January 8, 2016


Every time you are in gym, your coach would be right beside you instructing you on- how to pace your cardio, how to lift the weights, and how synchronized the limb movements need to be for other exercise variants. One can observe for themselves when asked to do weights in a set of say 10-20, we try to rush through the set, in the belief that the faster we do better the chances we could complete it properly. The same applies to cardio (try to run fast to complete the distance) and exercise (do squats/ push-ups/ burpees faster). Your coach then gives you the sweet news, asks you to do say 75% of the set at one pace and rest at the slowest pace.

Once we try this, we realize how hard it is to actually finish the set. The amount of strain exerted on your muscles and more importantly your psyche is enormous. You would want to stop. You feel you can push no more. The pain is too much to bear. But, you learn later on that this percentage of effort is what that would shape you up, strengthen muscles and in fact built endurance. You can do with comfort more repetitions of the activity, run longer distances and difficult workouts too. A few weeks/ months of practice and you can see the results. You would need no further coaxing. You will strive to push harder to achieve next level. And, all along would admire the way your body's responding and THAT reflects in your beliefs too... in fewest of few cases.

Now, let’s change the scenario slightly, replace gym with life and workout regime with challenges or troubles or difficulties. For all practical purposes, we replicate our actions from gym in our life too. When confronted with a difficulty/ problem, we strive to rush through for a quick solution and in the absence of not achieving the desired result sulk out or give up. We try a few options, a few times (sometimes only once or twice) and then declare to ourselves that this is a pathetic situation with no feasible solution. That is often the dangerous phase of addressing the problem- post giving up.

Your mind would be addled quite a bit, thoughts running around in your mind as to why it couldn't be handled by you and sometimes the emotions become precariously placed- to tip over anytime. The problem could be on any of your fronts- office, home, friends or any kind of relationships too. It is basic human nature to ponder over unsolved problems and if they are related to you the mind is in a high drive mode. The inability to solve the challenge amicably could lead to display of a range of emotions all directed towards oneself- anger, despair, displeasure, resentment, disappointment, misery, sadness, self-pity everything! And as with the exercise bit, you would try to deal with it the wrong way. Imagine that you faced the problem at end of working hours, your next set of action is driving home but your mind is brimming with emotions. Seeking a faster solution (peace for yourself) few might consider revving up the engine and slicing through the traffic hoping that the adrenaline rush might put you at comfort.

The last bit isn’t advised as one might fail to notice the monstrous SUV’s coming headlong and sometimes smash into a vehicle injuring yourselves.

Let us take the coach's advice, just slow down the things, and learn to bear it to- better understand the situation & our ability to deal with it. Any problem thrown at us gives us an opportunity to test & hone our inherent skill of problem solving. Slowing things a bit gives us time to better focus our capability, improve our endurance level and more importantly an experience. Just like our muscle memory which adapts to the exercise routine and remembers the stress levels, our ability to keep composure in the face of challenge allows us to pull out relevant solutions and keep our mind stress free.

There’s no need to run away from troubles and screw it up, which could also be done by keeping the mind occupied to the extent that it hurts your career, personal life and infact even bodily harm. Though the emotion of sadness or despair might creep up in few cases, one needs to learn to be strong, however hard it might be.