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The Importance of Mindfulness and Compassion at Work

Source |  |  BY:Michael Susi, Designing Wellness Programs that Help People Unleash Their Greatness

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who left a career in cellular genetics to study Buddhism in the Himalayas more than 45 years ago. Often referred to as the “happiest man in the world,” Matthieu is an international best-selling author and a prominent speaker on the world stage. We were honored to have him sit down with our CEO, Jeff Weiner, in the latest installment of the LinkedIn Speaker Series.

In the interview, Matthieu spoke about our quest for happiness and the ways in which happiness is defined and pursued. Every person is seeking happiness, or more specifically, the avoidance of suffering.

And truth be told, there’s a lot of suffering in the world.

You may think that suffering only happens with those who you may not regularly interact with, but it actually includes all of us. You, me, the people we work with, all the people we interact with on a daily basis find ourselves suffering at some points in our lives. Suffering may be a result of an injury, illness or loss; it can also stem from some interactions with the people we work with. While the source may or may not come from work, it can end up in your workplace.

In most corporate settings, compassion, mindfulness, and the obtainment of happiness have become catch-phrases and tools to make more money, increase productivity, or pursue any number of short-sighted goals. And while it may be true that short-term, self-driven goals may be obtained while misusing the practice of mindfulness and compassion, Matthieu teaches us that only through altruism can we obtain true happiness for ourselves and for others.

So what are we to do? Matthieu presents a way to ease our own suffering and the suffering of others. How? Nurture and exhibit our inherent ability to be altruistic in our motivations, our actions, and our inactions. What is altruism? Put simply, it’s the wish that other people may be happy; we can nurture it by practicing caring-mindfulness and exhibit it through compassion


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