How often do you reread an email before sending, or ask yourself if the message is important and clearly written?
Mindfulness is being aware. It’s a concept foundational to Buddhism. And after several millennia of living mostly in the world of philosophy and religion, mindfulness now extends to the realm of psychology and underlies a range of therapeutic approaches.
I continue to think about the potential of mindful communication. Mindful email would, for example, reflect the critical thinking and insight behind an idea that was developed before it was shared.
In the days of pen and paper, stringing nouns and verbs together required greater thought. Even a touch of mindfulness meant fewer cross outs and crumpled pieces of paper. The typewriter opened the door to spontaneity, but White Out took time. It paid to think first.
With email the ability to quickly get an idea down, read it and then improve it was a huge leap forward. At least it was for me. The problem is how quickly we hit “send.”
Without mindfulness, words and ideas can become commodities. Not only do many lack value, they can lead to misunderstanding or make us look foolish. The easier it is to write and send, the greater the chance of damage. And whether words have merit or not, instant communication can render them quickly forgotten. As Cincinnati Enquirer sports writer Paul Daugherty says in today’s column, “In an age of Instant and Instantly Ancient, we don’t know much. Knowing requires depth. Depth takes time.”
I’m interested in enhancing mindful communication in the workplace, and want to test a few approaches. If you’d like your business or organization to participate, speak up. Hit send.