It’s Freedom Day 2020 and an invisible virus has removed the same freedoms from all of us. The impact of the loss of our freedom to move about and do what we normally do is different for everyone – we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat, as it has been so well put. I am well aware that for the majority of our population, hot chickens and hairdressers are not high on their list of priorities right now, while for others they are. It’s the hairdresser for me – I’m not very good at cutting my own hair and as I am on camera every day presenting webinars, or for TV interviews on Skype, a hairdresser would be an essential service for me!

What is clear for me is that on this Freedom Day, everyone in our country is going through a process of grief and loss, something that is not really being widely acknowledged. There is a feeling of loss of control, especially in the future. We don’t even know what it looks like. It is running interference in everyone’s ability to move forward and to settle into their new working routines from home. For those less fortunate, it has removed their ability to make a living at all.

Use Your Power to Choose

My husband’s death a couple of years ago was proof that control is just an illusion. All we do have control of is the very moment in which we find ourselves, and our very next choice. We get to choose our attitude. We get to choose our response to life and what it brings us – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The truth though, is that the sun will still rise in the morning and life will go on. It may not be the same as before, and we will have to make adjustments and step into transformation in a big way to adapt to whatever the world looks like next. All you can do is make the best choice you can at each moment with what you know. If you want to make better choices you need better information. Ask more questions. Get to know yourself better. Get to know your family or your team at work better. Read. Stop. Slow down. Process. Feel. Reimagine. Reinvent. Be curious.

Curiosity is the Antidote to Fear

Curiosity is the antidote to fear and you still have the freedom to be curious. To ask why.  How does it work? How will it work? How could it work? How can we behave differently in this changed world? What is the point of me? What is the point of anything? I read a brilliant book called Curiosity by Ian Leslie last year, and there are so many applicable messages in his book for where we find ourselves now:

  • Curiosity is unruly – it assumes all rules are provisional and prefers excursions, diversions, and unapproved pathways, impulsive left turns.
  • A society that values order will repress curiosity.
  • Progressive societies value curiosity as the basis for progress and innovation, recognising that the most enquiring minds of its people are its most valuable asset.
  • Bureaucracy is known to stifle innovation and yet the curious are in increasing demand – people who can do more than follow procedures competently or respond to requests.
  • While computers are smart they are not yet curious. As human beings, we must be more in touch with our drive to find connections and to make sense of the world. To find meaning.

With regard to curiosity, we find ourselves at an interesting time in history, but a rather paradoxical one. To contain the spread of the virus we have given up our personal freedoms and civil liberties. We have handed over control to the state in order to create mass order in society to contain the spread of the Corona Virus. At the same time, it is curiosity and out of the box thinking that is required to find our way through the disruption and chaos.

Finding Meaning in COVID

But, on this Freedom Day, let’s also take the time to be still. Take a moment. Take a breath. Meaning is found through reflection and contemplation. When I get frustrated as I walk repeated laps of my 100-step loop through my house, garage and short driveway, I remind myself that Nelson Mandela survived years of lockdown on Robben Island and managed to find meaning, as did Victor Frankl, renowned psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor who wrote the acclaimed book, “In Search of Meaning.”

This is our COVID Moment and we will find meaning in this, with or without hot chickens and hairdressers. Each in his own time. Each in her own way. There is no restriction on how we connect the dots for ourselves moving forward. What choices are you making and how are you feeding your attitude constructively? Numbing out on Netflix is a way of dropping out of the fear and anxiety loop but it’s no substitute for putting your personal freedom to good use – how you direct your heart and your mind. These things are still in your control. If Mandela and Victor Frankl could do it, then so can we!

NIKKI BUSH

Human Potential and Parenting Expert

Listen to my Win @ Life and Work Podcast

https://www.nikkibush.com/rationalise-the-impact-of-covid19-with-scarf/

https://www.nikkibush.com/let-go-end-of-day/