Like A Blade, Keep Your Mind Sharp
August 9, 2021
This evening, I was in an interesting discussion with my son on the need to be consistent about whatever we want to do in all facets of our lives.
- If you want to be focused, you need to be focused on everything you do the whole day. You can’t say I will focus only when I am studying, and the rest of the time, I will do whatever my mind feels like doing.
- If you want to be disciplined, you can’t say I will be disciplined about my office work, but you slack out when it comes to household work.
- You decide to wake up at six am and go for a run every day, and you don’t follow through on your own decision. But somehow, when it comes to work decisions, you feel you will be able to stick to your decisions.
- You want to be attentive and focused in work meetings, but you don’t listen and pay attention to what your spouse says.
These are all examples of incongruity and contradiction.
Our Mind Is Like A Blade
I explained the idea of this incongruity to my son using the metaphor of a shaving blade.
We use the shaving blade to shave. Now, if you use the same blade to sharpen pencils and cut cardboard, will the blade be good at shaving? Obviously not; the blade loses its edge and becomes blunt.
It’s the same with your mind. You have only one mind, and you use it for everything: watching TV, studying, listening, problem-solving, and concentrating.
From morning to night, if you spend all your time letting your mind do whatever it feels like and wants to do, will it be in the right shape to do those critical activities that matter for you?
E.g., You let your mind convince you not to go for the run in the morning. You let your mind tell you that you are not in the mood to study and instead watch the last two episodes of the Netflix movie that you left off the previous night. Whatever your mind wants you to do, you do for most of the day. And, in the afternoon or evening, you sit down to study, thinking you can get your mind to concentrate and focus entirely without any distraction. What do you think your mind will do? It will play games. It will start feeling sleepy, or it will keep getting distracted. You have to work twice as hard to make it comply with what you want it to do.
The only way to be get better at focus and discipline is by ensuring that you practice focus and discipline in everything you do. You train your mind to follow your instructions all the time.
Keep It Sharp
The big message that I gave my son and myself through the conversation was this. Concentration, focus, discipline are acts of congruity coming out of one mind. So we need to keep the blade of our mind sharp by ensuring that we don’t waste its edge, letting it do what it feels like doing.