Posted on 8/1/2016 by Mark Hutchinson, Partner at WEO Media
"Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm." - Publilius Syrus
"When adversity strikes, that's when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on." - LL Cool J
The authors today, both ancient and modern, point to the value of a calm mind. The point that Publilius makes is that everyone can feel calm when the environment is calm. The implied second sentence is that not everyone can keep steady (calm) when the sea is chaotic. What he is also pointing to is that there is a different type of calm that some people possess versus the calm that everyone has when things are calm around them. Let’s call that special calm – intentional calm. Do you know anyone that seems to have the ability to make themselves be calm even when the situation is frenetic or in crisis?
I generally don’t think of rappers as calm individuals, but LL Cool J hits it right on the head with his statement. I’d like to point out this important section in his thought: “you have to be the most calm.” The two big take-aways here are that being calm is an action you proactively take and that “most calm” implies there are different degrees of calmness we can possess.
Unfortunately this is usually where the good stuff ends when talking about a sense of calm. It is good to have, you should do it, and you should make that a really good calm. That just doesn’t seem like enough to go on does it.
I suggest you think of calm as a skill that you can develop. In particular, like a muscle that you can strengthen. By exercising your calm muscle it will be able to handle more and be more resilient. Just like strategies of muscular development you can focus on strength or endurance depending on the type of exercise you choose.
An endurance-like exercise would be to practice for 10 seconds, 10 times per day to close your eyes, do one long exhale, and remember a time when you felt very calm. This type of practice will help make a sense of calm something you can conjure up at will.
A strength training exercise would be to practice sitting calmly for a long period of time – say 30 minutes. At first 5 minutes might be a stretch but, with practice, the amount of time you can sit calmly will increase. If you can build up beyond 30 minutes to an hour or more then you can increase the difficulty by doing your practice in a mall or anywhere where there is a lot of hubbub going on.
So give it a try and see how deep and strong your calm can be. When you are calm you bring your best mental, physical, and emotional self to the task at hand.