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MINDFULNESS

What is Mindfulness?

Are you supposed to clear your mind, or focus on one thing? Here’s the Mindful definition of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Yet no matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to where we are and what we’re doing and feeling. If you want to know what mindfulness is, it’s best to try it for a while. Since it’s hard to nail down in words, you will find slight variations in the meaning in books, websites, audio, and video.

The (All-Purpose) Definition of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.

While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.

When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice, and yet there are benefits or no one would do it. When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and aware ness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.

Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness—to ourselves and others.

8 Things to Know About Mindfulness:

  1. Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.
  2. Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in
  3. You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.
  4. Mindfulness has the potential to become a transformative social phenomenon. Here’s why:
  5. Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn.
  6. It’s a way of living.  Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better.
  7. It’s evidence-based. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
  8. It sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective, resilient, low-cost responses to seemingly intransigent problems.

Meditation Is Not All in Your Head

When we think about meditating (with a capital M), we can get hung up on thinking about our thoughts: we’re going to do something about what’s happening in our heads. It’s as if these bodies we have are just inconvenient sacks for our brains to lug around.

Having it all remain in your head, though, lacks a feeling of good old gravity.

Meditation begins and ends in the body. It involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body

That approach can make it seem like floating—as though we don’t have to walk. We can just waft.

But meditation begins and ends in the body. It involves taking the time to pay attention to where we are and what’s going on, and that starts with being aware of our body. That very act can be calming, since our body has internal rhythms that help it relax if we give it a chance.

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PODCAST

We Never Stop Learning – Life Is Non Stop Self Improvement #STARTCREATINGPODCAST (ep015)

The older I get the more I realise that life is a non stop opportunity to learn more about the world. In fact the older you get the more knowledge is forced into your head even if you wasn’t looking to learn something new. Now I am not suggesting that you just lock yourself a way in a cave with only pot noodles and an xbox for company to avoid learning more… embrace then knowledge.

I have learnt more about the world, myself, business and the inner workings of other peoples lives than I ever learnt from school or the education system. And what helped me learn so much… simply living. I can now appreciate how much my mum must’ve done for me when I was a little kid now that I have a step daughter of my own. All those late nights, middle of the night wake up calls. All those times she had to bite her tongue or fight the urge to slap me in the head for asking the same stupid question or doing the same thing i’ve been told not to do 1Million times. You learn by proxy that life wasn’t truly the way you thought it was when you was young, in your teens or even then getting your first job.

Now education doesn’t have to come from living the patterns of life but can also come from expanding your bubble of knowledge. The more I learn, the move services I am able to offer my clients. When I first started my YouTube channel I was hoping to educate people via videos to grow their channel. I soon learned that I could also teach people 1 on 1 with reports and video calls. I learnt how to edit my videos better for clients which led to more clients wanting to work with me. Maybe you can see the cycle… even time a client asks me to learn something new, or I have to learn something to make something work… it becomes an asset and a skill I can add to my tool kit.

Even this podcast was a lesson that I felt I was forced to learn – not in a bad way. I need to expand my brand and make it easier for people to find me. If its easier for you to listen to me on a podcast rather than a Youtube video, then I would be silly to shut you out and ignore your need. So, I learnt how to make podcasts and 15 weeks in… I am now making podcast for my clients…. a lesson that was very quickly and toolkit asset worth my time and money.

Learning doesn’t have to have an ROI of money – But if you do embrace the learning that life throws at you, you’ll never be bored.

Why You Should Continue Learning

Beyond keeping things fresh to sustain your professional creativity and passion, learning keeps you relevant in our ever-changing world. And, it’s arguably the best job security tool you could have, not to mention that achieving higher levels and honing new skills is a great argument for seeking promotions and raises at work.

“Organizations can’t keep transforming if their employees aren’t learning and their skills aren’t aligned with shifting business demands,” explains Toby, stressing the importance of creating an environment in which learning is encouraged and failure is safe as long as employees learn from it.

“All managers should make learning a core goal for their employees. It’s directly related to their team’s and their company’s success,” he says. “Employees should get the time and support to achieve learning–and be recognized for it.”

His best advice for professional development? Take personal responsibility for your learning.

So, now that you know why you should continue to learn, here are Toby’s top tips for doing so on the job.

Decide What You Want to Learn

First, consider how and in what way you want to develop yourself.

Start with broad industry knowledge, which can help you pinpoint areas that most spark your curiosity. Read broadly and often. Your reading list should go beyond regular news. Follow both general business news, like the Harvard Business Review, as well as blogs related to your field. You can also join virtual communities related to your field to read and participate in discussions with your peers.

Try to work in at least half an hour of reading and professional networking each day. As specific topics in your field inspire and interest you, explore them further. Once you identify where you want to specialize, try to attend relevant conferences and even take specific courses to further your knowledge.

Take Full Advantage of Your Company’s Resources

Companies with the most effective continuous learning programs make their resources accessible, personalized, and engaging for employees. Take IBM’s Your Learning platform as an example. Powered with Watson’s artificial intelligence analytics, Your Learning integrates formal, informal and social learning formats and curates content for each individual learner. This Netflix-style development platform offers employees a set of channels to choose from. Employees can see how others have rated the various offerings and there’s also a live-chat adviser, who is available to help them at any time.

And, employees earn digital badges based on the level of expertise and experience in specific skills they have completed, which is a great way to empower employees, keep them engaged, and perpetuate the culture of learning.

“When you’re allowed to influence your training in this way, following your own interests and even adding material you find on your own, the learning experience is irresistible. You can gain control, create your own learning pathways and develop your skills in a faster and more efficient way,” Toby explains. Customization is something the IBM Learning platform offers by getting to know you as a learner and providing personalized learning recommendations based on not only your job role, but your learning patterns and personal interests.

To get started, do some research and ask around. If you’re new to an organization, there may be a learning portal you aren’t familiar with yet. And even if you’ve been somewhere for years, policies may have changed and there could be budget available for online courses or conferences.

Once you’ve dug around a bit, check in with your manager and HR about the resources that are available and how you can best fit this into your regular work schedule. It’s not uncommon for organizations to allow employees to make time for professional development during the workweek. 

Ask for More Learning Opportunities at Work

But, if you’re left wanting more when it comes to professional development resources at work, don’t let that deter you, Toby advises. When asked how employees can push for more learning options, he suggests starting by demonstrating how it will help your company.

“Have a vision of what your organization wants to look like, and show how employee learning fits into that,” he explains. Companies must recognize that the environment is constantly changing, he says, and that their responsibility to clients to stay up-to-date and relevant with the latest knowledge and tools can be best met by empowering their own employees to keep learning.

If your company doesn’t offer an accessible internal learning platform or have the resources to create one, Toby suggests employees lead the charge by requesting access to readily available external training and learning services.

“Be curious,” he says. “Go on forums, watch TEDx, be active in LinkedIn communities. And within your day to day, remember that learning happens everywhere. Reach out to your peers and communities both within and outside of your organization,” Toby says. “Continue to stay curious and find the way to always be learning.”

And make your own suggestions. If there is a professor from a local university that is an expert in a topic you want to learn more about, see if your company will organize a lunch and learn session with him. Be vocal about what you’re interested in, and suggest ways to make it happen.


So, take a proactive approach when it comes to your education. And remember, learning can happen in many different ways. Don’t discount what you can get out of a podcast on a favorite subject, or email digest focused on your industry. The important thing is you’re soaking up the knowledge, and using it to better yourself and your career.