Yesterday I finally lost my temper with humanity. All of it. Including myself.
Contrary to popular belief, I am not as curmudgeonly as initial appearances suggest. So, inevitably, when I do throw my toys out of the pushchair my body tends to reward me with a headache- a sort of self-flagellation from the psyche for being belligerent. To remind me that I am, actually, aspiring to be a ‘good guy’.
In my defence, pre-tantrum, I had been inundated with news feeds of barren supermarket shelves, stock piling of hand-wash and eggs (yes, eggs!), and a proliferation of ‘news’ and ‘advice’ from which it was impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff- if of course the supermarkets hadn’t sold out of those too!
It has been interesting to watch the world’s reaction to the Corona virus, including my own. I have done so from amidst the Hajar mountains in the Middle East. Even in the desert the Corona threat has wielded its power and it is here beneath a quarter moon and radiant stars that I am typing this.
As a writer, if my brain has something to spill that I’ve managed to ignore during daylight, then it is at 2.30 am on the dot that I am woken with a thunk that simply won’t go away. This is one of those moments.
It occurred to me as I lay in bed tossing and turning, my wife’s sighs willing me away to my desk, that the ‘Corona Virus Crises’ might well be one of the greatest things that will happen to many people.
Let me explain.
For all the misinformation about the ill effects of Corona, one thing is clear: many small businesses will go bust, unable to survive the drought in cash flow that social isolation and global lockdown will inevitably cause. As a small business owner, I know this as fact.
For those people, work, careers, money and even life will never be the same again.
Good, I say. Great.
In my latest book (‘How to Be a Buddhist Millionaire’) I interviewed the ‘Anonymous Banker’, AKA: Michael Taylor. I enjoyed a fascinating chat with Michael, an ex-high-level banker who, with insider knowledge and experience to hand, now specialises in giving alternative financial advice to young people.
The thing that struck me most about our conversation, the thing I’d forgotten about until it woke me at 2.30am, was the part where we spoke about a post- financial apocalyptic world. AKA: after the Corona virus!
I interviewed Michael for the book over a year ago, neither of us knowing that Corona was on or near the horizon, but what we discussed is fitting today.
Essentially, we agreed that the world, on the whole, has fallen down the rabbit hole of materialism. Just look at our ‘stockpiling’ mentality in the belief that we need ‘stuff’ to survive.
We also discussed that there have been times BEFORE the heights of money and materialism (he uses a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ example, one of my favourites in the whole book), and there will be times AFTER too. (Post Corona virus, maybe?)
So, what did we do before money and ‘stuff’ became all-consuming? What did we do before we got stuck in jobs, work and lives of which we are ambivalent merely to survive a society that tells us that ‘more is good’? What did we do before joining a rat race others insist that we run?
We dug deep, that’s what we did. We delved into our inner resources to mine the well of of the best side of our magnificent humanity. We used, what I call in the book, ‘Invisible Currencies’.
Before today, where we seem content to be the flotsam and jetsam on someone else’s economic tide, we built our own homes and grew our own food. Instead of craning our necks on phones in search of the latest gossip or ‘best buys’, we spent our time laughing, singing and telling stories around a fire. Some of us became the master wine maker, the blacksmith, the hunter, the Sangorma, but not because we needed a job, but because we had found our calling. And we loved it.
Michael and I never for one moment suggested that we return to the days of horse and cart, we both like our modern accoutrements far too much for that. We did however agree that the world is moving into unprecedented times regarding work, money and meaning, and this, as we can all see, has been accelerated by the Corona Virus Crisis.
But let’s not panic. Let us not forget how well we have survived life over the years, as did our grandparents and great-grandparents through the World Wars preceding us. Let’s remember our inherent greatness, our innate talents, our proclivity to not only survive, but to thrive.
I’m not denying the challenges before us, nor sweeping the difficulty of the days ahead under the carpet. We will certainly need to bring our ‘A’ game to get through this one. But we can do it. No doubt.
Why not take Corona as an OPPORTUNITY to hit the reset button and recreate yourself anew? Take these times to choose what it is you really want and rebuild a work life from the ground up, playing by your own rules, using skills called forth from the depths where they have lay dormant waiting patiently to be remembered.
Why not use this current ‘low’ as a spring board to future ‘highs’, the likes of which you once aspired, but maybe forgot.
Do it. Kick Corona in the ass. Choose for this to be a ‘good thing’ in your life, not a disaster.
The many amazing people I interviewed for the book, of which Michael Taylor was just one, all shared these following things in common:
- They made the effort to look for the bright side of adversity.
- They tried, tested and built faith in their natural talents to thrive.
- They never compromised on living a life that made them wake each day with a smile.
- They chose to be different from the norm and commit instead to a life of abundant meaning, passion and, ultimately, success.
I call these people the ‘Buddhist Millionaires’.
But please, in that case, just take a single pack of loo roll in the future, for all our sakes.
Matt Jardine is a writer, martial artist, entrepreneur, public speaker, podcaster, teacher, and the founder of Jardine Karate School. His previous books include Mo and Lucy – Choices, and The Hardest Path, inspired by his 88 Temple pilgrimage of Japan. Matt has practiced meditation and other Eastern arts for over 25 years and now lives between London and Oman with his wife and Jack Russell.