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James Bampfield

Let us reflect: what are we doing here?
Be authentic and take risks

James Bampfield is a British writer, thinker and coach who helps companies and their staff to develop deeper motivations to work and achieve more fulfillment. ‘Pleasure at work’ is no hollow slogan. After a classical British education – he studied at Cambridge – he spent ten years discovering the world. After that he specialized in organizational change within companies, NGO’s, and government agencies. He is a co-founder of Quinx, an international consultancy organization. In his readings and speeches he offers insights into how to create authentic, open and pleasure-full workplaces.

World citizen

James Bampfield was born in 1964 in UK, but has lived with his family in Belgium for fourteen years. He had a classic British upbringing, including private school where he excelled both academically and in sport. From there he won a scholarship to Cambridge University. After graduating, he travelled round the world living in various European countries, West Africa, Australia, the US and Japan. Since 1998 he has been working as consultant and facilitator for multinationals, KMO’s, NOGO’s and government agencies. Much of what he has learnt on the way is now distilled into his book ‘The Discipline of Pleasure.’


From an early age James was skeptical and extremely inquisitive. He was fascinated by the big questions in life: Is this all, what I see around me? Is this the best that humanity can do? What is our purpose on this planet? etc. By his seventeenth birthday, he was already meditating and even had an Indian guru. Despite a busy student life, he was a keen participant in therapeutic and self-development workshops. During his ten-year travels round the world, he was particularly interested in experiencing other cultures. He learnt how to survive out in the world and took many risks, landing in countries where he knew nobody, had little money and was forced to make contact with others. This ‘school of life’ was just as important to him as all the exclusive schools he had attended. He also began to give workshops focusing on self-development.


When he was thirty-three, James wanted to re-enter mainstream society and went back to university to study facilitation and organizational development. He is the co-founder of Quinx. He has helped hundreds of people and teams in personal and organizational change in multi-nationals, NGO’s and KMO’s, such as Johnson and Johnson, Colruyt, Torfs, JBC, Durabrik, Friends of the Earth, etc.

The ‘CEO Council’

James is a believer in peer-to-peer learning and Quinx launched an initiative called ‘Councils’. They brought CEO’s together from different companies both to share their expertise with each other and also to discover a deeper sense of mission, seeking to create a better quality of life both for their companies and society at large. The CEO Council with which he has been working for the last 6 years comprises CEO’s such as Wouter Torfs, Frans Colruyt, Bart Claes and other top leaders who are values-driven and committed to ‘conscious capitalism’.

Lessons for Life

The essential thread that runs through all James’ work is the same as the thread that runs through his life: “Look deeper, discover who you really are as individual or as organization. Be authentic, take risks, learn and evolve. Look for deeper meaning in your life and become a force for good in the world. In his free time, apart from sport, James devotes much of his time to his other passions – spiritual practice and writing. He has distilled much of what he has learnt in his life into a book called ‘The Discipline of Pleasure’.

Balancing Yin and Yang in Life and Organizations

Authorities, Society, Leadership, Strategy, Socially responsible Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion, Work Life Balance, Personal development, Healthy Life, Inspiring

According to the Daoist philosophy, out of which the expressions ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ come, health and happiness occur when masculine and feminine qualities are given equal value and expression. This is as true within ourselves as within our organizations and within society as a whole. Indeed, the Daoists would say that this yin-yang balance is written into the DNA of the universe as whole.

When this fundamental complementarity of yin and yang is pulled out of balance, the result is dysfunction of some kind – hence terms such as ‘toxic masculinity’. One way of interpreting burn-out, for example, is an imbalance of yin and yang in a person’s life.

The basic quality of yin is connection, the basic quality of yang is agency; exaggerated yin leads to stagnancy, exaggerated yang leads to recklessness. But there are many other fascinating qualities on each side: and through exploring these qualities, one soon sees that gender is only a very approximate manifestation of yin and yang, and in fact men, women and non-binary genders always contain a mixture of both forces to differing degrees.

Organizations, as in western society as a whole, have tended historically to favor yang qualities: growth, figures, competition, control and hierarchy. Recent developments show how yin qualities of care, community, and meaning, are beginning to re-assert themselves. Nature, of which we are a part, will always seek to redress any yin-yang imbalance.

My job is to help individuals and organizations to understand where things are out of balance in terms of yin and yang and how to create a new balance.

Pleasure at Work

Business & Management, HR, Corporate Culture, Creativity, Innovation, Motivation, Creativity, Innovation, Trends, Work Life Balance

Why is pleasure important at work?
What stops people having pleasure at work?
How can an organization build a pleasure-affirmative culture?
Pleasure is often contrasted with work: “work first then play”.
Given the right conditions work can we one of the greatest sources of soul pleasure available to us.

The Joy of Giving

Socially responsible Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Innovation, Trends, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion, Work Life Balance, Personal development

The goal of this keynote is dispel the notion that pleasure-seeking is ‘selfish’. Serving others brings a specific, deep form of soul pleasure.
Charity and philanthropy tend to be associated with guilt, duty and self-sacrifice. This keynote reframe common understanding of giving and educates people in how to use our privileges wisely and pleasurably.


General talk on role of pleasure in our lives, explanation of typology, and how to apply discipline to the pursuit of pleasure. This talk is suitable for people from all walks of life – mixture of didactic and self-help. Especially relevant to Belgian culture which tends to put duty and routine well before pleasure.

Burn-out = the absence of pleasure

HR, Corporate Culture, Leadership, Strategy, Motivation, Work Life Balance, Personal development, Health and Burnout, Healthy Life

When somebody gets a burn-out, one of the worst effects is the absence of pleasure in our lives, both at work and at home. We do and do, run and run, but we never feel satisfied. Our whole cycle of stimulus and satisfaction is disrupted. Burn-out’s little ugly sister 'bore-out' is similar. James Bampfield focuses in his keynote on how to bring back pleasure and satisfaction as a goal, rather than performance of duty. James helps break unwanted patterns of behaviour and also educates people in the simple pleasures of life that have often got lost in the rat-race.

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Languages of the keynote
English, Dutch
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