Deepak Chopra needs almost no introduction. He’s a bestselling author, the founder of The Chopra Foundation, a medical doctor, a leader in mindfulness and so much more. Dr. Chopra’s latest book Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth is perfect for job seekers and people navigating the ups and downs of their careers. The book looks at what work people can do beyond chasing money to cultivate a sense of wealth and abundance.
Dr. Chopra recently joined LinkedIn News editor Andrew Seaman on #GetHired Live to discuss his new book. The conversation dives into practical tips and methods for anyone — even the busiest people — to start on a path to abundance in their careers.
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Transcript: Deepak Chopra on Cultivating Abundance in Your Career
Andrew: From LinkedIn News, this is Get Hired. A podcast for the ups and downs of our professional lives. I’m Andrew Seaman, LinkedIn Senior News Editor for Job Searches and Careers. Each week on Get Hired, we’ll talk about leveling up. Sometimes we’ll talk about finding work, other times we’ll talk about excelling where you are right now. And through it all, we’ll focus on how to stay true to yourself in the process. So on this podcast, we talk a lot about concrete tips and tricks to shape up your resume, to expand your network and so much more. But we rarely get a chance to talk about all the inner work that it takes to not only get a job, but also to advance in your career with a sense of purpose. And that is why I’m so excited for this week’s guest: Deepak Chopra. Dr. Chopra needs almost no introduction. He’s the founder of the Chopra Foundation, a meditation and spirituality expert, and the author of over 90 books. His most recent book, Abundance, is written to help readers cultivate a sense of inner awareness in order to make outer change. So I sat down with him on my Get Hired live show a few weeks ago to see how he’d apply his work on abundance to job seekers.
Andrew: Welcome so much.
Deepak: Thank you, Andrew, it’s nice to be with you.
Andrew: This book is so interesting. And I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about why you wanted to write it.
Deepak: Well, I’ve always asked people why they do what they do. They want a good job. Why do they want a good job? They want a good relationship. Why do they want a good relationship? They want lots of money. Why? So, if you keep asking why, why, in the end, you’ll get to one answer. And that is, everyone wants a feeling that they call happiness or fulfillment or joy. That’s the feeling you want and you then go about it through all these ways. So when I wrote this particular book, Abundance, I was looking at what makes people happy. And there’s a lot of very good research on that now. People who are happy, find opportunities in times of adversity, that’s number one, they don’t complain, condemn, criticize or play the victim. They pay attention. They accept the situation as it is. They appreciate what they already have. They feel gratitude and they focus on loving relationships. That’s the first thing. The second thing is what we call life circumstances, how much money you have, et cetera. That’s only about 10% to 12% of your daily happiness experience, comes from only money. And then the third component is the daily choices you make every day. There are choices we make for personal pleasures. They make us happy but for a short time. The choices we make for fulfillment, which means finding meaning or purpose or making another person happy, those actually give us a sense of fulfillment. So I wrote the book because when I looked at extremely rich people and extremely poor people, I found that they shared something in common: they could think of nothing other than money. In fact, the book was inspired by a lyric from Bob Marley, who said in one of his songs, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money”. Now money, of course, is very useful, but you need, in addition, what we call a sense of security, safety, sensuality, vitality, love, belongingness, creative expression, insight, intuition, imagination, higher vision, transcendence. When you have all of that, then you are truly abundant. And that’s why I wrote the book.
Andrew: Dr. Chopra, One of the things that always stands out to me is that when there’s a recession or there’s difficult times that people go through, they really look to money as a solution. But there are things you could work on internally to help sort of prop you up. Can you tell us a little bit about how people can start working toward that goal of finding that inner wealth you talk about?
Deepak: I think one can begin with something that I’ve taught for 30 years: contemplative self inquiry, and a little bit of meditation. So if people close their eyes and just ask themselves very basic questions, “who am I? Am I the changing body? Or am I the awareness in which the changing body is an experience? Am I changing emotions? Or am I the awareness in which the changing emotions are experienced?” On and on. “What do I really want? What is my deepest desire? What is my purpose in life? If I had all the money in the world and all the time in the world, what would I do and who would benefit? And finally, what am I grateful for?” So once you begin this process of inquiry, that’s the fascinating thing is, all the answers are already within you. There’s an inner intelligence within you, which is the ultimate and supreme genius, which mirrors the wisdom of the universe. And it’s not your mind actually, it’s your spirit. It’s the source of the mind. Therefore, anything that helps you quiet the mind and reflect in quietness, you will see that you have all the answers. The answers may come to you in the form of an insight, intuition, imagination, coincidence, what spiritual traditions call the “grace of the divine.” But if you live the questions, then life definitely will move you into the answers. And this doesn’t come from me alone, it’s been part of the wisdom traditions of the world for thousands of years.
Andrew: Definitely. And for someone who is busy, maybe they have a 9 to 5 job, maybe they have a 7 to 7 job. What is your advice to them about making a priority to work on themselves?
Deepak: If somebody says they don’t have the time, they’re very busy, they are the ones who need it more than anyone else. I say only busy people have time. The people who are always making excuses never really get anything done. Also, do realize that multi-tasking is not the answer. You actually are not capable of multitasking. You move from one thing to another and you don’t do anything properly anyway, because you’re switching very fast from one thing to the other. It messes up your neural networks, causes inflammation and also actually is addictive. So make time to do things with full awareness and full attention. So I say, there’s sleep time. There’s meditation time. There’s recreation time. There’s downtime. There’s relationship time. There’s mindful eating time. But there’s also mindful work time. So when you’re doing your work, focus only on that, and you’ll do less and accomplish more. Ultimately, the key is to do minimum and accomplish a lot. Maximum use of energy and efficient use of energy, if you pay attention and compartmentalize the activities you do. So I have set times during the day and when I’m doing one thing, I don’t do anything else. And first of all, there’s no stress. Secondly, you get a lot more done.
Andrew: For people who are job seeking, a lot of times they feel a little bit down or they have a lot on their mind, especially now with everything going on in the world. How would you say that working on this path will help them, whether they’re job searching, whether they’re having difficult time at work, what would you say is sort of the selling point for them?
Deepak: So, Andrew, one thing is for sure that your LinkedIn platform is an amazing platform for people who are seeking jobs and people who can communicate with each other, their ideas and their strengths and their bios. But there’s something else that people can do using the LinkedIn platform. And that is they can create a soul profile, which means they are willing to actually reveal themselves and their personalities beyond their bios. And you create the soul profile by asking a few questions. In one or two words, what is your contribution to the world or to your job or to society. In one or two words, can you remember your peak experiences? In one or two words, what’s your purpose in life? In one or two words, what’s a good friendship mean to you? What do you expect of a good friendship? What do you contribute to a good friendship? In a word or two, can you mention your heroes, your icons, your heroines in history, mythology or religion? In one or two words, can you write down what your unique talents are? If you had all the money in the world, all the time in the world, how would you use it and who would benefit? And in one or two words, if you could do the impossible, what would it be? Now, this is a much deeper kind of revelation and revealing of yourself than your job. And then you ask people to share that and sooner or later you’ll create a network and you will be very interestingly finding coincidences, meaningful relationships and insights that will help you find the right job that fits with your life purpose and with the right people as well. So for a very good career, there are a few things that are required. First of all, you need to work in a team where everybody complements each other’s strengths, number one. And number two, you need to have shared vision. And number three, you need to have some kind of emotional and spiritual friendship. When you have those components, then that’s a very good team and bound for success. This work has based on a lot of research that shows that maximum diversity of talent, maximum diversity of education, complementing strengths, having shared vision and creating groups of emotional and social bonding is very important.
Andrew: This is not a one and done thing, right? This is something that you have to commit to and you have to basically make sure you keep it up. You have to sort of make a commitment that this is the path you’re on.
Deepak: Actually, what I’ve done is made a ritual of these steps and I do them every day and then it becomes part of your routine.
Andrew: We’re going to take a quick break. When we get back, Dr. Chopra gets deeper into the balance of emotional abundance and financial abundance. Also, how to reach more fulfillment in your career.
We’re back with Deepak Chopra. Now, I know “abundance” can feel like a very big abstract concept, but according to Dr. Chopra, it actually correlates to a feeling that many of us are looking for in our careers.
Deepak: Fulfillment and abundance go together. When you’re fulfilled, you feel abundant. It’s a feeling. It’s not scarcity consciousness, it’s abundance consciousness. And by the way, you can trigger that feeling anytime, if you just close your eyes, put your attention in your heart and say, “what am I grateful for? Notwithstanding what’s happening in the world. Notwithstanding what’s happening in my life right now. What am I grateful for?” That question triggers sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts that opens the window to your soul, where there is what we call generosity of spirit. Your spirit is infinitely abundant. So abundance and fulfillment go together.
Andrew: Of course the big goal of practicing an abundant mindset is gaining financial stability. But how does emotional abundance fit into the picture? Here’s Dr. Chopra.
Deepak: If you are emotionally balanced, you are more likely to have financial abundance. So financial abundance comes from a sense of security, not the total amount of money that you have. How secure are you about the money that you do have? Do you spend a little bit of time putting away every month, a little savings, say 10-12%. Do you have retirement? Do you pay your taxes on time? And these are things that are very important in a work setting so that you can actually not have to worry about money all the time. And many now job settings encourage financial security, in addition to physical security, emotional security, relationship security and job security. So they all go together. When you ask people, what do they worry about the most? They actually worry about money the most. But when they get the money, the anxiety doesn’t disappear because their basic set point for happiness, they’re always looking for problems. So you should always ask yourself, “If I had all the money and all the time in the world, how would I express my unique talents? Who would benefit?” And then you gravitate towards your life purpose, which gives you fulfillment, which gives you financial success, which also creates emotional fulfillment.
Andrew: By the way, I think that’s a fantastic exercise for anybody who’s figuring out what they want to do in their life. And like Dr. Chopra says, that can snowball. Sometimes it’ll snowball all the way to a new job. So take a pause to imagine yourself there, in that new career where you’re feeling fulfilled and amazing. When you’re starting out with a new group of people, how do you begin to form new relationships to better harness that fulfillment?
Deepak: Four things. They all begin with A, so first A stands for “attention.” Become a good listener. Second A stands for “affection.” Let people know that you care for them and that you actually are there to help them out. You hold their back. The third is “appreciation.” Notice some good quality in the other person, and then appreciate that. And finally, “acceptance.” Don’t try to change another person to fit your own needs. It’s hard enough for you to change yourself. So remember the four As and you will build relationships very fast.
Andrew: Wonderful. And what is the best way to start a new ritual to start incorporating these things?
Deepak: I think the best way is to do it one step at a time. I say, if you’re going to start meditation, start 5-10 minutes a day, gradually build it to 15-20 minutes. In 21 days, you will begin to start a habit. In about 66 or 70 days, it will become a habit. So one step at a time, well begun is half done, but then stick to it for at least 21 days and then it’ll be easier to continue for, say 60 to 70 days and then you have a new habit.
Andrew: Great advice. And then how do you identify and communicate your needs to reach your inner path to wealth?
Deepak: You should be asking very simple questions. “What am I observing? What am I feeling? Right now, what do I need? And then how do I fulfill that need?” And in a relationship, you do it by requesting the fulfillment of the need, not demanding the fulfillment of the need. Basic question is, ask the questions and then life moves you into the answers.
Andrew: Of course, I couldn’t let Dr Chopra go without asking him a question that I know has been on the minds of a lot of you in the Get Hired community. Specifically, what can you do if you know you’re not fulfilled where you are, but you’re not sure what change to make?
Deepak: Yes, if you are unfulfilled in your career, then you need to take a little bit of time off and actually reflect on what your deepest desire is. In fact, you should need to ask that question. “What is my deepest desire?” The wisdom traditions tell us that you are your deepest desire, as is your desire so is your intention, as is your intention so is your will and as is your will so is your choice, as your choice so is your destiny. That’s a sequence that follows. Instead of always grabbing at money, money, money, money, making that an obsession that will only create more stress. When you ask these deeper questions, then they say, “build it, imagine it, visualize it, live it in your dreams” and the money will come.
Andrew: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Dr. Chopra and I hope everyone is following you on LinkedIn.
Deepak: Thank you very much. Thank you, Andrew.
Andrew: Whether you’re an everyday meditator or you’ve never even considered mindfulness, taking time to reflect on these deep questions Dr. Chopra suggests can be an incredibly valuable part of your job search. Let intention be your secret sauce. And if you do, it might just lead to a win.