ellen langer – mindfulness

Ellen’s book Mindfulness was especially resonating and inspirational to us. The notice of detox was cemented via her work. In particular..

mindlessness langer quote

langer outcome law

langer notice law

I’d guess (gut guess) 75% of our efforts and energy and time and money in ed go toward outcomes. Academic outcomes, behavioral outcomes, etc.
A focus on mindfulness could lead us to a culture of trust, where there’d be no need to spend ourselves on policy. Isn’t policy mostly evidence of distrust?
If instead we facilitated spaces where true ownership perpetuated hunger, we’d see wholehearted participants in life, and we wouldn’t be able to tell what part was school.

Another huge resonation was with this quote:

prejudice decreases graphic with arrows


both above quotes from mindfulness.. high recommeded read:



book links to amazon


Dr. Ellen Langer is a world renowned professor of psychology at Harvard University. Her most recent book is Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. In addition she has written the bestselling book, Mindfulness, The Power of Mindful Learning, and On Becoming An Artist. Her website is at www.ellenlanger.com
Dr. Langer has described her work on the illusion of control, aging, decision-making, and mindfulness theory in over 200 research articles and six academic books. Her work has led to numerous academic honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Contributions of Basic Science to Applied Psychology award from the American Association of Applied & Preventive Psychology, the Adult Development and Aging Distinguished Research Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the James McKeen Cattel Award, and the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize.
The citation for the APA distinguished contributions award reads, in part, “…her pioneering work revealed the profound effects of increasing mindful behavior…and offers new hope to millions whose problems were previously seen as unalterable and inevitable. Ellen Langer has demonstrated repeatedly how our limits are of our own making.”
Dr. Langer is a Fellow of The Sloan Foundation; The American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, The American Association for the Advancement of Science; Computers and Society; The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; The Society of Experimental Social Psychologists. In addition to other honors, she has been a guest lecturer in Japan, Malaysia, Germany, and Argentina.
Included among her books are:
Mindfulness. Reading, MA: Da Capo Books, 1989. (Translated into thirteen languages.)
The Power of Mindful Learning. Reading, MA: Da Capo Books, 1997. (Translated into nine languages.)
On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity. Ballantine Books, 2005.
Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. Ballantine Books, 2009.

Additional Resources
Ellen’s Website at www.ellenlanger.com
Chronicle of Higher Education Profile: The Art of Living MindfullyNothing is ever certain, says the psychologist Ellen Langer. We should make the most of that. 
Harvard Magazine profile: “The Mindfulness Chronicles: On the psychology of possibility
Radio Boston Interview by Deborah Becker
Ellen’s Blog
Can the power of thought stop you ageing? Click here
Video on Mindfulness and Leadership 
Video on Ellen’s Classic Research on the Psychology of Control

The study below is fascinating.. and telling.. of her work.. and of the power of noticing.

change in the men – just from a change in mindset
at 5 min she shares their main improvements..

concept of mindfulness is a different order of variable, because
no matter what you’re doing, 
you’re doing it mindfully or not
no matter what you’re doing, if you do it in a mindful manner, you reap the benefits


is contagious


the following are notes from this
audio recording
if you are always mindful of what you are doing, 
you are never procrastinating
one problem people have is a lack of respect
the awareness of, at this moment, this is what i need
behavior always makes sense 
from the actors perspective,
so be aware of why, then you’re ready to take yourself to the task, in a positive way

once one allows oneself to do what they want to do, then the task they need to do seems less odious
we have all sorts of limits for ourselves that are wired in

all the things you think you know you need to question
Ellen: I love being wrong

the absolutes we take as real, were only researched based at best
when we think we know something absolutely, 
there’s no need to pay any attention to it
when you recognize everything is uncertain, 
you stay tuned in

Jenifer (Aniston – who’s playing her in the movie) reeks authenticity and that’s what Ellen values in herself

huge diff between curiosity and mindfulness,
curiosity can lead you to mindfulness, but if it leads to a solution, then mindfulness is gone

interest is a function of a degree to which you are willing to engage yourself, things don’t have any inherent meaning, we make it meaningful

if you preface everything with, .. in my view
if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you’re doing it openly and honestly, there’s no reason to get defensive

no evidence that mindfulness takes more time than mindlessness

practice makes imperfect, because once you’ve practiced you think you’ve learned it and then you stop, so practice with the mindset of always being a learner

telling people to be in the present, is not resonating because everything thinks they are in the present

tell people to notice things

when asked her future plans… she said, 5 yrs out is too far out, every moment determines the moment after


perpetual beta.
interview april 2014:

mindfulness post 2014








oct 2014:


Langer’s notion that people are trained not to think and are thus extremely vulnerable to right-sounding but actually wrong notions prefigured many of the tenets of “behavioral economics” and the work of people like Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize in economic sciences.


By the 1970s, Langer had become convinced that not only are most people led astray by their biases, but they are also spectacularly inattentive to what’s going on around them. “They’re just not there,” as she puts it. When you’re not there, Langer reasoned, you’re very likely to end up where you’re led. She set up a number of studies to show how people’s thinking and behavior can easily be manipulated with subtle primes.

most people are other people..


mindlessly led by the label


If people could learn to be mindful and always perceive the choices available to them, Langer says, they would fulfill their potential and improve their health. Langer’s technique of achieving a state of mindfulness is different from the one often utilized in Eastern “mindfulness meditation” — nonjudgmental awareness of the thoughts and feelings drifting through your mind — that is everywhere today. Her emphasis is on noticing moment-to-moment changes around you, from the differences in the face of your spouse across the breakfast table to the variability of your asthma symptoms. When we are “actively making new distinctions, rather than relying on habitual” categorizations, we’re alive; and when we’re alive, we can improve.



Langer came to believe that one way to enhance well-being was to use all sorts of placebos. Placebos aren’t just sugar pills disguised as medicine, though that’s the literal definition; they are any intervention, benign but believed by the recipient to be potent, that produces measurable physiological changes. Placebo effects are a striking phenomenon and still not all that well understood. Entire fields like psychoneuroimmunology and psychoendocrinology have emerged to investigate the relationship between psychological and physiological processes. Neuroscientists are charting what’s going on in the brain when expectations alone reduce pain or relieve Parkinson’s symptoms. More traditionally minded health researchers acknowledge the role of placebo effects and account for them in their experiments. But Langer goes well beyond that. She thinks they’re huge — so huge that in many cases they may actually be the main factor producing the results.


A few years earlier, Langer and one of her students, Alia Crum, conducted a study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involving 84 hotel chambermaids. The maids had mostly reported that they didn’t get much exercise in a typical week. The researchers primed the experimental group to think differently about their work by informing them that cleaning rooms was fairly serious exercise — as much if not more than the surgeon general recommends. Once their expectations were shifted, those maids lost weight, relative to a control group (and also improved on other measures like body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio). All other factors were held constant. The only difference was the change in mind-set.

Critics hunted for other explanations — statistical errors or subtle behavior changes in the weight-loss group that Langer hadn’t accounted for. Otherwise the outcome seemed to defy physics. “To which I would say, ‘There’s no discipline that is complete,’ ” Langer responds. “If current-day physics can’t explain these things, maybe there are changes that need to be made in physics.”

seeing physics as (merely) a suggestion…


The endgame, she has said many times since, is to “return the control of our health back to ourselves.”


“The whole town is a time capsule,”


nov 2014 – (video interview):


paying attention to new things..


Click here for one of my most recent interviews:  https://t.co/Yh1mJclHfs

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/ellenjl/status/903791972279881728

Mindfulness is a simple process of noticing new things—and as you notice new things, that puts you in the present, makes you sensitive to context and perspective, and it’s a process of engagement—it’s the essence of what we’re doing when we’re having fun.

when you notice new things about the things you thought you knew, you come to see that you didn’t know it as well as you thought you did. The fact is that everything is always changing, everything looks different from different perspectives, and when we think we know, we are essentially being mindless by letting the past determine the present, rather than being in the present. She talks about the impact of this when trying to understand people and how mindfulness can lead to being less judgmental, which leads us to be less concerned about other people judging us. After 40 years of research, they’ve found that the simple act of noticing helps people live longer, is good for one’s health, helps people feel good (since they are engaged), people see you as more attractive and more charismatic, and the products you produce are better—so it’s a win-win.

notice the unlikely

nobody knows so you can be confident but uncertain.

embrace uncertainty

simply establish a mindset for uncertainty.

taleb antifragile law


I can be heard on Yogabody at the following link: https://t.co/Ml0ez6HkzC

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/ellenjl/status/903794208166862848



Stay curious: Ellen Langer on mindfulness and active noticing: doerfferleadership.com/uploads/4/2/4/…

Uncertainty is unsettling because people believe that we can know

people tend to be unhappy because they are evaluative. (p4)

masks and measures

Mindfulness as I study it, is not a practice, it’s a way of being, you just notice. (p3)

We should exploit the power in uncertainty. (p5) – stay curious

this is how i view entropy.. ness

cure ios city

Chase Jarvis (@chasejarvis) tweeted at 11:43 AM on Fri, Sep 29, 2017:
If you’re not sure where to start. Start with your curiosity. (@jasonsilva) https://t.co/YLw1Y026xe

chase that

langer notice law

langer outcome law


find/follow Ellen:

link twitter



her site:

(new book – the art of mindfulness – to include her artwork)