Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Zen And The Art Of Business

And it's a science too ...



Business is both an art and a science. Like any science, it can be taught and learned. Equally, like any art, lots of its famous practitioners are self-taught and have something within them that helps them to excel ...

Business is both art and science at the same time!

Business is both art and science at the same time!

copyright: alphaspirit / 123rf stock photo

I spent the weekend thinking about the nature of the art of business and came across a bit of Zen thinking that I think applies very well to business. It's about a mountain, but if you mentally substitute the word business for mountain you will see what I was thinking about ...

"Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in a state of equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.

Then, when you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn't just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place, the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway.

To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here's where things grow. But of course, without the top, you can't have any sides. It's the top that defines the sides.

So on we go, we have a long way ... no hurry ... just one step after another."

In your business you need to have a goal, or how else will you know which way to go? But you also need to enjoy each step along the way.

The journey is as important as the goal, so take notice of the things that you come across on your journey. This is something that I think a lot of business people seem to forget. They concentrate on the goal of becoming wealthy or buying a bigger house, without enjoying where they have got to so far.

I am sure we have all met that thoroughly ruthless businessman who will do anything to succeed so tramples roughshod over anyone to achieve. But their journey is littered with disgruntled staff and suppliers and with customers who feel ripped off. Compare that to someone who enjoys the day-to-day journey of their business and interacts well with staff, suppliers and customers. And to whom every step along their business journey is enjoyable.

In business, the means should justify the end, not the other way round. Each footstep on your business journey should be seen as a unique event. It is not a common saying anymore, but when I was younger, I often met people who talked about their life's work. The idea that business is not a quick buck, but actually it is something to persevere at and work at all your life, because it is your life's work.

"And, when you look back on your life's work, surely you want to be able to say you enjoyed it?"

If you aren’t enjoying your life’s work, then call me on 01234 752 566 and talk to me about how you can change your business to enjoy it more ... and appreciate the leaves and rocks along the way!

Until next time ...


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More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566