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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Business Case for Mindfulness



Patrick Coutermarsh

Oli Mittermair

What is Mindfulness?

"Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally" (Zinn).

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism and clinical psychology in the 1970s.

Mindfulness has seen a surge in popularity in the past few years, making its way into the press, corporate seminars, and beyond.

The Takeaways

VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous), an acronym used often in the military, has proven to be increasingly applicable to everyday life.

Multi-tasking, between tasks requiring cognizant processing, is detrimental to productivity; largely due to the "ramp up" and "ramp down" loss in energy when switching between tasks.

Studies have found that employees that practice mindfulness exhibit greater resilience, well-being, immune response, and job satisfaction than their peers.

The pouring of money into one-day seminars on mindfulness and emotional intelligence is referred to as the "Billion Dollar Mistake." Cultivating mindfulness requires practice over an extended period of time, not just a weekend.


"The goal is not to stop thoughts, but to notice them."

"The higher up one goes in an organization, the more important emotional intelligence is for achieving excellence."

"Leadership comes from the inside out."

Oct 9, 2015