2013 has been a breakthrough year for the top echelon of professionals around the world. One of the reasons, in my view, is the focus on mindfulness. For the first time, I have seen the corporate world embrace a practice adopted in the personal lives of many masters in various fields. As the two arenas come closer together, mindfulness is now firmly established as a practice worthy of attention. It sharpens insights, improves judgment and allows leaders to see around the corners. In other words, mindfulness brings you the wisdom you need to lead from the heart.
May I suggest that if you have been already practicing mindfulness in any of its forms then, in 2014 you should try and aim for the next level – egolessness. With the wisdom gained through mindfulness, egolessness brings you the courage to apply that wisdom in your daily life. I continue to notice that despite the fresh insights and sharpened judgment that comes from mindfulness, many professionals still feel that they have been stuck in a rut for the last decade or more!
The topic of this entry seems to be outside the boundary of what I normally write about in this blog, which is about corporate effectiveness and efficiency, business networks, global supply chains and the like. It is not purely random that towards the end of the year, I started expounding on esoteric material beyond the realm of concrete material prosperity.
This realisation came in a conversation over lunch with one of my clients, who despite a very successful 2013, appeared dissatisfied. At a similar lunch about 12 months ago, when he sounded unhappy with his results for 2012, I suggested mindfulness to him. He expressed great interest in the practice and has now made it an integral part of him own life as well as his corporate vocabulary. But his current dissatisfaction was rooted in trivial interpersonal dynamics, which got us on to the topic of egolessness.
Requested to explain what my view of ego was, I gave him an analogy of all the human body cells being formed essentially by the same mass of protoplasm, yet separated by a thin cell membrane which keep them apart and functioning as a single entity. Cells rely on each other, yet also act as separate entities with their own cell membranes that allow useful nutrients to permeate and toxins to be expelled. If the cell membrane becomes too rigid, or too unidirectional, the cell will surely die, either of starvation, or of toxicity due to too much nutrition.
Egolessness allows you to accept positive information and vibrations that support growth and positive transformation, and discard negative information that stunts growth or stifles accomplishment. Lack of egolessness in individuals takes the form of arrogance while in corporations it takes the form of hubris, and at national levels it takes the form of jingoism. I am sure you have seen enough examples of all three, as well as the results that follow.
Egolessness allows you to make difficult decisions, especially in tough times, stick with these when challenges get even more intense, and come out on top irrespective of the odds. Even more surprisingly, you do not feel the stress or strain of your endeavor. I still vividly remember after more than 20 years, navigating my ship for 72 hours straight while dodging one of fiercest storms in the East China Sea, and not feeling any stress or strain during or after the endeavor. Although I do not know how I got into that mindset at the time, all I knew was that we had to somehow keep out of the storm to save the ship and its crew.
I am not an expert on the topic of egolessness, but I am sure there is an abundant amount of information out there for your own research. Nonetheless, if the above analogy with cell membranes, and the incident of my ship in the storm make sense to you, then in 2014 try egolessness and see if it brings more peace to your life. After all that is the goal of all human endeavors – including getting hold of power. I will be most interested in hearing about your experiences with egolessness and mindfulness in corporate life – you can correspond with me via firstname.lastname@example.org