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15 Things Mindful People Do Differently

15 Things Mindful People Do Differently

Mindful people don’t waste time obsessing with a future that they cannot predict. They shift their focus to the present moment, because that’s where progress happens. Check out these things mindful people do differently for less stress and more success.

1. They listen.

Mindful people are masters of awareness, an art that escapes many people. They engage eye contact with people when they speak. They enjoy the music of birds chirping while they enjoy their morning coffee. They enter conversations only when they have something valuable to say.

2. They day-dream.

Concentration is a good skill to have, but it becomes even more powerful when combined with imagination. It can be hard to stay interested in a complex project like writing a book. Mindful people let their thoughts drift to how happy and accomplished they will feel when it is complete, which reminds them that it is worth the effort.

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3. They go outside.

It is not healthy to spend every moment of your day chained to a desk in a zombie-like state, without any opportunity to escape. Mountains are meant to be climbed. Rivers are meant to be canoed. All of the wilderness in this world is a playground that is meant to be explored.

4. They take breaks.

If you’re a student, you’ve probably noticed that your ability to focus on studying diminishes more and more with every passing moment. Mindful people take mini-breaks every hour or so, because they know the brain can only concentrate for so long before it needs a reboot. There is nothing productive about forcing yourself to work beyond that breaking point.

5. They pause to reflect.

How do you think you will ever accomplish your purpose without pausing to consider your place in the world? Keeping a journal will help you make sense of the feelings swirling inside you. You will also identify toxic influences in your environment that need to be addressed.

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6. They laugh at themselves.

I went to a Pilates class last week. We performed a balance pose with feet stretched over our heads. Lost my balance. Turned an accidental back flip. Made a big THUD! Everyone stared at me. Instructor asked, “Are you okay?” I turned what could have been an embarrassing situation into a comedic moment by replying, “Yep, just got carried away with the momentum there!” Everyone laughed. Class continued. No big deal. Little things like this aren’t worth worrying about.

7. They nourish their bodies.

Eating shouldn’t be viewed as an act of deprivation. Instead, see it as an opportunity to nourish your body with healthy foods that will make you feel positively alive. Mindful people pay attention to how different foods influence their body and mood. If it causes an upset stomach or wrecks your energy, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

8. They express their feelings.

The longer you bury an emotion, the more intense it will become. Putting up barriers can temporarily prevent difficult conversations. But hiding the truth for too long could cause permanent damage to trust in your relationships. Speak your mind without filter. If a person can’t handle the real you, then they don’t deserve you.

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9. They look people in the eye.

Mindful people don’t make a habit of staring at their cellphones during a conversation. Not only is this inconsiderate, but it could also cause them to miss important nonverbal cues that reveal how genuine a person is being. If their physical presence is at odds with what they say, then they might be hiding something.

10. They know when to be quiet.

Silence is nothing to fear. Admiring a glorious sunset while listening to waves crash on the beach. Comforting a friend with a simple hug during a terrible struggle. Listening to your partner’s heartbeat while you enjoy a lazy Sunday morning in bed. These beautiful moments would be hindered, not helped, by a compulsion to fill the air with meaningless words.

11. They tap into their creativity.

A life without art isn’t a life worth living. You don’t have to be a Beethoven, Michelangelo, or Shakespeare. All it takes is an open mind, positive attitude, and honest expression. Act. Cook. Dance. Paint. Sing. Write. All creation, no matter the method, will challenge you to grow into a stronger person.

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12. They embrace opportunities.

Zig Ziglar once said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Mindful people don’t pursue comfort, because they know this road inevitably leads to complacency. If you can’t remember the last time you fell short, then you’re probably not aiming high enough.

13. They focus on what they’re doing.

Most people stumble through life like a drunkard, without any awareness of their surroundings. Driving to work with no recollection of the trip. Eating a food while paying no attention to their body’s signals that it has had enough. Performing a task in the midst of distractions that cause them to make inexcusable errors. Mindful people do one thing at a time.

14. They challenge their preexisting beliefs.

Opinions worth having should hold up to scrutiny. Only an arrogant person would be unwilling to consider the other side of an issue. Engaging in a thoughtful debate probably won’t change your mind, but it will introduce you to new ideas that grow your perspective.

15. They only dwell on encouraging thoughts.

Mindful people let thoughts drift in their consciousness without any judgment attached. They travel through this mental chatter with the caution of a soldier walking through a battlefield covered in landmines, carefully identifying the thoughts that empower them and discarding the rest.

Featured photo credit: From A to B/Chris Frank via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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