Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons? you ask. The moving and shaking founder of Def Jam Records, wrote a book called Success Through Stillness?

Yes. Yes, he did. And get this: it's about meditation, and about how devoting twenty minutes to meditation twice a day, each day, will make you more successful at anything you turn your mind to.

Simmons tells stories of how he found his way to meditation, as well as how it benefits other major players he knows, from basketball greats to Oprah and Jay Z. He also talks about how much he enjoys yoga, although that's not a prerequisite to meditating.

The book begins by declaring that meditation is the path to true happiness.

Why should you meditate?
The answer is very simple: to be happy.
Which is the only reason you're here.
This may sound like a very simple take on the meaning of life,
but I believe it with every fiber in my body.
Soon after discussing his own start meditating, Simmons launches into five different chapters designed to shoot holes in any excuses you might have not to do it, including the most common ones like "I Don't Have Time" and "I'm No Good at It", along with some more complicated, in some cases theological, reasons. From there, he moves onto explaining the positive physical reasons you should meditate, which includes improving your brain's health and potential, followed by the very real benefits people find in their lives once they start meditating.

These include better focus, more clarity, greater creativity, less emphasis on success or failure as they are typically defined (higher lows and lower highs, basically), and more. Here's a bit on his discussion about being present (or, as he sometimes refers to it, "awake"):

  When I speak of being present, I mean being truly connected to the moment. Where the distractions and noise of the world fade away and your mind is in the now. Instead of the past or the future.
  I realize that when I use terms like "the moment" or "in the now", it might sound a little new agey to some of you. "Oh, Russell's going off on his Zen stuff right now," you might be thinking.
  But there's really nothing at all exotic or mystical about being present. It's actually a state that we're all familiar with, that we all experience (hopefully) on a daily basis.
  For example, at the very moment you laugh at a funny joke, that's being present. Becoming transfixed as you watch your favorite football team score a touchdown to win the game is being present too. As is getting so "into" a book that you almost forget to breathe.
If you've been looking to up your game, or to calm down, or to find better focus, or to find a way through the day, this book might just be for you.

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