CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer has been on television for close to 12 years. You ever watch it? Here’s what CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/mad-money/) says it’s all about:
“Cramer is your personal guide through the confusing jungle of Wall Street investing, navigating through opportunities and pitfalls with one goal in mind — to help you make money.”
Curious, I watched the show. And from up high, I banged my gavel and pronounced the following judgment: it’s loud, it’s obnoxious, and Jim Cramer’s persona is manically unhinged. But hey, what are you gonna do? It’s show business.
And Cramer is the show’s lead character. Sure, he talks knowledgeably about stocks and the world related to finance. And underneath the noise, the bluster and the ranting, maybe some of his advice is sound. Still, it’s not the kind of medium I would turn to for investing guidance.
Why not? Never mind that I needed to pop a capsule or two of extra strength Advil after watching, the thing is that … the show isn’t about investing! Contrary to CNBC’s marketing pitch, the show is about trading, about how to make fast, easy money through buying this and selling that. And chasing fast, easy money is a fools game.
Peace is the Word
You know what BuddhaMoney investors chase or, rather, seek? Peace of mind. For the simple reason that a calm mind leads to:
- Clear thinking
- Maximum focus
- Emotional stability
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased happiness
When you’re calm, you’re able to better process information. You’re able to sift through the avalanche of media generated content and recognize what is useless chatter, and what may be of actual benefit to you.
And, hugely important as an investor, you’re less likely to be governed by the Twin Evils: fear and greed. The result being that you’re more likely to make sound financial decisions advantageous to your well-being, and your wealth.
‘Often easier said then done, this business of attaining a calm mind, no?’
What, you’re throwing up obstacles before even trying? Easy or hard, is this what makes something worthwhile?
‘No but …’
Listen, at this stage, just set your intention to try and try and try, and eventually, if you’re patient with yourself, more calm will find its way into your every day existence.
‘Oh ya?? How? Are you offering use of your magic wand?’
‘Uh, what about meditation?’
It’s your pathway to calm.
‘I don’t see myself as being the type to sit cross-legged with my eyes closed. I’ve got a bad back, you know.’
Let me ask you this: after a restful sleep, do you feel good?
Well, there you go.
‘There I go … what?’
That’s the purpose of meditation, to refresh and rejuvenate your mind.
Our minds are compulsive workaholics, running 24/7/365. We replay the past, fabricate fears about tomorrow, gossip about everyone we meet, compare our self to this or that person often judging our self inadequate … all of which prevents us from learning how to relax in the present moment.
The choice is simple.
Option #1: The mind runs the show, we spend too much of our life thinking about yesterday and tomorrow, and we remain unsettled about becoming something or somebody because we do not accept who we are.
Option #2: We locate the off switch. We use our mind when needed, and rest the mind when not needed. And when we give the mind rest, it works that much better when needed. By being present, by not incessantly ruminating about yesterday or tomorrow, we learn to get the most out of each moment, and the most out of our life.
What Is Meditation
At its core, meditation may be thought of as silent witnessing. Watching thoughts pass through your mind. Not controlling your thoughts, not judging, not commenting. Just watching and acknowledging that, whatever comes into your head or whatever you feel, these are only thoughts and emotions coming and going as they please, and they do not define you.
When engaged in meditation, you activate the off switch that allows you to rest and rejuvenate. Simple as it sounds, this sort of resting acts as a balm to the mind, bringing calm and balance. And we need to rest our mind every day, just like we need to rest our body. If we don’t get rest, the mind wears down just as the body would without rest.
Why Meditation Increases Ability To Become Wealthy
Think about it: the last time there was a stock market meltdown, did you panic? Feel any fear at all?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you didn’t experience fear when you open your account statement and it shows a 10% or 20% decline? And, rather than being controlled by fear and other destructive emotions, you are able to objectively assess the state of the markets, and rationally decide whether to sell, buy or sit tight? Would this sort of calm mind make you a better investor? Absolutely.
Or how about when you’re out shopping and you cave to an impulse buy, with your mind working overtime to justify the purchase? Well, what if you could tame those flaming impulses and, before buying, are able to consider the consequences to your budget? Would this sort of thinking add to your savings and further you on your path toward financial freedom? Absolutely.
Because when you’re relaxed and alert to what’s going on within your self, when your emotions are not ramped and your mind isn’t buzzing, you are more likely to make good decisions that benefit your self today and tomorrow.
This is why shows like Mad Money are harmful: they serve to elevate our emotions, get us all excited, and put us in a mental state not conducive to making wise financial decisions.
The Pros Meditate
Okay, still, meditation is not a cure-all, and you may certainly achieve calm and balance without ever meditating. So if you’re one of those people who experiences body/mind harmony most of the time, that’s amazing, good for you. For anyone else (including yours truly) who has difficulty sustaining a calm mind for prolonged periods of time, you may want to give meditation a try.
It’s not that scary. And it’s not just for folks who choose to tune in, turn on and drop out. In fact, Goldman Sachs offers daily meditation classes for its employees, and some high profile Wall Street hedge fund dudes swear by meditation as a tool to increase wealth (i.e., Ray Dalio, Paul Tudor Jones, Daniel Loeb). So it could be that your road to riches is paved with meditation too.
ps. for anyone who wants to learn more about meditation, here’s a few of my favorite teachers and one their books:
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go There You Are
- Sylvia Boorstein, Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There
- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness
- Chogyam Trunga, Meditation In Action
- Jack Kornfield, Meditation for Beginners