As we all know, in business, there’s all types of bullshit that can occur during a day. We can have many frustrations arise; frustrations with staff, with money, with dealings, with suppliers, with teammates – you name it. It’s endless. 

And we’re constantly having to juggle and be on top of our attitudes, so that we’re able to stay functional, make clear decisions, make the right decisions, and continue the success of our companies. 

So, how do we master this thing called attitude, so that we can go valiantly, and strongly, and consciously forward through the chaos of daily life? It’s a very big challenge to undertake.

Well, one of the secrets I’ve learned is a very interesting, counterintuitive secret, and it’s a secret that comes from the Zen samurai tradition. 

Before they went into battle, the samurai would make a pact with themselves. They would do a ritual, a ritual of claiming and owning their death in this very moment. “I am dead now.” They would go into the coldness of death, internally, and ask themselves, “What does it feel like to be totally dead?” 

Now, what’s interesting is, we all can feel for that. Go ahead. I’m going to invite you to, while you’re still staying present here, to feel the part of you that can go totally dead. 

If you’re able to be with that energy, you’ll find it’s a place where there’s no emotion. It transcends, it’s neutral of emotion. The samurai would go into this battlefield with sharp swords and this sense of “I am already dead.”

They recognized that by being in this emotionally neutral zone, they would not be evoked by anger, they would not be evoked by victory, they would not be evoked by any distraction or emotions from outside of themselves, and most importantly, they wouldn’t be taken off the rails by the emotions within themselves. 

Cultivate this dispassionate approach to being on the battlefield of your own life. When you’re in a neutral emotional place, the results are: much swifter movements, much cleaner actions, greater conservation of energy, faster timing and speed, and more accuracy. You’re operating in another zone, you’re operating in a very high flow state, when you reduce the charge of your emotions, and bring yourself ultimately to equilibrium.

So, how do we do this?

Well, a very powerful way that I like to practice is, before I go into work and in my business life on any typical day, I take a look my to-do list and identify the three main actions I need to fulfill that day. These are the three main core actions that’ll bring everything forward; the best, the strongest, the  most direct path – like a samurai – that’s the Warrior essence to cultivate. 

The idea is to harness the energy of neutrality to complete these three core actions with impeccability.

Remove your emotions as if you’re renting out yourself, as the CEO, to run this particular day of the organization. In this case, “I rent out Satyen Raja, to lead my organization. He fulfills it.” 

Me – my spirit, my essence, my being – I’m standing here on the sidelines, dispassionate, so that when I go in as Satyen Raja, CEO of the day, with this dispassionate attitude, I’m able to fulfill my tasks with clarity. 

I can remain jovial, I can appear to others as if I am happy, and go-lucky, and joyful, and smooth, but internally, I’ve reduced the importance of most anything. 

I’m coming from a neutral place, but I’m also marrying that neutrality with exactitude, follow-through, and impeccability in the minutiae of the details. No one should later say their dispassion meant that their quality of work was marginal or compromised in any way. In fact, the dispassion should bring even more clarity, more precision, more quality of work, more focused impact.

So, rather than taking 3-4 hours to do a task, it’s done in one hour, an hour and a half, but it’s done impeccably right the very first time. This is the cultivation of the Warrior and the Sage; the wisdom of understanding that neutrality does not mean discarding one’s emotions, rather detaching from them. When we bring that awareness into our business life, into our attitude, we don’t need to always work on fostering a positive attitude, or bolstering feelings of happiness and confidence.

We can dispense with those shallow games of motivation, which come and go, and we can operate from a deeper operating source code. And that code is based on dispassionate equilibrium, impeccability, presence, and relaxed intention. That’s the way of the samurai, the Zen way.

Give this a try and watch the kind of results you’re going to get, far more accomplished with way less effort. You’re going to make far more of an impact, and your presence is going to shine and speak for you. This is the secret to equilibrium amidst chaos.