I never thought that waiting in a security check queue could be so much fun and full of learning. It was a Monday morning rush at the Delhi airport. You would have to pay extra attention to even see the floor through thousands of travelers on a busy day like this. A long queue is the perfect place to really test your patience. I spotted a business leader standing in one of these long queues. I recently read his interview that got published under a popular leadership column. While he was waiting for his turn, someone cut him in line. That made this corporate honcho lose his cool. A person who was quite centered a minute back was now behaving like a nagging child. Suddenly everything and everyone around him became a problem for him, as if the entire world turned negative for him in a jiffy. His behavior caught my attention and made me think about what ticked him off; maybe it was the person who cut in line or perhaps that incident just acted like a trigger that blew this leader’s mental peace of mind. When we talk about the qualities of great leaders, centeredness is unquestionably one of these attributes.
I recently heard about a funny incident where Richard Branson caught one of his employees dozing off during work hours. For some of us this could be a big enough reason to lose our cool. However, Richard on the other hand laughed and took a photo with the sleepyhead.
It is quite possible that a similar situation could lead one person into a negative spiral and another person into a positive one. Both of these spirals will be shaped by our first response. The initial response will be entirely based on one single question – are we able to look beyond our temporary emotions? Studies support the fact that a happy and calm mind makes better decisions. On the other hand a disturbed mind downsizes our power to make winning decisions.
This is an issue that not only shapes leaders but also shapes all of us. Almost all successful people have 100% clarity on one point: “you must not worry about something that is outside your control.” Well-known motivational speaker T. Harv Eker describes this issue quite nicely when he talks about “you versus the size of your problems.” He says on a scale of 1-10, if you have a size 5 problem and you are a size 2 person in terms of the mental peace and ability to handle it, you are going to have a miserable time with that problem. For instance, someone cutting in front of you in line is a size 2 problem, and if it is making you mad, there are high chances that you are reacting like a size 1 person. In this case that problem would definitely make you feel angry and helpless. On the other hand when you become a size 10 person, you will see that no problem looks too tough to you.
Fortunately there are many ways to become a bigger person than your problem. This can be achieved by training your brain to stop reacting to certain situations that aren’t important. Following your passion, meditating, deep breathing, exercising, and yoga are a few methods to regaining this control. When the size of our problem is smaller than us, we feel centered, controlled, lighter, and happier.