The pinnacle of business is Thien (Zen), and the pinnacle of Thien is business. CEO Nguyen Thi Minh Dang’s journey of enlightenment began with that realization.
The serendipity of “Thien” for the female CEO – A journey of self-understanding
After a long time in business, in 2015, while reaching the pinnacle of her career, Nguyen Thi Minh Dang encountered some issues with her personal development. She realized that her leadership ability had many limitations. Immediately after, she decided to stop her leadership work, entrusted the company to the founding members at that time, and went to study to develop herself. After some time, she learned that this was “Zen” and began to receive enormous values from “Zen”. She realized that she was not able to lead herself before due to a misunderstanding about the self.
Previously, she thought that her ego was herself.
But the truth was not like that.
Because of this misunderstanding, she gave power to her ego.
In reality, her ego was dominating and controlling her, causing her to face difficulties in problem-solving.
And when she started living in “Zen” she gained a clear understanding of her ego.
Therefore, she did not allow her ego to dominate and control her anymore, and she started working more effectively, always working with joy and without the need for entertainment after work.
- She enjoyed every moment of her work, even though she worked full-time every day (except for eating and sleeping).
- She respected the truth and eliminated subjective thoughts (my ideas, my opinions…) or personal emotions (fear, anxiety, insecurity,…). From there, she went straight to solving problems and ensuring efficiency in everything.
The connection between meditation and business – The core issue of business
At this point, she finally connected meditation and business, and ultimately, the most important issue at the core of any company was personnel, the company’s main asset.
In other words, developing a company means developing its human resources, not just developing tangible values such as factories, stores, assets, or fame.
In reality, a business must focus on developing its resources, specifically its people.
When a company has people, it will have technology, factories, and from there, it will have everything.
Shortly after that, in 2020, when she had gathered expertise in marketing, human resources, investment, and business, she decided to establish Koro.
Thien – The peak in business
Thien is a type of non-religious meditation originating from Vietnam.
Many people believe that Thien and business are unrelated activities. However, after a period of study and experience, Ms. Dang discovered a strong but invisible connection between Thien and business:
“The pinnacle of business is Thien, and the pinnacle of Thien is business.”
Thien practice is a journey to eliminate one’s ego. To achieve the greatest success in business, entrepreneurs also need to eliminate their ego. It is the ego, not anything else, that is the root cause of their business failures.
Thien here does not just refer to sitting still, closing your eyes, and breathing in silence. It means aiming to transform oneself, to correct oneself, to eliminate one’s ego in order to live with intelligence and to master one’s emotions, choices, and decisions, without being dominated by the ego.
Minh Dang believes that Thien is the pinnacle of business, not money. Success in business is not simply about making a lot of money.
If the money a company has is borrowed from someone else, then no matter how much is earned, it will eventually have to be returned to its rightful owner. Those who have a lot of borrowed money cannot be called successful in business.
There are many businesspeople who were once famous and had endless amounts of money, but in the end, they were left with nothing, and even entangled in legal troubles. So, what is the difference between their money and borrowed money? Ultimately, they have nothing left.
Therefore, when it comes to success in business, it must be about sustainability and resilience. Businesspeople need to do the following:
- Not only have a broad vision and outlook,
- Have the ability to understand people and win their hearts,
- Use people to gather a team,
- And also live with a business-oriented mindset towards solving social problems, not just making money.
When a business solves social problems, it can make a lot of money from the values it brings. When a business has a loyal customer base, it truly succeeds in business.
In addition, during the business process, entrepreneurs need to always focus on their goals, not letting early successes blind them, and concentrate on problem-solving rather than proving themselves right to avoid ego-driven decision-making.
Only when entrepreneurs do not confuse themselves with their egos can they avoid being blinded by their egos and possess the necessary qualities mentioned above to build a sustainable and enduring successful business.
The core value of an organization is its people. Additionally, during the business process, entrepreneurs need to always aim for their goals, not allowing early success to blind them and focusing on problem-solving instead of proving themselves right, to avoid self-centeredness.
Only when entrepreneurs no longer confuse themselves with their ego, will they no longer be blinded by their ego, and will they have the necessary qualities to create a sustainable and successful business as mentioned above.
To acquire these valuable qualities, Thien should be practiced during the business process.
Thien helps entrepreneurs to:
- Change their perspective and attitude towards life and work in a positive direction.
- Transform negative emotions such as prejudice, hatred, jealousy, greed, and craving into sincere love, respect, cooperation, tolerance, and humility.
- Create a soul filled with peace and kindness, a beautiful style of ease, self-sufficiency, tranquility, and generosity. From there, entrepreneurs achieve many victories and successes.
When entrepreneurs understand themselves, they will understand others. Understanding here means respect, equality, and leading with humility (different from modesty) toward others, including their colleagues.
Companies and businesses become environments for development and collaboration to achieve their mission.
- With partners, always have a spirit of cooperation, from which new business opportunities can arise.
- With competitors, instead of eliminating and causing conflict, coexist and develop in a mutually beneficial direction.
The inner world of a business person, when healthy and kind, can achieve the basic goals of their life:
Peace, happiness, success, creating wealth… elevating the quality of life to a higher level.
Therefore, the pinnacle of business is Thien.
Conversely, Thien is the pinnacle of business.
Speaking of Thien, there are two stages:
- Stage 1 is Thien when still learning.
- Stage 2 is Thien when teaching others.
When talking about the pinnacle of Thien, it cannot be about the practice of someone who is still learning, but about the practice of someone who has finished learning and has transitioned to teaching others.
To get others to accept learning Thien from oneself, one must convince them to do so.
The process of convincing others to learn Thien under one’s guidance is similar to the process of selling.
Expanding the activity of persuading a whole community to learn meditation under one’s guidance is also similar to a business activity.
The only difference is that what the seller receives here is not money, what the seller receives here:
At first, it is faith, and then it is the realization of no longer confusing between the self and the SELF in the learner. To say that, it means that the process of teaching meditation is indeed a sales process of the teacher, in which, in the mindset and perception of the teacher:
The roles of the learner and the teacher are equal, just like the roles of the seller and the customer. The teacher’s job is to help the learner realize that the SELF is not themselves, and from there, reach the point where there is no longer confusion between the self and the SELF.
This is not an easy task.
Only those who have good business skills, know how to ask the right questions, and lead the learner to discover the problem themselves, can do this.
In this way, to understand that the Buddha Shakyamuni was a master in sales and business, not like later teachers who only knew how to preach one-way, did not know how to sell, did not know how to do business.
Closing thoughts: CEO Nguyen Thi Minh Dang’s insights on the relationship between Thien and business provide a new perspective on business and aim towards the true value of entrepreneurs and businesses.