I first met Dandapani at an Entrepreneurs Organisation event in Istanbul in 2012, I have since met him in Boston and then helped bring him to Barcelona to spend a day with our Entrepreneurs’ Organisation chapter.
Dandapani teaches some simple but highly important lessons about awareness and our mind, and how to be intentional about your life… and in particular your energy.
Winning and social approval is not the motivation of the gold medal athlete. They do it to learn more about themselves. Winning or losing is not so important, it is about knowing who you are. Failure is like an enhanced moment to learn who you truly are.
Your life now is a manifestation of where you direct your energy or a sum total of where you have been investing your energy.
There’s people in your life that boost your energy. There are those who are energy neutral. Be kind and detached from your energy vampires. Give the work back to them.
How to Improve your Concentration
Dandapani tells us that there are 3 steps to practice that improve our concentration:
Finish that which you begin
Finish it well, beyond your expectations
Do a little more than you think that you are able to do
Use these 3 steps in every area of your life: from making the bed in the morning, to tidying the kitchen, to reading to your child, to writing emails, to writing blog posts…
Further Resources on Dandapani’s lessons
Check out my previous videos and blog posts that were inspired by Dandapani:
In the most recent edition of James Clear’s weekly newsletter, he shared this gem on improving your quality of life.
Be “Selectively Ignorant”
Ignore topics that drain your attention.
Unfollow people that drain your energy.
Abandon projects that drain your time.
Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgable you can be.
What or who do you need to start ignoring?
We cannot control how the news will make us feel, but we can decide whether to watch it or not. We cannot control how someones words will make us feel, but we can decide to spend time with people who want the best for us. Choose who and what you let into your mind.
“You can’t free anybody else and you can’t serve anybody else unless you free yourself”
You are not an accident. You are a singular piece in the giant jigsaw puzzle that is this world. This jigsaw puzzle is not a 50 piece puzzle, nor a 250 piece puzzle… it is a 7 billion piece puzzle. I find it frustrating when my daughter and I put together a 50 piece puzzle and find that there are only 49 pieces. We can’t finish the game. The great puzzle needs your piece. Whatever you are given, you need to pass it on with integrity, humility and generosity.
The greatest anger is the anger at ourselves for not living up to what we know we are capable of. Hell is not after death, hell is the moment before death when a human being looks back on all the wasted potential.
“What you can be, you must be” Abraham Maslow.
Honestly expressing yourself.
The greatest gift you can give to those around you is your own shining self belief and glorious sense of meaning in what you do. If you don’t have it, only you can do the work to get it. If you have it, only you can keep doing what it takes to keep it.
The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy. Love is not easy. Love is hard. Doing the work that needs to get done, overcoming the devil in me that avoids the work is the course of love. Allowing the resistance, the procrastination to win is the course of apathy. Apathy leads to self-hate, which builds to resentment and then is shared with others in bitterness and cruelty.
Stephen Pressfield speaks powerfully about the Resistance. It is a force within each of us that stops us from doing the work that really matters.
The 3 big voices of my personal resistance are:
The Last 5% is the Hard Part
Starting is easy. There are no prizes for starting the marathon. You get the medal for finishing. Most people I know are good at starting. Few people I know are good at finishing.
The closer you get to the end, the stronger the Resistance grows.
“An artist never finishes a work, he abandons it.”
Here are a few of many ways I bring these voices into my life to procrastinate and avoid finishing important work.
They won’t let me
I am too young
I am too old
I am only one person
I don’t know enough
I am not a guru
This could be embarrassing
This will be embarrassing
This is too touchy-feely
I won’t get paid for this
This isn’t business stuff
I have to finish the things I have already started
Seth Godin has already said it better than I can
I’ll do it tomorrow/later/after this coffee
Who am I to think I know something special about this?
I was in Boston to teach on the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation EMP (Entrepreneurial Masters Program) this week. MIT Endicott House is one of the most beautiful locations for leadership retreats and programs. I brought my drone to capture the scenery around the main buildings. You’ll see the drone shots right at the beginning of the video below.
Why Do We Need to Clarify our Purpose?
Dandapani was one of the speakers at the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Masters Program event this week at MIT Endicott House, outside of Boston. Dandapani spent 10 years as a Hindu monk, meditating with his guru on the purpose of his life.
Dandapani spoke about the importance of consciously deciding what is important and what is not important in your life. Why?
A short story from the mountains about how removing drag can be more effective than increasing power. Many times we could improve our life by cleaning up the things we do that actively damage ourselves: eating poorly, drinking too much, complaining, remaining angry, holding grudges, positioning myself as a victim.
“An artist never finishes a work, he abandons it.”
I thrive on interaction. This blog gives me a short term feedback as I write. I can hit publish after 15 to 20 minutes and immediately get responses.
I’ve consistently failed to write a book because I am addicted to the short term feedback of blog comments, of emails, of youtube videos… I’ve never been able to commit to the 3 year process of writing without “likes” and comments.
The question for me: is it still important to me to write a book?
In his TED talk, Stephen Duneier explains that what defines him are not titles, but an approach to decision making that transformed him from someone who struggled with simple tasks to a guy who is continuously achieving even his most ambitious dreams.
For thirty years, he has applied cognitive science to investing, business and life. The result has been the turnaround of numerous institutional businesses, career best returns for managers who have adopted his methods, the development of a $1.25 billion dollar hedge fund and a rapidly shrinking bucket list.
“Every one of my report cards basically said the same thing: Steven is a very bright young boy, if only he would just settle down and focus.”
“What they didn’t realize was I wanted that even more than they wanted it for me, I just couldn’t. And so, from kindergarten straight through the 2nd year of college, I was a really consistent C, C- student. But then going into my junior year, I’d had enough. I thought I want to make a change. I’m going to make a marginal adjustment, and I’m going to stop being a spectator of my decision-making and start becoming an active participant.”
“And so, that year, instead of pretending, again, that I would suddenly be able to settle down and focus on things for more than five or ten minutes at a time, I decided to assume I wouldn’t. And so, if I wanted to achieve the type of outcome that I desire – doing well in school – I was going to actually have to change my approach. And so I made a marginal adjustment. If I would get an assignment, let’s say, read five chapters in a book, I wouldn’t think of it as five chapters, I wouldn’t even think of it as one chapter. I would break it down into these tasks that I could achieve, that would require me to focus for just five or ten minutes at a time. So, maybe three or four paragraphs. That’s it.”
“I would do that and when I was done with those five or ten minutes, I would get up. I’d go shoot some hoops, do a little drawing, maybe play video games for a few minutes, and then I come back. Not necessarily to the same assignment, not even necessarily to the same subject, but just to another task that required just five to ten minutes of my attention. From that point forward, all the way through to graduation, I was a straight-A student, Dean’s List, President’s Honor Roll, every semester.”
“I then went on to one of the top graduate programs in the world for finance and economics. Same approach, same results. So then, I graduate. I start my career and I’m thinking, this worked really well for me. You know, you take these big concepts, these complex ideas, these big assignments, you break them down too much more manageable tasks, and then along the way, you make a marginal improvement to the process that ups the odds of success in your favor. I’m going to try and do this in my career. So I did. I started out as an exotic derivatives trader for credit Swiss. It then led me to be global head of currency option trading for Bank of America”
Mr. Duneier teaches graduate courses on Decision Analysis in UCSB’s College of Engineering. His book, AlphaBrain is due for release in early 2017 from Wiley & Sons. Through Bija Advisors, he helps business leaders improve performance by applying proven, proprietary decision-making methods to their own processes. His artwork has been featured around the world and is represented by the Sullivan Goss Gallery. As Commissioner of the League of Professional Educators, Duneier is using cognitive science to alter the landscape of American education. He is the former Head of Currency Option Trading at Bank of America and Emerging Markets at AIG International.
The good life is choosing to go beyond mere survival. Survival comes in the genes. We are automated to eat, breath and procreate. This is not living the good life.
The good life is a daily intentional choice to flourish. We can develop to the full the best of our strengths and bring the worst of our weaknesses under disciplined control.
The ABCs of living the Good Life:
Action towards your strongest values (Productivity) make progress towards important things; Eisenhower’s matrix
Belief. Give your life away… chosen sacrifice-Sense of purpose (contribution, give your life away… can’t “save” your hours, must invest). The test of value: you get paid. Paid doesn’t guarantee value, but free is idealistic… and idealists will kill us all.
Curiosity – Life long learning (always curious, painful feedback) be better today than yesterday, be better tomorrow than today
Discipline over your poorer habits
Energy. Health (Imagine you had 1 car all your life… how would you take care of it? that is your body…)
Friends (top 20… when was last you spoke?) inner circle… better a shack with someone who loves you than a mansion with those that use you
What are your thoughts? What questions do you have about the 6 areas?
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.