Ellen J. Langer Quotes
“Social psychologists argue that who we are at any one time depends mostly on the context in which we find ourselves. But who creates the context? The more mindful we are, the more we can create the contexts we are in. When we create the context, we are more likely to be authentic. Mindfulness lets us see things in a new light and believe in the possibility of change.”
“The more we realize that most of our views of ourselves, of others, and of presumed limits regarding our talents, our health, and our happiness were mindlessly accepted by us at an earlier time in our lives, the more we open up to the realization that these too can change. And all we need do to begin the process is to be mindful.”
“Out of time we cut “days” and “nights,” “summers” and “winters.” We say what each part of the sensible continuum is, and all these abstract whats are concepts. The intellectual life of man consists almost wholly in his substitution of a conceptual order for the perceptual order in which his experience originally comes. —William James, “The World We Live In”
“Mindfulness lets us see things in a new light and believe in the possibility of change. When we feel locked into strict work procedures and rules, we can recognize that these were once decisions made by certain individuals. These people lived at a particular point in history, with particular biases and needs. If we realized this, more of us would consider redesigning our work to fit our skills and lives.”
Ellen J. Langer
Ellen Langer, Yale PhD, Harvard Professor of Psychology, artist. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, the NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and the Staats award for Unifying Psychology, and has authored eleven books and over 200 research articles on the illusion of control, perceived control, successful aging, decision-making, to name a few of the topics. Each of these is examined through the lens of her theory of mindfulness. Her research has demonstrated that by actively noticing new things—the essence of mindfulness—health, well being, and competence follow. Her best selling books include Mindfulness; The Power of Mindful Learning; On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity; and her most recent book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility.
In addition to other honors, she has been a guest lecturer in Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Switzerland, and Argentina.
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.”