Don’t know anything about business?

By Bruce Firestone | Business Coaching

Jul 30

Don’t worry. Your customers and clients will teach you all you have to know, says Horse Country Campground founder Walter Willett.


In a kind of reverse Socratic methodology, all you have to do to create a world-class enterprise is to begin. Over time, your customers and clients will ask you all the right questions to which your answers will guide you towards enlightenment as long as you are willing to: a) listen, b) do the work and research and c) implement changes to your business model and methods as you uncover new ways of doing things.

No matter how smart you and your advisers are, you cannot plan in advance for everything; in fact, the moment you come into contact with a marketplace, all your careful plans, spreadsheets, and models will go out the window, replaced by what works in RL, real life.

Here’s my vision of what a grumpy professor Socrates class might look like: The great man would enter a gymnasium and sit there in front of maybe a dozen acolytes staring hostilely and silently at them. Eventually, one of them would have the temerity to ask a question, and Socrates would answer, which would prompt another question from a 2nd student, then a 3rd and so the morning would pass. By asking questions, students would learn classical Greek philosophy. It also meant, happily, that Socrates did not need to prepare vast lecture material in advance. He’d just present himself to his audience.

A much more profound explanation of the Socratic method comes from Wikipedia–

Perhaps his most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of “elenchus”, which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice. It was first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer a person would seek. The development and practice of this method is one of Socrates’s most enduring contributions, and is a key factor in earning his mantle as the father of political philosophy, ethics or moral philosophy, and as a figurehead of all the central themes in Western philosophy. The Socratic method has often been considered as a defining element of American legal education.[105]

To illustrate the use of the Socratic method, a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one’s own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs.

An alternative interpretation of the dialectic is that it is a method for direct perception of the Form of the Good. Philosopher Karl Popper describes the dialectic as “the art of intellectual intuition, of visualising the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man’s everyday world of appearances.”[106] In a similar vein, French philosopher Pierre Hadot suggests that the dialogues are a type of spiritual exercise. Hadot writes that “in Plato’s view, every dialectical exercise, precisely because it is an exercise of pure thought, subject to the demands of the Logos, turns the soul away from the sensible world, and allows it to convert itself towards the Good.”[107]

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker Ottawa Senators founder Real Estate Investment and Business coach 1-613-762-8884 MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE

postscript: more images of Horse Country Campground, taken by the author and one his daughters July 29, 2018–

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.