If you are reading this, you’re probably an ambitious busy professional who tries to make the most out of life. I’m the same.
I was raised in Paris, attended a prestigious business school and have worked in finance and startups. If you had told me about meditation 2 years ago, I would have told you that it wasn’t for me and that I didn’t have the time to waste. I am a very rational mind and people often ask me why I now meditate 40 minutes a day.
What convinced me one year ago to start a $700 transcendental meditation course was that I understood that I was actually among the people who needed it the most.
What convinced me were scientifically backed TED talks and the realization that most successful people, including artists, athletes and hedge fund managers, were meditating.
“More than 80% of interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice.” - Tim Ferris in Tools of Titans
#1 Science tells us that we need it more than ever
Matthieu Ricard, a biochemist turned Buddhist monk, delivered an amazing TED talk about the science behind meditation. Neuroscience actually proves that meditation affects your brain. It’s not just a placebo!
The history of neuroscience and anthropology also suggests that current busy professionals in modern societies need this tool more than ever. Throughout millions of years of evolution, our body was designed to generate a hormonally stressful “fight or flight” response when faced with a decision to make, such as “Should I fight or run away?” when a lion appears. If you apply this reaction to modern life, however, you can become constantly stressed, which is very damaging for both your body and mind.
#2 Reclaim ownership of your time
Even as a placebo, there is one great benefit of meditation. Allowing yourself to do nothing for a certain amount of time every day helps you realize that you are in control of your time, that saying “I don’t have time to do something” is a lie, and that you always have time… it is only a question of priorities.
“If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life." - Tony Robbins
#3 Focus has become a fundamental professional skill
When you multitask, a lot of the glucose that feeds the brain is used to switch between tasks, which makes you inefficient at what you are actually doing. To become more productive in your everyday life, and especially at work, you need to train your brain to focus on a single task and avoid distractions.
“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” - Mozart
#4 Being anxious makes you inefficient
When you are anxious, you actually waste a lot of time. For example, anxiety can prevent you from sleeping, and can also lead to suboptimal use of your daytime. Here is a personal example:
Let’s say I am on the bus, but there is more traffic than I thought, so I am going to be a bit late for a meeting.
As you can see, the objective results are clearly better in the second scenario. This type of approach applies to so many things in my life.
#5 See more clearly who you are and what to do
Meditation provides a sense of clarity about who you are and what you want and need to do. It helps you say no to things that don’t fit in with your goals. It helps you take more distance from people who don’t help or even drag you down. It helps you be confident and take action on what you want to do, without the fear of being judged.
#6 Reconnect with people
Meditation helps you reconnect with other people and the world. More specifically, compassion meditation makes you feel like you are part of the success of people around you, rather than being jealous or wondering why you aren’t doing as well. This mindset will help you get around more successful people and learn from them.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
#7 Be happy
I’ve always assumed that happiness was not my most important goal. I would put a much greater value on having an impact or knowing the truth. However, it's still nice to have, and can truly help you achieve your other goals. Happy people are nicer to hang out with and are more inspirational, so people are more likely to help you!
"Charles Schwab told me his smile had been worth a million dollars. And he was probably understanding the truth" - Dane Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People
I hope you are now convinced that Yes, meditation is definitely for you! True, it is still seen as a bit marginal in many societies, but it’s worth it. When I meditate, people around me may think it’s a bit weird and most of my friends make fun of me, but the world is changing fast.
I remember last summer, before going for a run in the forest, my grandma told me that 30 years ago, people would have thought I was weird. Today, a huge amount of people go for runs or frequent a gym.
I reckon that meditation is the same. In the future, and hopefully soon, it will not be all that uncommon to see people in the street simply sitting on a bench and meditating. You have a lot to gain by being an early adopter!
There are many ways to get started easily. In the UNLOCKD Challenge, we encourage people to practice 3 simple forms of mindfulness activities:
· A 5-minute daily meditation through the Headspace app
· A 1-minute gratitude exercise
· A 10-second loving kindness meditation