Negativity is in no short supply regarding the current global pandemic. Negativity begets more negativity. It’s easy to get sucked into the vicious cycle. We’re not implying that we shouldn’t be aware and educate ourselves, but what fruit does negativity bear? We might experience a well of emotions when we hear of a tragedy, and that’s perfectly acceptable, but harbouring negativity serves no purpose, in our opinion.
In the famous words of Winston Churchill, ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’.
There’s no doubt that with the current global pandemic we’re facing a crisis of epic proportions, and whilst we’re cognisant of that fact that many people are facing unthinkable hardship, we see opportunity. The opportunity to use this crisis to work on our character.
In part 2 of our or Mental Toughness series, “Expect Adversity” we said the following, “The better we prepare, the better we can respond. Lack of preparation leads us to react, something that we want to avoid at all costs.”
The pandemic is placing an enormous amount of stress on people, mental stress in particular. Fortunately, we’re prepared. We like to think of each workout as a mini, controlled crisis, which helps us to face adversity. We expose our body and mind to stressors and emerge physically fitter and mentally tougher. The pandemic is no doubt a stressor, one that we can face with confidence, because we’re prepared.
“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Maya Angelou
Lockdowns and restrictions are now a part of our lives, and how long they will persist for, nobody knows. What ought we do about it? The answer is live. Live while we can. Put nothing off. Leave nothing unfinished. Do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are. Remember Marcus Aurelius’ advice to himself:
Don’t fill your mind with all the bad things that might still happen. Stay focused on the present situation.” Seize the present moment, he said, concentrate on it like a Roman. Don’t get distracted. Don’t dwell on regret, don’t give into anxiety. Look at what is in front of you, look at it with everything you have. The present moment is the same for everyone, he said, no matter their job, no matter how well or how terribly things have been going. The present is all anyone possesses. To waste it, to let it escape you, to fritter it away with fear or frustration, is not only to set yourself up for failure, it is a rejection of a beautiful gift. Focus on the now. Be where you are… while you still can.
We cannot dither or delay, for all we ever have is the present, and presently we are facing a crisis. The question is, are we going to let this crisis go to waste? Are we going to submit to the sensationalism of the media? Are we going to perpetuate the negativity? Or are we going to face this crisis with confidence? Are we going to develop our grit and perseverance? Are we going to lead with courage? Are we going to develop our character?
We cannot settle for letting ourselves off the hook. We’ve got to do the real, uncomfortable work on ourselves, or on the world around us. It’s an ongoing process. It’s committing to the hard path. It’s committing to a way of life. It’s about doing the work, because nobody else is going to do it for us. Character is foundational; is your character going to be built on rock or sand?
‘The Present Moment Is All You’ve Got’, Daily Stoic, 25 January 2021. Available at: https://dailystoic.com/the-present-moment-is-all-youve-got (Accessed: 26 January 2021)