Mindfulness & Money

Last month, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Deepak Chopra described the usefulness of meditation for people on Wall Street. Speaking about a friend who manages a hedge fund, he said, “His entire staff meditates. I know many others now on Wall Street that we teach, actually. It makes them much more productive, because they’re centered, they’re not distracted.” Mindfulness and meditation have officially entered the mainstream when it has reached Wall Street!

Can Mindfulness & Meditation Refine Your Instincts At Work?

Meditation, like yoga before it, has been fully assimilated into corporate America. Companies such as Aetna, General Mills, and Goldman Sachs all offer their employees free in-office meditation training. A packed panel at Davos, where members of the global élite “professed that meditation gave them a competitive advantage.” A meditation instructor at Goldman Sachs told Bloomberg in a recent interview that she recalled a trader she works with who “gets a twinge in his gut when he senses a move in the markets.” With meditation, the instructor said, he had found an edge “by tuning into that sensation more reliably.” Can mindfulness and meditation increase our instincts?  Can it help us stay calm under pressure at work?  Clearly, the answer is yes to both.

The Bloomberg article (called “To Make a Killing on Wall Street, Start Meditating”) described how mindfulness meditation, which has roots in Theravada Buddhism, a predominant school in Southeast Asia, works for corporate types: “If a dog barks, you might register it before quickly refocusing on inhaling and exhaling. Mental intrusions are treated the same way: Thoughts such as ‘book NetJets’ or ‘offload bitcoins’ quickly pass like leaves floating on a stream.” The point, of course, isn’t that you will no longer care about your bitcoin returns but that, by developing greater calm and attention, you’ll ultimately get better ones.”