I’m writing this newsletter in the time of COVID-19 and the protests about George Floyd’s murder. I feel as if we are in much more chaos, even as we understand more about the virus. (I actually had to write What Do You Do When You’re Off-Center? before I wrote this.) I’ve been practicing these ideas and hope they serve you, too.
Tip 1: Extend Empathy
Empathy is our ability to put ourselves in other people’s contexts. I keep hearing, “(Those) People don’t want to go to work. They want to collect unemployment. And, they get more money that way!”
When I hear that, I wonder about these ideas:
- Is it safe for them—and by extension, their family—if they return to work?
- Do they make a reasonable wage to accept the risks?
I have my prejudices, just as everyone else does. And, in my experience, people want to work. If they don’t want to work, they often have a reason. If I can create some empathy, I’m more likely to understand. And, if possible, fix the system so we can encourage “them” to do what all of society wants.
Tip 2: Discover Your Flow
I learned a big tip from my dad when he taught me to drive on the highway. “Find the lane that has the flow you want. Then, go with the flow.”
Notice that he didn’t tell me to go with the flow, first. No. He taught me to find the lane—the direction and speed—I wanted, and get into that flow.
We can do the same for our lives, not just our driving. Notice that the order was to find the lane, and then get into the flow. When we choose our direction, we can then find our flow. Otherwise, we’re doing what everyone else does. And, going their way. Their way might be less friction, but is it the right choice for us?
We can only decide for ourselves.
Tip 3: Be Open to Serendipity
I often discover I have many more options when I have empathy and discover my flow. I often see new possibilities I didn’t see before. In a real sense, I’ve made my own luck. Here’s how I think about serendipity:
- I prepared as much as I could for this time.
- I’m present—I stay in the moment.
- I know the lane I want to be in.
- I have empathy with the people around me.
When I do these things, I often discover more options than I imagined. I can’t guarantee you’ll find serendipity, but these ideas work for me.
And, if you have more tips to getting through this chaos, I would love to hear them.