Self development in the face of crisis
Usually I don’t make references to current world affairs in my videos, as the topics I discuss revolve around generic principles, self-improvement and human nature. But because the spread of the corona virus is so into our faces and omnipresent in the media right now, I should maybe give it a little mention. And that’s okay because I can put that in relation to the next important topic I’d like to discuss with you and that is... self development.
Most responsible people around the world are now self-isolating. Many establishments have temporarily closed or restricted their opening hours. Public life is at its minimum and those who can, work remotely. In times like these you can wonder how to spend your time in the best way possible. Now that you are less likely to hang out in a cafe, gym, restaurant or a club, the question arises: how are you going to occupy yourself? We’re used to having nice dinners, going to parties, drinking with friends whenever we want, and travel around whenever we plan it. Now most of it is either gone or heavily limited. Have we lost what we value in life most?
My point is, no, not at all. Perhaps this state of emergency can teach us something about ourselves. And what is it? It’s about what matters in life, a thing that we easily forget when living throughout the day, but something we can remember again in a time of crises like this. That’s why let’s use the time of social self-isolation to turn our attention away from our superficial daily problems and towards a deeper exploration of real meaningfulness.
So, what matters in life? What matters is the development as individuals and as society. Practically, it means that we develop our emotional and mental capabilities. The development of emotionality means moving towards noble feelings of compassion, kindness and patience, everything you value in human relations. The development of mentality means moving towards truth, facts, right thinking and inspiration, so everything you value in gaining knowledge.
Now it’s easy to disregard these things and just meddle through daily life because we’ve always been so busy. Now, that we often have to face the walls in our room, it’s a good opportunity to dedicate ourselves to the issues of the heart, and the issues of the mind. It’s a good opportunity to see through our own bullshit and recognise that our addictions to the superficial pleasures won’t ever give us any satisfaction in the long run. How many times have you met people who were cool and funny and on the outside, but so insecure and doubtful on the inside. Everyone knows that from experience. We all played that game of appearances in many situations. And you can often feel that something is not right if you observe it in others.
The point is to use this transitional time to focus on important things and become better human beings. That’s how you can spend your time constructively and really own it, instead of worrying and feeling like a victim. So how do we do that?
We can get in touch with our better self by all those little acts of kindness. Little expressions matter a lot. They are the most important things in everyday life, because the little smile here, the kind word there is often the only thing you can ever give to strangers. Forget fighting about toilet paper, forget watching death statistics on TV every hour, it won’t help you and will only make you feel miserable. Focus on your life and be a candle of light to people around you by your little expressions of positivity, kindness, compassion, joy and reason. That’s how you develop emotionally and mentally - through the practical expression of your best self you can ever be.
Just try it. Every attempt helps, and you can really make someone’s day by just being nice. At the end of the day the goal of self-development is to become unselfish. It’s easy to be selfish. It’s so much more difficult to be unselfish. But we are all able to do that. We do it all the time to our friends and family. Now extend the circle of your beloved ones to your neighbours, city, country and the world, and you end up with all of humanity as your family. Now treat them as such.
What will that mean practically? It means you won’t presume bad intentions with people you don’t know well. It means you’ll be nice to your neighbours. You’ll speak kindly and not spread negativity. Don’t say it’s all going to get worse. First, no one can know that for sure. Secondly, you don’t achieve anything with debasing talk. Speak encouraging words. Thirdly, don’t buy things you really don’t need. Unnecessary hoarding is an expression of selfishness. Whatever you take in excess, someone else will have a shortage of.
There’s an unlimited number of things you can do or not do, to express your solidarity with people in everyday life. Not just during the time of emergency, but also in normal times.
Remember, being a victim, or being a hero is a decision you make. Not something that you are born as. And to make that decision, you need to change your perception. Own the crises in you head. It’s the best thing you do under the limited circumstances that matters, and not waiting for the abundance of resources to have, because this never happens. People working in project management know that. There’s always some restriction imposed on us in life, and you need to work with what you got. Make the best use out of it.
If you do, you’ll see that you’re developing emotionally and mentally. Especially emotional development is important right now, because it’s compassion, love, kindness that the world needs first. But knowledge is important too. Instead of training your pleasure muscles, try to train your emotional and intellectual muscle. Remember, compassion and intellect are a habit, a skill, a kind of a mental muscle you can learn and maintain. It takes effort to be good, but if you do it, you’ll be developing your character and in this way also improving yourself as a human being. That’s what I’d like you to think about and put to practice in these times of self-isolation and beyond that. Because remember, everything is transitory and sooner or later this period will be over and we will be back to normal. How do you want to get out of this process: stronger or weaker? It’s a decision you make yourself and I invite you to choose stronger.
My best thoughts of courage to all mankind. Stay safe, compassionate, informed and happy.