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The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People

The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 07/05/2013 8:55 am EDT  |  Updated: 07/06/2013 6:32 pm EDT

“Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had.” That’s what Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates — the world’s largest hedge fund firmexplained in 2012.

Dalio is in good company. More and more leaders in the corporate world have been taking note of the benefits of meditation, which include lower stress levels, improved cognitive functioning, creative thinking and productivity, and even improved physical health. A number of Fortune 500 companies, including Google, AOL, Apple and Aetna, offer meditation and mindfulness classes for employees — and the top executives of many major corporations say that meditation has made them better leaders.

Ford Motor Company chairman Bill Ford and former Google.org director Larry Brilliant are also among the executives advocating the mindfulness practice. Here are 10 influential business leaders who say meditation has helped them achieve (and sustain) a high level of success.

1. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corp

rupert murdoch

News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch recently tweeted that he was trying out Transcendental Meditation, a popular technique developed in the 1960s and followed today by famous practitioners like Oprah, David Lynch and Candy Crowley.

2. Padmasree Warrior, CTO, Cisco Systems

padmasree

Warrior, the chief technology and strategy officer of Cisco Systems, meditates every night and spends her Saturdays doing a “digital detox.” In her previous role as Cisco’s head of engineering, Warrior oversaw 22,000 employees, and she told the New York Times in 2012 that taking time to meditate and unplug helped her to manage it all.

“It’s almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul,” she said. “It makes me so much calmer when I’m responding to e-mails later.”

3. Tony Schwartz, Founder & CEO, The Energy Project

tony schwartz renewal

The Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz has been meditating for over 20 years. He originally started the practice to quiet his busy mind, according to his book What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America. Schwartz says that meditating has freed him from migraines and helped him develop patience, and he also advocates mindfulness as a way to improve work performance.

“Maintaining a steady reservoir of energy — physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually — requires refueling it intermittently,” Schwartz wrote in a Harvard Business Review blog.

4. Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company

bill ford

The Ford Motor Company chairman is a big proponent of meditation in the business world, according to Inc. Magazine. At this year’s Wisdom 2.0 conference, Ford was interviewed by leading American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Ford told Kornfield that during difficult times at the company, he set an intention every morning to go through his day with compassion. And to lead with compassion, Ford said he first learned to develop compassion for himself through a loving-kindness (metta) meditation practice.

5. Oprah Winfrey, Chairwoman & CEO, Harpo Productions, Inc.

oprah weight body image ego

An outspoken advocate of Transcendental Meditation, Oprah — recently named the most powerful celebrity of 2013 by Forbes — has said she sits in stillness for 20 minutes, twice a day. She’s also brought in TM teachers for employees at Harpo Productions, Inc. who want to learn how to meditate.

After a meditation in Iowa last year, Oprah said, “I walked away feeling fuller than when I’d come in. Full of hope, a sense of contentment, and deep joy. Knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is — still — the constancy of stillness. Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.”

6. Larry Brilliant, CEO, Skoll Global Threats Fund

larry brilliant

Larry Brilliant, CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund and former director of Google.org, spent two years during his 20s living in a Himalayan ashram and meditating, until his guru instructed him to join a World Health Organization team working to fight smallpox in New Delhi.

In his 2013 commencement address at the Harvard School of Public Health, Brilliant emphasized the importance of peace of mind, wishing the graduates lives full of equanimity — a state of mental calm and composure.

7. Ray Dalio, Founder & Co-CIO, Bridgewater Associates USA

ray dalio

In a 2012 conversation at the John Main Centre for Meditation and Inter-Religious Dialogue at Georgetown University, Dalio said that meditation has opened his mind and boosted his mental clarity.

“Meditation has given me centeredness and creativity,” said Dalio. “It’s also given me peace and health.”

8. Russell Simmons, Co-Founder, Def Jam Records; Founder of GlobalGrind.com

russell simmons

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has long practiced Transcendental Meditation, speaking out about the benefits of the practice and sitting on the board of the advisors for the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.

“You don’t have to believe in meditation for it to work,” Simmons wrote in a Huffington Post blog. “You just have to take the time to do it. The old truth is still true today, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ My advice? Meditate.”

9. Robert Stiller, CEO, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.

russell simmons

There is a dedicated meditation room at the Vermont headquarters of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., and CEO Robert Stiller himself is a devoted practitioner.

“If you have a meditation practice, you can be much more effective in a meeting,” he told Bloomberg in 2008. “Meditation helps develop your abilities to focus better and to accomplish your tasks.”

10. Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group

arianna huffington

And last but not least, Arianna Huffington described early-morning yoga and meditation as two of her “joy triggers” in a 2011 Vogue feature. Now, Huffington has brought meditation into her company, offering weekly classes for AOL and Huffington Post employees.

Huffington has spoken out on the benefits of mindfulness not just for individual health, but also for corporate bottom lines. “Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one,” she wrote in a recent blog.

The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People.

Meditation and the art of investment | Managing Wealth | Personal Finance | Financial Post

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From Ray Dalio to Bill Gross, some of the biggest names in money management are practicing meditation.

At a conference last week in Washington, Dalio expounded on how his practice of meditation has helped his investment performance. Georgetown University, at the same conference, announced it would begin to offer a semester-long class on the discipline at its graduate business school.

While money managers often joke that clients are the biggest impediment to beating the market because they make emotional mistakes, the truth is that all investors, big and small, share traits which get in the way of making the best choices.
Meditation, which uses breathing and relaxation exercises in an attempt to bring stillness and repose to our usually chaotic minds, may offer some help.“Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient for whatever success I’ve had,” Dalio, founder of US$130-billion hedge fund firm Bridgewater Associates, said in an interview at Georgetown in October. “(Meditation) gives me a centeredness, it gives me an ability to look at things without the emotional hijacking, without the ego, in a way that gives me a certain clarity.”

Bond king Bill Gross of Pimco has also said he leaves the trading floor every day for yoga and meditation.

Dalio says the practice has been useful for him, both for generating creative thought, and in evaluating and responding to the huge overload of stimulus which presses upon a money manager every day.

Some money managers who meditate say they believe it helps them to deal with information overload, not just in the sense of remaining calm when events are frantic but also in being able to recognize the most significant bits of data from among the maelstrom.

ZEN, EGO AND BEHAVIOR

The attraction meditation has for some money managers is that it can put them into a frame of mind where they are less liable to fall into costly and self-defeating thinking patterns.

The so-called “confirmation bias,” the human tendency to seek out information that confirms your preconceptions while remaining blind to things which don’t, is among the most common errors money managers make.

Confirmation bias itself is driven in part by ego, by people’s desire to be proven right once they’ve publicly espoused a position. People become personally identified with their ideas and suppositions, and take too long to relinquish them even when they are plainly shown to be wrong.

One of the claims of meditation, in contrast, is that it allows people to accept reality as it really is. This perhaps reduces the pain of accepting that one may be wrong.

“Meditation helps with bias,” said Jason Voss, a former money manager who now works for the CFA Institute and who has written a book about meditation and investment. “You’re trying to remove all of the filters off of your thinking so you can see reality as closely as possible.”

Philip Yim Kwong Cheng of the Australian Catholic University theorized in a 2010 article in the Journal of Behavioral Finance that unconscious thought, which meditation is intended to facilitate, might help in limiting overconfidence, a trait which is often found among money managers and which is documented to lead to poor financial decisions.

Meditation’s results are hard to quantify. For one, many practitioners say that meditation brings about creativity, but this is almost impossible to prove. Creativity is hugely important in a world filled with funds doing more or less the same thing and producing more or less the same results, but demonstrating a direct link between meditation and creativity is a lot more difficult. It may simply be that calm people are more able to be creative than frenzied ones, or it might in turn be that meditators wrongly attribute their good ideas to the practice.

The lack of data is probably the biggest impediment to evaluating the impact of meditation on investment performance. It is also why we are not likely to see it becoming a widespread marketing point for fund managers any time soon.

Meditation is likely to continue spreading among fund managers in the way it has in the rest of society: from hand to hand as something that people do and find helpful.

© Thomson Reuters 2013

Meditation and the art of investment | Managing Wealth | Personal Finance | Financial Post.