“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.”