Mindfulness - For Business People?
Articles By Robert Neely
(This article is applicable to all who would like to master the art of Mindfulness)
It may be the most important thing you can do. Victor Frankl, in his book about his time in a concentration camp, talks about how a focus on the present helped him to deal with the discomfort of his immediate situation without being overwhelmed by the horror of his life as a prisoner of the Nazi's. Bhuddist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh emphasises being in the moment in his book, "The Miracle of Mindfulness". And Deepak Chopra cites 'Present Moment Awareness" as one of the "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success".
What is 'Being Fully Present'
A state of consciousness. A state of mind. A way of being. Being in the zone. Mindfulness. Whatever you call it, 'being fully present' means that you are fully absorbed and committed to what you are doing - NOW.
It is also probably true that being fully present can be a different experience for each of us, and indeed that it can be a changing experience for each of us. This implies that Being Fully Present can be a qualitative experience - factors can change how we experience it: Practice improves and deepens the experience and makes it easier; our state when we 'go into it' can affect the state we go into; it is a skill we can develop.
What are the benefits of Being Fully Present? What's in it for you?
To answer that question we need to consider it from a number of perspectives:
1. Your Life Will Have Meaning and Purpose
The philosophical, existential perspective. Consider your life as a conscious experience. Is it not true that the only conscious experience that you can have is the one that you are having now? And would that not lead to the idea that your life is being lived, now? That all of life is now?
So if we are not focused and completely giving ourselves to the present moment, are we not living a lesser experience, a watered down life? Don't you want to live your life to the full?
2. You are More Likely to Have What you Want.
Without focus on the present moment, we are less likely to succeed. If you do things with 50% of your mind on the task at hand and 50% somewhere else, you are less likely to get the quality of output - the result - you want. I know when I do this I usually end up being dissatisfied with my work. And, being a bit of perfectionist, that can mean that I don't want to use the output, which means that I have completely wasted my time. I needn't have bothered at all. How many times have you done something in a half-hearted way, put it down and never gone back to it? Or junked what you have done and started all over again? Each time you do this is a lost opportunity. If you focus on the task at hand, you will do it better. And if you are doing something at all, don't you want it done as well as possible? If you can do whatever you are doing to the best of your ability you are far more likely to succeed.
Now I feel the need to come in here and say that I am not referring here to the creative process. My creative process is often that I start something more than once, go round in circles, and generally look like I am wasting time and effort. What I have discovered about myself is that this is all a natural function of my creative process and is ok, even necessary. The point is, even while I am doing stuff that I don't use, I am doing it with full awareness and concentration.
3. We Are More Likely to Have the Relationships We Want.
Deep, meaningful relationships that enrich our lives and the lives of those we share with. In fact, being fully present in my primary relationships is the only way I have found to sustain them. (I then have to add the dimension of being there for the other person, so that my focus is on them not on me. But I couldn't do that until I was able to ground myself).
Perhaps the hardest lessons I have learned about living fully in the moment relate to relationships. I have been married twice and experienced many more relationships, and I can honestly say that if I had been living in the moment (for most of my life I didn't know about this at all, so that wasn't really an option to me except when I did it unconsciously, without trying) I could still have been in any one of those relationships successfully and happily.
4. Peace of Mind
Mindfulness allows you to be aware of what is happening, without being drawn into it emotionally. With mindfulness, you can maintain calmness of mind and choice of thought. If negative thoughts arise, you can divert your thoughts to more positive thoughts that garner good feelings. Say to yourself. "I want to feel good!"
'What you focus on, you become. So always focus on that which is the highest, brightest, happiest and most Noble of all Things - Enlightenment.' Rama
The detachment that can come with mindfulness helps you to remain calm in the midst of a storm. When something unwelcome or unexpected happens, there can be a tendency for the mind to become overwhelmed. This is triggered by a rush of brain chemicals and rapid activity in the brain. Immediately following this 'rush', you have a choice: reach for mindfulness or continue with the mental turmoil. With mindfulness you can find clarity of thought and rational decision making. Even better, you will reduce the stress of the moment. Reducing stress in the moment is a good outcome. The long term cumulative benefits to your health and emotional well-being of a reduction in stress are considerable.
How to Attain Mindfulness
There are many books and other resources to help you to become mindful. Here are some suggestions:
Meditation allows your inner self through. If you meditate by connecting to your breathing, using a mantra, or connecting your body in some other way by watching your body you are developing your abilities to observe and detach.
Focus on your breathing.
When you don't have anything in particular to concentrate on, or if the reverse is true and your mind is so full of 'stuff' you can't think straight, pull back from all of that, and just concentrate on your breathing. There's no need to change or alter your breathing, just give your full attention to it. Follow it. Notice how concentrating on your breathing brings you back to earth, quietens your mind and slows your body functions down.
Concentrate fully on whatever activity you are engaged in. Thich Nhat Hanh suggest that 'when you are washing the dishes, be only washing the dishes'. Give your full concentration to the activity of washing the dishes. You may find that time seems to slow down and calmness sets in.
Be before you do.
Another way to say this is 'Be Do Have'. Before you launch yourself into an activity, consider your mental and physical state. What is going on now in your body? How is your breathing? Are your muscles tight and bunched, or loose and relaxed? How do you want your body to be for this activity?
What is going on with your thoughts? Are you thinking about what you want to think about, and in a state of mind likely to enable this activity, or hinder it? Are you fully aware?
Develop your Mind/Body Connection.
Using your awareness, and in a specific order, scan your body. You might start at the tips of the toes of your left foot and work up your left foot, your left ankle, your lower leg and so on in a similar way all the way up to your left hip. When you get to an area that doesn't feel how you want it to, pause and think about the feeling you want to have in that area until it starts to arrive there. Then move on, slowly. Pay particular attention to muscles and joints in your limbs, and to your organs in your torso. When scanning your head, pay attention to the muscles of your face and neck, and your scalp. If you sit down to practice this, you may fall asleep, it's so relaxing!
If you are sitting down, you can augment this by noticing the feel of the chair underneath your buttocks and the ground on your feet.
This practice will bring you back to the present moment and is very grounding.
Want to improve your Sales Performance? if you are a Sales Manager who wants your team to perform better, increase your Direct Sales or Channel Sales revenues and make your sales more profitable, Robert Neely can help you.
If you are in sales and you want more confidence, better personal management skills, better relationships with your prospects and clients - and relationships mean sales - then I can help you. See how here: http://www.andoverconsulting.co.uk
Keywords: Mindfulness For Business People, Being Fully Present, Deepak Chopra, Robert Neely, Intuition, Articles, UK, Cape Town, South Africa