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Making money out of mindfulness

20 January 2021 7:15 PM
Tags:
Digital technology
BusinessUnusual

Remaining calm during a crisis is a skill that would benefit all of us. For those that supply it, it will be profitable too.

A simple description of mindfulness is being fully aware of the present, noticing everything, but not focussing on it.

You can try it with the example below.

What is it for?

If you can be fully present and aware when trying to do something you are less likely to get distracted and more able to focus your attention. Noticing but not responding helps you be aware of potential distractions, both physical and mental but not have it affect what you do want to work on.

We live busier lives with more stress and anxiety, some of it created by our digital lifestyles. It may sound counter intuitive to use an app then to address it, but because that’s how we use just about everything now, it does make sense.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice likely founded over 2500 years ago as a spiritual practice for accepting what life throws at you.

Japan has a concept called Wabi-sabi which teaches us to appreciate what we can experience now as it will not last.

Stoics have a similar approach but use it for resilience to endure bad times.

The business case grew as religion began to wane and science began investigating the benefits of its use. The 70s is the start of meditation moving from being a principally religious and Asian centred practice to becoming a global one.

Religion can play the same role and for many it does, by making a secular version allows you to use it with your religion or on its own. It has shown benefits for those trying to cope with mental health issues, parenting issues and even high performance sports. Although the results do vary and more research is needed.

It was the sports application that allowed it to become a business tool, team work, focus and attention, being calm under pressure and making difficult decisions with tight deadlines can all be moved from the playing field to the office.

An added benefit is that it would not only would it help with the business function but also help prevent you being consumed by business

Companies may have paid for a retreat for high profile executives only to have the company still struggle as the people doing the work continue to stress out.

The companies to watch

Making it an app allows everyone to join the program.

Rather than being overly philanthropic with the pricing they are instead on the expensive side of app purchases offering typically year long subscriptions both to ensure those that could benefit get the time to see the results but also to lock in the revenue in order to keep expanding the available content.

Calm and Headspace are two of the more well known. Calm is a unicorn that after 8 years is valued at $2 billion. Quartz has an excellent piece looking at the past and likely future of this sector.

One indication that this has gone a lot more mainstream is that there is a series on meditation that Netflix commissioned from Headspace.

There are a few business elements to consider here, a business that can help in a time of crisis is likely to buck the otherwise negative trend for most businesses and so becomes an investment opportunity. These businesses have a market for personal and business use. I understand that many adult mental issues first present as adolescents and so they are creating programs to help children from a younger age but also to get them used to using the techniques ensuring future business.

When there is a big demand, supply tries to fill the gap, so you can expect lots of similar services to be started during this period, some to make a quick buck others to fill a need that was not financially viable before. One that may be of particular value in South Africa is called Liberate and is made to address the challenges that face the global black community.

As the lockdown continues and we have limited contact with friends and family we lose the ability to talk things through or offload our issues when we are with them. Using an alternative can help with that.

For those that are dealing with loss and have anxiety for the future, it can both reduce the stress but also allow you to keep functioning under difficult conditions.

Listen to the conversation with Bruce Whitfield




20 January 2021 7:15 PM
Tags:
Digital technology
BusinessUnusual

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