I Wanted to Be More Productive. So, I Started Meditation | by Ludovic Chung-Sao
Maybe like me, you’ve been in this situation. You’re on your couch watching a TV show and telling yourself “I should do something more constructive”. A few hours later, you’re exactly in the same position, watching the same TV show.
Every day in our life we face this. We all dream to achieve something big. The problem is: just putting in the effort to get things started can be a challenge.
I started to dig into what could help me stop procrastinating, and what patterns could give me more control over my actions.
What Prevents Me from Being Fully Productive?
Thoughts Affect Your Actions
The first time I really felt in control was when I started a strict meat diet and a daily workout routine. Every day, at night, I had to exercise. Every evening, it was difficult to get started. I clearly remember the effort in itself was hard but not the hardest. The toughest was to gather the energy to decide to start the workout.
It’s exactly the same feeling when it’s late at night – the next day, you have to go to work, yet you stay on your smartphone doing meaningless things. You consciously know what you should do, but in some way, you flee from them through instant gratification such as scrolling on social media.
Your thoughts are important in undertaking action. You can face them and amplify them or escape from them.
The Emotions in the Process
I’ve been in situations where I turned angry because of mistakes from people working with me or even mistakes I made myself. Every time emotions such as anger would kick in, I would lose my focus on what matters the most. I would focus on all the reasons this other person would make me angry and completely forget about what was the goal of the conversation.
Every time I got angry and spoke without thinking twice, it never led to something constructive.
Meditation as a Solution
If your thoughts and feelings were getting in the way of productivity, then there must be ways to counter that.
I first heard about meditation as a solution to gain more control from a friend. He couldn’t really explain very clearly in what ways it could help me, so he suggested a book named “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.
My First Spiritual Book
I never thought meditation would be accessible to people like me. I always regarded this practice as reserved for a specific class of people. This book destroyed all my beliefs. Meditation suddenly appeared as a down-to-earth practice.
In this book, I learned how our thoughts generate feelings (of anger, fear, anxiety, etc.). It talks about how our mind processes the past and the future. Finally, the author explains that the only thing that exists is the present moment. When we strengthen our connection to the now, there are no worries, anger, past, nor future.
The explanations from the book naturally came with exercises on how to increase our awareness.
Meditation was one of the practices.
Observing the thoughts in a stressful situation and the reaction of the body to external stimuli was another type of practice.
Improve Focus and Willpower
You might wonder how being more mindful or meditation can be related to willpower. Well, remember above, when I was talking about facing our thoughts or escaping them. Meditation can help in acknowledging those thoughts and keep a strong focus on them.
Meditation in its simplest form consists of staying put and focusing your attention to your breath. Many thoughts will cross your mind during the practice. The end goal is to bring back your attention to the breath as soon as the mind drifts away to the past or the future.
If you’ve never tried, believe me, it’s not easy. I noticed the more I practised, the more I gained clarity about the mechanism ruling my behaviour.
In a situation where I’m angry, it helps me hear negative thoughts crossing my mind, and sense the tension in my body.
When it’s time to go to bed, it becomes easier to focus on all the benefits of having enough rest for the next day, rather than the instant pleasure of watching more YouTube videos.
A consistent practice helped me become more calm and focused. I see meditation as the workout of the spirit. More than ever, the saying “A healthy spirit in a healthy body” made sense.
Reading “The Power of Now” opened the path of my spiritual journey and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
JM: Thank you so much Ludovic for this. I definitely think everyone can benefit from meditating if they want to become more productive. If you want to learn more from Ludovic, you can go to ZenSoundproof.com.