Chade-Meng Tan, was originally an engineer at Google. While working there, he was nicknamed by his co-workers as “Jolly Good Fellow”. It is now part of his business card, and he is a NY Times Best Selling author of his mindfulness book Search Inside Yourself and his followup book Joy on Demand.
Search Inside Yourself was a mindfulness based training program that Tan developed while working at Google. The success of his subsequent book and Ted talk led him to establish his Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute ( whose acronym is pronounced “silly”) Tan’s dream and life’s work is to spread mindfulness compassion throughout corporate businesses by showing how compassion will be good for their bottom line. Once accomplished, he believes this will spread compassion throughout the world and lead to his ultimate goal of world peace.
It all started for Tan during a walk on the Google grounds. And a series of questions that he began posing to himself:
“What if people can use contemplative practices to help them succeed in life and at work? In other words, what if contemplative practices can be made beneficial both to people’s careers and to business bottom lines?”
The course that Tan created at Google in 2007 was called: Search Inside Yourself, so named as to be a humorous inside joke for the engineer who spent his life working on optimizing the Giant’s search engine. His program had three basic areas of focus:
- Attention Training
- Self knowledge…leading to self mastery
- Creating Useful Mental habits (for example: What if your thought on meeting each person throughout your day was one of wishing happiness for that person?)
He explains his Search Inside Yourself theory in this talk which he delivered at Dreamforce.
In 2016, Tan returned with his sequel book, Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within. Scientists have documented the positive neurological changes in a person’s brain after beginning a practice of mindfulness meditation. And Tan is likewise convinced of the power of mindful meditation in changing the set-point of a person’s response system from a negative state to a more positive, happier one. In his new book, he sets out to do that, providing us with the “skills to access joy” He begins with exercises to help the reader cultivate inner peace. He then gently and humorously turns our attention to the recognition of inner joy. Inner joy leads naturally into a cycle of goodness that includes compassion and kindness. He also addresses the co-existence of inner joy and pain. Even if you only sample a few of the ideas offered in this engaging read, you will find yourself feeling lighter inside and perhaps even fighting a smile.
In closing, if you have never tried meditation before, here is a short 10 minute guided meditation about feeling present in this very moment for you to experience: