LETTING EVERYTHING BECOME YOUR TEACHER:
LESSON 2: Map Versus Journey
This book is meant to serve as a map, a guide to you. As you know, a map is not the territory it portrays. In the same way you should not mistake reading this book for the actual journey. That journey you have to live yourself, by cultivating mindfulness in your own life.
Reprinted from LETTING EVERYTHING BECOME YOUR TEACHER: 100 Lessons in Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn © 2009 by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Reprinted by arrangement with the Random House Publishing Group.
Jon Kabat-Zinn Bio and Links
Enjoy this excerpt from a recording that stresses the importance of mindfulness in the workplace, particularly among those in position of authority, from Michael Carroll's The Mindful Leader: 10 Principles for Bringing Out the Best in Ourselves and Others.
Part One Introduction: Inspiring the Best in Ourselves and Others
As workplace leader, it seems that we are always trying to grow the business, meet the deadline, close the deal, and finish the project. And the speed and pace can be intense - getting it done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter. Such a style of leadership with all its ambition and energy has its benefits no doubt, but it also has a profound blind spot: in our relentless pursuit of “success,” we too often forget to live our lives. When we lead a career that is sharply focused on being more successful, more admired, or just more comfortable, we can deceive ourselves into neglecting the world around us. We end up managing our lives like projects rather than actually living them. Consequently, for mindful leaders, cultivating this ability to be at work and throughout our lives is not just a nice idea or an interesting thing to do. Rather, by learning to be at work we discover how to stop kidding ourselves and respect the world around us. In the next several chapters we will explore the importance of learning to open respectfully and realistically to our workplace as it unfolds in the present moment.
Chapter One: Opening Up to Workplace Realities
The kinds of leaders we encounter at work are generally what we call “top-down” leaders. We are all pretty familiar with this approach. There is the boss who has the “top” job and tries to get others “down” in the organization to do things. Small organizations such as medical teams and big organizations such as governments all have a leader at the top and others down below who are expected to follow. All of us at times are the leader and at other times the follower, and when it’s our turn to lead, we work hard to get results. Surprisingly, becoming the boss at the top is usually more distressing than we expect, but nonetheless, we do our best to get the job done. While overly simplistic, this is the kind of leadership we normally encounter at work, and we tend to take such an approach pretty much for granted. This kind of “top-down” leadership can be quite effective for managing organizations. Setting priorities, allocating resources, directing strategy – these and much more can best be done when we, as leaders, have a wide view from atop an organization. And when top-down leadership works, we all feel pretty good. We know what’s expected of us, we have a clear sense of purpose, and we all pull in the same direction. But things don’t always go so smoothly at work, and instead of pulling in the same direction, we can sometimes feel as if we have lost our way: we can feel “misled” and a bit discouraged, as if a burdensome and limiting “lid” were placed on top of us and our workplace. Lids are common at work: unreasonable deadlines, rude colleagues, careless managers, onerous bureaucracy, frivolous demands – unfortunately, the list is long and familiar. Such lids are permitted to cover organizations when we, as leaders, lose our perspective and become out of touch with the realities of getting the job done. Instead of taking a wide, realistic view of work, we mistakenly hurry through our circumstances, overlooking advice, chasing deadlines, ignoring business facts, and frantically pursuing success. And despite all our good intentions, such a narrow, determined view derives us to put lids of pointless pressure on ourselves and others – demanding results rather than inspiring them, chasing opportunities rather than inviting them, insisting on respect rather than earning it. In the end, when lids are placed on organizations, we can find ourselves losing patience with our lives and in turn trying to conquer or dominate our work rather than accomplish it.
We are honored to offer this Bonus Free Title from Business Guru Seth Godin. This Linchpin Session recording is 45 minutes of inspired listening, learning and living.
Seth challenges us to think and live outside of the box.
Click on this link for a preview and free download.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is one of the great Chinese classical texts, compiled more than 2,000 years ago. Enjoy this excerpt titled "Strategic Assessments" -- which includes both the original text and astute commentary from Chinese military thinkers -- from our Shambhala Collection.
Master Sun: Military action is important to the nation. It is the grand of death and life, the path of survival and destruction. So it is imperative to examine it.
Commentary: Military action is inauspicious. It is only considered important because it is a matter of life and death. And there is the possibility that it may be taken up lightly.
Master Sun: Therefore measure in terms of five things. Use these assessments to make comparisons and thus find out what the conditions are. The five things are - the way, the weather, the terrain, the leadership, and discipline.
Commentary: Five things are to be assessed - the way, the weather, the lay of the land, the leadership, and discipline. These are to be assessed at headquarters. First assess yourself and your opponent in terms of these five things deciding who is superior. Then you can determine who is likely to prevail. Having determined this, only then should you mobilize your forces.
Master Sun: The way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership so that they will share death and share life without fear of danger.
Commentary: If the people are treated with benevolence, faithfulness, and justice, then they will be of one mind and will be glad to serve. The I-ching says, joyful in difficulty, the people forget about their deaths.
Master Sun: The weather means the seasons.
Commentary: In ancient times many soldiers lost their fingers to frostbite on campaigns against the Hun’s and many soldiers died of plague on campaigns against the southern tribes. This was because of carrying out operations in winter and summer. This is the meaning of the saying; don’t go into another territory at an unfavorable time.
Master Sun: The terrain is to be assessed in terms of distance, difficulty, or ease of travel, dimension, and safety.
Commentary: In any military operation, it is important first to know the lay of the land. When you know the distance to be traveled, then you can plan whether to proceed directly or by a securitas route. When you know the difficulty or ease of travel, then you can determine the advantages of infantry or mounted troops. When you know the dimensions of the area, then you can assess how many troops you need, many or few. When you know the relative safety of the terrain, then you can discern whether to do battle or disperse.
Master Sun: Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and sternness.
Commentary: The way of the ancient kings was to consider humaneness foremost, while the martial art is considered intelligence foremost. This is because intelligence involves the ability to plan and to know when to change effectively. Trustworthiness means to make people sure of punishment or reward. Humaneness means love and compassion for people, begin aware of their toils. Courage means to seize opportunities to make certain of victories without vacillation. Sternness means to establish discipline in the ranks by strict punishments. Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive sternness of command results in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a military leader.
Master Sun: Discipline means organization, chain of command, and logistics.
Commentary: organization means that troops must be grouped in a regulated manner. Chain of command means that there must be offices to keep the troops together and lead them. Logistics mean overseeing supplies. Everyone has heard of these five things, but only those who deeply understand the principals of adaptation and impasse will win.