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August 28, 2014

7 Spiritual Principles for Every Successful Entrepreneur. ~ Antara Man

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Тhe words “spiritual”, “entrepreneur”, or “businessperson” seem to be contradictory and somewhat opposite.

When people hear of an entrepreneur or a businessperson, they traditionally associate them with greed and ultimately their roles are banned as a sin.

What’s forgotten here is that no matter what the activity itself is, or in which sphere, what matters is the attitude, the quality and heart we put in it.

With this article I’ll try to shed light into the connection between spiritual and material success. I hope you’ll benefit as much as I did.

First principle: The art of detachment. Stay indifferent to success and failure.

No matter what one’s project, firm or activity is—in order to keep a healthy life, a balanced mind and good relationships, one has to be detached from the results of one’s work. Let it go!

However, distinguish between detachment and effort. I am not saying don’t care—no. One has to pour one’s whole heart, mind and energy in the project in order to succeed. All I’m saying is don’t be attached to the outcome. As the saying goes, “Do your best and leave the rest.”

This attitude will help everybody keep a healthy personality in case the results are not as desired or the venture unfortunately fails.

Second principle: Time management. Work more efficiently in less time!

Time, ugh.

Are you running hectically around the clock wondering how to steal another hour, another minute or even a second? Does that sound like you? I have some good news—time is not only our worry and prerogative. The yogis too value time and performance.

After all, time is the only thing in this world which is irrecoverable. Money, name or reputation—all these can be redeemed but nobody can ever get an hour back.

I have seen and experienced how a lot of work can be done for a very short time and the other way round. In order to avoid wasting time, here are a few tricks I’ve learned.

  • Always draft your working plan, your goals and the amount of work required. Detail, from day-to-day, what is compulsory, what’s good but not urgent and what’s only wishful to be accomplished. Be realistic.
  • Don’t lose too much time in details and unnecessary things. If you want to chill out checking your Twitter account—that’s fine, but if you make your money elsewhere, then it’s wiser not to lose too much time in social media—especially your most productive time. Instead, better focus on the e-mail list. This brings us to the point of distinguishing between what’s important and what’s not.
  • Plan things earlier. Don’t expect overnight miracles. Be steady, patient and very focused.

However, while I encourage and love making to-do lists with practical advice, I recommend ashram life as the best practical school for time management. Before I went to an ashram for the first time, I had terrible time management.

The unique thing about ashram life is that it gives you a steady discipline and unbroken daily routine along with many other benefits. No matter if one is in-charge or a simply a performer, one always learns how to improve one’s work by observing one’s mind and habits. So don’t hesitate whether to experience ashram life, even if it is only for a week.

My opinion is that everybody benefits from it.

Third principle: Intuition rules! It does.

Information is great, but one must take into account the fact that any information that comes from the outside world is someone else’s experience and someone else’s life lessons.

What may work for somebody else quite possibly will not work for you and the other way round. The question is how to distinguish between what’s good for ourselves and what’s not? There’s no universal recipe for this. The only judge is one’s own intuition. It has been always with you and it will be there no matter what happens.

Intuition is everyone’s secret weapon and greatest friend, out of time and space. In yoga the ability to differentiate between essence and non-essence, between good and bad is called viveka or discrimination. It is associated with the swan. According to legend, there is a mythical swan which, when given one liter of water mixed with milk, is able to drink only the milk and leave the water.

In the same way how can somebody living in the material life connect and use the wisdom of the spirit?

A 10 minute relaxation practice once or twice a day is sufficient. No need even to go to a yoga class, we can do it in the office break-room. There are nowadays a lot of meditative practises available in iTunes. Of course, if one has time and desire, going to an actual yoga class with a teacher and other yoga aspirants is preferable; however, the most important thing is to find time and to trust our gut.

Another great tool for connecting with our intuition is asking the subconscious mind for solutions before a meditative practice. But don’t expect fast miracles. Willpower and endurance are requirements for any kind of success, be it on the spiritual or the material level.

Fourth principle: Giving and sharing with others. It’s not only about us.

In the words of Swami Sivananda:

“Learn to give, give in plenty, give with love, give without any expectation, one does not lose anything by giving, on the other hand you get back a thousand fold.”

Giving is essential to build up your audience in marketing a product or creating a fan base. I have noticed this tendency of giving in world-renowned firms, podcasts, e-books. Recently I read the following proverb: “Take care of the giving and the receiving will take care of itself”.

I want to stress the point that money is energy. Maybe you never thought about it in this way.

Mind you, one must again learn to distinguish what can be given for free—and what not. People in general don’t value something until they’ve paid for it. A successful entrepreneur must be aware how to trigger, or how to intrigue the buyers’ interest, without giving everything for free. This will ultimately lead to bankruptcy.

All the great gurus and sages said that becoming a billionaire is a constructive desire if you share your wealth with the needy and less fortunate ones. But if one indulges only in enjoying it ourselves, it becomes a destructive behavior.

Money brings a lot of opportunities and comfort, but along with that it takes away one’s mental peace. Maybe that’s the reason why in the West there are so many asylums full to the brim, while in the poor regions and countries of the world there are hardly any cases of mental illnesses.

Fifth principle: Experience. No one knows anything until it has been proven.

How can a blind man tell the color of the moon or the sky? Be it in the material or spiritual life, one always has to check everything by actually doing it. In the words of Ryan Holiday in one of his posts, “I’ll just say that it’s only an education (in the schooling vs. education sense of the word) if that learning is turned into knowledge. And knowledge requires more than just books and instruction. It requires experience.”

An entrepreneur or a businessperson can read dozens of articles full of advice but unless he or she puts them into experience everything remains abstract, just bits and pieces of information. Some people are scared from the result and never have the guts to try something. Others prefer the fantasy world rather than the real world.

If you want to prosper in any field, you have to let go and jump into action and experience. There’s no other way. So, be courageous and try!

Sixth principle: Purpose. Analyze your drive and motives.

This is very important, in fact it’s crucial for the quality of the message you send to the world. Why did you start your million dollar company, why do you want to publish these books? Can the world and people benefit from them? Are they in some way innovative, refreshing or useful? Will your product help others or is it just a cozy gadget?

Analyze and introspect sincerely and be honest. Why do you want it all? If it’s only because of the money, that’s also okay. As I said, money is energy and it is affected by the way we manipulate it. To me, I can tell you, money has never been a priority. In fact, I never even wanted to write a single book or a story. So, here is the big question: why all this effort? Where does it go?

James Altucher said that in the past, when he started his firms, he did his investments because of the money. He failed twice and was on the edge. Then decided he wanted to help people and started his blog. Selfishness, pride and ego are the biggest foes to every entrepreneur or artist, in fact to each one of us.

Think of your purpose also in the long term. Sales, recognition and outside approval are indicators, but not the ultimate purpose. In the words of Ryan Holiday: “With my latest book, I made the conscious decision not focus on hitting the major bestseller lists. That probably sounds weird to someone not familiar with publishing but many authors spend a great deal of time attempting to funnel orders and pre-orders in the first week instead of developing a plan for long term sales. {…}  I decided I would focus entirely on sustainable and long-term marketing tactics.”

Seventh principle: Surrendering to the Higher power, or “Thy will be done”.

Surrender is the key factor in achieving something extraordinary.

People in general don’t like the idea of surrender because they feel it will make them weak. But let me tell you a secret—if you surrender, you don’t lose anything, you only win over the cosmic powers in the universe. After all, how is success determined? It is a mixture of lots of hard work, good luck and your karma. This has been my secret, this stays at the nucleus of all my endeavors—be it writing on Thought Catalog, Elephant Journal, my own blog or the upcoming books I’m going to publish.

I made this conscious decision saying aloud: “Dear cosmic powers, I don’t want to do anything. Whatever you want from me, I’ll do it as long as this is your will. I am only an agent. Please, guide me and help me along the way.”

If you surrender everything to the Higher will or God—call it what you will, the attachments vanish as you don’t associate anymore with the results of your work.

Every day I try to use these spiritual principles more effectively and they do work for me. You can also try using them and if they help you—that’s great. In my experience, they’re making me not only more productive and confident, but also a better human being—which is our final destination.

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Apprentice Editor: Bronwyn Petry / Editor: Travis May

Photo: Ashoka Changemakers/Flickr

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