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Mindfulness and Leadership

Ellen Langer | 49:35


When we're learning about how to be in this world, it doesn't occur to us that whatever we're learning can be understood differently. And what I'm going to do is talk to you today about this concept of mindlessness. And show you that basically, we're sealed and unlived lives. And it's important to break the seals that keep us from actually experiencing all that we could experience. I went into a store to make a purchase, and I gave the cashier my credit card, she saw that the credit card wasn't signed. 

So she asked me to sign it, I signed it. She then ran it through the credit card machine, and gave me the credit card slip and asked me to sign it, I signed it. She then compared the two signatures. If they didn't match, it would have been funny. What was interesting to me about this, though, was that she was completely oblivious to the fact that this made little sense. And then I started to think about it. And I realized that basically, when you're not there, you're not there to know that you're not there. 

Right. And my argument is that we're not there. Most of the time. I know you have lots of pop psychology, that tells you be in the moment. And that's very nice. Be in the moment. The problem is when you're not in the moment, you're not there to know you're not there. So I'm going to show you how to be there. Now the consequences of being mindless can be innocuous as with the credit card, or they can be quite severe. So many years ago, a flight was leaving from Washington DC, going to Florida.

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