Editor's letter

Half full or half empty?


Jurriaan Kamp | December 2005 issue
The banker and I were looking at the same figures. But while the banker saw dark clouds, his expression solemn and concerned, I saw success and looked toward a beautiful future, full of confidence.
The same figures. The same facts and data. But two opposite visions of the future. The banker said he wanted to “objectify” the discussion. I understood: He wanted to take my sense of trust and optimism out of the figures. And I thought, that’s impossible, because that is precisely the foundation of my plans. Doing business is first and foremost about confidence in an unknown future, about doing things concerning which no one knows the outcome. More to the point: If you could objectify entrepreneurship, only civil servants and accountants would get into it.
Business executive Lee Iacocca saved Chrysler Motors by saying he was prepared to manage the company for an annual salary of one dollar. Later asked how he managed to keep Chrysler from going under, Iacocca said nothing. He pointed instead to his abdomen. Where is courage?
Since Einstein demonstrated that the observer determines the observation, this is more than a philosophical discussion. The attitude you take in looking at events and developments is crucial. The charismatic conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Benjamin Zander, tells a story from his father that has guided his life: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”
Iacocca saw an opportunity and therefore was able to turn around a company on which most people had given up. That’s because opportunities are not objective. What looks like an opportunity to one person can be seen as a disaster by another. And both people are right, because their own perceptions determine the reality they experience. Your opportunities are the opportunities you see. I see different (im)possibilities than you do—precisely what makes life interesting and fun.
For this special issue, we debated where the world is heading in a number of spirited discussions. We were searching for the seeds visible today of new developments that may determine tomorrow. It occurred to us that this is not an objective exercise either. We see many possibilities to make the future more fulfilling, inspiring, healthy and equitable (see page 32). But the future depends on people seizing those opportunities, people who won’t wait, but do what they can. That means the fate of the future really depends on us. On you and me.
And that’s the best news of all. The course of the future is not the inevitable—objective—result of current developments but, in fact, a series of choices we make. That’s why there is always a place for optimism. And it turns out this optimism is also in our best interest. In this issue, cardiologist Pim van Lommel says: “Every thought we have is a form of energy that continues to exist forever” (see page 26). We always have the choice: every glass can at the same time be half full and half empty.
So from this perspective I gladly drink to you from a (half) full glass.
 

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Editor's letter

Half full or half empty?


Jurriaan Kamp | December 2005 issue
The banker and I were looking at the same figures. But while the banker saw dark clouds, his expression solemn and concerned, I saw success and looked toward a beautiful future, full of confidence.
The same figures. The same facts and data. But two opposite visions of the future. The banker said he wanted to “objectify” the discussion. I understood: He wanted to take my sense of trust and optimism out of the figures. And I thought, that’s impossible, because that is precisely the foundation of my plans. Doing business is first and foremost about confidence in an unknown future, about doing things concerning which no one knows the outcome. More to the point: If you could objectify entrepreneurship, only civil servants and accountants would get into it.
Business executive Lee Iacocca saved Chrysler Motors by saying he was prepared to manage the company for an annual salary of one dollar. Later asked how he managed to keep Chrysler from going under, Iacocca said nothing. He pointed instead to his abdomen. Where is courage?
Since Einstein demonstrated that the observer determines the observation, this is more than a philosophical discussion. The attitude you take in looking at events and developments is crucial. The charismatic conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Benjamin Zander, tells a story from his father that has guided his life: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”
Iacocca saw an opportunity and therefore was able to turn around a company on which most people had given up. That’s because opportunities are not objective. What looks like an opportunity to one person can be seen as a disaster by another. And both people are right, because their own perceptions determine the reality they experience. Your opportunities are the opportunities you see. I see different (im)possibilities than you do—precisely what makes life interesting and fun.
For this special issue, we debated where the world is heading in a number of spirited discussions. We were searching for the seeds visible today of new developments that may determine tomorrow. It occurred to us that this is not an objective exercise either. We see many possibilities to make the future more fulfilling, inspiring, healthy and equitable (see page 32). But the future depends on people seizing those opportunities, people who won’t wait, but do what they can. That means the fate of the future really depends on us. On you and me.
And that’s the best news of all. The course of the future is not the inevitable—objective—result of current developments but, in fact, a series of choices we make. That’s why there is always a place for optimism. And it turns out this optimism is also in our best interest. In this issue, cardiologist Pim van Lommel says: “Every thought we have is a form of energy that continues to exist forever” (see page 26). We always have the choice: every glass can at the same time be half full and half empty.
So from this perspective I gladly drink to you from a (half) full glass.
 

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