Obviously, mindfulness is extremely important when fighting for life or death in a self-defense situation. But would you believe that mindfulness can help reduce your stress levels, and make you more successful in business as well as in other areas of your life? As the Economist magazine recently reported, the popularity of mindfulness training in rising rapidly in business circles (“The Mindfulness Business”, The Economist, November 16, 2013). For example, Google offers its employees courses such as “search inside yourself” and “managing your energy”, and EBay, Twitter and Facebook offer employees the use of special meditation rooms.
Research suggests that mindfulness training (such as the Yoga, Tai-Chi and Qigong we practice at Full Potential Martial Arts in San Diego) can provide both psychological and physiological benefits. For example, research by Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy and his colleagues at the Duke University School of Medicine showed that in the US, an hour of yoga a week reduces stress levels by a third, and cuts health-care costs by an average of $2,000 a year. Additionally, research sponsored by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs found similar results. This has led the VA to widely employ mindfulness training to help soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Mindfulness and Creativity
It is well known that Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and legendary CEO, was highly influenced by mindfulness training he received in India, and would regularly admit that his mindfulness contributed to the clean design of Apple’s products. Rupert Murdoch, the Australian American business magnate and media mogul, meditates regularly. So do prominent financiers and money managers Bill Gross of PIMCO and Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates. Business schools today are incorporating mindfulness training to help their freshly minted MBAs better compete. The Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in California, as well as IMD in Switzerland are two examples of leading business schools which recognized the importance of mindfulness and stress reductions to the success of their students.
Taking Control of our Life
Paradoxically, in spite of the renewed interest in mindfulness these days, it is very easy for us to create high stress situations for ourselves. With 24/7 jobs, family obligations, and the constant stream of incoming email, Facebook feeds, and Twitter tweets, stress can be very high.
Like most things in life, good things come to those who are willing to invest time and effort in proactively improving their lives. Unfortunately, just buying a pair of Lululemon pants are probably not going to reduce your stress and improve your life (although they do look good!). On the other hand, seeking and regularly participating training may do that.