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Perhaps one of the most intriguing skills I've picked up in the last few years is mindfulness.
In a way, it's like seeing things through a telephoto lens. The ability to zoom in and focus when needed and zoom out and see the bigger picture when you get too wrapped up in something.
I found the practice made me more balanced in the moment, rather than waiting for an end goal. Many people (including myself) fall into this trap, thinking we need to achieve a goal first to be fulfilled. Integrating mindfulness into my life made me realize that most of life's joy is actually found in the process. This doesn't mean you don't set goals. It just makes it more enjoyable while you are achieving them, rather than getting frustrated that you haven't arrived yet. It's only a matter of time as long as you keep going. Whether this is learning new skills, building a business, or improving your fitness. The end goal is just the icing on the cake. The process is the cake itself and where all the fun lies. It’s where you zoom in and forget about the results.
Practicing mindfulness over time also made it easier for me to move from a state of competition to creativity. This can be a huge advantage in business. If you are stuck in a market with heavy competition, breaking free from the noise is more challenging, and you can become reactive to whatever your competitors are doing. Creativity lets you develop your own process and create entirely novel solutions the world has never seen. This is the starting point for making an impact. It’s where zooming out and seeing the bigger picture come in handy.
A lot of this might come naturally to many people, and there are likely many ways to build these skills, but for me, I've found that any time I get off balance, practicing mindfulness always brings me back to a state of calm and seeing the bigger picture.
An easy way to start is to just close your eyes and take some deep breaths. That's really all there is to it …
But if you prefer some more guidance, there are many great resources out there. I've sampled a bunch over the years and keep coming back to this one. It's a mindfulness app that I found stood the test of time. Curiously, I even started building my own a year ago but then decided it wasn't good enough and that I was, ironically, getting distracted. So I put that project on hold* Anyway, yeah, the one I use is called — Waking Up by Sam Harris. It was so good I purchased a lifetime subscription, but it also has free content. Sometimes I feel like it might even be turning me into a better person. Weird thing to say about an app, I know, but it's really the content that matters. A lot of the value is in the courses and talks it contains, so check those out, as well. (No, this isn't an ad, I genuinely like the app).
*Speaking of abandoning things— Stay tuned for the next story in the flyby fiction universe — Failure to Launch. You can find it in your inbox sometime before the end of the year, 2022. This is the part where I usually say — "It's one of my best posts yet!" But, in reality, I've barely even started writing it! Oops. Usually, these fiction stories have taken me about a month to write, so I'm not quite sure how I'll manage to squeeze it in around a week. I plan to use the technique I described last week— Just an hour a day of writing (maybe two this time, gulp) first thing in the morning, with pure focus. Let's see how it goes. I'd be lying if I said this doesn't scare the bejeezus out of me, but I'll also be using some mindfulness techniques to stay calm and not completely freak out. Would I rather just jump into the deep end of an ice-cold swimming pool on a cold winter morning? You bet. Let's dive in then! Wish me luck using the feedback form below …
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P.S. - Enjoy the holidays! :)