This is blog entry Day 20 of my 30 day blog Challenge

A few weeks ago Mikey and I decided that we will take turns and pick one success principle per week.

We will live each moment of every day by applying that principle. By doing this we aim to practice the principle and gain deep understanding.

Yesterday I posted my take aways from last week’s principle which was Leaders Predict.

At the end of each day we reflect the day’s learnings and share our experiences.

These success principles are taught by Marshall Thurber in the Future of Business workshop. Spanning almost two decades Marshall learned from two great minds of our time, W. Edwards Deming and Buckminster Fuller. Marshall then mashed his experience and knowledge to teach other business leaders through his workshops.

What the heck is Via Negativa?

Via negativa is a Latin phrase used in Christian theology to explain a way of describing God by focusing on what he is not, rather than what he is. See, it is impossible to describe what God is because we humans don’t have the capacity to comprehend God enough to describe with mere words, etc. In other words, understanding God’s positive qualities is a task deemed impossible for the finite minds of humans. Take that humans!

So again, we humans can describe what God is by focusing on what God is not – via negativa.

An Alternative Meaning

Via Negativa can also be used to improve your situation or create a benefit by identifying what is not mentioned.

The best way to explain this is by sharing my learning experience at Future of Business. One of the ways these principles are learned is by playing activities, like games and simulations.

There were many games where we were divided into teams. We all had to play by a set of rules. The ‘Ahah’ learning for me occurred when we played the game by the rules but also by what is not mentioned in the rules. Think of it as looking for loopholes.

Just because the rules doesn’t say we can’t do it doesn’t mean we can’t do it – Via Negativa

My Goal

In society we’re told to follow the rules. And I think our obedience creates a kind of inertia where we blindly follow, like sheep, rarely raising our heads to be creative and take advantage of via negativa. Pushing the limits without blatantly cheating or breaking any laws. So this week I’ll be making sure to make every effort to pay attention to the rules of what every I’m engaging in. It could be a conversation with someone, or a new business opportunity, etc. And look for ways to get the edge via negativa.

I’ll report back in a week with my learning. VIA NEGATIVA!

Last 3 Weekly Challenges:

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Peter Reginald



“For business owners who have hit a glass ceiling, I deliver predictable transformation by improving and managing its processes.”

PS. If you would like to take part in these weekly principle challenges or the 30 day blog challenge then feel free to leave a comment below.Let me know in the comments below!

8 comments on “Via Negativa – Success Principle for this week

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