6 Types of Prisons and the Story of Great Men that Fall – Wisdom of I-Ching #47 困 Boxed-In

I-Ching gives us 6 types of prisons that also reflect the life story of those great men and women that started with almost nothing, achieve great success, and ended with a great fall. Heed the wisdom of I-Ching to get success and sustain it.It is commonly acknowledged that the greatest sin is Pride. Pride is the downfall of many greats, including even Satan, the chief of the devils, according to the Bible. Then there is the saying of 3G temptations that bring down many greats too. The 3G stands for Glory, Gold and Girls(or Guys). Glory is related to Pride. Gold is related to riches and wealth. Girls/Guys is related to sexual lust. In I-Ching, there is a hexagram #47 困 Boxed-In or trapped that give us 6 types of prisons.

They are:

  1. Prison of Darkness – Lack of knowledge or wisdom. The solution is obvious – learn and acquire to wisdom to gain the light and see the way out of the prison.
  2. Prison of Pleasures – Loosing oneself in drinking, dinning and wild partying The advice from I-Ching is to save the money on partying and give them to charities instead. Giving may bring the true happiness of inner joy rather than from external simulation of food and wine. The Bible book Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 says that it is better to be in the house of mourning than of feasting because in mourning one can learn and be wise and all the feasting and laughter will only make fool out of us!
  3. Prison of Hardships and Oppositions. Going forward is met by stone and yet staying put is like resting on thorns. To break free, one has to consult Hexagram 40 解 Freed – Get with Decisive Actions.
  4. Prison of Riches. Riches and wealth have much power. But somehow with human, we then to get proud and use them wrongly either wasting them on our own luxurious livings or bullying others.
  5. Prison of Power. We can easily recall the popular statement, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
  6. Prison of Anxiety. As the world becomes even more uncertain, people worry more and more and suffer from depressions.
The 3 Prisons that We may have Igorned

Compared with the 3G(Glory=Power, Gold=Riches, Girls=Pleasures) mentioned earlier, the three new prisons introduced by I-Ching are Darkness, Hardship/Oppositions and Anxiety.

6-Stage Life Cycle of Great Men/Women
The Life Story of Those Great Men/Women that Fall There is also a progressive relationship among the 6 types of prisons (this is a principle teaching of I-Ching). The beginning prison of darkness is the lack of knowledge. When we get smarter and richer, we may be trapped in pleasures. However, if we get smart and break free from it by continue to work hard and expand, we then encounter the next stage of more and more opposition. Overcoming obstacles and hardships brings forth riches and riches bring forth power. Now that we have riches and power, we may begin to worry about loosing them. Is not this the life history of many great men and women that started with nothing? If only they study and heed the wisdom of I-Ching, they may be able to maintain their success and progress to a greater height instead of the big down fall.
For more on I-Ching, see Making I-Ching Come Alive! The Key Principles & Applications and even more with Ancient Chinese Wisdom

Lim Liat (c) 10 Feb 2014

Creating Fully Engaged & High Performance Teams and the Wisdom of I-Ching

There are many articles and books that talk about how to create high performance teams. But many only cover the subject from a narrow angle. The wisdom of I-Ching however, is able to look at the subject from a wider angle. This post gives the details to show the power of I-Ching wisdom. So, save yourself the time to read many business books and let I-Ching guides you.

How to have an engaged and high performance team has become a popular topic recently again. May be this is due to the multi-generation workforce, or the merger and acquisitions that are getting more frequent. Team building has always been a corporation favourite subject. Many team building programs are activities based. They get the people to play some games and to socialize together. These are good basic steps to get staff to know one another better, especially for the newer staff. However, just having happy staff working and socializing with one another is not only objective of a business. A business is about having engaged staff working together to achieve the mission and visions of the business. The mission objectives must be shared, cascaded and aligned for all the staff to work passionately towards achieving them. Therefore, having team building games are but the very basic and starting point for building high performance team. There are much more to be done to create the policies, directions and culture for high performance and fully engaged staff. We must address the mindset and the attitudes in greater scope and depth.

By searching, we can find many articles and books on the subject of teamwork. Each one will cover certain aspect of the subject. If you can find some book that address the topic more comprehensively, please let us know. I personally find that I-Ching is able to do  more comprehensively then the books we find today. For example, in term of leadership, in 4 Basic and 5 Orientation Principles of Leadership from I-Ching, we find that leaders need to have creative power, nurturing love, integrity and humility as four basic virtues and five orientations to lead depending on the situations. The five orientations are mission-task centred, people-centred, synergy from diversities, congregational (team) culture centred and matching of talents and jobs. I have yet to find a leadership book that cover the scope and the agile principle for application. The early days business books talk about task oriented leadership to achieve the mission. Later business books shift to people-centred. Present business books talk about inclusivity and the importance of talents. Business fads are like fashion where certain topic becomes popular and then dies off. But running a business cannot be done that way of going by the fads of the its day.

Back to the main topic of interest, namely, “teamwork”. I can do a keyword search of ‘team’ on my I-Ching mind-map. The following is the result of the search with the relevant wisdom being displayed:

What’s Next?

1. I will expand the selected Hexagram (#38, #10) to include the wisdom from the 6 stage-lines associated with the Hexagram (i.e. like the Hexagram #45 Congregation in the map).

I will then get the following mind-map with some highlighted to make it clearer:

2. Go through Each Branch of Map and Write down the thoughts triggered and the action that you will take to improve teamwork.
The thoughts and actions will be very specific to your organization, and hence I give no answers here.

3. Grouping 
I will then group the thoughts and actions into clusters. It will get rid of duplicates and put the related ideas together. I will end up with a shorter list of things to do.

4. Prioritize, Collaborate and Share.
I will then prioritize the list of actions. What are important and easiest to do will be listed first.

I may want to share my discovery with my staff to gather more feedbacks and suggestions. After this, it will be a good time to think of the 5W2H for the actions. i.e. What, Who, When, Where, How and How much. Such assignment of work can also be conducted in a group with the right persons volunteering to take over the relevant tasks.

In summary, I hope you find the wisdom of I-Ching useful. It can give you a wider and deeper view of things. It serves as a trigger to other or better ideas.

Lim Liat (c) 8 Oct 2013

Leading in Uncertain Times – Learning from Ps Andy Stanley

The building blocks for building a successful enterprise and the principles for leading an organization in uncertain times are essentially the same according to Andy Stanley. We just need to do more for clarity, flexibility and transparency. This reinforces the methodology for building successful enterprises.

I have been listening to Andy Stanley’s Podcast for many years. Recently, he has one titled “Leading in Uncertain Times” which is one of the subject that should interests everyone in times of uncertainty best coined as VUCAD, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complex, Ambiguous and Deception. I have written on this topic in Wisdom for Success in a 21st Century VUCA World and shall be giving such a talk at the ITMA Singapore AGM Dinner on 19 March 2013.

I had previously wrote about Andy’ earlier podcast on “Better before Bigger” on Learning CPM from Andy Stanley the Pastor. I think it would be very useful to combine the two podcast together and present them in a mind-map shown below:

The top yellow branch shows us how to grow a enterprise or a church. The lower blue branch shows us the three principles of how to lead in uncertain times. The interesting part is that the 3 principles of clarity, flexibility and transparency match exactly the 3 building blocks for a  growing an enterprise. The way to build successful organization is reinforced by the principles to run enterprise in uncertain times! We just need to hold on to them more and communicate them more often in the present uncertainty.Lim Liat (c) 6 March 2013

Strength alone has no meaning – Reorder Your SWOT Analysis

All strengths are dependent on the situation. They should be determined externally by the situation unless you specific choose the situation wherein your strength is relevant. Going further, we should do our SWOT in the order of TOWS! BTW, No idea is useless. You just need to find the situation and the job or person that needs it. Finding the jobs that make use of your idea is also innovation. Innovation is not just the invention of things or even services. Giving new meaning and hence new uses for existing products are also innovation. 

When sending my daughter to work this morning, I encountered the following situation as shown in the photo below:

 

What can you see or learn in above photo?

 That’s is the very sexy looking Ferrari? I wish I can afford one?

 Ferrari is better to be in red than white?

 It is a traffic jam.

 That’s is the 1st level kind of thinking.

For deeper thoughts ….

In a traffic jam or at a red traffic light, the Ferrari is as fast my Honda.

Any strength is situation dependent. 

 All the horse powers in the Ferrari cannot be used in a traffic jam.

Strengths or weaknesses should be viewed externally, from the opportunities and threats that are present in the situation.

So we must :

 a. choose the theater of operations where our strengths can be used or

 b. get the strengths that we need when we are forced into a situation.

Doing SWOT in TOWS Order

This lesson is the key to the SWOT analysis that we do often in strategic planning. We tend to do it inwardly first, from what we think as our strengths and weaknesses and look outward for the opportunities and threats. Hence, we see what we like to see and miss out the greater opportunities (threats are opportunities too. So I purposefully not mention it here) that lie in our blind spots. Furthermore, strengths should be measured not by us but our customers and the market relative to our competitors.

 We should invert the way we do SWOT. We should look at the OT and then derive the S!W. Or even we should do it T O W S! Look the external threats, find the opportunities, discover the weaknesses and find the strengths to come out with a set of action plans (the strategies) to convert threats to opportunities, weaknesses to strengths, so as to ride on the strengths to capture the opportunities. The good news of external opportunities and threats are that all your competitors are facing them also. There open the great opportunities for you to better them!

No idea is useless. 

Extending even further, there is no such thing as a useless idea.

You just need to find the situation and the job or person that need it.

Finding the jobs that make use of your idea is also innovation.

Innovation is just the invention of things or even services.

Giving new meaning and hence new uses for existing products are also innovation.

 

Hope this post give you lots of ideas to improve your business and life.

Lim Liat (C) 3 Dec 2012