I once attended a conference on mindfulness that included health care experts, corporate executives, and politicians. I learned that executives at Google were hesitant to join a company-sponsored mindfulness program because they were afraid to lose their “edge.” What exactly does this mean? Professionally speaking, or in other domains of life, what is the benefit of finding and keeping your edge?
At a minimum, staying perpetually on edge will wear down your nervous system. In addition Extreme edginess will keep you from accessing creativity and will stop you from making important connections.
We might define “edginess” as the need to be hyper-vigilant and driven to be “on-top-of-your-game” at all times. This professional edge might even include a sometimes cut-throat competitiveness and ruthlessness. Our capitalist culture may lead us to believe that if we soften our edge, or even blink, we might miss an opportunity, get taken by surprise, or get “thrown under the bus.”
This way of thinking, this going about life with a certain edginess, speaks to a lack of trust in oneself, the people we come in contact with every day, and the organizations we are a part of, and the flow of life.
More practically, being on edge all the time is actually counterproductive – and we have the neuroscience to prove it!
.Today’s letting go exercise asks you to examine your own edginess. Take a few deep breaths, gather your letting-go buddies and your journal. Consider the following questions:
1. How do I define being “on edge.” What does it feel like mentally? Physically?
2. Who do I feel like I need to be “edgy” with…. co-workers, friends, even loved ones? Can I identify people in my life… co-workers, friends, loved ones that I can completely relax with, be authentic, imperfect, let my guard down?
3. How does being on edge serve me? What does it accomplish?
4. What would it be like to approach life with more softness, more trust? What would I gain?
At a minimum, staying perpetually on edge will wear down your nervous system. In addition it might keep you from accessing creativity and may stop you from making important connections. Because this kind of hyper-vigilance stimulates the fight-or-flight response, it can lead to hasty decision-making. So when you think about it, being edgy all the time makes you kind of – well, dull. Try to let go of or at least softening your edge today.
Let us know what happens!
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!