Living in More Than One World,

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Mindfulness Marches On

Can mindfulness get any hotter? The mainstream spotlight continues to grow on this subject, which I have blogged about several times. In particular, see Time magazine’s seven page February 3, 2014 cover story, “The Art of Being Mindful.” And Mindful magazine continues to do interesting work. The cover story of the February 2014 issue, “No Blueprint, Just Love,” is an eight page interview with one of the best-known figures in the field, Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is also a major presence in the Time article.

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Kabat-Zinn, founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, began his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as a small project in 1979, and it has grown to worldwide prominence. He is one of the speakers at the big Wisdom 2.0 conference, Feb 14-17, in San Francisco. And an updated edition of his classic book from 1990, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, was recently released, with a preface by Thich Nhat Hanh.

I also wrote about mindfulness in my new book, Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way, especially about the work being done by Jeremy Hunter, an Assistant Professor at the Drucker School. Jeremy was included in a recent Schumpeter column, “The mindfulness business,” in The Economist. If you live in Southern California, be sure to attend the Drucker Business Forum February 13th event in Pasadena, “Mindfulness – where business and the behavioral sciences intersect,” with Jeremy and Nick Udall, CEO of nowhere and chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership.

The Time article mentions another mindfulness luminary, Janice Marturano, founder and executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership; and a former high-ranking executive with General Mills. There is an excerpt from her new book, Finding the Space to Lead, in Mindful’s issue with the Kabat-Zinn cover.

Finally, the always-thoughtful Tony Schwartz, whom I wrote about in 2011, has a provocative sanity check in his recent New York Times blog post, “More Mindfulness, Less Meditation.”  Meditation-focused or not, mindfulness is not going away. The situation is summed up nicely in the headline of Carolyn Gregoire’s recent article in The Huffington Post“Why 2014 Will Be The Year Of Mindful Living.”

Mindfulness for a Better Summer

One of the bittersweet aspects of summer is that it is difficult to be in the moment and enjoy a season that passes all too quickly. In our anxiety to savor the summer, we can lose some of the enjoyment of a time most of us look forward to, especially during the cold and dark winter. A potential solution is mindfulness, which can deepen our understanding and appreciation of the here and now.

stack of balanced zen stones in water on blue sky background

The online and in print presence of mindfulness is growing fast. I’ve enjoyed my subscription to a new magazine, Mindful, which began publication earlier this year. The current, August 2013 issue has a number of interesting articles that can be applied to work and elsewhere. So much of the focus of summer is making the most of vacations and leisure time, yet work also has to get done.

Tara Healey of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care contributes “Putting Mindfulness to Work.” A compelling article that applies inside and outside the workplace is “A user’s guide to living well in screenworld,” about exerting control over your digital life. It’s a conversation moderated by Rich Fernandez of Google (an advisory board member of the magazine), with Arturo Bejar, director of engineering at Facebook and Irene Au, vice president of product and design at Udacity.

The connection of mindfulness to success and fulfillment in Silicon Valley is explored extensively in Wired, July 2013, by Noah Shachtman in “Enlightenment Engineers.” The article features such Valley luminaries as Bejar, and Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, author of Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).

The Huffington Post in particular has been featuring mindfulness often, especially the recent first-person, meditation-focused blog post by Harvard Business School professor, and former Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George, “The Tipping Point for Mindfulness.” For a post that is season-specific, try “Summer Mindfulness: 10 Exercises and Meditations,” by Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., in Psychology Today.

Meditation is not the sole component to mindfulness. That is one of the takeaways from a terrific recent webinar with my friend Jeremy Hunter, a professor at the Drucker School whom I have written about previously;and Mirabai Bush, co-founder of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (and an adviser to Google’s Search Inside Yourself program). Jeremy also wrote the article “Is mindfulness good for business?” in the inaugural, April 2013 issue of Mindful. Viewing their conversation, and reading the other material in my post today, can provide convincing evidence that mindfulness is helpful for even the busiest, stressed person, at work and outside of it, in summer and year-round.

Mindfulness at Work (and Beyond)

I enjoyed yesterday’s report by Lisa Napoli for NPR Morning Edition, Buddhist Meditation: A Management Skill? It features my friend Jeremy Hunter, a professor at the Drucker-Ito School in Claremont, Cal. He was one of the first people I met when I went to Claremont in 2002 to do research for my book, Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. Jeremy teaches mindfulness (including meditation) and self-management, geared to the needs and expectations of MBA students. I sat in on one of his classes in 2005. In 2010, he and Scott Scherer contributed a chapter, Knowledge Worker Productivity and the Practice of Self-Management, to the book The Drucker Difference.

Applying the principles of mindfulness to work, which I wrote about in early 2011, remains a hot topic. The MBA-oriented site Poets & Quants recently ran a three-part series by Deborah Knox, Train Your Mind, Improve Your Game: Meditation for the 21st-Century Leader. Workplace.com had a September 6 feature about mindfulness training and multitasking. The August 21 Chicago Tribune piece Be Mindful for a Better Workplace quotes Mirabai Bush, co-founder and Associate Director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, who is interviewed in an extensive feature in transform, Mirabai Bush: The Work of Compassionate Action.
Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic turned best-selling author and Harvard Business School professor, has given a considerable boost of credibility to mindfulness and meditation for the benefit of work. In particular, see his 2010 post about a two-day mindful leadership retreat. Having returned from Japan not long ago, I was interested to see Overcoming stress / Psychological, physical methods for mindfulness in The Daily Yomiuri Online on September 9. The British site Personneltoday.com ran Mindfulness: helping employees to deal with stress, on September 3.
There are also a lot of good mindfulness resources for work and beyond at mindful.org. In fact, there are so many good print and online resources about mindfulness that it is difficult to be sufficiently mindful when writing a blog post about mindfulness!

Mindfulness: Inner Strength Tool for the New Year

Many of us are pursuing goals, aspirations or resolutions for the current year, and probably on an ongoing basis. We need all the inner tools and resources we can get; techniques and methods that cut across boundaries and can be applied in different areas of life. Several recent articles and posts about mindfulness remind us that it can be a helpful tool for personal development, if applied well. They also demonstrate that it comes in many different forms: meditation, as part of therapy and as a way of approaching life. Mindfulness meditation is covered by Mark Vernon’s post in the Guardian, How to meditate: An introduction. Be sure to see the sidebar, How to meditate in 10 easy steps, which combines brief text and great graphics. The mindfulness in therapy angle, complete with reports of encouraging scientific studies, is covered in Dave McGinn’s Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation, in the Globe and Mail, Melinda Beck’s Conquering Fear in the Wall Street Journal and Chris Woolston’s Mindfulness therapy is no fad, experts say in the Los Angeles Times. Nomi Morris’ story from the same source last October, Fully experiencing the present: a practice for everyone, religious or not, is an interview with the super-articulate Jon Kabat-Zinn, a major authority on mindfulness, and author of the classic Wherever You Go, There You Are. In 1998, I took a helpful and memorable day-long, interactive introduction to mindfulness and yoga workshop, with hundreds of other people, led by Kabat-Zinn, who gave a lecture the night before. Finally, and especially for business people and leaders, I recommend a book I reviewed in 2005 for USA TODAY, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee’s Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Mindfulness is not the only focus, but it gives succinct descriptions, such as this: “Living mindfully means,” the authors write, “that we are constantly and consciously in tune with ourselves – listening carefully to our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits. The best among us consciously develop the capacity for deep self-awareness, noting and building on our understanding of our inner experiences.” In that sense, mindful living looks like a worthy aspiration on its own.

5 Blank-Slate Beginnings for the Fall 2017 Semester

My teaching semester at the Catholic University Department of Library and Information Science ended last month and I’m not teaching this semester. But I’m taking the opportunity to tap into the blank-slate beginnings of the new semester to revisit/update/revise self-management strategies for teachers and students that I wrote about in 2013 and previously.

These strategies are also applicable beyond the campus, even if you are not teaching or enrolled as a student:

Photo credit: Bigstock

1. Learn about and practice WOOP. This is a simple way to think differently about goal-setting and positive thinking, developed by NYU Psychology professors (and married couple), Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer. WOOP stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, plan. Oettingen wrote an engaging book on the subject, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation (paperback edition, 2015).

2. Connect with your future self. Two psychologists, Hal Hershfield, currently an associate professor of marketing at UCLA Anderson School of Management, and Kelly McGonigal, a lecturer at Stanford University, have written about what Hershfield calls “future self-continuity.” Among other things, this means that you make decisions that take into account the person you will become years from now, so you do not literally see the future you as a stranger.

3. Maximize your library use. In my recent post “6 Success Strategies of Jorge Luis Borges,” I outlined the crucial role played by libraries in Borges’ life and work. Academic libraries want to be partners in the success of students and teachers, and they usually have many in-person, online and print resources to do so. Check with your academic librarians to learn about what they can do for you.

4. Maintain physical, mental and emotional fitness. There are constant reminders, through gyms and sports activities, about physical fitness. Strategies for effective thinking, inside and outside of the classroom, are also important and necessary. For instance, consider the benefits of well-being, mindfulness and the power of focus; the latter as studied and written about by Daniel Goleman, the psychologist/author who popularized emotional intelligence in the mid-1990s.

5. Take advantage of lectures and seminars beyond your classes. In my self-management tips for the fall semester 7 years ago, I included the following: Stretch beyond your regular subjects by attending at least one public lecture or presentation by a visiting speaker on campus (or at another local school) in another discipline. While that is still valid and recommended, don’t forget that most departments/schools also have visiting lecturers within your own area of study. An example of a robust speakers series is the one at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where I’ve spoken twice.

These are early days for the new semester. Enthusiasm, excitement and motivation may be high now, but could be tougher and more challenging to maintain over the next several months. Ideally some or all of the above strategies will help you to thrive this fall and beyond.

WorldFuture 2016 Preview, Part 3

For my third and final preview post about the fast-approaching WorldFuture 2016, marking the 50th anniversary of the World Future Society, I’m focusing on the segment in which I’ll participate, the Unconference. It will be held this Saturday morning, July 23rd, from 8:00-9:30 AM, when I’ll facilitate a discussion on the future of leadership.

Retro effect and toned image of a woman hand writing a note with a fountain pen on a notebook. Motivational concept with handwritten text CREATE YOUR FUTURE

Because of the format, I won’t get to listen to any of the other discussions, which all look interesting. I’m unfamiliar with the other discussion leaders, other than my fellow Berrett-Koehler author Laura Goodrich, whose topic is Creating a Mindset for Change.

But I hope to meet as many of my fellow discussion leaders as possible over the course of the weekend, and perhaps collect some handouts for future reference. Along with Laura’s, here are some of the 27 unconference sessions that look particularly promising:

Creating a Global Consensus for a Shared Future: Claire Nelson, Futurist, Sustainability Engineer, Story Teller, The Futures Forum

The Financial Future of Digital Entertainment: Joseph Micallef, Keynote Speaker & Author, Joseph V Micallef, LLC

Fintech: Mali Marafini, Strategic Advisory Corporate Tech Ventures, Partnership Ecosystems

4D Printing: The 4th Dimension Time: Paul Tinari, CTO, JOOM3D.COM Technologies Inc.

The Future of Diversity and Inclusion in Health Service and Policy: Hassan Tetteh, Adjunct Professor of Surgery, Howard University

The Future of Elections: Lois H Neuman, PhD, Consultant, lhneumanconsultants

Futurist Strategies To Make Work Work: Heidi Alexandra Pollard, Chief Empowerment Officer, UQ Power

Mindfulness: A Future Without Judgment: Evan Faber, Futurist in Residence, The World Future Society

What Does Singapore Know That You Don’t: Wilson Wong, Head of Insight and Futures, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK

What is a Robot-Ruled Earth Like?: Robin Hanson, Associate Professor,  George Mason University

While I expect the discussion in my Future of Leadership session to be wide-ranging, I’d like to touch on such areas as mindset, growth, collaboration, vision and identity. And I’m looking forward to learning a lot about many new subjects the entire weekend. Hope to see you then!

New Developments at The Drucker School

These are exciting times at The Drucker School, of the Claremont Graduate University; with new initiatives, online rebranding and a physical expansion. I wrote about some of these changes, including the appointment of new Dean Thomas Horan, when I was in Claremont, California for Drucker Day last November.

Jenkins Courtyard outside of the Burkle building, at The Drucker School; Courtesy of Claremont Graduate University

Jenkins Courtyard outside of the Burkle building, at The Drucker School; Courtesy of Claremont Graduate University

While the school continues to honor and extend the legacy of its founder and namesake Peter Drucker, it is growing by meeting and anticipating the needs of current and future MBA students worldwide. Probably the biggest news is the expansion this Spring into downtown Los Angeles into the 7th floor of the Reef building at 1933 S. Broadway, which the school’s press release describes as “home to a lively community of artists, designers, technologists, media producers, and wholesalers. Its design encourages collaboration and sharing among residents.” This represents a crucial component of the school’s emphasis on the creative economy, via The Center for Management in the Creative Industries (CMCI).

Also announced recently was the formation of the Executive Mind Leadership Institute, under the direction of Drucker School Professor Jeremy Hunter. I’ve known Jeremy since his earliest days teaching at the school, and I wrote about him and his work on mindfulness and related subjects in the workplace in Chapter 3 of Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way. The Institute will focus on a vital  area of study and practice: the inner life and self-management of executives.

Class in the new downtown Los Angeles location; Courtesy of Claremont Graduate University

Class in the new downtown Los Angeles location; Courtesy of Claremont Graduate University

There was also a dose of good news in January, with the announcement that the school’s MBA and Executive MBA programs were ranked among the best in North America by Eduniversal.  All of these developments and initiatives come at a time of a fresh new look and feel to the school’s website. The Drucker School’s continued growth and expansion will be driven by not just its impressive physical surroundings; but by its combination of a strong faculty and staff, with driven, diverse and creative students.

My 2013 Claremont Drucker Days, Part One

I am back home after five whirlwind days in Claremont, California; for the all-day event Drucker Day 2013, held last Saturday November 2nd, and to meet and reconnect with people for my second book: Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way: Developing and Applying a Forward Focused Mindset. Although the official publication date is November 22, the Huntley Bookstore of the Claremont Colleges arranged a book signing for me at Drucker Day, during the outdoor cocktail reception that ended the events.

 

create your future book cover

Drucker Day this year was terrific, as it always is. I wrote about the event last year, and in previous years. Although the day is aimed especially at alumni, as well as current and prospective students of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University; it is always a great tribute to the life and legacy of Peter Drucker, and a nonstop source of networking, information and inspiration for anyone seriously interested in Drucker-related studies.

The day before Drucker Day, I did a super-informal, one hour “Coffee With Bruce,” a small but intimate get-together and book discussion, at Hagelbarger’s. Whenever I am in Claremont, I enjoy spending time at this coffee shop/eatery/campus hangout across the street from the Drucker School, so it was a thrill to actually do an event there; even a low-keyed one. We had a nice mix of Drucker School administration, alumni and current students.

I’ll write more in my next post about the events of Drucker Day. In the meantime, check out a couple of new videos on the Drucker School site: Peter Drucker: An Enduring Legacy; from McMillen Media + Communications; and How to change your future: Jeremy Hunter at TEDxOrangeCoast. Jeremy, an Assistant Professor of Practice at the Drucker School, is a longtime friend whom I wrote about in the new book, and also in last year’s first post about Drucker Day 2012. Legacy and mindfulness (the topic of Jeremy’s talk) are ideal subjects to focus on for the rest of the weekend, and into the week ahead.

My 2012 Claremont Drucker Days, Part One

How can sustainability become a profitable source of innovation? And how can we go beyond economic and environmental sustainability to achieve social sustainability through individually flourishing lives? Those were some of the main themes of Drucker Day 2012, an all-day gathering I attended on November 10th at the Drucker-Ito School at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. The event (which I also wrote about last year) serves many purposes: as a tribute to Peter Drucker, a coming together of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the school for fellowship, food and networking; and to examine challenging topics of importance in business and society. This year included a panel presentation on sustainability in Costa Rica, with Gabriela Llobet, general director of Cinde; Roberto Mata, CEO of the carbon-neutral coffee cooperative Coopedota; and Carmen Irene Alas, who is based in El Salvador, as the Chief Editor of the magazine Estrategia y Negocios.
Jeremy Hunter, an assistant professor at the Drucker School whom I wrote about in the recent post Mindfulness at Work (and Beyond), was featured in two sessions. The first, Re-envisioning Sustainable Business: From Cost Advantage to Flourishing; was in the morning for the entire group, presented with Chris Laszlo, a visiting professor at Drucker who is based at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland. (I also enjoyed Laszlo’s afternoon breakout session The Sustainability Frontier: Embedding Sustainability into Strategy for Competitive Advantage, with Drucker School professor Vijay Sathe, who also moderated the Costa Rica panel.)
Jeremy led a participatory afternoon breakout session, Cultivating Your Resources: Building Resilience from the Inside Out. The idea was that living in today’s hyper-connected, perpetually busy world has given many of us stress levels that are too high, producing unsustainable lifestyles that are potentially harmful to social sustainability. He led our group in a brief meditation, while we remained in our seats in the classroom. It was structured around ways to discover internal resources (such as positive experiences, favorite places or pieces of music) and external ones, such as “values, beliefs and experience that sustain and nourish you.” The act of briefly thinking deeply about, and paying attention to one of these resources produced positive changes in both body and mind for many of us. Of course, most of us won’t have Jeremy to personally guide our future meditations. As with sustainability, it is up to us to put it into practice.

Less is More: Matthew May and the Art of Subtraction

Matthew E. May delivers lots of timely and relevant information in The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything, his engaging new book about doing better work and living more productively and meaningfully. As the title suggests, Matt stresses the value of thoughtfully and strategically paying attention to what is not essential and can be eliminated; the creative importance of emptiness and negative space; and the power of intelligently working within constraints. This is his fourth book since 2006, on top of leading his own Los Angeles-based “ideas agency,” Edit Innovation, and lots of public speaking and blogging.
He has extensive experience working with Toyota, and one of the aspects I particularly enjoyed was the material on Japanese and Zen-based thought and action. It is helpful as I continue to reflect on my recent first time in Tokyo, where I spent a week making presentations about my book. And I am also honored to be one of the 54 “Silhouettes in Subtraction,” people who were invited to write one page each in his book about how subtraction has been important in our life and work. These include thought-provoking essays from the likes of author/executive Chip Conley, presentations guru Nancy Duarte and Little Bets author Peter Sims.
There are a number of captivating illustrations and pictures; appropriate for a book that is at least partially about design. Matt discusses how ideas become creative expression and how things can be and have been built better. You will also find in-depth looks into the creation of the Lexus brand within Toyota; the iconic FedEx logo; the Exhibition Road “shared space” street in London and the thought process that goes into comics, from an interview with Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.
A premium is placed on things that are important yet difficult to achieve; such as reflection, quiet, calm and tranquility. On pages 192-198, he succinctly outlines some portals into these states; including mindfulness meditation, neurofeedback and retreats. These may not always be easy, yet the final one is certainly doable: “long, languid showers.”