Lately, I’ve been enjoying The One Thing, by Gary Keller, where he emphasizes a focus on one thing. As a person who enjoys exploring the workings of the mind, I’ve found the book to be fascinating.
As I read, I asked – what’s the one thing that has made the biggest difference in the way I feel, act and interact with the world?
The Gentle Art of Doing Nothing
I did one thing when I was 23 that has improved the quality of my life ever since. That one thing was learning meditation, the gentle art of doing nothing.
Just to contextualize this, in my twenties I did a lot of stuff: traveled the country, visited other countries, moved to another country with nothing but a pack on my back, worked a few jobs, stayed in third-world villages and nice hotels, got a degree from a Stanford, and more.
One thing that has stuck with me is meditation. With meditation you are working with your thinking capacity, your feeling capacity, your ability to live freely, without inhibition and with discernment. And meditation can be useful in any field of life, whether you’re going into a career in video, IT, teaching or taking care of a family. Learning to work with your mind is universally valuable.
I learned to meditate when I was 23. It’s a skill that has grown with time and matured as I’ve grown older. I’m glad that I got a head-start with meditation, because of all the classes I took in school and all I learned, it’s been the most valuable asset. A soft skill, it gets at the very cause of how we relate to people and to our environment.
Update Your Mind’s Operating System
It’s like updating the operating system on your phone so that the bugs vanish and all the apps work better. The apps are our work, our relationships, our habits, our lifestyle and our hobbies. The one common thread that unites all these diverse aspects is your mind.
The quality of your mind determines how well and how happily you can perform in each area of your life. Are you happily engaged with your occupation, whether it’s study, work, or play? Why or why not? Could you be happier simply by improving your outlook on life? By updating your mind’s OS?
Give Yourself a Break
You may ask how it works. Meditation gives the mind deep rest (Deep Rest With Meditation). Often, the mind gets overtired, just by over-thinking. It is often easy to relate to the phenomenon of having too many thoughts. We sit to focus on one concrete objective and a flood of other thoughts come streaming in to distract us. How to deal with this invasion?
By meditating, we allow the flood of thoughts to subside. We give the over-thinking, analytical mind a much-needed rest. When the mind rests, then it relaxes and gradually lets go of anxiety, hurry and the habitual flood of thoughts. The result? I’ve found that the mind becomes more calm, more focused and ironically, able to think better.
So before you start thinking about every other thing you could do in your twenties, I would offer a humble suggestion from my own experience. Practice resting your mind, improving and cultivating the quality of your life and your mind, naturally, with meditation.