I haven’t written in a really long time.I had a few exams to give and still a few to go, but this process feels like it is coming to an end, literally and figuratively. At the beginning of this year,pre-pandemic, my life felt as if it was very methodically falling apart and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. It felt like a quarter life crisis that was exacerbated by a failed long-term relationship and I needed a new goal to focus on. I needed to put my energy in something that was out of my comfort zone so that it would reduce my cognitive capacity to think less about all the other things that suddenly went south in my life. All this uncertainty which was also somehow amplified by the onset of pandemic changed how I viewed certain things in my life.
I came across a post recently by James Somer on Uncertainty and Reperception and it made me think about my entire year’s process of studying for these various exams, which would test whether I was competent enough to get into a good Business School or not. I would highly recommend everyone to go through that post(as most of us are guilty of doing what has been described) but what particularly made me think was the Necker Cube analogy.
The analogy basically described that just as the cube when viewed differently looked different ,we flipped between different perceptions of our life simply by deciding which lens/outcomes we chose to look at it with. I know this is not a new thought but this brought a little more clarity to what certain exam pressures can do in my case particularly ,but to you it could be your job or your relationship or anything that had the possibility of polar outcomes. Either you fare well or you don’t, either you get promoted or you dont or either your relationship works or it fails. Depending on the outcome we view the process which is sort of a twisted way to even think for one to introspect. Like when we succeed at something, as is mentioned in the above linked post, we tend to look at everything that led us to it in this positive light, like every small or big decision somehow played a role and if we fail we do the opposite. We go into the extreme details and figure how every small decision of ours snowballed into this particular catastrophe.
I have somehow come to believe that is slightly problematic and not the most healthy way to look at a situation. I remember at the start of the year I thought, I am going to do everything I can to align myself to the new goal and give it all I have. 2 exams down, one in which I fared well and one whose result is yet to come, but somehow this process by the end has started to feel like I have attached too much of myself to it. Eventually the objectivity towards the situation reduces and if the results are not favourable the process starts to feel burdensome. The narrative around the situation changes and it becomes more about where all I have gone wrong rather than first recognising how much have I gained. I guess most of us do the former.
The point I am trying to make is that we shouldn’t always rely on the outcomes for the validation of our process or our decisions. It reduces the possibility of learning and diminishes whatever learnings we might have I had from committing to certain goals/experiences. But this is always easier said than done.
If you still haven’t read the above mentioned post so far, one of my favourite lines in that post were:
the reason people love the Necker cube, is the fact that it so vividly illustrates its own double-barreledness? I mean the thing literally changes as you look at it, the same damn cube changes. What better reminder than that of the contribution your own mind makes to the way things are, the strength of your own perception?Uncertainty and Reperception-James Somers
This also makes us think how branding something as extremely right or extremely wrong is not how always the situation is. It is always in coexistence and there is certain peace in knowing that not all our failed outcomes when it comes to life are a product of bad decisions. There was good in them too.