Friday Feb 23
At RSA, we’re talking mindfulness and I’m scared sh**less
Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 10:45

Honestly, I’m scared shitless. Three months ago two people took an idea that had been brewing independently for years, and they made a commitment to it. Mike Rothman and I submitted a presentation topic we were certain would never make it to the ranks of the world’s largest security conferences.

But it did. And so today, I’m overjoyed, a little relieved, excited at the opportunity, and yet at the same time a big piece of me is completely mortified. This talk, although founded in science, is a big lift of ol’ virtual skirt. It’s a talk about being happy, getting a grip on life, and using mindfulness to succeed and excel at everything you do.

We do not pass go, we do not collect $200. Instead, we’re taking a nose dive into traditionally taboo topics and expose what many consider to be deportments of an intimate and personal nature. But we reached a mutual conclusion — how we think and communicate about the topics of mindfulness shouldn’t be secreted. There’s no shame in participating in activities (or inactivity) designed to make us better, happier, more productive people.

Popping a pill is so commonplace these days, one could down a palm full of meds without catching a single disapproving eye. But, tell someone you’re meditating, trying Tai Chi, or even yoga, and suddenly, you’re the recipient of those judgmental and bewildered stares. Yep, you’re “that” guy.

As it turns out, there are a lot of “those” guys in the tech and security industry; they (we) just don’t talk about it as openly as we discuss our favorite linux distro or wifi sniffing tools. It’s almost sad, how we’ll spend countless hours playing games, arguing about technology, engaging in mindless banter; and yet most of us won’t commit to the five minutes a day that could change our perspective and our life.

Neuro-hacking 101: Taming your inner curmudgeon is our way of opening this dialogue, helping colleagues realize there is a solution, proving these techniques work, demonstrating how to use them, and offering resources and support to turn around an industry riddled with burnout, skepticism and regular doses of daily misery.

Working in infosec, we can’t win all our battles; in fact, we’ll lose most of them. But, each day we can focus just a few minutes on a different mission: a mission far more important, a mission with lasting results, and a mission in which we can succeed.

In the next several weeks and months, we’ll be looking toward our friends, colleagues and peers in the technology and infosec industries and asking for your input and participation in a survey.

We hope you’ll join us for Neuro-hacking 101 Wednesday at RSA 2014 and start your new mission.


Want to help?

If you’re one of “those guys” who has found the benefits of mindfulness, meditation or other practices, we’d like to connect. Please leave a comment here, or send a private message to me via

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