Coronavirus / COVID-19 as an opportunity

April 23, 2020

Daniel

Life

6

“Well that escalated quickly”Just in January this year the entire topic of the raging flu was just a glimmer on the horizon. Who knew that just two months later, the entire city of Los Angeles and many counties would be locked down in quarantine. Although not expected to escalate to this extent, it is what it is. The more important thing is to focus on where to take it from here.

Coronavirus & its effects

It’s needless to say, that the situation is absolutely dreadful for every family that has been affected by COVID-19 and especially for those who have lost family members or friends. We can only wish for them to heal and recover from their loss in the best possible way.

In this article, I want to discuss how this lockdown can present itself as a rare opportunity. Despite the effect, it has on us personally and economically it can also be the chance to reflect on their core belief system. 

The public media has been spreading fear and anxiety at the latest since the virus hit the US. Our cortisol level has been raised up to the limit and we’re being kept from getting a single moment to breathe and reflect. The Coronavirus is being compared to the historic Spanish Flu, which hit the world in 1918 and caused the death of around 500 million people or to put it in perspective, a good quarter of the entire human population at that time. It’s not a surprise that under these conditions the public, in general, feels stressed and anxious. Though one may question if this is truly the best state to be in during such a crisis when actually a calm mindset would be more helpful for people to act thoughtful and careful.

In this regard, it has been interesting to observe how a lot of people acted during the first 3 weeks of the spread. A lot of them kept coming from the place of their core values: Anxious people became anxious, greedy people did greedy scams, victims remained to be victims, neurotic people acted neurotic and blamers kept blaming everyone. At the same time supportive people kept being supporting, selfless people did selfless acts, optimistic people stayed optimistic, adaptive personalities adapted to it, and so on.

What the public media fails to point out, is how the Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown has also created an opportunity, a completely new experience that our generation has never encountered before: Shutting down, slowing down our lives and being confronted with ourselves and how we deal with global, tragic events.

But let’s also have a look at the positive side-effects and the hidden lessons of this pandemic.

1. Time – finally on your side

To begin with, the lockdown can give us the chance to finally pursue the things we usually “don’t find the time for”. Let’s be honest: There are a lot of things we stack up in life, knowing damn well it would be better for us if we just did them. But the noise and hazy daily routine somehow keep us from pulling thru. The daily sprint from dropping off the kids in school, waiting around stuck in traffic, eating in a rush due to that one project that needs be done by tomorrow at work and crashing on the couch after going thru everything in reverse again in the evening, takes every little bit of energy from us. It is understandable that like this we feel little to no encouragement to start any new ventures or learn new skills in our life.

But now, due to the lockdown, it’s as if life has given us a time-out. Many of us finally have the chance to do something out of the ordinary. Long story cut short:

If you don’t manage to come out of this quarantine with either:
1. A newly learned skill;
2. Being fitter and more in shape;
3. Having a new side-business;
4. New acquired knowledge;
5. Having cleaned up your home

You never lacked time, you lacked discipline.
Btw. I highly recommend the book: Discipline equals freedom by Jocko Willink

2. A lesson in humility & minimalism

Usually, we have almost unlimited access to all sorts of goods, services, and hedonistic activities, whenever we need or want them. With everything being closed during this lockdown most of these luxuries are being ripped away from us, leaving us longing for the good old times. But also giving us the opportunity to realize, that maybe we took things for granted and forgot to appreciate them with time. Additionally, the lockdown might let us see, that all those things are not necessarily as important. By being thrown aback we finally have enough space to reflect on our surroundings, possibly finding out, that we don’t need all those things to be happy, or that some of them even do more damage than good to us. Often, having fewer things around us and decluttering enables us to find clarity and peace of mind.

3. Grow stronger bonds with your family or partners

Being locked up with the family, partners, or just by yourself can turn out to be a blessing or a living hell. In some cases, it might reveal the elephant in the room: That some relationships were only able to survive because of the fact of how busy both partners kept their minds with all sorts of other tasks. Simply for not having to deal with them being completely incompatible.

On the flip side, it also gives us space to really deeply observe the dynamic we have towards each member in our closest surroundings and even appreciate the tiny nuances. The nuances we would usually oversee during our daily routines. By that, we can also create stronger bonds with the people close to us and learn more about the trades of the other individual. The closeness might even help us detect how we can improve our communication towards each other and learn how we can truly support the people close to us, without besieging them with our own opinion.

4. Preparation is key

Seeing how fast a disease can spread and how much a catastrophe can change the way we live, it makes sense to take an inventory. Think about the situation and how we can better be prepared in general. How about the water-filter which had to be changed a long time ago, or how about organizing some protein-rich canned food and having some extra stored common items like sanitizers, gloves, paper towels or a generator, to make survival or the protection of your own family in a worst-case scenario even more likely. Seeing how the whole situation with the Coronavirus developed, is giving us a glimpse of an idea, how events can unfold in case of any other large scale catastrophe, and how important it is,  to have essentials at home and to always stay prepared.

5. Work against the dip in the economy

Right now we still don’t know the aftermath of how the lockdown will affect the economy. Thus experiencing the financial crisis in 2008 we were taught how important it is to double-down on yourself in times of uncertainty, not only regarding business but also personal life. The only possibility to vitalize the economy after such a deep dive is to invest your time and money to improve yourself, to enhance your skills, overhaul your appearance, gain more expertise, more innovation, adding more value to peoples lives, create better services and to expand your business (if you have one). Our consuming behavior will directly correlate with how fast the economy recovers. Doubling down on yourself stimulates the economy, more than checks of any kind can ever do.

6. Improve your health & hygiene

Faced with disease and seeing how it spreads, we should become more aware of our own body and health. Life is very fragile and especially stress and unhealthy habits are lowering our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness and death. It is very important how we take care of health.

Our immune system is our first line of defense during a pandemic like this and we can easily boost our immune system by making sure to take in a sufficient amount of nutrients, vitamin supplements, and exercise. It doesn’t matter if you just follow through by taking your vitamins on a daily basis followed by some simple exercise, it’s still a far better choice than doing nothing and ignoring your health. Let’s face it: Even the smallest incremental steps, like taking a daily walk and consuming a little less sugar than the day before will make a huge difference. From there momentum will build up and make you more resistant to illness.

On top of that, it’s also worth taking into consideration, to raise your own standards in terms of overall hygiene, by washing your hands more frequently, not touching your face with unwashed hands, covering your mouth when you cough and sanitizing daily items like door-handles or your smartphone on a frequent base.

As a tattoo artist, it is mandatory to follow these health protocols, which we learn in corresponding classes. The aim of these classes is to create an overall higher hygienic awareness about cross-contamination and I honestly believe, it would be worth considering to make that common knowledge and teaching it to the entire public.

7. Breathing in clean air

Count me crazy but I would actually propose a social-lockdown week every last week of the month from now on. All stores closed, no social events, no distraction. People switching sides of the street and keeping 6 feet distance at the stores instead of people mindlessly bumping into you and stepping on your toes, can also be pretty refreshing. It could be a week dedicated to friends and family, with the nice side-effect of decreasing the speed of global warming.

You don’t even need to look at the statistics, just look around you. Due to less social life and its side effects, there have already been improvements to the state of the planet. Skys are bluer than before, water quality in the canals of Venice has improved, dolphins are seen swimming in ports and air quality in cities is way better, to just name a few of them. Wouldn’t you like giving your kids and the new generation the chance to enjoy these effects?

8. Treat animals better

Last but not least COVID-19 bears another big lesson for humanity to learn. With all past pandemics and this one as well coming from nature, more precise animals, we need to reconsider our behavior towards them. With the simple reason being that everything that is done to our surroundings, natural habitat, and the beings living in it, regardless of which part of the world, always goes the full cycle. Our actions will always affect us all negatively in one way or the other. Karma doesn’t stop at a country’s border.

Take the opportunity & come out of Coronavirus pandemic stronger.

I’m personally really looking forward to returning to my studio and keep tattooing and meeting amazing people on the way. I hope I can make their upcoming tattoo session an experience to create new value. I’m eager to equip them with a new design that can also represent strength and growth after overcoming these tough times.

As for all of us, I wish we take the opportunity to become better versions of us. To take our time and reflect, improve, and make our lives fuller.

Did you like what you read? Share it with family and friends and let me know your thoughts on it in the comments.

Let me finish off with a rule life has taught me repeatedly:
“Tragedy can always be a gateway to transcendence.”

Post by Daniel

6 Responses to Coronavirus / COVID-19 as an opportunity

  1. A Forerunner

    Oh, I like what I read and there is hardly anything to add 😉 Well said, thank you for your inspiring article.
    „Tragedy can always be a gateway to transcendence“ Yes, I think so and also: „Tragedies in life can make you bitter or better“, it’s our choice. That’s my experience too.

    It’s in times of crisis, when we see the true charakter of someone or something.
    We have not only the opportunity to grow in skills, methods and shape our bodies. All that is very good, but this time of crisis is also the chance to shape and built up a better character.
    Face your dark side and get in touch with your heart. I think, we don’t pay as much attention to learn „heart-skills“.
    The heart, our innermost being, forms the character. That influences the world around us, because what is in us comes out of us, always.

    In the beginning of lockdown it even showed up while shopping around the corner. People grapped for goods, as if there is no tomorrow… and it didn’t look like creating welfare, I ponder, but rather like selfishness and fear.
    I was shocked to wait for toilet paper eight weeks. Long waiting for sanitizer, flour, yeast, pasta and many other stuff too.

    What we can learn from it: get prepared right in time, get prepared when there is no need, all times we must be prepared. Get prepared to have enough for yourself and to share with others, who has not the abilities.

    And while we destroying our animals’ habitats, decimate the species and behave us incompatible, it seems, that “hordes of elephants appears in the room”, right in our livingrooms.
    I would prefer penguins. You can have much fun when you are with them, they are loyal, take responsibility and share housework and raise up the children. Not too bad, is it?
    It is not so important to have the “right partner”, but to be one. Relationships can be improved that way – except in cases of mental illness and extrem selfishness. Feel sorry for them, but you cannot help them.
    But some “elephants in the room” belongs outside the door, especially with special types of people.
    Narcissism (and other types of personality, or should I say people with personality disorders) are increasing, and we also pay homage to them – but no one sees, what is going on at home. It is not the public that determines our reputation, but those around us who know us best, the family – it begins at home!

    Are my children saturated with love and honor? Be friendly with them, but nevertheless set them limits.
    I would hug and kiss them, give pleasure and bless them, say that they are capable and worthy and that I love them. You’d better show it (before it’s too late) than just think it. And show it to your partner first. Children will imitate us.

    While some take and enjoy opportunities in this time of sozial distancing in spending time with their loveones and in their home office, it can be so hard for (single) parents to fit it all in.
    I‘ve seen some escalations… it’s a big challenge.

    Even if we do our best, train and prepare ourselves in many ways, there may be disasters you cannot see before and can’t be prepared for it. It can happen so suddenly and be so overwhelming that you don’t know what to do next.

    This pandemic has show impressively, that life is so fragile. So it is better to bring in order what is needy, wether in your personal life or with your family and friends. Are there any unsettled issues? We can quickly be close to death. Ask me how I know that….

    This was not the last crisis, there are coming more, maybe bigger ones. This is not a statement out of fear, no no no, this is a statement of something new, a grate chance. It has to be born in us, in our spirit that has the power, to clear up our mind and build up strength, love and self-discipline. Nothing against if this spreads all over the world.

    But it’s easy to say (for me) as long the catastrophe affects the neighbours… what if it knocks at my door? (And yes, it happened to me and already before coved-19).

    I think, this crisis is only „a shot across the bow“. It stopped our common way of life and belief systems. It has lessons in it for us to learn and as well great opportunities.
    We have to take (more) responsibility for us, each other, our planet, and of course this tough time has also shown us, that people spread their talents, time and energy to help and be innovative in creating things and new business opportunities. I‘m very thankfully for it and have great respect for all this.
    It would be fine if this trend could continue, also to affect the economy to get a second wind.

    And yes, if I could choose the „non-word of the year“, than this: systemically relevant.
    What an inappropriately word, used for people. That’s not the way to honour them and give them value, when you simply mean the need of their work. Be honost.

    Time from Coved-19, will we learn from it? Or must “stronger opportunities” take place and shake „heaven and earth“ to reach us and make a difference?
    I have such a feeling it will happen to us, because as far as I know, man is a creature of habits.

    And btw. if we would hold on at a social-lockdown week once a month, I am in – without a face mask and looking into fearful faces 😉

    Sorry, my comment is a bit long, my thoughts were bubbling…..there’s a lot more to say, or discuss… (for example, how can we win the battle with our „Goliath“? This would be another exiting theme).

    Be steadfast and positive, stay in love and healthy, learn your lessons, stay prepared, increase the standard in your own special areas.

    You‘re doing fine
    Best wishes and regards

    A Forerunner

    PS: I like the photo on top. I see hopefulness in it after our tough time…

    • Daniel

      I enjoyed reading your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to write this thorough response. I’m very happy to see that there are still so many people who have a good head on their shoulders, who can see things from a new perspective and recognize the opportunities opening for personal growth during these times.

      In regards to battling Goliath, I think this parable is holding the answer within itself. Don’t use Infantry (Goliath) vs. Artillery (David) on an open battlefield, or in short: Choose the right tool/weapon wisely.

      Thank you for your comment Forerunner.

      Daniel

      • A. Forerunner

        I’m pleased that you like my comment, thank you, (and now I am not the only respondent, that’s fine).
        „Good head“ combined with a „good heart“ added with good methods and strategies, that would be a good way to grow personally and have a good impact on others.
        That’s true I think about things carefully, thoughts bubbles in my mind 😉 and so something irritated me with Goliath against David (Goliath had challenged).
        I would say that this parable is not only about clever methods and wisely strategies. David acted spontaneously, simply using the Sheperd’s weapon, which he was familiar with and by the way I can not imagine that he hit the forehead of his opponent with his slingshot through the small open spot in the armor while running (?), come on, maybe that worked on the sheep pasture for the wild animals that he forced to flee or killed with 5 stones ……. But he ended as a king. A amazing career I would say.
        I would like to do a little research to find out more about David and Goliath, because I like biographies. If you are interested, I will gladly share my results with you (but give me time I am thoroughly 😉
        But one is for sure, life taught me „never fight with the same weapons as your enemy, because he knows them“. It makes sense.

        Back to the topic. I think it would be a good thing to keep on in more home offices after lockdown. That would benefit as well the individuals as the environment and in this time of Corona we could see that it works in many cases.
        What can teach us the mask which does not really protect ourselves but the otherones (and if everyone wears a mask, everyone is protected): if we keep an eye on the other and take care of one another, many people (all?) can be helped.
        After the lockdown was loosened many people behave and act as before. Partially people are too careless, but the Coronavirus and his bad effects didn’t change. I’m curious what happens next and what effects it will have….

        Greetings and best wishes
        A Forerunner

  2. Sean Gildersleeve

    Here I was looking for Tattoo artists for the future and I got a great blog post. This pandemic has shown me a lot about life. Who is willing to help others in the face of a crisis or two, who are in need of help during a crisis, and how we spend our time when being social is cut off. For my partner and I, he has loved cooking again, I have enjoyed home cooked meals and being closer with him.

    He has spent more time with the Dog and I despite working on getting his PhD at the same time, while I have been doing more things I enjoy and have neglected. I took the time to learn D&D and play that with friends. I have finally decided after 39 years what Tattoo I want.

    There is also a bad side to this. Those of us who struggle with mental illnesses can see those symptoms heightened. I’ve learned humility and know when to ask for help now. I’ve been talking about my feelings more and what I want for the future.

    I have learned that I’m a bit of a control freak and my fears usually come from a place where I don’t know the exact outcome. Recently a situation has come up in my family that my mother may have Alzheimer’s. I have learned patience with her, that I never had before. I learned to appreciate the many highs and lows of whatever is going on with her because right now she knows who I am. She may yell at me or we may laugh together. Until the day she forgets who I am, I am going to take both in stride and just enjoy the time.

    It’s been an interesting time, I am sure for everyone, and self reflection has been great and bad. I can only work on the things that I see as flaws in myself and understand the good that I have done for others and hope that other people around me continue to as well.

    • Daniel

      Hi Sean, those are great news that you and your partner were able to use this time to re-discover your true passions. Spending Corona-Lockdown with a dog must be one of the most amazing things ever. The closeness and connection a dog can give someone when the “pack” is together, is unique.

      Thank you for leaving your comment and I look forward to meeting you, maybe for a future tattoo session.

      Daniel

    • A. Forerunner

      Wow, that’s really humility to ask for help. Thumbs up.
      Some are too proud to ask for help – and some are so proud that they demand everything… 😉
      Sometimes I wish my mother would forget who I am, especially the things (about me), that don’t happen and never had happened ;).
      Best wishes for you and your mother
      A forerunner

Leave a Reply to A Forerunner Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *