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Businesses do not see a ‘mindfulness’ problem. They see a leadership problem; when those in charge are erratic, emotional or stressed when they need to be calm, present and focused. They do indeed need to be ‘mindful’. Trouble is, some of the ways to achieve a mindful state, such as meditation, can seem a bit ‘woo woo’. Now technology is coming to the rescue.
I recently interviewed Jay Vidyarthi, Head of User Experience Design at Interaxon for my upcoming 2018 documentary Make Me A Leader. Together with founders Ariel Garten and Chris Aimone, his company - Interaxon - has developed a tool called ‘Muse’ to help people measure how mindful (or not!) they are while meditating.
The device is a wireless EEG headset linked to a smartphone. It provides users with real-time data about the effectiveness of their meditation. Muse translates brain activity into nature sounds. When you are calm, the winds are calm. When you are agitated, or your mind is racing, the wind sounds become louder and more intrusive.
With practise, this information can help us to become better leaders. Successful organisations are starting to place the same importance on this aspect of leadership ‘performance’ preparation as they already place on rest, eating and exercise.
Jay explained that meditation encompasses a broad range of practices. Different things work for different people. The trick is to find what works for you and then practising it. Meditation and mindfulness, neuroscience and technology can all improve the interactions between self, brain, and body.
As a leader, learning to pay attention in a more empathetic and compassionate way is crucial to making better decisions and influencing others. A recent survey of Australian leaders by Six Degrees showed that employees most value leaders who demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and can build teams.
Yet, the leaders saw their key attributes as hard work and a track record of success (ranked 9th and 11th by their teams).
Tools like Muse can help correct this glaring deficiency.
“A lot of our current problems come from decisions that are made without compassion.”
In a recent study, scientists tested mindfulness training using Muse. Adult subjects trained for ten minutes each day. Their attention and wellbeing were measured over six weeks. Researchers noted a modest increase in both attention and wellbeing. Larger scale studies are indicated, but initial results are promising (Bhayee, 2016).
Whilst it’s early days, it seems that we are able to actively work on creating the best possible versions of ourselves. Imagine a more attentive, patient, relaxed and compassionate version of you.
How would your personal AND professional life improve? When you are present in the moment - aware of both your internal and external state - you can improve the way you care for yourself and those you lead and love.
Does having an increased state of well-being sound appealing? Do you want to make better decisions and improve your outlook on life, both at work and at home? If so, look out for the upcoming release of our documentary ‘’!
Bhayee, S., Tomaszewski, P., Lee, D. H., Moffat, G., Pino, L., Moreno, S., & Farb, N. A. S. (2016). Attentional & affective consequences of technology supported mindfulness training: a randomized, active control, efficacy trial. BMC Psychology, 4, 60. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-016-0168-6
These Stories on Make Me A Leader
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.
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