Brake!

“Self-awareness” is fast becoming another buzzword that one needs to have in the pocket in the current world of ‘cool’ stuff to possess. Consider if you are a human being and alive, you are already self-aware. You don’t have to learn anything new. 

Only humans have the ability to direct their attention and thinking inwards or the ability to look at themselves. You can always increase the degree of self-awareness. 

Self-awareness can be defined as one’s ability of being aware of different aspects of the self including situations, traits, behaviours, and feelings. Essentially, it is a psychological state in which one becomes the focus of attention. 

You can enhance your self-awareness by practising the following approach. Before you go the approach, participate in this small thought experiment. 

Thoughts Experiment: “Think of your favourite car. Only one car but anything. What colour is that car?. Say that aloud.  Now observe that as you were doing that experiment, you were also aware of your thought and thought processes. The first step in developing self-awareness is noticing that you are different from your thoughts. You have these thoughts. Once you can identify your thoughts don’t try to control them but start observing them.

The approach to cultivating self-awareness starts with Observation – it is the process of noticing or perceiving (something) and registering it as being significant.

Step 1 Observe: Start with observing things around you like your laptop, phone, people around you etc. Also start observing your own thoughts as well, observe the speed at which the mind processes the information, the judgements and the continuous running commentary in your head. 

Step 2 Pause: Once you have practised observing, start the practice of PAUSE. It is a reflective practice that can be done in the midst of the action. Come to the present by falling still and connecting mind with senses. The best way to do it is when you want to pause, hold your breath, connect your mind with your senses and slowly leave your breath. 

A combination of Observe and Pause will help in developing your self-awareness. There is a huge volume of literature, numerous courses and workshops on developing self-awareness. You can further enhance your self-awareness by practising meditation and mindfulness techniques. 

In the current fast-paced world, if you are feeling overwhelmed with work and multiple priorities you need a break. Don’t be afraid that if you brake too hard and stop suddenly the vehicle behind you will come and crush you. No – it is all happening in your mind. The only way to navigate the high-speed traffic in your mind is to brake hard, take a PAUSE and start again.  Slow down if you want to go far. 

————————-

About Raghavendra (Ragx/Raghav) Mithare is a professional coach and serves as an agility coach with an Integrated Energy company. Views expressed are his own.

He is also a trained yoga teacher, and a student of design, technology and philosophy.  

Reference

https://hbr.org/2018/01/what-self-awareness-really-is-and-how-to-cultivate-it

I want to “change”

“I want to change” is one of the most common endeavours for people.  For most people, the journey of self-improvement starts with the notion “things are changing fast, I need to adapt to survive and thrive” to “I need to change to improve”.

You might have come across many people who resist change, they prefer the status quo. They are in the comfort zone, there might be some underlying fear, that even they may not be aware of it. Unless they see a benefit of change, they may not even try.

Next are people who don’t want to change because they have given up after many unsuccessful attempts to change. Showing them the benefits of change will not work these people. They might benefit from a method or a technique.

This blog is for those people who have given up the hope of changing, to give them some alternate method to try out. This method is simple and others also might find value in this.

People who think “change is not possible”, mostly they have given up “trying to change”. They belong to the family of Parmenides School. The Parmenides, a great Greek Philosopher (515-450 BC) and founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy (universal unity of being) taught that change is not impossible.

If you think “change is possible” then you belong to the family of Heraclitus. Heraclitus, another great Greek Philosopher (535-475 BC) taught that there is an ever-present change in the universe. You also think that change is possible. 

For many years I was trying to ‘fix’ myself (after being motivated by the Self-Help books ) and failed miserably. I kept shuttling between Heraclitus and Parmenides schools.  

Earlier as soon as I realise that I need to change, I used to jump into action immediately. Suppose If I have to take care of my health. 

 I used to say “Ok, from tomorrow, I will go for running”, buy some expensive shoes with the justification “Yes, I’m buying for a good cause, it is not a waste of money”. Go for two days then order a Fitbit to track my progress. 

Take a break till the Fitbit is delivered but by the time it was delivered there was no motivation. Then I used to get some new insight that used to become my new area to “Change”. After a few failed attempts, I used to get upset and declare “change is not possible”.  This continued for many years. 

I used to think I’m becoming a zen master -like “accept what is and what is not” but in reality, I used to be frustrated.

Now my new approach to change is like this. 

First is the belief that “change is possible”. 

The proof is you can observe things changing around you. Look around and start watching. You are also changing but you are not noticing. Change is happening some desired and some undesired change. Next step is to bring the desired change. 

This can be broadly put into the following phases. 

Awareness 

The first phase is being aware that you want to create change in some aspect of your life. Usually, this comes in the form of a thought, an idea or feedback. Avoid the temptation to get into action. If it is critical, then the only step you should take is to write it down as clearly as possible. Nothing more. 

Acknowledge

The next phase is to acknowledge the change, it is an act of admitting the existence of that thought or that need. Suppose you realise that “I should lose weight”. You just acknowledge that I have a view or there a need for me to lose weight. 

Accept 

This is a significant phase, you should spend time and analyse before accepting it. You exercise your choice in accepting that thought. You might realise that the need for change has come out of some reaction, in that case, you can choose not to accept it. You need to be mindful of your arrogance/ego coming in your way to look at things objectively. It is better to accept the changes that arise out of your will than those coming from external sources. 

Act 

This is nothing but getting into action. It ultimately depends on the results you want to have in your life. Results come from taking actions. 

This is summarised beautifully by my favourite leader/guru Werner Erhard. 

“In life you wind up with one of two things – the results or the reason why you don’t have the results. Results don’t have to be explained. They just are.”

Award 

This is the one more important part, as you are taking actions, it is vital to have some award mechanisms to keep you going. Be generous, small rewards, but they do the trick. 

Yes. You deserve the reward for your efforts. 

Use these steps and evaluate and most likely that you have created the desired result and successfully implemented that change. 

Conclusion

Once you take actions consistently, the “change” becomes part of you. Then you are ready to take the game to the next level. 

I have found that jumping into actions is not sufficient, giving time for self has helped me tremendously. 

Consider you are already doing your best, don’t try to better your best.