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'Invincible Leadership' and peak performance within everyone's reach
by Global Good News staff writer

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22 July 2009

'Higher Development, Brain Integration, and Excellence in Leadership'*, a research paper recently published in the acclaimed journal, Management Decision, presents a breakthrough in the scientific study of peak performance and the development of leadership skills*. Please see Part 1 of this article.

A team led by Harald S. Harung, Ph.D** studied peak performers in a wide range of professions, as well as practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation Technique, which has been scientifically shown to enhance brain function. The research suggests methods for systematically developing higher levels of performance.

'Psychology has a basis in physiology,' explains Dr Harung. 'The functioning of the brain determines the qualities and functioning of thought and action. Since different parts of the brain underlie different mind-body functions, brain integration appears to be a psychological basis of higher personal integrity and self-development.' His colleague, Dr Fred Travis***, a psychologist who has studied brain functioning for nearly 30 years, developed the Brain Integration Scale as an objective measure of performance capacity.

Based on their collective research, Dr Harung identifies 'dimensions of leadership'. The first level he terms Effective Leadership, corresponding to an advanced state known to psychologists as post-conventional development. 'Psychological development can be illustrated by contrasting the personal characteristics of conventional development (expressed in about 80 percent of today's adult population) with post-conventional development (seen in about 10 percent of the population, the peak performers).' Characteristics include: a shift from path-following to path-finding; from dependence to greater autonomy; from unilateral control to collaboration; from reactive to preventive; more holistic comprehension; and higher moral reasoning.

An important finding of the research is an indication of an even greater level of development, what Dr Harung calls Invincible Leadership. 'This is the domain of higher states of consciousness, and goes beyond the realm of conventional psychology. Maharishi's Vedic Science (the ancient system of knowledge restored in its completeness by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation Programme) provides an integrated framework for understanding and developing higher states of consciousness.

Experiences of higher states of consciousness corresponded to statistically significant changes in the neurophysiology of the test subjects. Characteristics of Invincible Leadership are:

- spontaneous right action;
- sustained peak performance;
- a sense of perfection in action;
- inner peace;
- bliss and inner fulfilment;
- inner silence amidst dynamic activity;
- a sense of playfulness; and
- reliable intuition.

As Dr Harung explains, 'peak experiences'—a term coined by renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow to describe fully matured psychological development—are glimpses of higher consciousness. 'Of the one hundred or more people we studied, over 70 percent have had at least one peak experience in their life. For example, a Norwegian cross-country skier who has won 11 Olympic gold medals said when he gets into this invincibility state, the uphills are not long enough or steep enough. He'd really like to have steeper and longer hills.'

In summarizing his work, Dr Harung states, 'The qualities that we find in world-class performers are those that develop with TM and the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme,' referring to an advanced technique of Maharishi's Vedic Science that promotes optimized brain functioning.

Dr Harung proposes good news for any organization, and for society as a whole: 'Just as individuals have stages of development—and since social systems are a collection of people—social entities must also have recognizable stages of collective development. As individual thought and action arise from the quality of individual consciousness, so team and organizational values, thought processes, and actions must arise from the quality of the group's collective consciousness.' Transcendental Meditation, therefore, can be a tool for leadership development and collective transformation.

*Harung, H. S., Travis, F., Blank, W. & Heaton, D. P. (2009). Higher development, brain integration, and excellence in leadership, Management Decision, Vol. 47, No. 6, pp. 872-894.

** Dr Harald Harung is President of Maharishi Vedic Education, Nordic, in Olso, Norway; and Associate Professor at Oslo University College, Norway.

***Dr Fred Travis is Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, USA.

© Copyright 2009 Global Good News® Service.

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