How to stay motivated during grim times when there is no end in sight

Authored By: Mr. Kaustubh Sonalkar, President- HR, Essar Group, and CEO, Essar Foundation

How to stay motivated during grim times when there is no end in sight

It’s ironic that these words were quoted in a movie based on the ancient Chinese wisdom of Kung-Fu. Today, the world is peeved with China – the hotbed of a new calamity which has rocked the world, and sent the global economy flailing. After SARS and H1N1 again, the outbreak of the Covid 19 has thrown the world off gear, but this time the impact is deeper, and of unimaginable proportions.  The world is reeling under the maleficent effects of these tiny invisible organisms. From the trillion-dollar economies to the trickle-down ones, each one has almost come to a standstill. 

However, this post is not to rant about the much-ranted topic of the Coronavirus, but rather how we should turn the negative into a positive. The worldwide calamity has indeed brought us to our knees, but maybe that is to help us look more closely at the ground reality and to self-reflect. Perhaps it is Mother Nature’s way to tell us to slow down.

For instance, have we realised that as a world divided by modern development, today we are united in a calamity? We have temporarily forgotten our differences and political vendetta.  A new perspective on humanity is emerging. People are adapting better habits and making positive changes. For instance, even Prince Charles is bowing down with a Namaste – our Indian custom which not only expresses deep respect for the person whom we are greeting, but also reduces physical contact automatically.

Under normal circumstances, we live in a frenzy. The rush and the rigmarole have taken a toll, as we are so busy being busy. But owing to the lockdown, things have almost slowed down to a zero. 

We might have lost wealth in the equity market, suffered a job loss / salary cut, or business might be down, but the one gift we all have now, if you look at it in the positive sense, is the time and circumstance to reflect. It is our ’present’, literally. In fact, time is money, so how you use or invest this ‘present’ will determine your future. Will you enrich yourself with reflection, or impoverish yourself with stress and anxiety? 

Besides that, social distancing has given us an opportunity to come closer to ourselves, and to our families. The factor here again, is time. Relationships take time to build – even relationships with oneself.  So how are you going to use this time to bond and build relationships and reset your life with a new ‘body-clock’?

Here are some life hacks, till the virus is holding us at ransom:

• Use this time to upgrade yourself by learning. Read those pending books, or take an online course to help you stay up to date. The job market might get tough, so time to pull up your socks and stay competitive.

• Bond with your family, balance work and life now that you have the luxury of work-from-home.  If you have kids, now is the time to make up for what you missed or watch them grow. Have small conversations with them now and then. Play a board game, watch a film and LOL together, have a cooking contest or find anything fun to do which helps you bond. 

If you have parents you have not caught up with, spend time with them too. Old parents need your attention and time, so let them have it.

  • Pursue your passion. Though you can’t venture out to do that, everything is learnable online.  Make music, learn a new art, online games- thanks to the Internet, we have a plethora of choices out there. 
  • Positive affirmations  – be grateful for what you have and ask the universe for more
  • Set your priorities right by focussing on your own self for a while. If you have health issues, now is the right time to fix them – be it mental health or physical. Prioritise your tie table to get your health right. 
  • For business owners and entrepreneurs, now is the time to sit back and think of the future; not worry about it. Necessity is the mother of invention, so can you think of something totally different and disruptive around your business? Agility in business is an art. Do not get caught in the downward spiral. Instead, chin up and find innovative opportunities. 
  • If you are in a job and working from home, with reduced travel time and less office distractions, you can be more productive for your company as well. Complete your online pending chores, stay connected to your clients, invest in thinking up new ideas to add value.

In fact, many of us are fortunate to have a job. Think about the poor wage-earners whose daily bread might be affected. On that note, I was quite touched by this shaayri penned and tweeted by actor Ayushmaan Khuraana on the current situation:

 Ayushmann Khurrana

@ayushmannk

Ab ameer ka har din ravivaar ho gaya,

Aur gareeb hai apne somvaar ke intezaar mein.

Ab ameer ka har din seh parivaar ho gaya hai,

Aur gareeb hai apne rozgaar ke intezaar mein.

So these are some invaluable lessons we can all drive home (literally, since most of us are on a forced work-from-home schedule). 

Time and Tide wait for no man – St. Marher, 1225. Make use of the ‘present’ we have.

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