Who Wants to Be A Robot?
I listened to a YouTube lecture from Dr. Ellen Langer today…what an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker!
She says at one point, she laughs when she reads that someday we may all be living with robots. She submits that in some sense we already are.
Being mindless, means responding to our programming…from what we learn in our families, to what we learn in school, to what we learn from our social interactions. We often robotically step one foot in front of the other, on a path that has been laid out for us by others.
That may or may not be a good path for the individual taking it. It was determined for that person, not by that person.
If you're not present, you don't know you're not there.
How can you? You are not there to know.
Mindfulness is being there. It is being present in your life.
When you take a step, it is noticing the step you are taking instead of robotically moving forward – or backward – or to one side or the other. Then you open the possibility of being deliberate.
When you are mindful, you can regain control over your actions and your life. You regain choice.
Research has shown, Dr. Langer says, that mindfulness produces
Engagement instead of Boredom.
She did an experiment with concert musicians. She says they are often bored stiff with their music, having done the same performance over and over and over. They continue because they get well-paid and have prestige from their positions. But satisfaction is missing in their art and work.
When challenged to make subtle changes that noone would notice, mindfully, in their performance, satisfaction increased exponentially. They were happier.
There was a control group who was asked only to remember a time of being satisfied with their work in the past, versus adding something to their present work. The satisfaction they experienced was not as high.
Independently, people were asked to listen to recordings of the two groups. The results were measurable, that the listeners much more appreciated the experimenters than the rememberers. The listeners were not told the difference, but noticed the results.
Mindfulness of Movement
Another study she did was with chambermaids. Most said initially that they did not get enough exercise.
The experimental group was taught how the movements they made in doing their work were similar to being on a piece of exercise equipment at the gym. They became more mindful of their movements.
The results were astounding with this experiment as well as with the musicians and so many others. The mindful group had weight loss, improved waist to hip and Body Mass Index measurements, and lower blood pressure.
What power being mindful has on our lives! On our performance. On our satisfaction. And on our physical bodies!
Would You Like to Be Charismatic? Who wouldn't?
Some of her experiments have tied mindfulness to charisma. One was an experiment with door-to-door magazine salespeople. They had a script for selling. The experimental group were told, as with the concert musicians, to add subtle changes to the script, that only they would notice.
Follow up visits with the customers revealed that those who were mindful were considered much more charismatic. People enjoyed them more.
AND they had higher magazine sales.
That is a big reason companies today are seeking creative mindfulness for their employees and their new hires.
Do you want to be better liked? More charismatic? Become more mindful, the research shows.
Fear of Failure
A big holdback in living mindfully and being open to new ideas and ways of thinking and acting, is a fear of making a mistake.
Fear of being laughed at, ridiculed or just falling short of our own expectations and dreams can put limits on our lives and our possibilities. The limits are artificial. Man-made. They are assumed to be real, but they are not. They don't exist except in our minds, Dr. Langer's research shows.
Dr. Langer shares experiments done with product failures.
She notes that post-it notes came from a glue product that failed to stick. It was a redeployment of a product “failure” to a new – a very profitable – use.
How many other ‘failures” can be redirected to successful outcomes? She maintains, and research supports this view, that mindfulness can accomplish that.
There are three approaches to take with a “failure“:
- Accept the failure as a fact and abandon it
- Evaluate the possibility for using the failure in some other way,
- Look at the properties the product does have, instead of the ones it lacks, and see what they could do.
The third approach removes the most limitations. It opens up more possibilities. Imagine doing that with our lives!
Bridge the Chasm Between Reality and Assumption
She talks about the placebo effect. It is a sham she says.
All the placebo does is to persuade a person that they are getting a solution to a problem, when in fact, nothing is being done. Very often, those treated with a placebo get cures. Their minds control how their bodies respond.
The thing is, between what is real and what is assumed is a huge chasm. Being mindful we can bridge that chasm.
Many things are considered impossible, just because they have not happened. People with severe illnesses have moments of remission from pain and disease. It is not known why or how. It just happens.
To assume that cannot happen is imposing limits on the possible. Being mindful of what is happening, and using the power of our thoughts to envision and to feel the outcome we seek has power.
What is truly uncontrollable? What is impossible? And what just has not been determined yet?
The truth is, we don't know what we don't know. Often we don't even know we don't know that there are things that we don't know – YET.
I think most of us do not want to live robotically. Many of us don't know we are doing that!
Research like Dr. Langer's can help open up awareness of how we live and act. We can become more mindful. She has You Tube videos and books. On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.
What are you going to do today to design your life? How are you going to build your capacity for creative mindfulness? How are you going to keep yourself and your children from living robotically?
Take mindful action today.
Do you have an interest in blogging about things you know and care about, that you would like to share with others? Do you want to make positive mindful changes in the world? Do you want to effectively impact and open up new possibilities for yourself and for those you care about? Learn more today about blogging here. The training is incredible!
What action are you taking today to open up possibilities and remove limits?