The life of an Entrepreneur can be a very stressful one.
The combination of anxiety, fourteen hour days and an inability to switch off can hinder or even halt the growth and success of your company. While hard-working motivated people make the best entrepreneurs, this combination of stress and an over use of coffee can eventually be the key aspects to burnouts and other negative emotional states.
Thinking straight could be the differentiator between what seems like an amazing idea, and what “seems” like an amazing idea. More positivity could inspire others to work harder, share insightful details or find more happiness in their personal life. A more thoughtful CEO could inspire a more thoughtful culture throughout the company.
Mindfulness or more specifically meditation is a technique used to help keep stress levels down, decrease levels of anxiety and help keep the razor level of focus that is necessary to succeed.
I can almost guarantee that as soon as I mentioned mindfulness, every single one of you winced and had thoughts about monks in the Himalayan mountains. Mindfulness is not just for Buddhists but instead has many modern real-world benefits. From a recent survey, almost 1 in 10 Americans have tried meditation, most probably to combat stress or achieve a sense of calm; both of which entrepreneurs can benefit from.
There are several types of mindfulness, but we are going to be focusing on what I like to call modern meditation. This has little to no links with the religious and spiritual aspects of traditional meditation or that followed by monks. There are no bell sounds, humming mantras or states of nirvana (and no that’s not the music group!). I personally use my phone to help me with timings and to follow a structure, which I find much more practical than other more traditional methods.
There are many successful entrepreneurs who swear by meditation, and even name it as one of the reasons that they succeeded!
One of the most notable would be Arianna Huffington.
As you can probably tell by her name, she is the founder of Huffington Post. In an interview, Arianna states that she meditates daily for 10 minutes when she first wakes up, and it acts as a reminder despite our successes and failures that there is a deeper meaning to life.
This thought is especially important for entrepreneurs as this helps to keep a calmer outlook on anything and everything, which ultimately could save you from making a wrong decision for your business.
Arianna has been Meditating since she was a teenager and says that meditation alone has played a huge part in her success.
Another hugely successful entrepreneur who swears by mindfulness is Ray Dalio. You may have heard this name before, but if you haven’t, he is considered the most successful hedge-fund manager of all time. His hedge-fund “Bridgewater Associates” has $150 Billion in assets that they manage for investors. Ray has said:
“When I look back at my life, I am happy to have had what most people would consider a successful life, not only in terms of business but in my relationships and in lots of ways. More than anything else, I attribute it to meditation—partially because of the creativity, partly because of the centeredness. … I think meditation has been the single biggest influence on my life.”
If the former hasn’t convinced you, there are many science-backed ways that meditation will help you as an entrepreneur.
A study by Consciousness and Cognition found that just four meditation sessions improved certain aspects that could improve the level of decision you make as an entrepreneur.
The researchers put the people into two separate groups, one that received four sessions of meditation and the other that did not. Participants in the meditation group demonstrated a reduction in fatigue, anxiety, and increased level of mindfulness. Moreover, the sessions left participants with significantly improved visuospatial processing (visually perceiving objects and distance), working memory and executive functioning.
If all of this happened just after four sessions, imagine the benefits from daily practice!
Meditation might seem like a very confusing concept, but trust me, it really isn’t. Meditation takes many different forms, and the way which works best for you might be completely different than what works for others. You may prefer unguided, or like to listen to a guide to help you stay focused. If you are feeling really confused or intimated by meditation, you might like my other article I wrote, on an uncomplicated guide on how to meditate. Check it out here!
What are your thoughts on Meditation and Entrepreneurship? I’d love you hear your thoughts on it! Hit me up on twitter @MorganGladwell