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How Tai Chi helps executives in decision making

R Dinakaran | Updated on January 30, 2020 Published on January 30, 2020

Siddharth Kumar, a marketing professional and Chief Design Officer in an IT services firm, is a Tai Chi expert.

Tai Chi is much more than just a martial art

Those who have seen people performing Tai Chi think it is a martial art like Karate or Kung Fu. They are partially correct. Tai Chi is much more than a martial art.

What is Ta Chi?

Tai Chi is a Taoist mind-body system that is derived from both martial arts and Qigong - a complete system of energy work. Some call it Chinese Yoga. But the best description of Tai Chi would be ‘moving meditation’. It also has health benefits.

 

What is ‘moving meditation’ and how is it different from other forms of meditation?

The pace of our life is accelerating all the time leaving us with hardly any time to look even where we are heading. The stress of managing our personal lives along with our job or  leaves us exhausted at the end of the day. And not everyone can sit in one place and meditate. Slow physical movements combined with mindfulness can help us cope with the stress better, says Siddharth Kumar, Chief Design Officer in an IT services firm, who is a Tai Chi expert in Chennai.

Tai Chi for executives and business leaders

 

Even business leaders and executives have only a limited mental bandwidth because of the pace of decision-making and stressful work environments. Making sense of the data and information that’s coming in today requires a ‘mindfulness’, in the sense of being able to discern what’s important for the present situation. This state of awareness requires practice. So what they need is a system that helps them stay mindful even as they act on something. Tai Chi is ideal for that. It is a form of meditation, but based on movements and forms rather than sitting in one place with your eyes closed, says Siddharth

How can executives and business leaders benefit from Tai Chi?

Today’s business leaders have their own empires to run and Tai Chi offers a unique perspective on how to deal with large, complex systems. But to understand Tai Chi, we have to understand Taoism a little bit.

Dealing with change

Tao simply means the ‘The Way’. Both Taoism and Tai Chi deal with change. Dealing with change is the biggest challenge for any leader and yet, change is the only constant. So the central question for the ruler or the leader is, how much should you control and how much should you allow for change?

On being asked by the emperor about how his empire should be managed, Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching said, “Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it”

Siddharth says that to the business leader, the market is in a state of constant flux. The change is terrifying, but also presents enormous opportunities. So along with goals orientation, one also needs a toolbox to deal with change itself.

In the Taoist view, you ‘go with the flow’. Not passively, but with a detached, active interest in whatever situation is emerging. This could be about listening to the markets or being responsive to what your customer is saying for example. But it is applicable to a variety of situations. The point is to not let established patterns in your enterprise dictate the interpretation of the emerging situation but developing a ‘situational awareness’.

How does Tai Chi help leaders with ‘situational awareness’?

The challenge for business leaders is not about ‘understanding’ these principles. It’s about making it into a living experience. Tai Chi takes the principles of the Tao Te Ching and makes it into a physical discipline. By engaging the whole body, these principles become a felt sense instead of a mere intellectual understanding. But because it may not be always easy to engage with your inner self I’ve also been working a visual tool called Mentagram to help people get comfortable with their intuition and felt sense. It encourages a kind of holistic knowing that is complementary to the linear, reductionist thinking that business leaders are generally used to. This can have powerful consequences for decision making, says Siddharth.

 

Tai Chi can make a big difference even in our day-to-day life as it has a direct impact on bettering our health. It also makes us observe what we do and make decisions in a calm state of mind.

 

In these videos, Tai Chi expert Siddharth Kumar, a marketing professional who is also the Chief Design Officer in an IT services firm, talks about the basics of Tai Chi, how it helps manage our lives better and how it helps executives and business leaders.

Watch the full video here

 

Siddharth Kumar teaches Tai Chi in Chennai and can be reached at siddharth.mailbox@gmail.com

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Published on January 30, 2020
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