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Ten Life Lessons We’ve Known but has Now Been Proven by the Pandemic

I have never really known whether it is a fact that the Chinese word for crisis is the same for opportunity. But I do know that perspective is everything. And so if the current crisis presents an opportunity to perceive this as learning and teaching life lessons, what would those be? After all, it is not often that you have a worldwide crisis where the event is a shared human experience. I would propose that the last worldwide event that truly affected the majority of the world would have been World War II. My parents were young adults in the Philippines during this time and I know for a fact that my mother was very much impacted by her experience with the war. In 2001, she watched the movie Pearl Harbor in the theaters and became physically ill as she watched and collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital and was treated for a bleeding ulcer, unbeknownst to me, as I lay in my own hospital bed, recuperating from having delivered my twins after three days of labor. My mom, being an obstretician, was there the whole time, witnessing my ordeal, and had directed that I not be informed of her condition.

I completely understood her effort to shield me from experiencing pain but perhaps it was not the pain she wanted to take away from me, but the suffering that accompanied the pain? As a parent now of these adult twin boys, I know that pain is part of living a normal life, but I feel that I am constantly failing to separate the experience of suffering from the pain. Perhaps, as an adult we learn to suffer long after the pain has gone. But when we are younger, we just experience pain and we bounce back because partly we recover more quickly? Or is it mostly because our parents bear the burden of suffering as they witness us in pain?

So perhaps, as we experience our current pain, brought about by the pandemic, of having to do without our normal life, it is up to us to determine if we will suffer or, if we perceive this as an opportunity to learn.

  1. Avoidance is effective, but only in the short term.

  2. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

  3. Being too positive and giving false hopes can kill.

  4. Mistakes don’t have to be the cause of your downfall, but they will if you don’t take responsibility for them or learn from them.

  5. Having a leader is crucial in a crisis, and they don’t even have to be perfect, just willing to bear the burden of leadership.

  6. Having a support system you can trust is essential, but you must trust that they will be willing to disagree with you so you can get the full picture.

  7. Having a different perspective is always a way out when you feel stuck.

  8. Adapting will happen regardless, but you alone determine when and how.

  9. No feeling is ever final, and so any decision must take into consideration the outcome if you feel differently.

  10. Pain is part of life and the more you try to avoid it, it can become more intense and can turn into suffering.


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