This Human by Melis Senova

πŸ’š The Key to Empathetic Design: Practicing Mindful Attention

Published about 1 month agoΒ β€’Β 2 min read


How do you press hold on meaning making?

Look to Mindful Attention.

Last week we covered four main types of attention as they relate to design and leadership. This week, we're pausing here for a deeper look at mindful attention.

Imagine a design scenario where you are in a group interview. Different people are sharing different aspects of their experience. They are simply describing what happened and what they did.

A participant says something that you quickly interpret and extrapolate the meaning behind what has just been said.

That extrapolated meaning then results in an immediate idea for a solution. You feel the familiar warm glow in your chest as the life raft of an answer floats by to save you from the sea of ambiguity.

This is a common sequence of events, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with it, it's not the whole story of what is actually available to you. Meaning making is predominantly cognitive and potentially fraught with our own biases, which can limit what we see in the solution space.

This is where the act of mindful attention becomes a powerful ally.

Mindful attention allows you to put the meaning making on hold, to bring your attention back to the present moment, and really focus on what is actually being said, as it is happening in front of you, with as little interpretive mind chatter as possible.

This builds within you the ability to really listen and be present with other human beings, giving you the most access to sharing their experience. It opens you to deeper levels of awareness, sensitivity, and subtle communication. All good things when designing impactful solutions for the people you serve.

Cultivate mindful attention to enhance your ability to listen deeply and ultimately design more elegant and meaningful solutions.

You've got this,

PS. Are you ready to get unstuck in parts of your life to help you move in the direction you want to go?
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PPS. If you prefer to work with others, join one of our upcoming facilitated courses: Design Character and Stories We Tell Ourselves. Both courses focus on the inner work that's required to make the impact you want to have in the world. They're fun, deep, and practical.

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This Human by Melis Senova

Helping designers lead.

Enabling senior design professionals to be more influential within their organisations. ✨ Author of this human and design character, published by BIS Publishers.πŸ“š

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