We seldom reap benefits of our real strengths, since we think in “Compartments”!

One of the major drawbacks, which we humans face, is our tendency to think in compartments. We constantly create virtual compartments or boxes for each set of our thoughts, ideas or perception of a given situation and keep struggling or dealing within that compartment. In this process, we rarely can get a wholesome view and deprive ourselves of using great synergy among these compartments or boxes! We have a false notion that things happen to us in isolation. As a matter of fact, these are inter-related; either we don’t see this or refuse to see. It is a scientific fact that everything that we observe are interconnected or entangled. If we understand this fact, our paradigm would shift and can comprehend and deal with various people or events far more effectively and with ease!

A glance of how we think in compartments in real life!

  1. Relationships with spouse and customer
    Our spontaneous reaction would be what relationship with spouse has got to do with customer! No, it has. The essential elements are same; only emotions differ.
    Don’t we need in both relationships – satisfying the requirements, to be nice and considerate, exhibit politeness and spontaneity in response, communication without gap and understanding where shoe pinches? Imagine, if we use these elements in both relationships, how sweet would these turn to be!
    Now, think it over, don’t you need same elements for your colleagues?
  2. Ownership of children and team
    We often flounder in understanding ownership on team, since we never relate that it is no different than how good we exhibit it on our children at home on our own!
    We need for both the same attributes – taking responsibility, feeling accountable, creating comfort levels…without anyone telling us to do that!
    Likewise, are attributes of safeguarding company asset is any different than that of family assets?
  3. One box for boss and another for sub-ordinates
    This is perennial! People show split behavior for higher and lower levels. For bosses, we would show respect, high degree of sensitivity, demonstrate good behavior and be least argumentative. When it comes to dealing with sub-ordinates, we dilute or even reverse these qualities, since what we do to our bosses, we like our deputies to follow same, when we are the bosses. This is hogwash! Our corporate world would change completely, if we use one box of qualities, when it comes to dealing with people. We need to add some roles as a boss – like lay direction, be decisive and give guidance and coaching.
  4. Contrasting thoughts to deal with customers and contractors
    Like it or not, this is driven by our perception that customer is a source of revenue and contractor is a drain on revenue. This makes nothing but a mess. Whole scenario could change for good, if we understand the reality that contractors actually help us earn revenue.
  5. Hard versus soft skills
    There is complete misconception about relevance of hard and soft skills. Most believe hard skills are a must; soft skills are optional and hence, treat them in 2 separate compartments! In real terms, both have to be applied simultaneously for your survival and success.
  6. Quality and Ethics
    General understanding is that these are meant for compliance and certification. Rarely people make these a part of their character and culture, work and life. Therefore, people, companies and societies are not able to accrue great fruits of quality and ethics.
  7. Mind, Intellect, Heart and Soul as 4 pieces of 1 puzzle!
    Neither medical science nor any philosophy or faith has been able to correctly fathom and define what exactly Mind, Intellect, Heart (emotional; not biological) and Soul of human beings are and where exactly are these located in the body! These terms are evoked frequently by us as we like, without having any clue of their exact meanings.
  8. Biggest challenge of science – highly compartmentalized!
    Thinking and working in compartments in most branches of science especially physics have deprived the best of Human brains like Einstein, Neil Bohr, Schrödinger etc. to discover unified theory of quantum and gravity, 4 natural forces or particles; leave alone relating these to human mind and life! Billions of Dollars are chasing unseen particles; but we fail to see simple realities right under our nose, since scientists fail to relate what they see and discover in different compartments!
  9. Compartmentalizing even God
    We stretch this way too far! Our piecemeal thoughts restrict God at the place of worship; but in terms of belief God is everywhere. Then, why we commit cruelty or crime at one place and seek shelter of God at another place? Our thoughts are so fragmented and fractured that what we perceive as clear is actually a confusion!

Toll taken by our thinking in compartments!

  • Our convictions getting fractured.
  • Our thoughts becoming fragmented.
  • Our beliefs bringing fallacies.
  • Our relations becoming fragile.
  • Fun and fantasy becoming foremost.
  • Values and morals becoming frivolous.
  • Our work–life getting imbalanced.
  • Behavior getting guided by whims and fancies of top.
  • Dual personalities becoming an accepted norm.
  • More shells and silos at work place than before.
  • Our confidence and courage becoming shallow.
  • Humans and science not getting grip of Realities.

Breaking “Compartment Syndrome”

  1. It is a fact that everything in our world or universe is interconnected. Nothing exists by itself or in isolation.
    In our rut of routine life, we do not realize or see this and therefore, we don’t believe it. If we can drop our preconceived notions and emotions, we will start to see this.
  2. We constantly create virtual compartments of thoughts, most of which are mix of positive and negative ideas or notions. Very few would be all positive or all negative.
    If we observe dispassionately, we would discover that positive ones work always; negative ones never. Superb semblance and synergy exist among big % of positive thoughts/ideas. On the other hand, negative ones would not even nail together.
  3. Shake off your inhibitions and shatter all compartments, pull all of above positive thoughts/ideas together in just one compartment or box, which would give you immense strength and motivation to deal with every situation very successfully and efficiently.
  4. To your sweet surprise:
    1. You would incrementally start to have holistic view of how things happen or don’t happen!
    2. You would find that rules for dealing with good or bad, simple or difficult, famous or fraud, rich or poor are no different!
    3. What others can achieve, you can also!!



4 responses to “We seldom reap benefits of our real strengths, since we think in “Compartments”!”

  1. Pankaj Avatar

    It is quite an interesting thought, challenging as it does to override our scientific training in breaking problems into subproblems, identifying domains and applying domain knowledge to solve sub problems. Seems logical that in this process we overlook the whole. Thanks for pointing this out.

    1. Murli Avatar

      Very well analyzed and stated! We do need domain knowledge; but while working in one domain, people ignore synergy with other domains and that becomes a serious constraint and deprives us of understanding the stark realities!!

  2. Rudra Avatar

    Just imagining how true is that 3rd point of yours (under ‘how we think in compartments’) – that’s surely a perennial and waste fact… which needs to be corrected!

    The 4th point is no less either and should be taken care of. In-fact, all those 9 points are quite well summarized and need deep thinking.

    I don’t think I personally have ever categorized my thinking in compartments. That’s something I have never been taught. And let’s hope your last 4 points help others too to conquer this very syndrome…

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Murli Avatar

      Many thanks for your valuable comments and analysis! It is a great asset of yours that you don’t think in compartments. You must be already reaping great benefits of this positive quality!!

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