From Positive States to Lasting Traits: LinkedIn Speaker Series with Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson

September 29, 2017

There’s no denying that mindfulness training has skyrocketed in popularity, whether it be by way of yoga, meditation, or one of the many other outlets of practice. In the past few decades, it has gone from a niche exercise, to a full-blown lifestyle that millions have devoted their time, effort, and in some cases, life to.

Regular mindfulness practice, even when done for a few minutes, can improve our ability to concentrate, remember, be present, learn, recover from stress, and stay resilient, among many other positive benefits. In turn, these effects can enhance our lived experiences, especially in the workplace. From enabling collaboration by developing listening skills, to helping us to stay on task by building focus, the positive impacts are countless in number.

This comes as music to the ears of our latest Speaker Series guests, Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, who are both writers and researchers on psychological intelligence and wellbeing. Goleman and Davidson, whose prior research and written works have been credited with popularizing mindfulness training , shared the positive impacts that this practice can have on all of us, our relationships, and the many communities we belong to.

Goleman and Davidson have watched the rapid influx of information and distraction that we as a society have willingly adopted. They’ve uncovered that people’s minds wander about 50% of the time naturally, and 90% of the time when actively stimulated, which is quite often given how many daily emails, meeting reminders, and messages we juggle alone. Also, that multi-tasking is really shifting attention rapidly, rather than focusing attention on multiple things at once.

As a result, our attention spans, social connections, and basic human skills like empathy are all suffering. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be developed and reinforced.

These are a few tips that we can all practice:

  • Identify a place and time to practice regularly, whether it’s in your workplace lunchroom or on your couch after dinner

  • Start with focused breathing exercises, since we can practice anywhere and without the need for additional materials. Practicing steady inhale and exhale breaths for even 3 minutes a day goes a long way

  • Find a teacher or mentor who will help guide and develop mindfulness training skills, to continue refinement and growth over time

  • Practice makes perfect, like anything else, and repetition will only help us to improve our attentiveness and connectivity

Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson’s Speaker Series discussion offers as much learning as it does entertainment. In wrapping up their talk, they left us with a quote by Herbert Simon, a pioneer in the area of psychological processing and decision making, which they asked us to carry with us as we begin our mindfulness trainings:

“What information consumes is attention. A wealth of information means a poverty of attention.”

Watch the full LinkedIn Speaker Series below, or listen to the podcast.