The amount of science now confirming the physiological effects within the brain from meditation should give you pause (pun intended). The connection with mysticism, religion, and new age have scared off Westerners for a long time – myself included. A few early pioneers existed, like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. But hardly any controlled clinical trials existed prior to the past ten years. Since then, researchers have provided some compelling studies on meditation and personal performance.
Meditation and Personal Performance
The journal Psychological Science published the results from a study conducted with undergraduates. In the randomized trial, the students spent 10 minutes a day for two weeks practicing mindfulness. They experienced a significant improvement on the verbal portion of the Graduate Record Exam, gaining 16 percentile points. Working memory capacity also significantly improved.
Ten minutes a day for two weeks doesn’t amount to a big investment. But if it sounds too daunting for you, consider this. Another study shows just four days of meditation and mindfulness training can shift your overall ability to sustain attention. It was previously thought you could only experience that benefit with long-term practice.
What keeps you from meditating? Answer the question, really. Stop reading this for 10 seconds and search for the answer.
For a long time I didn’t buy the benefit. With all the evidence, I no longer have that obstacle. Now, I often find myself “too busy” to do it. That really means I don’t consider it valuable enough to prioritize. Meditation May forces me to consider the value daily. As I have learned to control my mind, I can connect on a much deeper level with the people and activities I choose to pursue. Intentionality, intensity, energy. I want to summon all of those in one moment to give my best. When I coach sales managers or executives, I have to exude energy and attention in every interaction. I also expect it from them. And they count on my intensity and focus to help them deliver theirs.
What value do you see for your own life?