In the midst of the Covid 19 crisis, I would like to share a ‘Formula’ that I learned in a Jack Canfield programme some years back. This has become an integral part of my life and has helped me very successfully overcome some major and life-threatening crises I have faced. I know it can help us all through these challenging times.
The simple formula is … E + R = O
E: stands for Event
R: stands for our Response to event
O: stands for the Outcome of the event that our Response generates
In reality, we often have little or no control of the Event. Stuff just happens, as is the case of the current pandemic. However, we do have absolute control of our Response to the Event. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise this, and the response is often an unconscious and emotional reaction to the event.
The reality is that our response is actually a matter of individual choice – if we have the emotional intelligence to understand and manage it. A positive, helpful response to the negative Event, even if it’s difficult and it often is, leads to the best possible and sometimes positive Outcome. The flip side is obviously also true. A negative, dysfunctional response will certainly lead to a negative Outcome.
We know from the neurosciences that once we engage in negative or positive thinking patterns for more than 17 seconds, they repeat themselves. In the best case, this results in a cycle of positive thinking that ultimately drives the best possible outcomes. Remember, we get what we think about! In the worst case, this results in a rapidly downward negative spiral that leads to stress, depression and various other undesirable outcomes. The trick is to be emotionally aware of our thinking patterns and deliberately change them when necessary.
So, in the midst of the Covid 19 shutdown where many people are also working from home, what are the most important behavioural responses to this crisis that psychologists recommend?
- Face the current harsh reality with a positive mindset. It is critical for your psychological well-being. Most importantly a great attitude helps create hope for the future in times of uncertainty and fear. It is also proven to help protect your immune system.
- Sounds crazy, but exercise gratitude for the positive things in your life. This is the most powerful way of getting into positive thinking patterns.
- Follow a great early morning ritual of exercise, meditation, prayer or whatever else helps you get into good space and spiritual peace. How you start your day determines how you will end it.
- Establish a well-constructed daily routine that you follow with discipline. This keeps you focused, productive and positive. And remember to take regular breaks.
- Stay socially and professionally as well connected as possible. With the amazing communication technology at our disposal, this has become easy. We are social animals and need this regular interaction. Remember, isolation often causes depression.
- Use this it as a fantastic opportunity to “future proof” yourself by upgrading your professional knowledge and skills as well as to learn new and exciting things that interest you. Remember – if you’re not learning faster than change is happening, you’re going backwards!
- And most importantly believe and know that “this too shall pass, and we will be safe”. Hope for the future is the most powerful driving force to achieve positive outcomes out of adversity.
Of course, we acknowledge that it’s frequently not easy to adopt these practices. However, we believe it is undoubtedly worth taking up the challenge to achieve the best possible outcomes when life presents extreme events that threaten our world as we know it.
As a constructive personal step ahead, I respectfully invite you to assess your own adoption of the seven practices and decide if you would like to further embrace any of them. Good luck and God bless through these tough times!
Ron is a Master Action Learning Coach, leadership & organisation development authority.