Consciousness is 95% of the game
In conversation with CHIRAG KULKARNI.
Q: What do you do for your work?
CK: I help companies with marketing – content marketing, PR, social media, and Search Engine Optimization. What drives me is the hunger to learn more. When you do things, you practice things, you learn more than when you talk about those situations theoretically. When I work for companies, it is really amazing to see results come. If they don’t come, it is really interesting to see why they don’t come. I really like understanding the processes behind how things work, and then figuring out how to game that process. At the end of the day, what probably drives me is the love to be competitive and just learn.
Q: How do you deal with failure?
CK: Failure is part of the journey. I take the approach that statistically 99 out of 100 ideas and experiments will go wrong. So if you are not failing, then you are not innovating. The best mentality is not to see it as failure; it is the process to figuring something out. Also, it helps to learn from other people, whomever they may be. They can guide you and show you what they do, their ‘failures’, so that you don’t make those same mistakes. It is not that you have to necessarily go through the same situations they did to become successful, but it is part of the journey you need to go through. It is not something negative per say, it is just part of the journey.
Q: How do you navigate working relationships?
CK: Working relationships are not different from regular relationships. At the end of the day, a friendship is a friendship. So the way you become friends with somebody at work is no different from the way you make friends with somebody in a social context or in a sporting context. You share a common ideology, a common value system, and that is how you connect; or you connect over a certain aspect of life. So it is not any different, the way I see it. In the workplace it is often about maintaining and cultivating that relationship over a longer period of time.
Q:What is the relationship between consciousness and work and self-awareness?
Consciousness is, I think, 95% of the game. Work requires execution and ideation, but your ability to understand what is going well and what is not, and having the ability to understand it before it even happens, requires a greater sense of self-awareness and an expansion of consciousness. With an expanded consciousness, over time you pick up signals quicker and you are more self-reflective and have greater self-awareness. Let’s say in your business you are working with a client, and find yourself going through the same situation as with a past client where it didn’t work out well. Then you need to be aware, understand and acknowledge: instead of signing a deal for a year, sign it for a month. You pick up on patterns faster and internalize what is really happening in any situation. Then you can make sure that you spend time on those things that really move your business forward, and avoid things that won’t be successful for you in the long term.
Q: Can you share some tips on how to apply these principles?
CK: Yes, here are a few:
1. On the core, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Figure out where your strengths lie and stick to those strengths. Generally, if you grasp something, are good at it and like it, you are likely to be more self-aware than when you are struggling to even stay afloat. If you work with your strengths, you are not worried about multiple things going wrong, you are usually pretty steady, and it is easier to internalise what is happening around you.
2. Meditation is very important. I think it really helps with selfreflection for a start. Every morning you meditate, you give yourself an opportunity to listen to your heart.
3. Keep a journal for self-development. In the morning, write down what you are grateful for and five reasons why. Write down the course of action for the day. Over time you can look back in that journal and see your challenges and the mistakes you have made in the past. You become more self-aware because you are writing it down.
4. Ask the people who are close to you, “Hey what can I do to improve?” Then it is up to you to determine whether that piece of information is true or not and internalize and apply it. It is a first step to understanding whether your judgment is actually correct based on what other people say about you.
I think meditation becomes a tool in situations
where you may not know the right answer,
and you take that clichéd ‘step back’
to internalize the situation.
Q: How has meditation helped you?
CK: Greater self-awareness. I think meditation becomes a tool in situations where you may not know the right answer, and you take that clichéd ‘step back’ to internalize the situation. It becomes like mental floss. We talk about working out and eating the right nutrition, but we never talk about refining our brain and being at our peak performance on a subconscious level. Nobody ever talks about that.
Then there is sleep as well. You sleep very quickly, because you are in a more relaxed state, if you meditate before you sleep.
Finally, I used to be pretty angry with other people – not upset, but I would get straight to the point, even with employees. I would fire them left and right. “You came an hour late?” Gone. And there was no reason for that.
I modeled my behavior on other people. I would say, “This guy behaves like that, so I should do that too.” Over time I realized that you have to be your own leader; you have to be an example of who you want to be. You can’t constantly look at other people and try to model your life on them. You can draw inspiration from them, and learn good things and also what not to do. The reality is, however, that meditation has given me the ability to understand who I want to be, and not whom I want to copy.
It comes down to the importance of self-reflection, which happens every single morning with meditation, because you are with yourself. We are all connected with technology all the time, on Twitter or email, so it is important to make time for self-reflection.
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