SOLUTIONS – Krishna C. Kalva
Remaining free of labels is a step toward keeping engaged
Sometimes we inadvertently disengage and start to have indifferent thoughts and emotions when certain situations do not unfold as anticipated. The disengagements can quickly evolve to a lack of interest and participation to find a solution to a given situation or a challenge. The tendency to disengage often comes from thoughts and feelings that are unsettling at a psychological level.
What one feels and how one responds is most often driven by a personal rationalization pattern that requires close introspection to fully understand the message conveyed and drivers behind the emotions. It is an interesting exercise to indulge in and self-introspect our thoughts as it offers insights and a deeper understanding of a given situation.
It is generally observed that our individual thought patterns generate emotions that in turn drive our behavior. Emotions observed can be categorized into three states: positive, neutral and negative. During positive and neutral states, there is generally more clarity on our thought patterns, and we are more receptive to the information we receive and share. However, that may not always be the case during negative states when feelings are intense and cloud our decision-making ability.
To explain further, imagine yourself being in a room. A friend visits to share information that is very exciting to hear. The feeling of excitement toward the news clearly indicates a positive reaction, and we welcome the information through listening and participate.
Imagine now if the same visiting friend shares information that is depressing to hear. One experiences not-so-positive feelings and might choose not to actively participate to discuss the details or might try to avoid the discussion or feel depressed in some cases by hearing the news.
There is another reaction: being neutral toward information coming our way. There are many cases where we tend to have neither a positive nor a negative feeling toward the information we receive or share.
In each of the feelings described, our response is determined based on any preconceived labels (e.g., happiness, anger, etc.) and we attach ourselves to the outcomes imagined. By actively choosing not to associate or label the information, we would receive and process information without being judgmental.
Remaining free of labels indicates taking time to step aside to actively observe, listen and decide based on facts.
Our preconceived pattern of labels can also be experienced in our professional lives. When professionals come together as a team to collaborate and solve a unique business challenge, there are often different insights and ideologies shared. If a team member has preconceived ideas on how to approach a given task, they may be less receptive to any new ideas or suggestions they receive.
Individuals with preconceived ideas create limitations that impact collaboration. By taking time to reflect on the described situation, we create an opportunity to adapt our perceptions and choose appropriate behaviors to improve collaboration.
When our perceptions are independent of any labels we assign, there is increased awareness toward our thoughts and our feelings.
The Power of Feelings
Let me take your attention back to the original idea, welcome the unwanted. Information in any form, written or verbal, has no inherent power until we psychologically correlate the information with our thoughts and interdependent feelings.
When information is perceived as positive, we remain in control of our thoughts and actions, and welcome it to naturally flow into our lives. In the same way, when information is perceived as negative and when we try to block it, we hand power to the information, allowing it to gain control of our thoughts and actions. When we allow information to freely enter our lives without any preconceived labels, it loses its power over us and merely becomes a message for us.
The outcome of this exercise is to gain overall understanding and insight. By being able to welcome information and refrain from interpreting the information into previously known patterns and labels, we remain in control of our thoughts, feelings and actions, thereby remaining fully present in the moment.
Krishna C. Kalva is learning solution manager at Siemens Healthineers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.