A young monk went to an old monk and asked: “I can’t stop thinking. When will it stop?” The old monk replied: “Five days after you are dead.”

Thoughts are not the problem. But when we focus on them, at the exclusion of the world around us, they can be. In meetings we hear words, but do not listen. We are too preoccupied with our own ideas to really understand what others are saying.

Effective leadership requires both critical thinking and the ability to focus on the present. The young monk was frustrated because his thoughts clouded everything he was doing. Regardless of how hard he tried to stop thinking and focus on the present, it only became worse

By acknowledging thoughts, not repressing them, and choosing to return attention to the present, you will develop the ability to think and be totally present at the same time. This is key to becoming a leader.