Interruptions distract you from your thoughts.
How often you get interrupted determines how complex and developed your thoughts can be. If someone interrupts you every five seconds it’s hard to think thoughts that take more than five minutes to develop. Someone interrupting you every ten minutes would let you develop more complex, longer-term thoughts.
If you can only think short-term, you can only see short-term trends in your life, you can only address simple problems, and you can only see things superficially. You react more than you lead. Short-term thinking limits your ability to make sense of life, to plan long-term, to think deeply, and to create patterns. You live and react. You don’t create your life.
Meditating for twenty minutes lets longer thoughts develop. Meditating regularly trains you to transition from the erratic thoughts you have when interrupted frequently—monkey mind—to calmer, more stable thinking faster. Experience meditating leads your mental state while meditating to become calmer and more stable. As you see longer-term trends you react less and lead more—yourself and others.
Our culture has led to an environment full of distractions. More than distractions—we create industries to get people to stop what they’re doing, pay attention to what they are saying, and be influenced by them. People study for years of their lives to interrupt your thoughts and behavior more effectively, then hone their skills for decades. Watching television distracts you from thinking almost non-stop. So do most social networking sites.
A walk in the woods or sitting on the beach has as much to interest you as you like but doesn’t force itself on you. They relax you.
Meditation does more. While it doesn’t necessarily relax you in the moment, it teaches you how to relax. Giving yourself the freedom to think what you want hones your skills to focus your thoughts.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book