Adding Dharma To Our Everyday Lives with Suneel Gupta

September 22, 2023

Adding Dharma To Our Everyday Lives with Suneel Gupta

September 22, 2023

About This Episode

Welcome to another insightful episode of the Brilliant Thoughts Success Magazine podcast with your host, Tristan Ahumada. In this episode, Tristan engages in a thought-provoking conversation with the accomplished author, Suneel Gupta. They delve deep into Suneel's latest book, exploring the concept of Dharma, its relevance in modern society, and how it can help us find our true essence and purpose in life. Join us as we uncover the wisdom behind Dharma and its potential to guide us towards a fulfilling and meaningful existence.

Finding Balance in Entrepreneurship

Tristan Ahumada kicked off the discussion by addressing a common challenge faced by entrepreneurs—finding balance in their lives. He highlighted the dilemma that many new and aspiring entrepreneurs face: the struggle to strike a harmonious balance between work and personal life. This challenge often leads to feelings of burnout and a sense of losing touch with what truly matters.

Suneel Gupta emphasized that while entrepreneurship requires dedication and commitment, it shouldn't consume every aspect of one's life. He cautioned against equating being "all in" with allowing work to take over every facet of existence. In fact, he pointed out that the qualities associated with grit and hustle, often glamorized in the entrepreneurial world, can also lead to burnout when taken to extremes.

The Pitfall of Endless Hustle

Suneel Gupta shed light on a common misconception in the entrepreneurial space—the idea that relentless grit and unending hustle are the only paths to success. While these traits have their place, they can also lead to burnout. Gupta explained that many of the characteristics we associate with grit, such as always being on, being relentless, and pushing hard, are the same qualities linked to burnout.

Entrepreneurs who want to build lasting and sustainable businesses must consider an alternative approach. Gupta introduced the concept of "Prana," an extraordinary energy necessary for withstanding the challenges of entrepreneurship. Prana encourages entrepreneurs to shift their focus from optimizing their schedules for time to optimizing their energy.

Rhythmic Recovery

To optimize energy, Suneel Gupta advocated for a practice he called "rhythmic recovery." This practice involves taking a short 5-minute break every hour for every 55 minutes of work. During these breaks, individuals should engage in mono-tasking, dedicating those minutes solely to rest and rejuvenation. Activities during these breaks could range from taking a walk to simply savoring a cup of coffee without multitasking.

Implementing rhythmic recovery can have a transformative impact, as it allows individuals to maintain their energy levels throughout the day. Gupta emphasized that people often optimize their schedules for time but neglect to optimize their own energy. By adopting this practice, entrepreneurs can finish the day feeling as energetic as they started.

The Essence of Dharma

A pivotal moment in the podcast was the discussion of "Dharma." Suneel Gupta explained that Dharma is not about what you do; it's about how who you are gets expressed through what you do. This concept challenges the notion that one's occupation defines their identity. Often, people are conditioned to believe that their job is their essence, but this is far from the truth.

Dharma invites individuals to strip away the conditioning and find ways to express their true essence, even within their existing roles. It's about finding meaning and fulfillment in what you do, beyond the extrinsic rewards. Gupta shared stories of individuals who, while in seemingly unrelated professions, found ways to infuse their essence into their work.

Consistency in Living Your Dharma

One of the questions Tristan Ahumada posed was about maintaining consistency in living one's Dharma. Gupta likened it to nurturing a relationship with someone you love. Just as you don't spend every waking moment with a loved one but cherish daily moments of connection, nurturing your Dharma requires daily, consistent attention.

Gupta encouraged listeners to prioritize these moments of connection with their Dharma, no matter how brief. Whether it's writing, programming, or any other form of self-expression, consistency matters. Just as in a loving relationship, these daily moments of connection will foster growth, fulfillment, and alignment with one's essence.

Suneel's New Book on Dharma

Tristan warmly welcomes Suneel Gupta to the podcast and commends him on his latest book. Suneel dives right into the heart of the matter, explaining that his book revolves around the concept of Dharma. He describes Dharma as our inner calling, often referred to as our essence. It's that profound longing within us, waiting to be expressed. Suneel traces his introduction to Dharma back to his childhood, under his grandfather's porch in New Delhi. However, he admits that he lost touch with these concepts as an Indian-American growing up in the United States.

The Struggle with Burnout

Suneel shares that his reconnection with Dharma occurred during a period of burnout. He felt exhausted and began searching for meaning amidst life's chaos. This journey led him back to the philosophy of Dharma. He recalls that, while he hadn't finished reading the book, he was struck by the idea of letting go and taking charge.

The Duality of Letting Go and Taking Charge

The conversation takes an interesting turn as Suneel discusses the perceived duality between letting go and taking charge. He explains that, in Eastern philosophy, he was taught the importance of letting go. However, when he stepped back into Western society, the emphasis shifted towards taking charge and seizing opportunities. This led to a personal struggle as he felt torn between these two opposing forces. He began to believe that he had to choose between expanding his ambition and shrinking his joy, or vice versa.

The Middle Path of Dharma

Suneel emphasizes that Dharma offers a middle path. It recognizes that there are two kinds of success: external success, which includes wealth, status, and achievements, and inner success, which encompasses meaning, purpose, and daily joy. He clarifies that Dharma doesn't require renouncing outer success. Instead, it encourages individuals to start with what makes them come alive and to find intrinsic value and meaning in their pursuits.

The Arrival Fallacy

The podcast delves into the concept of the "arrival fallacy." Suneel explains that many people believe that achieving external success, such as financial stability or a prestigious career, will fill the inner void they feel. However, he highlights that this isn't the case. Even with accomplishments, the inner void persists. Dharma encourages individuals to seek inner success while not forsaking their desire for external achievements.

Balancing Ambition and Joy

Suneel rejects the notion that ambition and joy are mutually exclusive. He believes it's possible to have both. The key is to prioritize what truly makes you come alive and serve others through your actions. This balanced approach can lead to authentic, sustainable success.

Breaking Free from Societal Expectations

Tristan raises a crucial question: How do we break free from societal expectations that constantly dictate who we should be? 

Suneel acknowledges that it's becoming increasingly challenging, but he recounts an ancient story of the "great renunciation" in South Asia. During this historical period, people rejected the relentless pursuit of material success and retreated to find stillness and meaning. However, they soon discovered that they missed the world of creativity and work.

Finding Purpose Amidst Societal Pressure

Suneel shares a personal story about his father's journey. When his parents both lost their jobs in the auto industry, his father stumbled upon a passion for Bollywood karaoke. This newfound interest gave his father a sense of purpose, joy, and community. It showcased that our essence goes beyond mere occupations and that we can find fulfillment in unexpected places.

Embracing Essence Over Occupation

The conversation culminates in the revelation that our Dharma, our essence, is not confined to our occupation. Suneel encourages listeners to look beyond their job titles and focus on what truly drives them on a deeper level. He shares the example of his father's transition from an engineer to a karaoke coordinator, demonstrating that one's essence can manifest in various forms.

The Concept of Pecker Woodpecker

Suneel introduced the concept of "Pecker Woodpecker" from Sanskrit. He explained that the pursuit of one's dharma, or purpose, often involves stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing challenges.

He discussed the practices of Pecker and equanimity, which involve sitting with discomfort without rushing to escape it. This practice helps individuals grow accustomed to discomfort and respond more thoughtfully.

The Illusion of Endless Comfort

Suneel challenged the misconception that once we discover our sense of purpose, life becomes a smooth, comfortable journey. Drawing from his experience as a teacher at Harvard Medical School, he highlighted how even those dedicated to their purpose can face burnout and challenging circumstances.

Navigating Emotional Turmoil

In today's world, emotional turmoil is prevalent, with people often experiencing frustration and anger. Suneel posed a critical question: How do we not only find our purpose but also stay committed to it amid such emotional challenges?

The Space Between Stimulus and Response

Suneel referenced Viktor Frankl's teachings, emphasizing the importance of the space between a stimulus and our response as the key to freedom. This space allows us to avoid immediate reactions and respond more thoughtfully.

Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science

Suneel marveled at how ancient concepts align with modern science and literature. He highlighted the wisdom in these age-old ideas and suggested that sometimes, we overlook them in our pursuit of the latest trends.

The Evolution of Purpose

Suneel noted the generational shift in priorities. While previous generations often associated money with meaning, younger generations, like Gen Z, place a greater emphasis on finding personal purpose and meaning in their work.

The Balancing Act

The discussion turned to the delicate balance between productivity and purpose. Suneel shared a personal anecdote about attempting to optimize his workday but ultimately feeling unfulfilled because he hadn't expressed his true essence through his work.

Aligning Head and Heart

Suneel emphasized that the future of work should focus on both outer and inner success, rejecting the notion of an either-or choice. He stressed the importance of aligning our head (mind) and heart (passion) in our pursuits.

Finding Your Gift

Quoting Picasso, Suneel encouraged listeners to find what they love to do so much that they would do it even without external rewards. He suggested that true purpose lies in giving one's unique gift to the world.

Final Thoughts

In this episode of the "Brilliant Thoughts" podcast, Suneel Gupta and Tristan Ahumada explored the profound concept of Dharma and how it can help entrepreneurs find balance and fulfillment. By focusing on optimizing energy, embracing rhythmic recovery, and understanding that Dharma is about expressing one's essence, entrepreneurs can transform their approach to work and life. It's not about quitting your job; it's about infusing your essence into what you do every day. If you're looking to explore these ideas further, be sure to check out Suneel Gupta's book, "Everyday Dharma."

Thank you for tuning in to another enlightening episode of Brilliant Thoughts Success Magazine. Stay connected with us for more inspiring content that empowers you to discover your Dharma and live a life of purpose and fulfillment.

About Suneel Gupta

Meet Suneel

"Long-term success comes from short-term embarrassment, if you can learn something from it."

Suneel Gupta understands that success often arises from learning from one's mistakes, even when faced with adversity. Previously branded as the "face of failure" in the New York Times, Suneel's journey exemplifies the resilience and determination required to overcome setbacks.

From Failure to Success

Suneel transformed his setbacks into opportunities for growth and went on to become the founding CEO of RISE, a groundbreaking wellness company that was honored as the Apple App of the Year. His journey from perceived failure to notable success demonstrates his unwavering commitment to personal and professional development.

A Multifaceted Achiever

Today, Suneel Gupta is not only a bestselling author but also a renowned speaker, a visiting scholar at Harvard Medical School, and the host of a global Documentary Series. His work involves studying leaders worldwide and uncovering and sharing simple yet powerful habits that elevate performance and enhance overall well-being.

Addressing the Human Energy Crisis

Suneel Gupta recognizes a pressing issue in today's fast-paced world—the human energy crisis. People are increasingly experiencing exhaustion and burnout due to the relentless pursuit of a "hustle" culture in the workplace. Drawing from personal experiences, interviews, and neuroscience studies, Suneel sheds light on the harmful compartmentalization of work and well-being.

Reimagining Work Habits

Suneel challenges the notion of grit as a sustainable path to success, as it is scientifically linked to exhaustion. Instead, he offers leaders and teams innovative, science-based ideas to navigate the evolving landscape of work. These ideas center around cultivating habits that combat burnout and foster long-term creativity, innovation, and productivity.

Suneel Gupta is on a mission to reshape our understanding of success, emphasizing the importance of balance, well-being, and continuous learning. His insights and actions inspire individuals and organizations alike to thrive in the modern world of work while prioritizing their energy and well-being.

Connect with Suneel Gupta:

Suneel's latest book on Dharma Everyday Dharma and Backable

Suneel's website and social media profiles:

Suneel’sTwitter: @suneel
Suneel’s Instagram: @suneelgupta

DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed are well-trained experts and highly skilled in their areas of practice. They take many safety precautions prior to attempting the activities described. The activities or research discussed in these podcasts should not be attempted without qualified supervision and training with professionals.

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