Posts Tagged ‘economic lockdown’

During the Pandemic Don’t Let Them Win. But Who Are “They?”
Posted by Don Campbell | May 15, 2020
During the Pandemic Don’t Let Them Win. But Who Are “They?”

Last weekend, while taking a break sitting silently on the tractor in my field, I rediscovered the something about the pandemic that had made me shake my head even more than usual. In fact, it was a bit of a facepalm moment.

As I was enjoying the 26 degree weather absorbing the sights and sounds of spring a sense of calm stillness came over me. I found my mind wandering to thoughts of how, despite being in the middle of a pandemic, just simply how beautiful it was to find myself out of the fray, away from the debates and arguments, away from the daily Covid updates, away from the incessant social media storms.

Given the current world circumstances, it was a very odd, yet refreshing, feeling. It was in that moment of clarity and mental stillness that I began to see answers to many of the questions I have been pondering recently. Questions about the pandemic issue, its inevitable economic impact and the inevitable community fallout from it all.

I guess you could consider this column a follow-up to last week’s “Strange Days Indeed” column which I hope you found time to read. In it, I introduced the statement “Stay Out Of The Fray and You’ll Own The Day” as a quick reminder of how you can begin to grab some control back in this ever-changing life.

Then, during that moment as the sun beat down, the smell of freshly cut grass blew around and the birds were singing merrily, it became clear. I had allowed chaos to drag me in and I needed to find my way back out of the fray, even if just for short periods, if I wanted to re-gain control.  The perspective gained from doing so provides me with a unique way of looking at the world which is especially helpful during these strange pandemic times..

Is The Vortex Drawing You In?

Staying out of the fray has helped me, and many others, to see the world in a different, calmer light. You will find that once you gain that perspective, you develop a strong “BS” filter which allows you to begin filter out the noise and see only the signals hidden within. Which is especially important now that vortex of social media with its undertones of manipulation and incessant conspiracy theories has become so very powerful. A volatile mix that is increasingly dividing our society..

Here’s a quick exercise you can do to see how a world without perspective performs. Beginning today start to notice that there are people who have lost real life perspective. You can see the symptoms clearly. For instance:

  1. People who are OVERLY offended by simple discussions; or, even worse, overly offended even if the subject doesn’t involve them directly.
  2. People who have the habit of spreading the “anger and vitriol of the uninformed” on social media or in comment sections on websites; those who never provide a real life solution or alternative, they just love to criticize and then step away.
  3. People who, when their opinions are questioned, turn to Ad Hominem attacks, where they attack the person rather than the subject being disagreed with. In other words they are lazy in making their point so just revert to child-like name calling..

Develop This Habit New To Stay Healthy

If you get drawn into other people’s drama, you immediately lose perspective and lose the opportunity to give yourself an advantage. You have allowed them to control how you live YOUR life. In other words they are controlling you and how you perceive the world even if you don’t agree with them. However, if you learn to observe but not engage that is where the real fun begins.

So what is this new habit? Simply stated it is: “Develop Strategies To Gain Perspective” on all things: in your business, in your family, in your readings and across all aspects of your life. I agree, it sounds simple, and maybe even a bit naïve. Here’s the background on how I learned the power within its simplicity

“Ah, that’s too simple to work!” is what I thought when a trusted mentorrecommended it to me in September 2001, and we all remember the chaos that was occurring that month right after the Twin Towers in New York fell. Just like today there was anger, there were conspiracy theories, there was a search for blame, there were people taking advantage of the chaos and there were those who were frozen in fear. It was chaos.

However, by following my friend’s recommendation of staying out of the fray and keeping perspective I quickly discovered that doing so gave me a unique and powerful advantage. It was as if I had ‘cracked-the-code’ and started seeing the world through much clearer eyes. While the noise, the chaos and the anger swirled around it felt as if the speed at which I was viewing the world suddenly slowed down. Like watching it all happen at 1/2 speed.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy at first given the chaos and the fact that I was still working at full speed leading my business. But interestingly enough by seeing the world from outside of the fray it was much easier to see opportunities to help others and see dangers to avoid.  From that vantage point I was able to help my business grow in leaps and bounds by helping more people than we had ever done before. While at the same time I saw my relationships with family and friends grow stronger..

I wish I had developed the habit of staying out of the fray BEFORE the 2001 chaos, it may have been easier, however forming it during the chaos made it a permanent part of my life.

So here we are again, ‘strange days indeed.’ Chaos surrounds us and will grow more chaotic throughout the coming months. Arguments and debates will fester, opinions will get stronger, communities will become more divided. It is very easy to be drawn into today’s fray, if you let it happen. You know your in it when you feel more tired, more emotionally charged and find you have less energy for the things you love or the issues you need to solve in your business. Confusion is one of the key symptoms of being in the fray.

I admit, I’m human and found that I had allowed myself to be drawn into the current drama. I could feel that I had lost some of my perspective, which I knew also depleted my advantage of having clarity of thought (or as someone called it, my ‘super-power.’).

So, back to that moment on the tractor this past weekend. Just like during September 2001, the birds didn’t seem to care about the chaos as they sang their hearts out, the crops continued to grow despite the mounting arguments on social media, the warm breeze kept blowing despite the latest political debates and circulating conspiracy theories. That perspective told me, right then and there that this was another important moment in human history where those who ‘stay out of the fray’ will own the day. In that moment I said “no more of that,” it was time to get reacquainted with the habits I had built since 2001.


Laughs, Tears and Questions

At the end of that long day of farm work, I came home to reinforce my ‘stay out of the fray’ habits. One exercise I use to strengthen this habit is to look back at the previous 3 months and write down the good and bad that has occurred over that time – in personal life, in community work and in business. Try it and be honest with yourself.

Once written consciously look for patterns, look for the people who consistently show up on the ‘good-stuff’ side of the list, and those who keep being a part of the ‘bad-stuff.’  Look for the ‘good-stuff’ you’d like to repeat or enhance in the coming three months and the ‘bad-stuff’ you want to work at eliminating. Pay especially close attention to how you responded in each situation and decide if you made the situation better or worse by reacting that way.

When I do this quarterly review, I find that some of the memories bring laughs, some bring tears, some bring the calmness that only self-awareness can bring… and some memories just bring a head-shaking thought of “What was I thinking?” It’s OK, no one is perfect.

Level 2 of this exercise is to review the notes the past “Good-Bad” exercises. When you do that you REALLY begin to see patterns in your life and your self-awareness grows exponentially.

In this case, after showering off the farm dust, I opened my ‘stay out of the fray’ document and did a quick review of previous years’ notes. Then I dove into writing a review of February, March & April, the first 3 months I had started to take the Covid19 outbreak seriously.  Wow, were my eyes opened. I noticed that some bad habits had crept back in, for instance I was being drawn back into the fray and lost some of my perspective. I also noticed that some great people had come back into my life bringing with them laughs, support and great conversations.

This exercise revealed that both good and bad was being brought back into my life during this pandemic. It was in that moment that I knew that moving forward my #1 job was to build on the positive gains despite the chaos while fighting against being drawn back into it all.  Or as I call it “Consciously Living My Life.”

I was reminded that the world is continually changing and it is best to expect it to do so. I’m also reminded that I must not allow myself to get drawn into the inevitable chaos that any change brings. Chaos will come, chaos will swirl, and like a tornado, chaos will feed upon itself and try to drag each and every one of us into its vortex. To fight back, when we begin to feel the pull we must answer a few key questions:

  1. Why would I want to add to the drama and chaos, just to feel heard? Will it serve us, or do we become servants of the drama vortex?
  2. Why would I give away my advantage of perspective just to argue and feel the adrenaline rush that a fight can bring?
  3. Why would I become part of the problem, rather than use my perspective and become a part of the solution?

These are questions you may wish to ask yourself if you feel yourself being drawn in.

Deal With What Is In Front Of You All The While Keeping A Long Term View

It is through having longer perspective that it becomes easier to “Stay out of the Fray” which in turn allows you to see the world from a larger more strategic, less volatile view. Once you gain that perspective the world becomes much easier to manage, even during a high-stress or very divisive time. You begin to experience the world with your eyes, ears and heart open, while others get stuck in the Fray.

Why does this all matter? There are many reasons, but here are just a few:

  1. In business: Seeing the world from that perspective you are able to seize opportunities for growth and stability while others sit and argue on the sidelines
  2. In relationships: You start to see that some people around you are addicted to creating arguments and conflict and you realize that it is a choice you have whether to get drawn in or not.
  3. On-Line: You start to step away from the destructive arguments, you see the nasty and unsubstantiated comments not from the perspective of “I’ll show them, how dare they!” but from the perspective of feeling sorry for those people who feel that dire need to fight and argue.
  4. Overall Health: You discover that by looking at the world though this perspective, you begin to sleep better, you begin to enjoy life a bit more, you don’t have that constant aching anxiety. You find that you need fewer energy drinks or other stimulants. You feel mentally clearer and your body feel healthier and more at ease.

The problems in business and in life still exist, especially right now. However, by developing a clearer view of the world, it does become easier to deal with it all.  Sometimes all it takes is getting out of your own way, so you can see the world clearly.

Being an example of calm during chaos is a powerful position to be in as you can help more people, feel healthier and be more successful in achieving the vision you have for your life.

I urge you to challenge yourself to not jump into the next argument (even though you KNOW you want to). I urge you to give yourself an advantage in your life, in your business and in your relationships by finding ways to:

“Stay Out Of The Fray and Own The Day”


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