The core differences between focus and meditation and mindfulness

Executive coach and psychiatrist David Brendel talks to Fast Company Magazine about the adverse considerations of the mindfulness and meditation movements afoot in corporations.

With genuine respect for the science and value of these practices in workplaces, he cautions about two risks. When these become ways to block out negativity in the world, they can lead some to avoid difficult conversations, goals and assignments. When they are imposed on those uncomfortable with silence and introspection, they can instead increase stress.

The practice of focus we teach has none of these risks and all the benefits, and more.

As we approach it, supported by the neurosciences, focus is noticing what's different across rhythms of time, such as from one moment, day or week to the next. Focus creates a clear, calm mind that produces a more non-distracted and non-reactive presence in our work and life. It supports our capacity for being intentional, creative, connected, productive and agile. 

In contrast to the way mindfulness and meditation is often taught, focus doesn't require being non-judgemental, retreating from distractions, concentrating on inner physical and mental events, trying to change who we are or achieving any kinds of spiritual experiences. 

We can practice it sitting quietly, in meetings, at work, eating, learning, on breaks and commutes. It creates positive energy that infuses us with the courage to intend the best and engage our best. In these ways, focus is more powerful and portable in our work when working with a clear, calm mind helps us get things done and enjoy what life offers.