If I'm not vigilant, I can find myself slipping into anxious moments with all the current fear and uncertainty around. Listening and reading too much "news" - no-one ever got into a heightened state watching the 10 o'clock news. Coupled with anxiety, which I've said is worrying about things that haven't happened yet, can lead to a heady cocktail of confirmational bias and selective processing on the part of your RAS.
A lot is going on & a lot of uncertainty about our health, finance and our future. But in every crisis, there is an opportunity. Every cloud has a silver lining - it's just sometimes those silver linings take some finding.
I went into this year expecting big things of myself and the plans I had been curating over the last 12 to 18 months. Some of those goals inevitably moved - that's just life. But there have been objectives and habits I wanted to form that I've let slip by the wayside pretty quickly.
I don't know about you, but I have more time on my hands than I have for a long time. So I'm looking on this (weird) phase of 2020 as an opportunity to get back on track. What if every day you could wipe the slate clean, start over, and map out your life all over again?
So I am going to park the boxsets, mute the social media channels and have some "me" time. I'm going to see the adversity of this lockdown as a (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity. With fewer distractions than usual, I can take stock of priorities and goals.
It may be weird, and there may be some things that come up that I don't like. When there are less noise and diversions, you tend to realise things about yourself that you may have ignored or glossed over. Some of it I may not like, some of it may come as a complete surprise. But why not use the lockdown to at least try and make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?
Most of us, me included, suffer from an end-of-history illusion. If you're not familiar with this concept, it's a psychological mistake where people of all ages think they've have experienced significant personal growth up to the present moment, but won't substantially change in the future. Here's self-professed happiness expert and Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert to explain a bit better:
The current (any) hiatus is an opportunity to ask "Where do I want to go next?". It's also a chance to review what you like and don't like about your present circumstances. For example, I've deliberately spent much of the last two years carving out revenue streams not dependent on me swapping my time for money - it offers me the freedom to pursue my writing (and bore you with my posts).
Very often we can find ourselves on a hamster wheel or treading water. We're incredibly busy and maybe even earning well, but we're continually pushing away our dreams in return for instant (financial) gratification. What's the point of not inching towards your real ambitions and goals (or worse, finding yourself sliding rapidly away from them)?
I wonder how many people reading this are hiding their true selves and what they would rather be doing. Often this is out of fear of "what people will say". Who gives a sh*t??! Is there anyone more important than you when it comes to expressing an opinion about your life? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way).
But you may not be clear on what your "fullest" or "real" you is. It's this type of big question that lends itself perfectly to the current climate of exclusion and introspection. Think of it as a virus-based silent retreat forced upon us - but what amazing results we all stand to benefit from if we are brave enough to look in the mirror.
I'm not suggesting that the current lockdown is a chrysalis from which the most perfect and beautiful "butterfly" you is going to emerge. But it really can be the first (or second, third and fourth) step of your 1000-mile transformational journey.
Make the most of where you are, with what you've got right now. Put a pin in the map where you are now, and a big, fat red "X marks the spot" where you want to be. Where do those first, second and third steps lead you and can you take them right now when you're free of naysayers and their noise?