Lessons in “Enlightened” Leadership from Deepak Chopra

Photo: D Dipasupil/GettyPhoto: D Dipasupil/Getty

Deepak Chopra isn’t just a mindfulness master and friend of Oprah. He’s also an app founder and management school professor. The two roles—New Age guru and businessman—aren’t as contradictory as you might think.

Recently, Chopra talked to Courtney Shea about leading teams, being present and taking sleep seriously. Here are five things you can learn from their conversation, which you can read in full here.

On “enlightened” leadership

“Enlightened leadership comes from a place that is all-inclusive. It asks the very fundamental questions: What are the people I hope to lead observing? What are they feeling? What do they want? And how can I help them achieve their goals and, more important, unfold their potential greatness?”

On his mantra “pursue excellence, ignore success”

“Look at great musicians, artists and scientists. They are definitely not oriented toward outcome. They have a passion for what they are doing. The best outcome is when you’re not focused on the outcome.”

On charisma

“Charisma is not about being like Tom Cruise. It’s a quality people have that means first, they are present; they are never distracted. Second, they are warm and friendly. And third, they have true self-esteem, which means they don’t depend on the opinions of others for validation. Obama is like that; Bill Clinton is like that; Nelson Mandela was like that.”

On multi-tasking

“There is a lot of good data to show that multi-tasking is the one thing we get worse at with practice. It does the same damage to your neurons as cocaine.”

On what people get wrong about sleep

“People don’t realize sleep is the best health improvement strategy for emotional well-being, creativity and productivity. Natural sleep should be one-third of our lives so that the remaining two-thirds are joyful. The best advice I have is to go to sleep by 10 and to keep the last two hours of the day technology-free.”

For the rest of Shea’s conversation with Chopra, including why Oprah is such a great leader, click here.


Do you agree with Chopra’s definition of “enlightened” leadership? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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