In today’s frenetic world in which we live, how often do we go about the day without being as mindful of the little things? The little things that include what we say (or don’t), tone of voice (or empty uh-huh moments), behaviors that imply we are too busy to make eye contact as we grunt a response…! Yes, I could go on and on as I’m thinking of myself right now – hmmm, did I unintentionally cause someone to feel ignored or unimportant today?
I’m reflecting on an article written in the 1970s by Mary Rowe, Ph.D. from MIT, on the topic she coined “micro-inequities.” Dr. Rowe expounds upon those seemingly insignificant moments that can (and often do) have a significant impact. No one enjoys feeling dismissed, not listened to, interrupted – almost as though you’re not valuable in the context of the moment. Dr. Rowe then writes about the polar opposite behaviors of those who give “micro-affirmations.” And who doesn’t enjoy (and respond to) recognition?
So what do I recommend to encourage increased mindfulness?
- Practice being in the moment – focus (even if you have to pinch yourself)
- Respond with eye contact when face to face – staring at your computer while talking does not count
- Count the number of times you interrupt others or “step on” their words before they finish speaking
- Observe your tone of voice – do you sound engaged or hollow – is your voice trailing off, and it is obvious you’re thinking of something else
- The next time you say “have a nice day,” really mean it rather than spewing out a perfunctory string of words
Well, this is just the beginning of the journey, and I have my work cut out for me…how about you?