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The 7-Minute A Day Jerk Fix

In October of 2019 an article was published by Inc. summarizing a podcast interview with Wharton School business professor Lindsey Cameron about a paper she co-authored (Helping People By Being In The Present: Mindfulness Increases Prosocial Behavior). In that interview professor Cameron said, "We did find that mindfulness training made people more helpful at work.... Mindfulness works, and you don't have to invest in an intensive eight-week intervention to be able to get the benefits".

Quoting from the article itself: "In a world as awash in blowhards and bullies as ours, the ability to tame jerks might be the most impressive of all meditation's benefits". What great verbiage, and even more importantly, what a tremendous observation. Would that I was so articulate!

It's true that jerks are part of our profession world-- maybe even our personal world. And now, (spoiler alert) research has confirmed that there's something we can actually do about it. Meditation! Both for ourselves and (assuming we're not the jerk), for that special someone else.

I'm not sure that 7 minutes a day will do the trick entirely, but it's certainly a great start, and if starting a new, healthy habit for 7 minutes a day happens to be all one can set aside for meditation, then I say go for it! Meditation means different things for different people, and whatever/whenever/wherever/for however long, it's an important component of our well-being. We should all be as accommodating and supportive, as possible.

Quoting again from the cited article: "In short, even a little meditation seems to transform jerks into cooperative colleagues. Subsequent studies in the lab suggested that meditation does this by nudging people to be more empathetic and improving their ability to see the world from other people's perspectives".

Cooperative colleagues ? In law firms or other institutions that are part of the legal profession? In any office, for that matter? Just imagine. What would be the ramifications for those of us dealing directly with clients? Or opposing counsel? Or anyone who might be otherwise difficult?

From the perspective of one leading a law firm or other business institution, what would the ramifications be for recruitment? Or retention? The mind reels, thinking about both the questions and the possibilities.

The article ends with a simple observation: "This new Wharton research suggest you won't just be less stressed and more focused for your efforts, you might actually end up being a nicer person".

What a concept!


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