Just as it is important to know why should we live mindfully (5 Reasons to Live MIndfully), we need to know the examples of opposite kind. What is mindless living and what does it do to us? I have had the habit of observing the behaviour of people around me minutely. Maybe, all of us have this habit as it is an important survival skill. How we use this data from observations is upto each of us. So, coming back to the topic, I could list following mindless behaviour displayed routinely by people:
- Using several electronic devices simultaneously. This is so common, people talk on phone, watch TV and work on their laptop, all at the same time. This habit is enough to make your mind feel like a bowl of intertwined noodles.
- Driving and talking or even texting. Driving and talking on phone is dangerous but driving and texting can be real deadly. While driving to and from work, I see people all around me trying to type text messages. Their own and others’ physical safety is endangered.
- Talking to people and texting. It is believed that a wife doesn’t like this kind of behavior from her husband but the truth is that nobody like this. It is outright disrespectful to the other person if you are apparently talking to them and looking at your phone at the same time. Rest assured, either you don’t listen or you don’t register whatever you are trying to see on the screen.
- Eating food or texting during meetings. This is so very rampant in corporate meetings. Unless there is a very senior person in a meeting, people are looking at their phone all the time. Surely, they miss what is being discussed but no one will accept that as we feel that we are super-computers with unlimited processing power. Then there is the concept of working lunch. To my mind, you either have lunch or you work. Even if you have lunch at your desk, take the eyes off the screen. When you eat with attention focused elsewhere, you eat wrong food, wrong quantity and in a wrong manner which results in stuffing and indigestion.
- Carrying your newspaper or smart phone in the washroom. If you are focused on something else while evacuating, the evacuation may suffer and may take a long time. A healthy shitting process should be over in five to eight minutes. If you need me time, you sit alone or meditate but don’t prolong the potty process to thirty minutes.
- Exercising and reading or social media. The other day, I saw a young guy bending his neck to read a message while doing weights. This can lead one straight to the hospital and may cause long-term injury. Even while cycling in the gym, people like to watch TV. If you do that your full attention is not on the exercise and you are not putting in maximum effort. If such exercise doesn’t lead you anywhere, why blame it on the gym or the trainer?
We humans are not the best parallel processors. At best we are a fast serial computer. Taking up one task at a time and working on it with full attention is the way to maintain productivity, efficiency and the sanity of your mind. This is the way to long-term happiness. The above examples of mindless behavior or too much parallel processing lead you to stress, anxiety and tension on a sustained basis. This may develop into hyper-tension and depression over time. Take corrective action before it is too late.
Do read 5 Ways to Live Mindfully!
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A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.