What is your work ethic?

Would you work for a company that produces weapons? You’re there assembling guns and rifles, that will be used in wars to kill soldiers but probably also many civilians, and many kids. The salary is good and the workplace comfortable though.

work-ethic-frontMaybe no, but would you work for that company just as an accountant instead? You’re not there assembling guns physically, but working on a computer in one of their offices, with excel files and stuff like that. Your labor still contributes to the cause of a company that kills people for business, but you never touch the weapons personally.

Still no? Ok, then what about cigarettes? Would you work for a company that produces cigarettes? They also offer you a good salary and a comfortable workplace. You’re still working for a company that kills people for business: just very very slowly, and in a way which is socially accepted. Maybe it’s not the creative job you dreamed about… but if the salary is good… maybe you wouldn’t mind, would you?

What about gambling? Would you accept a job where you produce video poker machines? This is much easier to say yes to: your company is not even damaging anyone’s health in this case, it’s just taking advantage of people who are unaware of how the statistics of those machines works. Would a good salary make you be OK with providing your labor to such a company?

Next: would you say yes to a job in the public administration? Here you would work in a typical lazy government office: the job is very stable and a good salary is always granted, whether you work hard or barely. Occasionally you may even have the impression that you’re being productive, but most of the time you realize that your entire office is not doing anything for the society (other than keeping a dozen of employees busy shuffling papers).

The penultimate proposal is working for a restaurant that serves high quality food: tasty, healthy and produced sustainably. You’re back to the private sector, but this time not only your company is not harmful or unproductive, it’s even producing some value for the society (the high quality food). In this case however the salary is only mediocre, and you have to work a lot. How do you feel about this proposal? Does it attract you more or less than the previous ones?

And final question: would you work for a nonprofit organization for no salary? No salary means that probably you have to use your extra time to generate income some other way. The organization helps people in need and the environment, but for you individually this means hard work and plenty of difficult situations to face.

Individual action VS global action

As you examined the previous proposals, considering which jobs you would or wouldn’t accept, you noticed that I formulated the questions in a specific way: I didn’t mention only the individual work that you would do (e.g. assembling guns) or the individual conditions that you would get (e.g. good salary), I also remarked the global action that your company would do in the society, thanks also to the contribution of your labor.

This is an important point of view that is rarely considered. When it comes to evaluating a job, often we are educated to adopt a restricted perspective: we only look at the office we are in, and at the colleagues we have around. And if in this small bubble our personal conditions (salary, workplace) are good, then the job is “good”. But we rarely include in our evaluations the entire entity: the company we work for. If we give our labor to it… what are we helping it doing? What kind of impact does our company have in the world?

I’m sure that many of us would be averse if proposed directly to assemble guns (especially knowing that they will be used to kill kids), however my impression is that at the same time we’re often in a situation that is similar to the situation of the accountant: we are in a work environment that apparently is professional and inoffensive, so we don’t realize that indirectly we’re helping some larger entity have a negative impact in the world.

Broadening the perspective and considering the larger entity is necessary to determine our work ethic, because it’s the starting point to decide how much we are willing to compromise in order to maintain personal benefits.

Personally, as an example, my work ethic tells me not to give my labor to companies whose global action results in the production of unconsciousness. Interestingly, this principle wipes out most of the jobs that exist today, that in my opinion lower both the individual consciousness of the worker and the global consciousness of the environment.

My work ethic also tells me not to give my labor to companies that are unproductive and inefficient, the type of companies that would make me work many hours to produce very little. Knowing how many resources the universe employed for me to be here (food, education… and of course millions of years of evolution 🙂 ) I would feel very bad to use them doing nothing in a lazy office. This second principle wipes out another large number of modern jobs, that seem to me definitely unproductive.

Few examples of jobs that I would very hardly accept because misaligned with these principles would be working for: a bank (parasitic institution that adds zero value to the society), a fast food restaurant (I wouldn’t want to contribute to make people sick), a pharmacy (I prefer to educate people to avoid disease, rather than curing the disease once people have it), a retail store like Zara and H&M (too much focus on appearance, and I really dislike the egotistical attitude that their models wear in the ads), a football stadium (sports like football tend to become mass magnets for unconsciousness), the news on television (propaganda).

And of course I would not work for companies that produce weapons, cigarettes, video poker machines, and I would rather stay away from unproductive government jobs. I may accept one of these jobs only if desperately in need… or maybe if they offered me such a huge salary that I’d feel I could use that salary to contrast these companies more than I would help them with my labor.

Even if definitely a minority, fortunately still many “survivor” jobs exist that pass the test of my work ethic. For example I am generally OK with jobs related to housekeeping, gardening, personal care, farming, tourism, education and art (hopefully at condition that these jobs don’t serve unconsciousness-producing entities as well). Actually I even do some of these jobs occasionally, even if I prefer to focus on other jobs that are my forte AND that produce passive income.

Unethical jobs

I find it rather amusing that today, when someone says that he doesn’t eat meat for ethical reasons, people understand it and are fine with it, but when I say that I don’t have a job for ethical reasons, people look at me weird.

But that’s really one of my main reasons: I would feel really bad having one of the many jobs that are common in the job market today, because no matter how stable the position and how comfortable the workplace, at higher level most of these jobs serve entities like banks, governments, corporations, and these entities create many problems for the society. I don’t want to contribute to create problems.

Even with commerce in general, a large sector that employs the labor of many people, I tend to feel resistance. In my view most shops that exist (physically in the streets, or virtually on internet) sell an impressive amount of unnecessary objects, so working in any of those shops would mean participating to their “bad” cause: materialism. And I really see materialism, a.k.a. the excessive focus on possessing objects, as a big source of unhappiness for people and unconsciousness in general.

Your ethic VS the ethic of your colleagues

A popular Jim Rohn quote is: you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It makes a lot of sense to me.

If you spend many hours per week in a workplace, can you recognize that you are inevitably influenced by your colleagues? And if your colleagues have -on average- a very different ethic from yours, what are the consequences on you?

I personally experienced a lot of struggle in a previous corporate job for this. It took me awhile to realize that there was a problematic difference between the values that typically circulated in that work environment and my own values. For example, in the relationships with customers, managers and peers, I frequently used to detect a lack of authenticity that bothered me.

Especially in meetings, people were hardly saying what they were really thinking, and lies were a standard practice, for example to avoid admitting responsibilities with delays in completing projects. In those situations, sometimes I would “rebel” and say what I was really thinking anyway, but most times I would get carried in the flow and tell many lies too, to avoid constant arguing. Unfortunately this was influencing also my personal life, in fact I recognized that the number of lies that I was telling in my private sphere was increasing as well, because I was getting used to it.

I think that in general it’s very difficult to maintain integrity and stay loyal to your principles if in your workplace if you see everybody around constantly going against those principles. For example, again in the specific case of authenticity, you can try to be as authentic as you want in your work, but the problem is at the higher level: the type of job itself, the sector in which you are. Some workplaces are inevitably doomed to be pervaded by inauthenticity because they belong to an estabilishment that is inherently based on a lie.

That’s the case, for example, of the entire banking estabilishment, that sits on the lie that paper money is backed up by anything. This lie at the root inevitably reaches all the levels of the estabilishment, from the meetings at the top of the elite bankers, to the relationships among “simple” bank employees at lower levels: in general they will all be more prone to lie than, for example, people who work in farming.

Similarities exist in other sectors: politics (sits on the lie that most politicians work to serve the citizens instead of themselves), mass media news (sits on the lie that they’re produced to inform the audience), advertising (lies are the foundation of the whole business), and so on.

Some sectors in general have a bad karma, so if you work in those sectors -at any level- you put yourself in a situation where your values are constantly challenged. How are you supposed to maintain a strong work ethic there? Wouldn’t it be easier to just migrate to another sector with better karma?

Last questions

I want to end this article just as I started it, with some questions.

What are you available to do for a salary?

If you do have a job, whether you’re working as an employee or as an entrepreneur, what does your company do? What kind of impact does it have in the world: positive, negative, irrelevant? Does your company promote materialism and consumerism, making society more miserable? Does it promote science and art, making society happier?

In which direction is your company pushing, and so in which direction are you also pushing by giving your labor to it? If you’re working inside a comfortable bubble but that bubble is included in a larger bad bubble, is that OK for you? Is it in line with your work ethic?

Does your company add value to the world, subtract value from the world, or maybe it’s not doing anything significant, so whether you and your colleagues go to work each day or not… the outside society wouldn’t even notice the difference?

And those people who accept challenging jobs for nonprofit organizations -without even getting paid-, what is their motivation?

Related: The function of labor, How to earn money without working, What is the utility of the bank?

Qual’è la tua etica lavorativa?

Lavoreresti per una compagnia che produce armi? Sei lì ad assemblare pistole e fucili, che verranno usate in guerre per uccidere soldati ma probabilmente anche molti civili, e molti bambini. Lo stipendio è buono e l’ambiente di lavoro confortevole comunque.

etica-lavorativa-fronteForse no, ma lavoreresti per quella compagnia solo come contabile invece? Non sei lì ad assemblare pistole fisicamente, ma a lavorare su un computer in uno dei loro uffici, con file excel e roba simile. Il tuo lavoro contribuisce ancora alla causa di una compagnia che uccide persone per affari, ma tu non tocchi mai le armi personalmente.

Ancora no? Ok, allora che ne dici delle sigarette? Lavoreresti per una compagnia che produce sigarette? Anche loro ti offrono un buono stipendio e un ambiente di lavoro confortevole. Stai ancora lavorando per una compagnia che uccide persone per affari: solo molto molto lentamente, e in un modo che è socialmente accettato. Forse non è il lavoro creativo che avevi sognato… ma se lo stipendio è buono… forse non ti dispiacerebbe, non è così?

Che ne dici del gioco d’azzardo? Accetteresti un lavoro in cui produci macchine per il video poker? A questo è molto più facile dire di si: la tua compagnia non sta nemmeno danneggiando la salute di nessuno in questo caso, si sta solo approfittando di persone che non sono coscienti di come funziona la statistica di quelle macchine. Un buono stipendio ti farebbe sentire OK col fatto di fornire il tuo lavoro a tale compagnia?

Prossimo: diresti di si a un lavoro nella pubblica amministrazione? Qui lavoreresti in un tipico ufficio pigro del governo: il lavoro è molto stabile e un buono stipendio è sempre garantito: sia che tu lavori duramente o a malapena. Occasionalmente puoi anche avere l’impressione di essere produttivo, ma gran parte del tempo realizzi che il tuo intero ufficio non sta facendo nulla per la società (a parte tenere una dozzina di impiegati occupati a mischiare carte).

La penultima proposta è lavorare per un ristorante che serve cibo di alta qualità: gustoso, salutare e prodotto sostenibilmente. Sei tornato al settore privato, ma questa volta non solo la tua compagnia non è dannosa o improduttiva, sta persino producendo del valore per la società (il cibo di alta qualità). In questo caso però lo stipendio è solo mediocre, e devi lavorare tanto. Come ti senti rispetto a questa proposta? Ti attrae più o meno delle precedenti?

E domanda finale: lavoreresti per un’organizzazione noprofit senza nessuno stipendio? Nessuno stipendio significa che probabilmente devi usare il tuo tempo extra per generare reddito in qualche altro modo. L’organizzazione aiuta le persone che hanno bisogno e l’ambiente, ma per te individualmente questo significa lavoro duro e parecchie situazioni difficili da affrontare.

Azione individuale VS azione globale

Mentre esaminavi le proposte precedenti, considerando quali lavori accetteresti e quali no, hai notato che ho formulato le domande in una maniera specifica: non ho menzionato solo il lavoro individuale che faresti (es. assemblare pistole) o le condizioni individuali che otterresti (es. buono stipendio), ho sottolineato anche l’azione globale che la tua compagnia farebbe nella società, grazie anche al contributo del tuo lavoro.

Questo è un punto di vista importante che raramente viene considerato. Quando si tratta di valutare un lavoro, spesso veniamo educati ad adottare una prospettiva ristretta: guardiamo solo l’ufficio in cui ci troviamo, e i colleghi che abbiamo intorno. E se in questa piccola bolla le nostre condizioni personali (stipendio, ambiente di lavoro) sono buone, allora il lavoro è “buono”. Ma raramente includiamo nelle notre valutazioni l’intera entità: la compagnia per cui lavoriamo. Se le diamo il nostro lavoro… che cosa la stiamo aiutando a fare? Che tipo di impatto ha la nostra compagnia nel mondo?

Sono sicuro che molti di noi sarebbero avversi alla proposta diretta di assemblare pistole (specialmente sapendo che verranno usate per uccidere bambini), però la mia impressione è che allo stesso tempo siamo spesso in una situazione che è simile alla situazione del contabile: ci troviamo in un ambiente di lavoro che apparentemente è professionale e inoffensivo, quindi non realizziamo che indirettamente stiamo aiutando qualche entità più grande ad avere un impatto negativo nel mondo.

Ampliare la prospettiva e considerare l’entità più grande è necessario per determinare qual’è la nostra etica lavorativa, perché è il punto di partenza per decidere quanto siamo disposti a scendere a compromessi per mantenere benefici personali.

Personalmente, come esempio, la mia etica lavorativa mi dice di non dare il mio lavoro a compagnie la cui azione globale risulta nella produzione di incoscienza. Conseguenza interessante, questo principio spazza via gran parte dei lavori che esistono oggi, che in mia opinione abbassano sia la coscienza individuale del lavoratore che la coscienza globale dell’ambiente.

La mia etica lavorativa mi dice anche di non dare il mio lavoro a compagnie che sono improduttive e inefficienti, il tipo di compagnie che mi farebbero lavorare molte ore per produrre molto poco. Sapendo quante risorse l’universo ha impiegato affinché io sia qui (cibo, educazione… e naturalmente milioni di anni di evoluzione 🙂 ) mi sentirei davvero male a utilizzarle a non fare niente in un ufficio pigro. Questo secondo principio spazza via un altro grande numero di lavori moderni, che a me sembrano decisamente improduttivi.

Alcuni esempi di lavori che molto difficilmente accetterei perché disallineati con questi principi sarebbero lavorare per: una banca (istituzione parassitica che aggiunge zero valore alla società), un ristorante fast food (non vorrei contribuire a far star male la gente), una farmacia (preferisco educare la gente a evitare le malattie, piuttosto che a curarle quando le malattie le hanno già), un negozio di vestiti come Zara e H&M (troppa attenzione all’apparenza, e davvero non mi piace l’attitudine egotistica che le loro modelle indossano nei manifesti), uno stadio di calcio (sport come il calcio tendono a diventare calamite di massa per l’incoscienza), i notiziari in televisione (propaganda).

E ovviamente non lavorerei per compagnie che producono armi, sigarette, macchine di video poker, e preferisco stare lontano da lavori governativi improduttivi. Potrei accettare uno di questi lavori solo se in stato di bisogno disperato… o forse se mi offrissero uno stipendio talmente enorme che sentirei di poter usare tale stipendio per contrastare queste compagnie più di quanto le aiuterei col mio lavoro.

Anche se decisamente una minoranza, fortunatamente ci sono ancora molti lavori “sopravvissuti” che passano il test della mia etica lavorativa. Per esempio sono generalmente OK con lavori relativi alle faccende domestiche, giardinaggio, assistenza personale, agricoltura, turismo, educazione e arte (speratamente a condizione che questi lavori non servano entità produttrici di incoscienza anch’essi). In effetti faccio anche alcuni di questi lavori occasionalmente, anche se preferisco focalizzarmi su altri lavori che sono il mio forte E che producono reddito passivo.

Lavori non etici

Trovo piuttosto divertente che oggi, quando qualcuno dice che non mangia carne per motivi etici, la gente capisce ed è a proprio agio con la cosa, ma quando io dico che non ho un lavoro per motivi etici, la gente mi guarda stranamente.

Ma questa è davvero una delle mie ragioni principali: mi sentirei davvero male ad avere uno dei tanti lavori che sono comuni sul mercato del lavoro oggi, perché poco importa quanto stabile è la posizione e quanto confortevole è l’ambiente di lavoro, a livello più alto gran parte di questi lavori servono entità come banche, governi, corporazioni, e queste entità creano molti problemi per la società. Io non voglio contribuire a creare problemi.

Anche con il commercio in generale, un grande settore che impiega il lavoro di molte persone, tendo a sentire resistenza. Secondo me molti negozi che esistono (fisicamente nelle strade, o virtualmente su internet) vendono una quantità impressionante di oggetti non necessari, quindi lavorare per uno di questi negozi  significherebbe partecipare alla loro “cattiva” causa: il materialismo. E io vedo davvero il materialismo, in altri termini l’eccessivo focalizzarsi a possedere oggetti, come una grande fonte di infelicità per le persone e di incoscienza in generale.

La tua etica VS l’etica dei tuoi colleghi

Una citazione popolare di Jim Rohn è: sei la media delle 5 persone con cui spendi gran parte del tempo. Mi sembra che abbia molto senso.

Se spendi molte ore a settimana in un posto di lavoro, riesci a riconoscere che sei inevitabilmente influenzato dai tuoi colleghi? E se i tuoi colleghi hanno -in media- un’etica che è molto diversa dalla tua, quali sono le conseguenze su di te?

Io personalmente ho sperimentato grosse difficoltà in un precedente lavoro corporativo. Mi ci è voluto del tempo a realizzare che c’era una differenza problematica tra i valori che tipicamente circolavano in quell’ambiente lavorativo e i miei propri valori. Per esempio, nelle relazioni con clienti, manager e colleghi, frequentemente rilevavo una mancanza di autenticità che mi infastidiva.

Specialmente nelle riunioni, le persone difficilmente dicevano quello che stavano veramente pensando, e le bugie erano una pratica standard, per esempio per evitare di ammettere responsabilità nei ritardi a completare i progetti. In quelle situazioni, a volte mi “ribellavo” e dicevo comunque quello che stavo pensando, ma il più delle volte mi facevo trascinare dal flusso e dicevo anch’io molte bugie, per evitare discussioni continue. Sfortunatamente questo stava influenzando anche la mia vita personale, infatti mi accorsi che il numero di bugie che dicevo anche nella mia sfera privata stava aumentando, perché mi ci stavo abituando.

Penso che in generale sia molto difficile mantenere l’integrità e rimanere leale ai tuoi principi se nel tuo posto di lavoro vedi tutti gli altri andare costantemente contro quei principi. Per esempio, ancora nel caso specifico dell’autenticità, puoi provare ad essere autentico quanto vuoi nel tuo lavoro, ma il problema è a più alto livello: il tipo di lavoro stesso, il settore in cui ti trovi. Alcuni posti di lavoro sono inevitabilmente condannati ad essere pervasi da non autenticità perché appartengono a uno stabilimento che è inerentemente basato su una bugia.

Questo è il caso, ad esempio, dell’intero stabilimento bancario, che siede sulla bugia che il denaro cartaceo sia garantito da qualche valore. Questa bugia alla radice inevitabilmente raggiunge tutti i livelli dello stabilimento, dalle riunioni al vertice dei banchieri d’elite, alle relazioni tra “semplici” impiegati di banca ai livelli più bassi: in generale saranno tutti più proni a mentire rispetto, per esempio, alle persone che lavorano nell’agricoltura.

Similarità esistono in altri settori: la politica (siede sulla bugia che gran parte dei politici lavorino per servire i cittadini piuttosto che se stessi), i notiziani dei mass media (siedono sulla bugia che siano prodotti per informare il pubblico), la pubblicità (le bugie sono la fondazione dell’intero business), e così via.

Alcuni settori in generale hanno un cattivo karma, quindi se lavori in quei settori -a qualunque livello- metti te stesso in una situazione i cui i tuoi valori vengono costantemente messi alla prova. Come si suppone che tu mantenga una forte etica lavorativa lì dentro? Non sarebbe più facile semplicemente migrare a un altro settore con un karma migliore?

Ultime domande

Voglio finire questo articolo proprio come l’ho iniziato, con alcune domande.

Cosa sei disposto a fare in cambio di uno stipendio?

Se hai un lavoro, sia che tua stia lavorando come impiegato che come imprenditore, che cosa fa la tua compagnia? Che tipo di impatto ha nel mondo: positivo, negativo, irrilevante? La tua compagnia promuove il materialismo e il consumismo, rendendo la società più miserabile? Promuove scienza e arte, rendendo la società più felice?

In che direzione sta spingendo la tua compagnia, e di conseguenza in che direzione stai spingendo anche tu dandole il tuo lavoro? Se stai lavorando dentro una bolla confortevole ma quella bolla è inclusa in una grande cattiva bolla, questo è OK per te? È in linea con la tua etica lavorativa?

La tua compagnia aggiunge valore al mondo, sottrae valore dal mondo, o forse non sta facendo niente di significativo, cosicché se tu e i tuoi colleghi andate a lavoro ogni giorno o no… la società fuori non noterebbe nemmeno la differenza?

E quelle persone che accettano lavori difficili per organizzazioni noprofit -senza nemmeno venire pagati-, qual’ è la loro motivazione?


Relativi: La funzione del lavoro, Come guadagnare senza lavorare, A cosa serve la banca?

5 Cool ideas for entrepreneurs

1. Tiny house to rent out. Having a property to rent out for short periods to non-residents (tourists, business travelers…) is great to produce passive income. Today there are many online platforms specialized on short term rentals, like the famous Airbnb. However real estate is expensive. Owning a traditional property to rent, in an area that has enough demand from travelers, usually requires a big upfront investment.

ideas-for-entrepreneurs-tiny-house-to-rent-out-tTiny houses can be a brilliant solution. They’re very small houses that respond to a minimalist philosophy, very attractive for people with a “green” mindset and into alternative lifestyles. You can buy a tiny house, they’re way cheaper than traditional houses, or even build one yourself and create a unique architectural jewel, and with a very small budget have an active listing on Airbnb already.

This is a great idea, the main challenge is where to place your tiny house: usually you can’t place it right in the center of a city, or you would violate local regulations, but at the same time you don’t want to place it too far from the center, in the countryside, or probably there won’t be enough demand from travelers. If you can buy (or rent) a piece of land just in the proximity of a city, finding that sweet spot which is not too near and not too far, that’s perfect!

2. Petting zoo. In case you haven’t noticed, entertainment for kids is a hot niche. Parents are constantly searching for activities for their kids that are entertertaining, safe, and possibly educational. But while today there is a huge offer of virtual entertainment (videogames, tv…), many parents struggle to find exciting activities for their kids in real life, especially those who live in cities. A cool idea is to create a petting zoo for these families.

ideas-for-entrepreneurs-petting-zoo-tA petting zoo doesn’t need to have exotic or expensive animals: most kids who live in cities never see or touch any real animal at all, so they’ll be super happy to just pet common animals like chickens, rabbits, goats, turtles. It’s a real happiness-producing business: few things can be as therapeutic -also for grown ups- as connecting with a pet! I admit that I am very partial in saying that this is a cool idea: I love nature and I’d love to create a business like this in the future (I may end up doing it).

A smart move is to introduce in your petting zoo also simple learning activities, for example showing sprouted seeds, teaching how chickens make egss, giving some basic nutrition education, etc… This “educational factor” will probably please also the parents, and will make your zoo even more attractive. Note that the main challenge with this idea is again location: you have to find some land at the periphery of a city to build your petting zoo, easy for the families to reach with a short trip.

3. Mini vending machines. At the moment I write this, basically all the vending machines that are sold on the market are big, cumbersome, as they are tailored for bars/restaurants and public buildings. The very few existing ones that are small enough to be placed on a countertop are ridiculously overpriced, and they only sell a very limited range of products, like coffee and sodas, or are just slightly more than toys that sell candies.

tiny-vending-machine-tBut as more and more people rent their homes on platforms like Airbnb, more and more people will be interested in installing mini vending machines to propose to their guests a range of products like touristic souvenirs, books, snacks. They don’t have enough room for a giant machine 4 or 5 feet tall, but if they can find a small one for their kitchen they’ll be very interested to buy it.

The great and obvious benefit of vending machines is that they generate passive income. Of course: a mini vending machine in a small space like a private home will only generate a mini passive income, maybe like 10-20 dollars a month, but since the income is so much passive, many people will still be interested to have it. Would you have fun producing mini vending machines? Really consider the idea, I feel that they would sell very well.

4. Escape room. Another idea for a business that can be a lot of fun and requires just a small investment: it’s again real life entertainment, but this time for grown ups. Who doesn’t like to play the detective and solve misteries? Escape rooms are rooms where the participants are “trapped”, as the doors are locked or maybe don’t exist at all apparently, and they have to find an escape within a certain amount of time, like 1 hour.

ideas-for-entrepreneurs-escape-room-tThe room can have a countless number of styles: from a normal house room, to an office, to a castle, to a jungle, to a futuristic scenario. It will challenge its prisoners with a series of riddles, and only by solving these riddles the prisoners will find the key to escape in time and reach “safety”.

There is huge room for your creativity here: the riddles may involve cooperation among the participants but also competition, one of the participants could even be your accomplice and mess out with the group, the key could be a physical key, hidden somewhere, or a secret word to be pronounced, the way out could be a regular door, a hole hidden under a sofa, or you could make the walls of the room fall down as a grand finale when the prisoners solve the last puzzle.

Fantasy is the most important ingredient for success here. You can totally start small and create an escape room on a minimal budget, as long its riddles will be fun and intriguing for the participants, then later you can buy more expensive decoration and special effects, and of course replicate the process and build a second… third… fourth… escape room with different themes.

5. Unusual furniture. Producing and/or selling furniture is a smart business idea for several reasons, a notable one is that furniture doesn’t expire. It’ something that once you have produced it, it requires basically zero maintenance, it can sit in a shop forever until it’s sold. Consider how little work it requires, for example, compared to a grocery store that constantly needs to replace perished foods.

ideas-for-entrepreneurs-unusual-furniture-tIf you step into the furniture market you’ll face competition from giants like IKEA, but no need to get scared: they only produce “standard” and rather boring furniture in large amounts, while you can create weird and imaginative pieces, targeting the luxury niche. There are always rich people hunting for something different and special.

If you like manual work you may actually enjoy creating the furniture yourself, maybe you can start by making small sized forniture in a workshop, and then gradually move to more ambitious and large furniture (to sell at higher prices). In any case consider that also just selling furniture in a shop, made by someone else, is a good move: the furniture sits there and takes care of itself, you will occasionally deal with customers when they come in, for the rest you can just work on something else on a computer at the back of the shop.

Notes: I often have more business ideas than I can realize myself. I decided to share these good ones that I had in the last period, since I know that many friends and acquantainces would like to quit their jobs as employees and start their own business.

Related: How to earn money without working

5 Idee fresche per imprenditori

1. Micro casa da affittare. Avere una proprietà da affittare per brevi periodi a non residenti (turisti, viaggiatori d’affari…) è ottimo per produrre reddito passivo. Oggi ci sono molte piattaforme online specializzate negli affitti brevi, come il famoso Airbnb. Però gli immobili sono costosi. Possedere una proprietà tradizionale da affittare, in un’area che ha abbastanza domanda da parte dei viaggiatori, usualmente richiede un grosso investimento iniziale.

idee-per-imprenditori-micro-casa-da-affittare-tLe micro case possono essere una soluzione brillante. Sono case molto piccole che rispondono a una filosofia minimalista, molto attraenti per le persone con una mentalità “green” e a cui piacciono gli stili di vita alternativi. Puoi comprare una micro casa, sono decisamente più economiche delle case tradizionali, o anche costruirne una tu stesso e creare un gioiello architettonico unico, e con un budget molto piccolo ritrovarti già una proprietà elencata e attiva su Airbnb.

Questa è un’ottima idea, la sfida principale è dove piazzare la tua micro casa: usualmente non puoi posizionarla nel bel mezzo di una città, o violeresti regolamenti locali, ma allo stesso tempo non vuoi posizionarla troppo lontana dal centro, in campagna, o probabilmente non ci sarà abbastanza domanda da parte dei viaggiatori. Se puoi comprare (o affittare) un pezzo di terra proprio in prossimità di una città, trovando quel posto giusto che si trova non troppo vicino e non troppo lontano, è perfetto!

2. Petting zoo. In caso non te ne sia accorto, l’intrattenimento per bambini è una nicchia calda. I genitori sono costantemente in cerca di attività per i loro figli che siano divertenti, sicure, e possibilmente educative. Ma mentre oggi c’è un’enorme offerta di intrattenimento virtuale (videogiochi, tv…), molti genitori faticano a trovare attività eccitanti per i loro bambini nella vita reale, specialmente quelli che vivono in città. Una ottima idea è creare un petting zoo per queste famiglie.

idee-per-imprenditori-petting-zoo-tUn petting zoo non deve necessariamente avere animali esotici o costosi: molti bambini che vivono in città non vedono o toccano mai un animale reale in ogni caso, quindi saranno super felici di coccolare anche animali comuni come galline, conigli, caprette, tartarughe. È un vero tipo di impresa che produce felicità: poche cose possono essere terapeutiche -anche per gli adulti- come stabilire un contatto con un animale! Ammetto che sono molto parziale nel dire che questa è un’ottima idea: amo la natura e mi piacerebbe molto creare una impresa di questo tipo in futuro (potrei finire per farlo).

Una mossa furba è introdurre nel tuo petting zoo anche semplici attività educative, per esempio mostrare semi germinati, spiegare come le galline fanno le uova, fornire educazione di base sull’alimentazione, etc… Questo “fattore educativo” probabilmente compiacerà anche i genitori, e renderà il tuo zoo ancora più attraente. Nota che la sfida principale con questa idea è ancora la località: devi trovare un po’ di terra in periferia di una città dove costruire il tuo petting zoo, facile da raggiungere per le famiglie con una breve gita.

3. Mini distributori automatici. Al momento in cui scrivo questo, praticamente tutti i distributori automatici che vengono venduti sul mercato sono grandi, ingombranti, visto che sono pensati per bar/ristoranti ed edifici pubblici. I pochi esistenti che sono piccoli abbastanza da poter essere piazzati su un tavolo sono ridicolmente in sovrapprezzo, e vendono solo una gamma molto limitata di prodotti, come caffè e bevande in lattina, o sono appena poco più che giocattoli che distribuiscono caramelle.

idee-per-imprenditori-mini-distributori-automatici-tMa visto che sempre più persone affittano le loro case su piattaforme come Airbnb, sempre più persone saranno interessate a installare mini distributori automatici per proporre ai loro ospiti una gamma di prodotti come souvenir turistici, libri, snack. Non hanno abbastanza spazio per una macchina gigante alta 1 o 2 metri, ma se possono trovarne una piccola per la loro cucina saranno molto interessati a comprarla.

Il grandioso e ovvio beneficio dei distributori automatici è che generano reddito passivo. Ovviamente: un mini distributore automatico in uno spazio piccolo come una casa privata genererà solo un mini reddito passivo, magari tipo 10-20 euro al mese, ma visto che il reddito è così tanto passivo, molte persone saranno comunque interessate ad averlo. Ti divertiresti a produrre mini distributori automatici? Considera bene l’idea, sento che venderebbero molto bene.

4. Escape room. Un’altra idea per un’impresa che sarebbe molto divertente e che richiede solo un piccolo investimento: è di nuovo intrattenimento nella vita reale, ma questa volta per adulti. A chi non piace giocare all’investigatore e risolvere misteri? Le escape rooms sono stanze in cui i partecipanti sono “intrappolati”, visto che le porte sono serrate o magari non esistono affatto apparentemente, e devono trovare una via di fuga entro un certo periodo di tempo, tipo 1 ora.

idee-per-imprenditori-escape-room-tLa stanza può avere un infinito numero di stili: da una normale stanza di casa, a un ufficio, a un castello, a una giungla, a uno scenario futuristico. Sfiderà i suoi prigionieri con una serie di enigmi, e solo risolvendo questi enigmi i prigionieri troveranno la chiave per fuggire in tempo e raggiungere la “salvezza”.

C’è un enorme spazio per la tua creatività qui: gli enigmi possono prevedere la cooperazione tra i partecipanti ma anche la competizione, uno dei partecipanti potrebbe essere tuo complice e creare disordini nel gruppo, la chiave potrebbe essere una chiave fisica, nascosta da qualche parte, o una parola segreta da pronunciare, la via di fuga potrebbe essere una porta regolare, un buco nascosto sotto un divano, o potresti far crollare le pareti della stanza come gran finale quando i prigionieri risolvono l’ultimo puzzle.

La fantasia è l’ingrediente più importante per il successo qui. Puoi decisamente cominciare in piccolo e creare una escape room con un budget minimo, finché i suoi enigmi saranno divertenti e intriganti per i partecipanti, poi più tardi potrai comprare decorazioni più costose ed effetti speciali, e certamente replicare il processo e costruire una seconda… terza… quarta… escape room con temi differenti.

5. Mobili inusuali. Produrre e/o vendere mobili è un’idea di business intelligente per diverse ragioni, una notevole è che i mobili non scadono. Sono qualcosa che una volta che li hai prodotti richiedono praticamente zero manutenzione, possono sedersi lì in negozio per sempre finché vengono venduti. Considera quanto meno lavoro è richiesto, ad esempio, rispetto a un negozio di alimentari che ha costantemente bisogno di rimpiazzare i cibi scaduti.

idee-per-imprenditori-mobili-inusuali-tSe entri nel mercato dei mobili ti ritroverai a fronteggiare la competizione di giganti come IKEA, ma non c’è bisogno di spaventarsi: loro producono solo mobili “standard” e piuttosto noiosi in grandi quantità, mentre tu puoi creare pezzi fantasiosi e strani, mirando alla nicchia del lusso. Ci sono sempre persone ricche a caccia di qualcosa di diverso e speciale.

Se ti piace il lavoro manuale in effetti puoi anche creare i mobili tu stesso, magari puoi cominciare producendo mobili di piccolo taglio in una officina, e poi gradualmente spostarti verso mobili più grandi e ambiziosi (da vendere a prezzi più alti). In ogni caso considera che anche solo vendere mobili in un negozio, fatti da qualcun altro, è una buona mossa: i mobili stanno seduti lì e si prendono cura di loro stessi, occasionalmente gestirai i clienti che entrano, per il resto puoi semplicemente lavorare a qualcos’altro al computer nel retro del negozio.

Note: Spesso ho più idee imprenditoriali di quante ne possa realizzare io stesso. Ho deciso di condividere queste buone che ho avuto nell’ultimo periodo, visto che so che a molti amici e conoscenti piacerebbe lasciare i loro lavori da impiegati e avviare un’impresa propria.

Relativi: Come guadagnare senza lavorare

Dreams and riddles

Maybe you are already familiar with lucid dreams. It’s those dreams in which maybe you’re busy running away from a monster who is chasing you, or you are flying over a city, or maybe you’re simply traveling in the car with the family, but at a certain point you become aware that the situation is not real. Suddenly, a detail seems exaggerated to you, out of place, and that’s the trigger: you acquire lucidity and understand that you are inside a dream, instead of inside real life.

At this point two things can happen: the first is that you wake up immediately. And this is definitely the one that happens more frequently. In the moment you acquire lucidity the scenario crumbles and you leave the dream, returning to this world.

The second thing that can happen is that you don’t wake up, at least not immediately. Not waking up once you acquire lucidity is extremely difficult, but there is a huge prize for those who succeed: the possibility of exploring and especially manipulating the dream.

The nice thing about not waking up

I find it highly desirable not to wake up as soon as I acquire lucidity inside my dreams, and I definitely don’t think I’m the only one. In the world there is a number of people dedicated to oneironautics, who try to have lucid dreams more or less regularly, traveling inside of them and manipulating them at their will.

It’s not difficult to understand the motivation for this desire: inside a lucid dream you can make everything happen according to your will, really everything: from floating in the space, to chatting with a pharaoh of ancient Egypt, to casting lightnings from the hands. The limits of this world disappear, and yet at the same moment you “feel” things in an extremely vivid way: just like if they were real, even if you are aware that they’re not, since you are in a state of lucidity.

If as lucid you have flown in the sky, not constrained anymore by gravity that anchors you to the ground, or if you strolled freely under the seas, not forced anymore to have to breathe air, then you know well how wonderful the sensations that are felt are. And this is why probably you are enjoying it so much that the last thing you want to do is to wake up.

As for me, when I become lucid inside of a dream of mine I almost always rush to modify it and create a situation to have sex, which says a lot about how “highly spiritual” my deepest desires are. But when it happens, I always do it with some anxiety: I know that I could wake up in any second and lose all the fun.

I always tell myself: “keep calm, don’t agitate, don’t wake up”, but at the end I wake up typically within very few seconds, rather disappointed. The longest of my explorations/manipulations of dreams lasted maybe 10 or 15 seconds.

Having lucid dreams is difficult

The dimension of lucid dreams is extremely fascinating to explore, but still the problem of staying inside of them for more than just few seconds is already a successive problem. The main problem is having lucid dreams, in the first place. In fact usually only a minimal percentage of the dreams we have are lucid dreams.

In my case, I have good memories of the percentage of my dreams in which I acquired lucidity. For example, I remember clearly a dream I had some time ago in which I was running away chased by a monster, very scared, and there at a certain point I stopped thinking “ehi what the heck do I worry about? This monster can’t exist, this is clearly just a dream.”, so I relaxed and woke up, shortly after.

Unfortunately I rarely have this type of realization. Most of the times, inside my dreams, I’m so busy interacting with absurd characters or participating to the craziest adventures, that I really don’t notice that “something is wrong”. And when at the end of the sleep I wake up back in my bed, I am almost upset with myself: how couldn’t I notice that the situation was not credible!

What if dreams are meant to test us?

Many people, included me, wondered often why we dream.

It’s fascinating to think that dreams are a test that is given to us each night, that we pass only by realizing that we are dreaming, therefore entering in a different state of consciousness in which we have access to huge powers. And it’s fascinating to think that someone, or something, projects each night an illusion in our mind, leaving as clues some details out of place, and that it’s our task to notice those details to realize that we are being fooled.

It’s fascinating to think that dreams are not meant to make us sleep, but to make us wake up. But not necessarily wake up to return immediately to this world, but to wake up inside the dreams themselves, so that we can learn to use the power of creation that we have.

In fact, a possibility is that normal dreams, the non lucid ones, for us human beings are nothing else but the anteroom to a “training” field, the one of lucid dreams, in which we can practice our ability to create scenarios, people, creatures, situations according to our will.

Sounds familiar?

If you know what today is known as the law of attraction, maybe the parallel already came to your mind at this point. The law of attraction is the principle according to which we human beings create the reality that surrounds us with our thoughts. The world we have around is nothing else but the reflection of our inner world, and the job we have, the people we meet, the situations we encounter daily, they’re consequence of the thoughts that occupy our mind.

The law of attraction is very very popular, and today it has a huge number of fans, even if I have the impression that few people get results.

The reson in my opinion is that even if many say they believe it with words, almost trying to convince themselves, the truth is that deeply inside of them they don’t. And this is partially valid also for me: I believe in the law of attraction probably much more that the average of people, but still I am aware that I don’t believe it 100%, not yet at least.

For example, I believe to be strongly responsible for which people are present in my social life, and I believe that I have a huge decisional power on the amount of money I earn, and in general I believe that my life is in many ways wonderful exactly because I decided that I wanted it this way. But I still don’t believe that I can make matter apper with my thoughts. I could say that I believe it with words, and in a certain way I feel that “I’d better” believe it, but it would not correspond to what I feel inside. That are still some constraints in this world that seem to me still totally out of my control.

And yet I know well that inside my lucid dreams instead I can do everything, included materializing people and objects, and in fact I do it (having a lot of fun). So who knows, could lucid dreams actually be a demonstration? A demonstration that it’s possible to do practically everything, and that suggests the idea that we can follow a similar process also in this world, using the law of attraction.

What if also this world is meant to test us?

To the idea that two levels exist, the internal one of the dreams that we can successfully manipulate by becoming lucid, and the external one of this world that we can successfully manipulate by using our beliefs, naturally follows the idea to extend the structure and think that n levels could exist: others more internal to the one of dreams, and others more external to the one of this world.

dream-levelsThat levels internal to the level of dreams exist, we actually already know this: they’re embedded dreams, those we experience when we wake up from a dream and we find ourselves still inside a dream. So we were dreaming of dreaming. Also of these, technically called false awakenings, I had experience. And this is also the theme around which the movie Inception is developed, which is based on a very original idea, even if in my opinion it has been realized in a very confusional way.

That levels external to the level of this world exist, instead, we don’t know it well. And yet the idea that this world could also be a dream, a sort of illusion, has already been suggested by many authors in many ways. The first ones that come to my mind: the book The little prince (what is essential is invisible to the eye), the books of Peter Kingsley (what isn’t there, in front of our eyes, is usually more real than what is), the movie The matrix (in which what many know are “reality” is instead a projection created by machines), the movie The Truman show (in which what the main character knows as “reality” is instead a projection created by other people).

If the idea with which these and many other works flirt is true, and therefore this world that we’re used to consider absolutely “real” instead is also just a sort of dream, the consequence is that the life we live inside of it can be seen in every aspect as a test, an enigma to solve, a riddle. And the first step to get to the solution is to see the illusion: to acquire lucidity here too.

Life as a riddle

Naturally, of the fact that life represents a giant riddle and that therefore our task is to solve it, this riddle, there is no evidence. And there is no evidence that this world that we perceive with our senses is only partial, and that there are external levels. It’s a fascinating speculation.

Choosing to believe that in life there is nothing to become aware of, or choosing to believe that in life there is something to become aware of: this is an absolutely personal decision, that all of us take more or less consciously, based exclusively on our intuition. No one will be able to give us a guarantee that we made the right or the wrong choice.

However take into account that this choice has an enormous impact on the life that we end up living. Because in the first case it will be a series of events, people, images, that follow one the other without any particular reason, until we die. In the second case we are collecting clues. When events or people enter our life, we tend to wonder if they entered it to make us realize something. Are they there to make us understand that we’re letting ourselves be distracted by illusions? Are they there because we materialized them?

When we decide that in life there is something to discover (that we can wake up, that we can strongly manipulate the external world) we change a lot. Antennas grow inside of ourselves and they make us more able to notice coincidences, the so called synchronicities, the deja vus. And we tend to question things more, without accepting as fact that reality “is reality” and that’s it.

My personal riddle

I tend to choose the second approach: I believe that I am alive because I have something to learn, something to do. And I feel that there’s something to understand in all this story, even if it’s not necessarily clear what thing.

The reason for this choice is simple: it’s my intuition that tells me so, and in addition it’s also the more exciting option.

Since no one can estabilish with certainty if it’s true or not that life is a sort of dream, in which we actually have to wake up from something, I decide that it is so. It seems to me that this is the decision that makes more sense since it fills life with a special magic, a magic that I’ve been lucky to experience several times already.

I woke up from a series of illusions that kept me distracted for years in the past, for example the importance of money, and this was the starting point from which magical things really started to appear -or multiply-. The sunsets of indescribable beauty, the travel adventures and the explorations in hidden places, all for me, the people who made me feel understood and loved, completely new scenarios and atmospheres, they entered my life only after I became lucid, after I freed myself from some ridiculous illusions inside of which I was moving and agitating before, unconscious.

I think I woke up from a certain number of illusions, and in some ways I think I’m living in this world in a state of lucidity, but probably this is a partial awakening. Probably there are still many other illusions that keep me distracted and asleep, but I still can’t see those. Who knows what they are and how many they are.

In fact, I wonder to what degree it is possible to wake up in this world. Is it possible to notice enough clues to reach a sort of full awakening? Is it possible to acquire such a level of lucidity to be able to effectively apply the law of attraction, and manipulate 100% matter and events?

It’s fascinating to wonder if someone ever succeeded at it in the course of history, and if yes how many. And what happened to them after? They are still in this level, busy modeling the universe, or they woke up in a successive level, busy with another bigger dream?

Who knows how many dreams there are in total in the onion structure? Who knows how many riddles there are to solve?

Notes: I wrote that in my lucid dreams “I can do everything”, and it’s true, but I want to add that often I experience a sort of inertia in manipulating my dreams. When I become lucid, if for example I try to materialize people, these usually don’t appear immediately well defined, but their shapes form slowly, with some labor, and in the effort of clarifying their looks often I wake up. I wonder if it depends on my little practice.