It’s All Coming Together Now - Mindfulness, Focus, and Deep Work
Discipline means getting into what is happening. That is just saying that you have to involve yourself in the situations you encounter in life. We have to go through the process of being part of a situation; otherwise we will not be exposed to this richness. In order to see the delight in a situation, we have to become involved in it. We have to really feel it; we have to touch the whole texture of the complete situation. Then we will be able to relate properly with the actual work involved.
Chögyam Trungpa, Work, Sex, Money : Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness
I was listening to John Roderick and Merlin Mann talk on the latest episode of their podcast, Roderick On the Line, when the discussion turned towards how we discover books. John was talking about how he doesn’t recommend many books or other media for people to consume, because he wants people to have their own path of discovery. The idea that we each have our own path of discovery has made me think more over the past week about my own path.
The more I think about it, the more it is all coming together for me.
The fall was spent reading a lot of Buddhist literature about mindfulness, centred around Chögyam Trungpa’s writings. Towards the end of December, I started watching the videos for Shawn Blanc’s free The Elements of Focus course. That lead me to start reading Cal Newport’s new book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, that came out a few weeks ago.
Mindfulness. Focus. Deep work.
Three concepts that are all connected, that all deeply appeal to me. The question that lingers in my mind now is why do these subjects appeal to me at this time?
The answer to that question lies in the words I wrote back in September when I was thinking about what kind of loop I want to be apart of. I have been unintentionally creating my own loop of how I want to live my life and become more aware of the present. That loop happens at a micro scale during my daily life: I am taking more time out of my day to read an actual book or a few longer pieces online, less emphasis on social media, and also working out a lot more on a daily basis. On a longer timescale, I am becoming better at building in routines for work: whether it is focused on the consulting work, writing for my business blog, or planning for the next steps in my property management career.
Without any major changes in how I manage my time, I have become more focused and productive. The longer I maintain this loop, the easier it becomes and the more it feels natural to do so.
The practice of mindfulness, developing my focus, and doing more deep work, all leads to the phrase I quoted from Chögyam:
Discipline means getting into what is happening.
I am building a discipline and getting into what is happening now for me: more focused and meaningful work.