As of today, I have been a resident of Planet Earth for 48 years and I can honestly say that have never experienced a year like 2020 – and we are not even halfway through it! Who knew that our lives would be disrupted so abruptly? At the time of writing, we are seeing the first positive signs of a gradual slowing down of the virus and world leaders are starting to ease restrictions. Despite what could well turn out to be the worst-ever global recession, it is in our nature to make the most of such situation. So here are four positives that I have personally discovered during two months of restrictions.
- “Every day you are either preparing or repairing.”
Strange as it may seem, living in almost complete lockdown helped me to be more organized. Being allowed out of the house just once a day (for which permission had to be applied for via SMS) obliged me to plan my day much more thoroughly than normal. It was the leadership expert John C. Maxwell who said, “Every day you are either preparing or repairing”. My wife and I were on the same page, sharing schedules from the evening before. It was fun to feel that we were almost acting like criminals trying to pull off the perfect robbery! Coordinating with your family (team, unit, etc.) works wonders in being organized and prepared to achieve maximum results and it all starts with setting out your priorities and honouring your promises. The flipside of preparation may not be total disorganisation but it certainly means that you will later waste time on repairing your day and, perhaps, your life.
- “Life is a collection of experiences.”
I learnt from the great Jim Rohn that “Life is not just the passing of time. Life is a collection of experiences, their frequency and intensity.” Without a doubt, this pandemic has been an intense experience for the vast majority of people. Most, if not all of us, have had to ‘reinvent’ our businesses and, indeed, ourselves in order to survive. Personally, I have invested dozens of hours in search of the right skills and the most suitable technology to deliver my messages via webinars. Others have found meaning by serving their communities in unprecedented ways. This pandemic has impacted rich and poor, strong and weak, conglomerate and startup alike. The virus makes no distinctions and affects all humanity. We are all in the same boat and, to beat this monster, it is imperative to bury any grudges and to continually share information by communicating with one another.
- “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
The University in my home town stopped issuing cheques and switched to electronic payments because of COVID-19. When LinkedIn proposed to make me a beta-tester for sharing videos on the platform, I hesitated. My comfort zone, plus the fact that my business was booming, kept me locked into my old ways of operating. For the University, it had been, “Why bother to adopt new technology?” For me, the question was, “Why bother to learn new ways?” The virus spurred me to action. The pandemic was the reason I decided to run my first-ever webinar, aimed at helping people move out of their comfort zone into their growth zone. Click here to view the webinar and find out how to maintain your well-being and productivity during these challenging times. Sometimes, it takes something bad to force us to take a step forward.
- “When there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.”
In the 1994 movie “The Shawshank Redemption”, a banker named Andy Dufresne is accused of double murder and begins a life sentence in the fictional Shawshank prison, where he befriends an older inmate named Red. In a dialogue between the two Andy says, “ … there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside...that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours.” A confused Red asks him to explain what he means exactly. And that is where Andy delivers an impactful one worded reply: “Hope”.
The virus is infectious but so is hope. Hope drives action. Regardless of how many things you try and fail at, hope is what lets you try again. When there is hope in the future, there is power in the present. We must keep using this power, especially in times like the ones we are living in today.
Next year, I am sure, I will remember my 48th birthday, and smile, with a greater appreciation of all the things I always took for granted until the current situation changed my life. For now, let's try to find something positive in these unusual times. Things are going to get better. They always do.
Have you found anything positive in this challenging situation? Please share it so we can all inspire one another.