Pax Tandon, Talent & Business Development
Mindfulness is like gaming; it requires dedicated hours of practice to reach new levels of achievement. And once you taste the sweetness of the prize, you keep coming back for more. Think of it as a craft of the mind versus a mine craft.
These days the SEO (internet word for popularity) of the word “mindfulness” is up there with the Kardashians — people are talking about it a lot. This is not just because you can believe everything you read on the internet, it’s because the stuff works. Why? Mindfulness helps you cultivate your attention, and we know that what we pay attention to, we excel at. The more you focus your attention on something, whatever it may be, from video games to golf, the better you get at it. And while I’m here not to sell you on mindfulness as much as convince you to keep it around, I can throw a couple of compelling quotes at you that will accomplish most of that heavy lifting so I can move this write (pun intended) along. The Dalai Lama has said that if every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence in ONE generation. Take a moment to wrap your mind around that. A way to eradicate violence from the planet? With the exception of the rogue sociopath here and there, that should all make us shout, “Where do I sign up?!”
Speaking of signing things, I just joined Koi-Fly, my friend’s newly launched production company. What a cool opportunity to build something from the ground up, and have a hand in every aspect of the business. Oh, and my mind’s involved too. As a practitioner and teacher of mindfulness to thousands of folks and counting, the company’s co-founder quickly picked up on 1) the burgeoning popularity of mindfulness; 2) my skills in that arena; and 3) the fact that she wanted a slice of this mindfulness action for herself and all of her hires.
Enter yours truly, and we are now working together in a deep commitment to integrating mindfulness into every aspect of the company. And this, my friends, while unquestionably beneficial in the long-term, is no endeavor for the faint of heart. Integrating mindfulness into your organization takes large doses of both commitment and patience.
Sure, a mindfulness practice makes almost everything in life better; mood, sex, food, air, water, relationships, complexion, eyelash length. Ok, I made that last one up, but I wanted to make sure I still had your attention (Get it? Yeah, mindfulness helps your sense of humor, too). But what happens when you have to walk the walk on all that mindfulness talk?
Picture this: Monday morning rolls around, and a meeting is scheduled with a potential new client. It’s a new business; you want to garner business. So you want to get straight down to business. And then, because your brain is like a sharp knife, whetted anew with each meditation practice, you remember that pesky mindfulness thing that you’re so committed to. It’s a practice that starts every meeting as a matter of company policy.
So at the risk of hypocrisy, you dive in, and request everyone to close their eyes, begin to pay attention to the breath, turn inward… and you watch as the newbies to the practice shift uncomfortably while throwing you the stink-eye because they think it’s all a bunch of hooey. There’s work to be done, dammit, those eyes shout. And you catch a glimpse of the prospective client, who is trying to be polite, but wearing a mask over a tell-tale face of, What am I doing here with these hippies?
Such scenarios will ring quite true to anyone who has been a pioneer of controversial change for the better. Copernicus and Galileo hear me right now. Conviction takes courage, and staying committed to your company ideals is a matter of conviction. I challenge you all to take the bold step of giving yourself and your organizations the life-altering tool of mindfulness. Be courageous and be committed, even when the smirks, eyerolls—and worse—rejections, come barreling toward you. This change is changing everyone it touches for the better, you should benefit, too. Just don’t expect that putting this into practice won’t take some practice. That’s why they call it a “practice.”
I promised you a “couple of quotes” at the beginning of this piece, so here’s one more: Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see.” Now get out there and get mindful.