Enhancing human performance is increasingly important as we adapt to new business models and market conditions. Yet many are still skeptical at the idea of meditation as a high performance tool. It is time to rethink. Neuroscience is now proving the link between the ancient practice of meditation and enhanced performance, creativity and leadership abilities.
calming your mental noise
My interview for my upcoming 2018 documentary Make Me A Leader with Dr. Fred Travis was extraordinary. Dr. Travis is the Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa.
I have practised meditation for many years. Listening to Dr. Travis gave me a far deeper appreciation of how leaders can and must embrace their potential. We can now prove that meditation increases brain function and significantly improves our ability to manage our constant stream of thoughts.
Everything we think and do creates ‘mental noise’. Knowing how to calm this is vital to manage both our wellbeing and effectiveness. Dr. Travis has investigated many meditation techniques, particularly Transcendental Meditation. He explained that each type of meditation is associated with different brain-wave patterns. In turn, each has different effects on our brains.
From a leadership perspective, the results of consistent and effective meditation are profound. It can lead to better physical health and more efficient cognitive functioning - the high level of calm thinking that leaders need to consistently perform at their best.
Meditation also enhances our creativity and self-actualisation. It helps us to form better interpersonal relationships and to reach a balanced and happier state of mind. In our VUCA world, leaders who can achieve and work from this mental place are likely to be more successful for longer.
Being able to discuss these findings and have my own brain waves measured during meditation at the University’s lab was deeply moving. It made me realise how much we can boost our performance by devoting just 20 minutes each day to improving our brain state.
“Are leaders born or are they made? I think the answer is that both are true.”
Dr. Fred Travis
I asked Dr. Travis to share his views on leadership. Are leaders born or are they made? He believes that both cases are true. Some people are born leaders, but all of us can become leaders if we want. Techniques like meditation strengthen an already strong, nimble mind. It can also teach us how to use our mind in different ways to better prepare us to make effective decisions, become resilient and more influential.