In business, the importance of being ‘present’ cannot be overstated. Every great businessman understands the need of being able to adapt to a situation, of being pragmatic. Problem solving is unequivocally fundamental.
Mindfulness – a term, like meditation or yoga, that you’ve almost certainly recently heard – is simply, in its most basic form, ‘awareness’. This means paying attention to, or being aware of, the present moment. Yet this is entirely different to merely ‘living in the moment’. Being ‘present’ means maintaining your composure in the face of both external and internal pressures.
A number of leading psychologists have observed a culture in which we, as a society en masse, are constantly rushing from one task to the next. Multitasking has become a central part of our daily lives.
And whilst we may see this is being efficient, this never ending cycle of constant activity is directly working against the functions of your brain. Ultimately what it leads to is exhaustion. As a result, this serves only to lower quality and can only be bad for business.
A key point to highlight is that even though Mindfulness finds its origins in Buddhism, it has today become an almost wholly secular practice.
You might be asking how all of this will improve your business. Well, that’s simple. Practising the act of Mindfulness drastically alters your ability to make decisions. It offers you a wholly superior level of personal control. You’re looking at your business is an entirely new light.
Not only does it do this, but it also hugely reduces stress and anxiety. The impact of conflict is reduced through the form of increased resilience and emotional intelligence. You have more awareness of your complete set of emotions and can thus respond accordingly.
Mindfulness plays a focal role in bettering our sense of self-regulation, which is vital. Communication within the workplace is improved through successful management of conflict and the ability to problem solve effectively. It allows you the advantage of being able to take step back and observe situations from a less reactionary, more rational and intelligent point of view.
Of course, introducing Mindfulness into the workplace does not prevent conflict from arising or problematic situations occurring. We’re all human. But when these issues do arise, you are better equipped to tackle them in the smartest way possible. Increased emotional awareness develops the inner resources that allow you to successfully navigate the business world.
Whereas now many people are simply reactionary in their behaviour, being Mindful gives you a choice in how you to your emotions. This can be decisive in situations such as a vital phone call with a key client.
It’s been suggested by some that the Mindfulness mindset is at odds with the cut-throat nature of the business world. This notion seems strange, however, when you consider that the world’s biggest companies – Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft – are all doing it.
On a personal level, Steve Jobs was hugely influenced by the teachings bestowed in meditation and Mindfulness. Countless of his then-radical creative decisions at Apple were informed by his ability to analyse the bigger picture (in line with his own priorities) and subsequently act in the most effective manner possible.
Mindfulness enhances your ability to channel your intent and achieve your goals, whether this is finding the right way to motivate an employee, considering a broader long or short term strategy, or exploring alternative options and scenarios. Focus is everything.
Equally important is recognising that well-being is fundamental. Many major employers increasingly recognise that they can only maximise the potential of their workforce if they are healthy, inside as well as out.
Within a world where we’re being constantly bombarded and overwhelmed by information and demands, Mindfulness helps you to stay grounded. In business this can prove absolutely decisive. Making the right decisions in the key moments is what distinguishes a great businessman and builds a great business. Making an effort to become more Mindful will make all the difference.