It’s amazing how almost everyone likes ‘change’ only as long as they have a ‘control’ over it! That is why the moment you come across ‘uncontrollable change’, it takes form of uncertainty, ambiguity, or chaos; and leads to anxiety, restlessness and stress. In profession, this gets manifested specifically at the time of new project, assignment, workplace or profile. After the initial euphoria of ‘new pinch’ is gone, the new starts pinching. Suddenly, one feels out of sorts, like a fish out of water. One starts missing the comfort of the familiar and predictability of the known environment.
This overwhelming feeling is a combination of many factors – ‘reluctance to navigate through complexity’, ‘sudden fall in self-efficacy; which is extremely dear to each one of us’, ‘increased sensory load that our psychological-cum-physiological systems undertake due to new environ’, and of course ‘fear of unknown triggered by a resetting of one’s learning curve’. And the solution to all of them is the same age-old advice of ‘giving some time to it’. Before we discuss this point in details, watch this video to get the gist of what we are discussing, why it is important, and how it is relevant in professional and personal context…
Yes, some things do get easier with time. Whether you call it patience, persistence, practice or perseverance, you are essentially talking about giving time to things. And this point becomes even more applicable when we go through any kind of change. As change is disruptive, it is also a bit disturbing. At such times, you have to wait until awkward becomes normal, complicated becomes simple, and new becomes usual. Well, like for any behavior, the root of this point lies in neuroscience.
If we will look at our brain then we will find that when we do a task first few times then a conscious awareness is required which demands the involvement of brain’s upper front portion prefrontal cortex. This conscious cognitive-processing is energy-intensive, and so a bit stressful as well. However, as we carry on repeating a task, its processing begins to shift in brain’s deeper region basal ganglia, and eventually gets embedded in the auto-mode circuits of basal ganglia.
Yes, our habits are stored in basal ganglia. Basal Ganglia always continue to recognize and store patterns, and they are quiet eaters, which means that they do so without much conscious awareness or resource consumption. In fact, just after three repetitions, the process of long term potentiation i.e. ‘hardwiring’ starts. And Basal Ganglia pick patterns related to all sorts of things – physical movement, sound, language, emotions, events, ideas. And when a routine gets embedded in basal ganglia, you can add layer of another activity, and perform both the activities simultaneously. So on & so forth.
To acknowledge this and do what it takes, social & emotional intelligence is needed. This ‘emotional & social intelligence’ is about one’s cognizance of the design and functioning of human brain, and how they influence our behaviors and choices. This coming together of neuroscience and psychology builds the base for developing emotional & social intelligence – the skill of managing self and connecting with others. Yes, this all-important skill of all intrapersonal & interpersonal skills can be learnt, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with some important realizations like…“Some things do get easier with time”.
Dr. Sandeep Atre
‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert
Founder – Socialigence
Note: Socialigence (www.socialigence.net) offers self-paced video-based online course on ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ with content that has relevance across the globe, and delivery specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.