Weekend Coffee Talk: Mind, Body, Business & Books (#14)

I still skip around like a giddy first grader on the first day of school when it snows. It never gets old! Okay, well it does get old after a few days when the snow turns to slippery brown muddy ice on the street. Here are two snapshots from the recent snowstorms (and ensuing big chill) in NYC — the left side is Union Square, the right is just outside my yoga studio in Chelsea:

NYC Snow (Union Square & Chelsea)


"Our motivation to create does not always appear with fanfares and fireworks, blazing like the last party on earth…

In fact, the most powerful and consistent motivation is close to being both invincible and invisible. You just quietly and determinedly show up and create what you need to create.

Like breathing and sleeping – two other essentials we commit to without question, as life without them is unthinkable and impossible – we must create with similar motivation.

If it feels like that’s missing for you, maybe you’ve not been focusing on creating what really matters most."

—A Big Creative Yes: The Invincible Invisible


"We found that getting as little as 12 minutes of meditation practice a day helped the Marines to keep their attention and working memory — that is, the added ability to pay attention over time — stable,” said Jha, director of the University of Miami’s Contemplative Neuroscience, Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative.

. . . undergraduates instructed to spend a mere 10 minutes a day for two weeks practicing mindfulness made significant improvement on the verbal portion of the GRE — a gain of 16 percentile points. They also significantly increased their working memory capacity, the ability to maintain and manipulate multiple items of attention.

That a practice once synonymous with Eastern mysticism could be put to the service of Western rationalism may sound surprising, but consider: By emphasizing a focus on the here and now, it trains the mind to stay on task and avoid distraction.“Your ability to recognize what your mind is engaging with, and control that, is really a core strength,” said Peter Malinowski.

“For some people who begin mindfulness training, it’s the first time in their life where they realize that a thought or emotion is not their only reality, that they have the ability to stay focused on something else, for instance their breathing, and let that emotion or thought just pass by.”

—New York Times, Breathing In vs. Spacing Out


"The perplexing thing about the cult of overwork is that, as we’ve known for a while, long hours diminish both productivity and quality. Among industrial workers, overtime raises the rate of mistakes and safety mishaps; likewise, for knowledge workers fatigue and sleep-deprivation make it hard to perform at a high cognitive level. As Solomon put it, past a certain point overworked people become “less efficient and less effective.” And the effects are cumulative."

—The cult of overwork (New Yorker)


Loved this poster from Austin Kleon's new book, Show Your Work! (via Ben Tseilin)

share like an artist poster (austin kleon)

That's it for now . . . have a wonderful Sunday!