How I Orchestrate My Life


I share my personal experience and perspectives on the importance of orchestration in life.
OrchestraPhoto by J on Unsplash

The adage says that life is not easy. We all agree on this statement based on our life experiences. Life challenges apply to all of us as we are biological entities.

While some of us suffer from many constraints and experience a miserable life, some of us have excellent mental health, thrive, and enjoy a fulfilling life.

What makes this enormous difference between two broad groups of people?

In my opinion, the thriving group may know and acknowledge that struggle is guaranteed in life. Everything requires time and effort. The outcomes require energy and time to manifest. We know that nothing happens by itself. An action must be initiated in order to manifest outcomes.

The suffering group expect things to happen by themselves without concerted effort. They assume we have privilege so that things happen just as we want. Their brains operate in default mode. Randomness governs their life.

How can we be part of the thriving group and migrate from the suffering group?

Let me share my perspectives based on my decades of personal and professional experience in cognitive science. The secret is orchestrating our life.

Orchestration means planning and coordinating an event or a situation to produce anticipated results in a crafty way. Orchestration requires craft and skill. These types of actions happen with the natural flow of wisdom. A wise orchestra leader acts in a way and the audience does not even notice what they are doing.

To orchestrate our life, we need to learn to act with skill and wisdom. How can we achieve this intricate goal? Orchestration of our lives requires harmony of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual power. Altogether, they play the symphonic tune.

Paradoxically, to create this flow state, we need to learn to let go of our concerns, anxiety, and worries about the outcome. We need to have a plan and execute it in a flow state. This, of course, requires many mental tasks, but since they are coordinated, the process naturally happens. The others cannot even notice how we do it. Ironically, when we are in this state, even our ego cannot see how we do it.

Assuming we meet the fundamentals of adequate sleep, optimal nutrition, and moderate exercise, the rest boils down to mindfulness. This single concept may sound too simplistic, but it encapsulates many components and elements.

Let me introduce some of the points at a high level.

Active planning
PlanningPhoto by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Planning is critical for manifestation. It is an essential cognitive function for human beings.

Planning requires mapping out the tasks and linking them logically.

Planning needs other mental functions and capabilities too. The critical ones are focus, attention, and task switching that I cover in subsequent sections.

Planning helps us move with an intention. The goal of planning is to prevent us from the effects of randomness and distractions.

Focus and attention
FocusPhoto by Chase Clark on Unsplash

To be able to plan, we need to think, pay attention, and focus on a single task or item each time. But we can’t stay still on a single task. Movement is essential. We call this movement task switching. After paying enough attention to a single task, we need to switch our attention to the next task and focus on it enough to complete.

Focus and attention require brain and mental energy.

The brain consumes a lot of energy. If we have an energy deficiency, our brain cannot focus and pay attention. It looks for some triggering hormones like dopamine.

The mind requires motivation and inspiration to complete a task. The proven technique to create motivation is taking action and completing easy tasks first. When we complete a job, the brain rewards the mind with dopamine spikes. These tiny spikes trigger and keep motivation. Achievements inspire us. With encouragement and inspiration, we switch to the next task with enthusiasm.

Even though attention and focus are critical, too much of them on a single task may cause paralysis of analysis. We get overwhelmed. This creates excessive stress and consumes our dopamine reserves. To address this issue, we need to develop rules to spend time and effort on each task.

Mindful task switching
Attention and Task SwitchingPhoto by Michal Vrba on Unsplash

Rather than acting randomly in default mode, we need to switch from one task to another with attention and focus. It is like walking, one step at a time. We can set the pace based on the requirements of the activities—for example, a slow walk, a moderate speed walk or jogging.

Task switching can cause cognitive loads. More demanding and complex tasks, as opposed to easier and simpler ones, can cause more load.

The brain has a limited amount of energy. If you overload the brain with demanding jobs, it consumes the power required and shuts down. Thus, it gives up. We face a lack of enthusiasm and motivation to complete the task.

Therefore, it can be helpful to move with small steps, one simple and easy task at a time. If we follow this approach consciously and mindfully, we can achieve a lot in a short time. Those small tasks make a snowball effect and help us to complete hard jobs.

When asked to read 500 pages of a book and examine the content for the next 30 days, how would you feel? Our brain will undoubtedly get overwhelmed. But if we start with a sentence, then a paragraph, a page and a chapter, we keep the momentum going. After completing each chapter, the reward system of the brain motivates us to read the next chapter.

Joy and SatisfactionPhoto by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Using our cognitive capabilities such as planning, attention, focus, and task switching, we can orchestrate our lives. Planning helps us design our life goals. Attention and focus enable us to stay on track, and task switching maintains momentum.

This simple yet complex process determines our success and failure in life. Those who suffer miss one or more components of this process. Those who thrive follow this process mindfully.

We are adults. This is our life. No one should be running it for us. We need to be the owner of our life. The demands of others shouldn’t derail us. We set our own agenda for our life rather than allowing others to set it for us. We create our own rules and honour them.

Our mission, strategy, and goals belong to us. By choosing a mission we are passionate about, setting realistic goals, and an effective strategy to reach these goals, we always keep ourselves motivated to manifest our best selves.

Even failure in things that we are passionate about does not feel like a failure. We may enjoy those so-called failures as we see them as lessons. Those failures can contribute to our broader success. So the key is to choose goals and activities interesting for us.

Or to find ways to make them interesting and compelling. Our brain only favours us when it sees things interesting. Nobody enjoys boring things. However, something that bores one person can excite another person. Therefore, success on a specific topic is individual.

In this path, the most important item is removing distractions, especially digital distractions. The best way of managing distractions is by creating our own rules, planning, attention, focus and mindful task switching.

Following this process puts us in the thriving group and skipping it puts us in the suffering group. The choice is yours.

With self-awareness, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect, we stay in the reality zone with optimism and orchestrate the symphony of our life to create our favourite masterpiece.

Thank you for reading my perspectives.

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I write about important and valuable life lessons. My ultimate goal is to delight my readers. My content aims to inform and engage my readers. Truth, diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness are my core values. I am a pragmatic technologist, scientist, postdoctoral academic and industry researcher focusing on practical and important life matters for the last four decades.


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