A McKinsey Senior Partner on How To Manage Endless Email Threads

Manish Chopra on meditation, texting and batching email.

Thrive Global
Dec 16, 2016 · 3 min read

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?Manish Chopra: Drink two glasses of lime or lemon infused lukewarm water and followed by practice of Vipassana meditation.

TG: What gives you energy?
MC:
Meditation, intense physical exercise (squash or running), quality time with my 3-year old daughter.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
MC: An ongoing practice of Vipassana meditation.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?MC: Increasingly reduced obsession with the phone. Certainly does not sleep with me. Have a goal to not check it in the first two waking hours and the last hour before sleeping.

TG: How do you deal with email?
MC:
This question also could be the subject of another book but in brief:

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?MC: Great question. Here’s my typical use of short time windows

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out?
MC: Last time I felt burned out was before my first experience with meditation 6-years ago. Thankfully, since then, the gift of regularly practicing meditation and investing in a 10-day meditation retreat every year has kept things in a nice balance even as external stress and work-related responsibilities have increased.

TG: Share a quote that gives you strength when times are tough.
MC: It would probably have to be “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” by Viktor Frankl, who is an Auschwitz survivor and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I typically use a shortened version for brevity and ease of memory “Between the stimulus and response, lies the freedom of our choice.”

The context / interpretation for this quote, or at least as I have internalized it (and incidentally referenced it in my own book), is that while external circumstances (stimuli) can be good or bad, how we process the situation is really up to us (the choice of response). It may seem counterintuitive on the surface whether we have a choice but certainly through meditation and other such techniques, one can appreciate that there is in fact a fraction of a moment in which the mind can in fact make a choice on how to respond vs. be on autopilot.

Outside of serving CEOs and other senior executives and leading institutions in healthcare and on the topic of pricing, Manish speaks and writes about the benefits of meditation to professionals. He is the author of the book, The Equanimous Mind, which chronicles his initial experiences with learning the practice of Vipassana meditation and the life-changing impact it has had on his personal and professional life.

Thrive Global

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