Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Step Away from Business as Usual

Originally posted December 8, 2015
Volume 5, Issue 41

This summer vacation season is anything but Business as Usual, and with it comes the opportunity to step away from the ordinary. Life in general is more complex than ever — we rush through our days trying to keep up and we tend to miss so much of what and who is around us. This is not conducive to being in the moment, open to the opportunities to be more present and engaged in our everyday lives, at our jobs, and with our families and friends.

Being master of our own attention has become progressively more challenging over the centuries, since the advent of written language some 3000 years ago and the resulting information overload. We often do not take time to ponder and instead we charge on, driven by rationalizing assumptions below the level of our own awareness. With hordes of distracting clutter in our daily lives creating a state we call Acceleritis™, most of us believe we “do not have time” to be in the moment, fully enjoying every second.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater. Mindfulness has been used going back to the Vedas as a tool to remind us to pay attention — but to what? Mindfulness is about paying attention to both the events outside us as well as what’s going on inside — at the same time.

The miracle of another perfect day. Had to pull over to capture this moment. – Phil Howort, photographer

We need to step back from our demanding environments from time to time in order to really figure out our priorities — to fully contemplate and reflect on our lives, our relationships, our passion work, and where we’re heading.

Every moment we face choices. We make these choices in the context of how we view our options, but in our distracted rushed state we usually don’t consider all of our options. We often make random choices on how and with whom to spend our time and where to exert our energy, without realizing we are squandering an opportunity to stop and focus on our real priorities. Being mindful in the moment may allow for something unimaginable and superb to emerge.

We all need to bring mindfulness into more corners of our lives. We might have perfect mindfulness on the basketball court, stage or operating room, but lack it in our living room, bedroom or boardroom. Life offers a plethora of opportunities to learn how to be mindful across the spectrum of life.

During this summer vacation season, let’s take a break from our usual ways of doing things. Let’s not miss yet another opportunity to live in the moment.

The moment is always new, everything starts again now, unencumbered by whatever has gone before. Each moment is an opportunity for a fresh start, an opportunity to connect to the miracle of Life in the present.

My Best to All,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-12-08 12:00:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Second Cornerstone: Mindfulness

Originally posted March 24, 2015latest Great Being post

First you must still the mind - Bill Harvey

In the post on June 2nd, we made the point that better decision-making and higher performance is achieved mainly through Positive Thinking and Mindfulness. We included tools to increase Positive Thinking, which we also call Solution Orientation. We promised to investigate the nature of Mindfulness in this post.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers called “In Terms of ROI“. Here is my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-03-24 12:35:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Positive Thinking

Originally posted March 17, 2015latest Great Being post

People are always saying to me, “Bill, you’re one of the most positive people around.” While I take it as a high compliment, I am always thinking “How do I convey that there’s more to it than positive thinking?”

Positive thinking is an idea all of us know by now, and it is not easy for most people to practice it when faced with perceived threats, disappointments or other mood negators.

You Have The Power

I actually didn’t set out to be a positive thinker. Like all children I wondered about everything, I just wondered more systematically, and in a bulldog fashion. A philosopher by nature, I really wanted to figure things out. The positive thinking came along with a lot of other discoveries.

As a philosopher I am attracted to pragmatism. This moves the mind toward positive thinking as a side effect. From a pragmatic point of view, one does not start with positive thinking, but with questions like what is our goal or purpose, and then what means will get us there. In the context of pragmatism, anything but positive thinking is an obvious waste of time and energy! Negative handwringing is staying in the problem definition phase when it’s time to move on to the solution phase.

Having been led to positive thinking via pragmatism, I was then able to see the value of projecting positively, pre-visualizing positively, and communicating positively as simply more effective at achieving goals. I didn’t do those things out of a belief in thinking positively; I did them because I saw that they worked.

Here are some other attitudes or strategies that I find work well along with positive thinking:

  • Have fun, because fun is conducive to reaching Flow state.
  • Develop long-term goals and then work toward aligning your short-term goals to your long-term goals.
  • Consider “What can I control or change, and what must I accept?”
  • Take the right action and let the chips fall as they may.
  • Pre-visualize successful outcomes.
  • Non-attachment to outcome is key.

Positive thinking is one of the cornerstones of success, leading to Flow state or Zone-level performance, ability to withstand and meet challenges, ability to be happy. I highly recommend it as a daily practice.

Mindfulness is another necessary component that works side by side with positive thinking. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on mindfulness in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

thearf-am-2016-555x190I will be presenting at the ARF’s Audience Measurement 2016 conference in New York three times on Monday and Tuesday, June 13 and 14. On Monday the 13th first at 8AM, Dave Morgan CEO of Simulmedia and I will be showing how much improvement in purchaser reach can be generated in a television campaign using data science and set top box data. Later the same day at 11:20AM, I’ll be sharing secrets of building ROI optimization into crossmedia and creative planning. Then on Tuesday the 14th at Noon, James Fennessy CEO of SMI and I will be revealing the actual media spending shifts taking place and what they are doing to ROI. More information.

Follow my regular blog contribution at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers called “In Terms of ROI“. Here is my latest post.  

Originally posted 2015-03-17 10:49:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Positive Thinking and Mindfulness Merged Method

Volume 3, Issue 27

In my theory of everything, we are all one Self. The consciousness of the universe is a single processor so intelligent it can pay attention while looking out through all our eyes at once.

Whether or not my theory is right, it has certain benefits as a working hypothesis, or lens. Maybe it’s a useful fiction.

I say this because when you look at things this way, it’s much easier to turn off negative feelings and turn on positive thinking. Most negative feelings involve other people in some way. Whether you experience the negative feelings toward yourself or toward them, it is not a solution-oriented use of your energy. The situation just sits there, with you feeling bad.

Let’s take a case where the negative feelings are directed at someone else. Someone frustrates you, let’s say. Makes you mad because you have a great idea and they are blocking it. For most of my life this evoked some inner dialog along the lines of mental name-calling, becoming very colorful during teenage years and increasingly inventive over time. I must say I enjoyed such inner venting but it wasn’t very useful in the consensus reality.

If your mindset is that we are all one Being, as soon as you have a negative feeling about someone else, it sort of turns itself off. Or at least that’s what happens after years of going through a process of slowly realizing, each time such a negative feeling arises, that if we are all one Being there is hardly an iota of utility in being mad at another part of your Self.

So nowadays for me the mad happens then fades. I go on to the next logical step which is figuring out what actions to take to move closer to the goal. Creativity flows effortlessly once there are no blocks such as negativity.

This approach to conflict resolution tends to see all parties as having energies to contribute, and finds solutions where all instruments harmonize in the orchestra. It would be interesting to see what would happen to a company or any team that employs this lens.

Now the other case is where you experience negative feelings but they are directed at yourself. You are beating yourself up over something. Again this doesn’t really get you anywhere. Except negativity has utility to the lower self, the ego, which likes negativity because it helps to rationalize behaviors you’d otherwise block with your self-discipline. Such as letting yourself have another drink, smoke, fattening food, or whatever else you do when you rationalize indulging yourself. Negativity as a context is effective in lowering your own internal self-discipline so as to allow self-indulgence, which is a powerful self-defeating factor.

If you’ve got this One-Being lens, you can’t sustain anger at yourself, since that means you’re mad at the ruler of the universe, which seems unwise. He/She living through you is the one that goofed up. Although omniscient in composite, the shard coming through you is still learning and while doing its best, goofed up. What to do to win now is the point to be focused on, not wasting time with unsophisticated self-flagellation about the past even if it is the immediate past.

So, while I can’t currently offer proof that my theory depicts the true nature of reality, wearing the lens as an experiment appears to have tangible and verifiable benefits.

Best to all,

Bill  

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network:In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com. 

What Is Mindfulness?

Volume 3, Issue 24

In the prior post we made the point that better decision-making and higher performance in the end reduce to two main drivers, Positive Thinking and Mindfulness. Positive Thinking, which we also call Solution Orientation, is easier said than done, and we pointed to our book Mind Magic as a compendium of proven operational techniques for actually achieving and maintaining both of these inner behaviors. We promised to investigate the nature of Mindfulness in this post.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control. Going back at least as far as written language and probably as far back as the cave paintings, the human race has discovered the importance of focusing attention in achieving its aims. The cave paintings are widely believed to be evidence of a method for rehearsing the hunt. Yogic mental/emotional methodologies are the essence of what is recommended in the Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, and these include contemplation, concentration and meditation, all three related to the conscious and willful control of the attention.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis. Our relevant hypothesis is that written language, by making language visual — the dominant sense of not only homo sapiens but of all primates — brought the human race up to Piaget’s Formal Operational level of thinking, the highest known level of thinking until Systems Level thinking was discovered in the twentieth century. This so augmented the ability to invent that in only 3% of the time since the appearance of the species, the human race in the last 6000 years has invented more and more things and ideas each year than in the prior year, and at an increasing rate, driving a vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result. Again, the need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object. Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject. Meditation is the contemplation of the Self. What then is Mindfulness? We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. Now that we’ve defined the term, we’ll stop initial-capping it.

Attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This is in sharp distinction from normative behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open. This normative attention strategy virtually eliminates the ability to understand one’s own motivations in the moment, causing actions to be controlled by ego drives that are counterproductive to efficacy. When one is mindful, there is a predictive feedback loop allowing one to suppress actions that are merely self-serving and do not consider the needs and probable responses of others.

Mindfulness also makes one more observant externally, improving what fighter pilots call situational awareness. Our theory of Holosentience postulates a shift into a higher state of consciousness as a result of persistent mindfulness. We call this the Observer state, and it is from this state that the mind-body can launch into Flow state or the Zone, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

It takes “attentional” effort to be mindful and thus to reach the Observer state and the Zone.

Mindfulness and solution orientation (overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution, otherwise known as Positive Thinking) combine to form the core of the Human Effectiveness Institute’s psychotechnology — the recommended set of methodologies to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of one’s life.

Best to all,

Bill 

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com. 

Positive Thinking + Mindfulness = Mind Magic

Volume 3, Issue 23

People are always saying to me, “Bill, you’re one of the most positive people around.” While I take it as a high compliment, I am always thinking “How do I convey that positive thinking is not enough?”

Positive thinking is one of the cornerstones of success, Zone level performance, ability to withstand and meet challenges, ability to be happy… it is necessary but positive thinking alone is not sufficient to achieve all these things: there is more to psychotechnology.

The other cornerstone is mindfulness. The two main threads running through my book Mind Magic and through me might be summed up as combining those two mind techniques. That would be reductionism but it would not be way off base.

The thing about positive thinking is that it’s an idea all of us know by now, and it is not easy for most people to practice it. Many of the books on the subject exhort people to think positively and prove why it is important but they don’t tell the reader how to stay positive in the face of perceived threats, disappointments or other mood negators.

Actually achieving and maintaining a state of positive thinking as the natural equilibrium of the individual requires a number of component accomplishments including the toning down of excessive attachment to specific outcomes.

I didn’t set out to be a positive thinker. A philosopher by nature, like all children I wondered about everything, I just wondered more systematically, and in a bulldog fashion. I really wanted to figure things out. The positive thinking came along with a lot of other discoveries.

As a philosopher I am attracted to pragmatism. This moves the mind toward positive thinking as a side effect. From a pragmatic point of view, one does not start with positive thinking, but with questions as to what is our goal or purpose, and then what means will get us there. In the context of pragmatism, anything but positive thinking is an obvious waste of time and energy; negative handwringing for example is staying in the problem definition phase when it’s time to move on to the solution phase.

Having been led to positive thinking via pragmatism, I was then able to see the value of projecting positively, pre-visualizing positively, and communicating positively as simply more effective at achieving goals. I didn’t do those things out of a belief in thinking positively, but because I saw that they worked.

It might be more accurate (and less reductionist) to say that I took the best things I saw in all philosophies to bake my own philosophy. Pragmatism, operationalism, the stoicism of Epictetus, Hemingway’s fatalism, the Vedas, Kabbalah, Taoism, Buddhism, John Stuart Mill’s “greatest good for the greatest number”, and Zen (with apologies to all the others not mentioned for space/time reasons).

Still, pragmatism runs deep. What am I trying to accomplish? It sometimes can be simply to have fun — fun being conducive to the Flow state. Encourage the development of long-term goals to help people supervene short-term goals. What can I control and what must I accept? Non-attachment to outcome is key. Take the right action and let the chips fall as they may. Pre-visualize success.

Positive thinking is a corollary of pragmatism.

Mindfulness is something else again and another necessary component though insufficient without positive thinking. More on mindfulness in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.