Presence of mind

It is the ability to make good decisions in difficult situations.

Being clever at the right time. Never panic,

there is always a solution for your challenges.

An interview was going on in the final round,

the interviewer asked candidates to choose between the two –

10 simple questions and one really difficult one. The candidate

opted for difficult question. The interviewer asked: what comes

first – an egg, or the Hen?

The candidate promply responded: the Hen. The interviewer

was surprised with candidates’ quick response, and asked –

Why? What makes you think like that?

The candidate smiled and replied: you cannot ask me second

Question. You agreed for one difficult question!

The candidate could do it, because she did not panic, think

Calmly, and acted accordingly.

In a store in USA, a man asked for ½ kg of butter.

The salesperson, a young man said: there is only 1 kg pack

available in the store. The man insisted on buying only ½ kg

So the boy went inside to Manager’s room and said:

“An idiot outside wants to buy only ½ kg of butter”.

To his surprise, the customer was standing behind him.

So the boy added immediatgely, “And this gentleman

wants to buy the other half.”

After the customer left, the manager said: “You saved

your position by being clever enough at the right time.

Where do you come from?”

“I come from Brazil. The place consists of only prostitutes and

Fooball players.”

The manager replied coldly: “My wife is also from Brazil.”

To this the boy was stunned for a moment, but regained

his posture, and asked excitedly: “Oh yeah? Which team

does she play for?”

Everyone is not gifted with presence of mind. How do you then

develop it?

  1. Listen carefully – listen intently as if this is the last time

you are hearing it. Don’t start judging from few words

from the speaker. The speaker is not just sharing

her/his opinion, they are adding some valuable

information for you.

  1. Observe – concentration and focuse are the key elements

You have to observe the performance you liked.

  1. Multitasking – not all are good at it. If you are one of them,

focus on one task at a time. If not, when you are handling

one task, you start thinking of next; and risk both the


  1. Prioritise – do it soon, else you start thinking of the other tasks

and loose focus on all tasks – on hand and waiting for

your actions.

  1. High and Low attention tasks – switch to low attention

Task for some time while doing high attention task.

e.g. if your doing a large project work, switch to

housekeeping documents for 5 – 10 minutes and

come back to project work, giving your mind rest and


  1. Take short breaks – you cannot focus continuously

for 8 hours. Divide your whole job  in small chunks

of 1-2 hours and take 5-10 minutes break in between.

  1. Be comfortable – Make sure your work environment

is comfortable to you, or adjust yourself to it.

You cannot blame environment for missing important


  1. Keep moving – keep your body moving, like during an

exam, the students keep moving in the room; or,

the speaker/presenter keeps moving while preparing

her/his paper. It helps focusing on what you are doing

  1. Emotional balance – you might have personal issues

that keeps you bothering from concentrating on your

job. Separate your personal life from professional


Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise

My thoughts in above write are inspired from Antoni Aloy’s drama Presence

0f mind (2001) script






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