top of page

Mindfulness Over Matter

Ellen Langer | 1:17:55


I was in a store many years ago, and I made a purchase and I'm at the cash register. And I give the cashier my credit card, she sees it wasn't signed, she asked me to sign it, I signed it, she then runs it through the credit card machine, gives me the credit card slip to sign, I signed it. She then compares the two signatures.

What was interesting to me about this was that she was completely oblivious to the fact that this didn't make a lot of sense. And then I realized that when you're mindless, you're mindless, you're not there to know you're not there. And that's why there are lots of people out there who say Be in the moment, and that's great. But no one is ever aware of it. They're not in the moment. We're going to talk about how to actually be in the moment.

Okay, so more formally, let me define these concepts for you. mindlessness is when you're on automatic pilot, basically, you're relying on distinctions and categories that you drew in the past. So the past is over determining the present, you're trapped in a single perspective. And remember, all the while you're oblivious to this, you're insensitive to context and perspective.

You have rules and routines that are guiding you a governing what you're doing. That may not make any sense any longer. And the same thing for those of you in business who think that you should have goals, you shouldn't have goals, determine all that you're doing. Because the goal is made a time one. Now many years later, it might not be so smart to continue on the path you started on.

And it doesn't occur to people to question that. When you're mindful, this is so simple that defies belief. All you need to do is actively notice new things. That's it. As you actively notice new things, it puts you in the present. It makes you sensitive to context and perspective. You can have rules and routines. But these are gently guiding what you're doing rather than over determining what you're doing. And how does it feel. When you're mindful, you're engaged in what you're doing.

You're literally and figuratively enlivened by this experience of simply noticing new things. Now, what happens is when you notice new things, that reveals to you that you didn't know that thing as well as you thought you did. So then your attention naturally goes to it. Alright, people think and we teach in schools and businesses.

Download Transcript

bottom of page