When it comes to being more productive, many of us seek out time-saving hacks. You might practise time-blocking, email batching, or unplugging from smart devices. Becoming a kinder, better version of yourself probably isn’t on your radar as a productivity tool, but by looking inward, you can enter a state of mind where you can increase focus and get more done, says Vishen Lakhiani, author of The 6 Phase Meditation Method.
“The most important thing we have to do every day is maintain a state of bliss,” says Lakhiani, cofounder of the wellness app Mindvalley. “Studies on positivity quotient (PQ) —which is the ratio of positive thoughts to overall thoughts—show that the higher your PQ, the better and more productive you are at work.”
Instead of a traditional meditation practice where you hone your focus, Lakhiani uses meditation that helps you optimise character traits to become a better, kinder person.
“The most important thing in life is your level of personal growth,” he says. “People who are really crushing it at life aren’t just crushing it at work. Money is flowing to them, their relationships are gorgeous, their health is radiant, and they’re in the right emotional states. All of this requires putting growth as the main thing in your life.”
Focusing on growth, however, can be driven by ego. As a result, being kind to yourself and others is an essential skill. In fact, Lakhiani calls kindness a superpower and the ultimate productivity hack. It’s also rare, because we’re unable to be kind when we are facing stress, overwhelm, or fear.
“These things cause us to go into survival mode,” he says. “When you’re in survival mode, it’s all about you. Any other person, any opposing political view, any competition is viewed as a threat.”
You can insulate yourself from constant survival mode by practising with first three of Lakhiani’s six meditation phases:
The first meditation is adopting a compassion practice. “Studies show that compassion actually reduces anxiety,” says Lakhiani. “It reduces your perceived threats. For example, if somebody cuts you off on the highway, you don’t think of them as being a jerk. You simply think, ‘Hmm, I wonder what they’re rushing for.’”
Lakhiani suggests showing compassion to your family first. Then expand the practice to your coworkers, your city, country, and finally the world.
“I call this ‘unity consciousness,’” says Lakhiani. “What it means is expanding compassion, not just for your own life, but to all life around you, in larger and larger circles.”
The second practice is gratitude, which puts you in a state of appreciation. Gratitude increases serotonin in your body, and this actually makes you more resistant to stress, says Lakhiani.
“While the world around you may be more stressful, such as work piling up, you’re able to deal with it without feeling as overwhelmed or stressed out as you normally do,” he says. “Gratitude is in fact so powerful that scientists say it is the human characteristic most associated with overall states of wellbeing. And the greater your wellbeing, the better you’re equipped to be stress proof.”
The third state Lakhiani calls “unfuckwithability,” a term that has its roots in Black hip-hop culture that eventually became an internet meme. “When you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself, nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you,” he says. “It has become a beautiful word that people started using. The term for this in human development is equanimity, which means calm within the storm.” (Ed – so why not use that word instead?)
Other attributes of being unfuckwithable is that you no longer hold grudges, traumas, or negativity toward people who wronged you in the past. (Count me out on this one!)
“The past is the past,” says Lakhiani. “It’s done, and you understand that this baggage weighs you down. The way to become unfuckwithable is to practise forgiveness. When you’re no longer holding grudges, when the past is no longer troubling you, you show up as your most powerful self.”
“When you stack these three states together—compassion, gratitude, and unfuckwithability—you show up with a greater degree of equanimity. You show up with more resistance to stress and overwhelm. And you can get so much more done in a given amount of time.”