Meditation and Money: Why All Money Managers Should Practice to Become Great
The world of finance can create many different moments of anxiety that stem from the unknowns. Many times, we must rely on our past experiences when guiding clients through the abyss of the financial markets and the ever-changing news of the day. Since there are constant changes occurring and many factors that we must consider when managing a financial plan or portfolio, we have to find a way to clear the clutter and focus on key factors. But what practice is best at helping us achieve these results?
Transcendental meditation, also known as TM, is a great way to slow down and reorganize our thoughts twice a day. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought TM to the United States in the mid-1950s, and it really started to gain traction in the 1960s when Maharishi became the “spiritual advisor” to the Beatles. Many well-known people like Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Dalio, Howard Stern, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks and Russell Simmons all practice TM and have been raving about it for years. People use all types of meditative practices such as yoga, soothing music, religion or exercise to find serenity. Finding time to do these activities can be a challenge for many people, especially for those with young children or a growing business. Only 20 minutes, twice a day, TM seems like a great, timely option.
I first started practicing meditation in 2013. Prior to this, I would get to my office prior to the market open and before I knew it, it was 5 p.m., and I felt like my mind was spinning. I would come home with a headache and just simply feeling exhausted. My wife and children wanted to hang out together since they hadn’t seen or heard from me all day. I would be there physically, but mentally, I was thinking of everything I needed to get done early the next day or items I had forgotten to get to. My mind was racing. Between emails, calls and appointments, I had lists of everything I needed to get done, and those lists were always full. I needed a better way to not only organize, but to also make sure I was focusing on what was important.
My brother had been practicing TM for years and telling me to give it a try, as he had seen much success implementing the practice. He had been in the entertainment business and had picked up the practice from some of his celebrity friends. At first, TM seemed quirky—there was a mantra and it sounded like a religious practice. I decided to learn more about it by logging on to TM.org and to see where I could potentially learn it locally since my brother was in New York and I am located in Florida. I saw on the site they were offering a free night orientation to learn more about the program, costs and the process just down the street from my office; I figured why not go listen and see what it was all about.
I went through the night orientation and decided to sign up. It was a weeklong class with daily instruction where you were trained to do the meditation a very specific way. You were also given a unique “mantra,” which is what you repeat in your mind to transcend into a meditative state. It is a repetitive technique that you must do twice a day for 20 minutes each session. It was explained as best to do at the start of your day and then best to do right after work.
I initially thought the beginning of the day session didn’t make much sense. “I am already rested,” I thought to myself. Turns out about six months in, you realize that the morning session is just as important as the end of the day session. The results take about a month or two before you truly realize the change. It’s a very simple process and you can do it anywhere. However, it takes patience, dedication and time to practice. The most important thing is to stick with it, as many people stop meditating within the first year. As we all know with examples like diet and exercise, without consistency, failure is likely. The goal is to be thoughtless and allow your mind to transcend, hence transcendental meditation. The mantra has no meaning, guiding you to not think of any subject or matter.
Meditation has been a game changer. After about six months of practicing, I felt calmer and a lot more organized. Several clients even said to me, “You seem a lot calmer and different lately. In a good way though. What has changed?” I would say what has changed most is I make sure I use more patience in the decisions I make and that I prioritize what is important.
Pre-mediation, it was about knocking out tasks as quickly as possible. Since meditation, it is more about prioritizing what is important. I would do my 20-minute session early in the morning before heading into the office and that would allow me to feel refreshed and focused to attack my day and the challenges that came up. This allowed me to key in on the important issues and be more productive. Becoming more innovative and creative in business were also huge pluses. After the day was over, I would do my 20 minutes at the office. This session was also extremely important as it allowed me to remember a few things that might have slipped my mind during a hectic day. It also allowed me to leave the office behind and get home to be there for my family—not just in physical presence, but also in spirit and mind.
Make a 40-Minute Investment in Yourself
We have thousands of thoughts throughout every single day. These thoughts can pull us in multiple directions and pull our focus from more important priorities. A great analogy I would make is this: Imagine a desk that is cluttered with all kinds of papers on different subjects and things you need to do. You can’t see what’s hidden beneath the papers as they are stacked on top of each other. This 20-minute session allows you to organize these papers into piles of importance and reorganize them twice a day.
Since practicing transcendental meditation, my business has grown exponentially, and I’ve become one of the top financial planners. Even more importantly, it has allowed me to be more present for my wife and three children. Is 40 minutes a day a good investment to make in yourself? Without a doubt it was for me. Happy meditating, my friends.