"One Example of the Way We're Thinking" by Afrim Gjonbalaj
When I first sat with Charles in the beginning stages of what has now become CompassNeedle we discussed the philosophy of service. Charles framed the conversation within the idea of service in regard to our self-interests and service to others. “Are the two mutually exclusive or mutually reinforcing?” he asked me.
From there I wondered where is the middle ground, the balance, the Yin & Yang meeting point of those two seemingly opposing intentions? These conversations reminded me of my martial arts instructor of many years, Shihan Gene Dunn, who speaks of the difference between the law of the jungle and the law of the farm. The law of the jungle is essentially “Survival of the fittest.” It’s about being on top at all costs and crushing anyone or anything that gets in your way to be the “Best”. The law of the farm on the other hand focuses on the development of everyone’s potential by planting positive seeds of improvement that we collectively nurture and cultivate on a daily basis. The whole farm helps the individual, the individual helps the farm and everyone shares the harvest.
What I gathered from that is The Law of the Jungle has a cap that we can’t grow beyond. As a selfish, fear-based way of being , it constantly encourages us to hold others down, and take and keep for ourselves. Whereas the Law of the farm has no cap; it’s potential is endless because we’re constantly working hard, to uplift each other, to give and share.
Still the question remains: “Are these two approaches mutually exclusive or may they be added together in a way that’s mutually reinforcing?”
The founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano (1860 - 1938), established the concepts of “Mutual Benefit” and “Maximum Efficiency.” The idea is that by achieving a state of mutual trust and assistance, both the martial arts practitioner and society at large will benefit.
Now what would happen if one were to combine the concepts Mutual Benefit and The Law of the Farm in regard to service?
Here is an example of how combining them works. I have a social media based production company called “88 Arcade” that produced the “Compass Needle Interview Series”. Charles gave me the opportunity to produce, and it was a great way for us to explore the question of service with a new medium. I was so excited for the opportunity that I told one of my close friends, TJ Stone. He’s a top-rated podcaster and all around awesome human being who I collaborate with on a top rated comedy Podcast called “3 People Like This”. TJ ended up being one of the many artists, writers and creators that were interviewed for the “Compass Needle Interview Series”. TJ and Charles later collaborated on the podcast “3 People Like This - The Interviews. ” Where they discussed the CompassNeedle mission and questions of service.
Throughout these collaborations there was a genuine crackle of energy in the room. And the unforeseen benefits of my reaching out to TJ appeared in areas that both benefited the CompassNeedle Group, and me and TJ as well. This in a nutshell is the working philosophy of adding self interest to serving others. It goes way deeper than “networking”. It’s a way of thinking. And this is only one small example of many that have occurred within the CompassNeedle organization.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Service as “The action of helping or doing work for someone.” So when it comes to the question “Are the two mutually exclusive or mutually reinforcing?” my opportunity to practice working with the law of the farm - with a heart of mutual benefit - it showed me the idea in action!