Meditation and Investing

About a month ago, I committed to an office challenge amongst colleagues to regularly practice a “new” skill to see how it might improve life. I had been interested in meditation, and tried a couple of times in the past, but have never been able to make it a part of my daily routine so this opportunity was perfect motivation.

Over the past couple weeks, I have found the insights gained by slowing down a hectic lifestyle has greatly improved my overall happiness through lower stress and a clearer thought process. I wish that I would have acquired the skill earlier to help traverse life’s many challenges, especially as a student.

In reading about traditional methods, I also found that research has proven that meditation increases creativity and memory (gray-matter density) in the brain. It’s crazy to think that something so simple can have such profound effects on your life, yet mainstream Western culture frames meditation in a somewhat awkward light.

Working in the investing space, it’s nice to see institutions taking notice of meditation’s positive benefits and the industry leaders who promote the skill. The CFA Institute recently posted on their blog a piece called Leading from the Center that discusses how Georgetown University’s McDonough Business School is now offering meditation courses to business students. The article cites supporters such as Ray Dalio (world’s most successful hedge fund manager), Bill Gross (world’s most successful bond fund manager), and Steve Jobs as evidence of meditation’s widespread adoption by industry leaders.

All of the panelists agreed that a strong meditation practice gives you the ability to see things that no one else is seeing. This was acknowledged powerfully by Bridgewater’s Dalio, who said that meditation was like being invited to an orchard full of fruit and being able to see which fruit was most ripe to pick — referring to his world-famous ability to chose the correct investment opportunities.

In a world of entrenched points of view, usually at odds with one another, meditators are frequently able to experience opposing viewpoints as complementary rather than as a paradox of opposites, where both outcomes seem simultaneously true and wrong… Whereas the left brain obsesses with knowledge, the right brain, released by meditation, leads to creative realizations; read: alpha. (Voss, CFA)

Here is a Georgetown University interview with Dalio discussing the practice:

I’m not saying this is the end-all-be-all but if you struggle to find balance in life, meditation is definitely worth trying.

[Photo: Diana Walker/SJ/Contour by Getty Images]