We live in a “New Normal” and these are “unprecedented times”…blah, blah, blah. We are aware of these things and are probably tired of hearing them. I know I am tired of hearing and using these phrases. But the truth is that we are living in weird time. We are in the middle of the unknown and the unknown is scary. The good news is that in time this unknown will become more familiar, and as we continue to acclimate to the current situation, we’ll be less afraid. Maybe when we are less afraid, we will stop hoarding toilet paper and wine ?.
Part of what makes our fear worse is our bias, and while biases are sometimes good in framing a situation, they tend to be limiting. There are various types of biases, such as memory bias, or the way we remember things. We may remember things from the last breakouts the world has experienced, like SARS, Ebola, or what we have read about the plague, or the devastation and aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. But this is different. This is completely new and unknown.
As we have heard hundreds of times over the past couple of months, we’re in a new way of living. We read articles and listen to podcasts that discuss the happenings in the world and let our bias influence how we view all this information. Right now, not only are we fighting to find a cure, we’re also struggling to keep our sanity during the stay at home order and finding creative ways to remain engaged with our friends and family, all while adjusting to being at home.
Last week I mentioned that my friend had challenged me to take a walk and do something different rather than falling back on my excuses to stick to the same routine. I decided to open my mind, got a little creative with it, and ended up with a different outlook.
The generosity of people amazes me. During these unprecedented times (there it is again) I have witnessed people be kinder to one another, more helpful and generous to complete strangers, who then are helpful and generous to others, so that kindness spirals out into the world. Maybe we should jump on that bandwagon bias. Like hoarding toilet paper, if everyone is doing it, it must be right. Being kind is always right.
We’re in the thick of it right now, but I believe that we will make it through if we change our mindset and get past our biases.
The Ancient Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself” advises us to be aware of our biased views. Maybe you were kind and did not even know it. Now that you do, send me some toilet paper and bourbon!
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer
Keep an open mind this weekend,