The Quieter you become…
Lessons learned in trying to slow down
I have a recurring fantasy, close to my house there is a store (thank you captain obvious), this store is called EB Games, they are ubiquitious to strip malls around the world, but for those who don’t know, it is a store that sells video games.
My fantasy invloves me being the manager of an EB Games store. Why? Because as an entrepenur I find myself in a state of constant stress. For the last 7 years I have been involved in a variety of business ventures, and as such, you already know the cliches I am about to drop. There are times of great fun and fulfillment and there are the other times. It is during such a moment that I find myself wishing for the perceived simplicities of running an EB games.
I fantasize about having to tell customers that there are no more of those retro mini Nintendo’s or having to get Karen take an extra shift becuase Kevin called in “sick” when we all know he is just hungover. The reality is I don’t want to try to talk people in to pre-ordering the new “Halo” game but rather I fantasize about the simplicity and predicitiblity that comes with such a job.
These are really exciting times for me an my new company, we have some big things on the horizon, but these new oppertunities come with new challenges, larger challenges than I have ever faced before. These challenges bring with them a stress level I have not yet faced. I don’t think there is anything I could honestly bring to the table that hasn’t been said before, so in this post I just wanted to share two things that really have helped, and they both involve a simple concept, Silence.
…The More you Hear.
Everyone deals with stresses in their life differently, A trip to the gym, an extra piece of cake, cranking up some loud music (for me, all of the above). One strategy I had never really used is one of stepping away, as such that is exactly what I have tried to do. Rather than raging against the machine I have attemepted to turn the machine off. This is how…
Take a hike
I am lucky in that I live somewhere pretty amazing, I am a quick drive from the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We try to take advantage of this scenery in our social media posts; so you could almost say it is my job to go find pretty places. I have tried to use this by making the trip by myself. Being alone up in the mountains is always humbling. The mountains don’t care about investors, they don’t care about you.
I honestly feel it is important to feel small every once and a while, for not other reason than perspective. In the middle of crisis we tend to think that the world should be falling over to accommodate us. When you are alone in the wild, you get the realization that not only does the world not care about you, it is often trying to kill you. A hungry bear does not see a father of four, it sees food. Looking up at the waterfall in the above picture I felt small, and as I felt small, my problems shrank along with me.
Turn off the sound
As an avid listener of Joe Rogan’s podcast I have heard a thing or two about isolation tanks. A bath of 1100 lbs of salt water, set to your perfect body temperature. You enter a pod and float in the dark, for 90 whole minutes (minimum). To me that always sounded like a nightmare.
A few weeks ago I was at a party and was talking to a friend I had not seen in a while. He had contimlated opening a float spa in our area but someone had beaten him to the market. He raved about the benefits to the point where I was wondering about how much the new spa was paying him.
However, Given my recent circumstances, his message hit home. The next day I scheduled a 90 minute session at the new Float spa.
The first 15 minutes were exactly how I though they would be. My fidgety, restless self realized that this was going to be a 90 minute nightmare of trying to sit still. As the minutes passed though I had glimpses of the potential, moments of pure quiet. I refelcted upon my family, my wife, and my business. I tried to zone out and embrace “Nothingness” and for a few brief moments it worked. I focused on my breathing and strethching out. Then after what seemed like 30 or so minutes the muscial cue came on to give me my five minute warning. My session was over.
I left the float spa feeling the relaxation of a long massage (with none of the awkward small talk). I also left feeling creative and most importantly, positve. The one thing I did not take with me from the float spa was a desire to sell video games.
So what now?
Our daily lives are bombared with messages, with media. The fact that you are reading this is a result of wanting to feed the beast. To consume it ALL. Here is what I learned, stresses in our lives are ever present and sometimes it causes our hardware to freeze up. When your phone is glitchy the first thing you do to fix it is to turn it off. ALL the way off. Then 9 times out of 10 it repowers to perfection. I think we are same, but we need to consiously turn off, to power down when we are awake. My small experiment showed me the value of silence, I hope it was loud enough to remember the lesson.
Co-founder of Molr Dental Club