Tag Archives: Outlook Business

Dr Shyam K Bhat MD is a
Psychiatrist and Integrative
Medicine specialist.

He is board certified in
Psychiatry, Internal
Medicine, and
Psychosomatic Medicine,
with additional certification
in clinical hypnosis


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Getting a grip

Answers present themselves when we observe and accept a difficult situation

Often, life will present dilemmas, problems that cannot be resolved with logic or numbers or any of the other concrete measures that you might usually turn to. In these situations, I find that answers usually present themselves when we can truly observe and accept the difficult situation instead of railing against it, or suppressing the problem. The key to resolving difficult situations is to ensure that you are not so caught up in the situation that you feel confused and powerless. To cut through the thicket of confusion, I recommend an approach based in mindfulness — witnessing rather than reacting.

So, when you find yourself ‘stuck’, try these four steps:

Stop: Stop thinking about the problem. Stop thinking of solutions. Don’t run away. No ‘I should have done this’ or ‘I could have done that’. Stop thinking about the circumstances that led to the situation. Look at the situation as an observer would.

Observe: See what is. Look at a situation — not to analyse but to understand, to witness, to observe. This is often the most difficult step of the SOAR (Stop, Observe, Accept, Repeat) technique and it is essential that you practice it. In this step, you become mindfully aware of the situation — you are able to see the situation without minimising it or blowing it out of proportion.

Accept: As the great Reinhold Neibuhr said, “Accept what you can change and what you cannot, and have the wisdom to know the difference.” Acceptance releases the mental and creative energies needed to resolve a problem.

Transform: This is the easy part. Transformation — either of yourself or of the situation, but often both. It will occur as a consequence of steps 1, 2 and 3. Once you calm your anxieties, once you are able to see without fear, you will find solutions to the problem.

So there you have it SOAR as necessary.

Objects of Desire

You don’t need anything to experience joy

You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find You get what you need —The Rolling Stones

As a hard-working, ambitious, rational person, you prefer hard facts to fluff.

So allow me to share two formulae with you:

      • Dissatisfaction∞Unmet Desires (dissatisfaction is directly proportional to unmet desires)
      • Desires = Needs + Wants Dissatisfaction is born in the fire of unmet desires. A deeper look reveals that desires include both wants and needs, but people mistakenly think of one as the other. They are different.

‘Wants’ are things that you would like to have whereas ‘needs’ are things that your survival depends on. The new car that you want? The promotion? A TV with a bigger screen? Holidays in Europe? These are ‘wants’.

Water, food, shelter, reasonable health, family and friends — these are ‘needs’. You know this intellectually but I am not just making a semantic point — needs and wants are emotions attached to objects of desire, and experienced on a pre-verbal, deeper, non-rational level. When your mind mislabels an object of desire as a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’, you become stressed and restless until you attain the desired object. And when you mistake the object of desire for something that your survival depends on, you hold your breath, you become tense, and you don’t relax until you get that object of desire. Of course, this is exhausting because, while needs are limited, wants are never-ending. Once you attain one thing, another ten come up in its place, like the heads of a demon. You can slay this demon of desire only when you differentiate between your wants and needs.

There’s no need to postpone life anymore. You have enough. You are enough. You are already complete. To paraphrase Mick Jagger: You can’t always get what you want, but you already have what you need.

Behind The Mask

Play your part. But remember who you are.

The great psychoanalyst Carl Jung used the term ‘persona’ to describe the social mask that every individual wears—the face that we present to others.

Although we aspire to be authentic, society is such that each individual has to learn to modulate their thoughts.

And to be healthy and happy, this persona should not be fake but an expression of your own true nature.

A persona that is too far removed from the real self results in unhappiness.

Sarita, for example, is a reserved person. But, at work, she has adopted a gregarious and extroverted attitude because she believes it will help her progress in the company. While it might serve a purpose in the short term, this persona will eventually drain her.

Consider the case of Kartik. He has a great career and loves his work, although his wife complains that he is a workaholic who rarely spends any time with his family. Over the years, unbeknownst to him, Kartik has lost sight of who he really is. He finds it difficult to spend time with his family because he is unable to relax. The problem is that Kartik does not know who he really is. Unfortunately, a lot of high achievers become so identified with that role that their persona becomes a prison.

One might argue that as long as Kartik is successful, there is no need for him to let go of this persona. But, cracks appear—he might be transferred, the demands may change or he might retire. If this happens, Kartik will feel confused. When a person overly identifies with their persona, then that role suffocates them.

But if they see that their role at work is only a facet of a much larger self, they will experience freedom. By spending some time in quiet reflection, they will find joy, creativity, resilience, and happiness.

Work well. Play your part. But never forget who you really are