Dr. Phillipe Goldin, from Stanford University, said ‘the goal of mindfulness is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.’ I like this advice because in leadership and life we have a lot of stuck people and it prevents us from engaging effectively in our purpose. Many of us hold grudges, regurgitate the day’s dramas and traumas, and we miss the present moments that we could focus on to make us feel better.
We know this is not healthy for our minds and bodies, yet we are addicted to negative thoughts about events that have happened in the past or use our powerful imaginations to imagine negative futures for ourselves. If only we used our power for good!
Having a mindful practice won’t totally eliminate wading through emotional quicksand, but every day you practice, it gradually alleviates the addiction to negative emotion through awareness. As you practice you avoid the quicksand more often. So many of us are oblivious to what we are thinking, blindly sucking up the negative moments and passing them on to others. As leaders, we should be imaging a great future of possibilities, not chewing on what is wrong in our workplaces or communities.