This is not an article promising hope or the grandeur of a positive mindset, especially at a time when the real world around us seems to be pretty screwed up!Trust me, the last few months and weeks have unified humanity like never before albeit for all the wrong reasons and what’s even more surprising that even in these times of turbulence and tribulations, people do manage a way to nudge others, at times, proverbially over the cliff! from where they seldom recover! This article is about knowing how “You” and you alone hold the power to decide what impacts you and to what extent, this is the domain of “mental resilience” So join me as we explore quickly how this attribute can come to our rescue and bail us out- through our times, good and bad- irrespective if you are 18 or 80!
“Live to express, not to impress”- This has to be your first maxim, as you try and build your resilience. Getting likes and rave comments on social media is one thing, but if those likes and comments are aligned to and are generated because of an illusion that you have curated and who you really are not, trust me you will land up in some mental shit pretty fast, at some or the other point! There is nothing wrong in craving for social acceptance, fame, name and all the glory that comes with is; after all as humans we are social animals; So what if we wear clothes, get educated and have a society driven and arranged way of going about our world- we still are social animals! What is important is, the fact that all of your cravings and beacons of “see me”, “hear me”, “talk to me”, have to be aligned and related to who you really are– your true self! So if you hate beaches and keep sharing the endless sunsets by the beach, just to get those likes (which you will certainly get), you will end up clouding your brain dangerously and unnecessarily start living an illusion mapped to your pressures of confirmation bias!
“In today’s settings, being a realist helps”- Perhaps a century ago, complications and challenges were still limited and hence the ability to propound “positive thinking” and “sharing the message of hope” were a key to get people back- who would have set a course to their own destruction! In today’s times, with the endless onslaught of information (much of which is unverified garbage- which sadly gets consumed and is allowed to impact our thinking) and societal compulsions rising with each passing day- Unless you develop frame of mind that is anchored on being authentic and real- you will always seem to falter and struggle even as you go about doing even the most basic of the tasks that you would normally do! Whether it is about that luck color suit you want to carry to the board meeting, or that supposedly amazing foreign vacation (which is now a question of your prestige- since you have already committed to your friends- you will be going and posting pics on social media) or that professional focus to hit your business numbers, irrespective of anything that comes in your way..the list is endless- Certainly there is nothing wrong in being ambitious or driven or as they usually call it- passionate (well do check out the dictionary meaning to the word “passion”- I am sure you will start using it less often!); the goof ups start to manifest and people start to crash and fall once they don’t have enough caliber within to deal with the manifestations that they are pursuing! Let me explain…
Consider this, you are a lovely fine, Boeing 737, calibrated to operate at a maximum altitude of say 40,000 feet and cruise at the max speed of 0.9 Mach. Now you suddenly find alongside of you a F-15 Eagle- Supersonic- speed excess of Mach 2.0 and an altitude ceiling of 55,000-60,00 feet, and you decide to race! Well, if you know the fundamentals of aviation and a dash of common-sense will you that- even this thinking is a recipe to a disaster- the two planes are made different to serve different purposes!This is what my point is, “The earlier you realise in an authentic and real way that each one of us (even twins included) different and is born to serve/ follow a unique path to achieve our calling-the better off you will be!” This understanding will save you form burning unnecessary dollars to buy that car, clothes, that house and ensure you stay focused on things and people that make a difference to your life so that collectively you can further value to the society that you roam about! Each of us, is Unique and there’s a good reason- it is the way it is! so bank on being Real- Authentic- no matter who says what- Life will offer you the highway or you will have to create your way- but since your baggage is lessened you will be able to enjoy the views and the journey too as it becomes a destination unto itself!
“You get to decide who impacts you and to what extent”- I remember, many scholars, management experts and “Gurus” of the world saying this, “You are the Author of your life”- You hold the pen and each day is a blank page wherein you alone have the power to write and create what you wish! Well this looks good, but we all know- real world doesn’t actually go that route. There will be people who will walk over you, tear down your most wonderful pages, scribble on your upcoming pages, write **** to you along the boundaries of your page, at times offer flowers and praises too, so basically your book as an author or for any of us- is never only about us as individuals- it is also about the people- the quality of people- that we are connected around with and how they express what they feel and think about us! This primarily depends on how we project ourselves into the world- What we communicate and how that communication is received/perceived- Even the best of the communication, with the most noble of interests can end up screwing you for life- simply because it was either ahead of it’s time and the receiver did not understand it or the receiver was out rightly dumb and you handed away way too much ink and page to that person to waste multiple pages of your life’s book! You think you know of any such book apart from your own life- well don’t look too far- pick up the religious texts of any religion/faith/practice across the world- irrespective of all the wholesomeness and goodness that has been mentioned in them- but what have we inherited ? A planet which is filled with hate and despise for fellow humans! A classic case of the receiver being dumb!
“No one really cares”- Well, this is the fact and a key ingredient to develop and build a formidable resilience! To begin with do you remember how healthy Galileo Galilei was, what were his hobbies, what was his favorite wine? Well, who cares, all that we care about is, his contribution to astronomy and the foundations that were created by him and others to help us understand our immediate universe! So what are his Great-great-great-great-grandchildren doing now? Any idea- well – at least I don’t know! Perhaps you can help me with that!Let’s zoom back to your own life- Remember the last time your boss walked upto you and asked you to go on a vacation because you have not taken a break in the last 6 months! Do you recall, the last time when the HR came up to you and said you are a great person to have on the team and we would like to offer you a double promotion and increase your salary to help you meet your kids college fees? Well all this seems stupid and way beyond reality isn’t it? Well, it is and why would anyone do any of these, because no one really cares! Each one of us is quite busy figuring out and charting a course to our own individual survival at the best, which is often disguised as meaningless milestones of job titles, income narratives, compulsive purchases and social media likes & comments!
If you are working, as long as you help the metrics meet, your job remains- doesn’t matter what equation and understanding you have with your manager- even if you have any- it’s a matter of time that chain of command will break once there is no value getting created within and you will be exposed- with or without the understanding that you have with your boss! Likewise if you are into business, as long as you offer the products or services at a price that is competitive (as perceived by the buyer) you will float else you will sink, irrespective how hot the model in the commercial of that product was! If you are an artist, scientist, politician or a creative force- as long as you serve the purpose which helps others in a way or other you will be rejoiced- the day your findings and approach don’t serve the majority you will be neglected and forgotten! This paragraph perhaps looks bleak right? But that is the truth- the reality- whether or not you accept it- this is what it is! and It is here to stay and outlast it will even after you are gone! The point that I am making here, is pretty simple- “It really doesn’t matter! No matter who says what, the fact is no one really cares for you (apart from your immediate family) and in the times that we live in, you should count on your blessings if you have one! They are the ones’ who will be impacted because and only because of one thing- that your action/inaction impacts their access to quality of life, that’s about it!- and you had started to think about emotions? I mean really?
“Remain grounded and indifferent to the bouquets and brickbats”– This is perhaps the most important attributes that one must have, to ensure you maintain your sanity at least through your life time! The irony of humanity is that even as we are collectively comfortable to be called as social animals, deep within we also seek solitude and aloofness and these diametrically opposite forces dominate us all through our lives- these tend to impact and shape our thinking and behavioral patterns – which further may play havoc- at times leading individuals to take reckless and harmful decisions- sometime recoverable and yet at times completely unrecoverable! The only way to get around this bit is practicing the art of being grounded and indifferent! Ancient text – especially in Hinduism and also across many other religions of the world have always urged humans to remain humble,simple and grounded irrespective whether the times are good- working for them or times or adverse- working against them! This virtue is what helps people gravitate towards each other to build stronger person-to-person contact which goes on to build a formidable mental resilience so that whenever shit happens and disasters strikes- individuals aren’t left to fend for themselves, rather the entire society/unit rallies behind! We can see this in animal kingdoms, when large predators attempt to take down young ones from the prey herd- there is always a fight, an attempt- may or may not work but that resilience is there to try and fight heavy odds and make peace with whatever the outcome may be! This is the trick that helps you manage yourself through whatever life can come offering you!
Another formidable example of mental strength can be found among the officers in uniform the world over! They operate in conditions and challenges that would make many of us outright uncomfortable- forget fighting the enemy- even standing guard would be a big tasks for many of us- but this is what the Forces of any nation are trained on- Mental agility, Resilience and Fortitude- with a single focus- stop the enemy- It is not any of us- then it has to be no one on the ground ahead! Simple, straight, objective and pragmatic thinking! You may earn your incentives this year, next year, then you may not, you may not get them this year, you may earn twice of what miss the year after that- that is what it is and will always be! Not allowing the circumstantial developments cloud your thinking and judgement is another vital element to develop and build resilience!
“Make peace with what can’t be changed”- Like I explained in my earlier paragraph, once you know whether you are a Boeing 737 or a F-15, you will be able to make peace with all that is around you and this will, believe me take away around 75% of all your unwarranted thinking which keeps on playing the “what if” game with you 24×7! This, is easier said than done, but there is really no other way around it, each one of us is unique and we are the best, the very best at what we are meant to be, problems start when we leave that and start pursing everything else but what we must! Finding out “what that is” well, is a story for another article!
I will leave you here, and urge you to build resilience and ensure you create a formidable,real understanding of who you are and develop a technique wherein you have a clearly defined lighter version of yourself for mass consumption and an authentic real version to carry on with the real work and duties of the real world- always ensuring there is safe distance between the two! Don’t forget- at the end of the day- It’s your story and you are the Author! So grab your pen, protect your pages and watch that ink! No one is really watching your show! No one cares enough! Each person is calibrating their individual survival with flashes of real and curated “I am fine” all the time! Harnessing the power of resilience is the only way to foster clarity and keep ambiguity away!
Ciao for now, will back with another article soon! Time for some coffee!