Hey everyone! Recently the newsletters have been getting pretty long (one of them was actually longer than an essay I wrote for a class) so this one will be more of a quick read. I’ve been talking about mindfulness meditation and its impact on focus for a while so I thought I’d expand on that in this week’s newsletter.
At first, I thought that meditation is only for hippies and overly spiritual people, but my views have changed drastically over the past year. The turning point for me was a lecture I watched by Daniel Goleman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTfYv3IEOqM&t=1989s
) where he talks about how mindfulness meditation can be a very important tool for focus. The more I thought about it, the more saw a gap in the way we think of ourselves as students.
As students, our job is to focus and learn. As such, wouldn’t it make sense to learn as much as possible about how to optimize those factors and do them better? Wouldn’t it make sense to train your focus to be able to do it for longer, and to accomplish more when you’re in a state of flow? I definitely thought that it did.
In mindfulness meditation that’s basically what you’re doing. You’re training your focus muscle to be able to use it better in every aspect of your life. The idea is, you sit still and focus on something (usually your breath), then when (not if) thoughts intrude, you put them aside and refocus on your breath.
This may seem like a trivial act but it’s actually a very important skill that many people have underdeveloped. As Daniel Goleman says, each rep (workout term for repetition) is returning your focus once it’s wavered not keeping it for a long time. This process of continually refocusing once you’ve lost it strengthens this muscle.
By doing this practice consistently you should be able to (maybe without noticing) get into the flow state faster and have fewer internal distractions when you do.
The issue is, however, that it might take people time to see these benefits so it might be difficult to stay consistent. Thus, I’d suggest having a very small goal. As James Clear explains in “Atomic Habits” make the habit as easy as possible to accomplish, then build up once it’s there. It’s easier to improve on an existing habit than to make a new one. I’d suggest starting with 1 minute of meditation daily.
I’d love to hear if you’ve had any experiences with mindfulness meditation and whether you’re thinking of trying it after reading the newsletter. See you next week.