by Ankur Bora
I recently delivered a speech at Toastmasters about Steve Jobs.
As a nineteen-year-old teenager he went to India and discovered a book Autobiography of a Yogi. Through the teachings in that book, Steve Jobs learned to stay focused and unshaken when facing major events or difficulties. As I researched and dived deeper into his life, I came across the term mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of staying focused, training your mind to stay in the present moment. At Toastmasters, when we deliver a speech or evaluate a speaker, we need complete focus and attention. However, with the advent of social media, smart phones, and the virtual world, our minds are increasingly preoccupied with distractions. In our fast-paced, technology-driven world where we are becoming subservient to influencers, you-tubers, and all things virtual, paying attention to a task-at-hand is increasingly challenging.
Let’s go back to the year 1981. At the Park Plaza in the city of Boston, a crowd gathered to listen to a young man who upended the way our world lived and worked. They were about to witness the unfurling of a technical revolution, a creation far beyond what anyone had ever done before. As the excitement grew, the keynote speaker — the man everyone was waiting to hear — was nowhere to be found.
The frantic organizer finally spotted him backstage.
He was sitting on the floor cross-legged, completely still. The man who was calm and quiet amidst the chaos around him was Steve Jobs. Slowly, Jobs got up and made his way to the stage. He emerged from his meditation into the spotlight to deliver his presentation. The crowd roared.
We learn from Steve Jobs and other practitioners the concept of mindfulness can bring our minds back when it wanders. We can train it to settle to the present moment and thus gain the mental clarity needed to focus positively on what really matters. Realizing this benefit, many of our largest companies like General Mills, Ford, and Google have fostered mindful practices amongst their employees.
Bindu Chintha, a certified Yoga Teacher and Distinguished Toastmaster teaches education sessions, seminars, and conferences, focusing discussions around meditation and mindfulness.
Fellow Toastmasters, when we are mindful, we create space. When we create space, we become receptive. When we are receptive, our creativity unfurls.
Let’s practice mindfulness.
Let’s be at our creative best.
Let’s deliver great speeches!