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A solid state of mind

Solids are objects whose molecular composition ensures that they retain a certain shape under a defined range of environmental conditions like the ambient temperature, the pressure that is applied on the object, etc. Examples are all around us - books, tables, chairs, phones, etc.

Liquids are objects whose molecular composition ensures that they are fluid in nature and can adapt to take the shape of the container that holds them. Again, examples are all around us - water being the most prominent one.

If we have to fit a solid in a container, like putting a phone in a case or a table in a room, we have to ensure that the container is a right fit for the solid. Whereas, if we have to fit a liquid in a container, we can count on the liquid to change its shape to be the right fit for any container that we are dealing with.

Extending this concept to our states of mind, we can have a solid state of mind - where we are fairly rigid in our beliefs and world views and what we want and can only function well when we are in an environment that is a right fit for those beliefs and world views and will struggle to fit in an environment that isn't.

And a lot of people, even if they think otherwise, have a solid state of mind. Which is why every company that hires someone as an employee tries to ascertain whether the new hire will be a cultural fit and will tend to reject candidates with strong skills that match the requirements when there is no cultural fit.

We do this in our relationships as well - we choose to make friends with people that are a right fit for our ideas and beliefs and fall out with those that aren't a good fit.

However, in some cases, we tend to exhibit a liquid state of mind - where we are willing to adapt our ideas and beliefs for us to fit comfortably in a container. This could be a person giving up their morals in order to make more money (on a negative side) and a person evolving their ideas to be more tolerant and accepting of people unlike themselves (on a positive side).

As with most things, there is no generic right state of mind. But, given any well defined situation, there is one right state of mind, making the other one wrong.

The trick is to get the state of mind right consistently.

And this can only be achieved when we define the situation well. And we can only do that when we are able to take a long-term view of our lives (our own as well as of those around us).

A solid state of mind is generally associated with strength in character while a liquid state of mind can be seen as flaking or lacking a spine. But real virtue lies in being able to bring out the right state of mind as demanded by the situation.

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