And sinking mind contains neither. At its worst, it will put you to sleep. Even at its best it will simply waste your time. Imagine you've planned a long sailing voyage. You've spent months preparing yourself and your boat. You've learned all you can about navigating through whatever the ocean throws at you. You've mapped the course you'll take and studied every available nautical chart for underwater hazards and currents. You've learned to recognize the signs of stormy weather approaching. The galley is provisioned, and the rigging on deck is checked and double-checked. The day of departure arrives. You are as ready as you'll ever be for the great adventure ahead. The sun is shining and the wind is perfect, so you hoist the sails at last, look expectantly to the horizon, and go . nowhere. That's because, after all your hard work and everything you've invested, you've neglected one very important detail: you forgot to raise the anchor. It is still firmly stuck in the mud, hidden under twenty feet of water, doing exactly what anchors do best--keeping you firmly in place. This analogy often seems silly to people at first glance. After all, what sailor worth her salt would forget such an important step? But you'd be surprised how often the people who seek treatment for depression make exactly this mistake. The journey they hope to make is not across the ocean; it's in search of a new life, free of depression and anxiety. Initially, they do the hard work addressed in the rest of this book: changing what they eat, improving their sleep habits, eliminating environmental toxins, addressing emotional baggage, and even forgiving those who have harmed them in some way--all the things that make up our whole-person treatment model.

But at the end of the day, none of that is enough to set them free from depression, because something extraordinarily dense and heavy keeps them stuck in the mud. They are tethered to the anchor of addiction. This is so common, in fact, that at any given time as many as 40 percent of people at our mental health clinic seeking help with depression are concurrently enrolled in another of our major treatment programs--addiction rehab. In some ways, these people are the lucky ones, because their dependence on drugs or alcohol or both has become so apparent that they can no longer deny the obvious need for help. At the other end of the spectrum, however, are people whose addictions are easier to hide--even from themselves. They have become dependent on behaviors that are legal and often considered "normal" in modern society and therefore harmless. Don't be fooled, though. These behaviors are just as heavy and just as likely to prevent you from making headway on your journey to healing. Littering and General Messiness - Just like your clothing and hair make statements about your self-esteem and confidence level, your general cleanliness in your office, car, or home will say a lot about the kind of person you are. If you're out with someone, find a garbage can for your empty coffee cup, not the bottom of a ditch. Technology Use During a Conversation - Nothing is less friendly than taking out a cell phone or checking your watch during the middle of a conversation. There is an unspoken subtext to these interactions that says "this is more important than our conversation". It will universally upset anyone you are spending time with and will make you seem like you don't care about their input. Patronizing - This is something that happens to a lot to parents, especially those who are impatient. Just because your five year old child needs a bit of help understanding a new concept does not mean your co-workers or a person you met in the bar need to be talked to like that. Nine times out of ten it's unintentional but the effect is just as unfriendly. Eye Rolling and Sarcasm - Imagine if someone you just met rolled their eyes at a statement you made or started making sarcastic statements about you or your conversation. How long would you stick around and continue talking to them? A lot of the time, people try to be playful or charming with sarcasm. It rarely works, so stick to easy things like non-personal jokes.

Complaining and Whining - It may not seem unfriendly, but complaining or whining about something, even if it's unrelated to the person you're talking to will give the wrong impression. Complaints and general whininess make other people either uncomfortable or upset. On the flip side, if you maintain a positive tone in every conversation, they will feed on your positivity and want to be around you more often. Yelling or Unnecessarily Angry Outbursts - General anger is a turnoff to most people. It shows a lack of self-control, a short fuse, and a tendency to judge other people and events without all the facts. If you have a habit of growing angry at random events, take a step back and relax before engaging in conversation. Stick to positive actions and activities. Friendliness isn't hard. It's probably the easiest thing you'll learn in this book. So what can we take away from all this? In some sense, the stock market is like flipping a coin. If we flip a coin 1,000 times we can be pretty sure we'll get about half heads and half tails, but we can't tell what will happen on each individual flip. Similarly, if we invest in the stock market, we can be pretty sure that it will go up over the long-term, but it's very difficult to consistently predict which specific stock will outperform the market.40 As a result, it makes more sense to invest in an index fund, and to hold onto that fund for the long haul, because we can then reap the rewards of the general upward movement in the market. But what about all those stock experts with their hot tips? You have to ask the old adage, "If these people can predict the market, why aren't they all incredibly rich?" The fact is, if stock analysts could predict future prices, it would make infinitely more sense to keep that valuable information to themselves, because they could make a killing in the market if they did. But they don't. They sell it to you. So we have considerable evidence to indicate that it's not worth our time to analyze and pick individual stocks. Of course, if you're doing it for sport--if you enjoy the game--go right ahead. I go to a casino knowing that the odds are stacked against me in the long run, but I enjoy the act of gambling.

However, if you think that you can pick stocks to beat the market, you're fooling yourself. And yet, very intelligent people continue to think they can. I was talking recently with a fellow colleague of mine--one of the most scholarly professors in our school. He told me that he could pick superior stocks by using fundamental analysis, a technique that attempts to determine the intrinsic (true) value of a stock based on a firm's underlying economic variables. The technique assumes that when the market price is below the intrinsic value, the stock is undervalued and the price will rise when the market properly adjusts.41 It seems to make sense, and so many people believe that fundamental analysis can work. In fact, my friend told me he had supporting evidence, and referred to the research of Benjamin Graham, the father of fundamental analysis. As Professor Burton Malkiel notes, however, "The academic community has rendered its judgment. Fundamental analysis is no better than technical analysis in enabling investors to capture above average returns."42 In fact, Graham himself reluctantly concluded that fundamental analysis could no longer produce superior returns. I saw my friend a few days later, gave him the quote, and said, "Wasn't this the person you were referring to for support?" His reaction was telling--he ripped up the quote and exclaimed, "That doesn't mean a thing!" Even though the person he was using as support said the technique is no longer effective, my friend refused to believe it. Instead, he reiterated, once again, that fundamental analysis has given him many successful stock picks. When I pressed him on this issue, he said, "Sometimes I'm right, and sometimes I'm wrong." I said, "What if you're wrong 60 percent of the time and your portfolio drops?" He replied, "Then it's my fault and I'll learn from it." I said, "What if it doesn't work year after year?" He responded, "Then I have to learn how to do it better." In effect, he wasn't willing to question his belief in fundamental analysis--even in the face of considerable empirical evidence to the contrary. Why is that? He was relying on his personal experience instead of scientific investigation, and, as we've seen, relying on anecdotal information is one of the main causes of erroneous beliefs. Fundamental analysts often attribute their gains to using fundamental analysis, and their losses to alternative explanations, such as a downturn in the overall economy. But with this rationale, fundamental analysis is unfalsifiable, and something that's unfalsifiable is worthless. What should you do if you decide to pick individual stocks for investment? Keep track of your wins and losses; in effect, pay attention to both the hits and the misses. As time goes by, you'll likely realize that you're not earning any more than if you just invested your money in an index fund. Without such an approach, you'll be doomed to make extremely costly mistakes, as another colleague of mine recently discovered. He had his money in an index fund until he was convinced by a mutual friend to pick individual stocks--which went on to lose 40 percent of their value when the overall market was rising!

When you find you have fallen into the state of sinking mind, just note the fact and return your attention to the sensation of breathing. Observe the tactile sensation of the in-breath. Feel the touch sensation of the out-breath. Breathe in, breathe out, and watch what happens. When you have been doing that for some time--perhaps weeks or months--you will begin to sense the touch as a physical object. Simply continue the process; breathe in and breathe out. Watch what happens. As your concentration deepens you will have less and less trouble with monkey mind. Your breathing will slow down, and you will track it more and more clearly, with fewer and fewer interruptions. You begin to experience a state of great calm in which you enjoy complete freedom from those things we called psychic irritants. No greed, lust, envy, jealousy, or hatred. Agitation goes away. Fear flees. These are beautiful, clear, blissful states of mind. They are temporary, and they will end when the meditation ends. Yet even these brief experiences will change your life. This is not liberation, but these are stepping stones on the path that leads in that direction. Do not, however, expect instant bliss. Even these stepping stones take time, effort, and patience. The meditation experience is not a competition.