Connections to Experts: Exercising Your Mindfulness Muscle
As an entrepreneur, you pour your energy into building your business … but are you doing the same when it comes to building a better you? In this interview, Dandapani, a Hindu priest, EO speaker and entrepreneur, talks about the importance of mindfulness and its role in balancing your work and life.
What are some misconceptions of mindfulness in the workplace?
D/ “We should start by defining the word ‘mindfulness.’ I define it as a state of being fully aware of what one is engaged in at any particular moment. The biggest misconception is that you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of being. It is not something you practice, but rather something you are as a result of practicing concentration. To be good at concentration we must first learn it and then practice it. Most people are told to concentrate but are not taught how to. One simple way to integrate the practice of concentration into your daily life is to practice doing one thing at a time. Give what and with whom you are engaged your undivided attention.”
What do some entrepreneurs do that act as self-limiting deterrents to mindfulness?
D/ “When I lived as a monk, my guru taught me a phrase he coined: ‘Where awareness goes, energy flows.’ It’s probably one of the most important things I’ve learned. First, we have to learn that awareness and the mind are two separate things. Second, our mind does not wander; our awareness moves within the mind. If you are a person whose awareness races through the mind all day, then your energy is also flowing all over the place. Most entrepreneurs allow this to happen and perpetuate this habit by practicing it all day. Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy. When you can concentrate your awareness toward one thing, you begin to direct your energy toward it, and that one thing starts to manifest in your life.”
What are some meditation practices an entrepreneur can bake into their busy day?
D/ “Another big misconception is the concept that meditation can be practiced throughout the day, in between tasks or while doing something else. This is not the case. Meditation is having a meeting with your energy. Energy is always flowing out of us toward people and things. The art and science of harnessing, withdrawing and concentrating energy toward a single, pointed goal is called meditation. This is not achieved while you are engaged in other tasks. Meditation is best performed sitting down with your eyes closed and spine straight, in a space set aside for the practice. The best time to meditate is after waking up, before you have engaged with the world in any way.”
Entrepreneurs often invest more in their businesses than themselves. What should entrepreneurs know about harnessing that energy for personal growth?
D/ “When I speak to people, I ask them to look at their mind and personal life as a piece of software; the better you understand it, the more you can do with it. Your mind works the same way. However, it is staggering how people hardly invest time into understanding and developing this. You are at the center of everything you do in life. So, if you worked on being a better version of you, everything you are involved in will naturally be uplifted. Monks have understood this for a long time. They’ve realized that the greatest way to have an impact in the world is to start by working on yourself. That’s an important step toward mindfulness, both in business and life.”
Dandapani is a Hindu priest, entrepreneur, speaker and former monk of 10 years. He is one of EO’s most highly rated speakers and has spoken to more than 50 chapters. Learn about Dandapani’s online meditation course at
Learn.Dandapani.org and his EO work at