No one prepares you for the moment everything around you suddenly falls apart. It might be a personal tragedy or a world crisis, but either way, it affects your life. All the things you thought were yours, or obvious, All the things you thought were stable and will never change… all of those are taken from you in the blink of an eye.
The floor you stand on starts to shake, the world is no longer the world you were familiar with. But one thing is for sure — your life has changed and will never be the same.
Sounds like a disaster, right?
Well, not necessarily. Before you lose hope and run away, stay a little longer. You may gain some new insights.
First, let’s understand what causes a crisis. Life is dynamic, it constantly moves and changes. But a crisis occurs when there is a change that you believe affects you badly. More than that, a crisis is something deeper than other problems, as it shocks your entire belief system.
Who would have thought that some mysterious virus would appear and turn the world into a place we only thought exists in movies?
We all have anchors in our lives, things we hold onto. Anchors can be family members, friends, lovers, a job, savings, or even things that seem so obvious like physical freedom. The problem begins when you build a whole life around these anchors, you hold onto them so much that you cannot imagine your life without them, assuming they will always be there.
You get so attached that the thought of losing your anchors doesn’t even cross your mind, and when you actually lose an anchor you’re caught off guard and think to yourself how unfair it is. There is no intention to underestimate the things that are important to you.
Of course, it is hard to lose a close person or struggle financially, but while you are still alive, is it better to remain broken or focus on growing?
The best way to overcome a crisis is to, obviously, avoid it. Many things are out of our control, but except for the exceptions, most of the time changes don’t happen in one moment, even if it seems like they happen quickly.
Usually, there are preliminary signs which help us predict that a change is about to come. It doesn’t mean that the worst scenario will happen, but you won’t be surprised if it does, because you’ll be prepared. It is important to pay attention to the motion of life and move along with it, notice the occurrences.
The ideal thing to do is to act as early as possible, prepare mentally and physically for a possible change, adjust to the change as fast as possible, but better late than never. The fear of the unknown is paralyzing, it keeps you stuck at the same spot.
Because of the comfort of the known and the fear of the unknown, you stick to your comfort zone and avoid thinking outside of the box, avoid trying to improve your situation.
People do the same things over and over again and then they are surprised that the situation remains the same. Sometimes the things you do work for a long period of time, like a job that seems secure and there is no way there will not be a demand for this job or that you will ever lose your position.
However, it is possible that what used to work in the past, even for a long time, will just not work anymore. It is possible and even reasonable that whatever seems so secure, protected from changes, will suddenly not be secure anymore or will change in some way.
Thinking in new directions will help you get ready for a possible change and have other options in your hand. It doesn’t mean you need to live your life with a constant fear that something will happen, but just be aware of small changes and get ready for action.
By doing that, you can prevent many events from becoming a crisis, as the crisis is subjective. You have already prepared so it is not a crisis for you but just a change. For example, instead of relying on a single source of income, you can find different sources so in case one of them is shut down, you will still have the others.
Another example is to constantly enrich your inner world (could be with various interests, or finding meaning in the smallest things, or anything else) so no matter what happens, your inner world is so rich that you don’t need to rely on anything external.
Again, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t form meaningful relationships with other people but don’t forget to invest in your relationship with yourself, the one that will always be there, no matter what. Nonetheless, you cannot be prepared for ANY possible scenario. Life is unexpected, and a crisis you weren’t ready for might happen to you.
There are different kinds of initial reactions: denial, shock, panic, depression.
Why did this happen to me?
What do I do now?
These are natural reactions and there’s nothing wrong with them, as long as you don’t stay too long with these feelings, but learn to accept the reality, recover and take action. As much as things seem bad, there are always advantages and opportunities, even if hidden.
The way to really overcome a crisis is to make the most of what is available. The universe shuffles your deck of cards, but YOU have the control to choose what to do with them.
Some things are out of our control, others are only sometimes in our control and sometimes the control is taken away from us. Adjusting to the change means controlling what you CAN, making choices that you CAN make.
Let’s get practical.
Here are the steps you can take:
Define as clearly and as precisely as possible what is the current problem.
Understand what changed due to the crisis?
What is different than before?
Acknowledge the limitations — if we take the virus example, the limitations might be: not being able to walk freely outside or meet people. Think what will help you get out of the crisis — is it changing habits?
Finding a new source of income?
Write down the options, what actions can be done within the limits?
Now that you have everything clear and organized, all that’s left to do is taking action. Look at the options you found and choose those that seem the best to start with.
Along the way, questions will arise and obstacles will come. The journey won’t be easy. However, taking action is better than remaining in the same place. It is frightening to go into the unknown, but it is more frightening to be stuck.
A small amount of fear can drive you to take action, but a large amount of fear can paralyze you. When you overcome your fears, you are free. While you embrace the change and take action, your plan might become different and you may need to keep adjusting it.
You learn new things all the time, and you can implement those things and improve your plan. It is also possible to execute more than one plan at a time, in order to not put all of your eggs in one basket, but make sure not to be all over the place and focus mostly on the current main plan.