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“I started meditating because I wanted to calm down. As a guy with a physics background, I felt that ‘cooling’ my brain was a prerequisite, and so I set out to figure out how I would do that.”
Philip Rosedale may live two lives– one in real life, one in the virtual world Second Life which he founded in 2006–but he still finds time to meditate daily. Meditation has been a big part of his life and helped him succeed in the competitive world of technology startups. He told us about why he started meditating, his routine, and the benefits he’s seen since starting a daily practice.
Why did you start meditating? What was your goal?
I wanted to calm down. I had a sense that further progress for myself would require some sort of meditative introspection. As a guy with a physics background, I felt that ‘cooling’ my brain was a prerequisite, and so I set out to figure out how I would do that. I had meditated intermittently over my life because one of my best friends (who also studies physics) had gone to live in a Hindu monastery and so I went there periodically and admired his practice.
How has meditation improved your performance?
I can remember a couple weeks after beginning the 1+ hour daily practice driven by counting that I suddenly noticed that the howling of our aging cat no longer bothered me. I also remember shooting pool and being a LOT better, as well as being able to do things like throwing something into a trash can more accurately.
Do you think meditation gives you a competitive edge?
For sure. To be calm is (in part) to transcend fear and be more in the moment. At work this means you can be a better listener and be more aware of the behaviors and emotional needs of others. Simply being able to listen is something that others identify and crave (we all do!). So it is a uniform benefit.
What is your meditation routine?
I challenge myself to count to 10,000 every day before sleeping, keeping track of where I left off. This means about an hour of sitting meditation and/or aerobic exercise like running where I can tune out and count/meditate.
If you want to follow Philip’s routine, here are tips from his blog:
“Seated meditation and aerobic exercise are the easiest and fastest ways to count. Remember where you are by rounding to the two digit number for where you stopped, so in otherwards if you are at 2,675 just remember you are at 26. You can smoothly count about 100 per minute by saying the whole number in your head as the two two-digit parts: for 3,651 you would say “thirty-six fifty-one”. If you fail to reach 10,000 before sleeping, email yourself the number you reached and the reason why you missed, and then track those misses to keep yourself honest.”