Key point: Meditation is becoming a mainstream practice among business leaders. What happens in meditation is that the speedy mind begins to slow down and things begin to settle, like the mud sinking to the bottom of a puddle of water when it is left undisturbed. When this settling has occurred, a clear understanding of the way things work in the mind takes place. Make time to meditate. It is a proven and vital aspect for personal development.
My web site manager, John King at Highwaters Media, emphasized the importance of meditation in his life and he tipped me to the muddy water metaphor. I think it’s a very powerful way of describing the benefits of meditation. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs/public figures, like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, the late Steve Jobs, have publicly discussed the importance of meditation in their daily routine. The Huffington Post recently reported that 32 percent of entrepreneurs are now meditating for introspection and goal seeking to set up personal and business improvement.
In 2007, Fortune magazine reported about a crowd of Harvard Business School alums gathered at their reunion to hear networking expert Keith Ferrazzi speak about the importance of meditation. It was rather avant-garde for mainstream, western business leaders to focus on the value of meditation. The irony of that presentation was the man whose book is Never Eat Alone credited much of his success to alone time. He spends ten days every year at a silent meditation retreat. Nowadays every executive seems to have a career coach and my understanding is that many of the most successful coaches insist on their clients making some form of meditation a daily ritual.
- Where are you on applying the principle of stillness to allow the muddy water to settle?
- If you like the idea of it but aren’t enacting some form of daily meditation, even for a few minutes, you are missing the benefits that have been widely used in many cultures for thousands of years. I know that I have much room for improvement here. Not having time is an unacceptable excuse.
- Explore what mediation principles and techniques are used by people you admire. Try what would work for you.
- Like most things we practice regarding The Character Triangle, start slowly and bit by bit it becomes a habit and part of our development process. (I have been using Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled meditation CD and I like it). It is pretty elementary by zen master standards but it works for me at this point in my meditation practice.
- Read the following sample and practical guide from Leo Babauta’s popular blog zenhabits, “How to Meditate Daily.”
Meditation in The Triangle,
Key point: Each of us must determine the benefit and desire to reinvent ourselves through a process of creative destruction. We benefit and thrive from being relentless at finding ways of providing more value and evolving as personal contributors at work. This does not mean we can’t be content. However I believe we must be content by having a mind set of continuous individual growth and improvement. I personally believe our purpose in life is to evolve and make a positive contribution. This involves creatively destructing and reconstructing what we do and who we are becoming. Where are you on this challenge? Do you embrace the idea or does it scare you?
MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James Robinson have a fascinating new book out entitled Why Nations Fail. In it they highlight the value of creative destruction in thriving nations. One element that has historically allowed America, Canada and other nations to excel is an environment where new models of providing better value are encouraged. That concept made me think about creative destruction at an individual and personal level. If I get lazy or pedestrian about my personal growth and value, then I should not be surprised when I’m replaced. Frankly, I’m amazed when I hear people talk about permitting technology to pass them by, (“Twitter is stupid,” “Who cares about Social Media?”). I’m also struck by comments like “why read any new business books? There is nothing new anyway.” To me these views are signals inviting replacement and likely not in a self-driven, creative or even desirable way. And if that’s what you want, ok… As long as you accept the consequences.
- What are you doing to creatively destruct and reconstruct yourself in your career (life)? Are you proactive or just hoping everything turns out well? Are you hoping somebody or group will protect you or are you challenged and excited about continuous creative reconstruction?
- How will you be able to provide more value to your organization? Family? Self? At the end of 2012 from where you are today?
- Are you invigorated by or scared of change? Recognize when you are consciously stepping off the value track at work, versus unceremoniously being replaced by a better way. To me that is the definition of retirement, whether you are 25 or 65 years of age.
Creative reconstruction in The Triangle,
My friend of almost 40 years, Larry Berg, is the CEO of the Vancouver International Airport. During the recent 2010 Winter Olympics, there was a lot of pressure on the airport and all related logistics. Imagine all those thousands of people and thousands of pieces of equipment coming and leaving in concentrated ways over a two week period.
It is especially stressful as the entire Olympic world departs at once after the closing ceremonies. My understanding, by all objective accounts, is that Vancouver set a new bar for great airport performance.
If you know anything about being Canadian, you probably know that hockey is the oxygen of the country. There was no better ending to the 2010 winter Olympics than to have Canada play for the gold medal in men’s hockey on the last day of the games. Tickets for that game sold for thousands of dollars on eBay.
Larry, who is a big hockey fan, had four premium tickets to the game. What did he do? He gave the tickets to four of his direct reports who worked their butts off to make the airport run like a finely tuned machine.
That’s being abundant! That’s character. Character Hall of Fame inductee: Larry Berg.
Hey Characters, are you a Linchpin? Linchpins, Supporters and Leeches, Seth Godin, Seth Godin, author and marketing guru, describes these categories of people. I strongly urge you to read his recently published book, Linchpin.
The people in the “leech” category are those who Godin describes as pessimists and obstructionists. Godin states they are “driven by fear, they set out to slow you down, whittle you down, and average you down.” This is the antithesis of being “abundant.”
The third element of the Character Triangle is being Abundant. This means being generous of spirit and an optimist. It also embodies a deep belief in a successful outcome. Put an emphasis on the importance of being generous of spirit.
Think about the people that make an incredible impact – they give! As Godin states, “The economy has been better and worse. Through it all the market seeks out, recognizes and embraces artists, people we can’t live without.”
Godin’s type of “artist” has nothing to do with fine arts, but instead, being able to make a difference and valuably contribute at one’s craft, regardless of whether or not it’s in the board room or fixing kitchen sinks.
Be abundant. Be generous. Be an “artist.” Give everything you have to have an impact.