A lot of people are curious about “how, why, and where” I got the inspiration for the Mind workshops we did this year. Here is my latest version of that story.
Inspiration – MPPGA Mind 2018
I met with Moura Quayle, UBC Public Policy Director, in June 2018 to discuss how my new experiment with Meditation, Mindfulness, and Career Exploration was going. I’d had similar discussions with her about “Experiential Entrepreneurship” and “Design Thinking” in the past. We talked about the journey from the fall of 2017 to now. The idea in the fall of 2017, the prototype at Quest University in February 2018, and the full workshop in June 2018 at UBC. At the end of that meeting she asked, “… I know you’re busy … and can you do this for our students?”
Where This All Started – The Fall of 2017 – and earlier.
Here is the story that I told. The inspiration for this workshop comes from Engineering Physics (Fizz) students request for support in “Mental Health”. At the 2017 Fizz Board of Studies meeting student representatives asked for Mental Health support. I read the minutes and said to myself, “I should do something about that. I’ll book a meeting with Andre (Engineering Physics Director) right now.”
I’ve been mentoring entrepreneurs at UBC for over a decade and through that activity I’ve had many of these “Mental Health” requests. I find that students want to learn about ways to support their mental health and achieve high performance in their work. I have experience in this area honed from my journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 2001 and my intense startup journeys with PMC-Sierra and Packet Engines.
My first experience with mindfulness and meditation was via the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs developed by Dr John Kabatt Zin. I found these practices worked for me. I have explored many of the sources and inspirations of Kabat-Zinn’s scientific work to provide a scientific basis for mindfulness and meditation. Being a “Fizzer” I wanted to get to “first principles” and that is how I met a “lay monk/nun” named Bonni Ross. That said, I’m not going get into theory of meditation and mindfulness. We’re just going to try it out, like a laboratory course, we are going to “Sit, Circle, and Explore”.
A Special Thank You To Chade-Meng Tan For His Inspiration
When talking about inspiration I have to mention Chade-Meng Tan. I’ve never met him and yet when I read his blog, and later books, I felt like he’s been in the “cube” next to me forever. He’s a crazy and silly engineer like the rest of us. He’s different because he’s an early-Google-guy and wants us all to meditate.
I’d like to “Thank” Chade-Meng Tan for his audaciousness in developing the “Search Inside Yourself” class at Google in the 2000s and publishing his book in 2012. Without his coming forward and destigmatizing Mindfulness and Meditation in the engineering community, I couldn’t have done this. Here is his “Life Story: Three Easy Steps to World Peace from his old-blog Mengstupiditis. Yes, he is a crazy, silly, super-smart guy.
“Three Easy Steps to World Peace” by Chade-Meng Tan
1. Start with me, be the change I want to see in the world.
2. Make meditation a field of science, just like medicine.
3. Align meditation with real life, make it useful and relevant for real people.
You may ask why I’m offering a meditation workshop for Engineering Physics (Fizz) students.
My answer is that I have lived this topic for over a decade and I’m in the Fizz and UBC tribe. I can get this conversation started.
I started meditating in the early 2000’s for health reasons. In 2005, I had the good fortune of meeting meditation genius Bonni Ross and began a deep study of meditation. She got me started in all the components of this program. Thank You Bonni.
I came across Chade-Meng Tan’s blog in the late-2000s and became more open about my journey with meditation and mindfulness.
Also, I’ve spent a lot of time rationalizing my meditation experience with psychology. A big Thank You to Dr Holly Stepaniuk and Dr Lesley Joy for helping me decode the meditative experience.
Also, I’ve a long history with UBC. I’m a Fizz ’89, just like program director Dr Andre Marziali. I’m on the Fizz Board of Studies. I’m part of the donor team that created the PMC-Sierra Professorship in Fizz. I taught entrepreneurship in the UBC Sauder MBA program 2008-2012. A big Thank You to John Ries for getting that going. I taught the first two Lean Launch Pads (LLPs) with e@UBC in 2012 and 2013. A big Thank You to Carol Leacy and Anuj Singhal for that. I volunteered in a few of UBC Sauder’s “Design Thinking” classes. Thank You Moura Quayle for that. I taught LLPs in the Genomics Entrepreneurship program. A big Thank You to Andrea Lloyd for that. In 2014 I went to Kenya with UBC Sauder Social Entrepreneurship. A big Thank You to Frances Chandler for that. Since 2015 I’ve been a Entrepreneurship Advisor at UBC Sauder. A big Thank You to Paul Cubbon for that.
This essay on workplace burnout “I Forget What Eight Was For” provides my motivation for developing the skills in this workshop.
Finally, this Pecha Kucha video is a good introduction to me in the role of Entrepreneurship Advisor and Explorer.