ONE QUESTION

Did you ever play with an 8-Ball as a kid?  Maybe at a party or with friends…you’d ask this silly contraption a question, shake it, then wait with baited breathe to see what it would say?  This novelty toy was invented in the 1950’s by Albert Carter and manufactured by Mattel and has been a staple at middle school parties for decades.

As you know, the Magic 8-Ball is used for fortune-telling or seeking advice with a humorous slant–it gives very accurate, very inaccurate, or otherwise statistically improbable answers.  The 20 answers that it offers come in three different categories in some form or fashion:

  • Yes
  • I don’t know or ask again later
  • No

In life, we all are seeking answers for the many obstacles it throws at us: how to handle a situation, ideas to solve a problem, or answers on what to do next.  Maybe you have a a new project at work and are looking for inspiration.  Or, you and your spouse are trying to figure out how to deal with a situation that involves your child.  Or maybe, you are just seeking direction and purpose on what do to next in your life.

Luckily for you and everyone else, we don’t get our answers by asking a black round sphere a question then shake it, and hope for the best.

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So let me ask you this question:

How do you get your answers?

We all are seeking answers and knowledge.  No doubt, we have the Internet, Google, Wikipedia, and other technical options to find solutions.  YouTube is one of my favorite places to figure out how to do something,..like how to make slime (that was the first to pop up when I typed in “how to…”) or how to tie a tie, or how to fix a cracked phone screen (another popular one).  There are a TON of resources to gain insights on facts, how-to’s, opinions, and history of someone or something.

However, our toughest questions cannot be answered by clicking a search button on a device

Let me share a strategy that is life changing, simple, and if used correctly–extremely powerful.  This approach pulls from infinite wisdom so endless and abundant, it puts Google to shame.  This daily ritual, if done consistently, will take you to places you have never been, give you peace you have never felt, and create clarity and decisiveness you otherwise wouldn’t see.

So what is this solution…It’s MEDITATION.  

You most likely have heard this offering before and how meditation can improve creative thinking, our energy, stress levels, and even our success.  Billionaires, world class athletes, icons, and top performers utilize this technique.  If this is so, why do so many of us not do it?

My answer is that I think meditation is often misunderstood (it’s only for monks and for people who do kung-fu).  I actually think the main reason is because people don’t know how to do it properly.  Either they get too board with it, or actually fall asleep!  My goal is to give you a few simple steps to help you make making mindfulness a daily practice.  Before I do that, let me remind you of a few reasons WHY you should really make meditation, visualization, and mindfulness your go-to when you need peace, rest, and answers. 

In an article in the Huffington Post, Dr. Hedy Kober, who is a neuroscience expert who studies the effects of mindful meditation, offers this, “It did to my mind what going to the gym did to my body–it made it both stronger and more flexible.”  

LifeHack offers these top 10 benefits of Mediation that you might not know:

  1. It boosts your immune system
  2. Improves fertility
  3. Reduces stress
  4. Improves self-acceptance
  5. Improves self-confidence
  6. Improves your relationships
  7. Increases creativity
  8. Offers pain relief
  9. It improves concentration
  10. It fosters a feeling of “wholeness”

You already do some form of mindfulness in your own way…driving a car, doing yoga, taking a long hot shower, praying, going on a peaceful walk, the time between when you wake up and actually get out of bed…some of my best ideas have come during these times.

 My favorite part of yoga, is the relaxation/mindfulness time at the end.

My favorite part of yoga, is the relaxation/mindfulness time at the end.

A few years ago, I received training on Transcendental Meditation (TM).  I was going through a rough patch in my career, was dealing with stress, and was looking for a release.  Oprah, Russell Simmons, Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman, and many other well know successful people swear by it, so I thought…why not give it a try?  It was a good experience, but what I found out is that I preferred “guided meditation” over TM’s approach.

A Few Options
A great resource to learn how to practice guided meditation is through an awesome app called:  Headspace.  I heard about it from the Lewis Howes Podcast.  One of my heroes, Tim Farriss has endorsed this approach as well.  With over 6 million downloads, I’d say that it is working for many!  You can customized what you are looking for based on needs and time length.  You will listen to the creator–Andy–who has a soothing accent (British I believe), guide you through your meditation each time.  This is approach will you are getting started…the first ten sessions are FREE! 

Another resource you can utilize is to check out Tara Bach’s website, which offers great info on meditation, as well as offers a library that you can select by category.  Check it out.

Finally, I had the pleasure to take part in a men’s retreat this weekend with a group of successful guys down on the Oregon Coast this past week.  We called our getaway: Breakaway.  The intent of the weekend was to cast vision, create inspiration, and map out a plan to make 2017 our best year yet.  We had the pleasure of working with a business owner, entrepreneur,  certified life coach, and mediation expert, Sean McCormick.  Sean owns Float Seattle.  Sean guided the group in several mediation and visualization sessions, which were certainly powerful.  I encourage you to check out his website if you are looking for more mindfulness, peace and success!…click here.

 Sean dropping knowledge…not a bad place to learn…on a legit recliner

Sean dropping knowledge…not a bad place to learn…on a legit recliner

5 Simple Steps to Practice More Mindfulness:

 

  1. Prioritize a specific time during the day to allow a few minutes of quiet time to yourself (even if it’s just 5 minutes)
  2. Avoid laying down, but find a cozy chair or sit in a comfortable position (this will limit the chance of falling asleep)
  3. Spend the first minute or so focusing on your breathing…in through your nose, then out through your mouth.
  4. At the beginning of this time, ask yourself a question…relax and let your heart and spirit (not your brain) go to work
  5. Be open to receive omens, ideas, and inspiration to be the best version of you

I’ll Leave You With This:

Ask yourself at least one question each day and let your subconscious, God, and the universe go to work and bring you answers, solutions, guidance, and the peace of mind not found in an 8-Ball or Google.  Here’s a helpful hint: PUT YOUR CELL PHONE AWAY, be still, be mindful, and make some form of meditation a daily habit.  If you do, you’ll upgrade from your 8-Ball, and get more answers than “yes,” “ask again later,” or “no” (you may receive one of these three answers though anyway).  Regardless, give your mind, body, and soul, the gift of calm and peace…your future self will thank you.