We live in unprecedented times of crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic taking lives, jobs and a lifestyle that we have naturally taken for granted.
In January, at the beginning of a new year and decade, most of us were focused on new year and new decade resolutions. In less than two months, we are forced into quarantine such that the spread of the virus is contained.
In circumstances we have no control or choice over, it is critical to (1) prioritize safety; (2) not fall prey to negative emotions and (3) rally to find meaning in a situation that makes no sense.
There is no way one can find a silver lining in this terrible socio-economic calamity. However, as an eternal optimist, I cannot imagine any other generation in the history of civilization that could weather this crisis better than us. We are endowed with an incredible amount of human, social, technological, scientific and economic potential. In the face of adversity and challenge to our own existence, such amazing potential can devise breakthroughs, innovations, and new ways of thinking and acting that will leapfrog us as a society or protect future generations against similar or worst crises. So I cling to this hope and belief instead of panic and worry, no matter how justifiable those latter feelings might be.
Life is not what happens to us but what meaning we attach to it.
Therefore the main meaning I attach to this Coronavirus attack is RESET.
The reboot could take a few days, weeks or months but here what this reset may result in for each one of us:
–Increased responsibility. In moments of crisis like today’s, we are called to responsibility at multiple levels. We are first called to:
– Responsibility to each other, as a community and society, by abiding by what medical experts and governments are calling us to do.
– Responsibility towards our own families by keeping safety first, and maintaining a sense of calm, peace and routine.
– Responsibility towards our employers, teams, institutions by doing the best circumstances allow us to do and anchor our responses in values that could be at test now. Overall, increased responsibility over our choices and responses, which we have always had but may have never come with such cruel consequences.
– Improved relationships. Ironically, we have been practicing for a while some amount of “social distancing” via fading relationships left to social media posts. While in parallel, our busy lifestyles have at times left us without energy for the relationships that counted the most, our own families. Forced into quarantine, we have the time to talk, love, care, be genuine and vulnerable in those relationships that we identify in moments of crisis like today’s as most important to us.
– Pruning. Faced with such amount of potential or real loss and uncertainty, we are pruning. Tasks, things, relationships, activities or situations that bothered us in the past may once and for all stay in the past. We now have the courage or no other choice than to move on by letting go and focusing on what’s important, effective or necessary.
– Increased sense of urgency. There cannot be a stronger reminder of how fragile our existence is than when lives are at risk due to an obnoxious and invisible virus. If we don’t do what matters today, tomorrow is never promised. Take stock of your responsibilities, gifts and dreams, and be a doer and a light in this world.
– Crediting heroes. The heroes during this COVID-19 pandemic are found in the medical field. Nurses, doctors, hospital workers are the soldiers in the trenches protecting us. At any moment in life, there will be people and professions that deserve praise and gratitude for their sacrifices or extra miles. Beware of false heroes and give credit to the true heroes.
While the world as we know it has come to a halt, the RESET must be on for all of us. That’s how we activate the potential that is in us as a community and society as a whole.
The world needs us!