Tim Ferriss Discovered 80% Of The World's Top Performers Do This Daily
In Tim Ferriss's 300+ podcast interviews, he's pulled insights from the world's greatest thinkers. All in the hopes of distilling the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers into lessons that the rest of us can use. Tim noticed that patterns started to emerge for what makes these people successful. The one that rules them all is that 80% of the world-class performers he's interviewed have a daily meditation or mindfulness practice.
One of the hardest parts of introducing any new habit is finding the time. If you're thinking of your hectic schedule and questioning if it's possible, it is. Keep this affirmation in mind as you decide. When I find that I don't have time for what matters, I will stop doing things that don't. In other words, keep doing what you've been doing and you're going to keep getting what you've been getting. Is it time for a shake up?
After adopting my own morning meditation for the past couple years, it's not hard to see why it's so popular. It's a mindset game changer. It brings a level of awareness and clarity to your thoughts that reduces anxiety and brings a deep calmness to your presence. As Tim says in Tools of Titans, "it is a 'meta-skill' that improves everything else. You're starting your day by practicing focus when it doesn't matter, so that you can focus better later when it does matter (negotiation, conversation with a loved one, max deadlift, mind-melding with a Vulcan, etc.)."
To get around the difficulty of adopting a new habit, I stacked it with things I already do. Most days days start with a 6:30 a.m. fitness class. I'm home at 7:40 a.m. and by 7:50 a.m. I'm sitting in my grandpa's wingback chair. My grandpa spent much of his later years reading the paper and reflecting on life in that chair. It's tucked into the corner of my living room to let me soak in my surroundings and peer out the bay windows at the front of the house. There's something sentimental about my own moments lost deep in thought, sharing space with him.
Before I jump into my day’s tasks, I load up Headspace (they offer a free 10-day beginners course) and drift into a 20-minute meditation. Andy Potocomb, the CEO and melodic narrator of meditations, said something last week that burrowed its way inside my thoughts. "Awareness is clarity. Clarity is light. And we cannot unsee what we have seen in that light."
If one thing stands out for me this year, it's an appreciation for awareness in my own life. Life had felt complicated, busy and riddled with anxiety. I was working full-time and wrapping up an intensive coaching program. The extra 15 to 20 hours a week was wearing me down. Instead of taking it as a sign for much needed self-care, I did what I tend to do in those situations, double down. I enrolled in Seth Godin's Marketing Seminar. I was so focused on starting my business that I went all guns a-blazing.
I've struggled with anxiety most of my life, but this felt like I was on the verge of drowning. I could feel someone's hands pushing me down and the water seeping into my lungs. I woke up gasping for breath. I'd lost sight of why I was doing this. The result was my first panic attack. I managed to mumble a couple words over the phone to my boss before feeling the tears well up in my eyes. The golf-ball-sized lump in the back of my throat made it impossible for me to finish the conversation. My boss was incredibly understanding and encouraged me to take some much-needed rest. I felt like a failure. I pulled the sheets over my head and proceeded to think about all the ways that I had fucked up.
That blast of awareness left a 12 gauge shotgun wound of light streaming from a gaping hole in my head. As Andy said, clarity is light. I went from feeling blind to crystal clear vision with a new sense of awareness. I had been trying to hack the process and grow beyond where I needed to be. I saw how much better things could be, but I didn't respect the process. My only failure had been not trusting my gut. I knew better than to keep pushing, but ignored my intuition. My foundation didn't have the roots to keep me grounded when the storm came.
Let's say for example we experience a lot of anxiety like I was before meditating. We might look at that and think if I could only get rid of that, then everything will be okay, everything will be perfect, if I can just get rid of that anxiety. But the more we look at it, the more we actually see that the anxiety is not really the issue. Our perception of the anxiety as an imperfection is the issue.
That's what happens when you get hyper-focused on goals and lose sight of values and vision. A daily mindfulness or meditation practice keeps these top of mind.
It's tempting to look at one's own mind and identify so-called imperfections as obstacles. But it's our approach and our perception alone that defines the experience and outcome of such things. If we can shift our perspective so we see the anxiety as part of the journey, part of whatever we're witnessing in the mind, then all of a sudden the mind opens up. We're not trying to create a certain situation. Instead, we're allowing the mind to be as it is, so immediately we feel more at ease.
We start to see our experience of anxiety change. We're not trying to change the anxiety, we're trying to change the way in which we experience it. We're changing our relationship with it and it happens quite effortlessly. The more we apply awareness to our practice, and to our life, the more we will see that change happen. It's not just in our meditation. It doesn't just apply to anxiety. It applies to everything in our mind, throughout our life.