Before he set off to become the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama is said to have lived a life of luxury. He grew up in a palace, and from an early age he was groomed to become a powerful leader. After his enlightenment, he would regularly receive visits from dignitaries and successful merchants - people hungry for advice. The Buddha is one of the most important spiritual teachers of all time, a man for the people, but there is also much of what he taught that is of practical value to business people.
The fact that the Buddha is believed to have lived over 2,500 years ago means that it can be difficult to discern exactly what he said. For about four hundred years after his death, his teachings were only disseminated orally, so inaccuracies may have developed. Variations on Buddhism also began to occur as the practice spread around the world and began to be adapted to suit the needs of different cultures. Most scholars agree that the core of his teachings have mostly remained unchanged, and these lessons can be as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.
“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
It is not necessary to become a Buddhist in order to benefit from the teachings of this wise master. His approach with his followers always seemed to be ‘take what you need and leave the rest behind’. The popularity of sharing Buddha quotes on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook may have an effect of cheapening his wisdom, but the reason for why so many people still follow his advice is that it works. Gautama Buddha always claimed that his teachings were about helping people escape suffering, so there was always a practical value to them.
Here are just eight tips from the Buddha that may improve your ability to run a business:
8 Do Not Allow Your Mind To Magnify Problems
If your business begins to develop problems, or you experience some failure, it is easy to become overwhelmed with negativity and mental suffering. The Buddha described this process as like being hit by two arrows. The first arrow is the consequences of the event itself, but the second arrow is the reaction of the person to what has happened. In other words, the discomfort that comes from the first hit is unavoidable, but the pain from the second arrow is optional.
It is understandable that you are going to feel upset when thing go wrong, but if you mentally resist what has happened too much, it is only going to lead to unnecessary suffering. You need to be able to brush yourself off as quickly as possible and get back in the game. It is going to benefit you far more to learn from your mistakes than to beat yourself up over them.
7 Stay Focused On The Present Moment
Some entrepreneurs are so fixated on the past and future that it paralyzes their ability to take effective action now. It is the things you do in the present moment that make a difference and excessive planning can just be an excuse to procrastinate. It doesn’t matter if you failed a thousand times in the past, it is only what you do now that really matters.
6 Take Responsibility For Your Own Success and Failure
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. Buddhas only show the way.-Buddha, Dhammapada
It is always going to be possible to find excuses for failure and blame any lack of success on outside factors. It is true that some people have to face more hurdles than others when it comes to finding business success – we aren’t all born with a silver-spoon in our mouth and we don’t all have the right contacts in business. The reality is that none of these excuses are ever going to do more than just pamper our ego.
If you desire to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to take full responsibility for your own success and failure. If other people have messed up, you should call them out over it, but your main focus has to be the actions you need to take. Waiting for success to find you is always going to be easier, but this is what most people do, and it doesn’t usually work.
5 Your Thoughts Influence Your Relationship With The World
The quote ‘what you think, you become’ is usually attributed to the Buddha, but there is no real evidence that he ever said these exact words. There is little doubt that he did teach that the way people interacted with the world could be strongly influenced by their thoughts.
If people are wrapped up in thoughts of negativity, it is going to have a powerful impact on how their life unfolds. One of the most powerful discoveries made by the Buddha was people are not their thoughts, so there is no need to be a slave to thought.
4 It Takes Time To Achieve Your Goals
“A jug fills drop by drop.”-Zen Saying
Unrealistic expectations in business only lead to disappointment, and it can only act as a drain on your motivation. We all love stories of entrepreneurs who achieved overnight success, but just isn’t the way it is for most people.
If you are serious about creating something significant, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort. It may be many years before you taste the fruit of your effort, and you need to be prepared for this.
3 Don’t Allow Anger To Poison Your Life
The Buddha often described anger as being like a hot coal that you pick up to throw at other people – it is usually you who gets hurt. The business world can be vicious, and people can let you down, but getting angry is unlikely to improve the situation.
Let’s face it: When you are angry at somebody, it is usually you who is suffering and not them. This process has also been described as drinking poison to make the other person die.
2 Show Yourself Some Compassion
Some of us can be so driven, and we can set standards for ourselves that are too high. This can lead to a situation where there is an inner-voice that is constantly critical and belittling – it can be like there is a bully living there in our brain.
All of this negativity is just a drain on motivation, and is also going to negatively impact self-esteem. You need to be your best friend, and this means you have to develop some self-compassion.
1 Be Willing To Share Your Success
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.-Buddha, Sutta Nipata
If you’ve worked hard to earn your success, it may seem a bit unfair to ask you to share it. The reality is that allowing other people to enjoy the fruits of your labour can make you feel good, and it also helps you develop a network of friends who are going to be there for you in the future. It is all about planting good karma for your future as well as increasing your happiness right now.