Pattern disrupt

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In stable times, habitual patterns work for you. They become your preferred patterns of reacting. A customer delays payment. You the send in the standard follow-up letter.

You take the same route to work every day. You don’t have to map it out in your mind every morning. It’s almost as if every turn were programmed into your car’s steering. Taking that route is an involuntary choice.

Your life seems on auto-pilot and your story seems uneventful enough. The plot thickens when certain things around you begin to change.

A new thoroughfare opens up and makes it easier and more convenient to take another route. But you still find yourself habitually going the old way until you consciously establish a new pattern. For a while, you have to map out the new route mentally and force yourself to take it instead of the old route.

xx disrupts the pattern and demands that you respond appropriately. For many, this can cause stress. Medical experts tell us that stress is caused by the body’s instinct to defend itself. The mind perceives change as a challenge and it gears up to meet it. If the challenge doesn’t materialize, the body’s engine continues to race, causing stress.

The best remedy for stress is to avoid the event that causes it. But this often is impossible. When you can’t avoid stress, your best course is to change the way you react to it. Try to see change as a positive challenge, not a threat.

Another tactic is to find ways to take a break from the stress. Some people get relief through taking part in group sports. Others attend social events and pursue relaxing hobbies.

But this brings temporary respite from the stress.

Usually, when we think about disruptive incidents,processes, innovations, we emphasise the way they change and shift the lifestyle we’re used to.

So our focus is invariably on adjusting to the change or fighting it. But change is not merely a call for adaptation, it is often a signal for creating something better.

Uber did not disrupt the average taxi service because it used technology for online booking. it succeeded because it created a better experience for the customer. The invention 3D printing could very well disrupt the way we approach manufacturing.

Next time, instead of fighting change or surrendering to it, find out how it can help you to create a better outcome for you and others.

(Adapted from the book, ‘Life Balance the Sufi Way’ by Azim Jamal & Nido Qubein’)


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