My Hot Chocolate Sweet Spot

Tom Broughton

I’m on a search for what I’m calling my Hot Chocolate Sweet Spot: a melting pot of personal values, real world problems and desirable solutions which benefit us as humans rather than purely financial or political gain.

The idea is to seek out the intersection where human centric values meets with real world needs to address social justice and inequality, and where the solutions are so attractive they are readily adopted by society and the people they are meant to serve.

I call it my Hot Chocolate Sweet Spot because of the way Quakers, hundreds of years ago, addressed problems of the day through their values [1] based on equality and honesty. Outlawed as free thinking radicals, Quakers found themselves subject to hostile conditions in day-to-day 17th century Britain. Dealing with uncertainty in the face of adversity led them to creating some of the most successful businesses in the world [2]. By applying their values Quakers not only approached socio-economic problems in ways that would make the world a better place they did so in ways which were desired by others — their alternative products and services meeting the needs of humans rather than a need for power.

For example cocoa was sold by Quaker grocers and quickly became a desirable drink by people in local tea shops. Quakers recognised this desirable drink as a viable alternative to alcohol. The chocolaty story of success goes beyond this blog post [3] and sees the Quaker families of Rowntree’s, Cadbury’s and Fry’s dominating the confectionary industry. These organisations were not driven to make huge piles of money, but to generate sustainable funds for their workers to live adequately and contribute to the welfare of others. Their success was a result of applying their values to a problem of the day in a way which many people desired.

My hot chocolate sweet spot — where values meet with needs and desire

As it was in those days, today’s world is still driven by commercial greed and political power. We live in a time of uncertainty, a time when change can and does happen at an extraordinary pace. We are often passengers being carried along by the tide of capitalist machines solely with their own self-interests as the driving force. These machines are shaping the world around us and it often not to benefit humanity or the world we live in. Do we challenge or consider the alternatives as Quakers did all that time ago? Can we address the the balance and strive for a world shaped by human centric values, equality and social justice?

If I can apply my values to existential problems we face in ways that are desired by others then I will have found my hot chocolate sweet spot.

[1] Quaker values
[2] A (surprisingly long) list of quaker businesses
[3] “Chocolate Wars” a book by Deborah Cadbury

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