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Interview With Deepak Chopra on 'The Soul of Leadership'

Older, wiser population has multiple built-in assets

Q. How does a new leader become more comfortable?

A. It's complicated. It has a lot to do with self-esteem, which basically comes from three areas in life. One is how you were brought up as a child. Those experiences affect people well into their old age. The second source of self-esteem is from using your strengths. And the third area is from living up to your core values.

Q. This is all very reflective.

A. Yes. When I work with the kinds of people you're talking about, I ask them several questions, such as:

  • Can you recall a moment when you felt extreme joy? Write it down.
  • What is your idea of a best friend? Write it down.
  • What are the qualities you bring into a personal relationship?
  • Who do you admire in history, mythology, religion, as public figures — and as mentors?

People have never really faced these types of questions. When they start to reflect on the answers, it's very interesting: Life has an interesting way of moving them into the answers.

Q. How so?

A. They find the right situations, the right circumstances. They take advantage of the right opportunities, and they happen to be in the right place at the right time. They recognize that more often, too.

Q. You feel our country has a wounded psyche — and that every one of us is in need of healing right now.

A. With the angry dialogue that is going on, the vitriol, the victimization, the sense of entitlement, the complacency that has crept into our country, yes, we're coming from a place of fear and victimization. I teach people that no matter what the situation is, no matter how chaotic, no matter how much drama is around you, you can heal by your presence if you just stay within your center. That ocean of self-centered calm will help give you more insight, more intuition, more creativity, more compassion, more inspiration, more conscious choice-making — rather than just being reactive to every situation as it occurs.

Next: More opportunities for the mature person >>

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