Friday, May 11, 2007

Trophies of the Mind!

From the top of the head, the first impression that a ‘mental trophy’ might give would be pretty vague I guess. That’s what it was to me at least, when I heard it for the first time on an adventure show on the TV, when a guy was talking about his experience at skydiving.

In his words, it’s not something you can take home with yourself and give to your mom, or describe to someone, the feeling that goes through your head while free falling is a mental trophy!

Coming to think of it, it’s fairly usual for perhaps all of us to look for these mental trophies. Adventure sport, a way to outfox your fears and get the adrenaline to gush through your veins has been for long a way to break the mental barriers.

A recent news item I came across on the web spoke of something more interesting. A IIT JEE coaching institute organized an entrance test that included the student’s baptism by fire, literally so. The students were made to walk through a bed of burning coal. Most would agree figuratively that preparing for IIT is no less than a firewalk (ok, to be honest, it really isn’t that bad) but literarily? It provoked intense reactions from a lot of the elite and educated, as it caused an instant recollection of the inhuman instance from our mythological tale Ramayana, when the purity personified, Seeta’s was made to walk through fire to prove her truthfulness.

A little research and I figured that this walk on burning coals, is used across the world as a motivation exercise by several reputed organizations. In the words of a firewalking student, ‘If I can do this, I can do anything, even crack JEE.’

Of course, walking on fire wouldn’t have given him the conceptual understanding of permutations and probabilities or the dynamics of rolling motion, but it perhaps did instill confidence in his own capabilities that would now help him outdo his expected performances. In a way, the young boy can now take anything in his stride, or at least attempt to do so.

The knowledge that a casual carefree walk on coal is scientifically harmless was quite a discovery and it reflected one more technically correct facet of the Indian superstitious test of truthfulness. The one who’s true at heart must walk fearless and confident and he’ll pass unharmed. The one who hesitates is the one who falters and thus is caught.

Sometimes an act of daring like a bungee jump or a skydive or a firewalk might give you a mental trophy, but beyond that it’s our own experiences in course of routine life that impact us in strong ways and the mind and the soul feel rewarded. It might be something like accomplishment of a psychological task, being able to calmly resolve a matter that might have led to bitterness, getting over your our own complacency and inculcating the disciplining habits that you’ve always wanted to, controlling your anger in that heated moment and getting over the situation, a word of acknowledgement from your boss, getting your recommendations incorporated, or being able to swiftly grow out of it and move on beyond a failed relationship or to stand by truth and be vindicated.

Eventually, the confidence in your ability to DO something, or in your capability to stop yourself from doing something, is nothing but a collection of these mental trophies- your past experiences where you did succeed and which strengthened your belief in yourself.

In a miniscule version of these trophies, we get kicks out of doing teenie weenie things around ourselves. Some of them might be notorious acts as pulling a colleague’s leg or pulling a prank on a bunch of friends or causing someone some minor embarrassment, having someone wait on you etc. But hey, there are positive ways too to get these kicks, like perhaps managing to put a baby to sleep, or to get a smile on the face of a street kid, or to help someone in need, or giving someone some little pleasures while just being a kind stranger!

Whatever my own mood or situation might be, these kicks are what keep me going.

Be it the trophies or the kicks, they could do wonders with your mood and your self concept if you treat them rightly. The best part is, they don’t cost a thing and you can’t buy them off a superstore shelf.

So figure out a trophy and till then, get yourself some kicks today, put a nasty remark about my ‘gyaan’ filled blog maybe J

I get a kick out of this!


Dhaarini said...

interesting concept, once grasped we realize we all do it all the time.

I didn't know about the coals being harmless, surely it must hurt? but ya, confidence in one's abilities and facing one's fears is as important as actually being able to execute the task at hand.

your 'gyan filled' blog is interesting. Keep writing

chinz said...

hey bro...nice one..was fun when we were discussin..(rather when u were talkin and i was listening..) but lil' birdie told me tht u are claustrophobic..try to score a mental trophy dere ;)......

logicark said...

very true. the kick that i get out of doing stuff, which might not be as adventurous in the traditional sense but is equally important in day to day life, is much bigger than any other kick. It boosts one's belief in self and people around; and it makes one's day.

Rohan said...

wha abt lazy ppl?