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Mindful : June 2014
40 mindful June 2014 well-being Certainly, many of these progra ms clea rly do ask people to look deeper, and ask questions of their company a nd its policies. I would also say that today there is more tra nspa rency. With the onset of social media, you ca n’t just hide behind a billboard or a 30-second Super Bowl ad. It’s much ha rder to pro- ject an image that contradicts your values and how you actually do things. You say that 35% of large and medium sized compa- nies have intensive well-being prog rams. Do you think all of them are as dedicated at the level that you’re talking about? No, certainly not all of them. What’s important is to take the first steps. Small changes give us the expe- rience of the value that we a re adding to our lives. Then it’s easier to make larger changes. If you learn how meditation a nd mindfulness and pauses during your day ca n improve how you feel at work—and your productivity and creativity—and you take up the practice for that reason, that’s a beginning. After that, I have no doubt that you are going to discover along the way that you are much more than your job. In Thrive, you describe ways of cultivating well- being and wisdom and wonder and giving that involve everything from mindfulness meditation or TM or centering prayer to fly-fishing or gardening. Some might say you’re defining it so broadly that it is becoming trivial. If somebody says to me that their scuba diving or fly-fishing is their meditation, my response is “fab- ulous!” Later I might ask whether they can actually bring up that sa me sense of being without being on the ski slopes. I was at a gathering of the Mind and Life Institute where Mathieu Rica rd said “If you are a boxer, you don’t begin by boxing Muhammad Ali. You practice.” So the question might be, “What is your practice?” When challenges come up you will have built your muscle to deal with the challenges. That ’s People can always deny the evidence whether it’s on global warming or mindfulness or the earth being round, but the majority of people who take the time to look at the evidence and make changes realize that Socrates’ dictum that “The unexamined life is not worth living,” is not a matter of dispute. the key. That’s what determines whether your prac- tice is working—whether it is fly-fishing or surfing. It’s about bringing it back to the rest of your life then. Exactly. Are you integrating it with everything else or is it just a n isolated chunk of your life? How do you break down that barrier? What’s most important is chang ing habits, par- ticularly a keystone habit. When you change a keystone habit it makes it easier to change other things in your life. For me, the keystone habit was sleep. I used to operate on four or five hours. As a result, my workday was fueled by adrenaline, which led to burnout. I found that when I started get- ting seven to eight hours sleep, my whole day was transformed. I rediscovered joy in everything I was doing. It’s not just important to be effective at what you’re doing, you need to find joy in it, to move from struggle to grace. Grace. Beautiful word. Living in g race doesn’t mean that you don’t face challenges; it means you face them with aplomb a nd resilience. You’re grateful for a ll the tools in your toolbox that allow you to cope with challenges— including big challenges like when I got the call that my daughter was in the emergency room because of drug addictions she was dealing with. Fortunately she has been sober for almost two years and it’s been a time of great learning and growth for her. At the same time, if I hadn’t been working on myself in all these ways, it would have been completely over- whelming for me. Sadly it seems our universities are stress factories. This is where we’re training decision makers and the process is causing them to go on antidepressants or to self-medicate. We must bring these ideas and practices for culti- vating well-being to students at this critical time in their lives. We also need to talk to the college health officials and encourage them to introduce some alternative ways to deal with stress. You’ve defined the third metric in terms of success beyond money and power. What if someone doesn’t care about success, money, or power? I’m talking about redefining success to include the third metric, which doesn’t mea n that you have to include the first two! Money and power are simply the currency to live in this world. Money is survival and power is recognition and capability. You don’t need to use the words money and power for the third For a shareable version of the infographic on pages 38-39, go to mindful.org/ thirdmetric