There are many things that the COVID pandemic has taught us. For me, the experiences of the past year have reinforced something many of us already knew: your state of mind can be a very powerful influence on the outcome of your work, your day, and even your life.
It’s easy to think of COVID as the thing that ruined 2020. But even in the midst of the serious challenges and truly difficult circumstances, many valuable, positive learnings were the result of COVID. One that comes to my mind is how many people had the opportunity to work from home and spend more time with their families, rather than battling traffic jams. Some of my colleagues have mentioned that they used to have three or four late-night meetings each week, and now they have only one or none. Hours of travel to in-person meetings have been replaced with Zoom conferences, allowing people to find time in their “new work-life” for exercise.
Everyone was forced to step back and evaluate life from a different perspective. Things we took for granted are now all privileges. We have had a chance to consider what is really important in our lives and careers. COVID has allowed many people the space they needed for reflection and the opportunity for reprioritization. I truly think that as a society we will come out the other side of COVID with our work priorities more aligned with our personal life priorities. But these benefits won’t come without a conscious decision to change your mindset about living and working in a pandemic.
In all situations, you can see only the bad, or you can choose to see the positive outcomes and improvements of the disruption of your “normal.” It takes practice and discipline to choose to see the good in things, even if imperfectly, in the face of stress, discomfort, or exhaustion. This leads me to wonder: Is it truly possible to make a conscious decision about your attitude towards any one situation at any one time, and, rather than just try to keep smiling as you slog through to the inevitable outcome, actually change the outcome because of it?