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A Noble Purpose

March 19, 2021 by Twan van de Kerkhof

After having nearly died during a kidnapping in Colombia, Olivier Onghena-’t Hooft, a Belgian entrepreneur, decided to devote his life to living and propagating a noble purpose that serves humanity and society. It is a pity, he writes in this highly personal book, that we often wait until something bad happens in our lives before we ask ourselves the essential question of why we live. His personal noble purpose is to inspire leaders with impact globally to create harmony, beauty and joy, taking into account the well-being and progress of humankind, society and the world. Living his purpose consciously and consistently has resulted in a remarkable energy, power, clarity and effortlessness in making choices, he writes.

Onghena-’t Hooft is convinced that the paradigm change towards living a noble purpose is the inevitable next level in society, for individuals as well as organizations. Exploring who we are and how to use our uniqueness is the essence of being human, he says. He gives many examples of organizations that are in his view on the right track and also describes many cases of companies that are stuck in using people as exchangeable resources to maximize profits, which is plainly wrong in his view. He writes that his view isn’t Utopia but a necessity for 21st century human beings.

People can rise in the Maslow-pyramid by doing purposeful work, according to the author. We become fully human if we do what we are meant to do. What we do is not who we are, but who we are determines what we do.

The author condemns leadership with the logic of war: fight, attack, defeat. He writes that this kind of leadership results from a lack of self-appreciation and self-knowledge in individual leaders. Too many leaders are in his view kidnapped by “leadershit”, the issues of their childhood.

He calls for a leadership that is based on love: for employees, colleagues, stakeholders and humanity in general. This will liberate employees from their limiting beliefs and enable them to use their full potential. Cooperation, shared responsibility and self-management will not only result in more respect and less chaos, but also in better financial results, he writes.

It would be easy to dismiss the views in this book if you are not a believer already, were it not for two things: one is that Onghena-’t Hooft consistently writes from his personal beliefs and mostly avoids becoming a prophet who has seen the light and wants others to see that same light. The second is that he works with international business leaders, understands their situations and appartently is able to add value to their realities with his views.

Olivier Onghena-’t Hooft. Het Noble Purpose Boek. Lannoo Campus, 2019