By Tony Tjan, CEO and Managing Partner, Cue Ball Capital
Can we embody the essence of “clean” for the mind, body and spirit?
We’re living through a time of technology addiction and all its attendant stresses. Technology, as everyone knows, takes away as much as it gives. While offering us opportunities to be more present since we’re able to do more outside of the office, it has also created new pressures to squeeze more into the day.
In this short-term, do-it-now, add-to-cart, place-your-order culture, it’s easy to surrender to quick fixes by eating fast food and making snap decisions about what products we use. But today’s aggressive speed-of-doing has left many of us with burnt-out, toxic bodies, minds and souls, with little room left over for the kind of expansive, transformational thinking that leads to great ideas.
In my book “Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters”, I interviewed dozens of the most respected leaders in business, non-profit, art, academia and public service. More leaders than I could count placed a premium on cleaning their minds, bodies and souls in order to be fully present for the roles they play, and for the people they work with and live with. They are looking to make things simpler and trying to subtract things from their life. At the start of our lives we learn—and by the end of our lives we’ve grown to appreciate—that the most fulfilled people it’s been our pleasure to know have lived extremely full lives in the middle. Over and over, I remind myself of the value of truly being present in the moment.
At our venture fund, Cue Ball, we look for entrepreneurs who are focused on delivering solutions that help clean minds, bodies and souls. They are striving to clean up industries that benefit us all. Some, like Roti, make quality and healthy fast-casual food an option for almost anyone, and their mission is about food that “loves you back”. Others, like MiniLuxe and True Botanicals, have prioritized cleaning how we care for ourselves by creating toxin-free nail and skin-care products. Still others, like Jopwell and LandIt, work to clean up the workplace, creating offerings that enable more diverse hiring practices and in the case of Virgin Pulse, employee well-being solutions.
So how do we “clean” ourselves in order to be more present, while also delivering the returns and transformations we want to create?
Create a balance between connectivity and connectedness. Be fully present by turning off your device when you’re talking to someone. “Time is how you spend your love,” the author Zadie Smith once said. The time we spend connected should serve to inspire and drive our minds towards our goals, instead of filling them with unnecessary or junk-food-like content. The time we spend with our family, friends and colleagues should serve to fill our spirits with joy and creativity, giving us the reserves we can draw on to experience life in the fullest.
Choose to be a conscious consumer: Take a more thoughtful approach in terms of what you eat, what news you consume and what you invest in. Our actions reinforce our self-perception, and our feelings of self-worth in turn give us the strength to create truly transformative work in the world.
Remember – this isn’t a practice round. We are given one life and one body, and as the old adage reminds us, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. By seeking to clean our minds, bodies and spirits, we are that much closer to accessing our greatest potential. By creating and investing in genuinely transformative businesses built with good intentions by good people, we create a virtuous cycle with a clear path to success.
A call to action that I put forth in Good People is this: What if each one of us could have a positive impact on just ten people and what if those ten people in turn committed to imprinting that goodness onto another ten people, and then those ten people did the same….? An audacious and perhaps overly idealistic idea, but one that may in fact be how all of us begin to change the world.