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Five Things to Help Shift Your Thinking in a Pandemic

The media feeds on bad news. Why? Because we watch it. And the media are on a feeding frenzy. Non-stop. 24/7.

What are the headlines? You don’t need me to tell you. Coronavirus is in every story. It is in every global news feed.

Here are my thoughts on how to avoid the vortex…

Number 1- Stop the News Feed

Remember when the 2 jets slammed into the World Trade Centers? The sheer shock and horror of it was incredible. Do you remember how the news feeds played that scene over and over?

It was worse than watching a train wreck. It was horrible.

But it was one event. It passed.

The Coronavirus is like cocaine to the mainstream news channels.

And we are the junkies. Stop looking.

Turn them off. I have a little app on my phone – a Habit Tracker. I have added a new habit. Fifteen minutes of Internet is all I allow myself.

And, that is too much. It is 15 minutes of reading an ongoing horror show.

Number 2 – Stop Comparing

Two decades ago, my wife and I took a Tony Robbins course in Vancouver. You know, Tony…the self-help giant (literally and figuratively!).

I won’t forget one simple exercise he had us do. There were 5,000 of us at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre.

He asked us: “how many of you feel really, really successful?”

Surprisingly, only a handful of people (out of 5,000) raised their hands!

Then he asked this: “compared to people living in Bosnia, how many of you feel successful?” (The Balkan war was raging non-stop in Bosnia at that time).

The entire room of 5,000 people raised their hand!

Interesting. We compare ourselves to our neighbours and fall short.

We compare to people across the globe, and we admit we are doing pretty good.

Take a look at this delightful short clip. The woman is from South Africa. It was filmed April 8, 2020. Isn’t it amazing how hopeful, grateful, faith-filled and loving she is!

https://youtu.be/JV4Vo17h5PE

Doing this leads to….

Number 3 – Practicing Gratitude As a Choice

Is it right to feel gratitude for Coronavirus?

No! It is a deadly virus that is causing massive worldwide suffering.

What we can be grateful for is our response to it. For doctors, nurses and healthcare workers attending the sick. For people working in essential services.

We can be thankful we live in a country that has programs to help people survive this financially.

How about gratefulness for more quality family time? Less pollution in the world?

You get the idea…

Number 4 – Shift Your Focus From Outside to Inside

The world shrunk in a 1-week period in March 2020. Travel stopped. Dead.

Parties, church gatherings, restaurants. Stopped.

We are told to stay at home.

Stay 6 feet from our neighbours. From anyone.

As these externals shrink, other things expand.

Ask monks living in monasteries how they do it. They have nothing in the way of physical possessions. Nothing in the way of freedom of movement.

They must be bored to their gourds, right? No. Consider they are on the path to enlightenment.

As choices shrink, we have more time to read, pray and meditate. To be with our children and give them values to emulate for generations to come. To connect with friends and family. We can slow down.

Number 5 – Cut Expenses

Entire cities of people have lost their jobs, their businesses, everything.

Thankfully, we live in a First World nation. There are programs for small business and employees to get through this.

Nevertheless, incomes have crashed. It is time to examine all expenses. What do you choose to do without?

My wife and I are on Salt Spring Island. We recently returned from Africa. When we go, we store our car. There is only storage insurance on it. I have not renewed yet. There is nowhere to go anyway. We can walk to the store for food. BC Parks are closed. Driving there makes no sense.

We have looked at a lot of what were smaller expenses. They were not noticeable in good times. Every small item adds up.

You can live on way less than you think.

To Summarize

Here are the 5 things you can do:

  1. Stop, or drastically limit, the news feeds.
  2. Know that our African, East Indian, and South American brothers and sisters are struggling ALWAYS with way less. And they are happier. Compare to them and mimic their joy!
  3. Practice gratefulness for the things you DO have.
  4. Focus on your interior life. It matters most.
  5. Simplify your life.

Thanks kindly for reading…