Presence of Mind – How to Stay Calm in Any Situation?
When was the last time you felt like you were in the present moment? How did you recognize that feeling? In the words of Eckhart Tolle, being present means to ‘become conscious of being conscious’. This means that you can experience everything that is happening to the fullest extent.
This is sometimes referred to as mindfulness, and its many benefits have been proven over and over again. It ensured that you can react properly in any given situation, without letting your mind create distracting scenarios.
Aside from the feeling of contentment, presence of mind ensures that you’re able to solve problems easily and be quick on your feet. Here you’ll see some of the examples of true presence of mind. But let’s not get too serious about it, and just go over some interesting ones instead.
Here’s a funny story of how the lack of presence can be costly:
A woman and a man were two parties in a car crash. Both of their cars were terribly damaged, but luckily, neither of them got hurt. The woman crawled out of her demolished car and saw the guy. She approached him and said: ‘Wow, look at how demolished both of our cars are. I believe this is a sign that we should just become friends and not blame one another’.
The man agreed and they sat on the woman’s car. She crawled inside and pulled out a bottle of Scotch. She said she couldn’t believe that it didn’t break, and that they should celebrate their new friendship and the fact that nothing happened to them.
The man loved this idea, so he took the bottle and chugged around a third of it to calm down. He gives it back to the woman, who closes it and puts it back in the car.
‘Don’t you want to have some?’ the man asked. ‘No, I’m good’, she replied. ‘I’m just going to wait for the police to come’.
Albert Einstein and His Chauffeur
After coming up with the famous theory of relativity, Albert Einstein started going on tours so that he could share his knowledge with university students. He had with him his loyal chauffeur Harry, who would drive him to his lectures.
Harry enjoyed listening to Einstein give lectures, so he would attend every one of them. He would sit in the back and listen to every word Einstein said.
One day, after he finished his lecture, Einstein got in the car and Harry told him that he had heard so many of his lectures that he believed he could repeat them perfectly, without missing a single important thing.
‘Very well’, Einstein replied. ‘We’re supposed to go to Dartmouth next week. Since they don’t know what I look like over there, you’ll pretend to be me and I’ll pretend to be your driver’.
This is exactly what happened. When they got to Dartmouth, Harry went up on stage. He recited every word that Einstein had been saying perfectly, while Einstein was in the back enjoying being a part of the audience for a change.
However, after he finished the lecture, Harry was approached by a young research assistant. The assistant started asking Harry a lot of question that he didn’t know how to answer, since they contained many complex concepts and equations.
Harry said to the assistant: ‘I don’t see why this is hard to understand. These concepts are very simple. In fact, they’re so easy to understand that I’ll get my chauffeur and let him explain them to you.
A prominent businessman needed a new pair of shoes, so he went to a shoe store to get them. He found the ones he liked in size 8 and told the salesperson to pack them up for him. The salesperson had just joined the store a couple of days before, so he was completely new to the business.
Before he got the chance to pack the shoes, the businessman said that he forgot his wallet. He told the salesperson to pack the shoes anyway, and that he’d give him the money the day after. The salesperson didn’t know what to do, so he told the businessman to wait until he talked about this with his manager.
The manager knew that the customer was a very successful businessman, but he was unsure whether he could trust him. On the other hand, he didn’t want to lose the sale. Not knowing what to do, he told the salesperson to handle the situation the best he could.
The salesperson just stood there confused and unsure of what he should do. He ended up packing the shoes and gave them to the businessman. The next day the businessman returned to the store, bringing the shoes back with him.
He addressed the salesperson: ‘I’m sorry, but you didn’t give me the right shoes. I opened the package and realized that one shoe was a size 8 and the other one a 7. I think you made a mistake, so can you give me the shoes in size 8 please?’
Thanks to the presence of his mind, the salesperson handled the situation very well, so they lost neither the customer nor the money.
As you can see, presence of mind can get you out of many sticky situations. It helps you stay calm and think rationally, instead of freezing and not knowing what to do. These are only some funny anecdotes, but there are situations where presence of mind can actually save lives.
The best thing about presence of mind is that it can be learned. It’s not something that’s hardwired in your brain, so you can reprogram it to stay calm in different situations. One of the best ways to do it is by practicing mindfulness meditation, which has been scientifically proven to enhance your brain power.
If you make it a habit, it can bring many positive effects. You’ll feel calmer and more capable of tackling all kinds of tasks.