How I Meditate: RRE’s Steve Schlafman

“In the morning, I’ll roll out of bed, drink a glass of water and immediately start my practice. No email. No TV. Just water and mediation.”

Steve Schlafman is a Principal at RRE Ventures, where he focuses on investing in early-stage startups including Breather (by user Julien Smith), Giphy, and The Black Tux. He’s also a new meditator on a 54 day streak on We asked Steve about why he started meditating, how he’s fit the new habit into his busy schedule, and how daily meditation has made his life and work better so far.

Why did you start meditating? What was your goal?

I started to meditate because I desperately wanted to spend less time in the past and the future and more time in the present.  Additionally, I tend to be a very anxious person so I was looking for a daily practice that ground me and calm my mind.  When I initially started, my goal was to practice least once a day and record how I felt after each session. I found it very easy to incorporate it into my daily routine.

What is your meditation routine?

The style of meditation that I learned is called Vedic. The idea is to practice twice a day for about twenty minutes.  I’ve adopted that schedule and have found it super easy to incorporate into my busy life.  I’ve made this a priority so each day I block out enough time to make sure I get in my fix.  In the morning, I’ll roll out of bed, drink a glass of water and immediately start my practice.  No email.  No TV. Just water and mediation. It’s the first thing I do every day.  In the afternoon when I’m about to hit a wall and I usually reach for sugar and caffeine, I’ll lock myself in a conference room or my office for a quick session. Before I started to meditate I’d usually take fifteen to twenty minutes in the afternoon for coffee so finding a bit of extra time wasn’t an issue.

What benefits have you noticed in the first month of practicing?

I’m a lot more patient and I don’t let small things bother me. Before I embarked on this journey, I would stress about things that were in the past or future and totally out of my control. Meditation has helped me become more mindful of my emotions. Previously I found myself running around and trying to do a million things at once. It was very hard to notice how I was truly thinking and feeling. By incorporating meditation into my daily habits, I’ve become more aware to my environment, others around me and the people I’m interacting with. Over the summer and prior to meditating, I read the book, ‘The Power of Now,’ and it helped me prepare my mind for deeper awareness.

Can you tell me a story about how meditation improved your performance?

I’ve only been meditating now for about fifty days so I’m still very new on this journey. My friends and colleagues at work claim that my ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is virtually gone. I find that to be a huge complement because I’ve always had a hard time sitting still.

Do you think meditation gives you a competitive edge?

Absolutely. I fundamentally believe it’s important to slow down a few times each day and allow my body and mind to rest. Most importantly, setting an intention during the meditation helps me focus on a certain aspect of work and/or life. When I finish a meditation session, I’m able to focus on what’s in front of me for the next three to six hours. Most importantly, I don’t hold on to things in the future and the past which helps me open up mental space for what’s in front of me.

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