Habits of the Super Rich (2015)
Chapter 8: Meditation: A Habit of 85% of all Successful people
Jim and Zach were still sitting in the coffee shop talking about what made successful people. Zach commented that he recently acquired the habit of meditation. “It not only gives me a peace of mind at the end of the day,” he told Jim, “but I start off every morning with a twenty-minute session. I can’t tell you how much more I can get accomplished in a day.”
Jim dismissed this idea as being off the wall. “I thought only the spiritually inclined and the stereotypical aging hippie meditated. Besides I don’t believe in all that ‘woo-woo’ stuff.”
Zach just smiled. He was about to let Jim in on the most well-kept secret of all successful business individuals.
In part, Jim is correct. Who among us doesn’t associate a meditation with another, earlier generation? After all, it was the famous rock group, The Beatles, who introduced most of the Western Culture to meditation some forty years ago.
But something amazing has occurred in those forty years since. Science has not only researched it but has certified it as being an effective healing resource. Not only can meditation heal your body, it can help your mind focus and become more productive.
Meditation is proving to be so powerful a tool and so amazingly beneficial, that some of the same skeptical scientists who are studying it are now practicing it themselves. And that’s exactly what you want if you’re looking to fulfill your career goals.
"Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I've had."
You may think that sounds like the Dalai Lama speaking. Or even Oprah Winfrey. We’ve all come to expect that spiritual side to breaking through her business side now and then.
You’d be wrong on both counts. That’s a quote from Ray Dalio. Who? That’s the reaction of many. But Dalio is a billionaire and the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund firm in the world. How’s that for a model of a businessman who meditates?
But that’s just one person, how about Rupert Murdock the chief executive officer of News Corp., the media mogul.
Today, you’re just as likely to discover someone meditating in the boardroom of a Fortune 500 corporation than you are a local spiritual retreat.
Below are just a few more business people who have added the magnificent habit of meditation to their daily routine.
- Robert Stiller, CEO, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.
- Tony Schwartz, CEO, The Energy Project
- William Ford, Executive Chairman, The Ford Motor Company
- Larry Brilliant, former director of Google.org
And we’re not even about to list all the television and film celebrities who find it essential to their careers and peace of mind. The fact that so many outrageously successful business executives evidently find it an indispensable part of their daily habits should make you sit up and take notice.
Should you Meditate?
That’s only a question you can answer. If you’ve seriously thought about meditating, this would be the time to start. If you’ve tried before and failed, don’t allow that to keep you from trying again . . . and again . . . If you have to. The benefits you’ll receive in improving your focus, boosting your productivity and turbocharging your concentration are that impressive.
Researchers have confirmed that the claims many individuals have made for years concerning the benefits of this habit really hold up. What can you expect when you begin your meditation program? No one can say for sure, but here’s how it affects many others:
For anyone who has already given meditation a try, this should come as no great surprise. That’s the primary key to meditating, focusing on your breath. What may surprise you is that this ability to focus in on targets, much like a laser light, stays with you, even when you’re not meditating. That focus lingers with us after we sit up and get down to work. Scientists now realize that focus can be strengthened like the muscles in your body. All you have to do is to exercise it.
It’s true! The scientific reason for this is interesting and far more complex than can be explained here, but the bottom line is that, as far as researchers can detect, meditation loosens the connections of some of your neural pathways. This results in a more rational reaction when you’re confronted with unsettling or unexpected sensations. You’re much more likely to look at a potential business crisis with a calm demeanor instead of immediately envisioning the worst-case scenario.
Now, here’s a trait everyone who is looking for success can use!
Those individuals who practiced a meditation technique called “open-monitoring” meditation, find that they have significantly increased their creativity. This type of meditation is also referred to at times as “awareness of thinking,” or mindful meditation. Instead of sweeping all thought out of your mind, as you do in a focused session, you’ll sit and be totally aware of your thoughts and feelings. Not only are you aware of them, but you’re directed to observe them. Observe them, but don’t judge them as either right or wrong, good or bad.
Some individuals believe this popular form quieting the mind allows the person meditating to become a “scientific observer” of sorts of his own mind. This means as you practice this you’ll become increasingly aware of which thoughts actually trigger changes in your emotions.
In other words, you’ll be able to tell what thoughts make you happy, which make your sad. Imagine being able to dissect your thinking. Then what do you think you can eventually do? You’ve got it, avoid those thoughts that bring sorrow or unnecessary sadness and concentrate on the thoughts can lift you up.
Once you start to feel the benefits of this wonderful habit, you may want to delve deeper into just how beneficial it can become in your life. If you enjoy the simple, mindful and focused versions of this activity, you may want to learn the more advanced versions, including conceptional and movement meditations. Unfortunately we don’t have the room to talk much about these types, but excellent descriptions and directions can be found in books dedicated to meditation.
Right now, let’s get familiarized with a simple meditation that will get you up and running with this activity. The quicker you experiment with this, the quicker you’ll know if it’s an activity you want to adopt as a habit.
- Select a mantra.
If you’re not familiar with meditation, you may not be familiar with the word mantra. This is a word or a phrase you repeat to yourself while you’re in session. The mantra is a great diversion to help you think about something else than your thoughts.
In a focused meditation, the goal is to sweep all thoughts of your mind. Your mind will try any trick in the book to try to push thoughts – any kind at all – back into your head.
What kind of phrase should you choose? Before you decide on your mantra, you may want to learn about some of the most popular ones. Some people use “peace” or “love.” Some individuals even use something referred to as the “so hum” mantra. This is a sound typically used as a Sanskrit mantra, translated into “I am.”
If you’re a spiritual person who may have number of words you may associate with peace of mind you’ll want to use. If you’re more secular, harmony, peace or love may be the most appropriate mantras.
- Sit in a comfortable seat, in a quiet location.
It’s best to find a quiet location, even if you have to lock yourself into your home office and place a sign on the door stating a meditation is in process. Once you adopt this as a regular activity, you won’t anybody to interrupt. Eventually you’ll also want to find a dedicated space for your sessions.
Right now, don’t worry too much about where you’re sitting. You may want to sit cross-legged on the floor with your back against a wall or on a chair or even a couch. The important thing is that you’re comfortable. You’ll also want to try to keep your spine as straight as possible. There are many individuals who choose to lie down during meditation. You may not want to do that during your initial learning stages. There’s always that danger of your falling asleep.
- Close your eyes. Take several “cleansing” breaths.
You’re about ready to begin. Close your eyes. Take in a breath, breathing through your nose. Exhale, breathing through your mouth. These are known as cleansing breaths. Once you’ve done this, then breathe normally through your nose. Keep your lips closed to ensure this happens.
- Repeat your mantra silently to yourself.
The idea is to repeat your mantra silently. Don’t force this repetition. Your mantra doesn’t necessarily need to reflect the rhythm of your breath. If you like, you can connect the word to either your inhaling or exhaling, but that’s not necessary. You’ll recognize a successful meditation session when you’re not forcing anything – no mantra, no breath, and it’s not difficult to sweep away your thoughts.
- At this point, don’t focus on emptying your mind.
You’re about natural, so don’t get upset. You’ll find there are times when you abruptly realize you’re not reciting your mantra. “When did that happen?” you ask yourself. You discover you really can’t tell when you stopped, but you did.
Stop! We all know what your first instinct is. Don’t go there.
Instead of panicking and berating yourself, simply get back on course. Don’t judge yourself for getting off track to begin with. It happens to everyone now and then.
- Continue if you can for five minutes.
Ultimately your goal for an effective meditation session will be twenty to thirty minutes. But when you’re beginning, that’s asking quite a bit of your mind. In fact, trying to sit this long on your first session may well be self-defeating. Your failure at remaining still for that long may mistakenly make you believe you’re not capable of meditating. And that’s just not true.
Considering the many benefits not only in your productivity, but your health as well, meditation can bring, you shouldn’t try it once and give up on it. That’s not fair to you. Give it a try for several days, or better yet weeks. Keep in mind that the most recent research reveals that you’re reaping all the benefits associated with this habit, even if you don’t realize it.
Believe it or not, the benefits “sneak up on you.” You may do this for several months and swear it’s not helping you much. Then one day, you realize the time you’ve spent finally has paid off. So don’t get discouraged.
“Thanks, buddy,” Jim said to Zach as he pumped his hand. “My new career is taking off. And I couldn’t have done it without you helping me identify and establishing a series of good habits. I appreciate the time you’ve spent with me.”
Have you spent enough time on developing your new habits that you’re off and running on your career? Hopefully, these pages are filled not only with suggestions that you’ll read once, but ideas and concepts you’ll mine and adopt as your own.
If you haven’t fully established all the habits you want, don’t stop just because you’ve finished reading the book. Go back and review the habits you’re still establishing. Review some of the laws that allow you to create the world of your dreams.
If you find your spirits sagging, don’t allow yourself to even think about giving up. Convince yourself that giving up is not an option – because it isn’t. If you open the door to walking away even an inch, you’ll start relinquishing all the positive thoughts you’ve built up to this time. And before you know it, you really have given up, wondering what went wrong. You’ll probably also end up kicking yourself later down the road.
So, keep this book handy, review it often and I’m betting you’ll find new and creative ways you can put even a portion of these habits and laws to work for you. Not only that, but remember: When you’re ready to take action, the universe will match you in guidance, nearly step for step.
But more than that, this book probably will propel you to go on to reading more books on habits and success. That’s great. The more knowledge you have the better equipped you’ll be to continue on your journey.
You’re only Laying the Foundation
Believe it or not, all the work that you’ve put into establishing good habits is really just the beginning. The work you’ve done so far has laid the foundation for future success. To continue your success, you’ll find yourself not only perfecting these habits, but establishing an ever expanding series of habits – one building on top of another – that will ensure that five years from now, you’ll still be a major contender in whatever field you’ve chosen to work in.
Good habits never go “out of style.” They’ll never fail you. Once you’ve established your routine, trained your subconscious and are working harmoniously with the universe, then your accomplishments are unlimited.
Welcome to the world you were born to create for yourself!