The Secret Of Happiness: Mitchell Marsh & World Cup

What’s the secret of happiness? Let’s learn from Mitchell Marsh and his super cool World Cup celebration.

If I were to choose a single image that encapsulates the essence of this World Cup, my finger would point unhesitatingly to this particular scene. It’s the picture of the young Mitchell Marsh, his foot triumphantly planted atop the World Cup trophy. The fact that it was Pat Cummins who shared this moment with the world is far from coincidental 😉

Mitchell Marsh with the world cup trophy
Mitchell Marsh with the World Cup trophy

For many, it might be arrogance or direspect, but in my perspective, Mitchell brought a philosophy echoing the very thoughts and actions of Buddha himself. This philosophy, known in English as ‘Detachment’, embodies ideas of dispassion, disillusionment, and liberation from entanglements. The epitome of this concept, in its most tangible form, was achieved by Buddha in the name of Nirvana & Hindu saints and Jaina aints in the name of Moksha‘.

The Zen of Victory: Mitchell Marsh’s World Cup Philosophy

Osho Rajneesh, Ramana Maharshi, and various Jain saints have extensively spoken about this philosophy. However, Mitchell Marsh, through a single act, illuminated this principle in its most tangible form. Every achievement, whether it’s winning the World Cup or an election victory, is transient.

The essence here is the concept of detachment and the transient nature of events and achievements. Mitchell Marsh’s act is a powerful embodiment of this, showcasing that even significant victories like the World Cup are just fleeting moments in the grand scheme of life. I remember a Zen Buddhist story that may connect this better.

The Tale of Two Monks: A Lesson in Non-Attachment

Two monks, one older and one younger, are travelling together. At one point, they come to a river with a strong current. As they prepare to cross, they meet a young woman who is unable to cross by herself. The older monk offers to carry her across on his back, and she gratefully accepts. After he safely delivers her to the other side, they part ways.

Image from a textbook

After some time, the younger monk questions the elder: ‘Was it right for you to carry that young woman on your shoulders?‘ To this, The older monk replies, “I put her down on the other side of the river. Why are you still carrying her?”.

Cultural Misinterpretations: Respect vs. Detachment

On Sunday, Mitchell Marsh was in the role of this older monk. By declaring the World Cup trophy merely a cup after the victory, he precisely and subtly communicated to us the impermanence of both triumph and defeat. It’s a profound lesson in how fleeting both success and failure are.

Image of Mitchell Marsh shared by cybersanskaris
Image of Mitchell Marsh shared by cybersanskaris

There are those who criticise this scene. They see placing a foot on the World Cup as disrespectful. These are the same people who do not hesitate to remain silent in the face of blatant injustices. They forget that respect is a feudal value, heavily overshadowed by hierarchy. In their view, certain actions, even symbolic, are unacceptable breaches of decorum, ignoring the deeper symbolic messages such actions might convey.

Practising Detachment: Insights from Mitchell Marsh

You might be thinking that this sounds like actor Vijay fans decoding the brilliance behind the popular Tamil movie Leo. Let me tell you, the base of this interpretation is an interview from Mitchell Marsh.

Mitchell Marsh Interview

In it, Mitchell mentions that he has been training with a psychologist to navigate life, focusing on how to become detached from outcomes. ‘Detachment’ is the key concept Mitchell emphasises. This concept echoes Lord Krishna’s teachings in the Bhagavad Gita about acting without attachment to the results. I cannot recall another recent instance where the profound teachings of Buddha or lord Krsihna have been so effectively put into practise.

Feudal Mindset & The Philosophy of Detachment

Our leaders, superstars, and celebrities should all take a leaf out of Mitchell’s book. His approach is a guiding finger to those who revel in the shadows of egoism. Let’s take a closer look at Kerala.

Here, politicians act like royalty, with only the VIPs having access to the Chief Minister and ministers. Bureaucrats often wield their power for personal ego and vendetta, rooted in their attachment to power.

Kerala Chief Minister in a public outreach programme
Kerala Chief Minister in a public outreach programme

Look at our hon.PM Narendra Modi, If he goes to great lengths to maintain his power, it’s not surprising. He has been in power since 2000, and detachment from such a long-held position is no easy feat.

Reflecting on ourselves, can we detach from our past, from our achievements? If it were a yes, we wouldn’t have celebrated Arjun Reddy or Kabir Singh, and we wouldn’t have played so many Lofi songs. Letting Go is a skill that we all should gain.

Most of us bask in the glory of our past successes or failures, but true happiness and growth lie in moving on. Growth happens when you let go. This is especially relevant in a society where maintaining status and power often becomes an end in itself. If we can learn to detach, to let go of these attachments, we can find not just individual contentment but also create a more balanced and equitable society.

Live Love learn liberate
Live Love Learn Liberate

Detachment: Here lies the secret of happiness.
As I always say: Live to Love, Love to Learn, Learn to Liberate. This mission makes your life content.

Read more: Rohit Sharma: A Fiery Chapter in the Saga of Indian Cricket

How to Deal With Uncertainities:Cognitive Survival Kit

Picture yourself driving along your daily route to your nearest theatre. You know every turn, every stoplight, and have become accustomed to the rhythm of this familiar journey. You are confident that you will reach the theatre before the show begins.

Suddenly, you encounter an unexpected detour sign in the middle of your path – the road you’ve always taken is temporarily closed for construction. Now, you must navigate a new route to reach your destination. 

This unforeseen obstacle not only disrupts your routine but also challenges you to adapt to the change and find a new way forward. 

A symbolic representation on How to Deal With Uncertainities
Image credits: Canva

Such is the course of our lives. We are often moving along familiar paths when unexpected obstacles or anomalies arise, throwing us off our well-planned routes. This post is trying to decode our human responses to these unexpected shifts and explore how they can shape our journey through life.

Navigating the Unforeseen: Our Brain’s Role

Humans are naturally inclined to seek stability and predictability in their environment. This inclination is rooted in our evolutionary history, where predictability equaled survival. We build our lives around familiar routines and predictable patterns, creating a cognitive map of our world that allows us to anticipate future events and plan accordingly.

However, when an unexpected obstacle appears, it not only halts our progress towards our goals but also presents us with a profound question: this obstacle wasn’t supposed to exist, so why does it? 

Now, our brains must engage in a process of ‘cognitive updating,’ where they reconcile the new information with our existing worldview. This involves substantial mental work as our neural networks reconfigure to incorporate the unexpected data. Sounds challenging, right? That’s the idea!

Cognitive Dissonance: The Psychological Clash

When we meet the unexpected, it triggers a psychological clash. This clash, called cognitive dissonance, happens when we juggle opposing beliefs or ideas.

On one hand, we have our idea of how things should be, built from our routines and predictions. On the other hand, we face the real-life hurdle that stands in our path. To deal with this dissonance, we often change our beliefs and attitudes. In some cases, we might need to rethink our whole view of the world.

So, facing the unexpected isn’t just about breaking routine. It’s a major cognitive and psychological event that demands that we reshape our understanding of the world.

Unpacking Grandpa’s Survival Kit: The Modern-Day Predicament

Losing a job unexpectedly is similar to encountering a ferocious predator on our regular way home. 1000 years ago, that predator was an uncertainty for our forefathers; now it might be a layoff.

It is a disruption that throws off the steady rhythm of your life, bringing in its wake uncertainty, financial stress, and an understandable level of anxiety. To tackle this change effectively, cognitive flexibility – akin to what our ancestors exercised in the face of predators – becomes a crucial tool in our survival kit.

1. Embracing the Hard Truth

Start by acknowledging reality. You’ve lost your job. It’s a tough fact to digest, especially due to our innate ‘confirmation bias‘. We have a tendency to favour information that aligns with our pre-existing beliefs or situations, and it is cognitively more comfortable to deny or downplay the shift. But to make any progress, accepting the truth is vital.

2. Shifting Perspectives through Cognitive Reframing

Next, reframe the situation. In cognitive psychology, reframing is a technique used to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning.

It involves actively constructing a new perspective. Instead of viewing the job loss as a disaster, see it as an opportunity for growth, a chance to explore new career paths, or a chance to gain new skills.

3. Divergent Thinking – Fostering Creative Solutions

Once you have reframed the situation, brainstorm potential solutions. In this phase, it’s crucial to exercise ‘divergent thinking,’ a thought process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Consider different career options, alternative income sources, or even acquiring new skills or education. Consider any solution, no matter how outlandish it may seem initially.

This is where the decision-making and prioritisation tools that can be useful.

For example, the Eisenhower Matrix, one of my favourites. The matrix consists of four quadrants: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important. Read more about it here.

4. Implementing Change Step by Step

Finally, it’s time to act. Implementation can feel daunting, especially after a job loss. However, it’s important to remember that progress often happens incrementally. Break down your chosen solution into manageable steps and tackle them one at a time. This approach, called ‘action planning’, can make a big task seem more approachable, and it has been scientifically proven to enhance goal achievement.

Throughout this process, it’s essential to maintain a self-compassionate perspective. Job loss can lead to feelings of self-doubt or criticism. However, research has shown that treating yourself with kindness in times of failure or difficulty can foster resilience and well-being.

Final Thoughts: Tackling Life’s Crises with Evolutionary Tactics

As we journey through life, navigating unexpected obstacles and tackling life’s crises, it’s fascinating to consider the neurological systems at play. Just as our ancestors used specific neurological systems to detect and react to physical threats – like a lurking predator – we use these same systems to perceive and manage the abstract threats and issues we face in modern life.

Abstract problems – like losing a job or facing a break-up – become the ‘predators’ of our lives, lurking just outside the safety of our known world. When these problems arise, they activate the same neurological platform used by our ancestors, proving how our evolutionary history still influences our reactions to contemporary challenges.

So, dealing with the unexpected isn’t just about updating our cognitive map of the world, it’s also about confronting these abstract ‘predators’, managing life’s crises, and leveraging our inherent neurological capabilities. As we better understand and harness these capabilities, we can become more adept at navigating the uncertainties of life.

Good Thinking Begins with Clear Thinking, read more on how to think clealry using Marcus Aurelius Approach.