Friday, July 16, 2010

Unbeatable Mindset

Unbeatable Mindset
Introduction: In the year 1952, two men did what was unprecedented till then. Norgay Tenzing and Edmund Hillary climbed the highest peak in the world, the Mount Everest which was not conquered by man previously. When Edmund Hillary was interviewed later about his experience and how he could conquer the highest peak he said, “It is not about conquering mountains, it is about conquering yourself.” In other words he was trying to convey the message that when a human being conquers his mind, he can conquer anything and everything. Reaching milestones in life is all about having an Unbeatable Mindset. It is a mindset that says, “I don’t give up, I don’t quit, I can do it.” The world is filled with examples as of Norgay Tenzing and Edmund Hillary in every field like business, sports, politics etc. If we study all these people, they have one thing in common that is an Unbeatable Mindset. So how can we also possess an Unbeatable Mindset, or rather develop our Minds to that level where we will possess an Unbeatable Mindset? This article will help us in this very regard.
1. An open Mind: The first mark of an Unbeatable Mindset is to have an open mind. By an open mind, I mean a mind willing to study. A mind willing to be flexible, a mind that is ready to empathize with the other point of view. Many times we are bound by limits because we don’t want to have an open mindset. Our minds are hewn and shaped by culture, religions, nations, castes, families and societies around us. We tend to learn everything from our childhood from the above mentioned areas of life. We are inclined to behave and act as we are taught by our surroundings. So if your religion, nation, caste, culture tells you that certain things are bad and unacceptable, we tend to follow and continue with this trend in our adulthood. If our surroundings and people tell us that we cannot venture into the dark because there is evil lurking in the dark on a full moon or new moon day we tend to make this our belief and follow it religiously. When an astrologer tells us that you belong to this Sun sign or Moon sign and your personality is bound by this weakness we accept his words, welcome that weakness in our lives, befriend it and live with it our whole lives. When you are taught from your childhood that certain mountains are a taboo and you should avoid them, you are bound to keep yourself away from going in the proximity of those mountains and definitely from attempting to conquer them. So the first requirement is to have an open mind, a mind that will challenge limiting beliefs of people around us, what religions, cultures, societies imbibe in us. What if Edmund Hillary was taught not to associate with people from other countries or skin colour? The climbing on Mount Everest was a team effort, if he was not accompanied by Norgay Tensing who was a Nepali, it would have been different story altogether. So have an open mind, a mind that is willing to accept the different point of view and be flexible.
2. A Learning Mind: “When the student is ready the teacher appears” goes the saying. Life will always throw situation, people, and circumstances around us to teach us. “Remember there are no failures, only lessons to be learnt” says, Cherrie De Scott, the author of “IF Life are a Game these are the Rules.” But Life would teach us not forcefully, rather very subtly and only with the condition that we are willing to learn. People who conquer mountains have always been good students of Life. They have a humble mindset that is willing to learn, de-learn, re-learn, assimilate and execute what they Life has taught them. They are ready to give up their preconceived notions and beliefs and accept new ones that make them wiser. They remain students of a faculty for their whole lives even though they may be renowned as Masters of it. They make necessary alterations and evolve with times as they keep on learning. To possess a learning mind is to possess a mind that is constantly sharpened. There was a woodcutter hired by a company. He regularly cut trees for the company and got some money. He did so for five years. After some time another woodcutter was hired by the company. After some months he was immediately promoted and his salary hiked. Naturally, the previous woodcutter felt ignored. He went to the manager of the company; the manager said to him that he would be happy to give him promotion too but the new woodcutter was cutting more trees per day than him so they had promoted him. If he did the same, the company would hike his pay too. So the woodcutter went back and started hitting at the trees hard. But he was still able to manage only the same amount of trees everyday. So he was puzzled and told his query to the manager. The manager told him that he should consult the new woodcutter, maybe he knew the secret that both of them were unaware of. The woodcutter went to the new woodcutter and asked him the secret of his success. The new woodcutter replied, “The secret of cutting more trees is that after every tree I cut, I take some rest and sharpen my axe”. Friends, to possess an unbeatable mindset, it is important that we have minds that are open to sharpening, to undergo the process of learning, de-learning and relearning.
3. A mind that knows fear but acknowledges courage: There is a positive and encouraging advertisement that is being displayed on Television sets in India by a Cola company. Its motto is “Victory lies beyond your fears”. There is a great element of truth in it. When we look at successful people and the heights that they have gain in their career we are overawed by their career graphs that seem to soar like the eagle soaring in the blue sky. We feel that they are people who are specially gifted with the gift of courage. We feel that the things that they have attempted and risked are not for everyone. They were blessed from heaven to do that task. It won’t be possible for us to climb the same mountains they have because they were born fearless. But if we read and study carefully the lives of these great souls, we will be surprised to know that they are all common people who have risen out of their fears and touched great heights in life. They were people who knew fear but rather than acknowledging it or befriending it and limiting themselves and their progress, they chose to acknowledge courage and progress. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “When you stay with a problem long enough, it turns out to be a blessing.” In the same way when you stay with a fear long enough and refuse to quit, the fear will give way to courage. To be courageous, you first have to know what fear is. When you know fear and despite of it choose to be courageous, than you’ve graduated to have a mind that fearless. Look at the word, “Fear-less”. The fear is there but its effect has been lessened or made ‘nil’ in one’s life. In other words, the person knows fear but acknowledges courage. He is acquainted with the fact that there is fear, but he does not befriend it and let it paralyse his development. He rather chooses to befriend courage. He chooses to go beyond the fear and knows that real freedom lies there beyond his fears. Many times fears are illusory. Many times things don’t turn out as we feared them to turn out. Mark Twain said it well, “I am an old man and have known many troubles, but most of them never happened.” The troubles that Mark Twain feared never happened. Look at that quote! We cannot disagree with his wisdom. The wise thing to do is go beyond our fears. We should know fear but not befriend it, acknowledge and befriend courage. That will help us to posses an unbeatable mindset.
4. A mind that refuses to quit: The fourth factor to possess an unbeatable mindset is to have a mind that refuses to quit in face of trials, troubles and failures. A mind that accepts failures as the part of the process of success and learns from the failures will achieve its goals. Usually the common people around us give up too soon. When students encounter failure in examination many of them end their lives, when people lose in business they shut off their business and quit trying, when an interviewee fails to get the desired job he gets discouraged and despondent, when people find it difficult to adjust with their spouses because of the differences in thinking, they take the recourse of divorce. Remember, “It’s always too soon to give up; and it is always never too late to try again.” Between 1920 to 1952, seven major expeditions had failed to reach the Everest summit. Edmund Hillary had tried reaching in 1951 and 1952 and reattempted in 1953 when finally he and Tenzing Norgay reached the world’s highest peak. If you go behind the success stories of all the famous people, you will find that many times in their lives they have encountered failures. The only difference between them and the common crowd was that they choose to stay in the game longer than most of us do and that is why they emerged as winners at the end. We all know the great scientist Thomas Edison who invented the microphone, the incandescent light, the storage battery and other things. On December 1914 his laboratory was in flames due to combustion in the film room. All his life’s work was destroyed in the laboratory. He was 67 at that time. Many thought including his son Charles that he won’t be able to take it. But the next morning Edison looking at the ruins said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew” Three weeks after this disaster, he invented the phonograph. That’s the mind refusing to give up, the mark of an unbeatable mindset.
5. A noble mind: Finally, an unbeatable mindset is a mind that chooses nobler options in life. When it comes to choose between hate and love, revenge and forgiveness, strife and peace, loosing battles and winning war the nobler mind always chooses the later of the options. A nobler mind is willing to sacrifice the short term benefits for long term goals. A nobler mind always looks for the future benefits, benefits that would stay longer and is willing to sacrifice the alluring, pleasurable short term frivolities. A noble mind is willing to sacrifice the good for the best. Many times they say, “The good is many times the enemy of the best” What would have happened if Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu would have chosen to keep on working as a Principal of the reputed convent school and lead a comfortable life rather than be a ‘saint of the gutters?’Nothing much. We wouldn’t have known Mother Teresa. What would have happened if a young and promising barrister chose to stay in foreign country and pursue his career and profession rather than plunge himself in the Indian Freedom struggle? We wouldn’t have known the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. What would have happened if the brave soldiers of our country chose a life of merriment and comfort rather than a life or vigilance and sacrifice, we surely won’t be very secure in such a country. Choose the nobler option, the option that will help you to rise above the common crowd, an option that would decorate your life with love, peace, joy, fulfilment and enlightenment. Drugs, addiction, gambling, cheating, fraud are options that many of the people around us choose and though it may give them a short-term ‘high’, on long term basis the effects would be worse than the people realize. So rise above the ordinary, you are meant to be nobler and leave a nobler legacy for your posterity to follow.
Conclusion: Wilma Rudolph was born in a family of 22 children, born prematurely. Scarlet fever took off her ability to walk and left her polio stricken. Segregation of the black people in U.S was the order of the day and Wilma happened to be a black person. Doctors gave the hope of her being able to walk again. But at the encouragement of her mother, she gave up her braces on legs and started walking, then running and participating in sports in her school. In many races she came last but refused to quit until the day dawned and she came first. She kept on participating and met Ed Temple who coached her for Olympics and on September 7th in Rome Wilma became the first American woman to win 3 gold medals defeating the world’s best runner in those times, Jutta Henin. That’s the story of an unbeatable mindset. So friends, we all can graduate to possess the unbeatable mindset, if we are willing to work on ourselves according to the above laid out tips. Remember if we possess an unbeatable mindset, we will surely be unbeatable.
Joy be all yours.

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