Once an executive of an international investment bank told me something interesting his boss said when he asked his boss (who was making over a million dollars a year) what was his major drive in life. His boss answered, “To beat the benchmark, my peers and my results, I compare them to the previous year.”
Many in today’s world strive to get ahead just for the sake of getting ahead without having a higher purpose and direction. Coupled with that is the tendency to get caught up in the busyness of life, reacting to its demands instead of charting a course with purpose.
Can spirituality and business be compatible, or are they like oil and water and can never mix?
In my book Living Greatness, John Demartini has said that spirit requires matter to express itself, and matter needs spirit to give it meaning. Another way to put it is that they are opposite sides of the same coin. The underlying truth is that the successful blending of spirituality and business is dependent on one’s intent.
I once posted the following comment on my Facebook page, which generated a mixed response: “Any time you start something with the idea that money’s everything, you’re going to end up making decisions that are based on greed, based on short-term goals, and not eventually long-term happiness.” After I had received a variety of responses, I posted an update that this quote was actually written by Gurbaksh Chahal, an American entrepreneur who sold his business for $300 million at the age of 26.
Spiritualise Your business By changing Your Paradigm.
Making money is essential, but if you integrate a higher purpose into what you are doing by adding value to your clients and stakeholders, your business will take on another dimension. It is not necessary or practical to give up your business to pursue something purely spiritual.
A more advisable approach would be to spiritualise your existing business by adding value to those around you. This is what I’m trying to do with Living Greatness. I believe in building a new kind of social business that benefits the world, as well as all stakeholders in the process. My friend and supporter of Living Greatness, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, is a living example of this new model. He applies the principle of “delivering happiness” to all those who come in contact with Zappos. If you buy a pair of shoes from Zappos, not only will you get the pleasant surprise of receiving overnight delivery, a standard practice, but there is 365-day refund policy. Furthermore, if Zappos cannot find a pair of shoes for you in their warehouse, they will actually refer you to their competitor’s website. This is truly a revolutionary model of spirit meeting matter. And guess what? Tony’s business was purchased by Amazon.com recently for US $1.2 billion.
Spirituality also means bringing more consciousness into what you do. It means having the courage and wisdom to challenge the conventional way of doing things by asking intelligent questions. Spirituality does not mean being mystical. One can be spiritual while also making money, but it means doing things with a greater purpose than just making money. In one of our interviews for my book, Living Greatness, I asked Jack Canfield, the legendary creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series (which sold 100 million books) to define success. He answered with no hesitation: “Success comes from discovering what you love to do and finding a way to do it so that it serves yourself and others at the same time.”
We are progressively seeing how business and money making can lead to more purposeful living, as evidenced by two of the world’s richest man, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, asking forty of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs – including Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Star Wars creator George Lucas, CNN’s Ted Turner and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – to donate at least 50% of their fortunes to charity.
Train Your instincts For Better Success.
SpiritualiSing your business also means incorporating intuition to your decision making process. Even some of the world’s leading business minds attribute their success to using their intuition. As Oprah puts it, “My business skills have come from being guided by my intuition.” Donald Trump has said, “I’ve built a multi-billion-dollar empire by using my intuition,” and even Bill Gates has stated, “You cannot ignore your intuition.”
Let me share with you a story. When I was writing my book, Living Greatness: A Practical Guide to Living an Enlightened Life, at one point I was short of ideas and felt as though I had become stuck. I had a vision of what I wanted this book to be in its final form, but many things were beyond my control. I tuned into my intuition for assistance. After fifteen minutes, a flash of inspiration came into my mind; it was Jack Canfield, the legendary bestselling author of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul (with more than 150 million copies sold). Trusting this guidance, I acted on it immediately, and within the space of a few weeks, not only had I made contact with Jack Canfield, but he was happy to co-author Living Greatness with me. He unconditionally supported my work by writing an excellent Foreword. Some people refer to intuition as the gut feeling and it also means following the guidance of your heart. At a physical level, intuition is associated with the pineal gland, located near the centre of the brain.
One of the most commonly used methods for tapping into your intuition is quieting your mind through a process of meditation. To develop intuition, it is important to learn to switch off the mental noises in the mind to allow peace, balance, and clarity to permeate the spirit. Many executives and top leaders make it a natural part of their daily routine to meditate; it is not just the practice of spiritual seekers and hippies. I recently learned that Hollywood superstars like Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman make it a daily habit to meditate.
Intuition has to be developed through regular practice, just like building strong muscles. This takes time, patience, and persistence. Be progressive in your learning and see this as a process rather than a destination. Soon it will become second nature, and you will be following your intuition and applying its wisdom to your daily life and business practices.
Joseph Law is the founder and CEO of Living Greatness, a social organisation dedicated to implementing strategies for creating an extraordinary quality of life for individuals and organisations throughout the world. Joseph is the author of Living Greatness and his work has attracted the support of international best-selling authors, leading CEOs, as well as billionaires and celebrities worldwide.
Joseph is an ambassador for Make-A-Wish Foundation. To find out more about Joseph and Living Greatness, visit www.livinggreatness.com