The concept of mindfulness is not nearly as complicated as many of us make it out to be. I like to say that it simply means paying attention to what is in front of you in a concentrated, focused, and nonjudgmental way.
Vietnamese Buddhist zen master and author Thich Nhat Hanh says that the opposite of mindfulness is forgetfulness. Forgetfulness means that we are pulled away by the past, by the future, by projects, by our devices, by our anger, and by our fear. The challenge for each of us is to be mindful of what pulls our attention away from the present moment.
When we are mindful in our actions as a leader, our stronger concentration allows us to see things more deeply and clearly. The decisions made by a mindful leader are wiser and insightful. And because mindful leaders are present and focused in the here and now, they are able to cultivate deeper relationships and trust.
But keep in mind that mindfulness is not a tool but a path- a path to greater presence, peace of mind, and wellbeing. When we are mindful, we are respectful in all our interactions – speaking, listening, loving, and consuming in compassionate ways. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, “Anything touched by the energy of mindfulness, concentration, and insight becomes spiritual” – connected to something larger than ourselves that provides purpose and meaning for our lives.
So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to become more mindful in everything that you do – walking, eating, talking, listening and leading.
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