Zen philosophers knew nothing about social media. But, Guy Kawasaki recently wrote about how Zen can help with Powerpoint, Facebook and Twitter.
Similarly, studying the ancient wisdom of these masters can also provide a path to build a successful business. According to Zen philosophy, there are "five fingers" of success that have worked for thousands of years
1. “Always trust yourself. There is no truth outside yourself.”
As the leader of a company, only you can chart the right path for your business. Mentors, consultants and family members can provide helpful advice, but no one person can do it for you. There is no consultant on a white horse coming in to save you. Seek and integrate all of their advice, but then follow your own vision and plot your own course. Every business leader has a version of the truth. Accept that members of your team may also have a different truth. Respecting this will lead to productive discussions and great decisions.
2. “Always start from where you are right now.”
Stop kicking yourself for a bad decision, hire or a similar failure. You can't go back and "remake" that decision. The "what if" game is pointless. Unfortunately, something that happened hours ago or last week can continue to influence your actions today or even next month. Learn what you can from each outcome and move on! Every time you take a new proactive action, you give your business another chance at success. Most companies that survive more than five years do it as a result of many small successful steps, not one giant or risky leap forward.
3. “Always believe in the infinity of your life and the world."
We are not all destined to volunteer our time or make large donations to the millions of worldwide charities. However, every small business owner can make an impact on the world by building their business to solve painful problems for their customers. These types of contributions actually do make a real difference in the world.
4. “Always direct your thoughts towards what is good, what is noble and what is true.”
Businesspeople aren’t perfect. But, we strive to build a company that does good (ie., solves the pain) for its customers, employees and community. We may not always succeed at each one (especially simultaneously), but we can strive to set goals that accomplish just this over the long term.
5. “Always meditate for the peace of the world and the happiness of all beings.”
Long term, it is not productive to be motivated purely by revenge or doing harm to your competitor. Competition can raise everyone in the industry to a higher level and more satisfaction for all customers. Chasing only money is also a fairly short-term, and ultimately shallow, goal. As Tim Sanders says, when you believe in a market of abundance and stamp out "scarcity thinking" within your company, you will have more success.
Have you studied the wisdom of the ancient masters? What have you learned that can make you successful in your business?