It’s finally happened. A first grand test of humanity in the 21st century; coronavirus.
Sure, there have been wars – though we always have those – and economic strife.
But the current COVID-19 outbreak may represent the first real challenge of humanity, arguably since World War II.
Other, more deadly – yet less easily transmittable – pathogens like SARS and Ebola have come and gone.
But this one, virulent as it is, has shaken the core of the system under which we live.
Of the average person – who is not a service worker, or medical professional – this crisis is not asking all that much of us, on the individual level.
So much is uncertain, seemingly. What are we to do?
A deluge of bad news, constantly updating death tolls, and uncertainty are all suddenly upon us.
People are also panic buying toilet paper, which I cannot so easily explain. Though it is fairly comical behaviour.
Either essential workers or not, “trapped” at home or not, how do we handle this seeming calamity?
The good news here, as almost always can be found in bad news, is that we have an opportunity.
Let this pandemic — and all of the inevitable crises of the future world teach you how to prepare, how to think, and how to act.
If you are feeling lost or are otherwise in need of a mental tune up, for this pandemic or the next, allow me to enliven you with some productive thoughts and actions.
“It is not external events themselves that cause us distress, but the way in which we think about them, our interpretation of their significance. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble.”
Those who are already subscribed to us here at RiseAbove know that I frequently recommend you limit your interaction with the newsmedia.
Time and again the psychological effects of watching this programmatic fear mongering and over-focus on the negative aspects (or dark-side) of humanity proves to be unworthy of significant time or attention.
Surely we know the world is a tough place from our daily lived experiences, without having to hear about death tolls updated by the hour.
Stay away from the propagandists that are the mainstream news media.
Prolonged proximity of any kind to negativity-bias is going to rub off on you.
Even before coronavirus, there was enough bad news available to give Gandhi himself gastrointestinal problems.
This is the reality of the world; bad things do happen somewhere; multiple somewhere’s, every day of the year.
However, network news and cable outlets bank on people’s inherent negativity bias; something we all use to survive.
They use analytics to determine how to maximize their ratings; and then direct and conduct their coverage in a manner that drives their ratings (viewership) and revenue, up.
Limit your exposure by keeping to no more than 10-15 minutes of newsmedia exposure per day.
During times where you are forced out of your normal (presumably productive) routine, you’ll have even less energy and brainmatter to spare.
You have to be quick to reform positive habits, and staying away from the news is the best way to ensure you do.
Use the headlines and updates to collect data on where the pandemic is headed, so that you are ahead of the crowd — form perspective, seek solutions. Then you will understand the possibilities that lay ahead.
As a general rule, you never want to be reactive, to anything.
Watching the news for long periods of time is a passive activity; and reactivity is merely a response to an unanticipated event.
Be positive; think ahead.
Wars happen every decade, civil or global unrest perhaps every 50 years, pandemics happen around every 100 years or so.
Understand that these types of events can, do, and will happen. Accept it, do not dwell.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana (December 16th, 1863 – September 26th, 1962)
I have often heard people expel the notion that because we live in modern times, certain events or offenses should not be happening.
“It’s 2020”, they may say.
To that overly simplistic view, I say:
we are not inherently immune from whatever problems we are vulnerable to at present, despite the state of current technological or societal advancements.
In other words — shit happens. It always has; and it always will.
No matter how developed we find ourselves to be in present times, there will always be more – or new – problems.
Accept it — don’t be weak about it. Maintain the strength and fortitude to be ready when bad things happen.
No doubt most of you will have heard of the five stages of grief? (The Kubler-Ross model)
The five stages are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
It’s important to remember that you can only go through all five regarding something you did not expect from the outset.
How can I deny that a pandemic is happening if I know pandemics can and do happen at least once a century?
Here’s a great example of the 5 stages of grief from the classic animated show, The Simpsons (20 seconds)
Note that homer could have skipped all of those stages and gone straight to looking for solutions!
If you are not one of the heroic few — EMTs, Doctors, Nurses, First Responders, your pace is going to be considerably slower during coronavirus.
You’re at home, most likely, self-quarantining.
Given that we know these events can and do happen, and that no amount of worrying can change or speed up these events, what can we do?
With the time you have, instead of dwelling on negatives you can focus on positive action, positive thoughts, and proactive behaviours.
Think about what you can do to get ahead, to be prepared, and how you’ll decrease your chances of getting a bad case of the virus.
What treatments are anecdotally effective? What vitamins or supplements can I take? Am I exercising, drinking enough water? Am I getting 20 minutes of sun every day?
How am I going to ensure I stay cash flow positive? Do I have enough savings? Where can I earn extra money? How do I access relief/stimulus cash?
Others will go through the 5 stages of grief, as shown in the above cartoon clip.
They will be afraid, then they’ll blame the government, China, wet markets, the CDC…
Then they’ll try and get their employer to open the office back up, they’ll sit home depressed, and then 3-6 months later, they’ll find some form of acceptance.
Don’t let that be you. Accept it, and move forward as quickly as you can.
While you cannot personally control how long this pandemic lasts, or the government response to it, there is a great deal of personal control that you do have.
First – Let’s start with supply readiness.
Get your supplies (and your home) in order.
Now is a great time to do all of that preparedness stocking that the apocalypse-heads were always talking about.
In this case, we need to just cover the basics: Food, Supplies, Supplements.
For Food & Water:
** If the supply chain begins to weaken due to new coronavirus outbreaks, you should then up that two weeks to a month or more, and increase your stockpile of dried and canned foods.
For your Home:
Medicines & Supplements:
Find ways to get non-readily accessible items:
Search extensively for anything you can’t find on Amazon, or direct from major manufacturers.
Odds are, there are smaller companies you can find through google that may have what you’re looking for.
Sign up for notifications on any out-of-stock items, so you get notified when they’re back in stock.
If you wait until the news tells everyone to grab something, or there are reports of a shortage — you’re not going to be able to get it.
You don’t want to be left empty handed because of panic buyer bob.
What are you doing each day to stay healthy, mentally and physically? After food and supplies, this is what matters above all else.
Especially given that your immune system and metabolic health seems to be a key component in whether you get symptoms from the virus, or not.
Now is not the time to sit around, drinking and eating sugar all day. Nor was it ever, mind you.
In times of uncertainty, that is where you really get to see what you’re made of.
Will you wither, shrink, and wilt? Will you rise above and conquer? Will you do what I (admittedly) did and get comfortable for a month or more?
Now is the time to be more on point than ever.
Frequent visitors of this site know I encourage you to focus solely on what is within your control.
After all, that’s all you ever had control of in the first place. You don’t control when coronavirus ends; you don’t control your roommate, you don’t control the supply chain.
So, what can you do right now to keep things moving and grooving in the right direction?
Here are my recommendations for how to control the variables that you can, and stay healthy as ever while giving yourself an overall boost.
Those are all direct specific actions that you can take every day while you are at home on lockdown — and even if you work a job currently deemed as essential.
I encourage you to do as many of them as you can; not only will these give your immune system a boost — they will give you regularity and help reinforce a positive state of mind.
Now is not the time – temping though it may seem – to be sitting on the couch all day playing video games and eating processed foods.
Take care of your body, and you take care of your mind as well.
Use this time to get clear – or become clear again – on who you are, and what you want out of life.
That’s a winning formula.
Tragic though this period seems, life will continue for most after the coronavirus has disappeared.
The survival rate will be somewhere around 96-98%, most likely.
So that leaves us needing to plan for what comes next.
That means: if you’ve lost work, immediately look for other (safe) ways to go about replacing it.
If you’ve been laid off, file for unemployment. Don’t put it off — the benefits are temporarily increased far above their normal rates until the end of July.
Even if you’re still employed, a good step to take would be writing out or reviewing your finances for the next 6 months.
That includes rent, how much you will save — and how you can possibly add even more money to the pile.
Now is the time to be on your game, as tight as you can be.
You can also use this time to brush up on, or learn, marketable skills that will earn you income in the future.
Things like editing, photoshop, copywriting, sales, coding, graphic design, or sell products online.
How your life looks after coronavirus is less about coronavirus, and more about the decisions you make; past, present, and future.
Plan for a bright future, and look to come out of this period ahead.
I don’t care what conspiracy theories you’ve heard about coronavirus. Maybe they are true.
But one thing is for certain — city hall is always going to be there, in one form another. At least if you’re wealthy, or on your way to becoming wealthy, you’ll have your freedom.
Remember — events like this only paralyze you if you never expect them to happen.
So, accept the state of things quickly; then move on to being prepared, being productive, and being healthy.
I pulled a book off my shelf this morning — one I had neglected until a compatriot on instagram reminded me of it’s philosophical value.
I opened it to a random page, and found the following message:
There is a lesson to be learned from a downpour of rain. If you get caught in a sudden cloudburst, you will still get a drenching even though you try to keep dry by hurrying along and taking cover under overhangs of roofs. If you are prepared to get wet from the start, the result is still the same but there will be no hardship. This attitude can be applied to all things.
Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai.
Good luck. Get to work.
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