Tag Archives: teamwork

Deepak Chopra: A Message to the Future Leaders of the World (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 4.52.25 PMBy Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP

From my commencement speech at Hartwick College, click here for part 1.

As I enter the autumn of my life and you the springtime of yours, I want to leave you with seven skills in self-awareness that I have learned and that I hope will serve you well no matter what profession you choose, or where your life and destiny take you.

Skill # 1 Become the best listener you can be. Learn to listen with the instruments of the body, the feelings of the heart, the logic of the mind, and the stillness of your soul. As you listen deeply, reflect on the following questions: What am I observing? What am I feeling? What is the need of the moment? What is the best way to fulfill this need?

Skill#2 Bond emotionally with friends, family, professional colleagues, and those you interact with daily. Understand that each of us is part of a web of relationships that is nurtured through love, kindness, compassion, empathy, and joy. Emotional bonds create effective teamwork where nothing is impossible because you have a shared vision for service, contribution, and success and because you complement each other’s talents and strengths.

Skill # 3 Expand your awareness by knowing that all human beings have a hierarchy of needs that start with survival and safety and progressively expand through stages that include love and belonging, true self esteem, success as in the progressive realization of worthy goals, creative expression, higher consciousness, and self-actualization. As you expand your awareness learn to harness your spiritual gifts that come in the form of the powers of intention, intuition, creativity, imagination & conscious choice making.

Skill #4  Remember the importance of action. Learn to be action oriented and know that there is no power higher than love in action. Remember that love without action is meaningless and action without love is irrelevant.

Skill# 5  Assume responsibility for your own well being in all its various facets. Your well being encompasses every aspect of your life – your career, your social interactions, your personal relationships, your community, and your financial success. Take time to rest and play, to be with your family and friends, to exercise and nourish your body with healthy food.

Skill# 6 Empower your self with true self-esteem. Learn to be independent of the good and bad opinion of others. Recognize the power of presence. Do not allow yourself to be distracted. Know your life purpose and the contribution you want to make to society.

Skill # 7 Know your true self. Your true self is not your self-image that is dependent on the labels you and others have given yourself. Your true self is the innermost core of your being that is beyond all labels, definitions & limitations. All the wisdom traditions tell us that the human spirit is a field of infinite possibilities, a field of infinite creativity, love, compassion, joy, and profound equanimity. Know you can only give to the world that which you possess in that innermost core of your being. Remember that you will create peace only when you are peaceful and create a loving world only when you have learned to love.

I entreat you to not lose your idealism with the passage of years. That idealism is connected to your knowingness of the good that can be created and the power to manifest it. In you lies the potential for a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier, and happier world. Remember that the goal of all other goals is to be happy. I am reminded today of an assignment that John Lennon was given by his elementary school teacher when he was seven years old. He and his classmates were asked to write a short description of whom they wanted to be when they grew up. John Lennon wrote down that he wanted to be always happy. When his teacher complained that John did not understand the assignment, John’s mother told him to tell the teacher that he did not understand life.

But what do we really know about happiness? Recently there has been a lot of research on the dynamics of happiness. Most people think that if they are successful in achieving their goals or have good relationships or if they are healthy, they will be happy. In fact it is the other way around. If you are happy person you are likely to have healthy habits, and nurturing relationships, and great success in life. Social scientists describe what they describe the Happiness formula: H=S+C+V

H stands for happiness

S stands for set point in the brain

C stands for conditions of living

V stands for voluntary choices

“S” stands for the set point in the brain and refers to our mechanisms of perception. We all have a semi-fixed place on the happiness spectrum based on our outlook on life. Happier people see the opportunities, where unhappy people see problems. The set point for happiness can be upregulated, or shifted toward greater happiness, through self-reflection on limiting beliefs. The set point determines 50% of our happiness experience on a daily bases. The ‘C’ in the formula is the conditions of living and refers mainly to material success and personal wealth. It determines about 12% of your daily happiness experience. If you win the lottery you will be extremely happy for a few months, but after one year you will return to your set point.

Voluntary choices represents choices that we make on a daily bases. Choices for personal pleasure bring transient happiness, while selfless choices bring inner fulfillment through purpose and meaning, e.g. by making other people happy meaningful relationships bring more permanent happiness. So to be happy it’s fine to have material comforts around you, but that will only account for 12% of your happiness. To really be happy you need to expand awareness and overcome your self-limiting beliefs and then choose selfless actions, or ways to be of service to others. This leads to true and lasting happiness and wisdom.

Finally today, more than any other day, remember to be grateful. Gratitude opens the door to abundance consciousness. Express your gratitude today particularly to your parents, teachers and fellow students, all who have helped bring you to this threshold of life.

You are now ready to embark on the hero’s journey, the hero’s quest. Good luck and God speed.



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Deepak Chopra: How to Build Teamwork When We’re Divided

With the country so divided this week over the Supreme Court’s deliberation on same sex marriage, let’s consider what it takes to build strong, cohesive teams. Despite heightened individualism in the age of computers and iPods, teamwork is critical today, especially as we face mounting global issues. In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses the key ingredients to building successful teams.

Team building is an essential component of leadership, which Deepak explores at length in his book The Soul of Leadership, as well as in his course on leadership at the Kellogg School of Management. Deepak idenfies three key attributes of strong teams:

1. They have a shared vision

2. They are emotionally bonded.

3. Every member of the team complements the strengths of every other member.

Consider this next time you find yourself building a team to collaborate on a mutual vision, whether it’s for work, leisure, or activism.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well, and check out Deepak Chopra’s book on The Soul of Leadership!

Lessons in Teamwork from the SF Giants

(For this week’s audio podcast, click here.)

I have been so excited and inspired by this year’s baseball post-season and the big World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants.  As a Bay Area native, a lifelong baseball fan, and someone who has been fortunate enough to have the Giants as a client this year, of course I was rooting for them with passion.

The fact that the Giants had not won a World Series since moving from New York to San Francisco (in 1958) and that we haven’t had a major sport championship here in the Bay Area since the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1994, made it that much more exciting and meaningful.

But, the biggest reason I’ve so excited and inspired this year is because of this incredible San Francisco Giants TEAM.  I’ve probably followed this season and this team as closely as any other sports team or season in my entire life – and, for me, that’s saying a lot.  With their great young pitching staff, cast of interesting and unique characters, and lack of huge superstars and egos, I liked them a lot, right from the start of the season – and began to fall in love with them as the season went on.  It wasn’t simply because they won games, which they did (although not excessively or even impressively at times); it was how they won their games and, more important, how they played the game and worked as a team that impressed me most.

This team is an inspiration, not just to baseball fans, young kids who play the game, or people who are into sports in general – but for any and all of us who have to work with others (which most of do) to get things done in our work, our family, our community, and our life. No one expected this team to win the World Series – they didn’t have the talent, experience, or make-up to become champions, said the "experts." But, they did it anyway and took all of us who followed them this year on the ride of our baseball lives watching them do so.

As someone who is passionate about teamwork, loves working with teams myself, and gets hired to speak about and train people to effectively team up with each other, I believe this year’s San Francisco Giants put on a clinic all season long (and especially these past few weeks) in what teamwork should look like.

Here are a few lessons about teamwork we can all learn from the magic of the 2010 San Francisco Giants:

1)  Be Who You Are – Authenticity is essential in life and in building successful teams.  It’s okay and often important to be a little different, to do things your own way, and to give people on your team the space to be themselves.  This year’s San Francisco Giants were made of a somewhat strange array of characters – from Brian Wilson, to Aubrey Huff, to Tim Lincecum, to Juan Uribe, and on down the line.  They didn’t always look like champions and often did and said some pretty odd and quirky things, but it all worked, kept them loose, and helped them bond with each other and the city of San Francisco.  For us to create a strong team around us we have to remember to be ourselves and allow the team to take on its own unique personality.

2)  It’s More About Heart Than Talent – The Giants were a team that didn’t always look good on paper, which is why they were often counted out by the so called "experts."  Even with their great young pitching staff, their lineup didn’t include any superstars or big sluggers.  They called themselves "misfits and castoffs" – as many of them had been let go by other teams and had been given up on in the process.  They beat many teams during the regular season and definitely in the post-season who had much more talent than they did.  However, they exemplified the importance of heart in the way they played and won games – doing whatever it took to get it done.  Guys like Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres, and others showed us how to play with heart and like a champion, even if the guys on the other team had more talent than they did.

3)  Play For Each Other – Larry Baer, the President of the San Francisco Giants (someone I’ve had the honor of getting to know a bit this year), said something important about this team in an interview he did after they won the National League Pennant. He said, "These guys do more than play with each other, they play for each other." Larry was right and that is such an important and unique quality for a team to have. Playing with each other is essential to success. But, becoming a truly great team requires us to play for one another. Playing for others means we have each other’s backs, we’re there for our teammates, and we want to succeed for the people around us (in addition to ourselves) in a way that inspires greatness and excellence in all of us.

4)  Don’t Listen to the Naysayers – In life, business, and, of course, baseball there are always naysayers – people who don’t think you and those around you can do it. The Giants had many naysayers, in fact they didn’t usually even get mentioned as real contenders for much of the season and were written off many times, even during the World Series, which they won handily. It’s a good thing (for them and all of their fans) that they didn’t listen to those naysayers. As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently said, "No one has the power to make me feel inferior without my permission." While it can be important and helpful to get feedback from others, especially critical feedback, listening to critics and naysayers who don’t believe in your and your team will never benefit you and those around you.

5)  Be Creative and Flexible – The San Francisco Giants had to be quite creative and flexible throughout the entire season and all through the post season in order to win. They brought in new players, adjusted their lineup (even in the World Series), and did whatever they had to do to get the job done. Change can be challenging and stressful for a team, but in most cases it’s essential for success. We can’t get fixed into thinking things can only be done a certain way or that everyone has to maintain their same role throughout the entire process – that’s not how life, business, or baseball truly works. Our ability to be flexible and creative is often directly related to our ability to create success and fulfillment for ourselves and our team. As an example of this, both Cody Ross and Edgar Renteria (who were each named the MVP of the NLCS and World Series respectively), didn’t even play that much down the stretch, but stepped up when called upon and delivered.

6)  Have Fun and Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously – For us to have success on an individual and group level, we have to have some fun.  The San Francisco Giants had fun all year long, especially in the post season.  They knew the importance of what they were doing, but never lost their sense of humor and didn’t take themselves too seriously in the process.  Whether it was Aubrey Huff’s "rally thong," Brian Wilson’s black dyed beard and crazy interviews, or Tim Lincecum’s hair and language – these guys always seemed to have a good time, which kept them loose and made it that much more fun to root for them.  The more fun we have, the more relaxed we are…and the better we perform and bond with those around us.

7)  Appreciate Each Other – One of, if not the, most important aspects of being a true championship team (in my humble opinion), is the ability to appreciate those around you. Understanding and exercising the power of appreciation makes everyone around you feel good, know they’re valued, and helps bring out the best in each person. If you listened to their post-game interviews throughout the year, in the playoffs, and especially after the final game of the World Series, the San Francisco Giants understood and embodied appreciation for one another. They praised each other, gave credit to one another, and pumped each other up – in an authentic way. It’s one thing to pay lip service to appreciation and it’s another thing altogether to do it genuinely. They truly put their egos aside in so many ways, did what they had to do to win, and appreciated each other along the way. Given the nature of their team, the shortcomings they had, and the adversity they almost always seemed to find themselves in – they had to count on each other and appreciate each other’s talent, because without that synergy and support, they never would have become World Series Champions.

I’m grateful to the San Francisco Giants for not only playing so well this year, but for playing the way they did.  It was an inspiration to watch and they are (and will always remain) a beautiful and powerful example of what can happen when a group of individuals come together and truly play as a team.  Not only did they win a championship and inspire a city, they taught us all a great deal about the art of teamwork and for that I salute them as the true champions they are!

What have you learned about teamwork from watching the San Francisco Giants win the World Series?  What can you do to be an even better team player in your work, your family, your community, and your life?  Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, and more on my blog here.

To listen to this week’s audio podcast, including additional thoughts, ideas, and tips, click here.

Limp High Five

"Celebrating creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. Imagine a team winning the World Series without champagne spraying everywhere. And yet companies win all the time and let it go without so much as a high five. Work is too much a part of life not to recognize moments of achievement. Make a big deal out of them. If you don’t, no one will." Jack Welch

You are about to view a video. Let me set the scene. It was June 1985. My Little League team made it all the way to the championship game. I was a mediocre hitter and figured to buckle under the pressure of the big game. But as you are about to see, the Gods smiled down upon me and I hit not one, but two home runs in the big game.  Over the past 24 years, I’ve shared this highlight with countless friends, colleagues, and many first dates. And all too often, after watching this video, the viewer will say, "It’s great…but what’s with the limp fives?"

As I rounded third base during both home run trots, I dished out a series of very limp high fives. The first person to bring them to my attention was Coach Jack, my Little League coach. In fact, in my upcoming book, I have a whole chapter about how I believe that Coach Jack’s intimidating comments during Little League led me to develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Anyhoo…

Toward the end of this memorable championship game, Coach Jack approached me in the dugout and through the nastiness of his alcoholic breath, I heard him say, "If you’re gonna high five like that, you might as well grab my ass and kiss me on the lips…for cryin out loud high five like a real man!"

I know what you must be thinking and I agree with you, Coach Jack was very inspirational. Thanks to Coach Jack, I experienced so much during my 12th year of life. He was the man behind my first sip of alcohol, my first cigarette, my first day trip to Mexico, and my first kiss (not with Coach Jack but rather an older woman named Rosarita in a place Coach Jack called a ‘bro-thal’).  Those things are tiny memories in the scope of time. But Coach Jack taught me a much greater lesson that endures to this day: if you’re gonna high five, make contact.  (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO)


There is no rule in the economic stimulus package let alone the sacred texts that says, "Thou shalt not celebrate!"  Everyday in life, things happen…a rainbow shines, a child laughs, Jack Bauer overcomes. You can choose to dismiss those things amidst the enormous shadows enveloping the world. Or you can choose to see the brilliant contrast of bright light against deep darkness.

The cycle of light and dark, day and night is only relevant to one confined by the earth’s atmosphere. Rise just sixty miles into space and there shines the sun without interruption. Darkness is only a matter of perspective. So if you, like me, are scared of the dark, rise up! Live with a renewed passion to celebrate the little things. Not a day should go by without some symbolic gesture of triumph over fear, and faith over doubt. As I’ve come to understand…24 years later…what good is a towering home run followed by a limp high five?

To pre-order my book Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment which comes our March 10, 2009, click here.

Sign up for David Romanelli’s weekly newsletter, "The Schtick," by emailing him at yeahdave@yeahdaveyoga.com

Sweetening A Sour Apple: When A Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch

Because life requires that we interact with different personalities, it is not uncommon for us to encounter a situation where there is one person whose behavior may negatively impact the experiences of others. Someone who is loud and crass can interrupt the serenity of those who come together to practice peace. A disruptive worker can cause rules to be imposed that affect their colleagues’ professional lives. A team member who is pessimistic or highly critical may destroy the morale of their fellow members. And one “bad apple” in your personal life can be a potent distraction that makes it difficult to focus on the blessings you’ve been given and the people who love you.

There may always be people in your life who take it upon themselves to create disruption, foster chaos, stamp out hope, and act as if they are above reproach – even when, in doing so, they put a blight on their own experiences. But you don’t need to allow their negativity and callousness to sour your good mood. Often, our first impulse upon coming head-to-head with a bad apple is to express our anger and frustration in no uncertain terms. However, bad apples only have the power to turn our lives sour if we let them.

If you can exercise patience and choose not to respond to their words or actions, you will significantly limit the effect they are able to have on you and your environment. You can also attempt to encourage a bad apple to change their behavior by letting your good behavior stand as an example. If your bad apple is simply hoping to attract notice, they may come to realize that receiving positive attention is much more satisfying than making a negative impression. While you may be tempted to simply disassociate yourself entirely from a bad apple, consider why they might be inclined to cause disturbances. Understanding their motivation can help you see that bad apples are not necessarily bad people. Though bad apples are a fact of life, minimizing the impact you allow them to have upon you is empowering because you are not letting anyone else affect the quality of your experiences. You may discover that buried at the very heart of a bad apple is a seed of goodness.


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