It is safe to say that the last 6 months has been different than previous years. Different on so many fronts. We have never heard or used words such as unprecedented, lock-downs, restrictions, shortages, ventilators, flatten the curve, testing, shutdown and sadly deaths. We have never encountered a tsunami of changes to the way we go about life and work. We have never had to make immediate changes.
Literarily overnight the world around changed. Streets were eerily quiet, people staying home, and online delivery system struggled to meet the demands, supermarket shelves emptied of toilet paper, bread, flour, meat and hand sanitisers. People working from home and sadly many lost their jobs and their only source of income. Those are just a small number of changes that took place, not just in one city or one country but the entire world.
Despite the terrible and horrible impact of Covid-19, human nature and the spirit of love and life powered through the darkness. Each of us coped the best that we could. We changed our routines and created new ones to adapt to the changing nature of our lives. We experienced how amazing the sacrificial efforts of healthcare workers, cleaners, supermarket staffs, delivery people and the essential workers behind the scenes running the critical and essential needs of others. We watched with tears in our eyes when survivors of Covid-19 walked out of the hospital and shared tears with those who lost loved one as well.
This challenging times brought out the best and the worst of our nature. I choose to look at the best of what trials brings out in us. The word choose means that I have the power to control what and how I look at the situation around me. That is the most empowering and powerful mindset to have during crisis. We cannot choose what happens around us or even things that happens to us but we can choose how we respond to it.
Why is it that some people seem to be able to respond and handle challenges well? What makes them different? I believe that there are 3 key principles that enables them to do so. The 3 guiding principles are:
Freedom to choose our response. Each of us has the freedom to choose how we want to perceive a situation. We can view it half empty or half full. It is a choice. If we choose to look for problems or issues, we will find it. Often, we will find more issues than we could imagine. Whatever you choose to focus on, you will find. If we choose to look for the silver lining, the good, we will find that too. Do not fall into the trap of unrealistic optimism but realistic optimism. Ask yourselves these questions:
- What is my current situation? What am I in control of? What am I not in control of? What can I influence? What I am not able to influence?
- What can I do now? What can I do if I made some changes? Be innovative and look for opportunities that you would otherwise not have looked at.
Be resourceful and innovative. In times when resources are limited or challenges so great, it brings out the best of our creative thinking. It is when we are faced with a problem, that innovation comes out with the best solution. Penicillin would not be discovered if there was no problem with bacteria. We would not have anything today if it were not for people thinking outside the box to find solutions to everyday needs or problems. Ask yourselves:
- What resources do I have now?
- What resources I do not have now?
- Be creative and resourceful, what can I use instead of this or what can I put together to do the same function.
For example, there is no bread in the supermarket, but you have flour and water. Learn how to make sourdough starter which leads to great sourdough bread. I think that there are now a great number of sourdough experts as a result of this lockdown.
Be kind and generous. Look beyond yourself. Fear does bring out our survival instinct as demonstrated by shortages experienced in supermarket. However, once the initial fear passes, let’s take some time to think not just about our own needs but to look up and out to see the needs of others. Your one small act of kindness or generosity has a much greater impact on you and those around you. I am reminded of Capt. Tom Moore, a 99-year-old war veteran who raised $33 million for the British Health Care System by walking around his garden. Clearly, age is no barrier but more importantly what one man’s action could do to bring out the generosity of millions for a good cause. It speaks as much about one man but also the people who so generously gave. Ask yourselves these questions:
- Who can I help? Who is in need that I can reach out to?
- What do I need to do to look after myself, family, and friends?
- Who can I be generous with?
- Who should I connect and keep in touch with?
As countries move to end restrictions and lockdowns, let us now forget what we have learned and experienced. Let us all remember that we do have control over how we respond to crisis. We have the freedom to choose, be resourceful and innovative and show others kindness and generosity.