6The role of mindfulness in personal growth

‘Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.’


In Part I, we discussed the value of moving towards what is important to us through clear growth values, developing a self-examined mind and unleashing our unique contribution. If it was this simple, many more of us would be there already. As we discussed in chapter 1, our older, fast brain is not wired to default to our growth values; it is wired to protect us in the short term. When working or living in challenging conditions or under perceived threats, our reactive brain kicks in and our noble intentions can easily fly out the window in the service of protecting us from emotional discomfort.

Training the mind to observe our mental and emotional patterns is therefore a great way to cultivate self-awareness and self-regulation, which are the cornerstone to sustainable vertical growth and values-based living. Mindfulness training has been around for millennia and has been popularised in recent decades as a powerful way to train the mind and mitigate the undesirable reactions of our unconscious mind.

We define mindfulness as maintaining an open-hearted awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations and environment, paying attention in the present moment purposefully, warmheartedly and non-judgementally. It is experiencing and accepting the present moment — not how we want it to be, think it should be or perceive it to be, but as it really ...

Get Vertical Growth now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.