Ray Dalio, head of the world’s largest hedge fund firm, explained his secret in a recent interview. “I just want to be clear. Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had, ” he explained. That’s a strong statement coming from a billionaire.
Creativity, health, emotional control, clarity, open-mindedness. Dalio credits those benefits to meditation. And he’s not alone. The practice has made a lot of traction over the past few years with some of the world’s highest performers. Oprah Winfrey, Rupert Murdoch, Arianna Huffington, Bill Ford all have embraced it. Ford says it helps him live with compassion for himself and others. Winfrey describes feelings of hope, contentment, and deep joy.
Does the real benefit of meditation lie in the ethereal, or can it have genuine practical benefit? Although meditation has often been portrayed as something used only by yogis or new-age practitioners, science has shown actual structural changes within the brain, making it of great value for any of us. Those changes can make for a world of difference in daily performance, as testified by Dalio. But I’m not going to dive into the dozens of scientifically-proven benefits of meditation…yet.
Only during the past year have I started to test the practice myself. I have found the results compelling, to say the least. But I still haven’t practiced meditation consistently at the level I would like. And I want to know just how much my mind and performance can shift within a 30-day window.
How I Am Doing It
So, my commitment: For the next 30 days I’m committing to meditation every day for at least ten minutes. I’m using an iOS app called OMG I Can Meditate to guide me through the beginning phases – until I feel comfortable managing it on my own. Funny name, I know. I’m not profiting from their app, and honestly, you have a lot of good ones to choose from. I just liked what I read about this one and went with it. (And I have to admit, the lady talking on the app sounds a lot better than the voice in my head.)
What’s the Plan?
To hold myself accountable and to share my research and personal findings, I will post everyday in May. I’m calling it Meditation May. My wife finds the name cheesy, but it helps me stay committed for the month. Mission for May: meditate daily.
At worst, my blog posts should improve in quality. At best, I’ll enhance the physical structure of my brain, improve control over my mind and emotions, and focus my performance. I look forward to the challenge.