COVID-19 and 2020 will live in our minds for years to come, with many of our lives already forever changed as a result of the tumult we’ve seen this past year. For all the uncertainty, some results are entirely predictable: the corrupt will find ways to prey on the vulnerable, the rich will get richer, and the greedy multinational corporations at the top will further solidify their status by bilking millions of dollars from ordinary people willing to pay for a sense of safety and security.
Meanwhile, countless frightened, worried, or depressed souls who have lost hope (as the result of isolation, loneliness, or financial ruin) will travel the slow road to a numbing death by turning to drugs, alcohol, or antidepressants, while others will tragically choose to end their suffering more directly and instantly.
There are a few unique individuals, though – ones who may or may not have demonstrated any exceptionalism thus far in life – who will find a way to turn disaster into opportunity. Some will start a new career, some a new business venture, others a new relationship. Whether it’s software, a soulmate, a patent, or parenthood, these people will capitalize on an opportunity to bring more success into their lives in one form or another. This isn’t just conjecture. There is agreement among experts that hard times breed innovation, and innovation can take many forms.
Ten years from now, most people who read this article will be slightly better off, or slightly worse off, than they are today. Sadly, a few will be much worse off.
Also ten years from now, a handful – maybe even including you – will have changed and even improved the world, having played a part in making it a different, hopefully better place.
And finally, ten years from now, there will be billion-dollar companies that were originally catalyzed by the difficult times we’re facing now. Maybe they were brainstormed in a boardroom; maybe in a garage.
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What is it that will make the difference between these types of people?
If you’ve ever seen a heavyweight boxing match, you know how much comes down to a fighter’s mental agility as much as his physical. Any given match is between two competitors who could kill a man with a single, well-landed blow. Imagine such a match, with oddsmakers calling it a 50-50 fight. One boxer looks across the ring and sees a menacing, intimidating opponent, while the other looks across the ring and sees his next knockout victim. Who do you think would be most likely to throw in the towel when the fight drags on and the pain starts to cut through the adrenaline?
It can be boxing, business, or life, but it’s times like these – when we think we’ve given our all and tried our very hardest – that we have to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and reach into the very core of our being until we discover our hidden reservoir. Make no mistake: we all have one. In times like these, it’s that extra bit of life deep inside us, each dose giving us enough energy to face the darkness and say, “Okay, you won that round. But the fight’s not done, and I’m just getting warmed up.”
You have probably heard that we learn more from our failures than our successes – that tough times are what spur innovation. If you tap into your own hidden reservoir in the days to come, you may or may not become business magnates on the back of the pandemic, but you will, without a doubt, be better for the experience.