Mindfulness is a skill learned as part of meditation practice. The irony of meditation is that the practice that centers your mind into itself also allows you to become clearly aware of your surroundings, to be completely "present" in the real world and able to respond to things in the world as they are. The practice of mindfulness comes out of discipline that separates the things actually going on around your from the noise of reaction, of obsessive thoughts, and reactive fear.
The Nature of Mindfulness:
Mindfulness programs teach social intelligence skills, important insights that allow people to understand the motivations of others. To view the behavior of others from a safe and stable perspective is the goal. The skill of mindfulness is a skill of articulation, separating the world into more discriminable parts and being able to see how the parts interact outside of any response of your own to them.
It's impossible to navigate yourself through a complex social environment, full of attractants and repulsions, things that anger you and things that frighten you, unless you are able to divorce yourself from the passions of the moment and clearly see what is in front of you. Mindfulness is the skill of objectivity in social environments.
In recent years, there has much discussion of augmented reality technology that adds context to what you see around you from external sources, like online feeds. Discussion of implanting chips into the brain to provide such context have even gone beyond the talking stage. It is important to realize that our everyday perceptions of life around us are already augmented by data that goes beyond the present. The augmentation comes from natural brain processes like memory, association, and flight or fight instinctual reactions that are triggered by events around you in the present. Mindfulness is the skill that enables you to separate what is actually happening around you and the augmentations that come from your mind. This skill enables you to ignore associations that cause unrealistic fears or drive you into destructive conflicts that paralyze you.
Mindfulness is a natural state. It is the state of mind during a jungle hunt where the present moment is of overwhelming importance. Mindfulness views the natural state of the human mind in the present as calm, accepting, and rich. It is "The dance between our heartbeat and our breath." It says, "Every time we favor the present moment over moments yet to come, we gain a more vivid awareness..."
Mindfulness and Sales Occupations:
Sales jobs are close the top of the most stressful jobs list. Marketers, sales reps and sales engineers are under pressure to meet goals, not in the present but in the future, and are driven by fear to do so. Sales workers have to meet quotas, convert quickly, and keep approvals high. They have to meet these elusive goals in an environment of random events, where any slip can cause a disastrous fall. Sales professionals often view stress as beneficial in moderation, but the wrong kind of stress can be paralyzing. Stress reflects impossibility that extends into the future. It is worry about events that may or may not come to pass. Stress of this kind draws attention away from the rich comfort of the present into imaginings and visions of things that have not yet happened.
Meditation and the practice of Mindfulness as a discipline have started to become a regular part of the sales office environment. The benefits of Mindfulness are immediately evident to a sales professional who has experienced the training. In the October 27, 2016 edition of Sales magazine, Adam Lukeroth writes,
"[On the expo floor] I would engage a sales rep in conversation. More than half the time the rep would start pitching immediately not having asked me one question. They would also have this robotic way of explaining, and I could see in their eyes that their mind was somewhere else."
Psychological research has verified 5 major benefits of mindfulness.
- Reduced rumination: fewer negative feelings, better memory capacity, and better ability to sustain attention
- Reduced stress reaction: decreases anxiety and baseless fear, productive shifts in the way people regulate emotions.
- Better working memory: memory less affected by stress, memory improved with meditation practice.
- Focus: better attention, more mental flexibility.
- Less emotional reactivity: better ability to disengage emotionally.