Is Your Mind Full or Are You Mindful?

Dec 06, 2021
Joy Forward Strategy
Is Your Mind Full or Are You Mindful?

The decisions we make in the present create the future. Which state creates a more desirable future, mind full or mindful?!? Strategic foresight embraces complexity. However, complexity does not necessarily mean that our minds must be full all the time. In fact, to truly optimize strategic foresight, we need to be in a mindful state which is quite the opposite of having our minds full.

Strategic Foresight is an organizational, social, and personal practice that provides a framework to identify emerging trends and issues, and then uses these insights to map out possible futures to support better decision-making in the present.

Mindfulness is an intention to cultivate awareness, giving attention to what is occurring in the present moment with an attitude that is non-judgmental, curious, and kind.

Mindful Foresight allows continuous learning through awareness and curiosity to empower better decision making in the present, thus creating the future.

In researching the subject of mindful vs mind full, many seem to either directly or indirectly indicate that being mindful is about the present and being mind full is about the future. Through the lens of futures thinking and strategic foresight, this premise is misguided for three reasons.

1) Often minds full of thoughts and information are thinking more of the past than the future. Much of the mind can be taken up with rethinking or replaying past events or conversations (should haves, would haves, and could haves); or analyzing data all of which is information from the past. That’s what data is, collected facts and statistics. Collected from where? The past.

2) How we think about the future directly impacts the decisions we make today. You cannot simply separate the present and the future so easily. I think this concept is summed up beautifully by the combination of these two quotes.

Allow the present and the future to be complexly intertwined. It is only then that the future is being actively created and pulled towards the present in actionable ways.

3) When our minds are full, we are not in an optimum state to create, innovate, make important decisions, or create preferable futures. A jumbled mind typically cannot see the forest for the trees. The neuroscience of foresight that explains this concept from a scientific perspective is quite fascinating, but will be left to a future blog post. 

Life isn’t always as straight forward as the traditional arrow we normally think of and see.

The arrows that make up the Joy Forward Strategy logo point in different directions intentionally. Life can go in many different directions. Many different futures are possible. Each decision we make today may take us in a different direction forward. The question is what state of mind will create the best possible future, mind full or mindful? The Joy Forward Strategy way is MINDFUL!

Becoming more mindful can seem like an overwhelming or difficult task for some. Being more mindful does not necissarily mean you have to meditate for long periods of time each day. There are many ways to become more mindful. Make it personal and find what works for you. As the saying goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Here are a few simple tips and things to try.

  • Just breathe. For one minute each day close your eyes and do your best to focus on breathing in and out.
  • Let your heart beat. Find your heartbeat in your chest, wrist, or neck and feel it for one minute.
  • Take a walk. Go for a walk for at least five minutes and intentionally notice something you don’t usually give much attention. It could be looking for a specific color, noticing numbers, listening for faint sounds, or choosing a specific muscle in your body and paying attention to how it feels throughout your walk.
  • Pick a feeling. Pick a positive feeling like gratitude, hope, or love and concentrate on it. What gives you the feeling in a strong way? Can you feel it in that moment even if it is only a little bit? Where do you feel it in your body? Concentrate on the feeling and try to expand it to different parts of your body.
  • Get techy. There are countless apps and devices that provide tools and reminders about mindfulness. Most of them offer free trials. Pick one and give it a try. Headspace, Calm, Fabulous, Chopra Meditation and Wellness, Breethe, Inner Balance are a few popular ones.

 Next time you have a decision to make and your mind is full, try shifting into a more mindful state, take a deep breath, and then decide with awareness which direction you will take to create your preferred future!

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