The topic of mindfulness has garnered a great deal of attention in behavioral science literature in recent years, including industrial and organizational psychology. The reason for this is partly due to the changing nature of the workplace. In-demand skills to thrive in today's business environment require flexibility and emotional resilience -- along with a wealth of creativity, innovation and problem-solving abilities.
For individuals and teams to add value, they need to be able to communicate extraordinarily well and rapidly build high levels of trust with others. This means that leaders -- particularly executives -- need to model equanimity and to be a source of composed reassurance and confidence. Leaders must also be able to express emotion in a way that will inspire team members through empathy, respect and compassion.
Mindfulness is characterized by a purposeful attention to the present moment, coupled with non-judgmental responses to the unfolding of experience from moment-to-moment.
When practiced regularly, it is easier to go from being highly reactive to a more stable and productive state of being. In fact, the more mindfulness is practiced, the less likely you are to fall into the trap of reacting to a situation irrationally. Mindfulness enables you to cut through unimportant issues and put things in perspective. The pivotal message is to focus on the experiential, "moment-to-moment" self, instead of personalizing situations by attaching it to the "narrative self" (the "ego" self, or who we are).
When a situation is no longer personally threatening to you, it is less likely to be felt that way by others. Leaders who embody this state of mind can create an open and positive environment where every person on the team is encouraged to speak their mind and share their ideas.
The following quotes serve as reminders to help consistently bring you back into the present moment -- and ultimately improve your relationship with yourself, with others, and the world around you.
- "If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher." -- Pema Chodron
- "As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy." -- Walter Landor
- "Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it." -- Sylvia Boorstein
- "The future is always beginning now." -- Mark Strand
- "In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility." -- Victoria Moran
- "Meditation doesn't require us to wear robes, chant in a foreign language, or sit with our legs folded. Instead, mindfulness meditation simply asks that we take a comfortable position -- sitting, lying down, or even standing -- and observe our thoughts, emotions, and sensations." -- David Gelles
- "The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing." -- Jon Kabat-Zinn
- "In today's rush, we all think too much -- seek too much -- want too much -- and forget about the joy of just being." -- Eckhart Tolle
- "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -- Dalai Lama
- "Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality." -- Robin S. Sharma
- "Restore your attention or bring it to a new level by dramatically slowing down whatever you're doing." -- Sharon Salzberg
- "Respond; don't react. Listen; don't talk. Think; don't assume." -- Raji Lukkoor
- "It stands to reason that anyone who learns to live well will die well. The skills are the same: being present in the moment, and humble, and brave, and keeping a sense of humor." -- Victoria Moran
- "In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go." -- Jack Kornfield
- Let go of your mind and then be mindful. Close your ears and listen!" -- Rumi
- "If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul." -- Rabbi Harold Kushner
- "Mindfulness isn't difficult. We just need to remember to do it." -- Sharon Salzberg
- It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up -- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." -- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
To be mindful, your responsibility is to be the buffer of your own emotions. If you are aware and conscious of your own feelings, you will be better able to manage them. Use your emotions to maximize the potential of others, and inspire them -- not make their ability to perform more challenging.