All of us have studied elementary metallurgy in our school coursework. Do you remember the terms malleable and ductile? Don’t worry if you don’t. These are just two structural attributes of materials. One of them refers to the property of materials being flexible to hammering or rolling, while the other has more to do with their tensile properties, i.e., being drawn out into a thin wire. Quite interesting. But why did I write them here? Well, perhaps to draw an analogy to the human mind, which is probably more malleable than anything else that exists in this universe. And there is good reason to believe that.
Metallurgy, for instance, attributes certain fixed properties, say, melting point, transition temperature, ductile-to-brittle-transition temperature, to materials. So, we know what we can expect at these fixed points. But think about it. Can we really predict what we might encounter say, tomorrow or a half-hour from now? Probably not (not even with the most perfect crystal ball).
That tells us how malleable the human mind is, and what awesome potential it holds. Yet, many of us often hit a rock bottom of motivation and emotional well-being, and it seems as though nothing can ever make us think positive or good about ourselves or about the world around us. This is most commonly where that little nagging thought of ‘quitting’ rears its ugly head, telling us that there is nothing left to feel good about.
Quite honestly, I have had my own fairly large share of such days. But at this point, it is important to not give in to that thought. It’s quite an overpowering thought, but we need to remember that it is nothing beyond our control and we can easily take back the reins. What’s needed is a little launchpad to gently push us to the next level. We might still feel like being in that dark spot – which is what that nagging thought wants us to do – but it doesn’t take much to harness the limitless malleability of the human mind.
Just like materials that become malleable at the right temperature and pressure, the human mind gradually starts adapting to the great diversity of adversities that we may encounter. It kind of reminds me of the movie 300, where the boy king, thrown to the mercy of the elements, returns triumphant. And this is not fiction. Time and again, we have proven it to ourselves.
The beauty of the human mind makes us far more special, far more intricate, complex, unique, and perfect than anything else in this creation. So, can we look at ourselves as wonders of nature and train our minds to believe that we will not give in or give up, no matter how tough the times are? Of course, we can – in fact, we should. This is the only way we will ever discover how strong we can truly be, how amazing we truly are, how precious, how valuable this life is. And we can all come back to ourselves – warriors, survivors, winners.
Abhijit Chakraborty is a senior content editor at upGrad, a digital education organisation in India. He is also a mental health advocate.