Are you spiritual? I would have scoffed off the potential to be spiritual in 2010. But a lot changes in a decade. Today spirituality grounds me in both career and life. Is it necessary to be spiritual to have a great career? Absolutely not!! Does it help? A resounding yes!
I spend at least 2 hours every week meditating in silence. You see, spiritual or not, in modern life we seem to practice the art of distraction, rather than focus and concentration, which is key to success in all aspects of your life. Your career is no different.
Does the practice of concentration have to be spiritual? No, BUT generally speaking, unless it's a matter of life and death, we don't need the power of concentration for many things. It is fair to say that most of us sleep walk through life instead of being intentional about things. So if you have found something that helps you lose yourself in it, i.e. you find yourself in a state of FLOW, that's practicing concentration. For me it could be meditation, for my mum it could be music, for someone else it could be writing code. But it is important to set aside time to practice concentration, in whatever form.
So spirituality isn't the only thing that helps concentration. But it's a weapon of the masters. Do you know why?
Because it's packed with goodness. When you practice even 10 minutes of meditation a day for 30 days, you'll find that the neuroplasticity of your brain has improved. Why does neuroplasticity matter? Here's why:
Learn faster: Neuroplasticity is the reason children learn so fast. As we age, our neural pathways are set in a certain way due to a variety of reasons including social conditioning. However, if we can in some way hack the neuroplasticity as an adult, we can learn faster. Can anyone deny the effect of fast learning on their careers?
Manage emotions: Emotions are a learned skill. Emotions are basically associations of feelings with situations we've encountered in the past. When we start recognising how we react to situations (again through heightened neuroplasticity), we can intentionally change how we react to situations. So when you actually want to blast out on your boss, or the people you manage, knowing how to manage your emotions gives you a huge leverage over those who can't. Suddenly you're a better employee, a better manager, a better conversationalist.
Concentration: This is the virtuous cycle of good breeds good. As the neuroplasticity of your brain improves, your concentration improves, and it becomes easier to zone out and get into the state of FLOW.
But why did I say spirituality is important when I really just replaced spirituality with meditation?
Because meditation can still be about "me, me, me". You could use the heightened concentration and power of learning to be quite destructive. However, true spirituality destroys the ego and helps you focus on others. And help them. After all if you're solving your employer's problems, your clients' problems or your family's, you become "dependable", and "a safe pair of hands". And our careers really are about solving someone else's problems, aren't they?