David Clegg, Managing Director, ,The HEAD Foundation
No regrets. Living one’s purpose. Leaving the world better than you found it. Being versus doing.
Are we prepared for what’s coming – what has already arrived? As a CEO, an entrepreneur, one who has traversed the planet time and again, I have found my life evolving in terms of terms, definitions, means of capturing the true meaning of life beyond physical means. It is the longest distance I have traveled, the one from my mind in its ‘infinite wisdom’ to the source of wisdom itself, my creativity that has fostered my success in the world as a leader, innovator – and most importantly, as a human being.
As fellows in the fraternity of successful practitioners, I have good news and bad.
Matter still matters. But it does not matter as much.
The accumulation of wealth still plays its part in the world. It drives opportunity for many. Money still remains a medium of value, a source for movement, influence. And there are many still chasing the dream of the material gain – more now than ever perhaps – as the doors to the ‘American way’ have swung open in India, China and other nations since the walls came crumbling down in the late 1980’s.
Yet for those of us who have achieved wealth, have built empires of various types and scales, we are beginning to see through to something greater at stake, something larger that is in play in the game of life. And it can be captured in the answer to three simple questions:
- Am I contributing in a meaningful way?
- Is what I’m doing having some measurable impact in improving the lives of others (be it family members, friends, colleagues, society at large)? And
- Am I enjoying the journey? Which has everything to do with whom we surround ourselves.
Quality versus quantity. Striking a harmonic balance. Making a good living and living a good life.
Have we really cracked the code to success in the paths we have chosen? Is there a chink in the armor of man, a fear emerging that perhaps – just maybe – we have hit the target but missed the point? Do we find ourselves on the wrong side of the bell curve, having reached the law of diminishing return in our own lives?
Fortunately for us, we are masters of change, evolution, adept at exploring new frontiers, paving new ground. It is part of our DNA as a CEO. It is a matter of moving beyond mere matter – and going inside. Inside. The new frontier. That cavernous region of unknown knowns, and limitless potential. The place beyond mind but carrying with it a mindfulness.
We find this place when we move into the silence, and catch the prevailing winds of wisdom within. And there are many pathways to such.
Meditation, in its various forms.
Contemplation, through a variety of means.
A nice walk. A good run. Perhaps scaling of a mountain beyond the one provided at the office – and the reward of greater perspective that so often accompanies it.
We do this already – connect within. We do this whenever we seek the source of our imagination, our creative center, alignment with a new idea or the answer to an old problem. We do this already, but usually unconsciously, automatically.
What I am proposing is that we get in greater alignment with our true selves – and that we do so on purpose. Strike a healthy balance; find greater meaning in our lives. There is an inherent risk in doing, being anything less. Perhaps captured best by one Persian poet and mystic from ancient times, Rumi once stated:
‘There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry about. But if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.’
That is what awaits us all as we open up to a broader, more evolved definition of success. And then get about living it.
And if we’re not careful we may just crack the code on happiness itself.
About the Author
David Clegg is the Managing Director of The HEAD Foundation, a global education think tank. He has been a private sector leader and innovator in education for nearly 25 years. David is also the author of the award-winning novel, The Longest Distance.