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What Makes, Good Presence of Mind
What is presence of mind? The ability to remain calm and act constructively during times of crisis, or saying or doing the right thing, even when time is in short supply.
What is Presence of Mind?
What exactly is it? How does it originate? Can we nurture it?
Though I could not find an unequivocal definition, the idea of presence of mind is ingrained in 'a fitting reaction', to each and every trigger.
To be more clear, the more fitting, our response to events and occurrences around us, the better, our presence of mind.
Learn from Examples
Let us now see a few examples from the world around us, and see, what influences, the aptness of reactions.
The willow, by bending to the tempest, better withstands the turbulence, and also escapes well. The oak perishes often, while resisting the wind.
True genius, in strategy or anywhere, lies more in self-control, and fluidity of thought. Raw strength gets matched often, necessitating frequent shifts in strategy.
The most successful gentleman is not the one who is better refined, or more sensible or stronger. The one who is more flexible or more adaptable, or the one whose reactions are most appropriate, almost always is the one to triumph. The one who uses a structured, planned approach to problem solving.
Or the one with an appropriately placed sense of humor, as shown by the following story: “A person once went for an interview in a very reputed company. While entering the room, he slipped and fell on the ground. Humiliated, one might think, with documents scattered all over the place.
The man picked himself up. And with a smile on his face he spoke out loud, "Finally, I have fallen into right place!"
In short, one needs to be competent, discerning, flexible and, always ready to see the lighter side.
How to Get Good Presence of Mind
Who can be that? Naturally the one who is certain about the matters in ones hand. All that we discussed, flexibility, fluidity of thought, and the supple nature, can be normal, only in someone who is thorough with whatever one is handling. Or rather, only the one who is fully in the grip of ones affairs can afford to make amends to ones moves without endangering the aims and aspirations. Unlike the discussions seen most often, where it is shown to be of spiritual nature, good presence of mind needs an exhaustive grasp of the entity, one is seized of.
'Grasp' can be thought of as the result of reflection or deep thought, which can be compared with ‘chewing the cud’, as done by some mammals. We receive input information through our senses, while reading, seeing, hearing etc. These, instead of stored haphazardly in some areas of our mind, while we reflect, gets arranged, linked, prioritized, compared, verified, etc., or in short, grasped. Once we have grasped something, any new bit of information, without waiting for ‘chewing the cud’, gets placed, ie., added or appended to the existing information appropriately.
How to Ensure That
(I think our forefathers were quite meticulous, fastidious while confronting new unknowns. Moreover, to ensure that every new bit of information will be well pondered over, they attributed divine status for each such unknown, thus enlarging the kitty of divine entities. Then, to make sure that such entities will continue to be examined, discussed and deliberated, they made spiritual transactions, an important part of social life. What they intended took place. Each and every one of such divinities took our attention; we continue to spend valuable time and efforts, discovering the real face of those entities. The sky, our planets and, the scourges that the world survived, are only some of the examples.
But, what they did not intend also is taking place. By according status of incomprehensibility, we are slowing down our progress in quite a few divine things. This is seriously hampering the smooth flow of human life, leading to unpredictable eventualities, in addition to holding up the process of adding to our wealth of knowledge. Our reluctance to question the spiritual, is a good example.)
The one who does not have that grasp will always have ones mind, wandering aimlessly. This can be identified as absence of mind, and is the primary cause of loss of attention. In fact, this is the real entity, we should be after. Presence of mind is nothing but the absence of 'absence of mind'.
The remedy should now be clear. And it isn’t anything complex. The more thorough one is about the matter one is seized of, the less, ones attention needs to waver. Therefore, good presence of mind is a product of mastery over the subject one is engaged with, at the current time.
What can we Do?
What exactly is it? How does it originate? Can we nurture it? We have seen it as a product of our command over the matter in question. And we saw, it originates from our involvement with what the question poses.
And who can nurture it? Naturally the one who is best equipped to find all the answers to questions one may face. Unlike the discussions seen most often, where it is shown to be of spiritual nature, good presence of mind needs an exhaustive grasp of the entity in focus.