Obstacles and opportunities


Even if the restrictions are lifting step-by-step, the pandemic is far from over and staying inside is the best attitude one can adopt. Almost 3 months have passed and working & studying from home will be the rule of thumb for the rest of this year at least. That means that you’ll STILL have the tendency to take every moment to work and study a bit more. And more. And, again, some more on the top. But you already know this, don’t you? It’s time to stand STILL for a bit.

“If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either: 1.) a new skill, 2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business, 3.) more knowledge, you didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline”, said one tweet in the beginning of April. My God, what is this pandemic?! A one-year vacation?! Youngsters are already under so much pressure and this pandemic seems to continue to put even more. It was already hard to find a job we actually like, but now it’s hard to find any job at all, since many industries are disintegrating.

We are so caught-up in the society that others created for us before we even articulated any words, that we feel guilty when we want to use our time to do something just for ourselves. How many of us thought of using this period to take a step back and seeing the big picture that we are in? Not so many, I’d say. Most of us were and still are impatient and determined to make the most of this “infinite” time that we “luckily” got on our hands.

Doing everything from home gives the impression that there are so many things that you can do in a shorter period. More work, more studying, more learning, more experiments. So, if you’re doing as much, or even more, as outside, does it really matter for your physical and mental health that you’re sleeping one extra hour? It’s not rocket-science what comes next: you can get burned out by staying inside as well. Since there is no clear delimitation between work and personal life, you can easily overlook the fact that you need rest too. Here’s a crazy thought: more time can mean more time for you and only you. A little introspection never hurt anyone. 

This period is a great opportunity to re-invent ourselves. Slow down for a while, so you can speed up afterwards. Take the time to recharge (doing nothing for a day is ok, you know?) and when your mind is clearer, start creating a strategy. Think about your skills like Lego pieces. What would you like to build? What pieces do you need and what pieces should you leave aside? You only need two pieces to start building and, as time passes, you’ll create your own masterpiece.

If you don’t like (or understand) metaphors, here it is in plain language: What are the things you can easily do, but for others they seem to be a lot of work? What do you like to do? What can you do best, from what you like? Find ways to combine at least two of your skills and/or passions and there you go: you just created a possible new industry.

There are a few resources that can help you in this journey: read a lot and surround yourself with leaders. Promote yourself and develop multiple streams of income (it doesn’t get easier to open your own company than in The Netherlands). Become more observing and try a positive approach to each new challenge. There are obstacles only if you allow them to be. Call them opportunities instead. As Ryan Holiday says in one of his books, let’s take what holds us back and use it to move forward (you can also check out other readings he recommends). Remember to stay still once in a while.

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