James Tutton is a Mindful entrepreneur


James Tutton is a passionate entrepreneur with a history of delivering successful projects. James’ first foray into business was at the age of 23 when he founded Moonlight Cinema, which he sold to a corporate group in 2006. As a father, James became increasingly aware of the pressures facing young children. At the same time, he was mindful of the many friends from his youth who had suffered with mental illness. With this in mind, James wanted to create a preemptive mental health tool that could assist the broader community. James is a daily meditator and co-founder of Smiling Minds. He also currently focuses on residential property development with his Melbourne based company Neometro.

1. What led you to meditation?

I went to a crazy but good primary school called Preshil – that exposed me to a form of meditation when I was very young and since then its gone in and out of my life. My undergraduate degree is in philosophy, so I’ve always had an interest in ideas and during my university studies I occasionally mediated with a group of Buddhists. Meditation then came back into my life really in the context of dealing with my own wellbeing and the stress which needs to be considered in the context of the fact that I make a living from property development, which is a pretty stressful way to make a dollar. I am also a bit of a somewhat intense person so any tools that assist me are good.


2. What value has practising meditation brought to your life?

For me it helps bring awareness and context – I notice when something is upsetting me, when my body is physically tense, when I am irritable. For whatever reason, by being aware I somehow  disengage with these more negative “things” and they tend to pass.

In a practical sense that’s resulted in me being less stressed, calmer, kinder, happier and more engaged with my world.


3. How has meditation supported you in your professional life ?

In two ways – firstly it’s meant that in the face of challenges I tend to remain calm and I believe make decisions in a contextual / considered way.

Secondly, it’s taken me on the journey of starting Smiling Mind with Janey Martino which has been a wonderful experience and has really re connected me to my professional life and passion for entrepreneurial pursuits. I can not advocate hard enough for the merits of business people, doers and thinkers applying themselves to enterprise (not for profit or for profit) with the aim of delivering social dividends to the community. My experience is that the contacts, financial resources and chutzpah that an entrepreneur has can deliver big impact.


4. What are the biggest obstacles to your practice?

Myself – its like anything. You have days when you want to exercise and when you don’t. Meditating is the same. It’s all a matter of repetition – set your goals, establish the habits that will take you there and get on with it.


5. What is a quote that most inspires you and why?

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” Churchill.

“Eighty percent of success is showing up” Woody Allen.

Why – because they are both resoundingly true for me. People who smile, send thank you notes, maintain curiosity, recognize opportunity will succeed in life.

Woody Allen’s words are so true – I risk my time every day meeting people not knowing if I can help them in their endeavors or if they can help me in mine – but by “showing up” I’ve learnt from hundreds of people and have built meaningful and enjoyable relationships with people from all walks of life.


6. What is a book that has opened you to new ideas and inspired your growth and why?

Odd one, but Cormack McCarthy. As a father to read The Road or any of the trilogy series whereby there is varying degrees of an apocalyptic landscape brings you to a very immediate existential position very quickly. That’s motivated me.


7. What Mindful Music do you listen to (ie. music that grabs your full attention and brings you into the moment.)

Wow – I’ve been listening to a few things this week which really take me back and have focused me. One is Biggie Smalls. The other is Nick Drake. Very different but in both cases I am waiting on the next word or sound. I have a policy of a new band each week – ie familiarizing myself with an album or act I don’t know. This week it’s been the Allah-Las.

8. Why are you being Mindful in May?

Because I love what you do!


Posted in

"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."




Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.

A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.

Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.

Keep in touch with us

Sign up to access additional resources, mindfulness tips and to find out about upcoming events.

When you submit your email you are opting-in for our emails and relevant upcoming updates from Elise. You can unsubscribe any time.