More than three (3) months in the running, this pandemic continues to mercilessly attack its mindless victims – the undisciplined crowds. People forget that this “war” is still raging. Carelessness and irresponsibility still abound amongst the throngs of people looking for things to do outside their homes. There is much to be desired in terms of the discipline and character of the crowds. Hence, the need to be proactive becomes imperative.
To win this “war”, it is necessary to be proactive. By definition, it means: “serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory:” . . . This character trait begins to develop when a goal is set into play. Once a person defines an objective be it for personal, family or business reasons, the race towards the said objective begins. In this respect, both time and energy will begin to matter. In other words, when a desired goal is targeted, the person necessarily prepares for winning the crown awaiting at the finish line.
Just like in any kind of race i.e. sprint, marathon, etc., one needs to take on the attitude of a winner. Focus and attention to the little things or events that may pop out during the day become the underlying elements for winning the race. As an example, Point no. 14 of The Way gives a very practical tip for discarding distractions along the way, as shown below:
Point no. 14
“Don’t waste your energy and your time – which belong to God – throwing stones at the dogs that bark at you on the way. Ignore them.”St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way
Importance of Being Proactive
As time is of the essence, St. Josemaria’s Point no. 14 underlines the importance of remaining focussed on the target. The biggest enemy to be wary of is that of distraction. Distraction happens when the focus of the individual is diverted away from the target or desired goal. During this COVID_19 induced forced isolation, it is so easy to fall into the trap of digital distractions. With the plethora of information being streamed in social media, phone calls, text messages, Viber, Whatsapp, Netflix, Instagram, Tiktok, etc., it is not uncommon to see people being lulled into situations where one is unwittingly transformed into a zombie.
Moreover, given the protracted nature of this COVID_19 pandemic, the incidence of fatigue both mental and physical are on the rise. Induced by stress and anxiety, fatigue could weaken the individual’s attention span which could result in loss of focus. Once this happens, people easily succumb to the allures of distraction. This situation calls for a higher level of mental alertness to fight distractions. This means striving harder to always be in the zone or in the moment The idea is to be aware of things that are happening before one’s eyes. Thus, simply relying on instinct without benefit of using one’s intelligence becomes unproductive.
Setting up a Survival Plan
Undoubtedly, this COVID_19 pandemic will go down in history as one of the most destructive events in world history outside of WWI and WWII. We have seen the severity of the damage inflicted upon millions of laborers who have lost their means of livelihood. With thousands of small and medium scale businesses forced to shut down, there emerges the overarching need for a survival kit that would be useful under the new normal, post COVID_19. Without a doubt, one cannot remain complacent by assuming that the return to normalcy would be the same as pre-COVID_19 times. Indeed, the situation calls for a “re-boot” of how to live life after the pandemic.
Make Good Use of Time
The lockdown has caught everybody by surprise. All of a sudden, everyone is saddled with lots of ample time in their hands. As we look three months back, let us ask ourselves: How have I used my time during this pandemic?
As we all know, time is a very precious gift from God. It’s really up to the individual person to decide on whether to use time wisely by investing it in useful endeavors or to simply spend it by wasting it away in useless activity.
Focus on the Important Issues
With a clear plan in place, the task of managing the dictates of each day becomes easier. When distractions pop out or begin to appear, one should proactively make decisions to pursue or not. Again, here lies the importance of having a goal to refer to. For example, without a focus on the important issues, one could easily fall prey to the attractions of social media. Clearly, this makes a case for debunking useless distractions which could ruin one’s day.
Conserve Your Energy
As one goes about fighting the many battles of each day, it is important to conserve one’s energy. Without focus, one could win many battles and yet lose the war. With the pervasiveness of smartphones, it is of no surprise that one can spend long hours addressing emails, inter-acting with friends, etc.; and, yet end up accomplishing nothing. Indeed, the quality of life could be enhanced simply by focusing on important tasks and avoiding distractions. Ultimately conserving one’s energy would make for a happier and longer life.
In closing, it is my hope that by instilling the discipline of focus, one would be able to develop the habit of being proactive in living a better life on a daily basis.