Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. -Sencea
All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.  -Yann Martel, Life of Pie
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  -Maya Angelou

A Simple Switch

I have found that inspiration can come from the most unexpected places.  I was unsure about what to write about today.  Staying at home all day and seeing the same old information online does not help the creative process.  This pandemic can easily demotivate someone and promote lethargy.  I have lost count how many beers I have drank and movies I have watched. You can probably relate.   It can be so simple to slide into survival mode.  Lying around all day in our pajamas, bingeing Netflix, and stuffing our faces can seem attractive at the start.  But, this puts us only in a state of surviving.

I would be lying to say I had not been living like this for the past week or two.  It has become our new normal during this crisis.  But, I woke up today.  I texted some of my buddies in a group chat. I simply asked how everyone was holding up.  One friend responded “surviving” while another responded “thriving.”  Wow!  What a wake up call!  I made a few realizations in that instant. The first is that I have been in “survival mode” lately.  Wake up, eat, watch shows, and maybe do some work the computer.  That has been my life recently.  I am sure you can relate.

I also realized that to make a change is to simply shift your mindset.  Instead of “surviving” this crisis, what if we “thrived?”  What could happen if we view this period in time as an opportunity to rise up?  No doubt we all have challenges currently.  We can wallow in the pits of despair and live in survival mode.  Or, we can rise up the occasion and thrive during this period.  See below for what I mean

Take Advantage of the Extra Time

Since we cannot go out and be so busy, we have found ourselves with copious amounts of extra time.  It is up to us to fill up this time wisely.  Now, I won’t discourage you from watching some shows and movies.  You would call me crazy.  But, there is time available to be productive in creative ways.  We have so many resources at our finger tips: the internet, books, online courses.  You can take this extra time to take on a new hobby or learn something new.  I am currently practicing my writing more consistently and reading often.  Some other ideas include:

  • coloring
  • playing an instrument
  • practicing a sport
  • practicing cooking
  • cleaning out an area of your home
  • trying a new exercise routine
We will probably never have this amount of free time in our lives again.  It would be wise to take advantage when we have the opportunity.  I call this thriving considering the circumstances.

Take Advantage of the Solitude

Our social circles have definitely shrunk in the last few weeks.  We interact with only a few people each day as we stay home.  This offers us much opportunity to spend time alone.  Being alone is a fantastic idea if you do it right.  Reflection and observation in solitude offers so much opportunity to growth and creativity.  I encourage you to maximize the opportunities you have to be alone: even for a short time.  You will find that silence and solitude can relieve stress, improve happiness, and even open up your mind.  Being alone can help us solve problems and think more clearly.  Some ways to practice silent solitude include:
  • journaling
  • meditating
  • quietly observing your surroundings
  • taking a walk in silence

Peace and joy can be found in silence amidst the noise.  You can thrive during this time if you look for opportunities for quiet solitude.

Take Advantage of the Silver Lining

Much of the news and social media can be negatively charged.  I see more political and nagging posts than I ever have before.  It can be easy to fall prey to this negative noise.  Or, you can choose to look at the positive side of this crisis.  Swapping your mindset can imbue you with a sense of hope and control.  There is more positivity in this situation than appearing on the surface.  Consider the positives this situation offers:
  • We are cultivating appreciation for the those who don’t get much praise: nurses, grocery store clerks, restaurant employees, government benefit workers, & more
  • We are cultivating stronger relationships.  We are reaching out to friends and family over video conference, texting, and phone calls
  • We are identifying gaps in our emergency readiness and supply chain.  These important pieces of industry will most likely become stronger
  • We are being more frugal and eating less money
  • We are cultivating the appreciation of being safe and healthy at home

Why Thrive Right Now?

Thriving is not only possible during this time, but also essential.  If we are to exit this crisis better than before, we must switch our mindset.  I implore you to begin considering how you can thrive during this time.  What steps can you take towards progress and better living? Your actions can be small to begin.  Small steps over time creates momentum forward.  Moving forward will improve our lives during this time.


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