Intentional Calm: How to Make the Most of a Changing World
cHAOS and uncertainty are part of life. Are you taking advantage of it?
To make the most of a chaotic world we need to balance our emotions with a rational and deliberate thought process in real time that allows us to learn and consciously and creatively act on the situation or what the authors Jacqueline Brassey, Aaron De Smet, and Michael Kruyt, call Intentionally Calm.
Here’s the problem. At the very moment, we must consciously solve the situation and choose the behavior that best suits it, we instinctively do the opposite. on Intentionally Calm: How to Learn and Lead in a Changing Worldthe authors call it the Paradox of adaptation: “ At the very moment when we need to abandon our usual patterns and creatively engage with an unfamiliar, complex, or uncertain situation and choose a new and innovative response, the unfamiliarity, complexity, and lack of we can’t do it.”
Intentional calm is about adaptability and self-control. It’s about awareness, learning agility, and emotional self-regulation.
Beneath the surface of our behavior is our core identity, made up of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that we have cultivated and refined since childhood. Negative self-talk only reinforces it. Together they form the foundation of thinking that drives our behavior. Mostly it seems to work for us. It seems to protect us and our core being. But in unchangeable situations, our ingrained reactions cause us to miss opportunities to learn and grow in more productive ways. The ability to separate ourselves from our thoughts and feelings is the first step forward. We need to develop Dual Awareness.
Dual Awareness consists of “awareness of our external and internal environment and how they affect each other.” Doing so means “we recognize that our intense feelings are actually gifts. They are messages that tell us that our usual behavior may not be the most appropriate for the situation we are facing.” The Dual Awareness has three layers: awareness of the situation and what it requires, awareness of what is happening to you now, and then responding effectively as a result.
This helps us recognize when we have entered a Adaptive Zone. In this zone, “we face challenges that require us to do something new that is not easy or natural for us to do, and if we fail, there will be real consequences. Circumstances exceed our current capabilities, and our normal practices, patterns, and attitudes no longer work for us in the way we need or want them to.”
When faced with an Adaptive Zone, it’s time to switch to learning mode. Our default mindset creates blind spots.
In those moments, however, we can accept and acknowledge our limited perspective, learn from the experience of others, and try to see things through their lens, we can expand our worldview. and solve more complex problems than we can. ourselves.
The question then becomes, “What do I have to believe to answer differently?”
When we find ourselves in an Adaptive Zone, it is common for all of us to blame others for our problems when we are on the defensive and operating from our default thinking and behavioral patterns. We believe that the way we see things is true, so we don’t look inward and explore other possibilities or the ways in which our own perspective can be shifted. This leads us to blame others or circumstances outside of ourselves for our problems instead of taking ownership and looking for ways we can change to create a better result.
We tend to cling to what we know and what has worked for us in the past in the face of uncertainty, even though it doesn’t work because it’s comfortable and provides a sense of control.
Having a greater purpose helps us remember why we do what we do and helps us move away from the familiar and accept the Adaptive situation we face and learn from it.
When two different mindsets collide, we usually find conflict. But “if handled well, with an open mind instead of judging, defending, or blaming, conflict can actually be a great factor in learning.”
Without Dual Awareness, there is a risk of being triggered into a state of protection, judging and blaming others, and starting to form negative opinions about them. Then we understand what they say and do according to the opinions.
And if we always look for the corroborating evidence of our opinion through the very lens that created it, there is no doubt that we will find it.
Instead of blaming each other and looking for evidence of our own judgments, we begin to see each other more fully as complete, complex, three-dimensional people whose behavior in a situation can be show something more complicated than what we see above. . This often begins to develop more understanding, trust, empathy, and intimacy as we feel more comfortable sharing deeper elements of who we are.
The way to practice Deliberate Calm is to “consciously design your life to make it easier to stay calm and present no matter what’s going on around you.” The Deliberate Clam model relies on four pillars: awareness, purpose, relationships, and energy. The book’s appendix provides a way to access where you are and do daily practices that will help you develop your Deliberate Clam muscle.
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