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When Nothing Will Save You

My wife Sana gave some interesting perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the vast majority of the planet into a radically different lifestyle from what we were accustomed.

To sum up her thoughts: “Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Their government is concerned with maintaining a global empire across the globe. Now that the coronavirus has hit, they’ve been caught flat-footed. The government’s response has been laughable, and people who are living paycheck to paycheck are in panic mode after only a few weeks being out of work.

“Other nations, by contrast, are more capable of coping with the changes. Nations like Iran, who have been under sanctions for as long as they can remember, learn self-sufficiency. As a result, the people and the government have plenty of money when a pandemic hits. Vietnamese have been trained to save, and not go into debt for purchases of cars and houses. They’re enjoying this break their government has given them.”

It was a refreshing perspective for me, as I’ve admittedly become a bit hooked on what I call “coronaporn.” Coronaporn is a fixation on every piece of news on the coronavirus, sharing it with everyone and their mother, usually accompanied by a weird fetish with government leaders who are supposed to somehow have answers for the problem. It’s as addictive as any drug or sexual pornography out there, and I’ve been saddened to see people close to me become hooked on it as well.

At any rate, this period of relative quiet has put me in mind of several moments during my life where doing nothing was the best thing for me. I’ve realized that my own impulses can have the impact of a category 5 hurricane on my life. Sometimes doing nothing is what saves you from utter destruction.

Someone disrespects you or shows a lack of respect. Do nothing; it’s better than reacting with a hot head and saying something you’ll regret.

You’re frustrated with the speed in which a project is building. Do nothing; it’s better than making some impulsive decision that will crush any momentum you may have.

You feel trapped in an unfulfilling gig. You’re holding onto it because it’s your bread and butter, but deep down you want to do something else. Do nothing (aside from doing the work of course); wait, be still, maybe put feelers out for other gigs, be grateful that you actually have a gig.

We’re conditioned to believe that activity = virtue, that inaction is anathema to a life worth pursuing.

Then a global pandemic hits and you’re forced into inaction. Whether the government’s response is overreach, unjust, completely rational, etc. is irrelevant. We’ve got to deal with reality here. It could be that “nothing” is what you need to do if you feel like violating the order. If you’ve worked at something for years and years and can’t pay your bills after being out of work for two weeks, maybe you’re doing something wrong.

Not being a Negative Ned here, just trying to offer a different perspective.

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