IamGale here and I’ve been studying and practicing mindfulness for the past couple years. I’ve looked how at experts like Joshua Waitzkin, Wim Hoff, and Buddhist Monks use meditation to enhance their life. In the post, I’ll show you the great benefits from it. Mindfulness is actually quite difficult for beginners. But I’ll show you how to overcome the challenges of mindfulness so you can have complete clarity.
This is a long post but you’ll learn a lot:
- Why mindfulness is so difficult
- The surprising results from meditation
- Why the pain is imaginary.
- Why guys like Conor McGregor, Joshua Waitzkin, and Kobe Bryant meditate use it to win
- How Joshua Waitzkin Gets Stronger Without Touching the Gym
- How to Climb Everest in Shorts
- How The Moments Before The Pain are the Worst — And How Those Are The Moments You Save
- Three Strategies to Practice Mindfulness
Why Mindfulness is so difficult
Tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation.
You’ve made yourself a to-do list. And you’ve done the first couple things, but there are just a few things you cannot do. It’s not that you can’t do them, it's just that your body is almost physically repulsed when you think about it. Usually, it’s something you’ve never done before and it’ll just a painful experience. You almost feel sick. Your throat starts to tense up and all you want to is run away.
I’ve been there, but there’ a solution.
Here’s an example in my life. I do freelance marketing for companies and help drive and convert traffic to their sites. But I used to do a lot of filmmaking. And I still get gigs to make animated explainers videos for Kickstarter campaigns. I have to do one for a client today, but I’ve been avoiding it like crazy.
Since I haven’t done one in awhile it’ll take a long time and it won’t be amazing. So I avoid, but it’s like a sickness. The only way to get rid of it is to face the pain and do it. But the easy way is just to ignore it.
And lately, I’ve been so distracted. That whenever that feeling of avoidance comes up instead of embracing the pain I go straight for instant gratification habits. I go to Reddit, read something on Trump, or play atomas on my smartphone.
Then suddenly it’s been two hours...
This is some of the most subdued forms of self-destruction we can cause ourselves. Because it takes away time you could spending on your business or developing your skills. Procrastination is the creation of your own little prison.
Why the Pain is in Your Head
Now listen, I think planned breaks are great. There’s a place for Reddit, reading about Trump, or playing smartphone games. But they need to be planned.
When you act on impulse, you weaken your self-discipline.
You weaken your ability to act.
So what happens? You experience a sharp pain because the process will be uncomfortable. You have two options, you give in to your impulse and delay the pain. Or you embrace it.
Mindfulness helps you be aware when you’re avoiding pain. And it helps you to confront it.
I’m quoting /u/clint_redwood lintredwood here because wrote a great comment on embracing your pain.
Revel in Your Discomfort
There is a common phenomenon in public speaking and is addressed in "The Charisma Myth" where you must not only acknowledge your personal pitfalls and fears but you must also confront them.
It's human nature to distance ourselves from anything that causes us discomfort. We see an injured animal, gut reaction is to look away. Given a piece of evidence contradictory to our beliefs, we reject it, backfire effect, etc.
So how do we combat this? By reveling in the conflict. By facing it head on. In "The Charisma Myth" context of public speaking, the author notes to focus on the discomfort you are feeling. See it, accept it. Let your body sit in this extremely uncomfortable situation. It will adapt itself and eventually come to terms that it's safe and ok.
This teaching can be applied to any discomfort and anxiety. Accept that you have it, let your body feel the discomfort, anxiety, anger, etc. Let it work its natural course and eventually it will come to terms and adapt itself.
Don't acknowledge it then actively force yourself to do anything, anything you actively do will be counter intuitive. You just have to be you and let the discomfort happen, because it's going to be there till your body adapts. The old saying in PUA, "you'll always have approach anxiety, it never goes away. The only difference between beginners and experts is they've become comfortable with the discomfort".
To help you visualize what /u/clint_redwood is saying I've creating something special for you. Because there are no better examples than war movies when characters get to go through tremendous trials. When they face death head on.
I've highlighted two scenes from the movie Platoon.
You'll where Sgt Barnes helps a soldier revel in his discomfort and where he reveals a surprising truth to his soldiers when they try to escape reality with weed.
Platoon Scene “Take the Pain” and “I am Reality"
This is Sgt Barnes’s secret:
Take the pain.
Do you feel that urge to check your phone?
Take the pain.
Do you want to reply to that message?
Take the pain.
Want to check Reddit again?
Take the pain.
Surprising Benefits of Meditation:
So everyone knows that meditation can give you better clarity in your day. We all know that. But here’s what you don’t know.
According to the Charisma Myth, Charisma is based on power, warmth, and presence.
Have you ever had a conversation where you complimented someone on the smallest thing? How you just naturally noticed they got a hair cut, or put on special eyeliner for you?
Well, being mindful is like that all the time.
Mindfulness gives you the power of presence in conversation, in your work, start getting in the flow, start having better sex, start creating real connections. Start noticing little things about people.
When you feel the urge to distract yourself think of Sgt Barnes telling you to take the pain. Because it will make you stronger as you build the habit to revel in discomfort.
Pros Who Meditate:
Not everyone needs to meditate, some people are naturally present. Others need to work on it. But everyone benefits from the added presence.
You might be more prone to distraction, and you might feel you don’t need it. But it seems to help most people.
Here’s a personal story:
One of my TRP friends is big on meditation and has a fascinating story of how he got into it.
He was in the competitive marching bands. With large groups of musicians, you all need to be extremely connected to each other’s rhythm. Everyone needs to be in sync and on there game. Because if you’re the one person who’s off--you ruin the whole sound. You just piss everyone off.
Do you know what they did to connect everyone and make sure everyone was focused?
They started each session with 25 minutes of group meditation.
And guess who won the championship of marching band competitions?
My friend and his band.
Professional Athletes use meditation as well. Athletes like Conor McGregor, Kobe Bryant, and Joshua Waitzkin are all big on meditation.
For Conor, he uses to get himself in the right state to train. Before fights, he does lots of cycling because that’s when he feels the clarity of mindfulness.
In this interview, Kobe Bryant says he starts off every day with meditation.
But the most incredible training story I’ve heard of meditation comes from Joshua Waitzkin.
How to use Meditation to Train Without Training
Here’s his story:
In about 6 months, Joshua Waitzkin will be competing in the world championships of Tai Chi Push Hands.
There’s only one problem, he’s got a broken arm. The doctor told him that there was no way he’d be able to compete. They said the muscles in his broken arm would undergo extensive muscle atrophy and lose its strength.
But Joshua found an unconventional solution to his problem. Here’s a quote about what happened:
Everyday, he would enter into a deep visualization of training his broken arm.
Josh fought off muscle atrophy during his recovery through the intense and focused use of visualization. During every workout using his uninjured left arm, he visualized the stress passing to his right arm in its cast.
While current scientific understanding can’t fully explain this phenomenon, it has been consistently demonstrated that the mind can direct the body to certain results. The cast came off four days before the competition, and Josh’s arm had barely atrophied. With his newfound skills and fully functioning arm, he became the national champion.
If you want to learn more about Joshua Waitzkin you can read my earlier post, “The RedPill Secrets that Made Joshua Waitzkin a Chess and Martial Arts World Champion” where I highlight his highly unconventional training strategies.
As you know I love psychology and marketing. In his book, Joshua Waitzkin comes to understand his own psychology so well that he’s able to get better at martial 10x faster than everyone else.
Also, check out his interview on the Tim Ferriss’ podcast. It’s really insightful. He talks about his experience in implementing the Wim Hoff method and even teaching it to his 4-year-old son. That leads me to my next point about some of the most incredible benefits of mindfulness.
Wim Hoff Case Study: How You Can Climb Everest Shirtless with Mindfulness
Here's the best case for Mindfulness. That’s Wim Hoff.
He’s climbed Everest in shorts, swims in arctic waters, and runs marathons in the desert without water.
In the past year, he’s gone from nothing to a legend. But what you don’t know is that he’s been working on his practice for the last 25 years.
He’s made the scientific communities rewrite medical textbooks because of his feats.
How does he do this?
Through meditation and breathing techniques, he’s able to control his own auto-immune response. He’s able to regulate his body to withstand freezing temperatures. He's got 21 Guinness World Records for his feats such as:
- Full marathon in the Namib desert without water consumption
- Running a marathon on sandals above the Arctic circle wearing only shorts
- Officially swam under ice for 66 meters, unofficially swam under ice for 120 meters with one breath
- Hanging on one finger at an altitude of 2000 meters
- Climbing the highest mountains on earth in only shorts
- The Guinness World Record Ice Endurance feat, lasting 1 hour and 52 minutes in Ice.
While I usually loathe Vice, they made a great documentary on him. The documentary even shows Wim Hoff teaching the journalist covering him how to climb a nearby mountain in just shorts as well!
Vice Video Documentary
No one has learned to embrace the pain better than Wim Hoff. In interviews, he always says that the cold is his true teacher.
You know that feeling you jump into cold water. How it shocks your system. You start breathing heavy. And how you’ve instantly forgotten what you were thinking about. All you can think about is the cold on your body.
Cold showers can actually help you be mindful because they act as a shortcut to clarity. But you still need to face the cold water and that’s the hard part.
The Moments Before The Pain are the Worst — And Those Are The Moments You Save
Have you ever seen a girl and just approached them out of the blue? You just spontaneously picked them up and created a great connection with them? Without having all the anxiety that comes with psyching yourself up?
Sometimes you get those brief glimpses of how much of a badass you can be.
Whereas on other days, you get mini panic attacks just thinking about approaches.
Practicing mindfulness helps you be consistent.
The hardest part of cold approaches is the anxiety you get before you actually do it.
Personally for me, it’s the moment right before the daunting tasks that are the worst. When approaching a girl, it’s the moment right before the approach that sucks.
It’s the mental anxiety, the thoughts running through your head, the imaginary prediction you create for yourself.
But what if you got normalized to that anxiety so that it no longer bothered you?
All that happens when you’re not present.
All those moments of doubt, that seemingly uncontrollable anxiety you get?
Yea, it comes from your habits of being anxious. It comes from being in your head and not being present.
But I have a friend who seems physically immune to anxiety.
His name is Mark and he is the most chill guy I’ve ever met. He’s the epitome of IDGAF. One day I asked him,”Man, how are you always so relaxed?"
And after chatting a bit he told me the parable of the Taoist Farmer:
This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console him over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?"
A month later, the horse came home--this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"
The farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "What makes you think it is bad?"
A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. "What makes you think this is good?" said the farmer.
Mark’s message was that we think of the worst things before they actually happen. Why not let it happen before you start worrying about? Plus, in his experience, everything works out in the end.
He then points at me and says,
“You’re fine, now aren’t you? You’ll probably be fine in the future too so chill."
That’s a great story because it illustrate a weakness we all have. To imagine the worst possible scenario and expect the worse. We tell ourselves bullshit stories that may not even come true. It’s a reminder to not be so biased and stop creating negative thoughts for ourselves.
Mindfulness gives you awareness when this kind of stuff happens. See a guy like Mark never meditates. He’s already cultivated the art of not worrying. That habit is engrained into his person.
For others, we have to work on it. But that’s what growing is about. It’s about building the habits that make us stronger.
Next time, something shitty happens to you think of the Taoist Farmer.
Three Strategies to Practice Mindfulness
There are a ton of benefits of implementing mindfulness in our lives but how do you actually implement it?
Mindfulness for me is being present of your actions and behaviors. It’s developing the awareness in conversations when we’re working, or resting. It’s about acting with intention and not running on autopilot.
I’m going to give you three strategies on how to cultivate mindfulness. And depending on your personality and history, you’ll see which one is the best fit for you.
Three Strategies to Practice Mindfulness:
- This strategy is the easiest way to start. You use an best out there called Headspace, it’s my personal favorite beginner program. They have a free intro called Take 10 and it’s a great start to practicing the habit of mindfulness.
- Low tech way: take 5-15 minutes a day. Sit down in a chair at the end of the day and practice being comfortable when you're alone.
- Be actively mindful throughout the day. This is easier if you create a trigger for yourself. For me, I use my fitness tracker. Whenever I notice my fitness tracker I make a reminder to present. To check my posture. To take a deep breath. To say acknowledge my surrounding. Right now I would say, “I’m in a coffee shop right now. Writing on my Macbook. On a black table. There are two girls in front of me chatting” I connect with my environment and I'm present with what’s in immediate surrounding. The more you can do that throughout the day the better.
That’s it. Just be present during your day. You can start right now. The biggest benefit is when you get lost in your head, mindfulness will cut through your anxiety bring you back to the present. Just acknowledge your surrounding and breathe.
- Mindfulness can minimize your procrastination
- Mindfulness can make you more charismatic
- Professional use meditation to help them accomplish incredible feats
- Mindfulness can you help “take the pain”
- Think of the Taoist Farmer next time you spin events in your life negatively
- To be mindful, acknowledge your environment and breathe
If you liked anything in particular or want to share your experience with mindfulness, post a comment below. I love hearing your stories.