The Value of Quiet

The Value of Quiet

As we enter the time of increasing darkness, I think of the value of quiet. Since being introduced to the Three Principles, I have found on a number of occasions, when something unexpected happened that was overwhelming or (temporarily) frightening, a voice in my head saying loudly and clearly, ‘Time to get quiet.’

When the mind starts to rush and thoughts fly everywhere, your wisdom will often step in to remind you that there’s an eye in the center of that storm. When you look there, the noise of too much thinking will usually settle down. This returns you to a sense of faith and connection to a wisdom beyond what your mind can find through its frenetic searching. There, right in the center of us, is the answer we seek. In that quiet it reveals itself.

May you find your own wisdom in the months that lie ahead.

What is a Leadership State of Mind?

What is a Leadership State of Mind?

A woman leader who I’m working with asked me recently to describe to her why a responsive, rather than reactive, state of mind is essential for leadership. I have many examples of how leaders have blown it with colleagues, at team meetings and with direct reports by becoming reactive rather than responsive. But what came to mind when she asked me about it was an experience I had from 2004-2008, working with a team at a very large manufacturing company.

This company had been struggling for a number of years, and was running very much in the red, due to high cost of poor quality and high company turnover. Before the introduction of our trainings, leadership behavior was characterized as harsh, arrogant, and frenzied, and those behaviors had become accepted as the norm. The more leaders treated people this way, the more insecure they became, which lead to even more mistakes and more people leaving the company.

We taught the leadership teams how state of mind drives performance. As they began to see the link between thought and experience, they realized that when they were upset or angry, it wasn’t coming from the performance of colleagues and direct reports, or from loss of profits, it was coming from their own thinking in the moment about company issues. As they settled down and became more secure, so did the people who worked for them, and the morale of the company improved significantly. Leadership began to get good ideas about how to empower their teams. During the period when this approach was used, sales and profit increased almost every year. Every year the performance targets for sales were increased and every year they were exceeded. *

Understanding the link between thought and experience allows you to see the direct connection between your state of mind and your performance. It’s a predictor of success both at home and in the workplace.

Optimism Matters

Optimism matters. We want to feel optimistic, that all’s right with the world, that whatever challenges we face, there is hope. When we are in an optimistic state of mind, we have a sense of being carried by life, by something that we can’t quite name or put our finger on; something that not only feels great but that we intuitively know will give us the resources we need to meet life’s challenges.Those of us familiar with the principle-based understanding of life would call that something ‘Mind’ – a formless energy that has a deeper intelligence that informs everything there is.

When our minds are calm and quiet, we’re in touch with that intangible something, and we know it by the feeling – feelings of love, joy, well-being, gratitude – to name a few. That mental quiet is the empty space between thoughts. When we have a thought and a feeling and the thought clears itself, we visit that mental spaciousness regularly. This is true of children, before the onset of mental habits, and of adults who have gained an understanding of the three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, and how they reveal the inside-out nature of life.

One of my clients, a successful real estate developer named Gary, is learning about this understanding. It’s been helpful, but he still loses touch with it sometimes and gets caught up in the illusion of thought when the going gets tough (don’t we all). This happened recently when an issue came up in his marriage that he has a lot of difficulty with. After he discussed it with me, I asked Gary if he had remembered that the feelings he was having were coming from thoughts in that moment. “No,” he said, “I couldn’t. I was too caught up in trying to fix the problem. I felt like I had to do that before I could do anything else.”

This is a common mistake so many of us make. When we get caught in the illusion of our thinking we feel like we have to fix whatever the perceived problem is before we can attend to matters like our state of mind. But those are the times when we need our mental bearings most. This is why our heads clear when we’re in a really big crisis – a fire or an accident, for example. Many people report that in these situations they were surprised to find themselves in a flow of thoughts that showed them exactly what to do. I assume that nature designed it this way to ensure the survival of our species – if our minds were muddied with a lot thinking in a crisis our chances of surviving would greatly decrease.

The understanding of the inside-out nature of life gives us that lifeline on a moment-by-moment basis as we go through our day. As long as we know that there is only one place to look – our feelings – and their source – Thought- (and its source – Mind!) our awareness of our feeling states grows. As it does, and we remember its source, much of our unnecessary and unproductive thinking withers on the vine. Saying that you can’t remember about your state of mind until you’ve fixed your problem is like someone who cried out in their sleep and, when their friend tried to wake them, said, ‘I can’t wake up until I’ve killed the monster who is chasing me!’

Optimism is a natural state of mind that is really our default setting. It’s what our minds return to when thoughts clear themselves and settle on a regular basis, as they do when we are in our mental well being. From there, getting good ideas to meet life’s challenges is a no-brainer!

With love,