This month we’re taking a step back from our Weekly Happiness Challenges. No, we aren’t not doing them, we’re just instead purposely taking a step back for reflection, relaxation, and thoughtfulness. We’re focusing on how to be mindful at work and in other areas of our lives. We’re focusing on things that don’t necessarily increase our IQs — though proper rest and relaxation can positively affect that too — but on things that increase our EQs, emotional quotient, something that’s just important to workplace happiness as your smarts.
And since it’s all about getting you really introspective and thinking, why not take that step back now and to be inspired by these mindful TED Talks? These four talks will certainly get you thinking and stop you in your absurdly busy tracks, even if just for a few minutes.
Also Read: A Guide to Mindfulness at Work
“When did you last take any time to just do nothing? Just ten minutes.” This is the challenge Andy asks us in the first 30 seconds in his talk. And then, in our frantic world, he goes on to describe what exactly nothing is, which means no screens, no food, no talking, and not even thinking about the past or the future. He says we rely on our minds to be thoughtful and considerate with others, as well as to maintain our own stability, creativity and focus — and yet we don’t give it a rest often now do we? He says we spend more time looking after our car, clothes and hair than our minds.
“We’re no longer present in the world in which we live. And we miss out on the things that are most important to us.”
So what did Andy do to overcome a difficult time in his life so he could learn to be mindful and present? He became a celibate monk. This is his story, which may sound crazy for your life, offers something for everyone, a specific technique to change your life, ten minutes a day.
Also Read: The most important work meeting? A high level meeting with yourself.
Abha Dawesar: Life in the Digital Now
As Hurricane Sandy was rampaging New York City, fiction author Abha had a realization as she was frantically scouring for outlets and Internet. “Sandy made me realize that our devices and our connectivity matter to us right up there with food and shelter. The self as we once knew it no longer exists.”
We now live longer, but the moment has shrunk. “The gap between what we can perceive and what we can measure is only going to widen.” Abha argues that we need “time’s arrow” to direct us and to keep us connected with the past, present and future, but that the Internet has shrunk space and time, archiving and warping the past. We only have this moment, “the Digital Now.”
Everything we do online is only leading us to do something else. How can we overcome the Digital Now to find our moment again?
Also Read: How to live a happy life, according to science
This is one of the best-known TED Talks on happiness. And yes it’s from another monk. I’d say that’s coincidence but these are people who dedicate a large amount of their lives meditating, so you can’t get much more mindful than that. Matthieu points out that no one starts their day hoping to spend it suffering. Whatever we do or dream, we are working toward our own happiness. But really it’s a search for well-being, a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment, underlying all emotional states.
So, the ultimate mindful goal is probably pursuant of this sense of well-being, right? How can we overcome the often destructive nature of our minds? Matthieu tells us.
Also Read: 8 random acts of kindness to share company values
Pico Iyer: The art of stillness
Americans are working less than ever yet we perceive we are working more than ever.
“Nowhere is magical unless you bring the right eyes to it.” World traveler Pico realized that only by not traveling, by sitting still, could he then appreciate it all and make sense of the future and the fast. And thus, going nowhere was as exciting as going to Tibet or Cuba. But we don’t all have the time or money to stop, do we? Pico offers that we don’t need to stop for years, but for moments, regularly.
Ironically, he discovered that the forerunners steering us to tech tend to be the most mindful of how much time they spend connected and are some of the best at disconnecting or taking a Tech Sabbath. Pico shares his path and many others’ paths to nowhere.
Also Read: What does it actually take to make us happy?
Who do you listen to so you can find your path to mindfulness and nowhere? Tell us below!