Given we live in a world with exponential increase in content creation and with firms like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple vying for our attention, it is quite hard to reclaim our own space and attention. In this context, being mindful could be a key differentiator and a competitive advantage. Some leaders talk about how they created that space for themselves amidst the noise.
Driving Deep Work
How easy it is these days to be distracted? Just one minute on Facebook or Twitter and there goes the whole morning! In such an age of distraction where our attention spans are becoming lesser and lesser, how does Amish find the time and space to write? Hear his tactics of getting the momentum going. Hint: there is also something about a sugar rush in there!
Driving Mindfulness and Deep Work
Distraction is all around us. Our screens are becoming smarter and our attention spans shorter. Engulfed with this tsunami of data in a world that worships multitasking, how does one develop mindfulness? Raghu shares some invaluable tips practiced by corporate leaders. You will be amazed to hear how simple tweaks (no need for any props! Just your time) can improve your mental well being.
Performing at the top and being grounded
Vishy talks about the various elements that matter to perform at the highest level in addition to IQ. He specifically discusses the criticality of collaborating with a range of coaches and players. He also shares how he manages to stay present during a game (a trait that Anatoly Karpov used to be a master at with his ruthless Boa-Constrictor style play he says). He also shares how he has managed to stay simple and grounded despite the towering heights he has reached as a Chess player.
Building Habits vs Enhancing Awareness
Devdutt talks about the distinction between building habits and enhancing awareness. He mentions that habits are often relevant only in a certain context and it is critical not to become a slave of the habit. He also elaborates on the notion of “Darshan” and “Para-jiva” and makes the distinction between self-awareness and awareness towards the other. He urges us to think about what we would do when presented with Sophie’s choice (where you have to pick between two equally deserving alternatives).
Music and Technology
Jayashri talks about overdependence on technology and how that is coming in the way of learning where the student puts off the learning to technology. She talks about how she tries to benefit from the technology while knowing that she could do what she does even without it.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Mr Bhatt talks about a simple habit that he has found helpful in his journey over the years. He talks about the role of the conscious and the sub-conscious mind and how that can be leveraged for self-development. He talks about how he reflects for 5 minutes at the start of the day and at the end of each day and the difference it has made to him over the years.
Managing time and attention
Tarun discusses how he has crafted his self-assigned space of thinking about issues around creativity and entrepreneurship in Developing countries. He talks about being known as the “clearing house” for something. He also talks about the tension between access to intellectual capital at Harvard and being located closer to the action that he is passionate about. He later goes on to discuss the allocating mechanism he uses to fill his time when he visits the various markets.
Dr. Guha speaks about Gandhiji’s inner journey on multiple fronts – diet, medicine, celibacy and inter-faith harmony. He speaks about how he had a scientific approach in each of these and sometimes crafted experiments to test out a certain belief and based on the results, modified it as he moved forward. He also speaks about Gandhiji’s tolerance and open-ness to others’ views as he was shaping his world-view through his journey.
More from Dr. Ramachandra Guha
Technology and psychological interference
Stew speaks about what has stayed the same and what has changed significantly in his thinking around work life integration. He talks about the ubiquity of technological devices that now surround us and speaks about the need for all of us to build psychological tools to benefit from the technological advancements without incurring the cost that often comes hand in hand with such developments.
TAGSWork and Life mindfulness
Origins of SIY
Rich talks about the origins of the Search Inside Yourself programme. It started out as a quest for Googlers looking for a solution to stay agile and resilient while you are on a “rocket-ship”. He also goes on to talk about how SIY brings in wisdom from multiple domains ranging across Neuroscience, Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence to help people develop a new kind of intelligence that enables them to cope with the roller-coaster ride of a tech driven company
Attention and Meta-Attention
We normally think of attention in broad terms but Rich breaks down the various types of attention. He speaks about Attention being the ability to focus our mind on something specific and Meta-Attention being the ability to pay attention to our attention and have the ability to bring it back when it wanders.
Developing the meditation habit
Rich talks about how he thinks about ritualizing meditation and baking it as a hygiene in the way he goes about leading his life. He also talks about the importance of not treating meditation just as a separate activity that we do once a day but suggests that weave in meditation in the small things we do through the day. He also speaks about the importance of rituals to manage our attention in the digital economy.
Benefits of Journaling
Rich speaks about the benefits of journaling and refers to research in neuroscience that suggests that journaling is superior to typing on a digital device given the speed at which we do each of the activities. He also has some pointers around how people can start the practice of journaling in their lives.
Meta-distress and Response-flexibility
Rich discusses the distinction between choosing a response to a situation and reacting. He also speaks about the difference between events that unfold and the story we tell ourselves about the events that unfold. He links it to the notion of agility where he says we need to be agile in the way we stay present to the world around us and that agility is a prerequisite for us to be agile as leaders in the business context.
3 levels of resilience
Rich speaks about three levels of resilience – Inner calm, Emotional Resilience and Cognitive Resilience. He talks about the example of Captain Sully Sullenberger (who miraculously landed the plane on the Hudson river after his plane was hit by birds after taking off from LaGuardia) to talk about how calm and composed he was and stayed present during the ~3 minutes he had between the bird hit and when he landed the plane.
Diversity of thought in the drawing room
Kartik speaks about how we need to be mindful of the risk of being exposed to a certain type of content or view point as the algorithms are solving for engagement and are likely to show content that we are likely to gravitate towards. He speaks about some of the mechanisms he employs to ensure that he builds diversity of thought in his head as he goes about processing the world around him.
More from Kartik Hosanagar EP2
Creating the mind-space
Michael speaks about what it takes to get leaders to allocate mind-space to their transition while they are settling into a new context. He strongly suggests that we start working on transitions early (even before the leader comes in) so that it feels like a natural part of settling in rather than a separate list of things that one needs to do and as a potential distraction to the job at hand.
Visualization as a technique
Matt speaks about his take on terms such as Visualization and Meditation and speaks about how he relates to them. He specifically discusses a ritual of a 7-15 minute quiet time that he practices every day and speaks about the benefits of this exercise in improving one’s performance in a certain.
Pausing to reinvent
Herminia speaks about how it is critical to create mind-space for us to reflect on our experiences especially when we deviate from the standard path. That process of reflection is often critical for people to have a clearer sense of their identity and their fit with the initiatives they are pursuing. She also speaks about how reinventing yourself around mid-life can sometimes take as long as 3 years.
Going on an inner journey
Paddy speaks about how he went on an internal journey over a period of time that gave him a deeper understanding of himself. He speaks about how he tried a range of things including mindfulness techniques, meditation, breath work and Yoga. He also speaks about how he attended several 2-3 day sessions including the Landmark Forum that gave him an opportunity to explore himself.
Zooming in and out
Paddy speaks about cricketers zoom in on the moment at hand while at the same time zoom out and are situationally aware of where the game is poised. He speaks about the need for staying in the present (rather than dwelling in a past error or a future goal) for people to perform at the highest level.
Mindfulness beyond meditation
Tasha speaks about the fact that meditation is possibly not the only path to being mindful. There could be several other approaches that could make you more mindful even if you don’t meditate. She speaks about comparing and contrasting as one approach that could help you become more mindful.
Getting the problem definition right
Sudhir speaks about the close link between IIMA and HUL in terms of the approach towards problem solving and Marketing. He speaks about the role of PL Tandon and Labdhi Bhandari in helping build the IIMA Marketing curriculum along with Prof AK Jain. He also shares an example of when he failed at framing the right question when he was in the Ice Creams business.
Building habits with awareness
A lot of our habits are often sub-conscious. How do we ensure that we don’t become a slave of our habits but really perform our habits with awareness. In one of my earlier conversations, Devdutt Pattanaik contrasted the Indian emphasis on awareness with the western emphasis on habits. James speaks about the Japanese system of pointing and calling and uses that example to talk about how we can perform our habits with awareness.
Mindfulness is not a hack
Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi speaks about how a lot of people have tried to make the practice of spirituality into a hack. He specifically speaks about how several people have tried to create apps for meditation and how that often goes against the grain of how one is supposed to pursue meditation without any addiction of sorts.
Deliberate practice of Spirituality
Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi speaks about the notion of curiosity and how we can all be truly aware of what is unfolding in front of us. He speaks about how we all need to embrace effortful meditation and practice it for a period of time before it becomes effortless for us. He also speaks about spiritual discipline as something that ought to permeate every aspect of our life from perception to decision making to choices to every interaction.
Being versus Doing
Ramesh speaks about the notion of Being versus Doing. He speaks about what it takes to create a safe space, and bringing down the anxiety level to establish a deep authentic connection with the leader you are working with. He speaks about how it has become critical for leaders to be authentic in these times.
Reactive and a Proactive pause
Jen speaks about how we should practice pausing in the moment (reactive) and otherwise (proactive) for us to be able to choose responding instead of reacting at various points in time
More from Dr. Jennifer Goldman Wetzler
Real meaning of "take a walk"
We often use phrases without often questioning where they come from or what the deeper meaning behind those might be. Jen here shares her perspective around the phrase “taking a walk” and how it could have an impact on how we see a situation.
More from Dr. Jennifer Goldman Wetzler
Pattern breaking behaviour and Camp David
Jen shares her perspectives around how we can try different conflict breaking paths for us to get out of the loop. She specifically refers to what President Carter did to reframe the conversations in Camp David where his talks with the then President of Egypt (Anwar Sadat) and the then Prime Minister of Israel (Menachem Begin).
More from Dr. Jennifer Goldman Wetzler
Observing things the way they are
Tom speaks about how drawing is an immersive and a meditative process and how it helps him see a situation with a lot of nuance and accuracy.
Miracle at Fukushima Daini
Amy speaks about the case at Fukushima Daini, where under the leadership of Naohira Masuda, 400 employees worked non stop for 48 hours, when their lives were under threat, to achieve the cold shut down of the nuclear reactor thereby saving 1000s of lives in that process. She speaks about the brand of leadership that Naohira demonstrated through this phase.
Staying open to possibilities
Rajiv elaborates on the benefits of mindfulness. One obvious benefit is that we are able to observe ourselves better. Rajiv goes on to say that this practice also ensures that we are able to be more open to various possibilities that emerge along the way.
Triggers and Dopamine Hits
Alisa speaks about how she gets every Founder to reflect on 4 things – Strengths, Development Areas, Triggers and Dopamine Hits. She goes on to expand on the notion of Triggers and Dopamine Hits and the implication of this on Leadership.
Raghu expands on the notion of Shantham and calls it the state of quiet high potential but something that is completely silent. He likens it to some one like a Roger Federer who is in “flow”. He calls it the state where one is fully alert and fully alive and open to all possibilities. He also speaks about how busy leaders can try and access that space of Shantham.
More from Raghu Ananthanarayanan
Doing versus Being
Raghu speaks about the distinction between DOING and BEING. He speaks about BEING as a regenerative process, something that heals and nurtures. He also speaks about the need for coherence between what we are doing and who we are being at various points in time and not resolving this is often at the root of what people often describe as a mid-life crisis.
More from Raghu Ananthanarayanan
Time travel, Distancing and Awe
Ethan speaks about some of the strategies that he uses to manage Chatter. He speaks about effectively undertaking time travel and how we can ensure that while we undertake time travel, we don’t get stuck in the time machine. He also refers to the benefits of Nature in inducing Awe and the benefit of Distance self-talk.
Building an emotional vocabulary
David speaks about how critical it is for us to tune into what we are feeling at various points in the day. Not just for the surges in emotions but the mild emotions that are often humming in us through our day that we may not be present to.
Pausing to Reinvent
Michiel speaks about how he takes various retreats (3 days, 10 days, 6 months etc) at various points in time and how that often creates the space for new things to emerge.
Learning Zone vs Protective Zone
Michiel speaks about how our behaviour comes in the way of our learning when the stakes become higher. He speaks about the link between how team members listen and the link with learning.
Accessing your Skylight
Michiel speaks about how leaders can access their skylight and what rituals they can build before, during and after an event.
Managing down-time between rallies
Chris speaks about the fact that players often have 60-70% of match-time when they are not playing a point where they have to channel their focus and attention. He speaks about how Roger managed these periods of time.
T&I in paradigm, C&C in the moment
Stephen speaks about how we can lead from a paradigm of ‘Trust and Inspire’ but choose to go ‘Command and Control’ in the moment depending on the context in front of us. He goes on to speak about how the people around us would experience the same action very differently depending on the paradigm we come from.