Why Business Needs Mindfulness

Business in general is growing … maturing. More and more we see abstract concepts replacing hard-nosed rules and processes.

We can work from home now. At some places, we can somewhat determine our own schedules.

Emphasis is moving from a rules based workplace to a results based workplace. For those of us who know how to organize our time and get things done, this is really an amazing development in the workplace.

I’m hoping that with all of this change toward the abstract, that a mental shift comes along with it. A shift toward mindfulness.

John Kabat-Zin has the definition of mindfulness pretty well formulated, and he’s got what is probably the most quoted and accepted definition as well:

The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.

In a business context, this means doing what you’re doing right now — and nothing else.

This idea begs for the end of multitasking, and putting people in charge of way too many things / people / departments.

It means we have to decide as companies / departments / teams / individuals what is really important to us, and focus on that — until we make it happen.

It encourages us on some level to really believe in something and work hard to make it a reality, and make it a success — whether that’s a quarterly goal, or a daily task.

Mindfulness also indicates that we’re paying a certain kind of attention to the task at hand — it’s not just the absence of distractions and multi-tasking.

It’s kind of a care for what we’re doing, even if it isn’t our favorite thing to do. You can be mindful when washing the dishes, and if you are — you’ll notice that it becomes more enjoyable.

On a personal level, meditation can get you more familiar with and better practiced with mindfulness, because it trains those areas of the brain to just do that more automatically.

I think it would be really cool if more businesses taught and encouraged meditation. Google already does it.

Meditation and mindfulness can also increase something called your “Emotional Intelligence” — which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s your ability to notice, assess and navigate your own emotions, rather than being carried away by them.

According to Chade-Meng Tan from Google:

“Everybody knows this EI (Emotional Intelligence) thing is good for their career,” Meng told Wired. “And every company knows that if their people have EI, they’re gonna make a shitload of money.”

I believe we would also start planning better, if we were only planning when we were planning. If we were only analyzing when we were analyzing.

We’d be less stressed (google for evidence) and we’d treat each other better. We’d have a better office vibe and culture, and people would want to work with us.

I see these ideas starting to surface everywhere. You might want to look into mindfulness, meditation, or emotional intelligence yourself. If any of these ideas come across your desk, have an open mind. Consider the benefits.

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