Close them for another 10 minutes.
The deeper I go in this industry the more I realize success is determined by the quality of my mental fitness. It was with that realization I recently started the practice of mediation. This new direction might come to some as a surprise, as it does with me. I’m not a very “spiritual” person and have up until recently thought of mediation and other methods of silence with a “not my kind of tea” nonchalance.
What we view as different we tend to be afraid of and to be very honest I was afraid of meditating. It was just foreign to me. Yet that might be why I found myself in a situation where I was desperately needing it!
I realized in my first month of meditation it’s not as weird, shamanic, spiritual, or cult-like as I thought. In fact, I realize now that it quite possibly could be the secret to a happy and successful life no matter what country you live in or what religion you claim to believe.
With so much stimulation, media distraction and impulsive opportunities today, clarity of thought is our most scarce resource. By not taking the time to center oneself in their purpose before they start their day, one may find each day harder and harder to complete. I felt this overcoming me during the last year or two – the subtle feeling of losing my compass and lacking the fulfilling energy of pursuing a direction that aligns with a purposeful life.
So with a suggestion from my girlfriend – who has been meditating for more than 10 years and glows with its benefits – I jumped in. Boy do I have a long way to go. I haven’t established a strongly held habit yet but here’s what I learned in the first month.
1. Calmness. I found I was becoming more tense as the years went on, and given my laid back nature this was starting to really bug me. It probably has to do with the nature of our industry and the difficulties of being a founder or working for an early stage company. As I started the practice of meditation I began to feel the tension ease off a bit. It’s still there to some extent, but I am now learning how to deal with it and shift the excess energy to a more positive area of my life.
The main reason I feel better is with the consistent nature of meditation you are able to think, ponder, and review; this leading to an adequate evaluation of the difficult things happening over the course of your daily life. Stress overcomes us not because of something that happens to us, but because we haven’t adequately perceived the reality of the situation and are uncertain of what we are going to do about it. We lack clarity. My calmness has resulted from taking time each day to let my mind wrap itself around the challenging things developing in my life, and allowing my mind time to determine the next step.
2. Centeredness. I never really knew what this term meant before starting to meditate, but now I understand the power of allowing your mind to focus on certain aspects of your life, steering away from harmful and negative things while steering towards ones more beneficial. It actually takes effort to think about what you are doing here on earth, what you want to accomplish, how you want to live each day, how you want to treat people each day and the trajectory you want your life to take. All this becomes clearer when one consistently starts their day in deep thought. Although just a month in, I am feeling more centered and aligned and I can’t wait to see where the next 6 months or year directs me.
3. Slowness. It seems like things are going faster and faster each day. Computing power speeds up each year, and computers just keep getting smaller and more ingrained into our existence. Emailing went to text messaging. Taking pictures with a digital camera and uploading to a website went to snapping a pic and sending a quick Snapchat to a friend. We expect to grab our phone and instantly find a restaurant whenever we are hungry. We also expect a response from someone we communicated with – immediately. Each day seems to be speeding up and taking our whole society with it. It’s no wonder people are so stressed out.
Meditation has shown me the power of slowness and what it can do in a world where people and ideas are flying by at the speed of light. Slowness allows for thoughtful consideration of the world around you. It allows for deeper comprehension of all the things happening to you and around you. There are many things in our world that are simply too complex to fully grasp only after a few seconds or immediately after a meeting. Not taking the time to allow your mind and body to fully comprehend the world around you is a grave mistake. Through slowing down and practicing mental clarity each morning I set the tone for a stronger, more agile, more flexible mind which now has a better understanding of when to make quick hasty decisions or to slow down and contemplate all angles of a situation.
Take it from someone who used to shrug off the concept of meditation, you are making a huge mistake by not starting your day with your eyes closed in deep thought about the day you are about to experience.