It’s easy to make a ten-point plan for your future but taking a direct route towards it is a different story. Life will not shy away from throwing obstacles your way and your ten-point plan will become a 50-point plan before you know it. The same can be said of meditation. On paper, it looks easy. We all close our eyes and try to clear our headspace, right? But as people immediately realise, meditation is not as natural as it sounds. Learning how to sit still and quiet your mind is a feat in itself but meditation can also be used as a tool for achieving your dreams and desires.

What do global leaders like Jeff Weiner, famous American TV star Oprah Winfrey and Padmasree Warrior have in common, other than success? They contemplate a lot. In fact, they credit meditation as one of their secrets to leadership. Weiner, who is the current CEO of business platform LinkedIn, said that it has given him the gift of empathy. Altered Traits co-author Dan Goleman explained that meditation helps us become more receptive to other people’s needs and emotions, which is a quality that you need in a person of influence. You might think that asserting your power is the way to build your flock, but true leadership is not about using fear as a motivator. It’s about connecting to your followers, viewing things from their perspective and building trust. Empathy allows you to place other people’s needs above your own— a trait that many people respect. Even if you aren’t leading a multi-national corporation, empathy is the secret to maintaining relationships, personal or professional, and that is already considered a success.

Another quality that successful people share is creativity. Existing studies on the connection between meditation and creativity are conflicting; some say that meditation enhances creativity while others say the opposite. There certainly isn’t one definitive conclusion, but Greater Good Berkeley gives a simple theory in favour of the positive relationship: our tendency to dwell on negative thoughts impedes our ability to get the creative juices flowing and meditation squashes that tendency. Creativity is important to success— even ideas that seem small and inconsequential to you now can lead to something big and meaningful in the future.

But good ideas can only get you so far; you also need to thrive in high-pressure situations and have steely resolve. Sports professionals are the perfect case study. World famous footballer Lionel Messi reportedly takes a few moments of solitude each day to meditate before an important match. At the very highest level, professional sportsmen and women are placed in high-pressure situations. Although very few are able to stay relevant for more than a decade, so athletes are always looking for that extra edge. However, in Messi’s case, the Barcelona star has learned to use his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo to his advantage. When Rolando was still playing for Real Madrid, the two would push each other relentlessly, on and off the pitch. Meditation may just be the secret to how Messi didn’t let the pressure of competition get in the way of his success and it can be yours, too. While at first glance the world of sport may seem completely different to your career, there can be many parallels drawn. Learning how professional athletes use meditation to deal with high-pressure situations can help you overcome stress too.

As a final point, a clear mind leads to a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is often cited as an indispensable attribute in a successful individual. The more you know what you have, the more you know what you can offer. Conversely, the more you know what you lack, the more you know what you can improve upon. Meditation is certainly not easy, it takes practice, but its benefits are immense. If you want to give it a try, check out some suggestions on how to begin on Daily Zen and you’ll be on your way to success.

Allie Cooper

Author Bio – Allie Cooper, is a dedicated yogi, having practised various forms of yoga and Tai-Chi for over 10 years. Her love for the ancient practice has taken her to India and Sri Lanka where she learned under the tutelage of local masters.