“I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain
Accountability. Impartiality. Surprisingly, what connects these two can also help us achieve work-life balance. In the first part of how we can make a difference wherever we are, we dealt with the importance of valuing good character and the chain that leads to it. The note showed how understanding this can help us lead and guide as parents, as colleagues or simply as an example to those around us.
One issue that remained ambiguous was deciding the guiding principles we must pursue. That requires fixing something inside us first and so brings us to Part 2.
Part 2: Lead through optimism
Let’s start with the trait of impartiality. To be impartial, we must be detached. But why?
Impairment of our decision making ability and fear of adverse consequences is often the reason we shy away from taking charge. Interestingly, it turns out that consequences in our lives or at workplaces have more to do with variables that lie within us rather than those existing around us. Taking care of these implies taking care of ourselves which in turn positions us better to have a work-life balance. The following lines discuss how.
A glass half full or half empty are two ways of looking at the same fact. However, both lead to drastically different results. Believing a glass half full may spur a team to keep going until it is filled up, helping them achieve their targets. Believing it to be half empty may make a team more risk averse and stall further investment until things become clearer. While both may be prudent steps to take in different situations, optimism is often far better because it keeps our behavior positive, our energy upbeat. That is crucial because negative behavior cannot lead to sustained positive consequences.
The above chain is explained by Dr. Alan Watkins in the video below. He calls physiology simply a stream of data coming into the brain from our body. It includes our heartbeat, breathing, digestion etc. Raw emotions our the consequent electrical, electromagnetic, chemical etc. energies in play. For instance, when we are anxious, the physiological data would include fast heartbeat, driy mouth, sweaty palms etc. Problem arises when we do not read these cues or realize we are feeling anxious, thereby being unaware of how our thinking is getting altered. This is the reason we fail to grasp when we shift from perceiving the glass as half full to perceiving it as half empty, and end up acting accordingly.
Mark Twain once said, “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Those terrible things that happen in our minds and impact our judgment, decisions and actions can be altered by keeping a check on our physiology. So the next time someone tells us to be optimistic, we now know just how we can achieve it.
That is the first step to developing good character because only upon improving our biochemical state can we see things in positive light. And only then can we better decide what is right and develop guiding principles of our own life.
Only then can we feel better about ourselves and be willing to self-critique.
Only then can we stop fearing mistakes.
And yes, only then can we truly take a stand, help others, and set an example.
So if you wish to lead, start with yourself and those around you. And don’t forget to smile a bit on the way, for the chain leading our physiological changes to outcomes in our life gets more complicated when we bring in physics into the equation. Einstein’s theory of general relativity and time dilation dictates that the past, present and future already exist. We know that phenomenon as destiny. How that links to our physiology is a different post for a different day.
© 2015 Malay Upadhyay