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Business of Being Alive (8-min)

To provide leadership, it is quintessentially important that you know where you are.
Jun 15, 2015
Milestones in business mark a significant phase of advancement. What are the milestones of life that indicate you are reaching your personal potential? This is an excerpt from Prem Rawat’s address at Young President’s Organization in Cascais, Portugal.

You’re all successful in your field—that’s why you’re here. So what can I tell you? Well, maybe there is something I can tell you, and it’s not about your business. I’m not here to tell you about your business. When it comes to business, you are miles ahead of me.

But I’m here to tell you about the value—because you understand the word “value”—value of being alive. And I’m here to tell you about something that is fundamentally missing from our equation.

We understand success. We have milestones; we set milestones. And through these milestones, we gauge our success. How much money; how much this; how much that. But in our milestones that we have, where is the milestone for you as a human being?

Who are you? What are you? You’re here. One thing we all share in this room is, we are in the business of being alive—and believe me, it is not shy of any business. It requires constant maintenance.

Family is a business! You have to negotiate. Sometimes your family is your client; sometimes they are the other union—especially the husband or wife. And you have to sit down, negotiate and convince each other of what this is. And of course, when the kids get older, you have to negotiate. You have to figure it out.

But what about you!? What about you as that human being that is alive, that exists? Because without any reference to that, some picture that will be generated will not be complete. Do you know what it means to be alive?

What do you think about during the day? Do you think about your problems? Do you think about your issues? Do you get frustrated with them? Or have you mastered the art of being able to say, “Give it some time”? Averting frustration; diluting it: slow frustration, frustration now tolerated in a period of five days rather than one hour.... And only, why? Because the doctor said so.

But my point is, if you don’t know who you are, you don’t know what your nature is. And if you don’t know what your nature is, you have no idea where you belong.

And for the leadership that you have to provide, it is quintessentially important that you know where you are—otherwise you will not be able to! The leadership requires that not only you know where you are—because that’s the whole crew! That’s your crew onboard your yacht, depending upon you to say, “Ah, we’re here!” Or not going, “Um, I, I, I think we are here...” No. “I am here.”

Do you practice, every day, having a recognition of yourself? The fact that you are alive offers the opportunity for the highest potential to be fulfilled. Let’s just look at a situation, a possibility in which a human being is at that utmost state where the potential of that human being is fulfilled.

No hundred percent, or a hundred-and-one percent, or a hundred-and-two percent, or a hundred-and-three percent. No, we’re not talking percentages; we’re not talking about scales. We’re talking about feeling!

Do you know what you all do every day for feeling? Just for feeling? I know when I said the word “feeling,” it’s like, “Well, yeah, ‘feeling’.... I want to look at my sheet, my bank balance, you know. ‘Well, how much did I make today?’ Yeah, but if that sheet says a big fat zero, how does that make you feel!?

Somebody says to you, “Okay, your business is finished.” How does that make you feel!? Your child comes up to you and says, “Dad, I hate you.” How does that make you feel!? This little thing that’s only this big has this much power? More power than the balance sheet? More power than the bank book?

But have you ever wondered what really makes you feel good? So let me draw your attention to peace. Not the peace that says, “You can park there, and I’ll park there”—I don’t really care. But the peace in which you have achieved your human potential. In that potential, how do you feel from within?


Strength from within! Not strength from outside, but strength from within, clarity from within, understanding from within! These are the simple and basic steps that need to be taken for you to be you. And if you exclude this from your formulas, it’s not going to be a complete picture.

So, for us as a human being, we need this balance. Do we have it? Do you have it? Your interest in your wellbeing—your wellbeing isn’t just your blood pressure. Your wellbeing isn’t just your good eyesight; your wellbeing isn’t just being able to hear well. Your wellbeing isn’t that you can exercise for five hours a day.

Your wellbeing actually begins from solid foundations within you—which, by the way, begin in the fertile fields of peace. This is who you are. These are your requirements. What I am talking about is not a luxury, nor an option. It is a necessity, like air, like water, like food, like warmth.

The fact that you are even interested in peace is extremely commendable, extremely commendable. In your positions—and you can make a huge difference, you really, really can.

 – Prem Rawat

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