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The Morality of Meditation: David DeSteno

The Morality of Meditation: David DeSteno | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

MEDITATION is fast becoming a fashionable tool for improving your mind. With mounting scientific evidence that the practice can enhance creativity, memory and scores on standardized intelligence tests, interest in its practical benefits is growing. A number of “mindfulness” training programs, like that developed by the engineerChade-Meng Tan at Google, and conferences like Wisdom 2.0 for business and tech leaders, promise attendees insight into how meditation can be used to augment individual performance, leadership and productivity.

 

This is all well and good, but if you stop to think about it, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the (perfectly commendable) pursuit of these benefits and the purpose for which meditation was originally intended. Gaining competitive advantage on exams and increasing creativity in business weren’t of the utmost concern to Buddha and other early meditation teachers. As Buddha himself said, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” For Buddha, as for many modern spiritual leaders, the goal of meditation was as simple as that. The heightened control of the mind that meditation offers was supposed to help its practitioners see the world in a new and more compassionate way, allowing them to break free from the categorizations (us/them, self/other) that commonly divide people from one another.

 

But does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?

 

To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science. We recruited 39 people from the Boston area who were willing to take part in an eight-week course on meditation (and who had never taken any such course before). We then randomly assigned 20 of them to take part in weekly meditation classes, which also required them to practice at home using guided recordings. The remaining 19 were told that they had been placed on a waiting list for a future course.

 

After the eight-week period of instruction, we invited the participants to the lab for an experiment that purported to examine their memory, attention and related cognitive abilities. But as you might anticipate, what actually interested us was whether those who had been meditating would exhibit greater compassion in the face of suffering. To find out, we staged a situation designed to test the participants’ behavior before they were aware that the experiment had begun.

 

WHEN a participant entered the waiting area for our lab, he (or she) found three chairs, two of which were already occupied. Naturally, he sat in the remaining chair. As he waited, a fourth person, using crutches and wearing a boot for a broken foot, entered the room and audibly sighed in pain as she leaned uncomfortably against a wall. The other two people in the room — who, like the woman on crutches, secretly worked for us — ignored the woman, thus confronting the participant with a moral quandary. Would he act compassionately, giving up his chair for her, or selfishly ignore her plight?

 

The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators gave up their seats — an admittedly disheartening fact — the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help. Nonetheless, the meditation increased the compassionate response threefold.

 

Although we don’t yet know why meditation has this effect, one of two explanations seems likely. The first rests on meditation’s documented ability to enhance attention, which might in turn increase the odds of noticing someone in pain (as opposed to being lost in one’s own thoughts).

 

My favored explanation, though, derives from a different aspect of meditation: its ability to foster a view that all beings are interconnected. The psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have found that any marker of affiliation between two people, even something as subtle as tapping their hands together in synchrony, causes them to feel more compassion for each other when distressed. The increased compassion of meditators, then, might stem directly from meditation’s ability to dissolve the artificial social distinctions — ethnicity, religion, ideology and the like — that divide us.

 

Supporting this view, recent findings by the neuroscientists Helen Weng, Richard Davidson and colleagues confirm that even relatively brief training in meditative techniques can alter neural functioning in brain areas associated with empathic understanding of others’ distress — areas whose responsiveness is also modulated by a person’s degree of felt associations with others.

 

So take heart. The next time you meditate, know that you’re not just benefiting yourself, you’re also benefiting your neighbors, community members and as-yet-unknown strangers by increasing the odds that you’ll feel their pain when the time comes, and act to lessen it as well.

 


Via Jim Manske, Jone Johnson Lewis
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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, July 7, 2013 11:56 AM

Actually, I like this very much...

Adrian Ivakhiv's curator insight, July 7, 2013 4:22 PM

The result -- that meditators are more likely to show empathy to a stranger -- is not surprising, but the proportion (three times as likely) is. The research base for this conclusion keeps growing...

Margarita Tarragona's curator insight, July 8, 2013 3:02 PM

Nueva evidencia de que la meditación nos ayuda a ser más compasivos.

#bienestar

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The Values of “Insightfully Aware” Leaders

The Values of “Insightfully Aware” Leaders | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

The ability to identify and communicate values is critical to self-awareness and leadership development.


Via Kenneth Mikkelsen, Roger Francis, Jose Luis Anzizar
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Kenneth Mikkelsen's curator insight, September 19, 6:21 AM

Values exploration holds an important place in any leadership development initiative, be that coaching, leadership training, executive education courses, or reflection activities. 


Once armed with deep knowledge of who they are, and what they can be, a transformative blueprint for effective personal leadership and development can be created and implemented

.

In work and life, self-aware leaders make tough decisions that will be guided by core values.



Lisa McCarthy's curator insight, September 22, 5:24 AM

An “insightfully aware” leader has a profound and clear understanding of his or her purpose and the reasons behind it. Self-awareness of values helps leaders to reflect upon their emotions, goals, needs and motives. Individuals who are able to identify and articulate their values will generate meaningful insights about how they see themselves, the circumstances they face, the behaviours they display, and their potential reactions to specific situations. Comprehending their values (personal, work and organisational) enables leaders to know and accomplish what they believe is important. 

Steve Bax's curator insight, September 22, 10:28 AM

Very good article scooped by Kenneth Mikkelsen. Well worth reading about the 'Values Types and the Personal Values System' which shows the 12 Values Types identified too. 

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The Francis focus on leadership - "..the leader’s ability to impart to fellow workers self-discipline, courage and ethical approach"

The Francis focus on leadership - "..the leader’s ability to impart to fellow workers self-discipline, courage and ethical approach" | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
How to use the ‘dispersed leadership’ concept

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4 Ways Yoga And Meditation Will Make You a Better Leader

4 Ways Yoga And Meditation Will Make You a Better Leader | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
Like most things, practicing mindfulness takes dedication. But if leaders remain persistent, they will reap all the benefits of this practice.

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7 Challenges Courageous Leaders Overcome

In the face of overwhelming odds or critical failures, it's easy to lose sight of your aspirations, but the charismatic leaders we admire throughout history don't give in to that temptation. They work to overcome any challenge.

Via Anne Leong
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Nancy J. Herr's curator insight, September 10, 12:04 PM

If you are experiencing doubt about your effectiveness or have had a setback, these stories of overcoming the odds to become a great leader will inspire you and perhaps give you the incentive to push on.

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What Leadership Will Look Like In 20 Years - Forbes

What Leadership Will Look Like In 20 Years - Forbes | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
What Leadership Will Look Like In 20 Years
Forbes
For nearly 100 years, leadership has been a top-down game. The Industrial Revolution brought about scale, and the only way leaders knew to manage this scale was through hierarchy.

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Anu Ojaranta's curator insight, August 29, 3:58 PM

Employee pull and intelligent reaction! Needed already! 

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Leadership In The Age Of Complexity: From Hero To Host, by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze

Leadership In The Age Of Complexity: From Hero To Host, by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
For too long, too many of us have been entranced by heroes. Perhaps it's our desire to not have to do the hard work, to rely on someone else to figure things out. But perhaps it's time for us to face the truth of our situation -- that we're all in this together, that we all have a voice -- and figure out how to mobilize the hearts and minds of everyone in our workplaces and communities.

Via Anne Leong
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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, September 16, 11:10 AM

A great question is posed in the article. Why do we continue to hope for heroes to emerge? I would add, "Why do we settle for managers and false prophets?"

 

@ivon_ehd1

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4 Signs You Need to Take a Mental Health Day

Entrepreneurs occasionally need to take time off to recharge and recuperate but are often reluctant to do it. Here's when you should consider a mental health day.

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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, August 27, 5:55 AM

some cool  tips to recognize when you are running on low fuel and need a recharge:-)

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5 Things Successful Leaders Do in a Crisis

Running your own business can be difficult, and sooner or later it's going to test you. Here are the traits you'll need to remain a successful leader during those challenging times.


Via Stepped Leader, David Hain
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The Mirror Test - Why Self-Awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change

The Mirror Test - Why Self-Awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

More than we’d probably like to admit so many of our days are spent in a state of self-delusion, an internal monologue of justifying our actions, both good and bad. When we do something wrong, our evolutionary instincts kick in and we do anything we can to not acknowledge the obvious: sometimes, it’s all our fault.


Via David Hain, John Michel
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Charlotte Hitchcock's curator insight, August 19, 5:37 AM

Know yourself before you  lead others. Understand why you respond as you do and  its affect on others.  Honesty about yourself can be hard but in the end it is worth it

Patricia D. Sadar - Career and Leadership Acceleration Coach's curator insight, August 26, 3:31 PM

If you want to go far...you need to know who you are!

 

 

David Jardin's curator insight, August 28, 7:06 AM

Emotional intelligence and effective leadership are unattainable without self-awareness.

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Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
Vacation isn’t a luxury. Neither is daydreaming. Don’t skimp.

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Tom Wojick's curator insight, August 11, 9:27 AM

Great description of the brains two part attentional system, which provides the science behind why taking a break is productive. Now if could get my clients to trust that they will be more productive and creative by taking their vacation and to bury their blackberry in the sand! 

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Our Brains Immediately Judge People

Our Brains Immediately Judge People | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
We make calls on trustworthiness almost instantly

Via Suvi Salo, Roy Sheneman, PhD
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Linda Alexander's comment, August 9, 10:12 AM
the majority of this article is not available but if you google the title, several sites have the complete text available, like Everyday Health.
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Management’s Three Eras: A Brief History - We’ve entered the age of empathy.

Management’s Three Eras: A Brief History - We’ve entered the age of empathy. | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

We’ve entered the age of empathy.

 

Today, we are in the midst of another fundamental rethinking of what organizations are and for what purpose they exist. If organizations existed in the execution era to create scale and in the expertise era to provide advanced services, today many are looking to organizations to create complete and meaningful experiences.

 

I would argue that management has entered

a new era of empathy.

 

This quest for empathy extends to customers, certainly, but also changes the nature of the employment contract, and the value proposition for new employees. We are also grappling with widespread dissatisfaction with the institutions that have been built to date, many of which were designed for the business-as-machine era. They are seen as promoting inequality, pursuing profit at the expense of employees and customers, and being run for the benefit of owners of capital, rather than for a broader set of stakeholders. At this level, too, the challenge to management is to act with greater empathy.


BY Rita Gunther McGrath, a Professor at Columbia Business School, is a globally recognized expert on strategy in uncertain and volatile environments. S


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Susan Stillman's curator insight, August 10, 8:59 AM

So, let's be proactive and teach empathy and other competencies of emotional intelligence  to MBA students, med students, law school students (what a thought!), teacher candidates, educational leaders,  and other professional in training. They,  in turn, would be using these skills in their interactions with their students, or staffs,  or clients going forward. What an impact that would have, not just corporations/customers but on all of society. That would be a new era indeed!

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Effective Leaders Are "Happy Warriors"

Effective Leaders Are "Happy Warriors" | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
The two traits leaders need: warmth and competence.

Via Anne Leong
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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, August 6, 1:15 AM

You not only need warmth to win over people/gain the trust of your team, you also need competence to fight on their behalf and make things happen:-)

Michon Williams's curator insight, August 8, 9:23 AM
I've long thought that one of our greatest and most foundational requirements is to be happy first. For leadership, for personal effectiveness, for life!
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How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader

How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
An exercise to help you understand your behavior.

Via Roger Francis
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The Evolution Of The Employee

The Evolution Of The Employee | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

This concept and the visual was taken from my new book which came out today called, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization.

 

One of the things I have been writing about and have tried to make clear over the past few months is that work as we know it is dead and that the only way forward is to challenge convention around how we work, how we lead, and how we build our companies. Employees which were once thought of expendable cogs are the most valuable asset that any organization has. However, the employee from a decade ago isn’t the same as the employee who we are starting to see today. To help show that I wanted to share an image from my upcoming book which depicts how employees are evolving. It’s an easy way to see the past vs the future.

 


Via Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor, Jose Luis Anzizar, Lori Williams, Amy Melendez, Roy Sheneman, PhD
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Tom Hood's curator insight, September 6, 8:27 AM

Nice graphic that captures the essence of how work and the employee is changing / needing to change. It is very close to an exercise we did with our team as we prepared for our move and our "workplace" consultants (Avance') had our entire team map how work was, how it is now, and where they see it going... Here are some of the key areas:

 

From individual work to group work

From hierarchy to flat structure

From Independent group to interdependent group

From internally focused to external (customer/member and brand)

From planned connections to spontaneous connections

From single work point to multiple workpoints

From structured to fluid

 

This also reinforces our approach to what we are calling the "shift change" and how the interplay of technology, workplace, leadership, learning, and culture are all in need of intentional thoughtful planning to get the most out of the new world we are facing...

Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, September 18, 3:35 AM

Wow, like it...:-)))

Hélène Introvigne's curator insight, September 18, 2:39 PM

the future of work !

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A Better Way to do Business

A Better Way to do Business | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

For the last few decades we’ve become increasingly trapped in thinking of business as all about profit. That has become the driving purpose of most businesses,  with all other considerations being trampled by concerns for cold hard cash.

 

But there’s a better way to do business. Better from the human side. Better from the customer side. And as it turns out, better from the profit side as well.

 


Via Roger Francis
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7 clues you're addicted to co-dependent leadership | @DeniseCorcoran4

7 clues you're addicted to co-dependent leadership | @DeniseCorcoran4 | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
If you are a sucker for great leadership movies like I am --- "Invictus," "Coach Carter" and "Moneyball," just to name a few -- it’s easy to assume that al

Via Ron McIntyre
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Ron McIntyre's curator insight, September 9, 11:00 AM

Excellent question for every leader.  So much of what leadership does today is co-dependent in nature.

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5 Survival Questions for Leaders of Tomorrow's Economy

5 Survival Questions for Leaders of Tomorrow's Economy | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
From Silicon Valley to Capitol Hill, experts warn that without continuous innovation, companies and even entire economies will fail. And in leadership circles, you're still thinking inside the box if you don't drop the word "innovation" at ...

Via Anne Leong
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Fighting Anxiety And Depression At Work

Fighting Anxiety And Depression At Work | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

We live in an environment, particularly in the corporate world, where competition is increasing, where there is a 24/7 always-on mentality, and where people are expected to do more with less.


Via Jenny Ebermann
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Can Overthinking Reduce a Leader's Influence?

Can Overthinking Reduce a Leader's Influence? | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

We've all seen this: The CEO who acts instinctively, sometimes with terrible results, keeps his or her job and even develops a loyal following. Meanwhile, the thinker in the executive suite who consistently offers the right, deliberated answer rarely gets a promotion.

 


Via Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor, Kenneth Mikkelsen, Roger Francis
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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, August 25, 3:35 AM

Well, rest the common sense of the right balance... all attempts to break into actionable pieces what is in the very actual situation is impossible are futile... sometimes intuition is better than too much thinking and sometimes intuition puts things astray...it's a bit mote complicated than "less thinking & moreintuition"" (see books like "Think twice",  "Think again" or Kahneman's...)...

 

Of course and it' an interesting aspect that the  staff is how influenced by how the decision is made... decisions might be powerful  and  with full of confidence made by either by more thinking by more by intuition, the essence is the  congruity, the authenticity of those making it and the transparence of the process...

rodrick rajive lal's curator insight, August 25, 4:54 AM

I guess it is time we realised that overthinking and overanalyzing do not give good returns after all! The ideal CEO is a person who can handle various tasks without getting bogged down by a single task due to over thinking. However, there are many of us who become obsessed with somehow getting to the rooot of a particular problem without realising that we are neglecting other tasks!

Dan Forbes's curator insight, August 25, 7:46 AM

Let me think about this....

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#Culture Starts with #Leaders

#Culture Starts with #Leaders | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
Culture is a powerful force and culture-shaping efforts fail for many key reasons. But what makes them succeed? What makes some culture-change efforts successful where others become simply …

Via Patricia D. Sadar - Career and Leadership Acceleration Coach
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How Those Who Challenge You Help to Make You More Successful

How Those Who Challenge You Help to Make You More Successful | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

Are you feeling uninspired and stuck at work? Perhaps it's the people around you. It's nice to have colleagues who support us and are of like mind – they boost our confidence and allow us to relax. We develop a network of people with whom we like to work because we know their styles and they know ours.

 

It’s comfortable and expedient and it works.

 Healthy conflict, differing perspectives

Unfortunately, that level of comfort can stall the very learning and innovation that can expand our careers and our companies, says Kevin Daum, author of ROAR! Get Heard in the Sales and Marketing Jungle.


Via Roger Francis
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The Paradox of Trust, Vulnerability and Leadership

The Paradox of Trust, Vulnerability and Leadership | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it

Humans tend to model the behavior they see. When leaders appear to be in control, know everything, never doubt, or never ask for help or input, employees think they have to do the same.  The behavior they see and deem as acceptable is to be strong, not question, never be wrong, and always know.  The opposite behavior is a sign of weakness and is unacceptable


Via Roger Francis
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Graeme Reid's curator insight, August 11, 7:15 PM

Leadership is a fine line between the confidence and competence to earn and keep trust.

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, August 11, 11:16 PM

Articles such as this one should be part of the conversation about School leadership which tends away from trust, paradox, and leadership and tends towards managing.

 

@ivon_ehd1

David Jardin's curator insight, August 15, 8:13 PM

Great definition: Leadership is a fine line between the confidence and competence to earn and keep trust and the hubris and perfection that loses trust.

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5 Hard Truths About Leadership That You Never Stop Learning

5 Hard Truths About Leadership That You Never Stop Learning | Wise Leadership | Scoop.it
As an Organizational Development and Leadership practitioner, I often find myself having conversations about leadership – what it is and what it isn’t – and how to be a good leader. …

Via Roger Francis, Jose Luis Anzizar, Amy Melendez
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donhornsby's curator insight, August 6, 8:30 AM

(From the article): We all have developmental areas regardless of position in the organization. Communication and remaining open to feedback is how you will learn where you can improve.

 

Training exists everywhere, but before you jump on the bandwagon of the current theory/trend, request some direct feedback and then look into what training may help best address developmental areas.

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7 Lessons from Leadership Guru Warren Bennis

The renowned leadership expert died last week at 89. Here is a selection of his most trenchant quotes.


Via Ron McIntyre
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Ron McIntyre's curator insight, August 4, 8:21 PM
He will be missed, however the will be new guru's! If not then we have a problem.