Unprecedented

2020 came and went in a flash.

Almost everything around the globe came to a standstill from March till the end of the year, and with no end in sight yet. It is an unprecedented epidemic that sent the world into turmoil. Like all years, i try to pen down some of the things i’ve learnt in the past year, sharing with you in hopes that you may find it valuable to your life too. Let’s see what this disruptive year has taught me… and not all are COVID lessons.

1. BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SMALLEST THINGS
With lockdowns bringing the world to a standstill and affecting the livelihood of many, i am very grateful for being able to be where i am today. With loved ones and myself healthy and still employed by a good employer tops my gratitude list.
Staying at home for the longest periods in our lives, to many (myself included) it is a small taste of what losing your freedom or being incarcerated feels like. Pacing around my small humble abode, i was constantly engulfed in feelings of frustration and claustrophobia. If anything, I’ve learnt to be more grateful for some of the most basic things we take for granted everyday, freedom, space, a meal out, hanging with friends, my job and my couch!
Whilst i’ve always sworn by the powers of a gratitude practice, 2020 (and for the next couple of years maybe!) has really pushed me to more appreciative of the things i have. Be grateful for what you have, and you will always have more to be grateful for.

Be grateful for what you have, and you will always have more to be grateful for

2. BOY SCOUTS
Whilst this epidemic is unprecedented, it has taught me to think of possibilities and the necessary solutions. Nothing prepared us for what has befallen upon us, and that warrants us to think of future possibilities and what we can do now to be prepared. (i.e: have a bigger savings account!). A situation of this scale can happen once, can always happen again. It may not be as big an impact, but at least we’d be overly prepared for any situation. We should adopt the Boy Scouts motto of ‘Be Prepared’ and always think of worse case scenarios and have at least a plan in mind.

3. FAMILY
One of the biggest things to come out of this whole episode for me was the fostering of closer relations with the family. With travel restricted globally, some people around me have lost loved ones in other countries and were unable to say their last goodbyes. Sadly, i also had to see my best friend lay 2 of his family members to rest in 2020, both sadly lost their battles with the other “C”.
The virus was yet another reminder on how fragile and short life is, and this made us put in the effort to spend more time with each other and appreciate the time spent together. Sometimes just having a coffee together and not saying much suffice.

4. THERE ARE ALWAYS OPPORTUNITIES
I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of some remarkable personalities and business owners during these challenging times. Listening and watching how they have pivoted their businesses and some making drastic changes to their business models is inspiring. These many successful stories show that no matter the situation, there is always opportunity. They took brave moves to do things differently, for some to even do entirely different things too. Don’t let the fear of the unknown or the complacency of the comfort zone bring us to our knees. Act fast, fail fast, learn and act again.

Act fast, fail fast, learn and act again.

5. HEALTH IS THE REAL WEALTH
Every year i remind myself and you about how important health is. 2020 though, taught the world that even the richest are not spared. No matter how much money you have, you cannot have the mindset that “it wont happen to me”. If it’s not Covid, it could be the other common “C”, or your heart, or a myriad of other complications. Money cannot take away the pain from ill health, health is the real wealth. take care of your body.

6. FRIENDS
The good thing about every negative situation is it gives us the opportunity to see who our friends are. Many are willing to ride the limo, it is who is willing to take the bus with you when the limo is gone that matters. In trying times like these, i am very grateful for friends who took the effort to enhance the relationships, making time for each other, going out of the way to help one another even with the simplest of tasks, and most importantly, just checking in on each other to see how they are doing. Its been a rewarding experience and i am very grateful for our friendship.

7. EVIL LURKS
Envy is one of the seven sins of man, and learning number 7. 2020 granted me a front row seat in seeing first hand how envy can drive one person to find euphoric joy in going to great lengths in destroying the lives of others and bringing an organisation to no growth for many years. The saying “An idle mind is the Devil’s playground” is very real, and based on my conversations with the subject and observation of this situation, it is “Envy + Job Hate + Boredom = Evil.” It was almost a daily affair in 2020 where i was managing the repercussions of daily evil deeds bestowed upon others. Evil is everywhere, and evil has no distinguishing looks, but a troubled soul does. A troubled soul that nobody takes notice of can lead to dangerous situations. If you are in a position of leaderships/management, always ensure your team is highly engaged, form a connection to understand better, provide meaningful work, reward and incentivise the outcomes you want, and stay alert and take notice of their behaviours. This is my first such encounter of such evil soul and as a practitioner of reframing, it is a wonderful learning experience.

An idle mind is the Devil’s playground

2020 was like hitting the pause button. Forced me to generally just slow down and appreciate the moments i’m in, be it just doing absolutely nothing. To a certain extent i feel as though i didn’t do enough to leverage the time made available to me this year and it creates occasional thoughts of regret and anxiety, then i remind myself to look at my gratitude list and be grateful for where i am and what i have. Happy New Year to you and yours, may 2021 be filled with wealth, happiness, and most importantly, great health. Take Care!

jwan heah
jwanheah.com

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