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What I Learned at Harvard

What I learned at Harvard is that there is a large group of very committed people working at changing the world. Some of the Key Note speakers talked about changing the world through negotiation (Daniel Shapiro), through the study of neuroscience (Marco Iacoboni and Mary Helen Immordiano-Yang), through changes to public education (Tony Wagner), leadership (Myles Munroe), through the mind-body connection (Herbert Benson) all coordinated and lead by true pioneers and leaders in the field of emotional intelligence – Josh Freedman and Anabel Jensen.

I made my contribution talking about a Case Study of oil and gas managers as they wade through the relatively new content of emotional intelligence, or ‘plow’ through, as the case may be ;-) The topic of my presentation was, “Bulls in the China Shop: the Emotional Intelligence of Senior Leaders.” I picked up a lot of great new books on emotional intelligence, which I will write about in subsequent blogs as I read and review them. And I was generally inspired to continue to do the work that I’m passionate about, which is assisting managers in organizations to develop their emotional intelligence skills and watching them develop an efficiency and an increased effectiveness at achieving what they intend.

Over the next few weeks I’ll write about some of the individual speakers that impacted me, in no particular order, beginning with Herbert Benson who is well into his 80’s. Dr. Benson was a researcher at Harvard Medical School back in the early 70’s when practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM) approached him and asked him if he would look at the physiological effects of meditation on the body. He refused, but they kept coming back and so he finally agreed, but it had to be at night so the powers that be would not find out that he was investigating something so absurd. His findings were astounding to him and his colleagues. He found that the individuals that meditated actually lowered their metabolism, used less oxygen, were much more efficient physiologically and many, many other health benefits. He essentially offered physicians a prescription other than medication for their patients and changed the way physicians treated patients because prior to his research physicians were restricted to drugs and surgeries as solutions for patients. Check out his fascinating work at

I’ve been trying it as described on the website and taught to us by Dr. Benson himself at the conference. It’s difficult and I find my mind wandering constantly to the demands and pressures of the day, but that’s precisely why I’m going to keep trying! ;-)

What about you? Do you meditate? What does it do for you? Please comment below.

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