We approach change in the wrong way. In companies, we employ change management specialists in the hope that they wave their magic wand and bring about overnight changes. In our personal lives, we hope that a pep talk from someone will trigger a difference in our thinking. Instead, we need to focus on our behaviours.
“We repeat about 40 percent of our behaviour almost daily, so our habits shape our existence and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.” – Gretchen Rubin
You lost your job, and you didn’t get that promotion you wanted, you got a bad performance review, you lost a loved one, you had an accident and became injured, you are struggling with your mental health. Whatever you are going through at the moment, you will bounce back but do it in your own time and on your terms.
“When life knocks you down, sometimes you need to take your time to get back up. Don’t allow anyone to rush your process.’ – @Inspirewithyas
At the best of times, I am feeling anxious because of the unprecedented event we are going through. Some days are great, and others not so. This emotional state ebbs and flows. When things aren’t great, I have to pick myself up and remind myself to take each day as it comes – one minute at a time, one hour at a time. How you treat yourself in these moments matters most to keep your head above water. I’ve recently started journaling – recording my mental state on each day to help me understand my thoughts better. This process helps me stay grounded and focused and connected with thought patterns.
“Pain passes more quickly when we don’t criticize or shame ourselves for feeling it.” – @Inspirewithyas
The COVID – 19 crisis has brought the entire world to its knees. What started in the city of Wuhan in China in December 2019 has quickly escalated into a global pandemic that is testing the social fabric of societies across the world.
As the crisis escalates, perplexingly, we are seeing startling differences in the way the crisis is being managed. Eastern governments have taken the aggressive approach with early intervention, extensive testing, mandatory lockdowns (as in China) as well as rapid upscaling of critical infrastructure (as seen in China with the construction of two hospitals in 2 weeks). Western governments, on the other hand, have operated at a pedestrian pace and have been laissez-faire in their approach, which has resulted in COVID – 19 cases spiralling out of control.
It is in these challenging times we must keep the human spirit alive. Below are 12 quotes that put the current crisis into perspective, and offer some insight into how to cope during this time of duress.
“Reduce transmission. Do not just let this fire burn.” – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa
“The COVID – 19 outbreak is having serious consequences for factory and gig workers, and global supply chains. Let’s learn the lessons of the 08-09 financial crisis and design income support that working families and businesses need.” – Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Federation
“Social distancing is our current best defence against COVID-19.” – Michelle A. Williams, Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA
“A significant proportion of the global population could be infected” – Professor Yik-Ying TEO, Dean, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore
“Over-reacting is better than non-reacting” – Xifeng Wu, MD, PhD, Dean and Professor of School of Public Health, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.
“Focused, effective communication and shared trust are essential.” – Landon Myer, epidemiologist, University of Cape Town
“If we continue with business as usual, this will blow up really quickly.” – Michal Caspi Tal, PhD, Instructor at Stanford Medical School
“I genuinely believe the responsible thing to do right now with the Coronavirus is to stay home from work, so we don’t all spread it. One boring month working from home and watching Netflix inside after hours is worth it if we can slow down the spread of the virus like China did. It’s time for us to be responsible adults and own what is happening. The virus is not something to be feared; it’s something to contain as soon as possible through responsible action.” – Tim Denning
“In this information age, fear and concern around health issues like the Coronavirus can be amplified. It is more important than ever to check in with yourself and assess how you are doing – not only physically, but also mentally.” – SHRM
“If I were in office today. I’d pick up the phone to Washington and seek a meeting of G20 leaders, Health Ministers & Finance Ministers. Markets need to see the world’s 20 biggest economies are acting together in solidarity and will use stimulus as needed to overcome Coronavirus.” – Kevin Rudd, 26th (Former) Prime Minister of Australia
“If the Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is the lengths some people will go to when desperate. Next time you want to judge boat people, refugees, migrants fleeing war-torn land – remember we fought over toilet paper.” – Fraz Butt
Let’s hope that things take a step in a positive direction, and we can get on top of this crisis soon. We stand to lose a lot if we do not work together collaboratively, compassionately, and in solidarity as a global community.
Whatever you do, look after yourself, your friends and your loved ones.
I’m a big believer in both vocal and visual affirmation. It’s a great way to quickly boost your mood and outlook because regardless of what type of work you do, there will always be something that stresses you out so take some time out of your day to reflect. If you can recall sometime in your life where you have been successful and visualize that in your mind, that will really help you – trust me! For me, its sports. I was a keen rugby player during my school days so I can look back and visualize my good performances to help lift my mood. However, in the absence of visual affirmations, below are eight statements (use whatever is relevant to you) you can use to elevate yourself.
How do you motivate yourself? For some people motivation flows naturally like a river. For others it is an elusive element in their lives. One thing I have learnt is that no matter how hard things get and in times of great need, it is often the words of others that can trigger a spark in you that can kick start your motivation and allow you to bounce back. A blog post by Srini Rao (www.theskooloflife.com) has done just that for me. His post “Tips for Navigating the Waters of Life” is a tremendously inspiring and no nonsense look at dealing with life’s challenges. Below is a summarized version of the key points in his post.
Your instincts are almost always right
Your instincts are the higher self speaking
If you go against instinct you are likely to land yourself in a complete mess
Be Wary of the Steps You Take
If you decide on something, be absolutely 100 per cent sure you can see it through
Know when it’s just time to bail out when you feel you can’t manage it
Don’t worry about getting ahead of others, focus on what you are doing right now – play your own game
Be present and the rest will take care of itself
Being in the present will allow you to achieve peak performance
Don’t focus too much on the future and don’t get caught up in the past, this is a recipe for mediocrity
Erase Failure and Get Back Up
You’re ability to deal with failure and setback will determine whether or not you have what it takes to achieve what you are truly capable of in your life
Often the second wave of opportunity is better than the first so don’t beat yourself up. Your friends are on their first wave of opportunity
If you keep critiquing yourself with others then you are likely miss out on the second wave of opportunity which is often better than the first
There is no need to live life 100 mph, just slow down because you will get where you want to go much faster and you are less likely to suffer a setback
Small is Better
Don’t make gigantic leaps because it is the small things in life that make the big difference and you will spend less effort for more results
Timing is Important
Take advantage of opportunities that may not be present in the good times.
Tough economic times often drive people towards innovation and breakthrough and this just happens to be timing at work
Wave Selection is the Key
The key to success in any area of life is dependent on the choices you make so choose wisely
Catching the right wave will enable you to catch one wave after another
Choose the wrong wave and you will have to endure a hard time and work extra hard to pull your head out of the water
Laugh and Smile Everyday
The age old saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is still true
It is a medicine that you won’t find in any pharmacy and costs you absolutely nothing
Srini’s analogy of viewing life’s opportunities and chances as waves provides a fresh and sensible way of looking at life. This may be the only success principle you need to follow. It has certainly allowed me to look at life from a different perspective, and it may do the same for you too.
Pursuit of Happyness may not be many people’s choice as a favourite movie. Still, it is a very memorable movie for me, and one of the slightly better movies on TV over the festive period. It was notable for me because it revealed in spectacular detail the struggles and stresses we face as human beings. By the end of the movie, I was dumbfounded because I had to remind myself that this was a true story. A man and his son went through this. It was also the first time a movie had brought tears to my eyes (the softy that I am). Chris Gardner was a phenomenal hero of his own life. The story of Chris Gardner is very touching because it reveals the worst that can happen to any capable person. Gardner is a bright salesman and family man. When an investment goes wrong, his family is brought to the brink of financial disaster. As time progresses and the family’s troubles intensify, Chris’s wife leaves him and their son to move to another city. Chris becomes broke, and he and his son rely on homeless shelters for food and a place to sleep. Chris goes through immense hardship personally and financially but takes some solace when he sees an opportunity for a stockbroker internship position come up. He then becomes dedicated to this opportunity driven by a steadfast commitment to his son. Chris faces one challenge and setback after another (including failing to sell a bone density scanner), but his resolve remains strong. In the end, it was his commitment and self-belief that won him the job.
Here are some insights into Chris’s character:
He didn’t let his problems define him
He didn’t want any sympathy from anybody
He cherished his relationship with his son
He did things he wasn’t comfortable with
He didn’t let his feelings get the better off him
He persevered – adamant and determined to sell the scanner despite all its flaws
He remained professional throughout his troubles
He believed in his abilities
These are eight things that stood out to me from the character of Chris Gardner, but the one thing that kept Chris Gardner going despite all his hardship was that he was proactive in everything he did. It was this momentum that spurred him to win the job he so desperately wanted, and by doing so, he was able to reverse his fortunes. It takes a big man to fall from grace and manage to get back on his feet again. Chris Gardner is living proof that bouncing back from despair is possible.