Your Mobile Phone: A Tool for Mindfulness

I am sure you have heard the term ‘mindfulness’. It is tossed about frequently these days. I’m glad of that, since it seems the idea is making its way into the mainstream. That’s a good thing, in my humble eyes.

Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience.

For example, a mindful approach to one’s inner experience is simply viewing “thoughts as thoughts” as opposed to evaluating thoughts as positive or negative.

Mindfulness plays a central role in the teaching of Buddhist meditation. Buddhism is a philosophy that began in India in the 6th century and is becoming increasingly accepted in western culture.

Although Dr. David Rock wrote in Psychology Today that he has a problem with mindfulness being linked to any religion, because he worries that people will ignore it simply for that reason, his piece is full of useful information and I encourage you to take a peek.

Dr. Rock believes that as we get older, we resist learning new things. I’m not sure I agree, but his blog is definitely worth reading, especially if you are interested in the health benefits of mindfulness.

The best statement in Dr. Rock’s post is that ‘even the most cynical, anti-self-awareness agitator can’t help but see that they will be better off practicing this skill (mindfulness)’.

Okay – since I believe that we become more open-minded as we get older, let me briefly introduce the idea of Buddhism. Are you with me?

The Buddha, many centuries ago, identified Four Noble Truths as the foundation of this spiritual practice.

See if you can relate to any of these Four Noble Truths.

1. Life is full of suffering

2. Craving and desire is the cause of suffering.

3. Craving and desire can come to an end, therefore ending our suffering

4. The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration

This is a lot to digest at one sitting. So let’s just focus on one small aspect.

To practice Right Livelihood means to use the practice of mindfulness to address the problems of daily life, including work.

Take telephone meditation, for example.  This can be a very important practice for you, if you’ll try it.

When the phone rings (yes, even your mobile phone), try hearing it as a bell of mindfulness. Are you giggling yet? Experiencing some discomfort at the thought of a new perspective?

Stop what you are doing and breathe in and out deeply and consciously three times before you pick up the phone.

Alert: I bet this will be very difficult for you to do. Please tell me if you can do it the next time the phone rings.

If you choose to practice this, I wonder if your phone calls will take on a different tone. What do you think?

I’m curious to hear how you do.


Everything Old Becomes New Again

Either the world is speeding up beyond belief or our brains were kidnapped by aliens and we now exist in a time warp machine  moving at the speed of light.

Once in a while, however,  things on earth circle back around and ‘everything old becomes new again’. It brings a little smile to  my face when the circle theory still shows up, albeit in subtle ways. Let’s take the job search process, for example.

We have all been forced to adjust to online applications, (along with the big black hole) and the difficulty of networking with  colleagues that are often working too many hours and are under a great deal of stress. It’s not easy.

Remember those books entitled Megatrends by authors John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene? The authors predicted (with uncanny foresight) the key trends for upcoming decades.  Note: The first was published in 1982, then 2000, and most recently Ms. Aburdene wrote another in 2010.

Well, here are my Retro-Trend predictions about the job search and workplace. This is just the beginning of an evolving list. If you have other ideas, please send them to me and I’ll write about them.

Prediction 1: Snail Mail Regains its Popularity

It wasn’t so long ago when mailing a resume and cover letter in an envelope with a stamp was the  norm. How many hard copy resumes do you think anyone receives now? Probably none.  Some might  even see it as an indication that the applicant is not computer savvy.

How would a recruiter or hiring manager react now if they received a high quality resume in the  mail? I’m betting that many would find it refreshing. (How often do you ignore anything with a  hand-written name and address?)

What is this professional textured paper and feels good to the touch? How unique. How creative.  How different.

On TheJobBored blog, the author of a post about this very subject believes that “sending a physical resume (nice paper stock, neatly printed, nice envelope) shows a certain touch of class…”

I, for one, would welcome the opportunity to read something on paper instead of another email with glazed eyes. And I certainly would remember the candidate’s name. I might even talk about her/him by the water cooler.

Prediction 2: Hand-Written Notes Become Cool Again

Okay, so most people know that they should send a follow up thank you note after interviewing. Yep – each candidate goes home and writes the obligatory thank you email and sends it right out.

The problem is that it doesn’t mean too much (but you still have to do it).  How much time does it take? Maybe 2 minutes, if that…especially for the cynics who think it’s a waste of time anyway.

The content goes something like this: “Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. You have a great company and I know I can do the job.” Done. And people feel good because they sent this note out on the SAME DAY as the interview.

How would a potential employer react if you actually took pen to paper and wrote a note that reflects a common sentiment or a business idea that you shared during the interview?  Hmmm, I wonder.

Prediction 3:  Pounding the Pavement Returns

Now this is a stretch – but I like to live on the edge. Most of you won’t even remember when one method of job searching was to literally walk into a company off the street – dressed appropriately, of course – to inquire about work opportunities. Well, some of us actually did that.

I had a client very recently who gave it a try. Believe it or not, the recruiting manager happened to be there and invited her in to talk for 20 minutes. Voila – the interview process had begun. Let me also say that this young woman was confident and prepared. She knew what she was going to say and was pleasant, engaging, positive and non-pushy.

I know it might seem very lame, but hey – is anything else working? What can you lose? The University of Phoenix seems to think this bold move could be a useful tool in the job search, particularly for young professionals.

So, who knows? Maybe it’s true what they say about everything old becomes new again.


Just as an aside, I also predict that hand written notes and poems will come back as romantic gestures. Ever think about what the impact would be if you wrote a “real” letter to your loved one and left it under his/her pillow – or wrote a friend how you feel about them? Give it a try and let me know how it felt to rekindle something exciting.

Getting back to ideas about work and job search – What do you think?