At the core of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s mission is an unrelenting commitment to helping entrepreneurs discover the tools and strategies necessary to grow their companies to new levels of success. Dandapani, a Hindu priest, entrepreneur and former monk, is a highly rated speaker at multiple EO chapter learning events where he teaches business leaders how to focus their minds to achieve greater success. He recently introduced a new app to help people learn and implement Unwavering Focus. We asked Dandapani why focus is critical for entrepreneurs. Here's an excerpt from our interview:
How do entrepreneurs benefit from a strong ability to focus?
First, let's clarify that the words "focus" and "concentration" convey the same meaning. I use them interchangeably.
Focus is important in life because it enables us to solve problems. We all face challenges-personally, professionally and even globally. One way to solve them is to be able to concentrate on a problem long enough to find a solution. If you can't stay focused, how will you ever discover a solution?
Being able to focus also allows you to know yourself better. The more you are able to focus, the more you can get to know something or someone--including yourself. The better you understand yourself, the more you know what you want and need in life, and ultimately you can discover your purpose in life. Most people don't know their purpose because they don't spend enough time with themselves.
I work with entrepreneurs around the world. Efficiency and productivity are high on their list of goals--but how can you be productive if you can't focus?
Being able to highly concentrate enables you to be highly efficient. The longer you can stay focused on a concept, problem or idea, the more you can discover about it. Entrepreneurs come up with the newest, best versions of a product, service or solution. You need to be able to focus long enough on your product to delve deeply into it.
What are your tips for increasing focus?
Let's start by dispelling some myths.
Myth 1: If you meditate, you'll become better at focus. That's simply untrue. Meditation may show small signs of helping. But concentration precedes meditation. If you cannot concentrate, you cannot meditate. When you try to, you're going to be distracted, because people typically practice distraction all day.
Myth 2: There are hacks or quick tips for learning how to concentrate. That's snake oil. It's like asking the Wimbledon champion, "Do you have a quick tip for how I can win Wimbledon?" No, of course not! It comes down to pure hard work, how badly you desire it, and having the tools. Focus is no different.
People are so illogical at times. In some things--like building a multimillion-dollar business--they're willing to put years and years of hard work, but in other situations, they expect immediate change. There are no quick fixes for learning to focus.
So, how do you learn to concentrate?
The first step is learning how the mind works, because you concentrate with your mind. It's just like if you wanted to design something in Photoshop. What's the first step? Learning how it works.
You must first learn how the mind works in order to concentrate.
I've recently introduced an app to help with this. The first five chapters of the course provide a solid grasp on how the minds works.
Once you understand the basic mechanics of the mind, you can control it. Once you can control it, then you can direct and focus it.
The key is understanding the separation between awareness and the mind. Your awareness moves within the mind. The mind doesn't move--your awareness moves around the mind to different areas, experiencing memories and thoughts. The idea is to control awareness within the mind. That's the key to concentrating.
Once we grasp how the mind works, what's next?
Start training yourself all day long to focus. The idea that 10 minutes of meditation in the morning leads to a Zen life for the rest of the day is absurd. That's like eating one carrot in the morning and then eating hamburgers, nachos and fries all day and hoping you'll have a healthy diet.
Your whole day needs to be a consistent practice of concentration in order to be good at it.
My app helps create rituals for practicing high-level focus throughout the day: While having dinner with your spouse, focus solely on your spouse; when working on a project, focus exclusively on that project.
The skill of giving your undivided attention to the person or project at hand is a life-changer.
If we can give this skill to as many people as possible--the gift of understanding the mind and being able to concentrate--then they can solve problems and become better artists, better dancers, better scientists, better businesspeople. And life can improve.
What is your life's purpose?
My primary purpose in life is enlightenment.
My sub-purpose is to impact as many lives as possible with the tools and teachings that I've learned as a monk. I spent 10 years of my life as a cloistered, celibate monk. I had no contact with friends or family. If I can share what I learned with people, and make it practical and simple to apply in their lives--that's one of my big missions.
How does uplifting people impact our world?
When you uplift someone, you change their perspective so they can view things differently. They see solutions as opposed to seeing problems. You take their awareness to a higher, more refined area of the mind.
Here's an example: When you're standing on Fifth Avenue in New York City, it's chaos--cars honking, people yelling and crowds everywhere. But, when you see it from the Empire State Building observation deck, you think, "Wow--the city, the Hudson River, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty--this is beautiful." Your perspective changes because you're elevated. In the same way, as you uplift a person, you change their perspective.
Entrepreneurs tend to have uplifted consciousness. You're in the business of solving problems. It requires an uplifted consciousness to be able to solve challenges as opposed to seeing a problem and letting it be. I want to help more people look at challenges as something that can be adjusted, so they can start seeing solutions.