If you want to perform at a high level – whether in tennis, chess or at work – you either have to study how the masters in that field train and operate, or you need to be so stupendously talented that nobody is in a position to give you any advice at all.
For most of us, the latter doesn’t apply, so getting better is partly a question of emulating what we see those we admire doing. At the C level in top companies, this obviously includes things like actively networking, knowing as much as possible about your industry and training your subordinates.
A less visible habit is becoming more popular among top executives, though: meditation. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why some business superstars consider this a vital part of their daily routine:
Rebooting a Negative Mindset
When you have to deal with dozens of issues each day, it’s inevitable that you’ll have some successes and some failures.
The problem arises when our responses to setbacks start bleeding over into other matters. Meditation helps us to dispassionately examine our negative thoughts and get back on an even keel before the next meeting.
Most of us will have experienced days where we hit an upsetting snag first thing in the morning, after which nothing we try seems to go right. Rationally speaking, this can’t be because your horoscope says that your day will suck or accidents come in threes: the most likely explanation is simply that suffering a reverse conditions us to act in a way that doesn’t lead to success.
Although we’d like to deny it, our “rational” decisions are shaped at least as much by our emotions as by the relevant facts. This becomes even more true when we’re under pressure; anyone interested in how this works will find plenty of examples in Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things.”
Simply put, when our emotions are engaged, we become less able to find creative solutions to problems, see the wood for the trees and tell our needs from our wants.
Meditating, even if only briefly, helps us separate fact from perception and feeling from thought, leading to better judgment and more a consistent management style.
Although closely related to the previous points, the negative impact of persistent stress on our health makes it worthwhile discussing this separately.
The roots of stress are many: frustration, anger, disappointment, anxiety. These feelings can’t really be avoided in a management position, so many executives turn to a therapist or therapy, exercise or uninterrupted time with their family for release.
These approaches are all effective, but meditation has the advantage that doing it regularly trains our minds to enter a “centered” state within a very short time of closing our eyes and stilling our thoughts.
Once the habit has been established, whenever things get to the point where our palms are sweaty and we feel the need to yell at the wallpaper, we need only take two or five minutes to get back to the “real” us. This ability is simply invaluable for anyone who has to be at their best all the time, which means that it’s great news that meditation can be learned by anyone.
About The Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.