Is it even possible to be present in each moment and still strive towards your goals? If you’re an “achiever” like me, you’ve probably asked these same questions when you were first introduced to meditation…
Based on personality tests like the Myers Briggs Personality Survey and the Gallup Personality Strengths Finder (which is pseudoscience by the way) I’m considered both an “Achiever” and a “Protagonist”. According to the Gallup Personality Strength Finder my top strength is “Achiever” and according to the Myers Briggs Survey I am an ENFJ-A (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging and assertive). I won’t waste your time on what each one of these mean but ultimately, both surveys suggest that I expect a lot out of myself and push to achieve “success” in life…Whatever the hell that might look like!
How then, is it possible for me to be mindful and compassionate while still being oriented towards personal success? After all, isn’t it the grit, assertiveness and edginess that got me to where I am today?
Now, if you are frequent meditator like me, you probably see the fallacy in these statements. You know that meditation actually helps you accomplish more!
How can sitting still for 20 minutes a day doing absolutely nothing make you MORE productive? Is that even possible?
Well, keep reading and you will find out.
Cleaning Out Your Pantry
On average, an individual has roughly 4,000 unique thoughts a day! That’s a lot of thinking, daydreaming and maybe even stressing.
Meditation is like clearing out an old cupboard. Most of the shit we pile into our cupboards goes to waste and is never used. For fun, look inside your cupboard right now… I bet most of you have at least 5 items in your cupboards today that you bought over a year ago!
Did you look? Was I right??
The point is, our pantries and our cupboards are usually where we store the stuff we use daily but they are also where we store the shit that’s no longer useful. Therefore, if not attended to, our pantry becomes a place of useless items that take up space and cause anxiety (especially if you are OCD like me).
When you sit with your mind, however, you clear out the clutter and in turn, make space for more important activities—activities that will help you accomplish your goals. The truth is, our brains can only process so many thoughts on a given day. If you don’t take inventory of your thoughts, you spend a lot of wasted energy on activities and ideas that do not lead you closer to whatever it is you want to achieve.
Getting Back on Track
Life, it seems, is a series of distractions. Worst of all, the office is like a cornucopia of distractions.
Your boss needs a report right away, you receive an urgent email, your coworker interrupts you to talk about their life and so on and so on.
Achievement comes when you can decipher the essential from the non-essential.
Ultimately, success is doing what’s right over and over again. Doing what’s right is really just spending your energy on those activities that are most conducive to reaching your goals and being the best version of yourself.
When you meditate you gain clarity and create the space necessary to see your thoughts as they are happening. It’s like going to the gym. The more you run on the treadmill, the better you get and the further you can go!
Similarly, the more you meditate, the more you can see your thoughts and redirect your attention to your work. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in our thoughts and when we do so, we lose focus which ultimately leads to losing sight of our goals. Distractions and multitasking are productivity killers and having a strong mindful muscle is like having an accountability coach.
It will keep you focused and keep you pushing towards your life goals. There is a huge difference between being productive and being busy. Being productive gives you energy while being busy saps your energy.
Focus and Clarity
Have you ever woken up in the morning on a day in which you had a full schedule and thought to yourself “How the hell am I supposed to get all this done?” Before you get out of bed you are wasting valuable energy stressing about the chores of the day.
Mediation helps keep you on track because it can stop you from chasing your thoughts down the rabbit hole. Sitting to watch your mind every morning actually gives you energy because you aren’t trying to process 10 things at once.
Our minds are similar to a computer in that if you have 12 tasks (or thoughts) running at the same time the computer becomes less efficient. So, meditation is like simultaneously hitting the control-alt-delete buttons and ending all the tasks that are non-essential.
Finally, when you mediate you become fully present to this moment and you reach a state of mind called “flow”. Flow is when you are 100% engrossed in what you’re doing. Your whole body and mind hone in on the task at hand and your ability and efficiency increases significantly. Flow also gets you out of your head and away from your distracting thoughts.
Interestingly, science suggests that the mind state of flow is the most optimal state for human beings. In fact, people spend millions of dollars every year trying to reach flow states. Psychedelic drugs like DMT and sensory deprivation tanks are very popular in communities like Silicon Valley because they help people get out of their thoughts and into a state of flow.
Often, when we meditate we reach a flow state and as with anything in life, the more you expose yourself to something the easier it is to recapture it on demand. Being in a flow state means you are completely free of distraction and meditation is a conduit to reach this state of mind.
Hopefully by now you can see that meditation can only help you achieve your goals. In reality, meditation gives you a competitive advantage and allows you to navigate through life with more ease and less stress which invariably produces more success! The benefits of meditation are plentiful and the idea that it can make you complacent and apathetic is a complete farce!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. We hope you found it interesting and informative. As always, we would love to hear from you! For those who have a meditation practice, let us know how it has impacted your life and your ideas of success!
Until next time, many many blessings!