We are all but prisoners of our own doings and undoings! The times that we live in, even after the abrupt brakes that the global pandemic has applied to our routines, a majority of us still want to rush right back to the “earlier times” and in all that hurry, the world seems to be cutting corners with everything that’s related to bring about that erstwhile sense of normalcy! Whether it’s about the new vaccines that are been developed, the medicines been given or the new so called adapted way of the working that corporates are hinging upon- these and many more such developments all around us display the one common thread- The Inertia to Practise the Pause, which will end up setting us up for even more complications tomorrow for uncomplicated scenarios of today! Join me here as we try to make sense about the value of this simple approach and why it matters now more than ever before!
As humans, we are slaves of curiosity! This has been the holy grail for all the development and all the accidents that humanity has ever witnessed! As individuals and societies we have been hard-wired to observe, reflect and simplify everything around us so that it creates an ease of existence for us- whether it’s automation, development across various sciences that make our suffering lesser and create more value to our lives or whether it’s about the plethora of gadgets and technologies that impact us every second-all of these, in fact most of these are a reflection of human genius and restlessness with regards to making life easier, though not simpler anymore! and this is that fleeting moment where the “pause” lives which often gets trampled upon and ignored on an ongoing basis- the result- is the world that we have around us!
Over the last 200 odd years the rush of humanity to create value and ease of life driven societies, has brought in some amazing breakthroughs which few times have put us in direct conflict either with nature or amongst ourselves as societies and nations! This further deepens the crisis as this international competition only ends up creating more imbalances and thereby does away with any possibility of practising the pause – to have an organised and planned approach to life! The result; we end up having nations racing against each other on all the wrong parameters! Do you ever recall being in your school and being rewarded for walking into the classroom with the longest knife? No, I hope so, then why do you think nations pat themselves for every nuke that they ever built? Well nations are eventually nothing but an assembly of people who at some point in time were school children, isn’t it? So what’s gone wrong, why have our priorities changed so drastically, that we simply ignore and are ready to seek ease of life at any costs- even if that cost, risks annihilation? What is it? Well the reason is the missing “pause” not convinced? Well fine, let me explain!
What has changed within the framework of global societies and communities in the last 50 odd years has been the pace at which people want to reach their definition of opulence and success! We live in times when, getting two meals a day is a sign of opulence in some remote corner of the world and in the same moment at yet another place, it could be the ability to net in a wonderful diamond for a few millions dollars! So you see, as divergence within human societies, and nations widens the definition and story about being successful and well off changes and this is one of the core reasons why the holy “pause” is trampled upon and ignored by the millionaire and also by the seeker of the meal! Unlike medieval societies there simply isn’t enough cohesion of gratitude to care and share left anymore, for another belief (which may or may not be entirely true) tells humanity that resources are limited and not indefinite hence those who have access will get an access to them and those who have that access alone will race ahead! This aspect too, plays that vital role- another reason- as to why we ignore the “pause” and why we can’t stop this ever widening societal divide across nations and even within nations!
This ever widening and ever growing divergence among societies has ended up creating individuals who are continually pushed to believe that “pause” and “time to reflect” are only meant for the philosophers or saints who are disconnected and disengaged with the world and its realities and trust me nothing could be more dumb than this! In fact, it’s often the people who practise the pause and who invest their time for reflective thinking are the ones’ who come up with those clutter breaking simple yet powerful interventions for societies – through policies, governance or business or just be by being who they are- wise and empowering individuals! So what is it like “practising the pause” and how does it really create a difference?
The pause is all about initiating a delay to the action that you have agreed to take and this delay is all about running through all the ramifications of the actions that you have taken, are taking and will be taking until that moment when you are into the pause! Sounds cryptic and challenging, well yes its is a bit challenging but once you develop a way to naturalise it- it will become your identity and align itself to the way you begin to think naturally in everything that you do! Whether it’s the next time you want to honk your car or want to shoot that missile to an enemy target! The pause helps you get clarity and absolute reassurance that what you have been deciding to do, what actions you have taken and what you propose to take are the best ones that “You” can apply given the contextual settings that you are operating within! remember this, the pause is perhaps the most powerful yet the most underrated tool that one has which can provide some amazing clarity and sense when it comes to dealing with ambiguous and conflicting scenarios and very often you will find, people who are in those kind of high pressure chairs often deploy the delay once they have practised the pause and these moments often become the turning points in world history! Do read up some war stories from WWII and you will possibly know what I am referring to!
You will often find people who practice the pause are the ones’ who can influence- whether they influence five or five million is another story- but that is the relevant part- the ability to influence outcomes which will be lapped up by society and nations in some cases as the elixir of tomorrow and as a promise from the leader! The pause becomes very important once individuals begin to ascend in their ability to influence people! The higher one rises, the greater the need to practise the pause and more often is it required! As people rise higher, complexities and their frequencies increase and thereby it becomes more like an ATC dashboard wherein alternative scenarios are put on pause and released in a choreographed manner to ensure that there are no disasters made and everything that is in the moment is directed safely to the pathway that it must be!
The pause helps uncomplicate situations and scenarios by deploying the allowable delays so that outcomes can be weighed and the one with the least negative impact or the maximum leverage can be voted in for! There are situations when decisions of the pause too, need to be wrapped in in a few seconds- like if you are a fighter pilot in a dog fight with an enemy plane and than there are those scenarios wherein the pause can be extended for months or years before a wider understanding and consensus is developed to avoid any backlash and unwanted unrest- yes you guessed it right- this is the realm of the political and bureaucratic class! So, in a way even the pause works only when it is timed right and deployed right- the pause and the delay, but what is more important what comes after the pause- If the pause has been used for direct thinking in the manner which serves the greater good, the results post the pause will be reflective of the same and if the pause has been just a freeze fright and incapacitation to take a decision or even think straight that will also end up showing up through some great disasters and accidents wherein the major contribution would be the incompetence of the human mind to act eitehrways more than anything else! It is the pause which has saved the day for many pilots to land safely when the magnificent planes have failed partly or completely and it is the same pause when not utilised effectively that has caused catastrophes or air disasters like never before! The pause too, hence is a ambivalent weapon- use it to your advantage for ensuring your well being and of those that anchor upon you or you can be as reckless as you wish to be, stifle away the pause and and unleash chaos for yourself and those around you!
Like everything else, the pause is only as good as the individual deploying it and that richness of the individual is eventually the construct of the society that the person comes from! What we feed into the society around us comes back to us eventually in one way or the other! When society pauses to reflect, introspect and deploy action, it creates a whole generation of people who are anchored to core elements, values and rest assured are naturally inclined to act with deliberation and caution to impact in a positive manner through the pause! On other occasions, when societies have not got that kind of space to operate, the results can be mixed or at some other times even more damaging and detrimental!
I will leave you here, or should I say, “I will take a pause now”, grab your coffee and allow your pause to work wonders for you and those who rely on you! Who knows the next pause that you embrace may be the hug of life that alters and changes the direction for your future in a way that inspires many!
Ciao for now and I will be back soon with another article! Until than stay safe, wise and yes, pause and deploy!