“After five friends or so told me about their meditation practice, I went from thinking ‘This is bullshit’ to ‘I’ll give it a try’.”
Loic Le Meur started meditating two years ago after seeing friends and colleagues meditating daily on Coach.me. He’s the founder of the LeWeb Conference, Seesmic (acquired by HootSuite), and former Executive VP of Six Apart. Loic went from a hesitant first-timer to a fervent advocate of the practice. No matter how busy his schedule, he finds time to meditate, lately for at least an hour each day. Loic told us how meditation has boosted his ability to get things done and why he’s made the practice a daily priority.
Why did you start meditating? What was your goal?
As an entrepreneur my mind is always switching from one task to the next. I am also very active online, I interact daily with many people on Facebook and Twitter. I met a few friends who meditated daily and explained how it helped them calm their mind and focus. After five friends or so told me about their meditation practice, I went from thinking “this is bullshit” to “I’ll give it a try”. My goal was to stop the constant flow of random thoughts in my mind and try to control it.
What is your meditation routine?
I started meditating about ten to twenty minutes a day. I have to admit it improved my mind’s “crazy monkey” but the benefits still weren’t that great. I decided to take a ten day Vipassana silent retreat. No laptop, no book, no note-taking, no talking for ten days. We meditated for eleven hours a day. This changed my life. It was incredibly difficult but it changed me. Since then I have been meditating at least an hour every single day and I will do one of those retreats every year for the rest of my life.
Can you tell me a story about how meditation improved your performance?
Think of your brain as an iPhone. When you double press the iPhone button, you see little cards representing all the applications running on the phone.
There are many applications running and you can swipe the cards up to kill any of those tasks. With meditation, I can now do the same thing but with my brain. I can be aware of all the tasks and thoughts running in parallel and kill as many as I need to in order to either get quiet or focus only on one. Of course some emotions or frustrations can be very persistent and invasive and they are a challenge for you when you can’t think about anything else. I still have those thoughts but I now observe them and they are less invasive, even if I can’t quite get rid of them. I am still a human being!
Do you think meditation gives you a competitive edge?
Being able to concentrate only on one task and get it done is a huge competitive edge that most of us lose when we get lost on Facebook, emails, text messages and other notifications. I turned off all notifications on my phone and feel so much better.