“Mindfulness” is simply noticing the way things are – it is the skill of consciously focusing the mind in the present moment without judgment and without attachment. Mindfulness enables us to be attentive and conscious about what’s happening in any given moment without distractions. The more you are able to exercise this skill, the more deeply you’ll be able to concentrate and the greater your clarity – about yourself, your business, and the world around you. Mindfulness at work helps decrease stress and increase productivity.
When not mindful, you tend to be controlled by thoughts and feelings and become subject to much greater outside influence. For example, the success of a competitor at your expense, difficult conversations, poor market performance, even the receipt of expenses can all negatively impact an untrained mind. (adapted from Mindful Leadership) Without mindfulness, your business can take away your inner peace, happiness, and well-being, negatively impacting your judgment and ability to make sound decisions.
How Prevalent is Mindlessness?
A recent study shows that people’s minds wander approximately 47% of the time (that’s almost half our life!)
If you were able to create a daily log of where your mind is from moment to moment, chances are you will find that considerable amounts of your time and energy each day are expended on considering or rehashing (maybe even regretting) things that have already happened and are in the past. And you will probably find that as much or more energy is expended in anticipating, planning, worrying, or fantasizing about the future and what you want (or don’t want) to happen. With this near constant distraction, it’s no wonder that we miss so much of our life’s experiences.
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Equanimity – the ability to accept without resistance the things that you cannot control. Facets of our business are simply beyond our control – market behavior, interest rates, a competitor’s action – so accepting these is a healthy strategy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t react. If you’re unhappy about a situation and are in a position to change it, then do so. Alter you risk strategy, your market position, your delivery, etc. – you can react with crushing force but do so while maintaining a balanced and calm perspective. When mindful, you become increasingly aware of what can and cannot be changed, and you are better able to take advantage of opportunities previously unseen.
Focus – the ability to keep your undivided attention on something you choose for as long as you choose to. Mindfulness skills will help you focus on one thing at a time in the present moment, and by doing so you can better control your reactions. When mindful, your able to stay focused on what matters. When listening to a presentation, dealing with coworkers, or digesting industry news, a heightened focus increases your ability to see points of integration among various businesses or opportunities that previously may have been obscured. When mindful, you gain the ability to listen strategically.
Clarity – the quality of awareness or the quality of presence that a person brings to everyday living. Mindfulness is a way of living awake, with eyes wide open. The world around you doesn’t stand still. That’s why it’s important to learn to be aware of each present moment – to separate thoughts and images from facts – and to act decisively and with effectiveness. The greater your clarity, the more enabled you are to make sound business decisions.
Like it or Not…
…your life is a path and this path has direction – it’s always unfolding, moment by moment – and what happens now, in this moment, affects what happens next.
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