I cannot emphasize enough one word in life – “Composure.”
Composure can make or break a person. It is a feeling of being calm and controlling yourself in the worst and dire of situations. Astronauts have to be confident that they can complete any given task and be composed in one of the most daunting environments – space—a place where everything is trying to kill the human body. Humans are not built for long durations of space travel; the bone density is constantly decreasing, your eyesight starts deteriorating once back on earth, your heart doesn’t need to send as much blood to your brain, so it slows down, and 100s of different changes going on in your body once you are in microgravity surroundings.
Composure is not something you turn on a switch and enable in your life. It is a state of mind that does not let you react in a loud and irritable manner. You are aware of yourself and your surroundings, and losing your state of mind can only harm you. It is a skill that is harnessed by being patient and empathetic to everyone around you. It can be a courier not delivered on time, having conflicting thoughts with a coworker, or just having a bad day and yet slapping a smile on your face for everyone else. It is easy to portray anger and dump it on people around you. But sooner or later, you realize that holding on to anger is not different from holding on to fire. You are the one that gets burnt.
I recently watched a tv show on amazon prime called PANIC.
Although I don’t have a tv or a Netflix account or rarely binge-watch any tv shows, this piqued my interest. The show is about a town in Texas called “Carp,” where high school graduating seniors play a game for prize money. The games are hazardous and challenge one’s sanity and judgment all through the game. And yes, the game’s motto is not “Not Panic.” same as “Don’t blink” in doctor who.
I am not sure what made me watch it with so much interest; somewhere deep down, I could relate with a lead character where she had absolutely nothing to lose. I mean, go big or go home, right? It was a high-stakes game, but the cost of losing was death, but what’s the point of living miserably anyways. And although I don’t condone such kinds of reckless and risky life choices, I myself have done it countless times. If I hadn’t, this guy who was born in a third-world country wouldn’t be where he is right now or dreaming a far-fetched dream.
Every time I came across a risk-taking bet, I used to calm myself down, get my heart rate below 65 BPM, and say to myself, “What have you got to lose?“
And somehow, everything would become crystal clear. Not everyone has the stomach or appetite for such risk-taking bets and maneuvers but the person I am today and will be is because of it. When I see myself in the mirror, I see recklessness, but I am aware that if the time comes, I know how to restrain myself. There is a fine line between crazy and stupid. Make sure you always know where it lies.
My highest stake bet was 4-5 years ago was in an options trade. In my second semester of grad school, I had saved up some money for tuition, but that was it. I had no money for rent or food. I decided to get 8 call options on a company that I had been researching for 4 months, day in and out. If my predictions were wrong, I would get kicked out and be homeless in two weeks than two months. But if I didn’t take the bet, I would just be delaying the inevitable. I was sweating profusely while buying those call options about to be expired in 3 months. Time and tide were on my side, and I ended up making a decent 5 digit figure to live and fight life another day. It was easy to lose composure and sell all my options, seeing them go down in value, but somewhere I knew my data and research were correct, my timing was impeccable, and it turned out well. I could barely sleep for two weeks and was constantly looking at the stock ticker. It was brutal.
Yes, gambling, risk-taking, and aggressive mentality towards life are good, but being composed while doing it is much more important. Everything in life is about maintaining composure, both in good and bad times.