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The eightfold path of good business……

In business as in life, we need a variety of skills, talents, strengths, and a hefty dose of resilience to grow and weather storms. Companies around the world have learned a thing or two about themselves over the past few years and I am guessing that many of the attributes of the eightfold path of good character are among them.

Eightfold Path appears in what is regarded as the first sermon of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha.

The notion behind the eightfold path of good character hinges on eight core virtues: courage, curiosity, temperance, humility, liberty, honor, wisdom, and humor. When we think of virtues, we think of them in terms of lofty goals and or attributable to certain people however, in business these virtues become the glue that holds a team together.

Courage frees a business to grow, curiosity grows new product lines and services, temperance develops staying power, humility grounds a business in integrity, liberty stabilizes a business to flourish, honor unifies a business to stand firm and stay true to its values, wisdom guides a business to the next level, and humor overcomes an arrogant or stagnant mindset. But what does it all mean?


“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Courage is the bedrock of business excellence. Without that initial leap of courage, we are left with a business with no growth opportunities and no evidence of excellence. Without courage, one is merely restricted to the conventional, constrained by the same old same old way of doing things inside the box of the status quo, and may I suggest hampered by outdated reasoning. With the leap of courage boundaries transform into horizons. Comfort zones stretch into new and exciting adventures. The future of business can flourish on the path created by courage.


“Cave ab homine unius libri – Beware of anyone who has just one book’ ~ Thomas Aquinas

Leaders are readers so the saying goes and that is because curiosity is essential. It is the fuel that launches us beyond faith and keeps us pushing ONWARDS! Always a little further. Curiosity in business is how the world changes and how we bring creative solutions to our customers and clients. With curiosity we can investigate how we operate, what we do, and how we grow – curiosity is the difference between standing still and moving forward. Curiosity for business is not an ‘Option’ it is a ‘must-have’.


“Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion” ~ Thomas Aquinas

The adage of moderation in all things comes to mind as even in business controlling budgets, cash flow, and ensuring balance is at the very core of temperance. The key is to accept responsibility for the consequences of both our moderate and immoderate choices. Tricky, but that’s where humility comes into play. When we as business leaders evoke temperance, we are not constraining progress but are in fact directing it calmly and with precision. Temperance is not reductive but expansive for when we exercise self-restraint, we give the business time to reflect and step forward with precision. Temperance is not reductive but expansive.


"Ego kills knowledge, as knowledge requires learning, and learning requires humility." ~ Rolsey

Research suggests that a healthy dose of humility helps protect against extremism, polarization, and bias. With humility at our core, we can admit that we are fallible, imperfect, and uncertain. It gives us the courage to admit when we are wrong. And goodness knows business is not always right nor accurate or perfect. It is in fact in our constant iterations, improvements, version upgrades, and affecting change that we get better and better. Humility keeps us honest and without it, we are more likely to fall victim to cognitive dissonance. Humility strangely enough gives us the power to be wrong and still be the hero in our business.


“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” ~ George Washington

Be it in life or in business, freedom is not a given. It must be earned. The moment freedom is taken for granted is the moment it is lost. Liberty, then, is a culmination of earning freedom through self-discipline and then holding the world accountable. In business we exercise liberty every time we walk through the door, answer a call, or produce a solution for it is in our collective self-discipline that we grow. How we set up ourselves for success, share, build and create sets the stage for the freedom of expression and bringing to life those solutions we believe support growth and let’s face it, profits. As Jean Piaget said, “We organize our worlds by first organizing ourselves.” And so self-organization (self-discipline) is the first step toward freedom. And when we are free, we have the right to honor.

We organize our worlds by first organizing ourselves.


“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

The core of honor is self-honesty. We cannot be honorable without self-honesty. It is here that honesty puts the business into perspective, and honor unifies the TRUE NORTH. True honor is being responsible with our power. When corporations deliberate over missions, visions, and values it is because they become the glue, the badge of Honor worn by all staff and personnel.

Foremost, honor is responsibility. Responsibility with our power, means we are more likely to admit we could be wrong. And since the fallible and imperfect business conditions tend to be wrong about a great many things, it behooves us all to take responsibility with our power so as not to become a pawn to it.

It behooves us all to take responsibility with our power.


“We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us.” ~ Marcel Proust

Wisdom cannot be taught. Knowledge can be taught, skills can be taught, but not wisdom. Wisdom is mystical, numinous, and transcendent. As businesses grow and ‘experience’ the essence of their mission and vision they learn something extraordinary. They learn that wisdom is a heightened state of clarity. Most of all, Wisdom has the wherewithal to get out of its own way. Does your business know how to get out of its own way?

As Lao Tzu wisely stated, “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day."

Finally, we have our fluid and flexible humor….


“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” ~ Mark Twain

Humor is the only virtue that is transcendent. Our ability to laugh in the face of adversity; to chuckle at our missteps and smile as the benign takes us to a higher plane of competence means we have evolved past our ego and into maturity. In business, it is even more important that leaders bring humor and lightness to their platform and vision.

The CEO who makes the team laugh and brings humor to his presentations not only brings his true self to the podium but garners the loyalty and devotion of his team.

Humor means you are so strong that you have become completely flexible; that you are so comfortable making fun of yourself or moments that you are open to being seen in your entirety (think honor, humility, character, and wisdom) which ultimately makes you both powerful and vulnerable – you have, with humor, become ‘REAL’. Having a good sense of humor is the crowning achievement of good character, and the soul, in perhaps more esoteric terms, is the crown. A company that has humor breeds, happy staff, good ole positive vibes, and a joy to work for.

Have a giggle, find a joke of the day, or simply find a reason to chuckle – EVERY DAY.

May the eightfold path of good business be your guiding light.



Dina is 4xi's growth lead, project management office and ghostwriter in residence all in one. To learn more about 4xi, you can contact Dina directly at or visit our website to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how we inspire a brighter future, together:


4xi Global Consulting & Solutions is a team of talented leaders from both the client-side and service provider side, impacting the Human Experience (HX) for people at work, in education, rest, and at leisure.

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