In the current crisis provoked by the outbreak of Corona (Covid 19) we do have a choice about how we react to the circumstances. I am talking about people who still have a job, and can continue working from home, or are still being paid. It is totally different for all those who lost their businesses or job, and the despair they might experience, is nothing in comparison to all those lucky enough to still have a house, food on the table and a paid job.
The tweet posted by a certain Jeremy Haynes provoked a considerable reaction among people, with one side agreeing with him totally, with another side arguing strongly against it. In April Jeremy Haynes, who, according to his Tweeter profile runs a successful brand building agency, tweeted the following:
“If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either: 1.) a new skill 2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business 3.) more knowledge – You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline.”
The tweet was retweeted more than 15000 times, showing that it struck a chord, however, not everyone seemed to take it well. Some psychologists even wrote articles in response, saying that such tweets just put additional pressure on all of us, psychologically, and that under current circumstances, it is so difficult to keep any motivation at all, that living day by day is just fine.
I wasn’t sure to which camp I belonged until a few days ago when I slowly reached the bottom of my own misery. My circumstances are difficult: I moved to a new country, for a new job, only five months ago, and I have no friends and absolutely no social circle around, because I simply didn’t have enough time to build one due to the Corona virus’s measures. Everything is closed where I am, as in the majority of other cities and countries. I am also all the time with my ten years old son, where I have to juggle working from home and looking after him. Even if he is busy playing, there is always the possibility of distraction, making concentration difficult, and where I have the challenge to work online, demanding extra intellectual effort.
I reached the bottom by how I felt at some point, crying and pitying myself endlessly. The nostalgia for my old life back in Sheffield came also at the precise moment of the current global crisis, and while I logically expected it, it came much earlier and really at an appropriate moment. There is nothing I can do at this moment, and even if I decided to drop everything and go back to Sheffield that I miss so much, I can’t. Logistics are against me.
My response to my personal crisis was the same I use continuously already for several years. My life has always been extremely interesting, but it is also a very challenging life. I seldom choose an easy path, and I dare to explore different places , jobs and countries, on a continuous basis. Sometimes, it was almost impossibly difficult, but once you have a child, you have responsibilities. If I am not strong, then how can I raise a strong individual? I want my son to have will-power, because without will-power it is a miserable life, and yes, I do believe in will-power, and I also believe that almost everything can be overcome if you have one.
The challenge of today, brought upon us by the measures around the Corona virus, I decided to tackle with my own personal challenge. I decided to drastically improve my Dutch skills. When I felt I would start crying again, I went to a Dutch news site and immersed myself into the study. I have a technique about how to learn a language (I speak 4). I find a site that has both textual and verbal news, read first the text and learn the words I don’t know, and then listen to the same news in verbal presentation. I then say the words out aloud.
And so, for more than a week, it’s what I have been doing, and interestingly enough, I did start to feel much better. Self-actualization and learning are massive stimulants for the brain, and once you embrace your personal challenge, you will also satisfy the drive of your ego.
So yes, after a debate on my part, I decided that I agree with Jeremy Haynes. There is no point in crying when we can’t change a single thing in the current circumstances and just need indeed to take it day by day. However, when we can’t change the circumstances, we can still change ourselves, and learning a new skill is good for the brain and for feeling better about oneself. If I don’t come up with a better Dutch after this crisis, I really had no excuse.