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Mind-body expert Deepak Chopra signed books and greeted Kellogg students after a Feb. 8 talk at the Kellogg School.

Deepak Chopra, MD

The soul of leadership

Deepak Chopra gives insight into unlocking the leader within

By Sara Langen

2/14/2011 - As the world watches Egypt move toward democracy, mind-body expert Deepak Chopra is paying special attention to the role social media has played in helping protestors organize and disseminate their messages.

“Something is happening right now with our newer technologies — we are actually participating in the creation of a new collective psyche,” Chopra told a packed crowd at the Kellogg School on Feb. 8.

Seventy-five percent of Egyptians are under the age of 30, and many of them are plugged into Facebook and Twitter — new media that are helping to connect people all over the planet, Chopra said.

“We are now … seeing through technology the entangled mind,” he explained. “I am so hopeful that with the way technology is evolving and the way we are evolving and becoming self-aware that for the first time, we have the ability to influence the collective consciousness.”

The best-selling author and founder of the Carlsbad, Calif.-based Chopra Center for Wellbeing is also an adjunct professor at Kellogg, where he teaches The Soul of Leadership, an executive education class focused on creating a deeper understanding of leadership potential. His lecture gave an overview of the course and was followed by a reception and book-signing.

As the protests in Egypt demonstrate, harnessing the power of the individual and the collective consciousness is key to being an effective leader, Chopra explained.

“A great leader is the symbolic soul of a collective consciousness and represents the potential greatness that lies in that consciousness,” he said. “That group consciousness can be a family, a team, a business, a community, a political party, a nation.”

Because human beings have the ability to change, how one chooses to think and interact with others can actually rewire the brain, Chopra said. Changing your outlook in this way can help one achieve. Understanding the archetypes and shared stories that underpin the human experience is also important.

“Great brands are symbolic representations of great archetypes,” he explained. “Successful businesses, successful brands, successful leaders — they understand the meaning behind the story. Understanding human needs and the hierarchies of need [is key].”

Success can’t be measured by the bottom line, but rather the relationship between economic success and total well-being throughout the world, he continued.

“I think long-lasting economic success is only guaranteed when we have a true sense of self, because everything that happens out there is a projection of our whole selves,” he said. “The great wisdom traditions of the East say that the self of the individual is ultimately the self of the universe, so when you go beyond your mind, your intellect, your ego … there’s a feeling of awareness that connects you to everything.”