I have woken with gratitude, switched on my classical music to take advantage of those initial 20 minutes, been drinking my green tea, started my box breathing, and now I add in some reading…
My reading of choice is the relevant passage from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, although anything positive will be good. Remember, we are taking advantage of the first 20 minutes when your subconscious mind is most impressionable and soaks up information like a sponge. Whatever you hear, see or are exposed to in that first 20 minutes will affect you and set the tone for the rest of your day.
Tony Robbins recommends feeding your mind for at least 30 minutes each day, and while I am only taking a very small part of that time, maybe 5 minutes at most (although my next note on meditation will explain how it may flow beyond those 5 minutes), I am doing it at the optimum time of my day.
So why philosophy ?
Since logic and reason are the cornerstones of philosophy, taking the time to read books on the subject helps me hone the critical thinking skills and ability to reason I developed as a lawyer. I can enjoy coming to an understanding of the assumptions behind arguments, identifying fallacies in the reasoning and also form my own reasoned opinion on the subject at hand. I am exposed to alternate points of view, which helps me question the assumptions by which I have lived my life and shows me the gaps in my thought process.
And why Stoicism ?
While it is only fairly recently that I came across Stoicism, the moment I did, I felt completely at home with it. The four virtues of wisdom, justice, courage and moderation appealed to me, and the Stoic Agenda that to avoid unhappiness, frustration, and disappointment, we need to do two things : control those things that are within our power (namely our beliefs, judgments, desires, and attitudes) and be indifferent or apathetic to those things which are not in our power (namely, things external to us), seemed like the perfect approach to modern life. It aligned neatly with the techniques presented by Unbeatable Mind, and as my knowledge and understanding grew through my daily reading and my involvement with the excellent Development Society, I began to appreciate how many benefits it brought :
You care less what people think
You waste less time
You remember what is in your control
You stop being so distracted
You stop being so anxious
You are more grateful