What’s The Best Way To Quiet Your Mind?

My friend Tadas Viskanta of Abnormal Returns recommended a book to me on meditation that I have begun to read.  Brad Feld has blogged about trying to meditate, and using a phone app.  Last year, I started doing yoga, and now I am going to try and continue by learning to meditate and quite my mind.   I am starting to get deeper into the mental things that yoga can teach you.  My wife has suggested meditation for a while now but I have resisted it.

I don’t know why.  Possibly because it was just too smarmy, new agey bullshitty the way it’s always been presented.  The people that were telling me about it were way left wing liberal people that also told me every startup I invested in should donate all their profits to charity.   So it’s quite possible it was the messenger, and not the message….

The book Tadas recommended is 10% Happier, How I Tamed the Voice in My Head Without Losing My Edge.  I started reading it yesterday.  It’s interesting, because as a trader I definitely have a compulsive personality.  Even as an seed investor, I can get very compulsive about certain things.  I am not a drug addict, or an alcoholic like the author.  I think I am pretty in touch with my psyche, and pretty self aware.  But, maybe I am not.  I am going to find out.

I really wish that I had found yoga a lot earlier in my life.  I would have been a much better athlete, and a much better trader.  Probably would have been a better person too.  My sister is a yogi, and I resisted what she was telling me for years.  It wasn’t until a yoga instructor (pardon me for forgetting his name) on Fred Wilson‘s blog in the comments told me how to approach it that I was successful.

Over the years I have found that succumbing to fear leads to sloppy decision making and mistakes.   I have really fucked up certain parts of my life by making decisions from fear.  You need to overcome that fear and try to get clarity.  I see fear all around me.  Sometimes I succumb to it, and sometimes I don’t.  I am hoping that meditation will make me a much stronger person.

I know with all the stuff buzzing around all the time, it’s very difficult for me to quiet my mind and get into a space.  I am curious if anyone out there has successfully learned to meditate.  What did it take for you to turn the ignition key so you could successfully make the leap and understand what to do in order to get you to the point you could turn off your mind?  What’s it feel like?  What’s it make your body feel like?

Interestingly, in the 60’s, it was all about using drugs to turn on your mind.  Now it’s all about mindfulness, and quieting your mind.  A lot of stuff I have seen on mindfulness reminds me of Christianity.

In the past year, I lost a very close friend(which affected me more than I thought it would), have seen friends lose their kids to heroin addiction, and have seen a lot of other stuff that might make you fearful.  When I listen to our President, and other politicians, they use fear to try and motivate people.  On TV, news people scream through the television about the market, and this and that.  It’s all about fear.  Clicks.  Screw them.  The startups I invest in go through tremendous peaks and valleys, and I have to be able to take a step back and help them mentally through both extremes.  Often times, it makes my stomach jump.  I am going to find a way to rise above that.