How Steve Jobs Used Meditation to Train His Brain

For those of us familiar with Steve Jobs’ personal history, we had been made aware that Steve explored Eastern mystical practices during his youth. In particular, Steve was drawn to the Zen Buddhist meditation practice. How this shaped his way of thinking and, consequently, shaped the course of his career and impact on the world as we know it is a matter of speculation. But creative geniuses like Steve inspire curiosity as to what makes them tick. How do they process information in a way that is different from the rest of us? Here’s a short article that pokes a bit on this…

Steve Jobs and MeditationSteve Jobs is one of the two or three greatest icons of high tech, rivaled only by Bill Gates and perhaps Mark Zuckerberg. He’s mostly known for his legendary ability to create innovative, groundbreaking products.

What’s less known, though, is that Steve Jobs was a pioneer in what was once a rather esoteric “mind technology”–the use of Zen mindfulness meditation to reduce his stress, gain more clarity, and enhance his creativity.

As the Financial Times recently pointed out, Jobs was quite specific about how he went about practicing this “discipline” (as he called it). Biographer Walter Isaacson quotes Jobs as saying:

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.”

What Jobs described in that passage is readily identifiable as a specific type of meditation, usually called “mindfulness,” that’s taught in Zen Buddhism and its Chinese antecedent, Taoism. When Jobs was talking to Isaacson not long before he died, he had been practicing such meditation for many years. Via

Mindfulness is the most popular form of meditation practice in the US. It has become widely accepted by the mainstream culture because of its secular and non-esoteric approach. Corporations such as Google, Ford, Target and others are now encouraging their employees to include the practice

There are more and more studies now that show the benefits of a mindfulness practice. You can just browse through some of the posts on this blog. You can also find scientific perspectives in our video gallery that leave no doubt that this ancient practice, in its many forms, may just be good for business.

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