Effectiveness is a Mindfulness skill that shows you how to practice being mindful. Mindfulness is the act of paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness is helpful because it teaches you to control your mind.
And that is desirable because often we unwittingly allow our mind to control our actions. Feeling out of control of our actions can be scary, and can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. It is truly revolutionary to move from seeming chaos to purposefully focusing on what you can control, your own behaviors. Using effectiveness to practice mindfulness means focusing on doing what works for you and your life goals instead of focusing on doing what you may feel like doing in any moment. Being effective means actively choosing to put goals that are important to you in front of momentary satisfaction.
Here are three ways you can be effective in your everyday life:
- At work. You really don’t jive with your boss and have been working towards getting a promotion so you will have a better position with a different supervisor. It’s Friday at 4:30 and your current boss asks you to stay late to help her with a project. It’s the last thing you want to do, especially given the timing, but you know it will impress the powers that be and get you one step closer to that new position. Being effective here means helping out your boss, who you don’t like, on a Friday night, so that you are one step closer to being free of your boss forever.
- In relationships-You and your wife have been actively working on better communication skills lately for the good of your marriage and you notice that the skills you have been employing lately have really been helping. However, she discovers one day that you made a considerable purchase without informing her, and, because that was something you both had been working on not doing, she proceeds to yell about it. In the moment, all you feel like doing is yelling back about the even larger purchase she made two months ago. Being effective here means not bringing up the past, and instead, apologizing for not informing her sooner.
- In changing habits-You really want to cut back on the number of lottery tickets you purchase on a weekly basis, as you really can’t afford both them and your college tuition. So, you give yourself a limit of 2 tickets a week. The first week you try doing this, you have already purchased two tickets before you realize that you haven’t yet bought a ticket for the game with the jackpot that is the largest it has been in years. You really want to buy 10 tickets for that one. Being effective here means sticking with your plan and not buying any more tickets until next week, no matter the size of the jackpot, as your school bills need to be paid on time.
Emmi Barnoski, LCSW
1731 N. Marcey St, Suite 510
Chicago, IL 60614
When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it: this is knowledge.