I hope this message finds everyone doing well considering the circumstances we are all facing. I am one of millions of people across the country whose work was declared “non-essential” and so have been temporarily prevented from working in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to help flatten the curve of exponential growth. For the time being, I have planted myself temporarily with family in Tampa where I will be better off during this crisis and my assistance will also be needed as well. Since my arrival, I have been keeping myself updated about the recently passed CARES Act while also trying to figure out my next steps for the weeks or months ahead with or with out a shut down.
Speaking for myself I can tell you that I haven’t panicked. Concerned? Yes. But worry and panic aren’t conducive to creative problem solving and solution seeking. As for my overall strategy during this crisis – I’m planning and hoping for the best, preparing for the worst and remind myself to hang in there. This too shall pass.
About three years ago I began to read about Stoic philosophy. One author described Stoicism in a nutshell like this – control your perceptions, direct your actions properly, and willingly accept what’s outside your control.
The Stoics were onto something more than two millennia ago and their ideas have helped me tremendously. Perhaps you can find some value in this philosophy as well. The following statement is a super shortened up version of The Serenity Prayer and it also happens to sum up one of the core concepts of Stoic philosophy nicely – the dichotomy of control:
Accept the things I cannot change with equanimity, have courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I keep this passage in my phone and read it every day. This idea is not fatalistic. On the contrary, it helps one to understand that while certain things may not be under our control, other things are (our own thoughts and our own actions). For the things that are under our control we can direct our actions toward improving our circumstances. Understanding the difference between them is the key.
Again… control your perceptions, direct your actions properly, and willingly accept what’s outside your control.
In our current shared environment, it helps me to recognize that I can’t control the circumstances around the pandemic (what nature does) or the government’s response to it which affects me/us (what other people think or what institutions do). I can however control my thoughts about what is happening and how I choose to act.
So now that I am temporarily prevented from working as per the Florida Governor’s order, the question I have been trying to answer for myself is – what are the most productive things I can do with all the freed up time I now have until at least early May? Well to help answer that, I took a glance at my list of goals for 2020 – something I do every morning at least 5 days per week. One of those goals is to build up a client education resource on my website blog page. I started this project in February. It’s been slow-going, but now I have plenty of time over the next 40 days or so to really push ahead with this project. I look forward to completing all my ideas for stretching videos.
There are some other projects I want to place on my list. However, I’ve learned from past experience that I have a tendency to over fill my plate. Exhaustion eventually would set in because I wasn’t clear to myself about which project was my priority. I would try to do too many things at the same time and then burn out. So I’ll just take this one thing at a time. After all, I have plenty of time on my hands now (pun intended).
Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.
Hang in there. This too shall pass.