Richard Maun – Physis – Part 1

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Physis – Part 1

14 October 2012

Here’s an extract from my latest book, called Bouncing Back. I read it out to people at my TA peer group recently and it was fun to enjoy hearing my own words again, after all the stress and haste of the editing and publication process. Please enjoy this:

“Chapter 7: Physis – a useful word that nobody has heard of…

  • What is it that drives a person to work late into the night?
  • What is it that keeps us going when we want to stop?
  • What is it that enables us to survive and thrive?
  • What is it that spurs us on to develop and grow?

There’s a useful word called physis (often pronounced ‘foo-sis’), which means growth.

In all probability it’s a word that hardly anyone has heard of, apart from botanists and Greek scholars. (The word physics comes from the word physis.) Homer (the Greek writer, circa 9th Century BC) used it to mean the intrinsic growth of a plant, and in his writings about Transactional Analysis, Eric Berne (1910–1970) used it to mean ‘force of life’, drawing inspiration from Heraclitus, who spoke about physis as the growth and change that comes from a person’s inner spirit.

The poet, author, naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) referred to it as coming from darkness into light; biologically, clinically and cognitively. In medical circles the word physis denotes growth and is a suffix to a variety of scholarly terms. And in nature it’s the force that ensures a tiny seed germinates and then forces its way up through a concrete paving slab.

In our terms, physis is the force that keeps us moving forward and continuing to develop. It’s the wellspring of energy and power that we all have inside us. It’s part of what makes us ‘us’ and how we use our physis to our advantage is what makes us unique.

 …Physis is  concept that allows us think about useful metaphors and play with language. For example, we can think of physis as a body of water held back behind a sluice gate. We can open the sluice and let the flow increase, to power us onwards to achieve new things – so next week we’ll look at ways to access physis.

For now though, have a think about your own self-talk and what you might say that gets in the way and what you might say differently to enable growth.

To find out more about Bouncing Back, or to read the rest of chapter 7 please click on one of the links:

Printed copy

Kindle copy



Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact