Mindful Leadership | Why Mindfulness – The Bigger Picture
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Why Mindfulness – The Bigger Picture

Learning from the past, planning for the future and listening to others is a mindful approach to dealing with complexity.

Regretting the past, worrying about the future, moaning about others are not mindful or productive.

Our world is filled with complexity. There are more variables than we can or want to control. While complexity increases exponentially, our ability to deal with it only increases incrementally, which leads to stress.

We cannot change or solve complexity. We cannot get rid of stress. It is our body’s natural reaction to external stimuli, and it manifests in three main ways: flight, fight or freeze.

However, we can change our relationship with stress. Instead of running in the opposite direction or going into fight mode, we can learn to go towards the discomfort created by complexity and stress. We can find simplicity in the ever increasing chaos and trust our ability to respond accordingly.

Judging and regretting the past, worrying about the future and complaining about others – this is when we are mindless, lost in our thoughts, confused by complexity.

Mindfulness practices develop our capacity for awareness of the present. How can I be in this meeting, in this game, in this strategy session? Not the previous one or the one hereafter. How can I drink this cup of coffee?
Think about it. How often was your body and your mind in the same place today? How often did you notice the simple fact that you are alive, that you breathe? How often were you in the meeting you were, and not the previous or the next one? How did your day start? Did you shower on your own, or were the attendees of your first two meetings with you in the shower?

When we are present or in the moment we see more, learn more, know more and become increasingly more effective – more productive. Mindfulness cultivates this skill set, not just our knowledge. It develops our capacity to engage wisely with a world where continuous partial attention and distractions are the norm.

Mindfulness cultivates an:

  • Increased ability to stay objective (to be the observer)
  • Increased ability to lead in complexity
  • Increased ability to build resilience and perform under stress
  • Increased ability to transition into more senior and demanding roles
  • Increased self-awareness (EQ)
  • Increased ability to develop ways to cultivate balance in your life
  • Increased ability to manage healthy boundaries (what is mine and what is not)