Why Smart Leaders Meditate

If business is about Return On Investment, meditation is one of your cheapest investments with maximum payoffs.

David Brown
November 21, 2013
Woman meditating

If business is about Return On Investment, meditation is one of your cheapest investments with maximum payoffs. Even better, there are a myriad ways to get the benefits of meditation, within as little as two minutes.

First, the benefits:

  • Better focus when not meditating, with lasting effects from regular practice.
  • Less anxiety stemming from rewired neural connections.
  • More creativity, particularly from certain types of meditation like open-monitoring.
  • More compassion from regular practice.
  • Better memory, including increased ability to screen out distractions and increase productivity.
  • Less stress
  • More gray matter, which leads to more positive emotions, longer lasting emotional stability and heightened focus during daily life.

Getting Started - Here are four main types of meditation:

  • Guided meditation is a session conducted with verbal instruction. There are even apps for that now as well as numerous recordings. Check out Omvana for one example.
  • Moving meditation is the art of quieting the mind and directing your complete attention to whatever you are doing in the moment. There's a great story of Baba Ram Dass back in the day giving a talk about higher levels of consciousness, some of which were achieved through hallucinogens as well as meditation. He noticed an elderly lady in the front row totally tracking everything he was speaking about. Curious, afterwards he approached her and shared that he noticed she seemed to really get what he was expressing. He asked what methods she used or practiced. In a very shy and conspiratorial tone, she moved closer and whispered in his ear, "I knit."
  • Sensory meditation asks the mind to focus on sights, sounds, tastes, scents and other physical stimuli.
  • Mindfulness meditation is about realizing that you're not your thoughts, emotions or actions. The focus of the mind is the mind itself.

Ways to meditate at work:

  • Arrive and/or leave early and spend 10-15 minutes in your car or a quiet place meditating.
  • Use your coffee break and find a quiet place (empty room, place outside) and have a meditation break. Or take a walk for a moving meditation.
  • Listen to mediation audios or apps.
  • If you can't leave your desk, focus on an object in front of you and take several long, slow, deep breaths.

Try these basic meditation tips at home:

  • Pick a word, short phrase or prayer that is firmly rooted in your belief system that will help you focus. Try words like "peace," "one" or a religious word or phrase.
  • Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Some prefer yoga positions as practiced in the East. Others prefer a more Western stance: Sit in a chair where your spine is straight and your feet are comfortably flat on the floor. Hands should face upward on your lap.
  • Close or lower your eyes.
  • Breathe slowly. Exhale through your mouth and inhale through your nose.
  • Other thoughts may cross your mind, but it doesn't mean your session needs to end. Say to yourself "later" and return to your breathing and/or visualization.
  • Try to meditate for 5 to 20 minutes, preferably twice a day.
  • Meditation is a discipline. So try to practice it at the same time every day.

Research shows that even as little as two minutes of meditation has positive effects. Doing it regularly is even better. And just 20 minutes twice daily will provide awesome results. For one of the best simplest guide to meditation (112 ways to meditate) check out Meditation by Osho.