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"Why do you want enlightenment anyway?  You may not like it."  - Shunryu Suzuki

There are three prerequisites for practicing Zen (or starting a business):

You must have great faith

You must have great doubt

You must have great determination

 

In pop culture there is a concept of enlightenment.  A search for it in Google lists 23.4 million hits, but I will give my definition as a novice Zen student that has had the luck to practice with an amazing teacher.  Enlightenment is a spiritual awakening on a personal level that no one can give to you, because you already have it.  It is like the first time you fell in love, and all of a sudden you realize you have this incredible capacity for love inside you that you never knew existed.  In the business world, we have epiphanies, which sometimes lead to paradigm shifts or disruptive technology.  I call this business enlightenment.  At least, it is business enlightenment if it turns out well, or a mid-life crisis if it does not.  I think a good mid-life crisis is a perfectly rational and can be a positive activity.  I also think that a lot of mid-life crisis's are actually incomplete business enlightenment.  

I experienced business enlightenment this year, and it is incredible, and exciting, and scary because you realize what you have to do and what your true potential is.

Think about mid-life.  Best case scenario is if everything goes according to plan, you only have half of your life left.  And there is a very good chance that it could be considerably less if your body turns against you or fate intervenes.  You are sitting there, unhappy, saying "I have a great life, but I'm still unfulfilled, there has to be more!"  The really cool thing is, there is! 

The bad news?  You have to figure it out for yourself.  The fact that you yourself must be the change agent is enough to discourage most people, so they go buy a sports car so they be unhappy but driving faster. 

The good news?  You don't have to go it alone.

So how do you change?  How do you turn crisis into business enlightenment?  Reach out to your network, or better yet, get out there and create a new one!  Find someone in business that you respect, that is smarter than you and has already accomplished what you want to accomplish, and give them an e-mail or a call or start following them.  Don't be shy, don't worry that they think you are asking a silly question, just do something.  The goal is not to be them or even be like them.  You must learn to see the world as they do, step into their shoes and shift your own vision so you can share the same vision.

I have started reading Think and Grow Rich, at the recommendation of an entrepreneur friend that is very successful.  I think it has the code for business enlightenment, and they call it the "secret" (I haven't read the current "The Secret" fad book, so I can't comment if they are the same).  I highly recommend it.  Some people will read it, as I am, and it is like a light bulb goes of and you get that "Ahhhhhhh Ha!  Yes, exactly!"  The hard part is having enough faith and truly trust in yourself to give yourself the chance to create the opportunity to get there.  

I believe the trick to getting there is finding the right people.  Ones that have been there before and can gently nudge you in the right direction, because they know the secret, but also know that you have to discover it for yourself.

Need an example you might have sitting on your shelf?  Roshi is the Japanese term for a type of monk that western culture calls a Zen master.  If you want to see a Roshi in the truest sense of the word, watch the first Matrix movie at least 1 time all the way through (or 7 in my case), and then watch the first time Neo meets the Oracle.  If you need a hint, then watch the scene after Neo rescues Morpheus.  If you deeply understand this, the secret is yours.  If not, maybe you're waiting for something.