|What Would You Do With 10% Happier?
What would you do with “10% Happier?”
Would you smile more?
Would you spring—not drag—yourself out of bed in the morning?
Would you lose the guilt over taking a walk at lunch, instead of eating at your desk while working through the report that’s due?
Would you leave work earlier?
Would you say hi to your co-workers and take a few moments to find out what’s new in their life?
Would you take time to read to your kid?
Would you give a dollar or two to the homeless man on the corner, look him in the eyes and acknowledge his existence with a nod?
Dan Harris, ABC’s Nightline news anchor, has written 10% Happier to describe his journey from over worked, ultra competitive, hyper-vigilant careerist to a more focused, confident, and calm presence, still driven but in a more accepting way.
Beginning with fascinating stories of globe-hopping to report on crises around the world, including as an embedded reporter with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Harris is unaware of what the extreme stress in his life is doing to him—until he has a major panic attack on national TV during Good Morning America.
The by-line of the book is: How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works. It is the story of how he came to explore meditation and mindfulness, with SKEPTIC written all over him.
What I really enjoyed was his critical approach, his doubt, his failure, and finally how he integrated meditation and mindfulness into his incredibly busy life and didn’t have to become an incense-burning, chime ringing Zen master to do it. His thought sequences while practicing meditation are hilarious and refreshing—now I know I am not the only struggling to bring that peace to my mind. Just breathe…it sounds so easy. Not.
If you are curious about the explosion of ‘mindfulness at work’ platitudes, I recommend giving Dan Harris’ story a read. His writing is funny, real, and irreverent, while at the same time highlighting the serious scientific findings around meditation and mindfulness that you really shouldn’t ignore. He likens it to ‘a software upgrade for the brain.’
18 months ago I associated meditation with those enlightened calm beings who float through life seeming to have it ‘all together’ without a worry in the world. Definitely not me.
After a year and a half of sporadic practice and diverse readings I consider myself a novice but hooked. Honestly, it has quieted the swirl. It has helped my focus. It has allowed space for amazing ideas to rise up. It has given me the courage to move forward into the unknown. I see myself as a more compassionate and gracious person.
Even my so-so practice of mindfulness and meditation has made a profound difference in managing my stress and making better choices in my life. I wish the same for you.
To your best potential,
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