Why Entrepreneurs Need to be Master of Focused Concentration: Part 1
The Entrepreneur Zen-
What I am looking for is an extreme state of concentrated mind. Distraction is nothing but thoughts arising like waves in the mind where the mind which was on the wave of current activity grabs the next wave. Being aware in each moment helps to realize the thought which you are riding on now. Awareness can come by practicing of observation on breath. Inhale and exhale with your mind fully aware on incoming and outgoing air in your nostrils. The thoughts that come in between each of your breaths are likes waves. The mind is the ocean. At the bottom of the ocean waves don’t disturb. Realise that the nature of mind gives rise to thoughts. It is in our control to stay aware and awake with each rise and fall. Even if the thought takes a stronghold in your mind observe it taking a strong position.
The above experience is not of Sadhu or mystic but by many great entrepreneurs who made a dent in this universe.
An entrepreneur life’s is like the ocean and as he / she further progresses on the path the waves at the surface become more turbulent. Starting from a single man army to building a team of 100s of passionate people, each passing moment seem to be full of currents. These currents make or break entrepreneurs. Things seem to break each moment.
“All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA, and creation is the essence of entrepreneurship.” ― Reid Hoffman
“Theodore Roosevelt’s famous dictum, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
“An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” ― Reid Hoffman
The joy of focused work-
The focused hours during a day you take out for yourself will give you the most satisfaction during the day. Whether you have 3 member or a 300 member team, only joy you will get is out of the focused work. The work where you were pushed beyond the edge but not so far away. The work which seemed impossible at beginning, but with time you started enjoying the little rays of possibility in the task. When you invest yourself and immerse yourself in such work time flies by. You loose your sense of identification. You ego reduces to a miniscule dot.
At the time of writing this article my only focus was to bring the readers a piece of my experience. Though neither I have been a father nor have been pregnant I completed the article “A Complete Guide to Pregnancy Precautions” within 3 days, in a sitting of 3 hours each from 10 pm to 1am. It’s a 5000 words guide to what not to do during pregnancy. And this is considered one of top 30 articles in this space. I have been building with my team Babygogo which a pregnancy and parenting app. Babygogo helps mothers to ask questions and get answers on parenting from an active community of 50,000+ mothers and doctors.
During my journey from 3 people working in a garage to leading a team 15 members, getting funded by top angels of the country, many things have changed. One of the primary observations was my ability of focus which slowly dipped as the team grew. I considered everything broken to be my top responsibility. I let my attention spread too thin. Instead of enjoying my work, I started spending time in finding out what’s broken in the company and fixing it. Things started to pull me in different directions. At the same time my mind was constantly switching on what’s going on in our product to how is marketing shaping up.
Almost all the entrepreneurs who are scaling or have scaled their companies have shared similar experiences. Great entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs have quoted similar experiences in their biographies. What differentiated them is their ability to bounce back harder and stronger. They came out more focused, zen like concentrated through ups and downs. Even once Mark Zuckerberg sought help of Steve Jobs, when he was in a flux. He went to Kainchi Ashram in Nainital, India to find his zen.
The shape and content of life depends on how attention has been used. Attention can be used in innumerable ways, ways that can make life rich or miserable.
Attention is energy under our control, to do as we please. Attention is our most important tool in the task to improve the quality of our experience.
Life of Great Men-
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet. They all had days comprising of 24 hours only. They slept everyday between 6 to 8 hours. What separates these men from other mortals is their ability to direct their attention at will.
Beethoven, Mozart, AR Rehman have dedicated their lives to such an art where there remains no difference between the art and the artist, the music and the musician. This is what the Sufi saint Jalaluddin Rumi stated as real bliss, the touch of God.
Meditation is traditionally considered closing of eyes and crossing of legs. Each man who has achieved something worth mentioning has been in a meditative state, whether he closed his eyes or not. He has discovered a part of himself where the task he immersed himself daily in became more than his existence. A silent feature of recognizing such activity is where you can observe your movement of breath (inhale / exhale). During such state your vision becomes microscopic. You will identify each substance surrounding you, never as before. Such a touch is considered bliss. Those are real wealthy who have discovered and honed this state in themselves. This wealth is beyond comforts and riches. This is the feeling of being in love with your work. It’s is beyond your official mission or vision. People are born with it and other acquire it. Bill Gates is said to be born with such masterful concentration. He is said to be working and sleeping in his office chair for 3 to 4 consecutive days. Steve Jobs acquired it over many years via Buddhist Zen Practice. Warren Buffett discovered and honed it with his love for stocks and from observation from his mentor Benjamin Graham. Extreme clarity and intuitive abilities are said to be the undesired outcome of such exercises of attention.
Attention is a currency-
Be a miser with your attention, spend it wisely. If you are money miser you would spend money on only things which are essentially required. You learn to say no to 100 other things which you observe other people buying. Even though you might have a higher purchasing power than them your internal compass keeps you guiding in your desired direction. Then why not be a attention miser. Your attention is your currency to generate happiness and necessities of life. Don’t let your attention be drifted apart. As a founder or CEO of your start-up you will face many challenges daily in different departments. To be able to find peace in chaos is a rare skill and you would have to build that if you want to experience great satisfaction on your entrepreneurial journey.
In the part 2 of the article I am going to share how I bounced back to my Zen and share experts from life of other ordinary men how they did that.