Life is too short.

Life is too short for getting stressed out by things you can’t control. Life’s too short to get wound up over things that haven’t happened or even about those that have. Life’s too short.

I never thought I’d be one to meditate but I am mightily pleased to be wrong about that. I’m exactly the type of person who needs to meditate. I was a competitive sportsman back in the day, I’m ambitious, I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I’m approaching a time in my life where I feel I should be achieving specific milestones.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

The way I used to work: Things would heat up so I’d work harder, work longer hours, take on more with little regard for my own well being.  To relax I’d indulge in a few drinks, eat whatever whenever, not sleep much or well. Essentially I’d burn the candles at both ends to help escape the daily grind.

Unsurprisingly I’d be tired, I’d be on edge, I’d over-think things and exacerbate problems.

I’d feel anxious and distance myself from the people I care about – the very people who support you when it matters most. And ‘round the cycle goes. Unfortunately this describes a lot of people we all know.

There were big changes brewing in my life. In taking on a new role as a Senior Partner I would be uprooting my family from Singapore to Melbourne; a city I had never lived in, to work at a Startup no one knew of. It was a big challenge, it was going to take some organising and it came with many layers of built in stress.

So I did something about it. I started by asking for advice.

I listened to a colleague’s advice about Life Being Too Short. About how your health and your family are the most important things in your life. That your work should be something you enjoy doing because you’re good at it, because you have purpose and direction; and because it integrates with the other important things in your life; giving you the best of both.

And if life doesn’t give you that, you’ve got to find a way to make it so.

Obviously it was recommended that I meditate; mindful meditation to be exact. Five minutes a day they said. I could do that. I downloaded an app and haven’t looked back.

I imagined it might be harder or stranger than it actually was. It’s not about letting your mind go blank, it’s actually about focusing your mind on one particular sensation for a short amount of time. The skills I learnt from this are pretty powerful, and self perpetuating.

You find you automatically start feeling more centered with better clarity of mind and a natural inclination to take better care of yourself. You want to be better all round and as a bonus, you actually get to be better at what you do. There’s an effortlessness about it.

Five minutes have become fifteen minutes which lead me to another Mindfulness platform with longer sessions, and interesting workshops and talks to consider.

I am more focused. I am relaxed, I am happier, I am more effective.

It hasn’t altered my goals, ambitions or drive, they’re still the same, but it has helped me achieve them with more clarity of thought, accuracy of execution, and confidence.