Uncertainty and Covid-19

Uncertainty is part of our life. It’s simply a segment of what motivates us. As much as we’d like to hold onto certainty, too much of a good thing is a burden, and too much certainty equates to boredom.

So we need a level of uncertainty to keep the edge active. This edge is what creates movement toward our goals.

But let’s be totally blunt.

Coronavirus and Covid-19 are beyond simple uncertainty. Here we are in the realm of crisis.

One of the most important aspects of handling uncertainty is normalising to the change. Take for example changes that happen at work. In 2010, when I was working for the largest electricity utility in Australia, we were informed that all jobs would be made redundant in 5 years.

Every staff member received a letter stating that their employment status had changed from full time to impacted.

As expected, everyone panicked. As I led our teams through this change, an interesting situation developed.

After a short period of time, everybody acclimatised to the letter and the change and got back to business as usual.

Uncertainty hit.

They normalised to it.

Life went on.

Covid-19 is different.

The rapidly changing situation and the vapid need of the worldwide media to let us all know of deaths and instances that inspire panic is shredding the ability for you and I to normalise.

Therefore we are at a heightened state of alertness.

And uncertainty.

There are positives to this:

  • Increased vigilance of social distancing

  • Increased vigilance on personal hygiene

  • Increased awareness of the oneness of the world as one-people battle one enemy

There are also negatives:

  • Increased panic

  • Increased survival responses (think toilet paper)

  • Increased need to control anything possible

The only way to decrease the feeling of uncertainty is to alter the locus of attention. In my podcast on 1st April, I talked about the factors that are necessary to do so. If you have not listened to that episode, please check it out here.

In summary, they were:

1 – Decrease social media intake

2 – Increase routine and structure

Additionally to what I covered on the podcast, it is very important that we introduce the feeling of faith.

Faith is a belief in what cannot be seen.

Faith does not have to be limited to a religious experience. It can also be a faith, a structured and rational belief in the ability of the human race to find a way.

When faced with extreme uncertainty we must believe in something greater than the problem. Victor Frankl in his classing book Man’s Search for Meaning referenced his time in Auschwitz during WWII. Where others died, he decided to live by giving the experience a meaning greater than what was happening. He decided to take stock of what happened and be part of the reason this would never happen again.

In extreme uncertainty, we must all find a meaning that is greater than the threat.

What could this meaning be with Covid-19?

We’ll pick up on that on the next post.

Chris

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