I was at a wonderful dinner last night with a number of CEOs/Presidents of private and public technology companies. The conversation evolved to being a very candid one about the level of stress we feel in our daily lives and how commitment to work can really take its toll. The experiences have ranged from having to make dramatic life changes after near-death experiences to finding ways for a regular tune-up. It seems that in a connected world, the level of stress is magnified. Our minds don’t relax, so we don’t relax. We ended up having a very real conversation on how people have learned to compensate.
- One executive talked at length about how he has learned to meditate after a year of practice. He practiced at a monastery for a whole year with the goal being to have an empty mind for even a few minutes. Now he meditates for an hour every morning after he wakes up.
- Another executive talked about having found a great 70+ year old Chinese acupuncturist who he visits every month. Despite the 50 needles, he said it’s the most rejuvenating hour and a half nap he has.
- Another person talked about how fishing was his way to clear the mind. Fishing is the one thing he could do that hours could fly by and he wouldn’t have a thought or care in his mind.
- There also were a number of folks who consistently exercise as a way to decompress. I would put myself in this camp.
It seems in this connected world, the holy grail for many executives is just to have a relaxed and unencumbered mind. It’s great to drive 120 mph, but you have to turn off the engine every once in awhile. It is hard to come by but everyone recognized the value. If you have any great lessons learned on this topic, please do share.