed to a process of self-discovery of who we are as alluded to by Scott? What if our skills and passions revealed in our self-discovery can then be combined in Community into a whole, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? What if we can find a way to value our contributions and be compensated accordingly? Would that aid creativity and innovation? If so, would that be the route out of the Kafkaesque World and possibly arrive at the idea of a Community in Business as advocated by M Scott Peck all those years ago?
Next: Continue to the next part of the series here.
If these questions interest you too you can also find my articles in It’s My Life e-magazine.
I also invite you to join my Facebook group called The Spiritual Realist in Business where we can have a conversation if you have any questions to direct to me.