26 Feb What do the Beatles and Google have in common?

 Posted in Creativity & Innovation, Latest

I had the pleasure of meeting The Beatles in the 60s. Here we are together in my parents old record shop, the Loft.

I know what you’re thinking, is that really me? Yes it is. And that’s really them too, not so much in person, more in cardboard.

the beatles and me

But it’s fifty years ago, before many of you were born. So who really cares?

Well, here’s the thing.

If you care about innovation in 2015, if you care about living in the present, you need to look closely at the 1960s.

Because what helped to make The Beatles the world’s most innovative band is the same stuff that now helps Google to be the world’s most consistently innovative company.

the beatles and the maharishi

In the late 60s, John, Paul, George, Ringo, their wives, partners and hangers on, travelled to India to spend time with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

They stayed around Rishikesh for several weeks learning mindfulness as a path to self-awareness and expanded consciousness.

The Maharishi became known as the Beatle’s Guru and suddenly meditation had the western world’s attention.

At least for a moment.

But as valuable as practitioners knew it to be, meditation was soon lumped together with free love, flower power and LSD, and widely dismissed as “60s hippy shit”.

Until recently.

Now neuroscience is showing us how meditation actually works to change the structure and function of your brain. The Beatles were definitely onto something!

Just as you can train your body to be fit and healthy, you can train your brain to be fit and healthy too.

Let’s try an experiment now.

There’s something that you use all the time… we all do. You take it with you everywhere you go, to the office, to meetings, to the bathroom and the bedroom. You’d be completely lost without it, it rarely leaves your side and it’s now so familiar that you take it for granted.

I’d like you to take it out and look at it now. And no, it’s not your mobile phone, it’s your hand.

(Deeply hypnotic voice) I invite you to look at your hand. Take a moment simply to notice. From one perspective it’s just a hand, from another it’s an inexplicable mystery. Notice the shape, the lines, the colour. Try not to judge it, just look, be aware of it. Have you ever looked at this amazing part of your body like this? Have you ever really noticed it?

Ok, hands down. Congratulations, you just did a little mindfulness training.

Learning to focus your attention and develop your self-awareness helps you create a calm, clear and stable mind… the conditions you need for peak performance, leadership and wellbeing.

google and me

These are the essential ingredients of a professional development program designed by Google together with some of the world’s leading neuroscientists and contemplative teachers. It’s called, “Search Inside Yourself” and it’s the most popular, over-subscribed and highly rated development program in Google’s history. When they run the program, places go inside 45 seconds.

What musicians were to the 60s, computer engineers are to 2015. And Search Inside Yourself is teaching thousands of super bright computer engineers about neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence and mindfulness to help them lift their performance, be better leaders, elevate their creativity and cultivate happiness.

What The Beatles were flirting with 50 years ago is being substantiated by science and championed by the geeks at Google.

I flew in from SF this morning where I’ve been learning how to teach the SIY program. I’m one of four Australians in training and we’ll be the first people certified to teach the program to outside companies here in 2016.

Our goal is to help Australians be happier, healthier and more innovative, to build wisdom and compassion into the workplace, and to develop a community of high-performance hippies.

And that, in the language of the 1960s, will be really groovy.

PS: The Beatles returned from India to record their legendary ‘White” album.

From a talk I gave at the Melbourne International Convention Centre earlier this week.

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