With Western culture increasingly being influenced by Eastern thinking, we attended a three-hour seminar on applying the principles of Buddhism to the business world. Here’s food for thought.
1. We’re Connected with everything around us
When you harm the things or people around you, it harms you. When you help others, you help yourself. Observing that ‘life’ is interdependent inspires altruism – having regard for the wellbeing or best interests of others – and is the basic principle behind the concept of karma where everything you do and think in your business and in life has consequences.
2. Your Mind is Powerful
Your life is a reflection of your thoughts, as the saying goes, ‘nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so’. In other words, your opinions on the world around you are your interpretation, only one possible point of view. If you abandon your harmful thoughts and actions, that is, eliminate negativity and cultivate altruism, you can shape and inspire your workplace, and your world.
3. The Importance of Understanding
Working on yourself is the highest contribution you can make in life because if you understand yourself, you can understand others and therefore have compassion. If you care for yourself and the people who work with you, they are more likely to respond in kind. It’s your role as a leader to help build those around you by genuinely looking after their wellbeing.
4. Compassion in Business
Compassion for yourself and others is a benefit to you. But how do you act compassionately in a competitive business world? Consider there are two types of competition – wanting to be on top at the expense of others, and accepting that others want to be on top then working harder and smarter to get there.
Real success is built on strength, which comes from endurance, clarity and compassion. Strength rarely comes from losing your cool or forcing a harmful short-term win when faced with conflict or competition. When you have strength, you become someone to reckon with, someone who wins others over. But compassion doesn’t mean letting others walk over you, it requires earning a reputation of respect and integrity over the long-term.
So perhaps re-examine the values by which you measure your business ‘success’ (ie: not solely by your bottom line and market share) and consider introducing an extra distinction and measure – altruism.
5. Going Global
If you keep your mind still, you’ll find peace. Living in a world where the three biggest killers of our time are anger, anxiety and depression, we’re constantly adding our own emotions, stresses and ego to the stillness of the day. By learning to quiet your mind, and give up or release the stress, and breathe slowly and deeply, you’ll quiet and clear your mind. You can then gain an awareness of the bigger picture and see things from all points of view.
On a global level, when we find inner peace, barriers between people are dissolved and the world no longer seems so hostile because your perception has greater insight.
Some great principles to bring into business.