How Insight Benefits Business Development

This is the interview with Russell Bishop, one of the co-founders of the Insight Seminars. View it here or read the transcript below.

Back in the 1970’s when this personal growth and personal transformation movement was beginning, I was in the earliest of days actually, going back into 1960’s – one of the things I noticed was that most of the seminars at the time, were rather mental, shall we say, and sometimes even – a little rough on the participants. And I thought, there was a different way that was more gentle, more honouring of the person, with more capability and freedom for people to express who they really are.

And so, when I created Insight, the basic thought I had was how to become more of who you already are, or how to become more of who you truly are. Now, a lot of people would wonder, “Why would I need any seminar to be more of who I really am?” Well, many of us have learned lots of different behaviours over the years, different ways that are supposed to be socially acceptable about who is it ok to be, how is it ok to be, and underneath that I find there are a lot of people who are settling for life as opposed to creating the life they would truly prefer. So Insight was really about how would you create the life you would prefer as opposed to what you may have settled for. Today,

So, Insight was really about how you would create the life you would prefer as opposed to what you may have settled for. Today, there is even more pressure on people, there are more demands on our time – we are digitally distracted by all kinds of things, and there is an almost social ecstasy that you feel around the world when you listen to people talking correctly about the problems that we have as a planet – whether there’s global warming, ice shelves falling apart, sea levels rising, air being polluted, water being destroyed. There’s a lot of issues that we have as a planet, and then there is the question: who are the people, living that and creating that?

And so, I don’t know anybody who would prefer to live in a polluted planet. I don’t know anybody who would prefer to live in a polluted inner environment. And so, a lot of what Insight is about today is the same as it always was: becoming more of who you already are. In today’s world we do need to work and work perhaps even more than ever, and yet, do we have a job to support our life or is it our life that supports our job?

I think it’s more about how do you have a job that supports your life, and there’s a lot of research today that shows when an organization demonstrates caring for its people, and allows the people to care for the organization, that the organization blossoms and it does better on all kinds of socio-economic metrics, including standard things like internal rates of return, shareholders values, stock price – there’s a lot of measurable benefit when you look after your people. So, in the business consulting I’ve done over these many years, I was…, I guess it’s more I’ve discovered that business strategies don’t work – people work the strategies. Business processes don’t work – people work the processes. Now, you need a strategy and you need processes, but if you don’t have the right people, it falls apart. So, what does it mean to have the right people?

Well, you want people who work in your organisation to show up alert, focused, concerned and capable. And you don’t want them coming to work worrying about what went wrong at home. And you don’t want people going home at night, worrying about what went wrong at work. So, there’s a certain pathway there which is about helping people discover what matters most, and how to make choices that allow them to bring into being what matters most. So, I like to talk about making a difference that’s worth making. A lot of differences can be made in the world, not many of them are worth making. What about businesses – is the business making a contribution, worth making? Are we doing something that matters?

Arianna Huffington: How the Insight Seminars Changed My Life

Ariana Huffington's article about her experience with Insight Seminars and how it transformed her life. Published in The Sunday Observer, on 20th May, 1979:

Something is abroad in the land. More and more people are beginning to recognise – less and less idly – that there is more in the universe than meets the eye and more in themselves than a frantic and forlorn search for pleasure. And they are looking everywhere for something that will fulfil this new longing.

It was such a longing that took me just over a year ago to New York to take the Insight training. It was not that my life was not working; it was that something in me was convinced that there was more in me and more of me to experience. I had, a few months earlier, finished a book on the title page of which I had put a quotation from Solzhenitsyn’s “First Circle”: “If you wanted to put the world to rights whom would you begin with: yourself or others?” And I wanted to begin living what I had just finished writing.

So I began my searching, exploring, or as one of my more sceptical friends put it, groping. And, overwhelmingly cerebral creature that I was, I started raiding Watkins’ in Cecil Court and coming away loaded one week with the collected works of C. G. Jung, another with Rajneesh and Aurobindo and the third with my two favourite Babas – Sai Baba and Baba Muktananda. In the meantime I had been dutifully meditating for a regulation half hour every morning.

I had indeed taken the first inward step with which the journey of a thousand miles begins, but the journey so far seemed pretty arid and the road ahead too long and dusty. I knew that I was in danger of succumbing to a powerful dose of religion in the head, of becoming yet another theoretician of self-awareness. I was living out of the tragedy of our culture: seeking to live life, to capture and understand it, through the mind alone.

In March of last year, not entirely sure why, I found myself on a plane to New York, about to embark on a fifty hour “experience” called “Insight”. I came out of it on Sunday night feeling more alive than ever before. I was at last living from my being rather than my head. “Everything was the same, but two feet off the ground”. And I knew that this surge of new life was only the beginning. In many ways Insight began when Insight ended and life itself became a series of ever deeper insights.

The best way I could describe Insight, keeping in mind that if it could be adequately described we would not need fifty hours to experience it, is as an opportunity to discover, in ways that lie much beyond the mental, what we are and what our relationship to our world is. We can look at ourselves, perhaps for the first time, on several levels of awareness at once – emotional, physical, mental and spiritual – and explore all these aspects of being alive in ways that move across traditional disciplines, schools of thought and psychological theories. The practical, day to day effect is a deep acceptance of life as a spiral – ascending but with plenty of downturns – and a greater ability to detach ourselves from our life’s melodrama and learn to hear the inner wisdom underneath our own and others’ opinions

How does Insight do it? First of all, Insight doesn’t do it. I, you, we do it. Insight is only a catalyst for us to experience more of us – more love, more joy, more strength, more aliveness. It offers nothing we do not already have. It simply helps us move beyond the layers of illusions, games, mass, beliefs, pain, anger and resentments that block us from experiencing our reality.

But how does it help us do that?

First the format. Insight starts at six o’clock on a Wednesday evening and lasts for three evenings, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and two full days, Saturday and Sunday. There are about 100 people in each training, and you could call the whole process education in the original Latin sense of drawing out rather than in the modern sense of cramming in.   The aim of the various processes is to involve the whole being. So all sorts of methods are used: short lectures providing information and clarification, one-to-one exchanges with others taking the training or with those assisting, guided meditations and various processes that you could call “exercises” or even games, intended to hold mirrors to us and our lives and help us see – and acknowledge – what we want out of life, whatever that may be, and what it is that we do or do not do to bring it about.

There were so many moments during these fifty hours when I found myself literally as well as metaphorically sitting up: “So that’s what I’ve been doing”, or “So that’s how it is and has always been”. Some of these realisations were personal, others were universal. The personal ones involved recognising particular patterns in my life and myself – roles, belief systems, expectations – of which I was totally unaware and which were unconsciously controlling me.

Among the universal realisations there was one which for me summed up Insight and which had an instant thunderbolt effect and has been a continuing and growing influence in my life ever since. Like all the really important realisations it is a paradox: I knew at one and the same time that the most important relationship I will ever have is the relationship with myself and yet that my greatest strength and freedom is my conscious awareness of my oneness with everyone else. And there was – and is – nothing mystical about this feeling of oneness. Its effects are more practical than a hundred of the latest social and political measures put together. After all, our lives today and throughout the century have been dominated by attempts to overcome the most painful of all emotions: the feeling of separateness from others. Politics, sex and the insatiable craving for more and still more acquisitions have been the three favourite ways used. The political attempt that has sought to impose “oneness” through all sorts of collective monstrosities has been without doubt by far the most destructive, and may prove more destructive still.

But what if the feeling of separateness itself is an illusion and all the self-protective devices behind which we have been barricading ourselves self-destructive? What if we are, each one of us, powerful creators – creating, allowing or promoting everything that happens in our lives? What if, contrary to all our belief systems that say nothing of value can happen in less than fifty years of hard slog, something invaluably valuable can and does happen in fifty hours? What if …

I played the what if game for five days. It changed my life without – and this is yet another paradox – outwardly altering my life.

The one thing Insight is not, is yet another “thing” to believe in, to proselytise for or to single out as the one and only way. There are no “one and only ways”. Insight is one of the many ways we can use to come closer to our reality. It is a way that has worked for me and I wanted to let you know that it is now available in London and may work for you.

-Arianna Huffington (Stassinopoulos), Sunday Observer, 20th May 1979

How to Engage Employees & Lead from the Heart

When working with successful companies, over the years I have noticed there is a common denominator: awareness. These companies encourage their employees to notice what isn't working. They empower them to take action and correct any deficiencies.

On the other hand, I've worked with many companies where employees make flying under the radar an art. Ultimately this leads to a dysfunctional environment where an organization slows or even stops achieving its stated mission or goal.

In an effort to solve the problem these companies spend thousands of dollars to engage a myriad of consultants who often have difficulty resolving the problem. Why? Because it's something no one wants to talk about.

Why employees are afraid to communicate organizational problems

For example, I recently worked with a large Neutraceutical Company whose products weren't being delivered on time. This greatly affected revenue and repeat business. The President was frustrated and couldn't seem to determine who or what was at fault. Here's why...

  1. Nobody was willing to speak up and courageously communicate the deficiencies they observed.
  2. Employees, at all levels, closed their eyes, their ears and ultimately, their mouths.
  3. They disengaged.

When I came in and began to have conversations with a number of people, I discovered there was a lot of fear that if they spoke up there would be negative repercussions. There was also a group of employees who simply became too comfortable with mediocrity and didn't want to do anything that might create more work or expose their deficiencies.

Once we were able to uncover these core issues and make them tangible for the company's president, he immediately empowered his employees and actively recruited and hired proactive and courageous managers. Within a matter of months the company began to re-align with its mission and achieve all of its stated objectives. This is not a unique example.

How silence is costing your business

A study was done at Harvard University investigating the "Cost of Silence." They looked at both Enron and 9/11 and realized that, collectively, people had the information necessary that could possibly have averted what happened. But they were unwilling to communicate it.

They discovered that many people have a fear of speaking up because they think there will be consequences. Interestingly, what the Harvard researchers also found is that the consequences of avoiding communication are much greater than those for speaking out. The cost to your bottom line is much greater.

This conflict avoidance principle that is prevalent in Government and Corporate America right now is drastically impacting our effectiveness and our relevance. It has disabled so many of our corporations that people walk away from taking the courageous stance.

Now that I have empowered you with this information, I have a question for you: Are you willing to put your heart on the line and take strategic, intuitive and educated actions that are in alignment with your company and for the greatest good for all concerned?

I ask this because the heart is the barometer by which one determines what their next best move is. When I use the term "heart" in this way it is not meant as a romantic idea. It is courage personified.

Republished from Original article can be found here.

-Joe Hubbard, Insight CEO

Joe is a partner at Macghee Productivity Solutions, a strategic business consultancy, and he works with top athletes and business to help them reach their goals. He is also the CEO of Insight Seminars. Read his full profile.





How my awareness grew with Insight

The distance between what we “should” want and what we really want gets larger, and more blurred, day by day. After finishing Insight 1 a few weeks ago, I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom; realising that, despite living in a society where I could do, be or say anything, I had inadvertently been living in an invisible web of “should’s” and “have to’s” – feeling trapped by society and limiting my potential in the process. I had created this web for myself; and Insight helped me realise how.

Insight isn’t about becoming a better person; the point of it is that there is no “right” way to live. Nor does it change us innately; but helps us strip down the layers and habits that define and limit our day-to-day lives. It doesn’t dictate your life, in fact you are encouraged to put the seminar into your own “language.” Perceiving life on your own terms is incredibly freeing; you’re the only person who spends 100% of your life with you, so why be at war with that person, or live it on someone else’s terms?

We live in a commercial world where the key message is “more.” Higher targets, faster technologies, more money, more success, more social “likes.” The reaction to this desire for more, is a paradoxical need for the deeper things in life. Insight goes well beyond that; it provides profound personal and universal insight and could be taken by any person, at any age, in any age. It’s simply about becoming more aware. Awareness is power; if the world was more deeply aware of itself and all its seeming contradictions, life for many would be very different.

But what does “awareness” mean exactly? And how does Insight do it?

The sometimes overused quote “live in the moment” has powerfully freeing connotations; if you live in the moment you can do anything. But in fact, saying the words “right now I’m aware of…” in front of a room full of strangers is hugely challenging. From the very first task asking me to define the present, I started noticing tiny details; an awareness that grew over a series of tasks taken over three 12-hour days; from one-to-one’s and group interactions to voluntary sharing. Facing my emotions in the moment – letting them grow, evolve and speak up – was not something I was used to. Where exactly I had been up until the seminar, I’m not quite sure, but it wasn’t in the moment. This acute awareness forces you to acknowledge how you’re feeling at every stage of the seminar and pushes you to ask why… “Why am I feeling like this?” “Why can’t I answer that question?” “Why did I just respond like that?”

A big part of the learning process is also through other people’s sharing, where you start to see and understand how others feel and view the world. The profound, definitive essence of each human being suddenly takes the spotlight; proudly and unabashedly claiming its place. As a writer, I always thought I was a fairly open, perceptive person, but three days of brutal honesty showed me that I have been missing a lot. The interactive, participatory nature of the seminar is key to its success. Sharing is the best form of clarity; we’re never more succinct than when we’re in discussion and never more precise than when we’re presenting to a group.

Designed to test you, the set pattern of each task takes you on a journey where you find yourself entering a kind of maze taking you further and further inside your own mind, until you reach the point you need to. You could call it epiphany but it’s not as final as that; every time you reach a point in the maze, you’re one step closer to something else.

The Power of Choice

One of my biggest learnings during Insight 1 was the power of choice. We’ve heard it a hundred times before; that life doesn’t happen to us – we make it happen. And yet we constantly find ourselves in situations we don’t want, feeling powerless. Life is a blank canvas; we are responsible for marking and colouring it in our own way, but don’t always take ownership over it. When it doesn’t look the way we want it to we have a tendency to either destroy or cope with it. Insight taught me to be the artist of my own life; stepping back and looking at what I have – changing what I need to and enhancing the beautiful parts. I used to hate looking back and taking responsibility for my mistakes, but the seminar encouraged me to ask myself “did I make the best choice that was available to me at the time?” The answer for the most part is, yes of course. Asking this question enabled me to dispel some of the “should have’s” and “could have’s” existing in the web I had made for myself. I have a choice, in the here and now, to choose how I look at the past and move forward.

Changing perception is another powerful tool Insight 1 gives you. Again, it’s easy to say “change the way you look at it,” but years of self-taught perception aren’t always easy to define, let alone alter. Through a clever process looking at real, concrete situations, you start to see these situations change; gaining a new sense of clarity. We all have different levels of short-sightedness or long-sightedness in life, and learning to flip your perceptions in a fresh new way (or at least being open to it), is like removing a bad pair of glasses that had been straining your vision, even perhaps, causing you pain.

A few weeks before the seminar, my life had taken a sudden turn and I found myself at a crossroads that looked something like Oxford Circus at rush-hour - I suddenly seemed like the only thing not moving – and I wasn’t in any hurry to jump head-first and headstrong into yet another race. People said “take time out for yourself,” but how do you do that exactly? Read? Go travelling? Go for a walk?  I’d heard amazing things about Insight and was curious about what it involved. So much energy and budget goes into professional – and not personal – development, and I could see that the thing I was ignoring most is exactly what needed the most attention. One of the most important things I learnt from Insight, is never saying the words “have to.” So I wouldn’t say you “have to” go to the seminar – you don’t “have to” do anything – but if you’re willing to be open to the idea, then you’ve already taken that first important step. The rest is easy. - Fiona M.

Fiona is a writer and Marketing Executive currently working in fashion. She is curious about different fashions, voices and cultures, especially the Middle East where she used to work. She has worked with quite a few London-based startups to get them up and running. You can find her on Twitter, @stylefilosophy.