Happy 4th of July week!
It's summer and my kids, eight and nine-year-old boys, are so excited about every movie that is coming out—especially the new Jurassic World movie. We have been watching the old Jurassic Park movies together before we go see the new one in theaters, which reminded me of one of my favorite scientific theories: Survival of the Fittest. There is something so concise about the concept that those who are best fit for their environment will flourish, no matter the species.
While watching these movies, I realized I've always taken the word “fittest” to mean strongest, smartest, loudest, fiercest, most dominant, and competitive. Then the other day, I was doing a breathing exercise and “Survival of the Calmest” floated into my thoughts. I smiled and laughed in my head. It felt awesome to understand that softening the fierce competitive exterior—the drive to be the strongest, prettiest, smartest, loudest—could, in fact, make me more capable of truly being the fittest.
Meditation is a great example of Survival of the Calmest being applied in real life. There are tons of articles linking performance and health improvements to meditation. Everyone from Oprah to Russell Simmons and Jerry Seinfeld has spoken of their dedication to meditation. Even big-name CEOs like Rupert Murdoch, Tim Cook, Marc Benioff, and Robert Iger all incorporate meditation to help with the stresses of their roles.
Aetna CEO, Mark Bertolini, opened up about his personal and corporate path to mindfulness through meditation in a fascinating Huffington Post article. He benefited so much from meditation and other mindful practices like yoga that he felt he had to share it with his employees. Aetna started a Health Initiative Program that was so successful they built a Mindfulness Center at their corporate office, as well as creating the role of CMO (Chief Mindfulness Officer). Mark even went as far as to increase wages by $4 per hour because the reduced stress in employees, in turn, reduced their healthcare needs.
I think all of this is an indicator that calming our bodies and our minds is one of the best ways to flourish in our human environment. My personal journey with meditation and mindfulness has absolutely helped me flourish. Furthermore, the ripple effects have spread out to benefit my family, friends, and clients. As soon as I started really incorporating mindfulness into my business, it changed the experience for everyone involved! What is usually stressful and frantic with lots of unknowns, fears, doubts, and worries has turned into a calm, steady, well thought through process that creates the best results for my clients. I am so excited to continue to grow my business in this way. It is clear to me now that the benefits of meditation and mindfulness go far beyond just survival, I am thriving.
For anyone who has thought about meditation or is interested in starting, my mental coach, Al Fuentes, is a great resource. He has a number of short simple visualizations/meditations for free on his website to help you get started. You can find them here.
I would love to hear about any of your desires, thoughts, or challenges around mindfulness and meditation. Please share your experiences!
Read more about the Aetna story here.