When you go over your list of tasks for your business, you get drowned by the mundane chores that you often end up doing so many things but achieving too little or close to none. If this is your case, then there is a need to weed your thoughts of too many activities to achieve a sense of clarity that will help you become productive and effective in your work.
Al Jeffery is the Founder of Realise Flow and of Base Commons. Al has been an entrepreneur since 12 and named in the top 30 entrepreneurs in Australia under 30 twice in a row.
From the time you hatch the idea of starting your business to the point when you launch it, you have been thinking of that vision for your enterprise. Even as you go about your daily activities, you probably still think of that vision and hundreds of other ideas that you can implement in your business. During the Meditation and Happiness talk of WeTeachMe’s Masters Series, Al Jeffery pointed out how we always look forward to the future. “We always tend to project our visions, our goals, and our sense of purpose into the future. It’s something aspirational. We always forget to bring it back down to the here and now.”
The previous blog of Presence and Mindfulness cited the importance of being aware of the present. Meditation will help you focus on the present and, thus, increase creativity at work. This will also lead to attaining a sense of wholeness in your life.
Wholeness vs. Happiness
Al’s talk started off clarifying what we are trying to attain: happiness or wholeness. We usually chase after happiness. But we also need to recognise that there are two aspects of life: it is both happy and sad. It is a fact of life that we experience joy as well as sorrow. Life is composed of negatives and positives. But we have different ways of dealing with sadness:
- Face the sad emotional bits now
- Suppress the sadness with happy things
Somehow, if we suppress sadness, it will find its way out into something that will be painful. We must bear in mind, however, that pain and suffering are two different things and that happiness and sadness exist side by side. Al shares, “When I started meditation, when I am sad, I meditate with the purpose of being happy. Now, when I am sad, I meditate with the purpose of being sad. Stillness is a good mirror to who we really are.”
So, Al poses these questions: What are you seeking? Is it happiness or is it wholeness?
Finding your purpose
Let us take a look at Al’s childhood during the time when he started with meditation and later began his entrepreneurial journey. When he was 8 years old, he wanted to become a policeman. To achieve that, he studied martial arts where he had his first taste of mindfulness. One of the exercises was for the students to block the bean bags thrown at them. Had he been thinking of the last bean bag, he would surely miss the next one coming at him.
When he reached 12, he was watching television and he saw an advertisement of World Vision asking for child sponsorship. From that point on, he wanted to be THE one to make a difference and become a medium for social change. He realised that the only way for him to do that was to start a business, which he eventually did. But as he felt hurt with the rejections and frustrated with the blockages he experienced while running his venture, he found that he needed to work on himself first to be able to fully work on his business. He became a personal development junkie and he pored over books and materials that can help him improve himself. His wake-up call was when he finally found himself in the hole of isolation. It was also at this point when he went looking for his purpose in life.
Pain Leads to Purpose
What is your personal pain point? Al’s isolation led him to build a community. Many businesses were born out of the personal pain point of their respective founders. From a problem that they experienced or observed, they went about finding a solution. Their businesses provided solutions to the problems they saw.
Identify Changes That Can Shift Your Purpose
Al started a business because he wanted to influence the state of social existence. He believed he could only do that if he could make himself influential. But as he found himself and discovered his pain point, he shifted his purpose and worked towards helping those who were in the same situation as he was.
Use Purpose to Drive Business Decisions
How do you make business decisions? Do you choose one that can bring you more profit? Or do you consider something else that can influence your choice? Decision-making is vital in every business. This is where meditation comes in because, through meditation, you can:
- Sit with your emotions and reflect on what you are really wanting;
- Gain clarity on what you value most;
- Know the undercurrent beneath your purpose.
Develop the Habit of Meditation
At 14, Al was in search of a real connection and it led him to find someone who taught him about contemplation and meditation. He went through various activities that helped him meditate. Here are some activities you can do to enable you to get into a regular exercise of meditation.
1.) Find someone who is good at it
There are times when you cannot do it on your own. You get too distracted that you can’t get into the state of focus. Someone who has knowledge or experience of meditation can help you develop this in you. Surround yourself with people who can push you, inspire you and make you feel safe around them.
Al also got into the habit of journaling and he practices with his morning pages. He recommends the site 750words.com. It’s an online page where you can input anything that comes to your mind and then it will track the metadata of your journal entries. By writing, the page becomes a mirror of your internal thoughts and you get to see the patterns of your thoughts.
3.) Physical activity
You can get into dancing or other physical exercises that can make you put your mind to the present. By doing such, you feel the blood rushing through your veins, your breathing, your sweat trickling down your skin, and you become aware of your present state.
Often, just quieting down yourself helps you focus on things at the moment. You can listen to your breathing or the sounds around you. Then you become conscious of yourself and the sensations through your body. Silence allows you to look within yourself and examine things going inside your mind and heart. By becoming silent, you can detach yourself from your sensations. According to Al, through meditation, you can observe thought and emotion. You have to remind yourself, however, that you are not the thought and emotion and that you can liberate yourself from it. You can still feel all your sensations but you cannot be attached to those sensations.
The practical application of meditation
Meditation can help you in your various roles. But for this purpose, let us look at meditation and its uses on your role:
As a creative and entrepreneur
When you meditate, you become mindful of the present and become aware of things going on inside you and around you. The state of mindfulness brings you to the peak of your performance. Once you get detached from your sensations, you are able to think with clarity and it enhances your creativity. When you are in your creative state, you have the ability to accelerate your productivity, which will enable you to perform the necessary tasks needed to run your business.
As a human being in pursuit of wholeness
According to Al, we have the tendency to crave for things that are only pleasurable to us and avert those that cause us pain. As we develop the pattern of craving and aversion, it eventually leads to suffering. It becomes unhealthy because we try to block out the things that we do not like. Meditation is a way of healing ourselves and healing is a method of restoring us to wholeness.
Meditation is a way of disciplining our mind. As you meditate and clear your thoughts, allow yourself to recognise both happiness and sadness as part of a whole. Your quest for wholeness can lead you towards your purpose, which is important in your business. Use meditation to enhance your creativity and productivity so that you can achieve wholeness in yourself and in your business.
Al shares this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh which you can take with you as you get into the habit of meditation. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”