What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
I have finished my careful reading of the two books I will present at the January 10th First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas (the 2nd Friday of January, because of the holidays). The two books are Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday and Trailblazer by Marc Benioff. One is written by a man known for his contemplative nature. The other is written by a hard-charging, wildly successful billionaire.
But they each carry one message in common. In order to succeed, you’ve got to stop, listen, and look. You’ve got to slow.things.down; often. You’ve got to be mindful. And each of these books includes some very helpful “this is how to practice mindfulness” suggestions that you can follow.
You’ve got to be mindful… No; that’s not quite enough.
You’ve got to PRACTICE MINDFULNESS. You’ve got to be mindfully mindful. You’ve got to build in time, by yourself, and even in your group time, for practicing mindfulness.
I had a college professor who said that if you read an idea in one book, pay a little bit of attention. But if you begin to see the same idea pop up in multiple books, pay a lot of attention.
Admittedly, sometimes people just jump on a bandwagon rather thoughtlessly. It “sells,” so many people start repeating it.
But, maybe, sometimes the idea spreads because it really is important, and it works.
Marc Benioff practices it in his life, and in his work at Salesforce.
Ryan Holiday teaches it to businesses.
And Bonnie St. Jon, in Micro-Resilience, and Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, in The Power of Full Engagement, talk about how they train athletes in practices that slows one down and helps one focus. Which is one of the great values of mindfulness.
In my earlier life, I would practice what they call in Christian circles a “daily quite time.” A time of focus for the day. I have worked through the excellent, one-page a day – absolutely worth reading – The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday in the same way.
And, in one of the books I presented, there was a really simple exercise that I have adopted with some frequency. (Sorry; don’t remember which book). Before you go into a meeting, sit alone, set your timer for just over a minute, and with your eyes closed, breathe in; breath out; paying attention to your breathing.
We are so frazzled, so overloaded with thoughts and information and content and worries and problems and dilemmas and challenges and…
Stop. Look. Listen.
Stop. Listen. Look.
You might want to make this one of the areas you focus on in 2020. It might be a life saver, and a business success builder. And the people around you just might appreciate you a little more in the process.
Become (more) mindfully mindful in 2020.