Modus Operandi

By Neeti Adhia

‘Every criminal has his own MO’ This is the basic perception all of us have when we come across the term ‘Modus Operandi’. This Latin term in criminology means the pattern of behavior of the criminal or his way of committing a crime. 

‘Ted Bundy’, the American known for his way of committing a murder, was the epitome of an organized lust killer. His Modus Operandi was to flirt with young women utilizing his good looks, intelligence and charms to win their trust and later driving them to a deserted area, raping them and finally killing them.

These compelling narratives when portrayed in real life, TV shows, web series, leave us completely spell bounded to see how people perform such crazy aggression intensified acts beyond reparation repeatedly in the same pattern which ultimately makes it their “Modus Operandi”.

But you know, when I come across the term ‘Modus Operandi’ what thrills me more is, if it is really a term that refers only to the habits and peculiarities of criminals or is there more to it? Will a particular pattern of an individual to solve a problem in his/her life or a pattern followed on a daily basis also be considered as an MO?

For an instance, some businessmen expand their businesses by hostile takeovers of potentially successful businesses. Whereas some would expand themselves by starting new businesses. Thus, both have a goal, but they have different Modus Operandi to reach their goals i.e. to grow and expand their business. 

This could possibly mean that an MO can be considered as an integral part of everyone’s life and is not confined only to criminology. The pattern to perform a task or a pattern to function in life on a daily basis can be followed by an individual.  

Personally, I have perceived having an MO for myself as a monotonous, repetitious and stifling task and it’s likely that everyone has contemplated over this at some point in their lives. Conversely, I have also absorbed the fact that having a Modus Operandi has its own positive results.

Sure, there are days wherein the possibility of slacking off is quite high. But when we build consistency and stick to a solid MO, no matter how fired up we are, we will complete the task without even thinking because we have it programmed within us. Just like the repeated patterns of mandala bring us an ease, in the same way repeatedly abiding by a pattern makes things easy going for us.

However, as we all have come across the most common mechanism of life and i.e life always ends up surprising us with different circumstances and challenges. They are considered as levels which need to be crossed in order to achieve a desired result. So, life will demand a different approach/pattern at every new level.

 Does this conclude that our MO needs to change for new challenges? Obviously, there can be a state of reluctance to a sudden change in our set pattern but there always be a scope of improvement and there is absolutely nothing wrong in deviating from a habitual pattern. We can always adjust by being mindful about choices.

Such a compulsion to change in patterns is very well portrayed in a real-life example of a student whose MO undergoes a massive change when he migrates from school to college and college to work life. The pattern followed by him followed in school will undergo a sea change in his college and similarly, that will again change when he walks into the material world. At each stage, there is change in his pattern to reach a desired goal.

Thus the lifehack ‘There is nothing permanent but change’ is rightly put forward. Hence, Modus operandi being a “fixed” pattern, the challenges of our lives forces us to change and adapt to a new “fixed” pattern.

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