March 26, 2020 Praveen

Decoding COVID 19 - Part 1/3
Dealing with Uncertainty

Historically, there have been only a handful of world events that had the power to change the course of humanity. The one we are faced with now, seems to be one such.

All of a sudden, we have found ourselves in a very unlikely new situation, and unknown territory - something that needs a more effective and evolved mindset to get past. And what’s crucial is that we will have to do this as collective humanity; no one individual or a group of them can get us through this.

COVID-19 and the effects it’s leaving on our lives, our families, our work and the world at large is much deeper than we can tell at this stage. In the past you may have seen a few movies based on similar story lines, but this one is no motion picture – it’s a reality staring at us and we cannot shy away from it, even if we would like to. My talks with friends and peers have led me to believe that no one has a real idea where this pandemic is leading us, or what we can expect next, over the weeks, months or even years to come. But what seems clear is that humanity has a tough task ahead of it!

What’s happening around all of us is pushing us to ask – Why did this happen?

While, we might not be able to answer this ‘Why’ anytime soon, but I certainly relate this situation with what I recently went through. So, I took it upon me to correlate COVID and its aftermath with my recent life experiences and what it’s taught me, and more importantly – What it has made me!

The current situation will hit us in 3 broad areas, and my past learnings relate to the exact same areas of life.

Having experienced these 3 areas closely, life has probably brought me to better state to be able to deal with this catastrophe.

Now that we have been confined to our houses, leaving us with a lot of time for reflection, I have broken down these 3 areas into a 3 part post series, this being the first of them. The rest will come to you in quick succession. But the core idea of breaking it down, is to allow you all time to sink each of these in. And, as always, I encourage you to connect with me over LinkedIn messenger, if you think I can help you in any way.

The Mindset needed to deal with Uncertainty & the Unknown

In 2012, I was confronted with a similar void in life, which came in the form of a personal loss. It triggered my journey into a deeper quest called – The purpose of Life which gradually led me to minimalism. Pursuing it further, last year, I gave up my laptop and started operating out of my desktop at office alone, so as to keep my work time restricted to the day, with no spillovers loading at home. Later, I sold my car to understand myself better (I was driving Audi Q5 back then) and started exploring alternate modes of transportation, including public transportation like metro-rail, Ube/Ola, auto-rickshaw and bicycle rides – which I have to say – left me much disappointed, given the rather poor infrastructure and cleanliness standards in our ever growing metros. For now, I am considering buying an EV.

Lately, I stopped buying any unnecessary, and/ or expensive things including clothing. Since 4th August 2018, my team & I wear the same brand uniform i.e., Blue T shirt & bottoms. This greatly helped me in reducing unnecessary buying urges. There was no pressure on me to do any of these things, nor did I have anything to prove to anyone. This came all from within and for myself.

How did all this help me?

I soon realized that there are many benefits to following this kind of lifestyle. Going minimal, had helped me find a deeper sense of living and purpose in life.

I stopped pressurizing myself from earning more, or trying to endlessly achieve a higher standard of living, or so to say – A Lifestyle.

In fact, the word ‘lifestyle’ itself has been redefined for me!

Now lifestyle no longer meant wearing expensive clothing, driving a swank car or to be seen on Page 3. These things no longer had any hold on me. The societal pressure of looking better than others was no longer there. So my quest for a lifestyle has changed entirely – by almost 360 degrees.

The new meaning of this word is – creating an inner circle of friends and colleagues, although in limited number, but with whom I share the closest bonds, and the deepest connections.

My two daughters are an integral part of my life and I have made it my purpose to have the most meaningful connection with them.

I can now see my learnings from the lens of our current scenario and Covid-19. Its although clear that businesses and the economy as a whole will have to compromise a lot during these times; more so, knowing that our choices have now come down to the point of the very survival of our race.

However, having embraced a minimalist lifestyle over the past many months, I know that seeing through this phase will not be a huge challenge. My newer definition of a lifestyle still encourages me to search for the smaller joys in the moments I create with my loved ones. With no unreasonable expectations from myself and sky-high financial targets out of the way, I can stay calm through the storm and also shoulder the responsibility of my team, who I am sure will have tougher times supporting their families right now.

I can safely say, that this is the most fundamental change everyone needs to bring about, if they intend to take something meaningful out of this whole situation. This could just be that opportunity for transformation, although in a very unlikely, unexpected disguise.

One of the major factors which contributed to my stable mindset was the confidence I had in my decisions. Many of these choices were ‘unusual’ and even ‘awkward’ to many around me; however, in my heart I knew that they were right for ME. As we know,

What comes from the Heart, Goes to the Heart.

And I have always believed that if your intent is correct, do not worry about the results. Honesty and integrity helps you in the most unexplained magical way..

PS: While I could not include many details of my past experiences and lessons learnt, as promised, I will be available for anyone who would like to connect with me. Let’s see this as an opportunity to share and connect more meaningfully.