Google Finds Their Zen
First, I want to follow up from a previous blog that I posted, Enlightenment is Death. In this great video with the world renowned master, Thay, he’s basically saying the same thing to a large Google audience: “that you don’t have to die in order to see the kingdom.” Click here to see this 60 sec.clip.
It’s very fascinating to find that the founding directors of extremely successful companies such as Google will tell you that a great part of the company’s success was due in part to luck. Yes, luck! They apparently adopted the Zen philosophy of the middle way, which is simply, the idea that “chances favor the prepared mind.” There is a Zen saying, “Enlightenment is an accident; our job is to become accident-prone.” Or another way the pirates use to say it, is: “may fortune favor the foolish.”
In the book Wisdom 2.0, Soren Gordhamer explains that the model used by Google to “monetize search had been used before by Bill Gross, founder of Overture, later bought by Yahoo!. However, Gross made the effort while the Internet was too young, and there was not significant interest in online advertising.” Timing is everything and when Google launched Adwords, it was a huge success. Google was lucky. Gross was not. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin said at the annual Web 2.0 said, “I think probably the number one factor that’s has contributed to our success over the past seven years is luck.”
Luck is really a matter of letting go after you have done your best. As the Tao states, “through non-action, all is done.” Sometimes you can do the best you can, but then you have to just surrender.
Doing your best while having a prepared mind and innovative approach to business allowed Google to be lucky by working hard at being “success-prone.” We have to be “accident-prone” and perhaps enlightenment, fortune or both will “hit” us. Don’t push the results! Let the results come from your inner potential. It’s the fine line between letting it occur and forcing it. Every athlete knows those moments of peak performance that “just happen” when they happen. The first paradox I discuss in my book, Where’s Your Zen?: A Parable of The Ten Paradoxes is: Act. React. But Never Try.
Letting go also involves one of the often overlooked psychological behaviors, which I have spoke of and written about many times. It’s called perceptual readiness. click here to see my clip: The Secrets of The Secret
The Law of Attraction which is the underlying message in the movie The Secret, relies on the fact that our brains become cued up or our brains become perceptually ready to see our next step. You may have noticed that when you are about to buy a new or used car, say it’s a Mercedes, and then all of a sudden you begin to “see” every Mercedes on the road. You notice every style and color, which you may have never noticed before. Your brain has become acutely aware because you primed your neuro-circuits with intention and need. Basically, this is a primal survival function, which allows humans and animals to enter a focused and heightened state of awareness. When you let go and relax, you see more insightfully which allows you to be more “success-prone.”
Google works hard at being “success-prone” and perceptually ready. They are very innovative and their employee culture is an extremely important part of their success. Over the past several years, Google started Search Inside Yourself (SIY), a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training program created at Google. SIY teaches skills to become more emotionally aware and mentally clear at work, in relationships, or in any aspect of life. The course is intended for those wanting more depth, meaning, and effectiveness in their lives; or just wanting more happiness.
Google brought some the world’s leading experts on mindfulness in as keynote speakers for the staff. Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (known as Thay in his circles) made a rare visit to the Googleplex to lead a half-day Health@Google workshop in the fundamentals of mindfulness. Click here to see video.
Other legends like Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn have trained Google employees in the art of mindfulness. Click here to see video.
Google has found their Zen in mindfulness training of their employees which opens the senses to perceptual readiness and surrendering to the old adage that “chances favor a prepared mind.”