Not Another Steve Jobs Essay: Of Turtlenecks and Mindfulness

The anecdote goes like this: this famous person had a closet full of black turtleneck shirts. The point was to have one less decision to make at the start of the day.  But why is that important? It’s often assumed that it was so that this smart dude could hit the ground running, pondering incredibly more important  questions than “what should I wear today?”

But that wasn’t the point. The point was mental cleanliness. A person without a routine wakes up and immediately there’s a mental overload of “what to do, what to dress, what to eat.” The brain starts running upon waking up and won’t stop until going to sleep. That’s not healthy, and yet it’s the precise way in which we spent most of our lives.

The purpose of meditation is to help you gradually incorporate the act of “being present in the moment” into your life. That’s why it’s called a practice. The sitting is not the point. It’s the development of a skill that you can use through the day.

Standardizing some of your choices, as that guy did, is a practical way to help you find the mind space for this. Try having the same – preferably healthy – breakfast every day, for a month. See how that one less decision impacts your day. 

You might not build the next iPhone, but you’ll probably have a more pleasant morning.

Photo Credit: ijpatter1 Flickr via Compfight cc