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Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Fixation is the way to death. Fluidity is the way to live. – Miyamoto Musashi

This line of thought resonated so much so that I gave it a priority over another topic that I had planned to write on initially. Therefore, I decided to share my bit on fluidity.

Miyamoto Musashi was a great swordsman, philosopher, and writer. Born sometime during the 1580’s he pioneered a new style of swordsmanship, that involved using two swords simultaneously in both the hands. His teachings in kenjutsu (School of Japanese Swordsmanship) had an enormous influence that probably remains unmatched till date. It is unclear what made him invent this approach though. However, a lot of people believe, that it was his own combat experience that led to this form of swordsmanship which was completely new and probably made warriors more lethal. After reading about him, I found a perfect congruence between his quote and his actions. Even before he introduced his teachings, the samurai back then were already using two swords, but interchangeably and not simultaneously. I humbly concede that only a person with a free-flowing thought process would explore new ways of doing things. It is the fluidity of thoughts that would help a person think objectively.

Fluidity in thinking is something that I have been personally following for quite some time now. For some, it may come naturally or pretty easily. It might take a little longer in some cases, but sooner than later you will figure it out for sure.

The way you think about something or someone has a huge bearing on the decisions you make. Talking of decisions, in some situations, or certain aspects, you seem to have taken decisions that worked for you. In some situations, it is the opposite. With certain decisions, you might have attained success in certain areas of life, but you might be struggling with some. At times, your decisions never worked, or worse they backfired. In short, you lacked consistency in decision making and that is what you must be aiming to achieve. Decision making is a product of your thought process. What you think is what you do. Your action is a result of your thoughts.

Now, can I ask you to carefully look back in time and assess the outcomes? Maybe not in all the cases, but in most of the cases the inconsistencies would have a direct relation to your thought process. You were probably rigid then. So, your thinking then, which now in hindsight does not seem to be the way you would have wanted it to be. For sure given a choice, you would want to travel back and make amends. But, that is not possible. This is a reality for most people. It is a reality for you too. It is so because in most of the situations you reacted and not responded to situations.

Moving forward it is possible to change from a fixed mindset to fluidity. We can choose to think more freely and be less rigid. Thinking that is not rigid and fixed but free-flowing. We can achieve it but it is always easier said than done. It is not easy for sure but let me assure it is simple. All you must do is follow a process and be consistent at it. Only a consistent application of this process will help you embed fluidity into your system. It will become easy for you to apply the process and make it appear to occur naturally.

Let us look at a simple yet, remarkably effective four-step process to improve the fluidity of thought.

The 4A Process

Step 1.

Acknowledge: The first step in the process to develop fluidity is to acknowledge that you are facing a situation. Now, acknowledging it does not merely imply accepting the situation as it is. You must recognize the situation by breaking it down into different facets. Every situation can broadly be broken into two parts. The person/people and the issue. The point here is to separate people from the problem. Unfortunately, most of the time you perceive the person as a problem. The minute you can separate the two, you will surely realize that it is not as big as a challenge that it seemed to be in the beginning.

Now what you are left is to deal with the issue. Deal with the issue and the people involved are taken care of to a great degree. This essentially means that you and anyone else involved in the situation agree to reach a solution. In short, you want to find out what is correct and not who is correct.

Step 2.

Agile: Agility means responding quickly. Be quick to respond to the situation and take charge but remain cautious and do not haste. Fluidity calls for agility in thinking. There are situations that you must respond to. Please bear in mind that you are expected to respond and not react. A response is a calibrated and well-thought approach to any situation. Whereas reaction is impulsive and instant. Let me put you in a hypothetical situation. You are amidst a car accident on an interstate highway with your friends. Fortunately, there is no injury to anyone but unfortunately, the car is damaged badly that has left you all stranded. Before the accident happened there was a lot of noise and cross talk happening which in your view probably distracted you. Moreover, you think you could have avoided hitting the divider had your friends not panicked. Sounds familiar right? We have been in such situations or heard about them from close quarters. In such a scenario, most often, we tend to blame(react) people perceivably involved in the situation. Whereas, the priority is to deal(respond) to the situation. As you can see, step number two is not possible unless you perform step one.

Step 3.

Amplify: Having gone through the two steps in the process, it’s time to get all your resources to work for you. It is time to magnify your efforts to ensure that the response you decided is applied to yield the results or the outcomes you intended to achieve. This is a point in the process you can use your influence through experience, expertise, rationale, etc to channelize your response in the desired direction. This step is an incredibly useful stage in the process which will help you to maintain the momentum and ensures everyone involved moves towards the desired direction. After all, we are looking at fluidity in our thought process.

Step 4.

Assess: The last step in the process is to assess. You need to check progress. You must ensure that you have been successful in solving issues partially even if not completely. You must be fluid in your thinking to have the person/people involved move along with you in the desired direction. Evaluate if there is anything that is a miss or can be dealt at a later stage. Take a stock of the situation and measure the degree of agreement on the outstanding issues. Ensure the situation is under control if not completely resolved. The step is crucial for all your future exchange of communication with people. Assessing the situation will throw open opportunities for you to check if there is any aspect that you missed in step number one. This helps you to acknowledge and go through the process again.

To summarize, this four-step process will help you to develop a fluid thought process. A fixed or rigid mindset will lead you to take decisions your way. Whereas fluid thought process will ensure that even though you might take decisions your way, but not without considering other people and their views. Fluidity will lead you to make decisions based on what the situation demands. Fluidity is about flowing and not holding on. Rigidity is stagnancy and fluidity free-flowing. Fluidity is a structured thought process that helps us arrive at the desired results.

It might seem too long to begin with. Initially, it may sound mechanical to you to apply but trust me it becomes natural as you start making changes. In no time you will start reaping the benefits of this simple yet powerful process.

- Amit Malkani Co-Founder at LEAP Inc, Transformation Enabler,Sales Trainer,Soft Skills&Behavioral Trainer,Luxury, Leadership Skills

Amit is a dynamic transformation enabler, motivational speaker, and a passionate corporate trainer having strong background of Training & Development, among various peripherals. Having trained at a global level to multiple nationalities, he comes with an edge to understand diversities in culture effortlessly. He ranks among the top five trainers in the country for soft skills and sales training. He has 20 years plus of rich experience in diverse industries at various levels. Amit is a strong believer in challenging and transforming human capabilities. He pushes himself beyond the limits and does the same for all the trainees to get the best out of them. He challenges your mindset. He follows a radical approach in each of his learning interventions. He makes you think hard, makes you question the status quo, and introspect deeply. He unsettles you to a point where you start contemplating solutions for yourself that you may have never thought of. He makes you realize your true potential and sets you on a journey to transform and transcend. Check his complete profile on the following links:

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