Presence Of Mind
Presence of mind, what it is and why do we need it?
It is required to have a sensibility, to remain calm under pressure and to be quick to assess and solve the problem at hand; this is called as the presence of mind. I am no expert at this; I am still learning and will always keep learning. It’s an art that grows and matures with you. When it comes to a situation where you are required to give a logical solution and sometimes present out of the box thinking, you need to have this skill. This skill is like wine, the more mature it is, the better it will be.
It is not something you can learn in a few days by reading this or something else. It has to be practiced and used constantly. And mark my words, it will take time and you will make mistakes, MANY MISTAKES. It is all about learning from those mistakes and making sure they are not repeated.
Underconfidence and overconfidence both are toxic in a situation where it requires the presence of mind. To find the correct spot and striking it is the key to have the correct answer. I read this small story on a website; I will simplify it and explain my point.
There are two swimmers, both of them have amazing skills, and are almost considered equally talented at swimming. They were swimming in an ocean, and suddenly a shark started to follow them in order to hunt them down. One of the swimmers had a knife with him (just assume he kept it somewhere in his swimming attire) and the other one had nothing. Who would you like to be in this situation?
I am predicting that majority will answer they would like to be the guy with the knife because if both of them have same skills then it will be better to have an extra layer of security just in case. Right?
WRONG. And yes it will be wrong to be the other guy as well, if you are thinking about that answer.
Read the question again. I asked who would you like to be in this situation, I never asked which person you would like to be in this situation. According to me, I would like to be the shark, I want to be the one chasing, not the one who is being chased. When I read the story I assessed the situation, then I read the question again, I understood that it is open-ended. I could have answered I want to be the ocean but that’s absurd. It is argumentative but I guess my point has come across.
This was a situation where the question can be revisited, what if this question was asked in an interview? There would have been no chance to reassess, it has to be quick. This is where you need the presence of mind. And this was only one small example when you do an MBA, it is required that this skill is polished because your decisions, your actions can take the company to new heights or crumble it into dust.
There are several ways to develop your presence of mind, the first and foremost is adequate sleep. A person required at least 6 to 8 hours of sound sleep. It keeps the mind fresh and active. You can try yoga or exercise for 20 to 30 minutes (or more), this keeps your body active so that you don’t feel tired all the time. Taking care of your body will play a major role in this.
Now coming to the brain. How to train your brain?
READ. Read a LOT. Newspapers, magazines, novels, biographies, editorials, articles, blogs etc. This helps in the creation of opinion and changes your perspective.
Talk to people who can teach you something new. If you are an introvert (kind of like me) then try some social websites like Quora, Facebook groups, anything and everything which can help you gain some new knowledge. This helps in knowing the problems, situations, and solutions they have from their perspective; again this changes and develops your perception.
Be aware of the things happening around you. This requires keen observation. Watch news. This is a good way of learning. You can also use Youtube. Youtube can be useful at times other than for entertainment purpose. Instead of watching videos for fun and time pass, try watching some knowledge worthy videos. You will observe how much you can learn.
And lastly, have patience; learn how to be calm in stressful situations. This takes time. With practice, this can be achieved. It will be difficult to adopt new habits, some of you must be following a lot of this already, but for those who aren’t, it’s not too late to start. Keep on hustling!
Thank you for reading!