It’s difficult to measure the huge impact that Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has had on Western culture. He has helped popularize Buddhist ideas and practices in the Western world—and his openness to science has given him tremendous credibility in secular thought. In the past few years, millennia old practices like meditation have been widely confirmed as beneficial to mental and physical well-being. In fact, in 2004 the Dalia Lama hosted Western scientists in Dharamsala where they addressed the fact that through meditation we can actually change the structure and function of our brains.
Aside from incorporating science into Buddhism, the Dalai Lama has contributed to modern thought and is a well-respected voice on everything from the environment, to non-violence and women’s rights. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, he continues to discuss how compassion and mindfulness are essential sources of a happy life.
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in the financial side of things and neglect the fact that a lot of what determines success is in our frame of mind. Here are 5 teachings of the Dalai Lama that you can apply to make yourself a more successful (and happy) entrepreneur:
1. Success and Happiness Come From a Calm Mind
This above statement may sound obvious. However, in the life of a busy entrepreneur days get hectic. Stress and anxiety can easily rise and cloud our minds, causing us to forget this simple fact. We don’t always equip ourselves with the tools to return our minds to balance. The Dalai Lama had some compelling words on this subject:
“From my own experience I can tell you that peace of mind is effective when it comes to our physical health. Scientists are verifying this with experiments to measure the benefits of meditating on compassion, from a secular point of view, over a period of three weeks or so. They found lower blood pressure, less stress and improved interaction with others. So, success and happiness are directly related to developing a calm mind rooted in compassion. If we pay attention to inner values, life can be happy. There will be problems, but the crucial issue is how we approach them.”
Lower blood pressure, less stress and improved interaction with others—those things are not just hugely important when trying to sustain and improve business. They’re essential in all aspects of life. Meditation and mindfulness can help.
2. Remember: Compassion Is Not Weakness in Leadership
Despite the increasing popularity of meditation and mindfulness, not everyone is on board with taking time out of a busy day to stop and meditate, especially on compassion. Some entrepreneurs may think it sounds weak or like a waste of time.
It is important to remember that history is full of leaders who were both highly compassionate and powerful—Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Desmond Tutu are just a few examples. Keep in mind that these leaders were so strong and inspiring that people would drop everything to follow them. Wouldn’t you want that kind of loyalty and commitment from your team?
The Dalai Lama is quoted saying, “Compassion is not religious business; it is human business.” A leader desiring success cannot afford to overlook the importance of showing compassion—nor can they discount the impact their example will have on the entire organization they lead. Compassion helps leaders to be successful. It helps employees to be successful—and above all, it helps companies to be companies more successful. Mindfulness and meditation can help.
There is a fantastic TED Talk by Leadership Expert Simon Sinek that discusses the benefits of compassionate leadership. Check it out here.
3. Great Love and Great Achievements Involve Great Risk
Remember that risk is involved in every great opportunity in life—if something were safe and easy, everyone would be doing it. Risks can be financial, emotional or both—but without putting yourself on the line, you’re not going to get much in return.
The Dalai Lama is quoted saying, “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.” Related to risk, true success involves delaying gratification and, at times, giving up comfort. It means not knowing the answers and being OK with uncertainties. It means trusting the voice within.
In growth and achievement there are no shortcuts. Success means putting in the work. The Dalai Lama is also quoted saying, “Sacrifice is nobility at its best”. Nothing could be more true.
Meditation and mindfulness can help you deal with discomfort of sacrifice and uncertainty that comes with taking risks. It can help you act with courage and clarity.
4. When You Lose, Don’t Lose the Lesson
This above statement, like some of the other titles in this post, is taken from the Dalai Lama’s 18 rules for living. Having setbacks and losses is inevitable—however, they come with a silver lining: a lesson. If you can learn from your mistakes and losses, then you’re not really losing.
Take the time to reflect on things that have gone wrong. Then take action and strategize so that you’re not doomed to repeat the same cycle of mistakes.
Another great quote from the Dalai Lama is, “Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.” Remember to not dwell too much in the past and to make the most of the present moment. Meditation and mindfulness can help.
5. Open Your Arms To Change, But Don’t Let Go of Your Values
Change is inevitable, so you must welcome it. However, you can’t forget who you are and what you stand for. It’s so important to read and seek guidance from people whose accomplishments and values you admire. Create a theme of leadership in your mind and reinforce that with reading and following inspirational people and events.
Letting your work stand for something bigger than yourself means it will connect and have an impact on more people. Building a venture around your core values and beliefs means that you’ll work more passionately. If you live a good, honorable life, when you look back in from the future, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time. Mindfulness and meditation can help you connect with your center.
The Bottom Line
Great achievement and sound decision making come from a calm mind. Being compassionate and understanding of others is not a weakness, but actually a powerful tool in leadership. Taking risks is essential if you’re looking to obtain great success. Always, always learn from your mistakes. Stay open to change, but don’t forget your values and who you are. Remember that mindfulness and meditation can help.
I believe that finances don’t have to be stressful and that solid financial strategy and mindfulness are the keys to successfully reaching your business goals. For more information visit www.thewealthyyogi.com
About: Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, aka "The Wealthy Yogi" is a finance expert, author, investor, and yoga enthusiast on a mission to help people achieve their goals through wealth building, entrepreneurship, and staying balanced while juggling it all. You can learn 5 Ways to Multiply Wealth in 90 Days without Giving Up the Things you Love for free, and enter her contest to win a $50 Amazon Card.
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