Mindfulness in business means avoiding worrying too much about the future.
“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment” said the Buddha. And again and again, we are told to carpe diem, to seize the only thing we have, the present moment. And this also is valid at work. Thus, mindfulness in business means focusing on the present moment. However, we are obsessed with what the future could bring, and live in a constant planning state of mind. This we neglect the present and focus all our energies on what is yet to come.
Mindfulness in business and career planning.
At work, where we assume that our careers can be predictable, we have the illusion of planning our future. For example, we believe that if only we take the right steps and behave in certain ways we will control our careers. As a result, we neglect the tyranny of contingency, the elements of uncertainty that rule all events in our lives. And in the meantime, we lose connection with what matters most. And therefore we let go of meaningful and joyful interactions which could in any way jeopardize our plans for the future. Consequently, we are elsewhere; our body is rooted in the now, but our minds are skipping to points in both the future and the past.
Lack of mindfulness in business and its effects on the past
A constant focus on the future, on our future careers, has devastating effects on our present well-being. For instance, many times we magnify our losses, looking at what we left behind in our pursuit of a successful career. Thus we lock on to the most consequential moments and skillfully edit the dull or uncomfortable parts of the past. For this reason, we construct sequences that feel a great deal meaningful than the settings that have generated them.
Lack of mindfulness in business and its effects on the future
Much of what also ruins the present is the sheer anxiety of what the future will look like for us. It is the simple dread of the unknowingness of what is to come. And therefore, we invest a lot of our energies in trying to cope with the uncertainty as a way out to the anticipation of an appalling future. But, on the other hand, most of the times this awfully bleak future never realizes. And as my dear Grandma used to say, “people can waste their lives by worrying about things that will never occur.”
Ways to improve our mindfulness in business and not only
Some examples of healthy psychological ways out are to accept that our careers are not under our full control. And thus plan alternative reactions to different and changing scenarios. Also, we could work on our resilience skills, or on a more sophisticated way, on cognitive restructuring. This means to maintain perspective and learn not to control events, but just how to respond to them. Thus we will avoid setbacks to impact other unrelated parts of our lives. In conclusion, mindfulness in business, as in life, means to be present in the moment and to be open to the unexpected.
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Artwork courtesy of FRG Gallery