Minding your mind!

We all live in times where distractions, interruptions and chaos play around us all the time and it is in these daunting spaces we are supposed to carry out our daily lives- well when it’s you private time, you can still choose what to do and where to be and how much shit of the world you ate wanting to accommodate; but the irony of life as it happens to be is that a lot of this unsolicited shit and clutter hits us when we are majorly trying to navigate through our professional spaces- irrespective whether you are a corporate chained performer or a self-driven (motivated or unmotivated) survivor, this is a reality that we all face- day in and day out! This piece of trying to make some sense of the nonsense around us!

What does your normal day look like? hectic, fast paced, slow, relaxing, chaotic, in-control…well you can go on with tons of adjectives to define how you feel, how your energy levels are and what your rhythm for the day is or will be- all in all it boils down to this- “Feeling – Thinking” axis within your brain and that’s where all the glory and misery of the world resides!

The human brain, by far the most complex piece of bio-engineering with a cocktail of chemicals that are all interlinked smartly just to ensure one thing- That you survive and don’t end up killing yourself doing stupid things! Our evolution has been gradual and so have our organs evolved to deal with ever increasing incremental complexities every few thousand odd years!. The magic word here is “incremental“. Consider a case in point, if you had a magic switch and took your tales iPhone and visited your ancestor say 4000 years ago or even say- 300 years ago- what do you think would happen?- well of course “nothing” because there would be no available reference cognition of what that weird thing is and what should be done with it! As you decide to return back to our present time, your old ancestor hands you a piece of bone which has rough edges and has a fine needle tip – so what do you make of it? Is it a needle or a knife? or is it an old chopstick? Well this is where your mind will be blanked out- because no matter how hard you try to understand- since you have not used the object- you too do not have a ready reference to utility and can just go on doing some second guessing unless your ancestor demonstrates! So what’s the point here? Well, very simple- Your brain will perform optimally only when it has clarity of context- and this clarity of context in whatever we choose to do is the essence of being mindful and learning how to deal with and reduce unwanted clutter that keeps on distracting you every now or then for good!

It is important to note that worthy distractions are not all that bad- your brain is a hardwired sensory organ that has one goal to keep you safe and kicking- sensing distractions by its natural way- the brain helps you avoid accidents and saves you from a lot of shit!- Each one of us has that memory when we slammed the brakes to save that idiot who just came in between! (and more often then not we are too surprised with our own speed to react to the emergency!). It is the stuff made up on unworthy and non-urgent distractions that leads to the fatigue and unwanted blurring of our abilities and these are more often to do with the settings of our workplace and our approach to that work and an intriguing interplay wherein others also contribute- either helping or harming us even more with each interaction!

The times of distraction that we live in about- that email- that whatsapp ping, that sms, that unwarranted call, all of these take away valuable seconds and play a focus dodge ball with your mind- result – you end up tiring it up more quickly and rapidly- as a result your brain starts to play its tricks- first it will ensure you slow down- make you crave for food (read sweets or carbs) make you eat more then what you should (fool you into this), once you have hogged- digestion takes precedence over thinking and your brain is more focused internally and your razor sharp focus is blunted rapidly- until a point either you goof up big time or are smart to pull up that coffee cup and dowse your brain tricks with a quick shot of caffeine right to where it hurts! This is pay-back time to trick your brain and trying to tell it- “Shut up dude- have this caffeine and let’s get the job done!”

People do not realise how damaging distractions can be and the kind of havoc they can create- consider few examples- crossing the road, driving while dabbling with you cell phone- result- fatal and dangerous, getting distracted by a call as you type a mail and send it without a re-check to your client! Just as you are typing away something really important- that odd ping from a social handle and there goes your focus for a long holiday- So how do we manage this? is this manageable in the first place?

Well the simple answer is yes and no! Yes, indeed this menace can be managed and the challenge well, you need to make a directed effort towards it! If you were to observe people who have excelled at sports of some type of artistic expression (dancing, painting, theater) , one common aspect that becomes really evident is their ability to drift between sessions of razor sharp focus and relaxing away or dreaming on! The trick is to strike a balance and ensure that the brain is utilized and relaxed in an optimum cycle to ensure that fatigue doesn’t set in, nor is the focus compromised! We need to adopt a similar stance while dealing with distractions at work- whether they are those pesky emails, calls, or unwarranted meetings- we need to strike a razor sharp focus when we have the “me time” at work and ensure that we are relaxed yet attentive as we create work through collaborations- This apparently is one reason that new age organisations always talk about relaxed rule books and casual settings (but do remember that never implies they are not serious about their numbers or profits) all they are saying is “our thinking gets rewarded by the setting- it tricks the brain into relaxation thereby ensuring the focus can be sustained and productivity enhanced even more!”

So, here you go, learn to balance your mind like a ballerina, being swift and still in the same stance! Learn to know when to pick that call, check that phone or that email and know when to shut down your gadgets and allow yourself to escape into the fictional wilderness created by your amazing brain!

I leave you here, with possibly a cup of your favorite drink, to plan how you want to create focus and space at the same time so that you can Mind your mind and a minded mind helps you mind the world eventually! Bye for now!