Today we feature Professor Hitendra Wadhwa PhD who has been a
fan of David’s work for the past ten years. Hitendra has just
published a new book,
Inner Mastery, Outer Impact.
Hitendra is a Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School
and Founder of the Mentora Institute, and his class on Personal
Leadership & Success is one of the most popular at Columbia
Business School. He believes that the secret of leadership and
success in business stems from inner mastery. He also has his own
fascinating and skillfully produced podcast called Intersections where
he interviews accomplished individuals from different spheres of
human pursuit to draw out their insights and stories about the
pursuit of success and happiness.
One of Hitendra’s aims has been to integrate current
psychological trends with ancient wisdom in order to glean
the most important ideas needed for happy and successful lives. He
has backed this up with a daily meditation practice he began 20
years ago, seeking answers to the most basic questions about the
meaning and purpose of our lives and a philosophy that leads to
joy, connection, and productivity.
Hitendra gives an example of how inner mastery can lead to
outer impact. A colleague named Dan used to relentlessly find
shortcomings and point to improved solutions every time Hitendra
presented his work when he was first working as a business
consultant. He said that he carried a grudge against Dan for
several weeks because he was trying to impress his colleagues and
felt put down by Dan.
Of course, this type of attitude and defensiveness can easily
trigger the very adversarial responses we fear. Then we tend to
blame the “outer” and overlook how we might be inadvertently
creating our own negative external reality. Fortunately, the
opposite is equally true. When your attitude suddenly shifts, and
your “inner” self changes, your outer reality will nearly always
suddenly shift at the same time.
One day, one of Hitendra’ s supervisors said to him: You should
be more like Dan. He’s trying to help you take your game to the
next level, but you don’t take a similar interest in helping him
find ways to improve his work!”
Hitendra explained the impact of his supervisor’s
“This comment suddenly turned on a light bulb in my head. I
realized I was viewing Dan as an enemy, so if he criticized me, I
thought he was against me, so I viewed him as the “enemy.” Instead,
I decided to find the truth in his criticisms and began to view him
as an ally, as a teacher, as someone who wanted to help me.
“At that point, our entire relationship changed dramatically,
and I felt empowered!”
Of course, podcast fans will realize this as the Disarming
Techniques, one of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication that
David has popularized.
Hitendra also discussed other themes in his new book, like what
it means to “be true to yourself,” and how to discover the crown
jewel within yourself, at your core.
He also described how to tap into the five sources of core
energy within yourself: Purpose, Wisdom, Growth, Love, and
Self-Realization. He said that many people are afraid of Love,
fearing that it is the same as weakness and will lead them to get
taken advantage of. He suggested that in reality, love is a
powerful force, and gave examples of the expression of love in a
variety of successful business.
He told many fun and inspiring stories, including his stuckness
when trying to think of a way to honor his father’s 80th
birthday. He couldn’t think of what he’d say at the celebration,
because he’d always done the opposite of what his father had
recommended. But then, while meditating, he saw that he’d been
inspired all long by how his father had lived his life.
He talked about the concept of transcendence as well as racism,
and pointed out that we tend to label people based on some
characteristic like skin color. But this can be very misleading,
because two people who are Black, for example, will often have
radically different backgrounds and life experiences.
As an example, he described someone from the Caribbean who had
no experience of racial discrimination when growing up. He
emphasized that when we label people, we get lazy and do not
respond to the reality and depth of who that person really is.
Essentially, we are then putting people in “boxes” instead of
seeing them for the full richness of who they are.
He also said that our human identities are partly shared and
partly unique. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. learned a great
deal from Mahatma Gandhi, who in turn was inspired by Leo
Tolstoy—indicating a merger of three strikingly different
Using story-telling, Hitendra addressed basic questions
How do we integrate our (partially hidden) inner and outer
Who am I, really?
What’s my purpose in the universe?
He said that what many psychologists believe they “discover” is
actually not new, but based on ancient wisdom, like the practice of
gratitude in meditation, and shifting your mindsets, and tuning in
to your capacity for compassion and kindness, and finding the best
Rhonda and I want to thank Hitendra for his journey and
wonderful new book, and all of you as well for tuning in and
joining us on our journey!
Rhonda, Hitendra, and David
About the Podcast
This podcast features David D. Burns MD, author of "Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy," describing powerful new techniques to overcome depression and anxiety and develop greater joy and self-esteem. For therapists and the general public alike!