Indeed, time flies! It’s been 376 days now since the government-imposed COVID-19 lock-down was implemented. It’s been a tumultuous year. To date, the pandemic remains unabated. We are seeing a surge in new cases per day, which recently hit an all-time high of 8,737. Despite the much-awaited roll-out of vaccinations, nothing has changed. It’s time to get to the bottom of things.
Let’s face it! This pandemic has turned out to be a game-changer. It has really reshaped the ways of doing things and going about living life on a daily basis. We can’t be in denial. It’s turning out that what used to work before pre-COVID times does not work today and even in post COVID times. Like it or not, one has to get to the bottom of things.
Given the uncertainties of the times, there is an urgent need to do a reality check on one’s particular situation. One cannot afford to have a mañana attitude i.e. to postpone things that have to be done. As they say, we have to confront our problems squarely.
Speaking of such, I am reminded of an advice written by the young priest, Josemaria Escriva, in point no. 33, as follows:
“You never want ‘to get to the bottom of things’.
At times, because of politeness. Other times – most times – because you fear hurting yourself. Sometimes again, because you fear hurting others. But always because of fear.
With that fear of digging for the truth, you will never be a man of good judgment.”St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 33
As may be gleaned from the point above, the most common problem why people refuse to face the truth is fear itself. There is this misguided instinct that says “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”. Hence, the tendency for most people to suave their conscience with baseless optimism. In other words, this is what is called “wishful thinking”.
Moreover, when fear and anxiety set into one’s consciousness, it may trigger a reaction that could paralyze one’s faculties. This, in turn, may result in impaired behavior. In order to survive these COVID times, one would need to muster clarity of mind – mindfulness.
Interestingly, when the lockdown started, I came upon an interesting video in YouTube entitled “Growth Habits” hosted by Larry King. This particular show featured, Gabriele Oettingen PhD, a professor of psychology at the New York University. Apparently, Ms. Oettingen is a leading authority on the science of goal-setting and achievement.
In a nutshell, Prof. Oettingen talked about WOOP, a unique idea, which is a product of her 20 years of research on the science of human motivation. Her main thesis presents a simple methodology for fulfilling one’s goals through the practice of WOOP, which stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.
- Wish – What is your wish that is challenging but feasible that you want to accomplish, say, in one, six or twelve months? For example, I wish to have a feeding program for the poor.
- Outcome – Image the best outcome. What is the positive benefit that you will feel in your life when you achieve it? Level of happiness, self-confidence, joy, energy, etc.
- Obstacle – What are the obstacles that get in the way of your achieving that wish? Specifically, focus on obstacles that are within you, not outside or extraneous forces, that prevent you from attaining the wish. Here is where you need to get to the bottom of things within yourself.
- Plan – What’s your plan to deal with the obstacles such that you can attain the wish? Try to imagine “If, then” scenarios.
Getting to the Bottom of Things
In closing, it is worthwhile to keep in mind that we are living in a VUCA world. We are being confronted by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. We need to gather the confidence to confront the demons inside ourselves. Otherwise, turning a blind eye to the issues at hand may lead to dire consequences. Hence, it would not harm if one would take time out to practice WOOP with the end in view of preserving one’s well-being.