Want to Focus? All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

This post is squarely aimed at my younger colleagues on the student planet.
While all of us will definitely benefit, this is for them.

Update: The planet strips video embeds.
So, please read it on the blog to get the right flow.
Links to the videos also at end of post if you do not wish to leave the planet window


Mamata Venkat[1] set out to be a doctor (her passion; or so she thought), started out as pre-med and got halfway through her freshman year (first year) of college before she realised medicine wasn’t for her.
She went on to switch majors about four times before finally landing on international studies and eventually choosing public health.

She’d struggle with self-confidence, set high standards for herself and then be crushed when she failed to reach them.
She felt like she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to be, with her life.

Daily life was a blur, an unfocused haze. In her words …

I would get to class and it’d be fine and then about halfway through class, I’d keep thinking about the video I watched that morning.

And there’d be so much chaos coming around me, and in me because of my thoughts and all these distractions, that I’d come home and feel frustrated and let out that frustration of my family members.
Because I didn’t know what to do with it.

I start my homework and feel frustrated because i wasn’t understanding the concepts …

So how did she turn it all around?
What did she do?

Exactly, what I’m about to tell you to do, right now.

  • Take a few quick, but deep breaths. (deeeeep … from your tummy)

  • Count to 5.

  • Take a few more deep ones. (Breathe. Really breathe.)

  • Now, start counting your breaths.

  • Breathe in (1)

  • Breathe out (2)

  • Breathe in (3)

  • Are you thinking of food? or what to do next?
    Just come back to the breath.

  • Breathe out (4)

  • Breathe in (5)

  • Breathe out (6)

  • Mind flitting somewhere?
    Gently, back to the breath.

  • Breathe in (7)

  • Breathe out (8)

  • Breathe in (9)

  • Breathe out (10)

There you go.
You just meditated!
So did Mamata.

This is all you do. This, in effect, is the practice.

  • Focus on your breath.
    Focus only on your breath.
  • Bring your mind back gently if your attention drifts.

Stick with it daily. Increase your mental endurance slowly, a minute, two minutes, five minutes at a time, until you can do ten comfortably, twice a day.

Andy Puddicombe has a marvelous video on the whys and the wherefores of meditation.
Give it a look see, and I’ll meet you below the video.



I’ve been reading Tools of Titans, where Tim Ferriss distills knowledge & tactics from his various two–three hour long podcast episodes with achievers.

The number one tool or life habit they use? – Meditation

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, action star, meditates.
  • Tony Robbins, self help guru par excellence, meditates.
  • Chase Jarvis, ace photograpger, meditates.
  • Ed Catmull, animation genius, President of Pixar, meditates.
  • John Favreau, Monica’s boyfriend, Iron Man director, meditates.
  • Heck, even Matt Mullenweg, founder of Wordpress, meditates.

So I got you convinced? Are you raring to go? How do you meditate? Need help?
The simplest thing to do, would be to get the Headspace or Calm apps and just use their free packs.
Or do what Maria Popova does and just stick to one guided meditation daily.

And what happened to Mamata?
A look at her AngelList bio, speaks volumes.

Here’s Mamata again

… to me true success is being able to learn about myself more and more every single day with my meditation practice and using that and expressing it in any situation that I’m put in.

Thank you

I leave you with Mamata, expressing her journey with meditation in her own words.

I hope, this post inspires you to, too!




  1. Most of Mamata’s details, I cribbed from her TED Talk. ↩︎