Hi, thanks for stopping by to read this write-up. I sincerely hope that you and your family are staying safe and strong in the face of this pandemic.
If you are a ‘social media’ animal then I can bet my Sunday morning on the fact that you have been asked to stay positive in one of the posts by an influencer or a friend, or multiple people.
I personally cannot comprehend the noise about positivity being spread all the time. Maybe some people can, but I cannot.
I believe that honoring your commitments and working towards your goals is different from being positive irrespective of the situation. Let me try and explain further in this post.
Positivity is often equated with being happy and euphoric at the moment, and for tomorrow, which is a great trait to have, but when everything that's going on is wrong and sad, trying to be positive and asking others to be positive is on the verge of being a narcissist.
It is equivalent to saying -
Armed forces is a great profession, as long as it is neighbor's son or daughter.
So when I read a caption which says "Be positive....", it sounds to me like -
Everything is fine at my place so far, and I am apathetic to the deaths happening in my neighbor's house.
In my experience, the opposite of a positive state of mind doesn't have to be a negative state of mind. There is a middle ground. We could compare it to discipline. How discipline is the middle ground between temporary motivation and utter failure, there is a middle ground between positive mind and negative mind too and that is - Being Mindful.
Discipline does not guarantee success but it does give an unfair advantage towards the chances of succeeding. Similarly, being mindful may not necessarily prevent being grasped by the negativity, but it makes you aware enough to control the thoughts and come back to the state of functioning.
When the problem is of the magnitude that COVID-19 is, and its nature is so morbid, all forced attempts at being positive are either going to be futile or end up questioning one's humanity.
Being mindful, aware, and committed to the situation is the rather sure-shot way to stay sane and being of value. In my experience, in the last month and times before that, these 4 simple steps have allowed my surroundings to be in control.
- Move: I move my body how much ever I can, either in the form of HIIT, Lifting Weights, New Skill Developments like handstand, pistol squat, or simple yoga+stretching movements. It typically lasts from 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how the day has progressed and how busy it is. The time before and after this session is worlds apart in terms of mental and physical state.
- Donate: I donate how much ever I can. We took the call to donate a part of our earnings from Zymrat to verified COVID relief funds, in addition to the smaller donations that Ankita (my co-founder) and I were already doing in a personal capacity. We decided to focus on impact rather than amount. In situations like the ongoing pandemic, every rupee counts.
- Awareness and compassion: I try to be aware of the situation and surroundings, not only within the family but also beyond. I stress the word "try" because it is nearly impossible to be fully aware. I try every day, during every conversation, during all calls, so that I can act accordingly, lend my ears where needed, amplify the resources where I can hear stories, lend my shoulders and share emotions. And most importantly, I try to be aware so that I don't make the mistake of asking someone to be positive when their immediate family members are taking their last breath.
- I honor my commitments: I ensure that my commitments do not derail. Whether it is the daily meetings, the growth of my startup, or my goals with respect to my body, health, and family, I work on them while being aware of the situation.
In short - I move when I can, I donate when I can, I try to be aware and compassionate, and I honor my commitments. I have found these to be much more helpful than waiting for a better tomorrow. I don't doubt that a better tomorrow is coming, but how we behave and execute our life today with this pandemic at its peak, is going to decide our characters when tomorrow arrives.
That's it for now. Hope you enjoyed reading this and hope I was able to give you some food for thought.
Take care, stay safe.
Ujjawal (Co-Founder, Zymrat)