I teach mindfulness from time to time to groups of senior executives at one of the UK's leading financial services organisations. These are ambitious people with big jobs. They have only a few steps left on their career paths and the organisation wants to help them make those. That's where programmes like my Art of Mindful Leadership training come in.
Last year, while I was home alone, I had discovered something that sent a wave of shock through me. I had ventured into the basement for a work out when it was to my dismayed surprise that I noticed a very old robin stuck in our window well. I knew he was old because he he had grey tufts of hair surrounding his head like a halo, and the poor little guy didn't move very much.
The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self- sufficient. But our systems of state charity - aka welfare - have too frequently had the opposite effect: they have actually created dependency. It is time to re-think the way we help people.
I had always thought I could never be a great doctor because I felt too emotionally bound to my patients. It was impossible for me to hold back tears when feeling that gut wrenching empathy for families mourning the passing of their loved ones. Because it always seemed as if I were the only resident moved by these scenes, I reasoned that this was an unprofessional impulse.
The purpose of the socially entrepreneurial University can therefore be said to be to make society more equal and just through the values and decisions of our graduates. The debate on values then becomes re-centred on what values we wish to develop in our graduating students, and thus into social entrepreneurship that we create? Here are some suggestions.
I don't think anyone seriously denies that welfare reform of some sort is necessary, whether to reduce waste and fraud, to re-establish proper incentive for the unemployed to look for work, or to help restore order to public finances. Around these basic points there's consensus. The question is, however, reforms at what cost, and to whom?