Modern Misteps Meet Mindfulness

“Nothing is worth more than this day.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Zy Marquiez
December 5, 2018

Nowadays, not a day goes by that individuals are not exposed to constant notifications, texts, videos, apps and daily reminders – these are everywhere.  Be it at home, at work, or on the go, these never-ending streams of information drain hundreds of hours off of our schedules yearly.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Southern California in 2013, the average individual in America goes through more than 13 hours of media daily.[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Most of it does not add much meaning to our lives either, unfortunately.

Society’s addiction to this overarching all-things-now pattern has increased proportional to our technological advancement, if not more so.  Not a day goes by without the instant gratification that is contained within all forms social media, the mainstream media sound-bite reality, texting, on-demand Google answers, and much more.  This instant connection to all-things-now has spawned a new type of addiction: addiction to Speed.

In Speed – Facing Our Addiction To Fast and Faster – and Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down, Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D. makes the argument that individuals of myriad types have become addicted to the instant gratification that is hyper-prevalent in modern lifestyles.  Psychologist Brown notes:

“That gratification comes from two places – the illusion of rapid connection to other people, and immediate access to information we feel we need, be it a Google Map, an investment insight, or the answers to a trivia question.”[2]

This type of addictive behavior can have serious detrimental consequences for individuals.  What’s worse, society has acclimated to it in such a way that it’s become natural to operate in such a manner.

What is Dr. Brown noticing exactly?  Brown casts light on the matter:

“What I am seeing in my practice as an addiction specialist is that, especially in urban areas, this speed trap is outstripping people’s ability to manage, to fulfill all of their responsibilities, and even to cope.  The idea that we literally have at our fingertips the tools to do so much more than we actually have the capacity to do well has created an impossible bind that leads to chronic stress and a sense of failure.  You do not have the ability to be on 24/7 like a computer, but you believe you should be able to keep going, and that you will be able to do so if you only try harder.  And so you push yourself incessantly, creating an addictive spiral.”[3]

Coming to terms with this, it is crucial as individuals to know that this is taking place in order to be able to tackle this issue head on.  Issues that are unknown cannot be solved, and only by employing a proactive approach can individuals be able to displace and conquer such issues.

In order to thwart these subversive circumstances, an examination at the opposite side of the spectrum is at hand.  If a full-steam-ahead-no-matter-what approach is what society has become addicted to, then a more mindful, detached, and self-engaged approach stands at the opposite side of that coin.

Mindfulness – the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something – is the first step in overcoming this conundrum.  What mindfulness offers is a thoughtful, relaxed, and engaged version of what individuals can are capable of doing when their mind is at ease and focused.

The problem is that this Mindful state of being is nigh never achieved because of the issues noted above by Dr. Brown, as well as others.  Another salient and ever-present reason for this is that people get into the bad habit of autopiloting through life without much thought.

One thing Poker has taught me is that many players can engage in autopilot, meaning that they tend to play the game in an automatic fashion without much thought being put into each and every circumstance.  Similarly, many, if not most individuals employ this type of approach in daily life.

Some glaring examples of the ways this can be noticed in life are: (1) seeing how many people forget someone’s name after they meet them, or (2) how many people don’t remember a significant portion of their drive on their way home, or even (3) how some people text while driving.  There are many more examples, but those are some of the more common ones that help shed light on the matter.

Being cognizant of this, it’s important to keep in mind that mindfulness can only be achieved by being mentally centered, by employing a hyper-focused, top-down approach that allows individuals to ‘be in the moment’.

As Captain J.A. Hatfield once shared:

“The art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of our great men.”

If you want to achieve anything significant in life, we must home-in on what we think.  As the sage Buddha once noted:

“We are what we think.  All that we are arises with our thoughts.  With our thoughts we make our world.”

What world will you make for yourself: a world where instant gratification controls you, or a mindful life where you control your world?


[1] Elizabeth Williams, Mary.  “Why Every Mind Needs Mindfulness.”  Time Special Edition – Mindfulness: The New Science Of Health And Happiness, 2017, p. 10.
[2] Dr.  Stephanie Brown Ph.D., Speed – Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster And Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down, p.4
[3] Ibid., p. 5.

This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is a Poker Player, CEO, Business Owner, Open-Minded Skeptic, Book Reviewer, Introvert, Researcher, Writer, Creativity Connoisseur, Yoga Dilettante & Carmel Macchiato Addict.


Mindfulness 101

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” – Zig Ziglar
Zy Marquiez
November 18, 2018

In life, there are various avenues of learning. One way is through your own inherent actions. Another conversely, is through the actions of others. As such, individuals can choose to either learn “on the job”, via experience, or choose to learn through others. That said; there is another significant option for learning. One can learn through the lens of history – the full breadth and scope the past has to offer at its fingertips. Knowing this, why not learn to mine history for its precious and timeless gems as well?

One of the best lessons the past has to offer from trailblazers of myriad types is the power of a strong mindset. Strong mindsets have been responsible for helping hone some of the most incredible individuals humanity has been privy to. Moreover, sound mindsets have helped create solutions to unimaginable circumstances, helped great nations and even solutions to problems where others saw none.

Individuals like Bruce Lee, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Michael Jordan and countless others, have benefited greatly from a strong and sound mindset.

For instance, martial artist and philosopher Bruce Lee, once intimated:

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Many limitations individuals face are self-imposed. Knowing this, the solution becomes self-evident. If we get out of our own way, we stand to gain much more than if we continue to employ detrimental thoughts that filter into every aspect of our lives. This is why everyone should begin mentally with a clean slate, where everything is possible.

Echoing Lee’s salient sentiment, Napoleon Hill, self-help author of Think And Grow Rich, once stated:

“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.”

Both Hill and Lee were masters of their domain; both focused with precision on the crucial importance to having a proper foundation within your consciousness. Without proper scaffolding – a proper foundation – nothing sound can be constructed. Without a sound mindset, individuals can never become their highest self. Dispersing negative thoughts and behaviors is merely step one.

Every path you take, every choice you undertake, every path you create, mindset stands front and centre like a compass, keeping us in the right direction. Mindset is the ironclad anchor that holds us amidst the storm. No matter the issue, what tempestuous circumstances we face, with the proper mindset, anything can be conquered. A sound mindset is indispensable to progress and success.

As former British writer and politician Winston S. Churchill once said:

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Each of the paths we individually take will always contain obstacles. This is one of the beautiful conundrums of life. Obstacles, like treasure chests, bear great opportunity to be had. And only by actively engaging upon them may one reap their rewards.

Lucky for us, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. As it is, we all learn from our inherent experiences about mindset if we so choose. But when the option is available to learn proactively rather than reactively, it’s my contention that the former should the default modus operandi of individuals since one is actively taking steps towards success. Every step you move towards creating, or strengthening a sound mindset, is a step you take towards success. Be that as it may, it is your personal choice to make, and nobody can make it for you.

If and when you choose to proactively take steps, learn by osmosis, learn from the best. Find those who help hone your mind, body and spirit. Be not afraid to resonate what you’ve learned with others on your path towards a stronger, better, wiser you.
While you’re on your path, your journey, remember that others have walked the path you are walking this very moment and have found incredible success. Why not follow in their footsteps? Or better yet, why not learn from them and blaze your own trail?

No matter what, always remember these salient words by Bruce Lee:

“There are always obstacles on the road to achievement. Believe me that in every big thing or achievement there are always obstacles, big or small, and the reaction one shows to such obstacles is what counts, not the obstacle itself. There is no such thing as defeat until you admit so yourself, but not until then!”

Ultimately, all it takes is a commitment to yourself of the highest order – a commitment to your present, and primarily, your future; a commitment to your goals from which the seeds of a better life will spring. In the end, it is a commitment to a better life, a better you.

Why not start now?

This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is a Poker Player, CEO, Business Owner, Open-Minded Skeptic, Book Reviewer, Researcher, Writer, Creativity Connoisseur, Yoga Dilettante & Carmel Macchiato Addict.