I write this post moments after an hour long massage. Though some get massages to relax, I get mine to temporarily “fix”, the damage I’ve done to my body over years of abusing it. After this massage, I will hopefully once again, be able to stand straight up, and without pain.
Upon entering the massage room, I wisely remembered to shut off my phone. The last thing I needed was to hear the phone vibrating on and off for an hour. I’ve never had much of an issue calming my body down. I trained myself to do it in high school and ever since I’ve been able to fall asleep in minutes, at almost any moment and any location. Staying relaxed, I found, was also crucial to my martial arts (a predominant cause to the aforementioned body damage). A relaxed body takes less punishment, expends less energy, and moves faster and with more agility.
Almost immediately following my massage I entered a Greek restaurant for some lunch and work prior to another appointment. I was tentative to enter because I was in such a peaceful and calm state. But, my stomach would not relent with its insistence that I get food and soon, and so I entered the restaurant. I noticed almost immediately that the music playing inside was virtually identical to the music playing during my massage, and yet, the place was anything but quiet and peaceful. It was instead, a bustling room as one might expect during a lunch rush. I attempted to stay calm, while I ordered, took my seat and, riskiest of all, checked my email.
After the flood of email came pouring in, all from only an hour offline, I managed to catch the sound of that calm music still playing amidst the chaos. It reminded me of the importance of staying calm in all situations. I would guess that most of us rarely get enough opportunities for a relaxing massage, a walk in the park, or whatever other calming activity may work best for us. We should do those more for sure, and I highly urge it for both introverts (we seek it naturally), but also to extroverts, who can often find themselves feeling edgy and uncomfortable in such stillness.
It is the calm mind that thinks clearer, faster and with more agility. It is the calm mind that can withstand the extreme forces and stresses we often find ourselves living within.
This was a lesson Bruce Lee, a hero of mine growing up, taught frequently. For example, he said:
Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.
Never waste energy on worries or negative thoughts, all problems are brought into existence -drop them.
I’m intense; crazy intense, but I do my best to be as calm as I can and try to hide the internal fire, so as not to scare the children. For whatever reason, everything I do falls into two categories: those I’m intensely passionate about, and those I’m not. There isn’t a lot of in between. I would bet that’s a common attribute of an entrepreneur. It has both pros and cons, but because of it, those of you who are like me, have to take special care to stay calm.
I analyze everything; overanalyze, and that by very definition, isn’t being calm. Thinking while someone else is talking to you? Not calm. Reading in between the lines? Not calm. Second guessing yourself? Also, not calm.
If you find yourself doing any of these, be aware that your mind is clouded and you are distracting yourself, and wasting time and energy. I’ve found that although my mind is capable of deep thinking, innovative problem solving, and seeing things that other’s don’t, it’s often the state of mind of being free from such thoughts (a true state of calmness) that results in the most brilliant discoveries and insights.
It is only through remaining calm that we can attain that laser-like focus, determination and perseverance needed to overcome the setbacks of life, both personal and within our startups.
What do you do to calm down and be alone with and without your thoughts? What could you do today, to bring calm to yourself and take a time out from the distractions and chaos of our high tech, whirling, beeping and buzzing society?