Bad times do end
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - November 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Business is seasonal; business is cyclical. Good times come, and then they end. Bad times are here, and it will certainly end, sometimes slowly or in rare cases, suddenly business grows again. While this latter thought seems to be far from our minds as we fix and glue our eyes to endless news cycles about how bad the situation is, this makes us sad. For some, sadness is the feeling, and for others, even fear and anxiety.

At the start of the year, when the volcano erupted and COVID-19 was still an epidemic happening in Wuhan, I had already braced myself for the worst things to come. I wrote about it in January, right here in this column. I said that geezers and old folks like me who have gone through multiple crises in their lives would be more prepared and ready to handle another one. Millennials and Generation Z however, who have grown up in a rosy and growing economy, would find dealing with the crisis a lot more complicated, and the experience, more excruciating.

In challenging times like these, sustaining a healthy mindset would be vital to surviving the crisis and thriving in these challenging situations. A healthy attitude also allows us to stay upbeat, avoid needless anxieties, persevere through the crisis that would lead to finding smart solutions, and turn the situation around.

As I reiterate in the countless webinars that I have conducted during the lockdown, the following ideas may help you and hopefully build up a positive mindset that would enable you to stay positive and resilient.

We know this, but when a crisis hits up, there is an upsurge of emotions that makes it difficult to reason. I hope these ideas that have been culled through personal experiences would be of help:

1. This crisis will pass.

Nothing lasts forever. But when a crisis hits you, it feels like it will never end. Behavioural economics and psychologists have conducted experiments that have proven that negative events have a more powerful effect on us than positive ones. Thinking that it will never end is not a perspective that is objective. Even the worst kinds of situations end at some point. Sometimes you need to do something to make them end or hurry at that moment, other times they wither and die on their own. Meanwhile, we need to be patient and ride the storm. But this too will end. Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger says, “There can’t be another crisis this week; my schedule is already full.”

2. This crisis is not unique to you.

While this fact is widely known and it may not offer any form of consolation, this thought comes in handy. You lose a job. You close business, and this is not something to be embarrassed about. There is no need to carry the extra baggage weight of guilt. Unless you were the one who caused the pandemic, you need to realize that we are all in the same storm. No, the universe is not conspiring against you. No, this is not “bad karma” or “bad luck.” The only reason you think this way is because you are highly sensitive and highly aware of your troubles, and you may not be aware of what others are going through. You are not alone in this.

3. This crisis is tough, but you are tougher.

Many years ago, a popular book written by Dr. Robert Schuller said: “Tough Times Don’t Last. Tough People Do.” He is proven right.

The thing to remember is that you have had challenges before, and you overcame them. And when hit with a crisis, you would tend to say, “But this time, this one is different.” Of course, every situation is different by nature. But it does not mean this one would destroy you and knock you out unless you allow it. Yes. There will be a setback. But this does not close the door to having a come-back.

The process may be difficult and painful, but it will pass, and you will recover. As somebody said, “This will pass. Like a stone passing through a kidney, but it will pass.” Think about the situations you had in the past that you have successfully overcome. In doing so, you would be reminded that you have the ability, tenacity, and ingredients needed to rise above the situation. Thoughts like these might infuse you with the required confidence to take action and are better than staying in a static state of homeostasis and wallowing in misery.

Tides always change. This one will pass. Meanwhile, you roll with the punch. Develop the mindset that times are tough but so are you. Tough times will end, but you emerge stronger and wiser, and you are on your way to recovery and becoming better.

(Attend and participate in the live webinar this November 9 at 7:30 pm. Francis Kong will host, and educator and book author Dr. Ramesh Richard will speak on: “Life is Do-able:  Being Strong in Times of Difficulty.” Live on facebook.com/franciskong2)

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