The heartful strategist – part 8


In the series so far, RAVI VENKATESAN has introduced the Heartful Strategist framework, and explored how our consciousness results in the strategies we adopt and the choices we make, which in turn have consequences that impact our ecosystem. He has also explored the concept of thought patterns, and how past impressions create these patterns. He has also reviewed a number of Heartfulness methods that lead to positive shifts in our thought patterns, and the development of the Turiya level of consciousness, which he considers to be the ideal for a Heartful Strategist.

Here he evolves a specific set of steps to access deeper levels of consciousness, in order to adopt the best strategies. In everyday terms, we can consider this as ensuring that we “see the forest and the trees.”

When we encounter most situations or problems, the best first step is to pause. This doesn’t mean that we don’t respond with urgency when needed. In our modern lives, we are not running away from lions and tigers in the jungle, but the primitive instincts are still present in us. In many cases the first step to access deeper levels of our consciousness is simply to pause.

The second step is to make a fundamental shift from a reactive to creative mode. By pausing and shifting to a creative mode, we naturally prevent an emotional reaction, and instead allow space for inspiration to emerge from deeper within.

As we practice the methods outlined in the previous articles, we achieve two things simultaneously. We eliminate past impressions that have created set thought patterns. We also become more aware of our reactive tendencies. This awareness helps us to pause and shift to a creative mode. One way to understand consciousness is also as the “degree of awareness” (Daaji, 2019). With practice, our awareness becomes sharper, and we are able to operate from higher levels of consciousness.

The third step is to evaluate the situation or problem as objectively as possible, by adopting a witness attitude. This is a powerful concept. It allows you to be impartial. See part 5 of this series for an exercise to develop this attitude.

The fourth step is to intentionally broaden the term and scope of impact of any strategies you might adopt and choices you might make.

And the fifth and final step is to allow multiple choices to emerge from the heart space versus going with the first or the most obvious option that comes from your head space. When you shift your focus from mental analysis to feeling, you will balance your head and heart, and tap into higher levels of consciousness in a natural manner. Challenge yourself not to accept the most convenient choice, but rather get to the optimal one for the broadest possible set of people. In other words, think in terms of your ecosystem.

Let’s take an example of this approach in action. Eva, who is a consulting manager, is considering laying off three team members due to adverse financial circumstances. Initially, she considers the financial targets she needs to hit and calculates how many people to lay off to reach her target. She then pauses and starts thinking about these individuals and their lives. She considers the impact on their families. She thinks about the circle of their friends and relatives. The impact on their landlord of them not paying rent. The impact of their landlord not paying the mortgage.

Challenge yourself not to
accept the most convenient choice,
but rather get to the optimal one
for the broadest possible set of people.

Eventually, Eva’s own retirement account that has money invested in this mortgage company may suffer a reduction due to many similar decisions to the one Eva is about to make. The chain goes on. Eva knows that there are far reaching consequences of her decision beyond the individuals she is impacting. So she starts considering other alternatives.

She looks at the option of pay cuts for a larger number of people to get closer to the target. She advocates assertively for this option with her boss and convinces him. She also brings all the impacted people to a meeting, and explains how their temporary pay cut is saving the jobs of some of them. Eva’s boss feels inspired and decides to apply this solution to other teams in the company, resulting in many jobs being saved.

Though the story is modified, it is inspired by what recently happened at a mid-sized consulting company in Atlanta that went through tough times during the COVID-19 crisis. The employees appreciated the decision so much that they resolved to stay with the company even if they are paid lower than market rates. Their motivation to help the company get back to positive financial circumstances has risen manifold based on how they saw the partners behave and make choices.

The leaders took a longer term and broader view of the impacts of their strategy to deal with this crisis.

In summary, use this checklist to ensure that you develop strategies by accessing higher levels of consciousness. The choices made will have the best consequences and outcomes for your entire ecosystem.


Adopt this checklist for the next strategy you develop and see what shifts in the choices you make. The outcomes will be those of a Heartful Strategist!

Illustrations by RAHUL SINGH PARMUR



Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently Chief Technology Officer at USAT. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.

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