For a long time I’ve just been narrow-mindedly super focused on my trading and businesses. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But over the last couple of years I’ve made some interesting new friends, Rob Morley (co-Director of Fountain Partnership), Jamie Gledhill (co-Director of Email Movers) and last but not least,  Mike & Andy Mindel (Founders of Wordtracker and Mail Flow). These guys have become really good friends and their emotional intelligence is astounding. They are properly deep. I’ve always thought that this new ‘spirituality’ movement a bit wet and ‘tree-huggy’ but it’s completely different to what I thought it would be. I haven’t got into the whole meditation thing yet, but what I’ve learned so far is that your emotional IQ is more important than you may think.

They all recommended the book ‘The Power Of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle which is a great introduction to your ‘inner-mind’ and the daily applications of understanding and controlling your mind are literally life changing. Let’s look at emotion for example. I’d go as far as saying that at least 99% of the population let external stimuli and their emotions control them. Something bad happens, negative emotions fill the mind and guess what, negative moods, thoughts and decisions are produced. It happens the other way as well though. Something great happens and we feel elated. The thing is, emotions aren’t real. They don’t exist anywhere other than in peoples’ heads. So if you’re aware of this you can turn your mind into a bouncer of sorts. You simply observe what’s going on in your head and if you see a negative emotion starting to creep in, you simply eject it. Don’t give it time to breed as that’s exactly what negativity in the mind does. It breeds other self-debilitating thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions. Once you ‘get’ this, things in every aspect of your life will change for the better. For example, I recently had a major setback in my business. I’ve spent the last 9 months setting up my own Hedge Fund and it’s been on and off for months now. It goes live, I make everyone loads of profit, it has to be turned off for maintenance etc (everyone gets frustrated because they feel they’re losing out on potential profits). But the other day, some new FCA rules and regulations kicked in and so my Fund had to be temporarily paused until new software and systems are in place. As you can imagine, this did not go down too well with some clients who had put their money into the Fund and are now having to wait even more. So I naturally refunded everyone’s entry fees (£6k) until further notice. So this setback has not only pushed us all back a few weeks but cost my company a fortune. Now an earlier version of me would have taken this completely the wrong way. I would have been outraged, annoyed, upset, frustrated, blameful and as a result, I wouldn’t have handled the situation to develop win-win outcomes for everyone. But what happened was that I realised it was a temporary setback. I observed all of those negative thoughts and emotions about to rush in and nipped them in the bud. As a result, your mind has clear space to come up with solutions to try and turn life’s challenges into a positives. The end outcome was that 99% of my investors were happy and everything was peachy. In the past, something like that would have ruined my day or week! So the take away from all of this is that you need to ascend your mind to a higher level so that you can simply observe the hive of activity that your brain creates. So not only will you be able to handle yourself better but you’ll straight away be able to identify when the people around you are acting on and being driven by unharnessed emotions. Ellie, my wife, hates it when I point out to her now and again that she’s not controlling her thoughts and feelings!

Also, perspective is everything when you encounter challenges. Since my old air force days, I’ve always lived by a personal priority hierarchy which I always ask myself:

  • Is anyone dying, has died or is about to die?
  • Will this adversely affect mine or my family’s health?
  • Is anyone breaking or has broken the law?

No? Well then buck up and crack on. Most of the time the answer will be a ‘no’ as life is full of inconsequential and trivial hiccups. You just need to learn to not let these affect your state, get around them or work out a way to turn them into positives and move on. So thanks again Rob, Jamie, Andy and Mike, you’ve opened my eyes for the better and hopefully this article will help others somewhat!

P.S. I’m now being open-minded about meditation seeing as most well-known super achievers like Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and others all meditate on a daily basis. So I’m now working my way through the app called Headspace. Try it out, it’s surprisingly good…