Post by Zen Hustler contributor: Kim Adams
Nearly every piece of technology collects data whether you are paying attention to it or not. There is an entire subsection of society that head over heals in love with “data” and for good reason. We have gained so much more information that has improved our lives through the collection and analysis of data. On the micro level, most phones now have a built in pedometer and a growing community have wearables that track biorhythms, frequency and efficiency of your activity. On the macro level, big data is the number one growth market in Silicon Valley because everyone is collecting data to store or analyze on some level. We are collecting more data than we know what to do with and at some point, we have to take step back and devise a plan to determine how useful all of this can be to us.
In the context of being a “Zen Hustler”, I focus on reflecting on actions in order to become inclined towards a mindful approach towards the next “right” action. I am informed by the basic tenants of Zen practices, colored by life experience and the logical application of mindfulness in my life. When receiving data points on the micro or macro level, how do we determine how useful this information is? I certainly do not know the answer to this question but I do find a great deal of value in the conversation. Lets look at an example.
In the case of wearables: everyone has the experience that when you get a shiny new gadget, you want to see all the different features it has and often use yourself as the test subject. I know for me, I discovered my phone tracked my steps and it became a mini melodrama around how many steps I got in everyday. There was suddenly a value place on something I never even noticed before. I wanted to out do my steps from the day before and was averaging 10-13k per day. That is until I went to NYC and got in 25k steps in a day and discovered the down side to my internal competition. I was exhausted the next day. I didn’t want to see any more of the city, I wanted to lay around but didn’t because I only had a limited time to see things.
This is a microcosm that I beat you can relate to on some level. What limit have you been pushing yourself to exceed, how about your team or your company as a whole? Often times we are seeking to push past previous goals just simply because we are in the habit of doing so. There is a beautiful example Bruce Lipton gives around the danger of this line of thinking. He is a traditionally trained geneticist and discusses the idea that our genes are manipulated by our belief systems which is called the study ofEpigenetics. Lipton discusses this quandary of pushing limits and an alternative. See this three and a half minute video that explains the dangers of this habit.
I know what you thinking, where are the tips to “Zen my data” promised in the title of this blog? Well here they are, humor me: breathe, slow down and allow yourself to look past the goal of “zen-ing” your data. Sit back into your chair and take 5 full deep breaths with your eyes closed. I will be here when you get back……
Do you feel different? Sometimes that is all it takes, sometimes it takes a little more like observing thoughts that maybe impeding your clarity but the first step is changing a biological habit. Changing your breath patterning has a dramatic effect on your entire system. You slow your heart rate, changing your hormone responses. If you have shallow breathe there is more adrenaline you your blood as well as norepinephrine. When you slow your breathe, your brain wave activity is altered from a potentially overactive state to a calm state approaching states that meditation can produce. You shifted from your highly alter and often narrow focus to an expanded awareness.
Ok now try to look at all the data you have created, collected and analyzed and ask if any of it gives you tangible means to an end. Are you simply collecting this because you are on that dead end train that needs to acquire “more”. What if you allowed the influence of “imaginal cells” to make some choices. Can you scrap some plans in order to allow for new ones? Are you banging your head against a problem and can’t see a way out. Perhaps it is because a change in perspective is in order.
If you are needing that change, stay tuned for more life hacks here and through out Zen Hustlers. You do not have to sit in mediation for 3 hours a day, you can find wonderful alternatives.
Next topic, fasting and lessons learned to change you life, business and maybe even your relationships!
Data Zen - How to turn your data into a marketing asset (free e-book)
Kim Adams is a 20 year yogi. She studied Humanistic, Transpersonal and ExistentialPsychology and holds a BA in both Psych and Dance from Sonoma State University. Along the way be also became a Biofeedback practitioner and has run several wellness based companies. Inline with her family’s business she also studied real estate and has been in the R.E. of the past 10 years investing, selling and supporting others to find the right space for their companies. She has started two online companies and consulted for hundreds of wellness, alternative health and fitness practitioners and businesses. Living up and down the California coast, she has deep ties to the wellness world on the West and East coast and many places in-between.