Book: Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)
Author: Chade-Meng Tan
Reviewed by: Liz Suarez, Osceola and Lake Nona Campus Director, Organizational Development and Human Resources
Google is known for service, creativity, innovation and Emotional Intelligence (EQ). In the book by Chade-Meng Tan, “Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace),” “Meng” an engineer at Google, indicates that mindfulness is also part of the company’s worldwide success.
He suggests that contemplative practices could be beneficial to improve people’s professional and personal lives. The premise is simply “to create the right conditions,” which loudly resonated in my mind and oddly in my heart too. At Valencia, we believe that “anyone can learn anything under the right conditions.” Meng thinks so too; hence, this connects to our core principles.
Meng developed the “Search Inside Yourself” course at Google University, and students call it “a transformative experience.” The curriculum works in three steps:
- Attention Training – Attention training helps develop higher cognitive and emotional abilities.
- Self-Knowledge and Self-mastery – As your attention is trained, you become able to observe thoughts and process emotions with clarity and objectivity from a third-person perspective.
- Creating useful mental habits – Imagine if every time you meet someone you consciously wish goodwill for them, which is unconsciously picked up by them in order to develop trust and high collaboration.
The benefits of emotional intelligence are also discussed. Ultimately, the goal is to Optimize thyself, bringing together the concepts of mindfulness and emotional intelligence to help stabilize and clarify situations, while also learning that breathing is important. As leaders, faculty and staff, taking time to breathe is a must to the success of our work and the people who rely on us, especially our students who rely on us to create the right conditions for learning.
Key learnings for me were that “mindfulness is an activity” and that a shift in our thinking can be acquired by becoming emotionally intelligent.
How optimizing the individual may serve as the catalyst to make profits, engage the world and positively change it, I believe, is a powerful message, and I strive to master these lessons in my daily work and personal life. In fact, these are tried and proven skills that often help me to navigate sensitive situations successfully, deescalate issues quickly, get to the root cause of an issue faster than usual and to facilitate difficult conversations for change, as needed. I have observed that learning and applying these methods not only helps me to feel confident with the task at hand, but also to help others feel better and to optimize themselves for a better quality of life.
As with anyone with a heart of gold and a vision, Meng ends with the three easy steps to world peace:
- Start with me.
- Make meditation a field of science.
- Align meditation with real life.
My “aha” moment came from a quote from the great Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh that reads, “With all this socially engaged work, first you must learn what the Buddha learned, to still the mind. Then you don’t take action, action takes you.”
Meng closes with a poem and a statement: “My friend may you be lazy, and may you save the world.”
This is a paradigm shift that my busy mind is starting to connect to as I am eagerly seeking to improve efficiency and quality of life. I am looking forward to laziness to save the world, especially while on Winter Break!