What is your Level of Present Awareness (LPA)?

Updated: Feb 1



Research shows that self-awareness is a key fundamental quality of a successful leader. Being self-aware means having the ability to look within ourselves to get a clear snapshot of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, motivations, and our personality in general.

This ability helps you to become aware of your limiting thoughts, false beliefs, and reactive emotional thought patterns. But it also helps you to achieve clarity on your vision, mission, and purpose in life.

You cannot learn how to become self-aware by reading a book. It can be cultivated by regular and systematic mindfulness training (or related methods.)

Self-reflection is not much different than self-awareness and they are very much connected to each other. It is the process of exercising introspection and learning about your personality, in order to achieve self-awareness. That means self-awareness is the end goal.

Emotional intelligence (being able to identify and control your emotions) is directly connected to becoming self-aware. The authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves) based on their research state that 83% with a high level of self-awareness are top performers, while only 2% of the bottom-performers exhibit this trait.

Then there is present awareness (or simply presence), the awareness of the present moment. Your (level of) presence determines how strongly you are connected with the present moment.

I also refer to this as your level of present awareness (LPA), which is a key performance indicator (KPI) in my training. KPIs are typically used in the business context to measure progress.

When you are fully present, alert, and live in the present moment, you can experience life at its fullest. In such a state there is (relatively) low thinking activity (if at all), and you feel like you’re in a flow state. Athletes often report about being in such a state, when they are immersed deeply into an activity like running or rock climbing.

But you don’t have to do any of those (sporting) activities to immerse into a flow state (although it can be a helpful technique.) A simple 5-minute meditation might do the same trick, or just brushing your teeth in the morning, while being fully alert and paying attention to every little detail while doing this activity. This is the core idea behind mindfulness, and mindfulness training in different flavors essentially connects you deeper with the present moment, while gradually increasing your LPA over time.

If your LPA is low, that means your ability of self-reflection will be poor as well. Self-reflection requires clarity and stillness, while looking within, and going through layers of your ego that prevent you from seeing the truth. Presence, therefore, is a requirement for a high level of self-awareness, as well as other capabilities that are based on emotional intelligence.

Therefore you want a high LPA, which can be achieved through regular (mindfulness) training.

However, for me as a scientist, the question came up many years ago …

How to reliably measure your LPA?

As you possibly know from Peter Drucker’s famous quote:


“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

It turns out that this is doable if you are diligent and willing to invest a little bit of time in the process of tracking.

At its core, we need to keep track of the number of your mindful moments - or your "mindful minutes" over the course of the day.


A mindful minute is a minute, where you are fully alert and connected to the present moment.

For example:

  • Doing a meditation or yoga

  • When jogging (or other sports activities)

  • When you consciously enjoy a glass of wine

  • When taking a shower, or brushing your teeth, while actually paying full attention to every little detail of the experience

  • ...

Simply track the number of mindful minutes over the course of the day.

Write it down in a spreadsheet to keep track of it.

It doesn't have to be perfect.

You do that daily.

There are also apps, like meditation apps, that keep track of mindful minutes automatically or save them to your Apple health (if you’re an iPhone user.)

Mindful minutes seems to have already become a standard biomarker that can be tracked using various apps. But of course, not everything can be tracked automatically, so some combination of manual tracking is needed.


Calculating your LPA

Once you have determined your mindful minutes over the course of a day, you can easily calculate your LPA.

To do this you assume that you are (possibly) awake for 16 hours roughly (960 minutes). The formula then simply is:


# Mindful Mindful minutes / 960 * 100

Once you have determined your mindful minutes over the course of a day, you can easily calculate your LPA.

To do this you assume that you are (possibly) awake for 16 hours roughly (960 minutes). The formula then simply is:

# Mindful Mindful minutes / 960 * 100

For example, if you are fully present for 20 minutes a day, this will result in roughly 2% LPA.

Based on my observation and own experience most of us are fully present at most 1-2% per day while being driven by unconscious thought patterns the remaining 98% of the time.

That means that the majority of your decisions are driven by your subconscious level while being on auto-pilot most of the time.

Now imagine if instead of 98% unconscious behavior per day and automated routines you can decrease this number to 50%.

That means half of the day you are actually alive, fully present, and are connected to what happens in the current moment.

Wouldn't that be great?

You are experiencing life to its fullest. This would be a huge impact - personally and (professionally) as a leader!

As stated, when you are just getting started your level of present awareness may be anywhere between 1% - 2% per day.

In my training, I usually recommend setting an ambitious goal to increase this to 10% (or more) within 3-4 months on average. This represents a 10x improvement!

Of course, there is no upper limit and it all depends on how eager you are to change this.

The feedback I received from the tech leaders I’ve been working with in the past years is overwhelmingly positive. Some quotes:



“... Mindful Leadership Training has noticeably improved me in areas of resilience, decision making and focus.”

“During today's new work from home world and extra stressors caused by Covid, this (Mindful Tech Leadership Fundamentals) training has helped arm me with all the necessary practices to empower my team to thrive. The scientific approach Reiner takes to mindfulness training is something that I believe separates his work from the rest and translates to a much happier and efficient workplace.”

“In weekly sessions we discuss topics on mindfulness which helped me to build up a strong foundation with concrete KPIs to become more aware and thus also improve my leadership skills. I am still early in my journey but I could already acquire a lot of knowledge on this topic and I am more balanced in an ever more hectic day-to-day …”

Take Action:

  • Do a brief “check-in” with yourself” notice how you feel, how your body feels, what are your (current) surroundings, be fully immersed in the present moment NOW.

  • Try to approximate the number of mindful minutes today or tomorrow, and start tracking it. Then use the formula to calculate your LPA. What is it?

  • If you’re interested in increasing your LPA, I regularly publish ideas and methods on this blog.

  • I encourage you to consider joining the Fellowship of Mindful Tech Leaders - a community that can support you in this or related topics.

  • You can also reach out and contact me for a (free) initial get-to-know meeting, where I can outline some strategies, based on your unique situation and objectives.

#selfawareness #selfreflection #presentawareness #presence #mindfulness #emotionalintelligence #leadership #mindfulleadership #themindfulleader #mindfultechleaders #personalgrowth #transformation


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