7 Surprising Advantages For Entrepreneurs Who Meditate
With practice, meditation has the potential to change your life. Committing to even a short practice of just ten minutes per day could bring business benefits beyond a reduced heart rate, lower cortisol levels, and better rest. The effects aren’t uniform across practitioners, each person gleans different results. “Meditation is an exploration”, explains experienced meditation instructor Jeff Warren. “We have to learn for ourselves how exactly it will shift our outlooks and ways of operating.”
Jeff Warren is a writer, meditation instructor, and co-author of Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. He writes and records the Daily Trip on the meditation app Calm, and has created many meditations and courses for Ten Percent Happier. His work makes meditation and practice accessible to diverse audiences including the US Army Cadets, police officers, Google execs, distractible teens and “every other conceivable demographic of freethinker.”
I interviewed Warren to find out some of the surprising advantages in store for entrepreneurs who make meditation part of their daily routine.
Creativity means discussions and flipcharts and drawing and freewriting, right? Wrong. Creativity doesn’t only stem from busyness and noise; it also emerges from stillness. “When the mind gets quiet and drops out of the usual thinking patterns it makes itself available to surprising new connections,” said Warren. Do the same things, get the same results. Sit down, sit still, reroute your thinking brain and see what happens.
“Strange ideas from the depths bubble up, offering new associations and possibilities,” he added. “Getting quiet is arguably one of the best practices for creativity.” Being active all day keeps your brain in a mode of thinking and doing, chattering away in words and actions. But the calm that meditation brings can help move this to one side, opening possibilities for breakthroughs, discoveries and new ideas.
Trust that your mind has the answers you need, it just needs more peace and quiet to find them.
Maybe you think you don’t have time to meditate. Warren suggests you don’t have time not to. “Most people think of meditation as a time investment,” he said. “Something that takes time and takes away from other things, but the counter-intuitive thing about meditation is it actually makes time.” A practice that brings more blank space? It almost sounds too good to be true.
“By taking a little bit of time to do nothing, you can open up space for more things to happen,” said Warren, who has seen first-hand that, “You get clearer about what’s important and sometimes the things you thought were urgent turn out to be not so urgent, so you can end up making more space in your schedule.” Say goodbye to being a busy fool and hello to a clearer sense of priority that means you can let go of the unimportant without guilt.
Meditation is an investment of time that brings more time in return, so spend it with more intention.
A lighter sense of self
You might mistake someone who meditates as being intense, antisocial or dull, “and sometimes that’s true!” laughed Warren. “But sometimes, it’s the opposite. There can definitely be a zingyness that comes out. Meditation can make things existentially pop. You start to see the randomness of things and the weirdness of the particular configuration you’re in.” By meditating, you realise that absolutely everything can be taken more lightly, and that’s a strange realisation to have.
“You stop taking your situation for granted and everything can have this ridiculous or humorous quality,” added Warren. “It’s terrific for appreciating the bizarre twists and turns of life without being fixated and attached to controlling the outcomes.” The rollercoaster of entrepreneurship brings bizarre twists and turns on the daily, but recognising that pattern in life itself can help you enjoy the ride while seeing the funny side. Because what’s the alternative?
Take your meditation practice seriously to take yourself less seriously, and operate in a lighter-hearted way.
“Meditation improves the signal to noise ratio inside our minds,” said Warren. “The more we sit, the more things get quiet and you start to see what matters.” Similar to the impact of meditation on your creativity, it can also “clarify your values in this moral way, whereby you often find yourself more connected to compassion or a sense of caring about people.”
What matters isn’t money and possessions, what matters is the effect we have on others, including friends, family and customers. But with the noise of traffic, the news and notifications it’s easy to forget that. Sitting in meditation can shut off some of the media and commentary and bring more clarity, and according to Warren, our new sense of priority not only, “comes through more in the work we do,” but we now know how to focus on what matters in our work.”
Discern meaning from noise without getting carried away by the hype, and channel your purpose into your everyday actions to progress your business without the overwhelm.
More love and purpose
Meditating, in all its different forms, helps its practitioners access more love. But Warren said this isn’t, “a squishy love,” it’s, “more of a sense of wanting to contribute to something meaningful.” The more you sit, the more the babble subsides, the more you are left with what is real and the more you know the reason for your life and work.
Warren believes that “the sense of doing fulfilling work, or wanting to spend time on more fulfilling work is boosted through mediation,” as we seek to find meaning for the actions we take. He also believes meditation helps you access the “strategies for finding your way there.” The path becomes clearer the more we are still.
Do what you love and love what you do, and use meditation as a tool to find out exactly what that is.
Better at negotiation and communicating
Negotiating with someone without understanding them is unlikely to be successful, but “meditation helps you see people as they are and actually hear what they are saying,” said Warren. “You can get a clearer sense of what someone stands for, and that allows you to not only understand them better but communicate more effectively.”
Meditate to know yourself and other people better. Meditate to get better at noticing the subtleties in body language and tone that reveal someone’s true intentions and desires. Meditate to develop empathy, connect with other people on a deeper level and reach win-win situations. “It can make us better listeners and communicators,” said Warren, “and helps you notice when you are getting in the way of connecting with someone.”
Get good at setting aside your ego, seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, and finding the best way forward for all involved.
Dissolve into a puddle of cosmic oneness
“Yes, the cliches are true,” said Warren. “Meditation can make you feel more connected to everything else including trees and animals. A sense of being part of something bigger than you.” Warren thinks this part is, “very fulfilling and sometimes strange.”
But what better place for an entrepreneur to live? The purpose of building a business is to advance the world and leave a legacy, for your team and clients and the planet’s future inhabitants. Meditation can help you along your mission. “Business is the vehicle through which a lot of action and projects happen, and when you’re more aware you see more connections and more possibilities for acting on those in creative ways.”
Know what you’re here to do and how it helps everything in the cosmos for more connection and new business opportunities.
Meditation can bring boosted creativity, more time, and sharper priorities, but it’s far beyond a productivity hack for entrepreneurs trying to squeeze more out of each day. Meditation can create more complete people who can appreciate the absurdness of life and business, feel more aligned with their work, and connected to everyone who crosses their path. When this leads to reduced stress, a lighter-hearted way of being and more successful business endeavours, it will have been well worth making the effort to commit to a regular practice.