In her recent Harvard Business Review interview mindfulness research pioneer Ellen Langer proposes that mindfulness is the key to personal, professional and organizational flourishing on all levels. Her definition is simple: "Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things." This is precisely the definition I proposed in my last book on mindfulness, Abundant Possibilities. My definition emerged from 40 years of mindfulness practice and my global happiness study indicating that the number one source of happiness for the happiest people on the planet is the discovery of newness.
Mindfulness makes us more proactive and flexible, creative and intuitive, energetic and centered. It makes leaders, teachers and parents better leaders, teachers and parents. It accelerates learning. Her work is based on her decades of groundbreaking work in mindfulness.
The contrast is mindlessness. Langer describes mindlessness in terms of assuming that things are the same from one moment, day and month to the next. In this context mindful living, work and interacting expects things to be different and notices those in their subtle and significant manifestations.
This is an incredibly powerful message. We need to start talking more about creating more mindful organizations, schools and communities.