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Are you a mindless person or a mindful person? How does your particular state of mind affect your everyday life, your work life, your relationships? Mindless people simply go through life's paces. Alternatively, mindful individuals notice and appreciate the world around them. Those with whom we interact notice this increased level of engagement—and, in the business world, this could be the difference between landing or losing a client.

Ellen Langer, PhD, recently wrote about this concept for the Harvard Business Review, and her article got me thinking: How many mindless things did I do today? By walking around in this mindless, zombie-like state, how much did I miss? How many opportunities did I forgo by being unaware?

Dr. Langer's research shows that "when we are mindful we are more productive and innovative, people find us more attractive, and our work output is deemed to be superior." Mindful people also take better advantage of unique opportunities, live healthier lives and are seen as more trustworthy.

Here are some steps we can all take to lead a more mindful existence.

1. Address stressful situations head-on. Don't just let stress swallow you whole.
2. Notice new things and engage yourself at all times. Life shouldn't be something that happens around you.
3. Try to consider mundane circumstances from a different perspective. When we are faced with a familiar situation, we tend to tune out. Langer says, "recognize that change is constant." This recognition could open your eyes to an entirely new business opportunity.
4. Judge people less. When we look at behavior mindfully, we are able to see that each negative characteristic has an opposite alternative. Langer recommends we consider other people's personality traits in dispositional ways, rather than in negative ways. For instance: View a rigid person as consistent, or an impulsive person as spontaneous. This level of mindfulness could help you form better business and personal relationships.

Don't let an opportunity to be mindful pass you by. Being actively engaged in every business meeting, every sales call and every conversation could lead to positive outcomes.

Others know when we have punched out—they can read it all over our faces. Punch back in, engage and show them that you care. Be the type of person they want to do business with.

We all know the old adage, "Take time to smell the roses." Mindful people not only smell the roses—they look at them, consider them and appreciate them.

Click here to read Langer's article "Mindfulness Isn't Much Harder than Mindlessness" in its entirety.

Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for Groups Today magazine.

 

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