Google Started This for Employees in 2007 and Now You Can, Too

In business, a small mistake or misjudgment can become a large problem. So wouldn't it be awesome if there were a simple way to improve? EQ is trainable.

James Godwin

5 minute read


This is so true, even Google focuses on EQ. One of the main reasons why I took my years of Tai Chi training and built an EQ course for the developers I managed. My Tai Chi has allowed me to build a solid foundation to support the most important aspect of EQ development which is attention training. Original article.

In business, a small mistake or misjudgment can become a large (and expensive) problem. So wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a simple way to improve your concentration, productivity, and decision-making?

Well, there is. The solution already exists.

It’s called mindfulness and it’s a simple, zero-cost way to improve your performance in business and in life.

Sometimes we get caught up in what’s going on around us. A day’s work can be hectic, with multiple tasks to complete and competing priorities to organize. If you’re putting out fires in your business, you start treating every little challenge like a fire hazard–you think less and react more each time.

But mindfulness enables you to pay attention to your thought processes and emotional states, in a calm and non-judgmental way, so that you’re better able to understand and modify your actions.

A Different Way of Knowing

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

That’s the definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He also wrote several books including: Wherever You Go, There You Are; Mindfulness for Beginners; and, Full Catastrophe Living.

The American Psychological Association (APA) emphasizes that “mindfulness is a state and not a trait.” This is good news. It means we can all increase our levels of mindfulness.

It may be hard to believe that something so simple can have such life-changing effects, but research bears out its benefits.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

According to the APA, research on mindfulness has found the following benefits:

  • Reduced rumination (a compulsive focusing on one’s distress rather than solutions)

  • Stress reduction

  • Boosts to working memory

  • Improved focus

  • Less emotional reactivity

  • More cognitive flexibility

  • Increased satisfaction with relationships

  • Other benefits, such as enhanced self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, as well as improved immune functioning, reduced psychological distress, faster information processing, decreased task effort, and fewer distractions

Mindfulness is so beneficial that, according to Mark Robert Waldman and Chris Manning, PhD, creators of the NeuroLeadership course for the Executive MBA program of the Loyola Marymount University, awareness is one of the 4 Pillars of Wealth (the other 3 being motivation, decision making, and creativity).

And the way to enhance awareness is through mindfulness, Waldman and Manning say in their book, NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success. They write:

The more you practice mindfulness, the more you begin to realize that you are not your thoughts…. In this heightened state of awareness, you’ll begin to have small ‘aha’ experiences that give you sudden insights into different aspects of your life.

Small wonder, then, that Google has had a mindfulness training program since 2007.

It Takes Only A Few Moments to Develop Mindfulness

You can cultivate mindfulness in many ways. Practices like yoga, tai chi, and qigong are effective. Much of the research around mindfulness focus on meditation. However, you don’t have to commit to 30 minutes of daily meditation to develop mindfulness.

According to NeuroWisdom, mindful breathing is the easiest way to enhance mindfulness. Here’s how you do it:

Breathe slowly through your nose. Take note of the temperature of the air as it enters your nostrils. Notice its temperature as you breathe out. Put one hand on your chest and another on your belly. Observe how they rise and fall with each breath. Stay with this for as long as you like.

Brain scans show that just a few minutes of mindful breathing is enough to bring about positive changes in the brain. So even just two minutes of mindful breathing helps.

And when something upsetting happens, respond with mindfulness, so you break out of that stressful, reactive pattern of behavior:

1. Calm yourself.

2. Resist the urge to react instantly. Take your time, and breathe.

3. Observe what’s going on around you and inside you. Don’t judge, just observe.

4. Make a deliberate assessment, not only of the reality of the situation, but of how you feel and why.

5. Analyze the different options or paths that lead forward from this point. Choose the one that makes the most sense from a calm, self-aware perspective.

6. Take that path. Stay mindful as you follow it.

Take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, and you’ll get smarter, more relaxed, and more successful.

I was fortunate enough to have started Tai Chi a moving meditation at a very early age. Practising Tai Chi for over 25 years has allowed me to build a solid foundation to support the most important aspect of EQ development, which is attention training.

If you are interested in supporting yourself or helping the teams you manage, the links below can help you learn more about EQ.

  1. What is EQ?
  2. Emotional Intelligence Training Course
  3. Learn to meditate with the Just6 App
  4. Meditation and the Science
  5. 7 reasons that emotional intelligence is quickly becoming one of the top sought job skills
  6. The secret to a high salary Emotional intelligence
  7. How to bring mindfulness into your employee wellness program
  8. Google ’Search Inside Yourself’