Photo Credit: Fallon Michael, Unsplash.com

Written by Raluca Gomeaja
May 6, 2020

In times where people complain daily about being confined, governments not doing what they should (or must), criticizing ideas without bringing new solutions; let’s instead start a list of all the things that are much better now than at any other moment in time and human history. After all, awareness is the first step to marvel.

Where are we now versus the very recent past? In my own lifetime, the evolution has already been tremendous–things we couldn’t have even imagined or dreamed of when I was a child are now reality and part of our natural way of living.

People born in previous centuries couldn’t have witnessed any of this. Until recently in human history, the evolution of life happened much more slowly.

Nowadays people are complaining that the internet isn’t fast enough in their homes, or that the phone calls during flights are too short (or too expensive), or that the delivery service mixed up avocado with asparagus; with plenty more examples each of us could imagine. These are things we take for granted now.

And meanwhile, the entire planet’s connected. I can reach (from my home) almost everyone. I can see their face smiling, I can hear them breathing, and I have them with me. I can do that in one on one meetings or I can do it with large groups.

I can connect with people I deeply respect and love and never thought I’d get a chance to meet. Those five levels of separation actually work (and are actually much less than five) and now I talk with people I’d only have talked to in my dreams.

I mean I literally just discovered that I know someone who personally knows one of my favorite writers. Someone whom I spend most of my evenings or time with during the evenings since we’ve been in lockdown. I also talk to someone who personally knows His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And I could add so much more to this list. Yet my personal list is less relevant. It’s each individual list that makes a difference.

Now, as we are confined at home, we have an amazing opportunity to look back to the past and to learn from it.  

When time’s no longer flying as fast, when we have to stay inside and breathe, we have a chance to change, to reconsider, to focus and reflect not only on the new amazing things available to us but also on what people have said for thousands of years. How am I to be happy? Who am I? What is the value of my work? Whom should I do that for?

Powerful questions to reflect on every day.

I’d like to invite each of you to play this game with me . . .

Let’s Break Down Some History

List things that changed in the last 25 years. Consider: there was no internet before 1991. We used to take pictures on film and would have to go out to develop them. We wouldn’t have known how to use a GPS or even a mobile phone. Go on ahead and add to that list.

Now let’s add things that are about to happen or just started in the last five years or so: everyone is involved in media today–they can do their own videos or radio show. They can publish their own articles or books, and all of these things were inaccessible to most of us only a few years ago. (It was my dream to be a published author, and now I have a book on Amazon . . .)

In the past I would’ve needed to know someone–it was an entire industry deciding what and who gets published– and without the right network or connection, it would have been Mission: Impossible. Now all these avenues are available for us.

Let’s also add the things that have changed since lockdown. Now, there are online classes and courses, and learning was never as easy from the comfort of our own home. The most impressive experts and speakers are on virtual summits. The most beautiful shows, ballets, operas, concerts and so much more are available (for free). We even had Andrea Bocelli live from Milano Cathedral and we all had front row tickets . . . All of these would have felt just impossible a few weeks ago.

Every single day, people from different countries or continents are connecting through Zoom, Skype, or Whatsapp. Communities are coming together or starting to be created. People who weren’t used to saying hello to each other are becoming friends. Neighbors are showing up for each other–or for people in difficult situations–friends who never had time to meet show up for online parties and deeper exchange. And the list can go on and on.

And what I love the most is that so many things that have been said to be impossible are proven possible and happening right now. The planet’s recovering so much faster than ever could have been expected. We’re able (as a community) to not travel, nor over-consume.

Let’s Build a Future

Finally, let’s move to the next level of this small game. Let’s build together that vision board (Your own vision board as well). Build it now, before you jump into the whatever of normality.

What’s something that you dreamed about? Who are the people you want to meet? What are the destinations you want to visit? What are the things you want to learn, the skills you want to develop?

Go ahead and dream bigger than ever–nobody’s there to judge. It’s your life and life’s made of experience. The only limitation is your own mind. As long as we can dream it, we can achieve it. As long as our mind continues to say “no,” then there’s no chance for you to even try.

Accept the beauty of these times we’re in; we’ve already proven to ourselves that impossible is now possible. Our minds are much more open and less afraid. This is the best time to do the vision board exercise.

These are the most amazing times we’ve ever lived as humanity. And yet, the risk exists that this won’t last.

The key lies in how long the confinement and the crisis will actually last. In a sense, the longer the better, just to have enough time for these new behaviors to become habits.

Behaviors won’t change if this crisis isn’t long enough.

It takes 21 days to get used to a habit and five cycles of 21 days to make it a reality. There are different articles on that “necessary timing,” yet they’re not always supported by studies. Nonetheless, it seems that it takes about 105 days for an individual to transform a behavior into a habit, and it takes about three times more for a team or organization. Which brings us closer to one full year.

I remember reading on how languages are formed or replaced, and how many years of conquest took for a country to change its language.

I remember as a child growing under communism. 40 years of religion being forbidden; and despite the risks and consequences, most people were still going to churches. No changes in collective behavior 40 years later.

To go back to the initial thought, change is now in our own hands. It was imposed on us by the coronavirus and government decisions. Nevertheless, we also have an amazing chance to apply that change for good.

As long as we’re still in lockdown we can try new behaviors and we can commit ourselves to the discipline needed to keep them. Maybe the most important thing is to define what something is that we no longer want to live by (like an acute awareness of time and how we spend it).

Tips to Implement Habits That Last:

  1. The best thing to do will be to consider that new habit within a “normal” working day, instead of only for the crisis period. Let’s say you start exercising at 11 in the morning–chances are you won’t be able to keep that routine when you’re back to work or school.
  2. Keep the daily gratitude practice. In our daily calls within our community, this is part of our routine: we breathe together, we share a mantra (who would have thought entrepreneurs would buy into mantras? Just saying . . .) and we write down the things we’re grateful for every day. Five weeks together and it does work. As what we appreciate, appreciates.
  3. Keep the weekday separated from the weekends. Just like we did during working days, keep specific, early wake hours despite the lockdown. Things we’ve talked about in previous articles as well.

This article is just one way to turn your view and mind into one of opportunity and optimism. And if you wonder how, here are a few reminders:

  • Turn off the news, TV, and all that information that’s not only less relevant but a source of negativity and stress.
  • Spend less time on social media–comparison is not necessary. 
  • Find things that are nourishing your brain and are in alignment with your core values. (We’ll focus on “purpose” in the next article.)
  • Identify things that are giving you energy versus consuming energy. Maybe it’s sports, or music, or cooking, or spending time with the kids, or singing–whatever is a source of energy for you.
  • Laugh. It’s a great way to decompress. Having a habit of laughing daily, looking for something that can make you laugh, is one of the best medicines.
  • Meditate; find a sense of calming your mind (include daydreaming if that’s more convenient for you).

In these times of stress, each of us can step aside and make a difference for ourselves and our environment by putting a smile on each other’s faces.

Be that person. Let’s make this possible–each one of us–together.

And remember, this is the best time we as humanity has ever lived. Let’s make the best out of it!

Please visit some of the previous articles for more tips on change: https://medium.com/@rgomeaja

Photo Credit: Fallon Michael, Unsplash.com

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