How to stop the mind chatter and gain clarity of thought
Whatever your beliefs about the spiritual, meditation can be of great value for people in business looking to achieve financial success and achieve their business goals. The following are the benefits I have gained from meditating on and off over the years....
CLARITY AND FOCUS
I think the major benefit of meditation for me personally, in fact long before I set up in business, was being more in control of my thinking. Before I began meditating my thinking was all over the place and I was not very disciplined in my thinking. Meditation and getting used to thinking of one thing (or indeed nothing at all!) and in letting go of random thoughts really helped me to concentrate on the task at hand to the exclusion of everything else. Multi-tasking may seem like a brilliant thing to be able to do in a busy day but sometimes one needs to focus exclusively on one task. Like, for example, if I am designing a new workshop or preparing for a speaking engagement - It would not be helpful having my thoughts distracted with other stuff like the calls I need to make or perhaps the previous things the deal I lost earlier in the day.
Clarity of thought and focus is valuable in business and meditation helps to develop this. You can still multi-task if you want but that becomes a choice rather the only way of operating. It has allowed me, when selling, to focus solely on my clients and prospects and exclude all my own thoughts about what it would mean to win the business. I can still do that thinking before I meet the customer and afterwards but not when I am in their presence.
A by-product of achieving stillness of mind is that you eventually get to the position where you are able to tell the difference between one's own thoughts and those of others.......and those coming from your unconscious mind. Other people's thoughts often show up as mental chatter. They may be those of your parents, your loved ones etc If you pay close attention they have a voice that is not your own. After you have been meditating for a while, you may begin to start picking up other people's thoughts from the ether. As we all broadcast our thinking in some way then a quietened mind can start to pick up on these and tell these thoughts from their own. This is not about being psychic, its about the fact that when you have a quiet mind you can start to pick up signals that previously were lost in all the noise.
Intuition is something else....it has been referred to by others as inner tuition....where part of one's unconscious mind (also known as the Self) sends you messages to help and support you. The more one can discern these signals from those of one's emotions, ego, and mental chatter, the more insight one can gain. This is where, for example, in sales and negotiation, you are able to tune into where the other people are coming from and better able to put forward a winning proposition. Its where, guided by your intuition, you are more able to be in the right place at the right time to get lucky.
RELAXATION AND STRESS REDUCTION
A third benefit is in being able to better manage one's cool and remain relaxed and calm. This was actually how I got into it all in the first place. I used to suffer with confidence and self esteem issues which showed up partially by working hard to achieve. I became very stressed and meditation helped me to become calmer and more relaxed. I am still quite intense but that comes without the stress. I like the intensity and focus and it allows me to do incredibly fast coaching and problem solving. Its not everyones cup of tea but I am fine about that too!! The important thing is that I am able to have fun with it rather than working my way to a heart attack! Clients and prospects can tell if you are stressed out and it does not go down too well!!
HOW TO GET STARTED
There are loads of different ways of meditating and I have tried lots of them over the years. The easiest one to get started is just to sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and pay attention to the sound of your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out from the stomach area. When you start doing this you normally find even more thought coming into your mind. I was taught to imaging clouds floating by and each thought is a cloud. If you start thinking about a thought...just recognise it and let it go. The aim is..over time...to sit still for 10 or more minutes with a totally still mind. It takes a while but once you can do that you get the added benefits of some really lovely peaceful sensations.
If you cannot spare 10 minutes a day to relax and meditate then you probably need to spend more time meditating!! I think it was Ghandi who remarked on having a really busy day ahead and so he needed to meditate longer than normal!
I am really glad that I was open minded enough all those years ago to give it a go. I have had lots of periods when I have stopped meditating for weeks or months but the more clarity I have gained as to when I work at my best..the more I realise that meditation is an important part of my daily rituals in the morning. The benefits to sales and business in general are endless and the great thing is that it works whatever your beliefs about religion and spirituality
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