Originally published in Inc. Magazine.
We live in a world that seems to have forgotten how to relax.
At work, we rush from one meeting to the next. We use the microscopic gaps in our day to fire off emails and texts. And we frantically try to complete all the items on our to-do list by the end of the day, and mostly fail.
At home, we finally have the space to take a breath and relax. And yet most of the things we do to take the edge off the day keep us stimulated and caught in this "always on" state: social media surfing, binge-watching Netflix shows, and catching up on texts and...
Originally published in Inc. Magazine.
When it comes to how to be more focused and less distracted, we've got things inside out.
We tend to think that we are distracted because of the devices in our pocket, Instagram, Facebook, text messages, phone calls, and the thousands of other notifications beckoning for our attention.
But according to the research of two Harvard psychologists, the real problem isn't our chaotic environment, its our minds.
Psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that the human mind is actually wired for this state of...
Let’s face it, email sucks.
Each day, I open my inbox to find hundreds of messages waiting for me. Even though I’m a religious unsubscriber, 30% are marketing emails that go straight to the trash. The rest are messages from co-workers, friends, and family members with thinly veiled requests for how I should be spending my time: “Can you send me that file?” “Hey, we really need to think about this new partnership?” “Can you make a reservation for dinner?”
Each time I open my inbox, I'm confronted by this truth: "the inbox,"...
Many of the traditions see autumn as the time of year when fear and anxiety reach their apotheosis. Halloween. Elections. Falling leaves. Wind. Grey skies. Which is why now might just be the perfect time to talk about the nature of fear.
Throughout my life, fear and anxiety have been constant companions.
In fact, I think it’s fair to say that much of my motivation for mindfulness practice springs from an almost primal urge to placate fear and anxiety.
When I was a young boy, I feared leaving my parents. I feared...
I have a confession to make. I struggle almost every day to stay resilient in the face of stress.
I realize the irony in admitting this. After all, I work in the industry of self-improvement and resilience – an industry where most “experts” purport to live a perfect life, where happiness and success arise almost effortlessly.
I wish I could make a similar claim. But even after over a decade of intensive mindfulness training, on some level, my experience of reality still feels utterly normal. My mind is more open than it was...
Following the 2016 Election, I stopped using social media for two reasons:
- The fact that a foreign entity manipulated American public opinion and undermined the legitimacy of the democratic process using these tools
- The fact that numerous studies have linked time spent on social media with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
In recent months, however, I came to the realization that the modern professional often has to engage in these spaces. These tools, after all, help us network, learn about new ideas, and have a broader conversation with others who...
The people I know who seem to have it all still lack one thing. Time.
In just about every conversation I have these days, I hear people complaining about the scarcity of time. “I’m crazy busy,” “I’m grinding,” “I’m back-to-back all day,” “I’m slammed,” they say.
My life is no different. I often feel that I’m trying to cram 2 days worth of activities and events into a single 24-hour period – trying to make space for work, creative thinking, exercise, mindfulness, family time, basic life...
Even as I write this post, I am conscious of my desire to be somebody.
I want you, the reader, to see me as intelligent, witty, deep, and impressive. At the same time, I’m hoping that you also see me as humble and down to earth, like the kind of person you could grab a cup of coffee with and have a great conversation.
I don’t want you to see me as fake, superficial, uninformed, or full of myself. I don’t want you to say to yourself while reading this: “wow, this guy’s writing sucks” or “reading this post was a total waste of my...
Monotony is the enemy of productivity and innovation.
And yet it’s so easy to slip into the trap of doing the same things, the same way, over and over. We eat the same breakfast. We take the same commute. We face the same daily onslaught of texts and emails. We move through the day at the same pace. Then we wake up and do it all over again.
The deeper I slip into this state, the more rigid I become, both in mind and body. Mentally, I lose the big perspective of my life and business. Instead, I fixate on small logistical tasks like...
10 years ago, I lived what appeared to be a perfect life. I had recently married my high school sweetheart. I was one year short of completing my PhD. And I was on the fast track to realizing my dream of becoming a professor of political philosophy.
On paper, everything was perfect. Marriage – check. Friends – check. Long list of academic degrees – check.
But in my mind, everything was a mess. The stress of grad school, a recent bike accident, and my own...
This article was originally published in Inc. Magazine.
When it comes to anxiety, we've got everything backwards.
Just consider the last time you felt a wave of raw fear minutes before a big presentation or a difficult conversation. If you're like most people, your first instinct was to say to yourself, "Stop freaking out. Calm down."
And yet, according to Harvard Business School professor Allison Wood Brooks, this is exactly the wrong thing to do. Her research shows that shifting from anxiety, a negative state of high arousal, to calm, a positive state of low arousal,...
I’ve come to a sobering realization when it comes to my meditation practice: I will never be an elite meditator.
And that has led me to rethink the basic nature of mindfulness practice.
Here’s the context. In Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson’s latest book Altered Traits, which brings together the most cutting edge scientific research on the benefits of meditation, they conclude that the benefits of meditation are a function of the amount of time you spend doing the practice.
Beginning level meditators (those who have practiced for at...