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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Are You in Search of Peak Performance?

How do successful people approach the asymptote of 'peak performance'? Over eighty percent use some form of meditation. 

Google's Chade Meng-Tan offered a class (with a lengthy waiting list" entitled "Search Inside Yourself". The course promoted meditation as a means to enhance "emotional intelligence", critical in all relationships. The mainstream approach offers the more conventional advice like Marshall Goldsmith's What Got You Here Won't Get You There. 

Meditation doesn't have to be burdensome. 

Meng-Tan advises beginners to "do less", so they do not feel that meditation is burdensome and to "make it an indulgence not a chore". 

Why meditate? Meditation has established somatic and neurologic benefits. It reduces energy consumption, reduces anxiety and depression (stress mitigation), and increases both memory (functional) and gray matter in the brain (structural) on imaging studies. 

How do you get started? Here is an excellent summary of Gutaratana's Mindfulness in Plain English. It includes what meditation is and myths associated. The summary provides both depth yet brevity. Here is an excerpt:

"Actual Practice: once you sit do not change the position again until the end of the time you determined at the beginning. Do not change your original position no matter how painful it is.

After sitting motionless, close your eyes. Our mind is analogous to a cup of muddy water. The longer you keep a cup of muddy water still the more mud settles down and the water will be seen clearly. Keep your mind in the present moment. What is present every moment is our breath. Do not verbalize or conceptualize anything. Simply notice the in-coming and out-going breath without saying, “i breathe in” etc. When you focus your attention on the breath ignore any thought, memory, sound, smell, taste, etc., and focus your attention exclusively on the breath. At the beginning both the inhalations and exhalations are short because the body and mind are not calm and relaxed. In spite of efforts to keep the mind on breathing it may wander."

Olympic athletes receive mindfulness training. Mindfulness is the not-so-secret weapon allowing athletes to play 'in the moment'. 

The application 'Headspace' is a good place to start (free with in-app purchases). 

Are you in search of peak performance? Meditation offers the potential of greater focus, clarity, and control. 

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