The following is a guest post from Ron Carson, Founder and CEO of the Carson Group, which serves financial advisors and investors. Follow him on Twitter at @rchusker
One of the world’s favorite words recently is disruption. And, for good reason. Our lives are disrupted daily by countless factors – email, news, events, discoveries, technology – the list goes on. We’re overwhelmed without even knowing it.
Last year, I started doing transcendental meditation to combat this very notion. The empirical evidence continues to stack up on the measurable change meditation has on your brain. We desperately need the time to separate ourselves from this frantic chaos of daily life and reduce the stress we put on our bodies or we risk our own version of spontaneous combustion.
At first – meditation wasn’t easy; breaking out of our comfort zones isn’t easy – but changing habits allows us to embrace something new. You could say it’s a healthy way of disrupting our own behavior versus the world disrupting us.
One area of my life I decided to disrupt: sleep. How many of us can say we disrupt our sleep cycle regularly? Much like meditation, we require dedicated time to improve our mental and physical well-being to stay sharp, both for ourselves and for others. I recently read the book, The Sleep Revolution, by Arianna Huffington, and was reminded why taking time away from disruption is so vital. A habit we must embrace.
Wake Up Call
“When we are asleep – our jobs, our relationships, our hopes, our fears – recede,” Arianna writes. Sleep gives us a time to rejuvenate, and as she puts it, come back to our lives with fresh eyes.
If you have followed my #Ronsense videos, you may have watched this one where I quote Dr. James Maas (Author of Power Sleep). Dr. Maas has proven that three things, above all else, play the biggest role in our overall health: sleep, diet and exercise. In fact, sleep is twice as important as the other two combined, yet sleep is the area we tend to deprive ourselves of most often.
The Sleep Revolution
The anatomy of sleep has evolved into a revolution – and we’re discovering more about sleep patterns and their effects on human behavior than ever before. In the age of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers are now able to map insomniacs on Twitter. They can track patterns of those disrupted during sleep using hashtags like #cantsleep and #teamnosleep. The data is astounding.
Many of us have developed FOMO (fear of missing out) to the point of obsessively checking texts, messages, emails, updates, notifications and alerts. Our minds are constantly racing and thinking of our next move, when we should be spending time recharging, recuperating, and refreshing.
One third of adults have trouble sleeping. Much of sleep apnea, insomnia, or even the capability to fall asleep stems from the FOMO mentioned above – not to mention, blue light from our devices is killing us. This light suppresses melatonin – which our body needs. Even when you turn off your devices, the effects don’t necessarily go away.
With our reliance on technology growing, the pace of change accelerating, attention spans decreasing and time as scarce as ever, consciously prioritizing rest will only become more elusive. It’s time we recognize the effects a lack of sleep can have on our effectiveness as business owners and disrupt our own bad habits, if even for minutes at a time throughout the day. Not a big ask when you think about it.
Nothing changes overnight. The hours you spend working when everyone else is getting much deserved rest could actually be harming your business rather than helping you get ahead. If you have trouble revolutionizing your sleep patterns – or want to chat about meditation, I encourage you to attend Excell 2018 and hear Arianna’s advice in-person (she’s one of Excell’s keynote speakers). We have an incredible two-track conference with agendas for both advisors/entrepreneurs and team members.
As human beings, we’ve never combated such a relentless force. The endless assault of information and stimuli passing through our brains each minute of our day is a threat to our competitive advantage. But, never underestimate the power to disrupt yourself. It may just be the habit that keeps you grounded, focused and, most importantly, healthy while the rest of the world flounders in distraction.