Read Time: 6 mins
So you’re trying to build your career. You think that trying some self-improvement might help.
Your objective in your career is to be successful, whatever that might be.
You’ve done the hard study, developed the skills, and have the pieces of paper to prove it.
But you know that progress does not come easy. You have encountered some pretty difficult challenges.
And now, you are considering if mindfulness can help you towards your objective.
What are you really looking for?
You don’t actually want lots of money. Not just for itself. Where would you keep it?
What you really want is to be happy.
Because you are a sensible human being you know that some basic needs must to be fulfilled if you are to be happy.
And because you are a well adjusted product of the society in which you have grown up you expect that having some additional wants fulfilled will help you to be happy. A few treats are always welcome.
And in the modern world you need money to achieve this. You wish to be successful at your career in order to get this money.
And you think that developing mindfulness skills may help you towards this success.
You know all this. So what’s stopping you putting in the effort to becoming skilled in mindfulness?
The Distance Between Action and Outcome
The problem is not that this will require a certain effort on your part. You are not afraid of having to put in effort. You would not be where you are if that were the case.
You know that there is no guarantee that you will become any good at mindfulness, even if you try.
But this is not the problem as this is the case in just about everything you try.
The problem is that a mindfulness course will only help you develop mindfulness skills.
And this still seems far removed from your ultimate objective.
Where there is a long chain and distance between action and outcome, there is an incentive to put off taking action.
And because of who you are, you will look for a reason to not start. Or to give up soon after you start.
And guess what? You’ll be successful. You will find a reason.
It will be one you believe is reasonable and one that means it is sensible for you not to act.
There is a word for such a reason: it’s called an excuse.
Some Excuses Just for You
So, you are likely to look for excuses not to develop a skill that can help you towards your objective even though you won’t see instant results.
Well, to ensure you get some help from this post, I’ve put together some excuses for you. These will avoid you having to think them up for yourself.
‘Mindfulness involves meditation. I don’t have the time for that.’
But not having enough time is precisely the problem to be addressed. You and your mind are too busy. Mindfulness emphasises being over doing. Take the time to be here now.
‘I’m an active, restless person, a doer. Sitting still is just not me’.
OK, we all have different personalities and some people are more active than others. But get yourself ready to practice mindfulness. Train yourself to sit peacefully, rather than running away. This is psychological training, not physical. You will just have to try a bit harder, but it is well within your ability.
‘There are too many distractions such as noises, people, TV, phones in my life’.
There are a lot of distractions. Certainly, you should try to minimise them. But mindfulness will help you to accept what surrounds you. Make this goal a part of the exercise.
‘I’m so tired from all that’s going on in my life that I’ll fall asleep’.
You are not alone here. Tiredness is a modern epidemic. In fact, those who are most sleep deprived may be the very ones most in need of meditation.
You don’t need to lie down to meditate. Instead, sit up straight. This will help you to stay awake. Keep your mind focused and active while meditating. A wandering mind is far more likely to lull into sleep.
Also, try meditating at different times of the day. You will soon break any psychological connection between mediation and sleep.
‘This is so new to me. I just can’t put my mind to rest.’
Understand that it is inherent in you to have thoughts. This is the way you have learned to live. Recognize this. Recognize the thoughts for what they are. Then let them go.
Stop judging yourself or asking yourself if you’re doing it right. Just pay attention to the experience. It takes time and it is already a step for you just to sit down and give yourself time.
‘My mind starts racing even more when I stop, such as when I try to meditate’.
This is not unusual and it happens often in people who are just starting. Sometimes there are fears about ‘letting go’.
If strong emotions or memories come up when your mind is calm, make a mental note of them and return to your focus. Keep a journal.
‘It doesn’t work’.
This is a great self-fulfilling excuse. It’s the best sort of excuse for you as you can make it come true. But, have you even tried to make mindfulness work?
It wasn’t ‘it’ that didn’t work. It was that you did not make it work. Mindfulness is not something outside you that either works or does not work. Make it part of who you are and what you do.
‘Why should I do it when no one seems to know why it works. Explain why it works and I’ll try it’.
Have you ever used a computer? How does that work? When you stretch, how does that work? What happens when you sleep?
You don’t know? But you do it anyway. Why are you using a different standard here?
With mindfulness, the only barrier to success is you.
Unlike in so many other parts of your life, you are not competing with anyone else.
A Shortcut to Happiness
Mindfulness also has a huge advantage over other skills you may have learned to help you progress in your career. It gives you a shortcut.
Because it is such an adaptable skill you will soon learn to apply it in many aspects of your life to quiet your mind and improve outcomes.
And this is a shortcut to happiness.
Sure you must have your basic needs met. But after that, at every point, it is you who decides the objective and you who assesses the outcome.
And mindfulness will help you to do so in a way that encourages happiness with the outcome rather than a clamour and longing to be at some other point in your life.
If you are interested in learning how to use mindfulness in your life, download and follow this free online course Mindfulness in a Busy Life.
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While working in a corporate environment, Aedie saw that many people lose track of who they are as they go about their jobs and building their careers. This is not good for their personal development, their careers or how well they do their jobs. She writes and teaches on how to reconnect with your own self and the world while continuing to meet the demands of modern living.