Mindfulness is a buzz word that can mean many different things to many people, but for the purpose of this article, let’s define it as simply being more aware.
Awareness is key. If we aren’t aware, we can’t make changes. If we don’t change we can’t improve. Awareness is key.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Before I even heard the word mindfulness, I was really trying to be more “aware” of everything around me — especially my thoughts. The challenge? I didn’t have a specific tool to do this. It’s like trying to improve your jumper or golf swing with absolutely zero instruction.
I had read hundreds of books on personal development, leadership, and management. And, in each one of those I learned something, or it reinforced something, that I believed was a key to success. Something to make you work harder, work smarter, communicate better, work more consistently, be a better leader, a better decision maker, a better entrepreneur, a better speaker, a better writer, more vulnerable, a better coach, or a better connector. You name it, I read about it.
“Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
I agree that each one of these principles is crucial to becoming who you want to be and becoming the best you can at your craft. Alone these success principles will help you bridge the gap. But, as I’ll explain soon, mindfulness meditation will significantly amplify each of these principles.
The great thing about it is that you don’t have to do them individually. You don’t have to, even though you can, meditate on things like being a better leader. If you are simply being more mindful in everything you do, you are going to enhance all of the success principles. Leadership, discipline, communication, and intentional effort — all of these will be significantly enhanced through meditation.
Meditation can take on a lot of different meanings. It’s a vague term that can be used to describe several different types of meditations like visualization, stress reduction meditation, transcendental, and mantra-based meditations.
But with mindfulness mediation it creates more awareness of your thoughts, feelings and actions so you can be more intentional about what your heart truly wants.
“To find our way, we will need to pay more attention to this moment. It is the only time that we have in which to live, grow, feel, and change.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Russell Simmons, Lebron James, Phil Jackson… I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now. They all meditate(d). Daily.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung
For purposes of focus and productivity mindfulness meditation familiarizes people with that ever-elusive state of flow. The one where we are in the zone. See, being present and being in the flow share extremely similar qualities. When we can tap into it through meditation is helps us carry out that state of mind into the rest of our day.
The true freedom gained from this practice is not a withdrawal from life or repressing emotions — it’s to be more consciously engaged in all of your life.