Thriving in a Stressful Day and Age with Mindfulness, Meditation and Ikigai
We are living through an age of continuous disruption and change. There are alot of changes now from the threats of a global pandemic, climate change concerns, rising geopolitical tensions, societal breakdowns, political drama, mass media, a volatile economy and exponential advances in automation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.
There is a lot of bad news, and unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that the bad news is not going away anytime soon. In fact, the bad news on all fronts will probably increase alot in the coming months, if not years, because of a few reasons. This is because everyone has an opinion today and everyone is also coming online and voicing their opinions louder and louder on every matter so trust is breaking down at every level and we are becoming more polarized as a society on how to move forward on a lot of things. At the same time there is a big push from companies to invest more and more in these digital technologies, and no escaping the internet or social media and news platforms we rely on so the hyperconnected noisy world we live in is only becoming more and more hyperconnected and noisy.
Bear in mind, things were already becoming very difficult for alot of people in terms of surviving in a new world. We are not used to surviving in a world with technologies that are this advanced and don’t know how to cope with the rate of change that is taking place economically, socially and technologically. Covid19 was the inflection point that accelerated these disruptions and caused massive turmoil on many of these fronts as we are seeing.
I want to share my personal learnings on how to compete better in a very hyper-competitive and stressful world because I see it getting more and more chaotic. I think there are a few components to keeping your cool and trying to thrive personally and professionally despite all the chaos and principles that I am applying which I think can help others. These principles should not just be during this pandemic but for after also. Because I think generally we should pay attention long-term and not just live in the short-term.
Habits for Health and Wellness
Meditating Everyday and Infusing a Mindfulness Practice into Life
Daily Morning Walk
Sleeping Well — Drinking Chamomile Tea at Night helps me fall asleep easier and wake up earlier
Outdoor Adventures — Having days during the year for hiking, kayaking, skiing and playing outdoor sports such as soccer helps me unplug from the digital hyperconnected world as well as from screens
Habits for Digital Wellness
Includes Habits for Health and Wellness
Using Social Media and the Internet to Your Advantage Rather Than to Your Disadvantage
Applying minimalism and mindfulness to internet and social media usage
Approach to Work and Life
Includes Habits for Health and Wellness and Habits for Digital Wellness
I apply Richard Branson’s quote here too — “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” I personally choose this path as well, and it helps me be more absorbed in my day to day activities so much so that there is not much distinction for me in terms of things feeling like work. The reason for this is that I am constantly being mindful of choosing what to do, what to pay attention to and also being mindful of choosing what not to do and what not to pay attention to. The more I am able to do this the more I find time to do the things I want to be doing.
One thing to note is that, also finding your greatest skillsets, and the things that you do best also make this process much more comfortable. I recommend to constantly grow your skillsets beyond what you just know you can do but if you can leverage your personal talents and find work that you love doing, it won’t feel like work.
In a similar fashion, finding out your core values and what influences or moves you is very important. If you are passionate about the things you pursue, then your mindset will grow stronger as you become much more engaged with the process of the work that you do rather than just the monetary reward or the outcome.
Staying Motivated, Inspired and Fearless
Includes Approach to Work and Life
Wrapping up on my points above, if you are able to find the intersection of what you are great at, what you love to do and where there is scarcity in the world, then you will be able to live a life of abundance and always create value for not just yourself, but for others also because you have tapped into Ikigai (生き甲斐, Japanese pronunciation: [ikiɡai]) is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being". The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one's life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life). You will be able to remain internally calm, highly passionate, deeply engaged and crush the work that you do despite the external stressors of the world.
I want to expand on a point I made earlier in this context. In habits for digital wellness, I said using Social Media and the Internet to Your Advantage Rather Than to Your Disadvantage. The Internet is expanding explosively and information is abundant. But the question is how much of all of this information is useful to most people for their intents and purposes?
I frequently ask myself this question now. Am I paying attention to the right information that will help me forward now or later in my personal or professional life? This is why I use the internet to learn and grow and not to waste time, although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do this. It’s still much much easier with a serious mindfulness practice to sift through.
The answer to these questions is going to be different depending on each person. There is no one size fits all. But there are general things I do that work for me but can work for alot of other people.
Knowing yourself and what your values are like I said earlier. If you know that, the rest will be much easier. Because you will know what to look for. If you know what kind of lifestyle you want to live, what kind of life you want to build, what kind of impact you want to have, what kind of person you want to be, then you will also look out for those people and the best who embody those same values.
2. It is no secret that there are a lot of opinions today on the internet from health and wellness advice, to career advice, to entrepreneurship advice. There is a guru everywhere you go. This is only going to continue to grow from this point on, as bad as the divisiveness is getting because everyone has an opinion on everything and everyone is coming more and more online. That’s why my first point is critical. And then also, to try to find the best people and the few opinions or pieces of information that will give you the highest leverage or value to improve a particular area, or aspect of navigating your life, relationships, your business or your career.
3. Although you don’t want to be too biased, and live in a bubble (with listening to only the opinions you like or are comfortable with) you want to have clean feeds of information that help bring you value. For example, follow the thought leaders, entrepreneurs that inspire you and motivate you. Follow the people that excite, inspire you. Follow the practitioners and leaders who teach you.
Again, there are too many opinions today, and this is only going to keep growing as the internet grows more and more expansively each day. You don’t want to read too many different sources of information. And you have to know what you Value personally because that’s going to help you know how to seek information better and who’s opinions to pay attention to. Lastly be mindful of not spending too much time on the internet and not following in too many rabbitholes and don’t take yourself or anyone else too seriously.
At the end of the day we live in a crazy world and time period, one that evokes different emotions every day in the age of constant hyperconnection. And people are getting angrier at each other because we are trying to make sense of everything that’s going on, but there is too much that’s going on and it’s impossible to give a damn about every little thing. So don’t worry but be mindful.
As you can probably tell by now the word mindfulness is very important to me and I think mindfulness is the best tool to combat stress and anxiety in today’s stressful, digital, hyperconnected and “Always-on” age. I love using the Headspace App for about 10 minutes per day and highly recommend it, and the benefits of mindfulness extend from not only combatting stress, anxiety, and burnout but to also improving performance and productivity in nearly everything I do. It also helps with introspecting more deeply, seeing the bigger picture, feeling gratitude as well as more connected internally to one’s purpose as well as externally with trying to fulfill that purpose in the outer world.