Chade-Meng Tan: Everyday compassion at Google

6 Aug

Today morning was reflecting upon one of my great goals in life  a ” Heart full of grace.” I was doing so while climbing stairs. I like to experiment with a thought while climbing stairs. It’s become a auto reaction now.  I stay with a thought till finish climbing. Same while descending. Its my favorite pastime and like it. I realised the need to be mindful or aware. To not create a negative thought or  ”  You just can’t live that negative way ”  as the great Bob Marley sang …

” Live if you want to live
(Rastaman vibration, yeah! Positive!)
That’s what we got to give!
(I’n’I vibration yeah! Positive)
Got to have a good vibe!
(Iyaman Iration, yeah! Irie ites!)
(Positive vibration, yeah! Positive!)

If you get down and you quarrel everyday,
You’re saying prayers to the devils, I say. Wo-oh-ooh!
Why not help one another on the way?
Make it much easier. (Just a little bit easier)

Say you just can’t live that negative way,
If you know what I mean;
Make way for the positive day..”

( Bob Marley/ Positive Vibration)

The great singer is so very right. Got to have a positive vibe. I feel if our heart is full of grace and love. We will not behave in a negative way. We need to keep that love and grace alive.

I had read about Chade-Meng Tan and Mindfulness courses in Google. I had earlier  posted Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh talk@ Google. I believe Mindfulness  is a true path to relieve us from sufferring and liberates us  to be our best selves.  I want to share Chade-Meng Tan’s TED talk on ” Everyday compassion at Google” for you dear friends. No wonder Google is such a great company!

Chade-Meng Tan says in introduction  ” So what does the happiest man in the world look like? He certainly doesn’t look like me. He looks like this. His name is Matthieu Ricard. So how do you get to be the happiest man in the world? Well it turns out there is a way to measure happiness in the brain. And you do that by measuring the relative activation of the left prefrontal cortex in the fMRI, versus the right prefrontal cortex. And Mathieu’s happiness measure is off the charts. He’s by far the happiest man ever measured by science. Which leads us to a question: What was he thinking when he was being measured? Perhaps something very naughty.  Actually, he was meditating on compassion. Matthieu’s own experience is that compassion is the happiest state ever.”

Matthieu Ricard is a French Buddhist monk who has his own Ted Talk on ” The habbits of  Happiness” . I hope to post it soon.

Further Chade-Meng Tan says ” Reading about Matthieu was one of the pivotal moments of my life. My dream is to create the conditions for world peace in my lifetime — and to do that by creating the conditions for inner peace and compassion on a global scale. And learning about Matthieu gave me a new angle to look at my work. Matthieu’s brain scan shows that compassion is not a chore. Compassion is something that creates happiness. Compassion is fun. And that mind-blowing insight changes the entire game . ”

He goes on to say ” But fun is not enough. What if compassion is also profitable? What if compassion is also good for business? Then, every boss, every manager in the world, will want to have compassion — like this. That would create the conditions for world peace. So, I started paying attention to what compassion looks like in a business setting. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look very far. Because what I was looking for was right in front of my eyes — in Google, my company.

I know there are other compassionate companies in the world, but Google is the place I’m familiar with because I’ve been there for 10 years, so I’ll use Google as the case study. Google is a company born of idealism. It’s a company that thrives on idealism. And maybe because of that, compassion is organic and widespread company-wide. In Google, expressions of corporate compassion almost always follow the same pattern. It’s sort of a funny pattern. It starts with a small group of Googlers taking the initiative to do something. And they don’t usually ask for permission; they just go ahead and do it, and then other Googlers join in, and it just gets bigger and bigger. And sometimes it gets big enough to become official. So in other words, it almost always starts from the bottom up. ”

I had earlier posted on Google efforts to provide accurate information on surviors at the time Haiti earthquake.  He gives examples of corporate social responsibility which spawned as autonomous efforts  ” let me give you some examples.The first example is the largest annual community event –where Googlers from around the world donate their labor to their local communities –was initiated and organizedby three employees before it became official, because it just became too big. Another example, three Googlers –a chef, an engineer and, most funny, a massage therapist –three of them, they learned about a region in India where 200,000 people live without a single medical facility.So what do they do?They just go ahead and start a fundraiser.And they raise enough money to build this hospital –the first hospital of its kind for 200,000 people. During the Haiti earthquake, a number of engineers and product managers spontaneously came together and stayed over night to build a tool to allow earthquake victims to find their loved ones.And expressions of compassion are also found in our international offices . In China for example, one mid-level employee initiated the largest social action competition in China, involving more than 1,000 schools in China, working on issues such as education, poverty, health care and the environment. There is so much organic social action all around Google that the company decided to form a social responsibility team just to support these efforts. And this idea, again, came from the grassroots, from two Googlers who wrote their own job descriptions and volunteered themselves for the job. And I found it fascinating that the social responsibility team was not formed as part of some grand corporate strategy. It was two persons saying, “Let’s do this,” and the company said, “Yes.” So it turns out that Google is a compassionate company, because Googlers found compassion to be fun.”

More ” But again, fun is not enough. There are also real business benefits. So what are they? The first benefit of compassion is that it creates highly effective business leaders. What does that mean? There are three components of compassion. There is the affective component, which is, “I feel for you.” There is the cognitive component, which is, “I understand you.” And there is a motivational component, which is, “I want to help you.” So what has this got to do with business leadership? According to a very comprehensive study led by Jim Collins, and documented in the book “Good to Great,” it takes a very special kind of leader to bring a company from goodness to greatness. And he calls them “Level 5 leaders.” These are leaders who, in addition to being highly capable, possess two important qualities, and they are humility and ambition. These are leaders who are highly ambitious for the greater good. And because they’re ambitious for a greater good, they feel no need to inflate their own egos. And they, according to the research, make the best business leaders. ”

I believe this is true. All you need is  humility and ambition for greater good.

He goes on to give three key ingradients to a compassionate company culture : A passionate concern for greater good, autonomy and focus on inner development and self mastery.

I am interested in ” self-awareness and mastery”.  Google has  a seven-week curriculum on emotion intelligence “Searching Inside Yourself.” It works in three steps.

  1. The first step is attention training.  The idea here is to train attention to create a quality of mind that is calm and clear at the same time.
  2. The second step is developing self-knowledge and self-mastery.  It means being able to observe our thought stream and the process of emotion with high clarity, objectivity and from a third-person perspective.
  3. The third step  is to create new mental habits. A new thought  “I want you to be happy. I want you to be happy.” Having this habit, this mental habit, changes everything at work. Because this good will is unconsciously picked up by other people, and it creates trust, and trust creates a lot of good working relationships.


Chade-Meng Tan has written a book ” Search Inside Yourself : The unexpected path to Achieving Success, Happiness ( and World Peace) . For those interested :

The Ted Speaker Bio says ” Chade-Meng Tan was one of Google’s earliest engineers. Among many other things, Meng helped build Google’s first mobile search service, and headed the team that kept a vigilant eye on Google’s search quality. After an eight-year stint in Engineering, he now serves with GoogleEDU as the Head of Personal Growth. One of his main projects is Search Inside Yourself — a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence course, which he hopes will eventually contribute to world peace in a meaningful way.”

Iam good@ Mindfulness. Google and Chade-Meng Tan Hire me 🙂

Hope you like this talk dear friends and have a lovely day!

Thank you!





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