Leadership Starts in the Mind
In this Spot, Sadhguru explains what it takes to be a natural leader, as opposed to just trying to be a leader. He also points out a new dimension of business that’s on the horizon: the potential to unite humanity and create a different level of consciousness in the world. Find out under what condition.
People are willing to put their lives into your hands because they believe you can make them achieve something that they would not be able to achieve by themselves. You open up a dimension for them that they would have never opened up by themselves. Only then people gather behind a leader. With selected or elected leaders, it may be different.
For leadership to happen without effort, people should see that you are a bigger possibility for their lives than they are. They must see that by being with you, bigger things will happen to them than by being by themselves. If you open this possibility, leadership is a natural and effortless process. Otherwise, you are only trying to be a leader. That is why I wrote this poem of how a leader is a fool.
When the Starlings fly in
their Collective Glory, can
anyone decipher the leader of
their magnificent act
The Heart beats, Glands secrete,
Kidneys purify, every cell performs
the most exacting functions
and the Brain reflects
The many Billion Galaxies
of effervescent stars and nascent
space. Of Black holes and
Milky Ways, does someone see
a Center that leads
A leader is a Fool
So much has been happening on the planet, even before human beings came. Is there a leadership in existence? No, it is just a certain force moving everything.
One classic example is the Rally for Rivers, where we got the support of over 162 million people, in just thirty days’ time. It had been on my mind for over fifteen years, but I never articulated it. Only about fifty-nine days ahead of the rally, I told the closest team around me that we need to do this. They said, “Sadhguru, across the country, how will it happen?” I said, “Everyone who consumes water must Rally for Rivers.” And I told them what needs to be done to make it will happen.
This is the power of human consciousness. Consciousness means just this: an intelligence that is beyond memory. That means it is not functioning from what you know – it is functioning as an exploratory mechanism. Once something is set in your consciousness, you do not even have to give instructions. Everyone – people you know and people you do not know – will just do what you want them to do. Consciousness of course will not come up with a self-centered idea; it will be all-inclusive.
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But most people’s consciousness is sullied by memory. There is not enough cleaning up. The nature of life is such that every day, you pick up a variety of memories – everything that you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch; experiences, and words. Cleaning up means to be able to set this memory aside. There are many processes that one can learn to do this.
If you do this one thing, if you know how to sit here without being a man or a woman, without being an Indian or an American, without any identity, just as a throbbing piece of life, life will become absolutely effortless. Because you don’t have to do life – you are life. But living is the biggest problem for people. This is not because there is a problem with life. This is because you are unable to handle your own intelligence.
This is beautifully expressed by Adiyogi. He said the most significant aspect of being human is that evolution is in your hands. If you want to evolve and become godlike right now, it is possible. If you want to become a brute, that is also possible. Every day, people are displaying both. When your evolution is in your hands, it is a tremendous privilege and responsibility.
Business leadership means in some way you want to manage and lead other people’s minds. But the first question is, is your own mind taking instructions from you? If your mind was taking instructions from you, if your thought and your emotion were just the way you want them, would you be blissed out or miserable?
Call it stress, tension, anxiety, misery, or madness – essentially, it is just this: Your intelligence has turned against you. The problem right now is we are out to conquer the world. When your own faculties do not take instructions from you, if you conquer anything, you will make a mess out of it. Whatever we have touched on this planet, we have made a mess out of it.
Our education system almost looks like it was structured by people who are interested in everything else in the universe except the human being. In school, you are opening up frogs or cockroaches and looking at what is in them. If our education system offered tools to turn inward and look at what is within yourself, the entire situation in the world would change.
You must understand that you know the universe only the way it happens within you. Science is proving to you in many ways that the universe is not the way you think it is. We thought the earth was flat; it took us a long time to realize it is round. It is not the way you see it with your eyes.
If tools to turn inward are not offered in kindergarten, at least in business schools, we must invest in them. Why I am particularly interested in working with business leaders and business schools across the world is just this: A time has come when business leaders are the most powerful and influential leadership in the world.
Today, a businessman without any political background has become President of the United States. The world is moving in that direction. In the next fifteen to twenty-five years, business leaders will decide everything. Business will decide the future of the planet. So it is very important that business becomes a sensible process, not a destructive one.
Right now, there is an albatross hanging upon business leaders that they are interested only in their own personal profit, that they do not care a damn about humanity. This albatross has to go. We have to show that business leaders are visionary in their approach, and concerned about the wellbeing of humanity and the planet. For that to happen, we need to add this dimension in our education.
A leader is someone who has the opportunity to impact other people’s lives. When people are giving you the privilege that you can actually shape someone else’s life, their future and their destiny, is it not very important how you are? If you think what you are doing is important or significant, the most important thing is you must work upon yourself.
Today’s business students are tomorrow’s leaders, who will be shaping the future of the planet and the people. I would say every future leader should spend at least one month in transforming the way you are. Otherwise, if you touch the world, the more we get empowered, the more damage we will cause.
Our individual footprint has become so big, not just ecologically but in terms of the overall impact that one human being can create. When our impact is so big, then how we are is very important. Essentially, this is about syncing your mental structure with your existential nature. Existentially, you are all-inclusive. Even if you hate the person who is sitting next to you, your body does not have a problem inhaling what that person exhales.
Existentially, you have no problem with anything in the universe. Only psychologically, you have a problem with this or that person. If your mind is in sync with the nature of life that you are, you will naturally be in tune with everything. Everything that you create and shape will be in tune with everything else. The problem that human beings have with each other is one person is trying to impose their psychological boundaries on someone else. This is not the way to conduct ourselves. The problem and the boundaries are only in our minds.
This is not just about saving the planet. This is about enhancing the human being. If you are a full-fledged being, not a psychological case, then everything that this one does will be in sync with everything else. We can exist here in a fantastic way. Above all, human genius will genuinely unfold only when there is no fear of suffering. That means you are joyful by your own nature.
Human intelligence is seriously crippled with all kinds of stupid assumptions they have made and positions they have taken. An endless amount of blood has flowed in the name of race, religion, and nationality. Religion, race, and nationality are all defined by boundaries. Business is a possibility because it is not defined by a boundary. Essentially, a business person is willing to make a deal even with the devil if the deal is good. Business is willing to go wherever there is an opportunity.
Though business is oriented towards profit, it is a possibility to break all boundaries and create a different level of consciousness in the world – if only the business leaders of the future are more conscious. A simple way of approach is the yogic system. If I use the word “yoga,” people think of twisting and turning your body. But the word “yoga” means “union.” Union means you consciously obliterate the boundaries of your individuality.
Right now, education is seeing how to increase your knowledge. Knowledge means memory. But the yogic systems are always looking at how to enhance the life that you are. What I mean when I say “the life that you are”… This is my body – that is your body. This is my mind – that is your mind. Here and there, you can do a little companionship and it looks like minds come together; you can do a little sexuality and think bodies have come together. Still, two bodies, two minds can never become one, no matter what you do.
But there is no such thing as “my life” and “your life.” This is a living cosmos. You captured some; I captured some. How much you capture determines how significant a life you are. If you have big memory, you may be the boss today. Once AI gadgets come that have more memory than you, your memory will not mean anything. A lot of people are worried their jobs will go away.
“What will we do?” They are the ones who said, “Thank God, it’s Friday.” I say, “Thank God, it’s AI!” If everything is done by a machine, then what kind of a human being you are will become the highest value. Good times are coming. How conscious and how wonderful a human being you are will become the highest value.
The important thing about leadership is you must be alert enough to find the loopholes in your intelligence. If you find the loopholes in your intelligence, other people will think you are intelligent. But if you think you are intelligent, you make a bloody fool of yourself. This is the fundamental difference between an intelligent person and a foolish person. An intelligent person knows how limited it is; he knows that he is a fool. An idiot does not know that he is an idiot.
If you pay unprejudiced attention, you will see, every atom in the universe is far more intelligent than you. If you know this, you are constantly looking for the loopholes in your intelligence. The more you fill these loopholes, the more effective you become in the world.