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Slow Down to Do More: “How Not To Live Your Life Being a Cog in the Wheel Dictated by Someone Else’s Rules,” with Ashley Graber and Jonha Richman

“It’s tough to get off the cycle but once you get a chance to, be sure to start the day by practicing meditation and make conscious efforts to own your days, as opposed to just existing in someone else’ template. To do this, try to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier than you usually […]



“It’s tough to get off the cycle but once you get a chance to, be sure to start the day by practicing meditation and make conscious efforts to own your days, as opposed to just existing in someone else’ template.

To do this, try to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier than you usually do until such time you’ll be more comfortable waking up at 4 or 5am. This gives you enough headstart on your stay and do the things that matter to you, as opposed to having your day ruled by other people’s schedules.

This then gives you ample of time to do more things for yourself such as meditation, taking care of yourself and other things you enjoy such as listening to the music, reading a book, or even learning a new language.”


As part of my series “Slow Down To Do More,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonha Richman. Jonha is a CMO-on-demand with 10+ marketing, PR and partnerships across Europe, US, and Asia. She has worked with or on the advisory board of innovative technologies such as Blockchain, Saas, Publishers, and Marketplace, some of which are Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz-backed companies. She is a venture partner at JJ Richman, a private investment fund investing in diversified assets around the globe including real estate, cryptocurrencies, stock market, and digital assets.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

Selling and marketing became my career at age 7 when I had to help in my uncle’s bakery business. As I set my own personal quota, I figured that people resonated with certain words that I used.

Today, I help projects develop brands and tell their story to the world. I first learned about Blockchain’s most commonly known use case (which is in the form of cryptocurrencies) in 2012 when there’s not much coverage about the topic.

With my experience working with hyper-growth tech companies, Blockchain projects started to tap into my marketing and PR expertise. As I learn more about the industry and its various use-cases, I couldn’t help but be immersed and realize there’s so much more to learn.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

It’s so easy to get carried away in such a fast-paced world. In fact, 20% of people will take 80% of your time.

In our efforts to stay connected, and almost everything seems to be expected to be done in an “instant”. Hence, we often put the same expectations with our peers and ourselves.

As result, we feel pressured to accomplish things in an instant, too.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

While it helps it to accomplish things as fast as we can, it often becomes detrimental not only from our brains, but for our overall well-being.

Feeling so rushed all the time can have long term bad consequences for your health.

For one thing, it spikes your blood pressure and floods your body with cortisol. As a result of all the trouble, in many cases, this leads one to underperform as opposed to being productive.

In fact, according to a study by Professor Balasubramanian of at Syracuse University, they’ve found out that rushing can be more detrimental to the results of the work:

“Managers need to be vigilant about understanding the negative work quality effects of using deadlines, and should review to fully discern if the benefit of accelerating projects outweighs the possible negative effects on work quality.”

Ultimately, “rushing only adds stress and anxiety to your life. Over time, this can make a big difference in your default mental state.”

Source: Mindful Ambition

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

There’s an increasing interest in meditation and “being in the moment” as the world becomes more and more rushed.

According to a study by Jocelyn R. Davis and Tom Atkinson, teams who need optimum results in their productivity should consider slowing down:

“In our study, higher-performing companies with strategic speed made alignment a priority. They became more open to ideas and discussion. They encouraged innovative thinking. And they allowed time to reflect and learn.”

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Embrace the moment and don’t be afraid to slow down when you need to pick up the pace in your life.

Just like most people, I probably spent half of my adult age being a cog in the wheel where my life was dictated by someone else’s rules.

It’s tough to get off the cycle but once you get a chance to, be sure to start the day by practicing meditation and make conscious efforts to own your days, as opposed to just existing in someone else’ template.

To do this, try to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier than you usually do until such time you’ll be more comfortable waking up at 4 or 5am. This gives you enough headstart on your stay and do the things that matter to you, as opposed to having your day ruled by other people’s schedules.

This then gives you ample of time to do more things for yourself such as meditation, taking care of yourself and other things you enjoy such as listening to the music, reading a book, or even learning a new language.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices?

I like two mindfulness apps such as Headspace and Calm. I also enjoy listening to Krista Tippett of On Being where she explores the most enduring human questions that gave rise to our spiritual traditions and resonate through every institution anew in this century:

What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other?

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would encourage more people to explore the things that they’re very good at and find people who could help them improve or complement the things that they seem to lack in. That way, we will not walk about in life thinking we’re never enough.

By finding people who can help you at things you don’t necessarily excel in, you can focus on developing and strengthening key areas that come naturally to you.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!


About the Author:

After 15 years working in Commercial Real Estate in New York City, Ashley Graber changed the coast she lived on and the direction of her life from Real Estate to the worlds of Psychology and Meditation & Mindfulness. Ashley came to these practices after getting sober and in the decade plus since, she now runs a busy mindfulness based psychotherapy practice at Yale Street Therapy in Santa Monica, CA where she see adults and children and speaks on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices.

Ashley is an Owner and Director of Curriculum for the next generation meditation app & mindfulness company ‘Evenflow’ and launched the company’s one to one online mindfulness mentoring program. Ashley also educates teachers and administrators in schools and presents in businesses across Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Ashley was trained in Meditation and Mindfulness practices by prominent teachers; Elisha Goldstein, Richard Burr and Guiding teacher at Against the Stream Boston, Chris Crotty. Her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) certification was done through The Center for Mindfulness at UC San Diego. Additionally, Ashley is trained by Mindful Schools to teach Meditation and Mindfulness practices to children and families. Ashley’s unique combination of psychotherapy, trauma reprocessing and meditation and mindfulness practices make her a sought after therapist and mindfulness educator and speaker. Her passion for the benefits of mindfulness practices as well as her enthusiasm for helping young kids and adults is the drive to teach these very necessary, life long skills and why she wrote and runs the Mindfulness for Families program at The Center for Mindful Living. This is where she teaches groups of families with children ages 6–12. Ashley was featured on Good Morning LaLa Land, presented on Resilience at the renowned Wisdom. 2.0 Mindfulness & Technology conference, and presented at the TED Woman conference offering an in-depth look at the profound psychological and physiological consequences of chronic stress, and how meditation and mindfulness practices can alleviate these effects.

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