As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to end things on a positive note. Yes, there’s a positive side to everything – even in a global pandemic!
For most of us, 2020 was one big surprise after another. This is the very first time that young people and boomers alike have experienced a global pandemic on such a scale. If we had one word to sum up what our country is going through right now, the word ‘crisis’ would naturally roll off the tongue.
A textbook definition of crisis reads somewhere along the lines of “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.” I think it hits the nail on the head as far as 2020 is concerned.
We’ve been hit by one disaster after another in quick succession without respite. From the global pandemic to civil unrest, high unemployment to floods – there’s just too much to process at any one time. Things we only heard about in the movies are now hitting too close for comfort.
Everything stops being fun and games when the magnitude of the crisis reaches us directly. So, is there a silver lining to all these crises?
To answer this question, I want to take a look back on history. Have we, as a country, ever experienced turbulent periods on a similar scale before? The answer is, of course, we have.
According to a book called The Fourth Turning, this isn’t our first rodeo. Crises of this scale have reached us every 80-100 years – almost like clockwork. The last three periods of crisis we experienced were the Great Depression and World War II in the 1940s. Then we had the Civil War, and before that, we had the American Revolution.
We know a great deal about these events because they significantly changed our history. Our country is built and shaped after the lessons we learned from each crisis. The scars we bear as a nation are proof of our unshakeable resolve to persevere against all odds.
So, what good can come out of a crisis? An act of refinement, purification, and cleansing.
Refinement is defined as “the process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance” or “the improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes.”
Refinement brings about great change. Hard times act as a catalyst for great things.
A quick glance at history shows that our country emerged far stronger after each crisis. After going through the Great Depression and World War II, our country experienced what is known as “The American High”. After the Civil War, we had the “Reconstruction and Gilded Age”. After the American Revolution, we had the “Era of Good Feelings”.
These events unified our families, reinforced our institutions, redefined the social structure, and prioritized the good of the community at large.
As our country goes through yet another period of refinement, what does it look like for you?
- Are you personally going through refinement?
- Is your family going through refinement?
- Is your business going through refinement?
Now is the time to embrace refinement and come out the other end as a new and improved version of you. Refinement doesn’t happen overnight; it is a long and drawn-out process.
Here are three things that can help you endure your refinement period:
1. Find Inspiration
Inspiration brings hope, desire, and positivity. There are two types of inspiration:
- Passive Inspiration: Every time you watch a video, read an article, or listen to a podcast, you practice passive inspiration. You may learn something new without lifting a finger. However, listening to stories about other people’s experiences isn’t the same as creating your own.
- Active Inspiration: This is the act of creating things, applying new ideas, and learning from past mistakes. It’s a process of self-discovery that teaches us more about our passion projects. It fosters long-term passion and inspires us for years to come.
Find your active inspiration and use it as a tool to move forward.
With a positive mindset and inspiration in place, it’s time to develop a strategy to get you or your business where it needs to go. Having a vision helps you plan out your next steps.
3. Take Action
If you want to overcome and not just endure, you will need to take action to make progress. Remember to keep moving forward so you don’t lose momentum. Never stop or give up.
As 2020 comes to a close, I hope you can see the upside of things and understand that it is important for every great nation, people, and organization to persevere as it journeys through crises. The passing of each season brings with it marked change and new growth.
I hope that by using the above strategies, you can start off your plans for 2021 on a more fulfilling and productive note.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”- Helen Keller
I wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year!