Ever look at an accomplished person who has been responsible for amazing modern feats like leading world-class organizations, patenting dozens of ideas, or even just conducting their lives with amazing clarity, focus, and intention? Ever wonder how they do it, what makes them so special? I can’t claim it’s a universal practice among all overachievers, but it’s undeniable that meditation is partially responsible for the success of many whom we call the world’s “A-Players”.
No really… Here’s a Business Insider post briefly describing 15 famous CEO’s from companies like Salesforce, Monsanto, and Tupperware who use meditation to develop “laser-like focus” and “broad comprehension” skills.
Furthermore, for years Google has sponsored a meditation initiative for its employees to improve emotional intelligence, resilience, and focus. This article from Wired discusses how “repeated studies have demonstrated that meditation can rewire how the brain responds to stress.”
Five years ago I had my first experience with meditation after reading Keith Ferrazzi’s best-selling book Never Eat Alone in which he recalls attending a Vipassana Meditation course. I registered for the same course during which I rose at 4:30 am to meditate for 10 hours each day, eating only 2 vegetarian meals with no verbal or non-verbal communication allowed for the duration of the retreat. It was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had because it brought me the awareness that equanimity and focus can be cultivated. Since putting meditation into practice my income has increased significantly, and my relationships and physical health have also shown big improvements.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to carve out 10 days of your life to sit in silence and become a meditator (although I would highly recommend it). You can begin to change your life with much less of a commitment to start. This TED talk by Andy Puddicombe describes how you can start getting the benefits of meditation in just 10 dedicated minutes per day.
How Does It Work? Just like coffee or dancing, there are several different kinds of meditation. Some of the most recognizable forms are Mindfulness (also called “Vipassana”), Zazen (Zen), and Transcendental Meditation among many others, and each has a different technique and end goal.
In Vipassana, for example, one cultivates awareness to help achieve equanimity while observing the law of impermanence.
- Awareness – This begins with the keen observation of one’s own respiration. The goal is to sharpen the mind over time by focusing one’s entire attention on the area between the upper lip and the nostril.
- Equanimity – The most important piece, equanimity is the … It is achieved by unbiasedly observing the sensations on one’s own body, not reacting – not craving more of the pleasant sensations while developing aversion to the unpleasant ones. Equanimity is developed in accordance with the understanding of the Law of Impermanence.
- Impermanence – The characteristic nature of everything is arising and passing away. Therefore, we should not develop cravings nor aversions to things, thoughts, or sensations since they are only temporary. This only causes misery and throws us off-balance.
When you’re having issues focusing, losing your patience when dealing with difficult employees or co-workers, or procrastinating to avoid that big project, look inside yourself and explore whether there’s an internal barrier you believe is holding you back. Put your focus on that barrier and ask yourself with your newfound knowledge: “Is this something meditation can help me address?” I’ll bet the answer is “yes”!
Brian Pisor, a member of our Development and Interactive teams, has a day job as director of business solutions with Staff Management-SMX and is owner of Tap Snap Greenville. With all of the intense business interaction that he experiences daily, he’s managed to stay focused and mindful through meditation, a serious and meaningful passion of his.