“Only when we develop our truly human capacities sufficiently to achieve this human excellence will we have lives blessed with happiness.” Aristotle
Elizabeth Glaros, Founder
Sophia’s Best is the result of 30 years of experience in qualitative market research as one of the founders and Managing Partners of The WorkShop; a business development company. The WorkShop specializes in recognizing opportune areas of development and actualizing concepts into meaningful branding and communication. As the founder of Sophia’s Best, I am a cognitive psychologist and semiotician with an Msc in Applied Psychology.
For those of you who are not very familiar with qualitative research it is a method which, as opposed to its quantitative counterpart, looks at why people act in a particular way, why they make the choices they do, how they interpret communication, how they interpret the value of anything (from product and services to political figures and policies) and how they relate to it. How they make decisions in their experience of living.
Qualitative research is conducted in group discussions and in-depth interviews. In my 30 years of experience as a researcher, I have discussed with many people practically any subject you can imagine – from food preferences to entertainment likes and dislikes, from health issues to social problems, from European Policies to political parties. I have collaborated with private but also public and non-profit organizations and have been involved in local and international projects.
This means that I have been exploring human behavior as it is brought about in real life situations, not hypotheticals – working with people across different socio-economic backgrounds, different ages and different ethnicities. In other words, I have been examining real data; the perceptions people hold as a result of real life conditions and the choices they make on the basis of real life propositions.
In real practice, I have discovered the significance of our way of thinking and the ideas we hold in creating our experience of living – from the movies/shows we watch (how we choose to entertain ourselves), the brands we wear (how we create an image for ourselves), the foods we eat (how we evaluate quality), the social figures we look up to (the sources we take into consideration and the way we arrive at truth), to the President or Prime Minister we vote for (how we evaluate policies that affect our present and our future).
I have witnessed the power that lies in our ability to interpret and create meaning.
It is empowering for those who can give it direction, but debilitating for those who accept, without true deliberation, the meanings created by others. Our personal system of thought defines our decision making and therefore the meaning of our lives. Of course, our circumstances influence our perceptions. But if we constantly exercise our reasoning, question the nature of things and how they come about, we can sharpen our awareness and our ability to create meaning for ourselves within the circumstances of our living. We shouldn’t forget that our reality is not constructed by some omnipotent and omnipresent beings; we are all the same in being human.
We are not as helpless as we might think. We can cultivate our personal wisdom and help ourselves. In becoming wiser we can provide support to those who truly cannot help themselves.
I arrived at Ef Zin because I was initially attracted to the wholistic approach of Classical Thinkers, especially Aristotle’s – after all, I am a cognitive psychologist and semiotician. Between the writings of Classical Thinkers, I found a philosophy of life that empowers the human individual. Accrediting our human condition as the means of ultimate fulfillment. Seeing potential in both our strengths and limitations. Giving value to our ability to think and make choices as the agent of our lives. And whilst modern philosophies focus more on what life should be, Ef Zin focuses on how you can create a life for yourself. There is no mould or predefined destination. There is but only a compass: your true self. And the tools you carry: the qualities of your character and the way you think. Ef Zin reminds us that we have the inherent human potential to create a life of meaning and value; as long as we choose to actualize it. To actively pursuit the experience of living; to gain wisdom (Sophia, “σοφία”) along the way and create the Best for ourselves in our quality of life.
It has taken five years to develop Sophia’s Best – it hasn’t been easy but it has been a great experience. Dear colleagues and friends have contributed a great deal in managing to untangle my thoughts and test ideas. Whilst my daughters have become my partners as young professionals and thinkers challenging and assisting the expression of our philosophy.
I am also particularly grateful to the people I have discovered whilst traveling throughout Greece. They have been my biggest inspiration as they were the window into witnessing Ef Zin in praxis. They showed me what it means to cultivate a life between the polars of our human paradox. How to laugh in dealing with grief, feel fear in being bold, and find meaning in the seemingly simple. How to argue only to find relief, show humility to find strength, see the brightness in the darkness of a cloudy day, and connect with others to find our true self. The people of Greece, often unknowingly, have kept the Ef Zin philosophy alive; and I want to share it with you.
I want to share the tolerance with which it accepts our imperfections, the maturity with which it embraces our weaknesses, the pride with which it acknowledges our strengths, but most important, the sheer joy and delicious empowerment it provides in allowing us to be human.
OUR PASSIONATE CREATIVES
You will soon find out more about the whole team, especially the mentors who support me in the Programs. For the time being, take a peek at some of the people who have been close to me in creating what you see as Sophia’s Best today.
Writer & Editor