Originally published on Advisor Perspectives, September 5, 2017
I’ve written extensively on the benefits of meditation. It makes you more empathetic. It reduces stress and has a positive impact on depression, blood pressure, fatigue and insomnia, among other health issues. It improves learning and memory. It makes you more creative. One study from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than morphine.
A Harvard study concluded participants who meditated experienced changes in their brain (based on a comparison of brain scans). The study found “increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.”
But the appeal of meditation for me was unrelated to those benefits, although they were most welcome.
Before I started to mediate, I overreacted to anything negative, obsessed over dumb (and often trivial) mistakes I made and worried about the future.
But when I meditated, I was empowered to engage in an activity I hadn’t experienced in my adult life: Doing nothing. No deadlines. No anxiety. No contemplating the next anything. Meditation for me was total peace and relaxation.
The feeling of contentment and staying in the present carries over to other activities as well. Meditation (often called mindfulness) kicks in when I’m walking, playing tennis and interacting with others. I can keep my brain focused on whatever I’m doing instead of being distracted by thinking about what I should be doing, or what I should not have done.
Meditation and AUM
Here’s how you can use meditation to gather more AUM.
A critical component of the Solin Process℠ is the ability to listen. That’s more difficult than it seems because our brains are easily distracted.
An article in Hack Spirit discussed how to use meditation to improve your listening skills.
Most of us don’t really listen. Part of our brain is preparing a response to whatever is being said. It’s easy for us to become distracted or bored. Our brain can process information much faster than the spoken word. Studies have found we speak at an average rate of about 125 words per minute, but we have the capacity to understand someone speaking at 400 words per minute.
Since we’re using only about 25% of our mental capacity to listen to others, there’s plenty of brain “bandwidth” left over to be distracted with other thoughts. While we’re distracted, we’re not listening carefully.
We’re also tempted to judge what others say, and to formulate our position in response. While doing so, we’re not listening intently.
Finally, we may have a goal we want to achieve in a conversation. For advisors, it’s often demonstrating our expertise.
Meditation helps you overcome these obstacles. You learn to stay focused. You don’t judge what’s being said or try to turn the conversation to your advantage.
You learn to “do nothing” and focus on what’s being said.
Once you achieve this level of real listening, you’re likely to gather more AUM.
You’ll also be happier and more content.