All the negativity surrounding the shutdown/quarantine was getting a little overwhelming. So I asked my email list for a little inspiration:

What positives, if any, have you noticed or think will come about as a result of the shutdown?

I received some inspiring answers and narrowed it down to five. These are all good answers, and they all got me thinking.

Now, some of you might be cynical to the core and call bullshit on every single one, and that’s entirely your prerogative.

On the other hand, perhaps one or two of these might warm the flash-frozen cockles of your once-beating heart.

Who knows? I doubt it. All I can do is try.

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1. Ryan says:

I think that there are going to be lessons learned from this that will benefit future generations immensely. I have also never seen people being kinder. There is always something good to see if we want to..

My notes:

Never seen people be kinder? I assume he means off line. Because folks on Facebook are sure cranky.

But in the real world, yes, I have noticed people are a bit more patient. Maybe because leaving the house is now a cool novelty?

Perhaps there’s an element of “we’re all in this together.” I don’t know. There are communities coming together.

As for lessons for future generations, I can’t think of many yet, but there will be some soon. Though, I’ll say that “keep at least one barbell and 500 pounds of weight on hand” isn’t half bad.

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2. Andrew says:

It feels like this was mother nature’s way of telling the world that we all just need to pause for a moment and realize how valuable our families, relationships, and values matter.

Business wise there are and will be tons of opportunities long-term as well, it’s just having the fortitude to be able to bear the short term pain.

My notes:

Yes. Being forced to avoid contact with people deemed vulnerable is decidedly cruel, and the stories of people saying goodbye to loved ones in the hospital via cell phone are heart wrenching—if that doesn’t make you take stock of all you have then I don’t know what will.

As for business opportunities, I will say a lot of things are going to change including what’s considered “normal.” Those who can’t adapt won’t survive long, while those who can will flourish.

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3. Jeff says:

I think one positive that will come out of this situation is that problems with the healthcare system in the US will become more apparent and hopefully more aggressive steps will be taken to improve quality and accessibility of care.

My notes:

I ain’t touching this one. But like how Mr. Miyagi said, “best block is no be there,” the “best medicine is no get sick.”

Of course, not every illness is our own damn fault and a wealthy nation certainly should be able to provide at least basic healthcare to its citizens, right?


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4. Paul says:

I’m going to come out of this in better shape physically and mentally. My workouts are dialed in, being productive, time to mediate and relax. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you don’t have to work.

My notes:

Ah! A productive SOB. I love it.

But in the past few weeks I’ve also heard from many who have never felt less productive.

I don’t fault anyone for wanting to move forward in life and be productive and make the best of a lousy situation, but clearly many of us failed to appreciate or were just unprepared for how stressful prolonged uncertainty is.

Now add total disruption to your daily and weekly routine, increasing money stress, and a lack of confidence in your own government to make the right decisions and you get, “I put on pants today, that’s a win right?”

If that’s you: THAT’S OKAY.

(Hit me up, Paul. Let me know if your planned productivity panned out.)

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5. Jeremy says:

I think it’s that almost the whole world is stopping at the same time and rethinking exactly what is important in life.

My notes:

Yes, but… I’m also curious what the answers are for the implied question that’s here.

Judging by what I’ve read, to some, “what’s important” is health and family while to others it’s unfettered access to services. But then, on the other hand, some even said for them it was crushing enemies and hearing the lamentation of their women. (And I wasn’t always sure how ironic they were being.)

In general, being forced to examine your core values is a good exercise—especially if you learn that what you believe in and how you live aren’t on the same path.

That’s what we call a “conundrum,” and it’s worth spending some time with.