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Google's 'Head of Mindfulness' Speaks Out

By Jo Confino
May 18, 2014 7:27AM

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A growing awareness of the importance of our emotional fitness is mirroring the same journey of acceptance that physical exercise took in the last century, says Chade-Meng Tan, Google's head of mindfulness training. Tan says that mindfulness opens the doorway to loving kindness, which is at the heart of business success.

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Human Resources

Chade-Meng Tan's job description would never get past most companies' human resources departments. As the head of mindfulness training at Google, his role is to enlighten minds, open hearts and create world peace.

But he hopes that one day, his role will become commonplace. A growing awareness of the importance of our emotional fitness, he says, is mirroring the same journey of acceptance that physical exercise took in the last century. And he believes that scientific evidence of the benefits of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness will be instrumental into catapulting it into the very heart of the business world.

Tan, who is officially known as the search engine giant's Jolly Good Fellow, likes to live up to his image of joking around and points out that mindfulness is moving away from its association with mysticism -- or with people from San Francisco.

"If you are a company leader who says employees should be encouraged to exercise, nobody looks at you funny," Tan says. "The same thing is happening to meditation and mindfulness, because now that it's become scientific, it has been demystified. It's going to be seen as fitness for the mind."

A Fitbit for the Mind

Through the development of apps and other software, tech companies such as Google will have a major part to play in mainstreaming mindfulness, he predicts. In the same way that the pedometer has influenced exercise, these apps could similarly popularize mindfulness, Tan says.

He speaks, for example, of devices that will be able to show how meditation impacts brain waves, potentially creating a whole industry of professional trainers. "Just imagine setting a goal like 'a year from now, I want to be able to calm my mind in 40% of the time it takes me now' and my personal trainer is accountable to that target," he says.

But what has all this got to do with the cutthroat world of business?

Tan says that mindfulness opens the doorway to loving kindness, which is at the heart of business success.

"In many situations, goodness is good for business," he says. "If you, as the boss, are nice to your employees, they are happy, they treat their customers well, the customers are happy to spend more money, so everybody wins. "Also if you treat everybody with kindness, they'll like you even if they don't really know why. And if they like you, they want to help you succeed. So it's good for your soul and it's good for your career." (continued...)

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© 2014 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

Tell Us What You Think



Posted: 2014-05-23 @ 6:14am PT
Fantastic to learn the the giants of the corporate world are embracing such concepts and practices as mindfulness. I actually have a mindfulness session at the start of each of the networking events I run. It helps the delegates to focus on the present moment, on the task at hand, which is making meaningful connections.

th3rd wave:

Posted: 2014-05-22 @ 12:11pm PT
Any kind of new age eastern mysticism which can open us up to the kundalini self actualisation process of the new world order beast system can only be a good thing. We need to set the stage for the coming world ruler and peace for all. Worship your beast

The Thought Coach:

Posted: 2014-05-20 @ 5:55am PT
Mindfulness cannot be measured in terms of 100 minutes, 52 hours or 2,000 hours. The whole article is about peoples inner qualities. Possibly a sad reflection on current society if he feels we don't already hold those social qualities that most of us have already as unconscious programs. Mindfulness is not the answer it is but a step on the way of awareness of unconscious programs. The next step is to pass it back to an unconscious automated program as part of our very being! #epiconscious #epimindful


Posted: 2014-05-18 @ 11:07pm PT
Focus and clarity of thinking are just two of the many benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Too many people dismiss things that they do not understand as fraudulent. Meditation and mindfulness have been benefiting people for centuries and the science is indisputable. I suggest people try it for a few months before dismissing it as a fad or worthless. I usually suggest a short guided meditation exercise to start with. The ones by Jon Shore at www.meditation-download seem to work very well for my psychotherapy clients. It is so simple to just try it for a few months and see what happens. There is a good reason that mindfulness is becoming more and more popular every week.

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