Mind of a Meditator- Julian Deschutter

This last month, we've been inviting some game changers and top players in to check out their MQ (or Mindfulness Quotient). Today, we meet Julian, co-owner of Chasing Sunrise and, as Hiroko calls him, the sharpest knife in the drawer  

Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less. 

I’m a thrill seeker and creative soul. I love trying to understand people and am the co-founder of Chasing Sunrise.


What is your background with mindfulness, meditation, floating, mental health, etc? 

I haven’t always understood the power of meditation, but throughout my life seemed to seek out areas of flow where I could shut everything off and focus. As my world sped up I started to seek more concrete ways to understand what all this was and learn how to create space in my life. This led me to more practically understand meditation and the impacts it has.


What were your expectations prior to coming in for the MQ?

I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I understood some of the science behind it, but didn’t really know what it would be like to sit there and have my brain, something that has always seemed unquantifiable to me, be measured.


If you were to describe the MQ to your best friend, what would you say?

It was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. You’re sitting there, going through the test and it knows what’s going on in your mind. It can tell you when you’re focused, unfocused, tense or relaxed. And it quantifies all of it. You begin to realize what triggers your body to respond in certain ways and how to counter act it, all in real time, with measurable feedback. I have never had anything give me that level of awareness of my entire body in such a short period of time.

Julian texted me to let me know he had only slept a few hours. It was the night before Damn Early launched and he had some technical problems. Damn Early Days is one of the coolest new communities that Julian launch with Gordon, his partner in Chasing Sunrise, and it involves motivating people to connect with their internal will power by getting them outside their comfort zone, and prematurely out of their covers (at 4:30am). (If you think this is a crazy idea, you should know that 500 people do not agree with you and signed up for this challenge.)


With just two hours of sleep under his belt, he still presented as fit and sharp as some average individual would look after a nice vacation. And this is the point. This guy is not your average guy. He is smart, smart as hell, humble and kind. He is articulate, super passionate about his project and his vision and can competently quote stats and research about everything willpower, commitment and living a full life.


So off we go, into the 20 minutes of MQ journey. The MQ assessment is a psycho-physiological assessment, where after collecting baseline data, the participant experiences some mild stressors (no spoilers given) and some time to recover and rest after each of them. What it aims to show is the ability to recover after stress and be present in the calm momenst. After the assessment, the system comes up with a score out of 100 which indicates the “intelligence”to deal with stress- the mindfulness quotient.


A few things that we discovered:

When we are tired, both our brain and body are tired so even for a champion like Julian, signs of tiredness show up in his peripheral temperature, that starts to drop at around minute 8.

His breathing during recovery is excellent. Beautiful, coherent breaths, the heart rate resonates with his breathing in what is known as RSA respiratory sinus arrhythmia .

His potential for improvement: muscle tension. See here those big green mountains? That is muscle activity. You might think: normal: this guy has strong traps. Fair enough, yet, why would you want to use your muscles when you are reading? Or solving math? Muscles employ loads and loads of energy when they activate so you want to be very “stingy” in using them.

So take away message: it is pretty much always the same, important fundamental mantra:

self-awareness creates the opportunity for self-regulation.

Here mostly self-awareness is about muscle tension. If I am not lifting weights at the gym or hugging a friend, I should allow my muscles to drop, be soft and heavy, saving up resources.

Note: MQ numbers/ scores are not revealed for privacy reasons. To book in for your own MQ assessment, click here.