One of the things that is very clear as we see the increase in technology and social media is that rather than making our life easier and saving us time, we seem to be on a treadmill that is going faster and faster.
Modern life is a long line of constant distractions in the form of emails, phone calls and general internet chatter. Yet there is a paradox at play here. The more we allow ourselves to be distracted by the constant noise of these distractions the less we are able to discern the key areas that really require our attention.
This paradox plays out particularly acutely in the leadership space, where the ability to be clear in thought and action is severely hampered by the constant demands of the modern organization. The ability to silence the inner and outer chatter to pinpoint the real noise that requires attention is not an easy skill to develop and does in fact seem to be on the decline.
The practice of mindfulness can be one way of reclaiming the landscape of thought and decisions to bring about clarity in one’s role and contribution. In mindfulness practice we are slowing down our cognitive process (the taming of the monkey brain is often how it is described) so that we can recognize our thoughts and perhaps more importantly, question their validity.
Much research has been undertaken on mindfulness and the many benefits include:
- Stress reduction – the ability to respond in a more calm way to intensive or demanding work environments
- Emotional management – the ability to view stimulus objectively and to choose one’s emotional response to it.
- Agile thinking - the ability to recognize one’s thought pattern and to change and adapt it to best respond to the situation.
- Self-awareness - considering how one’s own actions might be contributing to the situation and how to make a choose the best response to make a positive impact for self and others.
- Problem solving – building an implicit and intuitive ability to understand issues and possible consequences to situations.
- Decisiveness - being able to see the various implications and weigh up choices, arriving at clearly thought out decisions.
One of the reasons cited for not practicing mindfulness on a regular basis is time, but this of course is about the choices we make. We all have the same 24 hours in a day to spend our time and expend our energy and it is about the priorities we set for ourselves. With all of the above benefits waiting to be discovered, perhaps it is time for you to start choosing mindfulness over reactiveness.
One simple step you could take is to set aside 10 minutes every morning to just site quiet, breath and let your mind gently settle. Use a timer and allow yourself the freedom of knowing that for 10 blissful minutes all you need to do is breath, relax and let yourself open up to a sense of space and possibility. Do this for a week and then make a note in a journal of any changes you have noticed in your work. I guarantee you will be amazed at the differences you will see, even with such a minimal amount of effort.
Interested in increasing your Mindfulness? Find out about our exclusive one week event designed to do that, Download Mindful Leader - Flyer v1-0, March 2015.
Agents2Change specialises in developing engaging and empowering workplaces. Find our more at: www.agents2change.com.