I have watched myself go from fear to panic to anxiety and now I’m at a “c’est sera sera” stage. I don’t know what that progression is called. But, the current crisis has definitely tested the limits of some of my emotions.
Last week, in particular, was a highlight for me. Somewhere between me feeling down and under the dumps and trying to research on “thriving through the pandemic” something amazing happened. I received a call from my mentor, Tayo. He sounded so upbeat, and I wondered what he knew that I didn’t. Maybe there was a new venture he had discovered. It turned out that he had found an anchor for himself. I asked him, “Why do you sound so normal?” and he said “As an individual and as a company we have gone through bad times before. We have faced uncertainties, and we‘ve survived all of them. I believe somehow, we would survive this one too. I see no reason why this would be any different”. Personally I could see why this would be different. I could cite the novelty of the situation. But it didn’t matter what I saw for him. Because when it comes to his life, what he says and sees supersedes what anyone else says or sees. And this is true for everyone else. Your vision determines your direction. Tayo said that his focus was on the things he could do. He looked at the things that were within his control. And he chose to remain optimistic. Something about speaking with him lifted my spirits.
I had spent so much time focusing on things I could not control or influence, like the curve that had refused to flatten, the individuals breaking the lockdown, the falling oil price, the crashing economy. But now, I looked through a different lens. I chose to look at the things I could control. I can control my emotion. I can control the energy I spread to the people around me. I can control completing my tasks and to-dos. I can control the number of squats I do in the evening. I can even control what I choose to read. Just thinking about it, reminded me of the power I had over certain elements of my life.
I began to have bounded optimism. Then I spoke to my friend Chine who pushed it up into high gear. See Chine is like a wildflower to me. He’s always happy and filled with positive energy. I haven’t seen anything like it. As I was speaking with him, I got the sense that we were experiencing different situations. We may have been in the same 2020 with Corona, but it was obvious that he was in complete control of his experience with the situation. I remember him telling me to move from consuming to creating. He was referring to information and content. He said I needed to be more deliberate with the things I allowed into my space. I also remember the positivity I felt him send my way. And it was great. The call was like a warm hug. Everything and everyone has been so serious. It was nice having someone loosen the ropes I felt around my neck.
I decided to deliberately build on the momentum that had been given to me by these two guys. I also wanted to go a step further and spread that resilience to everyone around me. The truth is, we are all going through this together. Maybe in different forms and degrees. But, in the end, we are in it together. One of the most important things that we can guard is what we allow into our thoughts, hearts and lives. In a bid to stay connected and informed we may unknowingly allow different unfiltered information into our minds. This is quite dangerous, especially for people prone to anxiety.
So today, I say, “allow me to increase your resilience a bit with the two advice that I was given”:
“People have survived worse than this and have come out stronger and better. You will too.” — Tayo.
“Be deliberate with the things you allow into your space” — Chine.
The interesting thing about building resilience is that it requires your active participation. No one is going to do it for you. You have to get up, dust off your cape and be your own hero.
I hope you find resilience this week too.
Thank you for reading :)