A year on from the initial lockdown and I feel very changed, do you?
When the first lockdown happened my initial reaction was to keep calm and carry on. Actually, perhaps it was to be even more proactive as I transferred online immediately, ramped up my classes and had all sorts of plans for home-schooling the kids and new courses for me.
It wasn’t long before I realised that this full-on ‘juggling-all-the-balls’ approach was too much and not sustainable.
Over the last year, I have reduced my timetable significantly and am now focusing on one course at a time!
I am spending more time doing fun activities with the children and less time working.
Perseverance in the Pandemic
I recently did the VIA character strengths test again and was reminded that ‘hope’ and ‘perseverance’ are in my top 5 signature strengths.
This is all very well in a crisis but what if the crisis continues without an end date? When the goalposts move do we carry on regardless?
During the last year, I signed up for several courses and the ones that have left their mark and I highly recommend are The Science of Wellbeing by Yale University (free) and the Foundations of Positive Psychology, both via Coursera.
I am still working my way through the PP course and currently studying ‘grit’, broadly defined as self-control and perseverance to long term goals.
You can test your own grittiness on the Grit Scale here.
The course was created before the pandemic and I am questioning some of the teachings, specifically research by Angela Duckworth that indicates grit is the main predictor of achievement over cognitive ability.
In her book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, Angela Duckworth says that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence” called grit. I understand she has done more research since which indicates that this is not clear-cut but this has not yet filtered back to my course.
In any event, without the new information, I did question how far this focus on grit could be valid, especially in uncertain times. Surely, perseverance is only helpful when you choose suitable goals. So self-awareness would be a key factor.
And in times of crisis, when people are thinking about the next day or week ahead, not months or years, is it not the strengths of adaptability and creativity that help us succeed? The individuals and businesses that have flourished during the pandemic are those who have created new plans, moved their own goalposts and perhaps started again with a completely new market or new ideas.
Be selective, be kind
So we are left with more questions than answers and perhaps this is indicative of the diversity of human personality and character.
Each of us has different challenges and measures of our own ‘success’.
For some, the pandemic has slowed life down or stopped it completely.
For others juggling all the balls, it has stretched them to breaking point.
Perhaps the only lesson is to pause often and check in with ourselves regularly.
Ask ourselves, is this work, relationship or activity serving me?
And if it isn’t then let it go.
Allow yourself to change long-term plans without guilt if they no longer work for you.
Be selective with your goals and be kind to yourself on your journey.
Taking a leaf from my own book, I am taking a break from teaching in the month of April. Everyone booked onto a class in March will receive free access to my on-demand library for the month of April.