Jeremy Hunter on The Quality of Life and Attention, Meaningful and Engaged Life, Why Moments Matter, Japan Bathing Culture, and More (#152)

The Nishant Garg Show

“I tell my Japanese friends all the time, you can’t digitize a bathtub.”

“Use your daily life as a place of practice.”

“You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.”


Jeremy Hunter, PhD is the great-grandson of a sumo wrestler. He serves as the Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Institute as well as Associate Professor of Practice at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management. For over a decade, he has helped leaders develop themselves while retaining their humanity in the face of monumental change and challenge. He created and teaches The Executive Mind, a series of demanding and transformative executive education programs. They are dedicated to Drucker’s assertion that “You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.”

He co-leads the Leading Mindfully Executive Education program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He has designed and led leadership development programs for a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 200 aerospace, Fortune 50 banking and finance, accounting, the arts and civic non-profits. Program impacts have lead to both positive professional, personal and financial outcomes for participants. Past participants have worked to create a “culture of calm” resulting in more effective team performance as well as creating better firm-wide solutions. They were better able to focus on their priorities, connect with team members, and focus on larger strategic priorities. They learned to control emotions they previously thought not possible to do. For example, better-managed reactions with a volatile client saved an aerospace executive an estimated $700,000 in unexercised contract clauses. Participants also reported a higher quality of sleep as well as greater peace of mind and enhanced ability to enjoy their lives.

Hunter has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He has been voted Professor of the Year five times. His work is informed by the experience of living day-to-day for 17 years with a potentially terminal illness. When faced with the need for life-saving surgery more than a dozen former students came forward as organ donors.

Dr. Hunter received his Ph.D. from University of Chicago, under the direction of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He also holds a degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and in East Asian Studies from Wittenberg University. He relishes Chinese dumplings and obsesses about modern architecture. He and his wife and son dutifully serve two housecats who live in Los Angeles. He is a contributor to, He was featured in the article “Why Mindfulness Matters.”

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Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Ted Talk: How to Change your Future

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Book Mentioned: The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto

People Mentioned:

Show Notes:

  • What is your connection with Japan?
  • What does it feel like to be in Japan?
  • Japan as a culture has incorporated beauty and aesthetic.
  • You mentioned about the qualities that you see in Japan. What are those qualities, if you could name some of them and what differentiates between living in Japan versus living in different parts of the world?
  • Real tension between how do you ground yourself in your reality when a digital reality can take you anywhere
  • Asian parents have certain expectations from their children that you have to be successful, you have to be this way or that way. What was your relationship with your parents?
  • Could you describe what is bathing culture?
  • What do you feel after that hot bat in terms of psychological, physiological benefits?
  • What were studying in Japan in 1990s?
  • What does quality of life mean to you? How do you define it for yourself?
  • Could you paint this picture of your relationship with your son?
  • Did your parents and elders talk to you about present moment awareness?
  • At the age of nine, what kind of meditation you started with?
  • After you got diagnosed with terminal illness, what changes did you make after that in your inner and outer world to just move forward with positivity or something like that?
  • There is a certain gift in knowing at an early age that your time is finite and that really clarifies what is important and that goes back to attention.
  • What do you mean by escaping their life in the context of meditation?
  • What practices do you suggest or recommend to leaders and executives you work with?
  • Changing the narration and stories to create the desired outcome
  • Cultivate a relationship with what’s beautiful in your life and  intentionally look for sources of beauty
  • How did you personally learn to cultivate the art of looking the beauty or looking at the source of beauty in turbulent times?
  • what do you tell yourself during the times of fear? If so, what does your inner conversation sound like?
  • Cold shower benefits –  your nervous system needs a kind of periodic shock
  • What questions, what life philosophy questions would you encourage people to ask?
  • What is most important to you in the next phase of your life?
  • How have your personal relationship with your wife has changed or transformed or gotten better?
  • What would you say to your 18 year old about how to live life?
  • and much more

Resources that helped me in the interview preparation:

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