Deepak Chopra on the Future of Business

Renata Black, EBY Co-Founder & CEO

A version of this article was first published on HuffPost.

deepak chopra
Deepak Chopra – Author, public speaker, physician

Renata: How do you see the future of business?

Deepak Chopra: More people are buying virtually than going to stores. Ecommerce has shifted to something interesting called story commerce. Story commerce means that not only are you buying online, but you are buying products that are connected with a story that is emotional and appeals to your higher instincts of love, compassion, empathy and joy. This has then led to what is called cause-driven marketing. So we are at that stage now where the story is linked to a cause, and the cause has to do with global issues: poverty, women’s empowerment, children’s rights, environment and sustainability and also social and economic justice. People are realizing that these are all interconnected to peace. You can’t have peace if you have these huge issues like extreme economic disparities. Therefore, in a sense, if we want to create a more peaceful, just, sustainable and healthy world, then we have to really combine story telling with cause-driven marketing. That is the next frontier.

You have known me for many years now and have observed my transition from the non-profit space to the social enterprise space. However, it wasn’t until my first event at SCOOP that I experienced the genuine connection a group of people experienced with a product that had meaning. It was mind-blowing to witness their emotional connection to Empowered By You. You were a major inspiration to me when I moved into the social enterprise space. Do you think conscious capitalism is just a fad or something that will only gain momentum?

Conscious capitalism is improving the economic conditions of the world, and the data shows that when you improve a person’s wellbeing, either in the area of financial wellbeing, career wellbeing, community wellbeing, physical wellbeing, or social wellbeing, these are all connected. So now at Gallup, where I’m a senior consultant, we actually monitor the wellbeing of individuals, communities, societies and even countries. And in these 5 buckets: career wellbeing, social wellbeing, physical wellbeing, community wellbeing and financial wellbeing. Because if you feel poor, that’s going to affect your physical wellbeing because of the stress. So they are all connected. On a societal level, they are connected to everything from violence to war, to terrorism, to traffic accidents, to hospital admissions. You name it, it’s connected to these 5 areas.

How important is it for big, trendsetting companies to participate in conscious capitalism?

I am seeing in my own experience that the biggest businesses of the future are actually not going to be the Whole Foods of the world. They’ll be entrepreneurs who have basically said to themselves ‘I want to make a difference in the world, I’m willing to take a risk, I’m willing to connect with other people and I’m really interested in the wellbeing of people everywhere in the world.’

Your life is dedicated to making people see things differently. How difficult is it to show people a new perspective?

People are very entrenched in their old ways of thinking. You can never change a paradigm by attacking it. You make it obsolete by introducing a new paradigm and that happens when you reach a critical mass or tipping point in the world where everybody starts to see the obvious, so those things take time. But when they shift, they shift because the old paradigm becomes obsolete.

Tell me about your own paradigm shift. Has there been a breakdown moment in your life that made you realize you should be doing something different?

Yes, and it has to do with health and wellbeing. I saw that doctors needed to treat a person as a whole. As a physician, I was very aware that two people could get the same treatment, see the same doctor, have the same diagnosis and have completely different outcomes. So I knew that we were not addressing the whole being when treating patients. The whole being is part of a system and the system includes all of life: all your interactions, your personal relationships, your social interactions, your environment, your food. So it was a shift from what is called reductionism to wholeness. I started as a doctor who looked only at the physical body, then emotional wellbeing, then spiritual wellbeing, and now environmental wellbeing and global wellbeing.

If you could sum up the goal of your life, what would it be?

I want to reach a critical mass of people in the world, at least a hundred million people, who are actually, through their own personal transformation, shifting the world. I don’t think you can have social transformation in the absence of personal transformation. So if you want to create peace in the world, you have to be peaceful yourself. If you want to have more love in the world, then you have to experience love yourself. If you want to see more health in the world, then you have to be healthy yourself. In other words, in the words of Gandhi, you have to be the change you want to see in the world. And I personally think if we get a hundred million people who are so engaged in personal transformation towards a higher consciousness, we can help create a more peaceful, just, sustainable, happier and healthier world.

When you’re having a tough day, what do you do to turn it around?

I’m embarrassed to say this but I never have a hard day. Because it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to what happens to you. And I always respond with centered awareness. I look at the big picture and I look for opportunities in every situation that would normally be considered a problem.

Usually this blog series only highlights female Paradigm Shifters, but Deepak is the exception to every rule. At times you read Deepak’s words and it is hard to believe that someone could actually live all this wisdom out. After knowing Deepak for over five years now, I can say he truly walks the talk with genuine swagger. As a social entrepreneur that is on the quest to shift the paradigm and leave a lasting impact, I often find myself visiting Deepak’s words in an effort to stay true to myself. I feel it is safe to say that Deepak has accomplished to shift the paradigm for millions of people already.

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