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This happens to everybody. And there is a simple solution. Put most of your effort into one-pointedness at the beginning. Just keep calling the attention from wandering over and over again. Tough it out. Full instructions on how to do this are in chapters 7 and 8. A couple of months down the track and you will have developed concentration power. Then you can start pumping your energy into mindfulness. Do not, however, go so far with concentration that you find yourself going into a stupor. Amid our discussion of beneficial foods, let's not overlook one of the most essential components of nutrition: water. Ever since you were in grade school, you've heard that H2O is an indispensable element of the earth's ecosystem, necessary for sustaining every aspect of life--plants, trees, animals, oceans, weather systems, and human beings. Water, of course, is also an indispensable element for our individual bodies if we hope to survive and thrive. In the United States, there is little risk that you will not survive because of lack of water . Scientists have identified a strong connection between dehydration and depression, noting that even mild dehydration will affect your moods. Two studies from the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut demonstrate that it takes relatively little dehydration (1.5 percent loss in the body's normal water volume) to alter your energy level, mood, and ability to think clearly.[5] The study also found that consuming water has a "significant impact" on alleviating depression and supporting mental sharpness. It can also help with sleep disorders. One of the study's lead researchers, Lawrence E. Armstrong, professor of physiology in UConn's Department of Kinesiology, found that when the subjects were dehydrated, they were more irritable and fatigued. According to Dr. Armstrong, not drinking enough water can also cause headaches, sleepiness, and confusion.

Numerous similar scientific studies support the UConn hydration report, identifying the many benefits of adequate water consumption. Nutrition expert Kathleen M. Zelman enumerates some of the benefits of proper hydration.[6] Water intake helps to . Balance body fluids. Bodily fluids help to support digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and body-temperature regulation. Support weight loss. For many years, water consumption has been recognized as an effective weight-loss strategy. Water is a zero-calorie method for helping yourself feel full so you'll eat less food. Also, water serves as a replacement for other beverages that contain calories and perhaps unhelpful ingredients. If you have a large amount of negative thoughts coming into your mind every day, that's ok. Simply start by acknowledgement the thought (running away from it will only make it come back with a vengeance later!). Thank it for showing up, and then redirect your focus on a thought that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be something that you recently accomplished, or it could be a personality trait that you take pride in ("I'm a really amazing cook!"). Focus on the thought for as long as you can, and repeat this exercise any time a negative thought makes its way into your conscious mind. Pretty soon, you'll find what every wealthy person has--you won't have those pesky, negative thoughts anymore. Think about how liberating that will be! Mimic your mentor. The truly successful and wealthy know the power behind mentorship. In fact, many of them probably didn't get to where they are without having someone to teach them the secrets of their own success, or to warn them about mistakes they made. Find someone to look up to, someone that you admire for their success, talent, or unique skill set.

If you can't contact them personally (let's say they are a celebrity or high profile business person), buy books or attend conferences that they teach. Many people will organize webinars (totally free) that will allow you to learn valuable information without having to pay anything. Study them, their road to success, and the concepts they apply into their career as though it was your own. Mimic their style, or try out their techniques in your own career--and see where it gets you! To illustrate this point, psychologist Solomon Asch had seven to nine college students sit around a table and judge the length of lines, like those in figure 11. Interestingly, he was concerned only with the judgments of one student--the rest were confederates who were told what to say by Asch. The confederates gave their judgments first, and then the experimental subject responded. Sometimes the confederates' judgments were correct, while other times they unanimously made incorrect judgments. For example, in one instance they all agreed that a 3 inch line was the same as a 3 3/4 inch line. Asch found that, across a number of decisions, the experimental subjects conformed to the incorrect view in about one third of the cases, and that three fourths of them conformed at least once. We can make incorrect judgments for even obvious tasks, just because others make the same judgment. How many other people are needed to get someone to conform? When the students were paired with only one confederate, they almost always answered correctly; when paired with two confederates, they answered incorrectly 13 percent of the time; and when paired with three confederates, they conformed 33 percent of the time. So just three incorrect judgments had a significant impact on subjects' decisions. Interestingly, the unanimity of the others' responses was crucial. For example, when one confederate in the group gave the right answer, and all the others were wrong, conformity to the majority view was only one fourth of what it was when the group was unanimous. A unanimous group of three had a greater impact than a majority of eight with one dissenter. In effect, a lone dissenter can have a major impact on the beliefs we set when we're with others. Other experiments on conformity reveal similar effects. We tend to agree with others when they assert a number of amazing statements, such as most Americans are over sixty-five years old; the average American life expectancy is twenty-five years; or the average American eats six meals a day.

In fact, conformity can even make us question one of our most fundamental rights--the right to free speech. Consider the following statement: Free speech being a privilege rather than a right, it is proper for society to suspend free speech whenever it feels itself threatened. Only 19 percent of people without peer pressure agreed with this statement, while 58 percent with peer pressure agreed.6 This desire to conform can result in very costly decisions. Just consider the phenomenon of herd investing in the stock market. Investors often jump on the bandwagon, paying higher and higher prices for stocks they don't even know about, just because others are paying such prices. Many people have lost their savings because of their willingness to go along with the herd. Mindfulness still is the more important of the two components. It should be built as soon as you comfortably can do so. Mindfulness provides the needed foundation for the subsequent development of deeper concentration. Most blunders in this area of balance will correct themselves in time. Right concentration develops naturally in the wake of strong mindfulness. The more you develop the noticing factor, the quicker you will notice the distraction, and the quicker you will pull out of it and return to the formal object of attention. The natural result is increased concentration. And as concentration develops, it assists the development of mindfulness. The more concentration power you have, the less chance there is of launching off on a long chain of analysis about the distraction. You simply note the distraction and return your attention to where it is supposed to be. Thus the two factors tend to balance and support each other's growth quite naturally. Just about the only rule you need to follow at this point is to put your effort on concentration at the beginning until the monkey mind phenomenon has cooled down a bit. After that, emphasize mindfulness. If you find yourself getting frantic, emphasize concentration.

If you find yourself going into a stupor, emphasize mindfulness. Overall, mindfulness is the one to emphasize. Mindfulness guides your development in meditation because mindfulness has the ability to be aware of itself. It is mindfulness that will give you a perspective on your practice. Mindfulness will let you know how you are doing. But don't worry too much about that. This is not a race. You are not in competition with anybody, and there is no schedule. One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state. We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the skill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury. Mental and physical activities are no bar to mindfulness.