“I am a composite of learned things,” I heard this line in a podcast today by Tom Bileyu. I felt it applied to me. Travel and books have had a great influence on me. When you travel you open up to a very different external world and when you open a book you change your internal world. I am reading a book called Mind Time recommended by Ian Faria and I am being influenced in real time to use the concepts from this book.
Last week I was in my hometown, on my way back to Bangalore. The car driver came half an hour early and was busy doing paperwork while waiting for me. As soon as I entered the car he started asking me a lot of personal questions. I got a little irritated and a little suspicious. “Why is he so interested in my personal life?” I decided to pick up my phone and indicate that I am not interested in that conversation. Then suddenly I noticed that he was using some interesting words in his conversation like, “Integrity”, “personality” and “confidence” while he was asking me about the difference between India and US. That moment I asked him, ” What is your background”? He asked me “why did you ask me this question?” I said, ” From your last conversation since you were using these words, I was curious.” He smiled and said, “Sir I am MCom graduate”. Before I could ask him the next obvious question, he narrated his full story in the next 5 minutes.
Shaji’s children study in the best schools in my hometown. His ambition is to give them the best education and get them on the global stage. Shaji owns 4 vehicles. Shaji is a maniac when it comes to the automobile. In his words ” I love to drive miles and get smiles” While we were on our way, an S Class Mercedes overtook us. He started describing the features of the vehicle and luckily I could give him one input when he asked me, “Sir, do you know what is the category called without the roof and automatically it folds up”. My german knowledge of cars came to my rescue and I told ” convertible”. He was happy and he asked me, ” are you an engineer”? I said yes but told him that I do not like cars. That was the breaking point. In the next few minutes, he went to describe his love for vehicles and how fascinated he is with the technology. I was also fascinated by his levels of interest. I checked on Quora what is the name we can give for a car enthusiast. His “caracteristic” was the level of deep knowledge he possessed on the features of that speeding S Class which made me call him a “gearhead”. Our car ground to a halt and with a lot of care and attention he got my luggage down. He bid goodbye and said, ” It was nice meeting you and wish you all the very best”. We parted ways after having a handshake. He can be called a ” carismatic”
I was in the right mood after having that friendly and informational conversation. I noticed the person sitting next to me was wearing the ID card of a top company with whom we do business. So I stuck up a conversation with him. He was a senior scientist. Our conversation was engaging from a business point of view. Later he started discussing about his son who is working in a top Indian company. He went on a negative spiral blaming the meager salary structures, growth paths and how this generation does not know how to save money. I was a little embarrassed as he was talking at a higher pitch. I was giving a muted response. Krishnan was not having a good view of a lot of things in life. He is well educated and he has a cushy job but his outlook towards life was very negative. I tried my best to change the mood and tried smiling. After my conversation with Shaji, I was full of energy. My last conversation was an energy drainer and I felt down and out.
I had to get out of this state of mind immediately. So I decided to use the principle of AIM from Mind Time.
AIM stands for Allowing, Inquiring, and Meta-awareness. In life, you will come across positive and negative people. AIM means:
- be non-judgemental about any situation(Allowing),
- before reacting, understand the situation (Inquiring)
- be aware of all the aspects of the situation (Meta-awareness) and then respond.
Allowing – I allowed Shaji and the scientist with an attitude of Kindness and Acceptance, Inquiry – Through my questions, comments, and attention, I was curious about their experiences and I was evaluating my responses, Meta -awareness – I was observing my thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses as they were happening and then realized that they were temporary and not facts.
“Our minds are the key to unlocking the life we wish to lead. The state of our minds not only directly affects our happiness, learning, creativity, and performance, it affects those around us as well.” One important lesson for me- it is time for me to shape my mind and not be shaped by them. In life, we cannot avoid negative people. We can control our response to them by practicing AIM. After my conversation with the scientist, I looked forward to having a conversation with Raghu my regular driver who is always positive.
Let us all aim for AIM. The AIM is all about choice-full responses rather than choiceless reactions.