There is a recent New York Times article about researchers who found that employees who meditated were less motivated. The article states “Meditation was correlated with reduced thoughts about the future and greater feelings of calm and serenity – states seemingly not conducive to wanting to tackle a work project.”
And although workers who meditated were more focused, this benefit was seemingly canceled out by their lower levels of motivation. As one who has practiced meditation for years, I just might be a little skeptical about these findings.
My own experience has shown just the OPPOSITE to be true.
Meditation has made me more motivated – not less. Research has also shown that motivation comes from three factors – autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These three things, incidentally, are sorely lacking in today’s corporate world.
Perhaps, if meditation was introduced into a workplace culture where these qualities were the norm and not the exception, then the research results might have been different.
Adding these essential factors also helps the employee to cultivate a sense of MISSION.
Beginning meditators struggle to incorporate their newfound sense of calm into their daily routines. So, although they may bliss out and briefly meander in the psychic wilderness, eventually they come back.
And when they do, they are bound to be 10 times more effective than they were before.
But forget motivation for a moment. Let’s talk some more about meditation. This practice really does improve your ability to focus, so that you are less likely to be distracted by the zillions of things at the workplace that conspire to keep you from doing your essential tasks.
It also increases resilience – the ability to bounce back from traumatic life events. Meditation also increases the cortical thickness in the hippocampus, and this means you’ll be able to learn better and faster. Emotional reactivity is greatly enhanced, so you’re not so inclined to fly off the handle.
All these things are excellent tools for a businessperson to have.
There is a quiet revolution going on in the corporate world, and it has everything to do with the spiritual dimension. More workplaces are recognizing the value of balancing the traditional corporate culture which pushes employees to the breaking point, with values which respect the intrinsic worth of every employee.
The more an employee can feel spiritual (and the meaning of this varies widely from person to person), the more he or she is able to feel a deep sense of connectedness.
With this, comes equanimity – the lovely, all-encompassing sense of peace that makes life worth living. This can only have a positive effect on workplace culture. You, as a business owner, want and need your employees to be happy.
Perhaps you’ll ask yourself, “How can I be totally immersed in the present moment and relaxed, and still be productive? “Or, are these two things mutually exclusive? I will let you in on a little secret: There are high achievers in the business world who believe in the power of spiritual practice.
Steve Jobs most certainly did – he was a seasoned meditator, and an avid student of Zen. Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, has found inestimable value in silent retreats.
Both major players have gleaned amazing insights from their sojourns in the inner dimension and used them to create more business success for themselves.
NOT ONLY IS SOME SORT OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICE IMPORTANT BUT INCREASINGLY, IT’S AN ESSENTIAL STRATEGY FOR CORPORATE SUCCESS.
The only kind of success which matters, anyway.
How can being in a state of cosmic bliss make you more productive? There are many ways it helps. For starters, it puts you in a mental state where ideas just spontaneously come to you. To be a visionary innovator, you need to be able to learn to turn off the endless stream of thinking that interferes with true creativity.
Your mind is a great tool, but like all tools, you must set it down after you use it.
This is the only way you are going to get to that wondrous place that Michael Singer calls “THE UNTETHERED SOUL.”
This is that inner realm where all great ideas are born. Once the mind is turned off, ideas bubble up from the collective unconscious, like joyful porpoises leaping from the waves. All great thought leaders from the dawn of civilization have been able to go to harvest these little gifts from the subconscious.
Some level of spiritual practice is necessary to have the kind of brain which can bring into existence the kind of ideas which ultimately smash outdated paradigms to smithereens. When you meditate, go on silent retreats, practice yoga, or do other types of spiritual practice, you connect with your inner power. We desperately need to transform ourselves, so that we can also transform the companies we run.
Many businesses have a model that is not sustainable and is toxic in nature. This is a model which is bad for the employee, the environment, and society.
Have you heard of “the triple bottom line?” This is a new kind of corporate vision, where making money needs to happen in a more humanitarian context – one of “people, planet, and profit.” Increasingly, the world is recognizing the need for companies to be good stewards of the earth.
Because, on our current trajectory, we as a species don’t have much time left.
The world needs a better way, and the corporate sector can blaze the trail. Besides, if we destroy ourselves and the planet, there won’t be anybody to buy things. If employees are allowed more freedom and latitude to explore spiritual options, they will be happier and more productive.
This will ultimately transform companies as well.
And in the end, this will transform the planet.
So, allow employees their meditation breaks.
If their motivation suffers, ask if there are other factors in play – maybe it’s really that meditation allows a clarity of thought that the employee didn’t have before. And he can now see that the workplace culture itself is toxic. In which case, it behooves the business owner to find out why.
Your employee has just done you a favor!
Happy employees create happy customers, and this only helps the bottom line.
Making it easier for them to incorporate their own preferred brand of spirituality into the work that they do is a good thing for everyone concerned.
How can it be otherwise?