S+B Magazine has a wonderful interview with Meg Wheatley
What particularly caught my attention was this:
“S+B: In a talk at the ALIA Institute last summer, you said that the only leaders who succeed are those who have some kind of personal spiritual discipline.
WHEATLEY: Yes, I’m convinced of this. By discipline, I don’t mean meaningless, repetitive, boring practice. That disables people. Nor do I mean religious practice per se. I mean some regular activity that leads you to reflect on your struggles and challenges in a larger context. For one of my friends, Alcoholics Anonymous serves that role. For others, it can be prayer, meditation, or time in nature. I’m not sure about running or other physical exercise, because I think a practice has to connect you to the rest of life — to take you out of the false perception that you are the center of the universe.
Without that discipline, I don’t see how leaders can maintain their integrity and focus. The prevailing mass culture has schooled a lot of people to follow their passion, find their calling in life, and do what they love. Then they encounter setbacks, failures, disappointments, and very subtle impediments — for instance, their loved ones say, “Why are you working so hard here?” Many people quit. That’s what’s essential about discipline. You do it day after day, even when it’s boring, because you believe ultimately it will lead to a good outcome. The fruit of all this effort becomes apparent only after a long time when it seems not to be going anywhere. Work can begin with passion, but it’s only through discipline that people can persevere.
Brain research is also clear on why we need quiet time, especially when under stress. This spring, I went on a long, solo retreat. I didn’t interact with anyone except my teacher. I witnessed my own mental capacities coming back in full flower. I regained great powers of memory and concentration. I could understand complex ancient texts. I was so mentally alive. Now that I’ve returned to my overly distracted life, I am back to old ways; I’ll walk across a room and not remember what I went looking for. But now I know that my memory loss isn’t caused by aging or deterioration. The cause is distraction, and working in an anxious world. I can regain my mental capacities if I regularly take the time to slow down and focus.”
Read the full interview here