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Exploring Possibilities: Can We Control Our Mind?
Indian cricket team has recently achieved a historic win in Australia. Second grade India team demolishes full strength Australian counterparts in their own den. These words and lines are dominating the sports news nowadays. India has been winning earlier too, but this win is different. It has almost become a synonym for ‘Will Power” and mental strength, virtues which were lesser known traits for us.
For those who may not be aware of the series of events of this cricket series, India suffered a humiliating defeat in the first match, when they got out on 36, their lowest ever total. Post that their best batsman and captain returned home to attend to his personal emergency. Even the best bowler also got his thumb fractured.
Despite that they fought back and rode on the century of the new captain they won the next match. But in the process they lost some key players to injury, which made the team further vulnerable. Australia sensing the victory came with all guns blazing in the next match. Somehow with great fighting spirit India drew the match showing great grit and determination.
Scores were level at 1-1 and 4th match was the decider. Australia was like a fuming bull all set to charge, and the Indian team had 6 more players injured. They have to prepare a team from their bench strength to which Ricky Ponting the Australian captain addressed as “a second grade Indian team”.
This Indian team demolished the Australian arrogance and created a history, which will be remembered for times to come. This victory very clearly indicates that life is a manifestation of where we direct our energies. Right now if we speak of ourselves, we are the sum total of where we have been giving and focusing our energies.
In order to focus our energies in the right direction we can transform ourselves in 2 ways.
1. We meet an accident which gives us a never ending reason to focus and converge our pran-vayu (internal energy) for one single cause. (India getting out on their lowest ever total was one such accident)
2. We train our mind with consistency to acquire the control.
I think all of you will not like the first situation to happen, so let’s attempt to understand point number 2. To train our minds we need tremendous will power (which was displayed by our Indian team)
Normally we lack power to move our will in desired direction, and when we train our mind to acquire it, it’s called the Power of will, or will power.
Along with will power comes another important virtue and that is concentration. It is the art or an ability to focus on a subject, topic or issue for an extended period of time. Now the problem about concentration is that we all know about concentration, but no one tells us how to concentrate. Monk Dandapaani says “to learn concentration we must practice concentration.
He says, we can practice concentration by doing one thing at one time and then integrating this practice into our routine. For instance, talking to your partner, or dealing with a client or having food. Whenever you perform these tasks, give your undivided attention to it. This way you will practice concentration for 4 to 5 hours in a day and in a few months you will observe that your concentration powers have improved. So to practice a discipline like concentration, we must learn a tool to practice and then insert the required tool into a reoccurring event in our routine.
Once we start practicing concentration we are ready to work on our will power. If we try to understand will power, it's nothing but our mental biceps or mental muscles. How do we develop our muscles...? We do that by regular exercise and strengthening them. Let’s understand, as to how we can flex our mental muscles.
So there are 3ways how you can practice to develop these mental muscles on a regular basis.
1. You finish what you begin
2. Finish it beyond expectations
3. Perform the task for some extra time. (in addition to your plan) .
Let’s understand this with an example. Suppose I take a target of doing 10k steps in the morning walk. First thing I do is to finish these 10 k steps and do my stretching and have my energy drink. This I call finishing the routine. Many people just do 10 k steps and that’s it. Then after doing 10k steps, do additional 500 steps more. Further on do it for another 5 minutes, so on and so forth. These additional acts need the energising of the will power. After a few days we might realise that we are doing 20k steps, with an improved will power…
So with the help of these small practices, which if we do regularly for an extended period of time, we can help ourselves to take control of our mind and help one become the master of the mind, rather being a tame slave…All the best..
(The author is a Certified Designed Thinking Master practitioner and Clifton Certified Strength Finder Coach, Corporate Trainer and a Leadership coach. He is based in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.)