Zen loves contradictions. Throughout Zen Buddhist writings, some of the best philosophers seem to revel in mind-twisting, illogical statements. These are meant to shake practitioners out of our default settings of logical thinking.
So, too, there is seemingly a contradiction between Zen and the pursuit of success in sales and modern business. And, while I’m no Dogen, here’s what I think…
It is possible to accomplish and achieve while being grounded in the here and now.
There is a great quote from Sunryu Suzuki who I’ve written about before that says,
“If you can walk slowly, without any idea of gain, then you are already a good Zen student.”
It exemplifies Suzuki Roshi’s easygoing and approachable style. It’s also hard to balance with a career that’s based on goals, objectives – not to mention one that is incredibly fast-paced.
I certainly don’t have all of the answers (or any of them, more likely) but I do my best to carry zen practice with me at all times. And, my approach to sales and my work has always been to focus on the moments and not dwell on the outcomes.
Of course I need to be goal-oriented (as any sales or business professional must) – but I believe that there is a way to do what needs to be done “without any idea of gain”. In other words, there’s no need to obsess about what you want to happen or what you hope will happen…do the work and the results will take care of themselves.