Exercise, creativity, meditation, and nature

In a world of constant change, it is hardly surprising if events sometimes knock us off balance. When this happens, Inner Leadership provides a set of tools that enable us to quickly regain our balance. This is the first step to becoming antifragile, the ability to centre and ground ourselves.

But even better than learning to recover quickly is the ability not to be knocked off-balance in the first place. We can achieve this if we deepen our awareness and connection with ourselves.

The relationship we have with ourself is the most important relationship in our life. It’s the only one that lasts our entire lifetime. And it affects the quality of every other relationship we have. This means that if we improve the quality of the relationship we have with ourselves then we also improve the quality of every other relationship. That will expand not only the results we achieve but also the enjoyment we feel as we are doing so.

Like a tree putting down deeper roots, the deeper we build our relationship with ourselves the less likely we are to be blown over in a storm. And when times are calm, just like a tree with deeper roots can spread out its branches wider, so a deeper self-connection enables us to spread out our influence into larger challenges and roles.

How can we achieve this?

Inner Leadership recommends four ways:

  • Exercise
    “Exercise,” says John Ratey, psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, “is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”
    Mind and body are one system. We hold snags and tensions from our minds in our bodies. So shifting the body is an effective way to shift and free the mind. And as one example, Richard Branson says he gets four more productive hours each day from a range of workouts that include swimming, rock climbing, running, weightlifting, and yoga.
    .
  • Creativity
    In a changing world, the ability to innovate is becoming more important for everyone. Innovation is applied creativity, so by developing our ‘creative muscles’ we strengthen our ability to innovate.
    Engaging with the arts is a powerful way to experiment with new ways of seeing the world, and new types of solution. And by choosing the right creative form for you, you will recharge your batteries at the same time.
    .
  • Meditation
    Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, was well known for practising Zen Buddhism. He said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” Meditation reconnected him with that inner voice.
    Scientists since then have shown that meditation and other forms of mindfulness also increase our ability to concentrate and to manage our emotions. And Gandhi used meditation to help bring down an entire empire, non-violently.

All three of these approaches can also be combined with the fourth method, which is:

There’s no ‘one right way’ of doing any of this. The key is to notice what you feel drawn towards and try it out: see what happens, then learn and repeat. Find what works for you.

How good is the relationship you have with yourself today? Do you beat yourself up for your weaknesses? Or do you support yourself to build your strengths and pursue what is most important to you? Would you benefit from adding more exercise, creativity, or meditation to your life or from spending more time in nature?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you can’t learn to swim just by reading about swimming, you also have to do the practice.)


Photo By filtran via StockPholio.net

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