How to succeed in the time of conflict


In the time of conflict and fear due covid19 pandemic many people are on edge. They are seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. In this situation, it is well understood that mind goes to travel many places, often unpleasant one. But, that's not how life is to be lived in this difficult situation. Hormones related to stress, cortisol and adrenaline clogs the neural network and slows down the thinking process. Our behavior during conflict, fear and pain is quite obvious, though it is not desirable. 


There are steps to come out of it and they are: 


1) Acceptance: First and foremost action needed is to accept that present situation is not normal and not good. Our mind has many biases and heuristics, optimism and confirmation bias are two of them. If we don't accept the present situation and try to believe something else, then our mind will make us believe so and keep us forcing to confirm our created reality. 

You will ask that why does our mind create a new reality?


Our mind always has a ‘big picture’ of our life. Information arriving through our senses keeps getting merged into our pre- existing memories to confirm and sometime update our belief system about ourselves and the world. In the case of anomalous information which doesn’t fit our big picture, it tries to smooth the discrepancies and anomalies to preserve the coherence of self, our internal narrative and the ‘big picture’. Sometime it outrightly denies the situation, sometime rationalizes, sometime confabulates, sometime intellectualizes, so on and so forth but it does its best to protect the coherence of self and internal narrative. 


2) Live in present: The moment we create a new reality, mind becomes optimistic and starts confirming to this new reality. It automatically shifts the starting point of our journey. If starting point of our journey is not right, then how come end will be right? 


So, being aware of the present and staying in it is extremely important.


3) Mindfulness: There is more than enough written and spoken about mindfulness, so, I won’t go on to elaborate what it is and how it should be done. What I understand for my benefit is that mindfulness is keeping only those information in my mind which is necessary to move forward for my betterment. 


Our mind receives more than two hundred thousand times of information per second which it can process. You can very well imagine what would be its situation in just one day if it doesn’t filter most of the information out it receives. Our mind’s primary job is to protect the body it lives in and everything revolves around this core principle.


While a part of mind keeps doing its work to stop information overload, there has to be conscious effort to push away the information which are stopping the positive growth.


4) Remain alert: It is definite that post Covid19 world will not be the same. Every upheaval shakes up the old world order and creates new. While there are many defined steps which helps us to succeed in life, but one thing which often gets ignored and has rightfully elaborated by Malcolm Gladwell in his bestseller “Outliers” that grabbing the opportunity when it comes up goes a long way in determining the success of a person. So, if you don’t accept the reality, you are not living in present and have not pushed away the information which blocking your growth, how can you remain alert and if you are not alert, then how will you grab the opportunity when it comes knocking your door.


5) Make above four points a automatic habit: Every moment, billions of neurons in our mind connects with each other tens of thousand times, which can be excitatory or inhibitory and on or off, making permutation of all these numbers of possible brain states exceed number of elementary particles in the known universe. So, things are not simple as it seems. 


That’s why, we need to keep repeating the first four points and turn it into an automatic habit; then only, our growth and success will be remain sustainable and consistent.

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