A Little Business Zen

I like to think there is a certain credibility that goes along with tattooing personal beliefs on the body. A certain conviction that emboldens ones mantra and being.  I hope that’s true, anyways, or Nancy* was definitely right and justified in removing me from her will… I just say that, though—and lead with it—because that same energy that led me to the dimly lit tattoo parlor in Port Allen, Louisiana—fueled by some guiding Zen—is still moving me today. It is still lending perspective and still the vanguard in all avenues of my life. In avenues I never expected, relevant in realms of sales and business I didn’t think it stood a chance.

Obv* I was wrong.

And I’m glad I was.

*Nancy is my mom, if you don’t know me. She is cool, and I love her, but she has called me “a terrorist” because I like Buddha.

*Obv=obviously, if you’re old.

If that intro was a bit ambiguous, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry, and I’m planning on writing a few hundred words about how basic Zen principle can be understood and applied to the milieu of demanding sales; how it has helped me in that exact setting. I will make a few more references to my Mom, because I love her and recently forgot her birthday.

Zen, and even its “basic”, foundational ideology, is something that could be talked upon for days on days. It is one of those subjects that is open to interpretation and can be adjusted to fit preference, like partisanship, or a tinder/bumble profile. But, and I actually think this is the better approach, when simplified, living Zen is the ish. Especially in business.

When I was young, and when my dad thought I was going to be good at baseball, he would say something to me in our training that has since stuck with me.

“Keep it simple, stupid!”

Keep it simple, and get out of your head.

I don’t think my Dad was well-read in Zen, or could read, but his sentiment was versed in that basic, foundational ideology aforementioned. It is a mantra I live with each day—in every facet of life—and it is how I mesh Zen into my professional life. It is how I enjoy competitive sales, and business.

Zen, if we are going to think of it in efficacious terms and as a means to happiness/success, is the optimization and efficiency of life force to rid the world of suffering. That doesn’t sound simple, I know, but broken down it can be simply applied. It can eliminate strain, and it will open doors of harmony and production.


The “life force” is the natural energy to which we are all connected. Working to stay simplistic, just know that whatever you believe (Genesis, Evolution, storks, etc.), we are all made from the same thing. The same energy and the same starting point. And that beginning energy, or divine creation, or, again, whatever you believe, is still here. It is still connecting us—all of us. It is the same quantum force that lets you know you think someone is a turd just by standing next to them, just by the “vibe” they give off. Conversely, it is why you feel better around certain people, why you are happier in outdoor, natural settings (unless you’re a Fortnight guy, which is fine). All the matter of this planet, tangible and intangible (thoughts are things), has the same beginning, and the same purpose: happiness in harmony.

Zen, basically, is the use and understanding of that connection. And, to keep it simple, like my sage old man said, we just need to focus on the connection.

As we are all connected, to each other and to this world, we are all unique in our own connection.

Simply, this is how we can work to improve ourselves—“the self”—without falling into desire or vanity. This is how we use that life force. We work to improve ourselves, always, by thinking of our connection to those around us, to the people we work with, and work for, and how we can optimize that connection.

Keep it simple, stupid!

How can I strengthen my own connection to those around me; to benefit the whole?

To live in Zen is to realize that we all inherently want to be happy, and we all want to succeed, but suffering (ego, desire, fear, Justin Bieber) can thwart that natural energy. When I was struggling with my swing, working with my dad, and he told me to keep it simple and stop embarrassing him, I returned to focus on the simple energy inside of me: forget the mechanics and the outcome and feel the progress. Now, in sales, in each instance of work, the simplicity and application is the same: What about me, in my unique connectivity, makes this situation, this project, this relationship, better? How do I make that connection better, to benefit the most? The pursuit of those answers puts you in touch with the life force that is ever-present. Working in altruistic pursuit—even if improving yourself to get there—pierces suffering. You become aware, and palpably receptive to the energy that wants you to succeed.

That was very cosmic and aggressively out there. I hope I didn’t lose you and I hope you didn’t judge me. I voted for Newt Gingrich, if that helps.

  • Sales
    • Medical: the medical community is a world unto itself. The improvement of it, and patient care, obviously is something worth working to improve. In times of stress, and surgeries, and office visits, simple Zen lets you override the ego. The outcome isn’t about you, or your numbers, but rather, optimized health. What can you do to aid the physician, the staff, the procedure? What is your connection to that world and how can you make it better? Put aside your selfish fear and connect to the energy that is working to heal. Don’t wear your scrubs to happy hour events and tell women you’re a surgeon—that’s suffering.
    • Fundraising: what about yourself—what improvement—will lead people towards charity? That’s it. That is the simple thought, the vehicle that leads one to connect to the energy of giving. Honesty, sincerity, and passion, btw*, is what I want my connection to me. Focusing on that eliminates the suffering and enables a shared drive to give. Zen.
    • Realty: Commission is never a thought. The deal isn’t about you. It’s what is best for the buyer and seller. Glengary Glen Ross, albeit a great movie, can eat it. Don’t always be closing. That’s dumb, and cheap, and impermanent. I want to provide knowledge and an enjoyable experience to all involved. That’s the connection I focus on. The zen is in genuine support you provide. And in the Buddha statue I sneak into the backyard right before closing.
    • Fitness/Wellness: Not sales, but… A healthy you, mind and body strong, is the greatest example of the connection If you are sound in health and heart you are able to do the most for the world around you. People also tend to buy things from nicer-looking people, so it is kinda sales, though. Not zen, but sales.

 *btw= by the way, if you’re still reading/awake.

Keeping it simple, in Zen, is living mindful of the people you are trying to help and the world you are trying to improve. It is understanding, aware that suffering is routed in selfishness and happiness is found in selflessness. It is the integration of your best “self” and the energy that brings that version of you to the rest of the world.

It is also not calling your nine year old son “stupid.”

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