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Professionals Praying

For business news, Inc.com is usually a pretty reliable source of good information and insight. Kevin Daum’s recent article about “The Power of Prayer for Business” was quite the exception.

I have certainly witnessed on many occasions the following prayers by people I know:

• Praying to close that big deal.
• Praying to make payroll at the end of the month.
• Praying that your expensive new marketing campaign will work.
• Praying your employees will get it right this time.
• Praying your client won’t see the big mistake you made.
• Praying that something not so good happens to your competitors.

But real prayer is about focus and discipline, traits that have great relevance to daily business performance.

I know – Daum is trying to tell us what constitutes “real” prayer. Ironic, funny – but not fit for a serious business publication. But here’s the kicker – Daum encourages readers to “Be Thankful” and to “Be Humble,” but then floats this idea:

3. Be Hopeful

There is nothing wrong or selfish about asking the universe for good things to come your way. Prayer connects you with powerful forces to improve your life. But recognize that the universe is not Santa Claus. Ask for that which you are ready to be worthy and deserving.

So close, and yet so far. Prayer connects you with nothing but your own thoughts. And it seems like Daum is on the verge of recognizing this, but then he returns to this petty, self-important idea that the universe/God owes him something. Daum may feel he is worthy and deserving of some cosmic gift-giving, but the universe continues with indifference to his pleas and prayers.

Daum closes the article this way:

Just find 10 minutes a day by yourself to focus your soul and be at one with the universe.

Taking time each day to focus and center yourself is a good idea. But like virtually everything else in Daum’s vacuous article, it can be applied in a secular way. You don’t need to believe in nonsense to be humble, thankful, hopeful or mindful (and to be fair, Daum does acknowledge this). It just goes to show that the only good things ever produced by religion can be achieved in a completely secular way.

Dump the mystical fluff – it’s time to move forward.

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