Skills for Mental Fitness

Famous spiritual leader Dalai Lama once said, “Developing inner values is much like physical exercise. The more we train our abilities, the stronger they become. The difference is that, unlike body, when it comes to training the mind, there is no limit to how far we can go.” 

Mind over Matter 

Almost every other day we come across disturbing news of youngsters ending their lives because of their failure to meet societal and family expectations and live up to pre-set standards and norms of society. Going by a certain school of philosophical thought, we live in is a Matrix and what is presented as truth is nothing but an illusion. All that is propagated in this illusionary world are a series of lies. 

Let us put all such philosophical discourse aside and for once accept the fact that in society, we are born with unique traits that need to be acknowledged and celebrated. Life’s trajectory is different for everyone; our lives are different narratives pursuing different storylines. Once we’ve come to identify and nurture our uniqueness, we’ll not fall into the trap of false comparisons and desire to be someone else, other than who we are.  

This realistic perception of our strengths and limitations is the key to building emotional resilience - a skill that helps us navigate disruptions which undermine our emotional comfort and belief system; for example, a setback in our career or family, negative perceptions of others about us and so on. 

In addition, we need to understand that seeking help from people around us is not a sign of weakness. It makes us seem more human and courageous when we admit our shortcomings. We are neither omnipotent nor omniscient. 

Changing discourse in a rainbow society 

The other day I was reading a book by Subroto Bagchi named ‘The Professional’ wherein, he spoke of how a businesslike and matter-of-fact approach by a German in the phrase “Tell me, what’s your problem” in place of a typical American “How may I help you” leads to confusion and misunderstanding between a German airline staff and an American passenger. 

As geographical boundaries merge and businesses get global, we can no longer afford to be a frog confined in his well. A sensitive and respectful approach in dealing with people from diverse cultural spectrum takes us a long way in our interpersonal dealings. An understanding of the historical and cultural roots of people we deal with along with knowledge of foreign languages becomes imperative in the new age.  

Diversity is not just confined to cultural differences alone. As we walkthrough a modern, egalitarian workplace, we spot more women in C-suites and boardrooms jostling for space with their male counterparts, a phenomenon hitherto unheard of. Organizations these days are willing to carve out spaces for employees with non-conventional sexual preferences and it’s a sight to watch 3 generations of employees rubbing shoulders in the cubicles.  

We can no longer strut about with a biased and opinionated mindset in a rapidly changing world but acknowledge dissimilarity with acceptance and sensibility. 

Man, and Machine- the right mix 

The year 2020 was a landmark year for many trainers like me. Due to a worldwide major disruptive change, training schedules got upstaged and training plans were either put on the backburner or got shifted to the virtual space. Training professionals were nudged out of their comfort zone and tech-challenged professionals were forced to push our limits and explore the endless, ever-expanding digital space. Microsoft Teams, Canva, Mentimeter, Whiteboard, Kahoot- all opened up a new, exciting world of audience interaction and engagement in virtual discourse and shrunk the world further. With self-directed learning taking over from teacher-centric classroom learning during the pandemic, the role of a teacher has evolved- from being the sought-after resource person to that of a mentor and guide, an interface between AI and the learner- helping them with making decisive choices in selection of AI tools, instilling confidence and a desire to learn, helping learners in identifying their aptitude, tracking learner progress, customizing learning tool packages, keeping a tab on screen-time optimization and many more.  

The use of AR and VR technology in new-age classrooms may have added a whole new dimension to our learning experience, making each atom of the learning component come alive with throbbing reality, where learners experience in 5D, the Battle of Panipat unfolding before their eyes or the arteries and veins in our body pumping blood, but, they fail to trigger learner’s imagination or encourage creativity and instill human values.  

Teachers play an active role in bridging this learning gap by taking the learners on field trips and educational excursions. This not only complements their theoretical knowledge of plant taxonomy but also allows them to connect with nature and appreciate her manifestations. A visit to historical sites and landmarks triggers their imagination and makes history lessons visually palpable. An exposure to new culture through social interactions makes them emotionally intelligent and empathetic; ready to navigate real-world challenges. 

Time and Tide Wait for None

A new age worker is a multitasker wearing several hats on and off the workplace. Time Management skills not only allow us to achieve greater output within a given timeline with focus and goal-centricity but also help us overcome unprecedented challenges with ease and confidence. 

In life, we juggle several goals- career, finances, relationships and so on. Putting one goal before the other, breaking down goals into tasks and prioritizing our tasks gives us the courage and confidence to say “No” to everything else that does not deserve our attention. Scheduling important tasks in keeping with our circadian clock, keeping Time Buffers to deal with sudden exigencies and using the power of assertion to say “no” to distractions- all these are fundamental sub-skills of Time Management, which when practiced over a time, get reinforced as habits. 

The Closure

The skills that enhance our mind are thus responsible for how we perceive and respond to the external world, a factor determining our happiness in life. 

About the Author 

Barnali Roy Choudhury is an author with a cumulative exposure of 18 years to training delivery, content creation and training quality control in education industry across various organizations, is currently serving as an Independent L&D professional as a Consultant Trainer for institutions and corporates in Soft Skills and ESL. 

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