There’s so much happening right now that it’s hard to keep up, as the numbers related to COVID-19 spiral higher and higher, and stay-at-home orders are extended further and further. And things are likely going to get worse before they get better. I don’t say that to be a downer, but just to acknowledge the current reality.
Even if you are lucky and privileged enough to be safe at home right now, with lots of food, and healthy, and maybe even with work still to do – there’s plenty to worry about. Will you ultimately lose your job? Is the whole economy going to come crashing to a halt? Are you going to get sick, or will someone you care about get sick? Or die? These worries loom larger and larger, until they begin to block out everything else. And that’s not helpful.
Let’s push those worries aside for a moment, and imagine that you’re going for a walk on a very foggy day. You’re enveloped by the fog, can’t see more than a few yards in front of you, and things look unfamiliar or even frightening, surprising you as they appear in your limited field of vision.
Quick science question: what is fog? It’s tiny droplets of water suspended in the air. If you collected all those droplets, say from an area the size of a football field, encased in a dense fog about 12 ft deep, how much liquid water would you guess you’d end up with? Enough to fill a bathtub? A swimming pool? A lake?
The answer is, none of the above. It would only come out to somewhere between 1 to 10 liters of water.* To fill a standard bathtub, you’d need anywhere from 150 to 300 liters of water. So out of all that fog, you couldn’t even collect enough water to draw a bath and soak all your worries away!
Which is the point – worrying over things that haven’t even happened yet is like letting those few liters of water become a huge fog bank. We can’t think or see clearly, and let’s face it – we need to be able to do that in order to respond to the challenges brought on by this pandemic. We’ll all benefit from spending as much of our energy as possible on the things that are within our control, even if that’s only our own perspective.
Hopefully this metaphor provides a quick and useful perspective shift. And here are two ways I can provide further support:
#1: The Optimize Your Life to Be Your Best Self group program started in the beginning of April 2020, but you could be part of the next cohort. This program is for you if you want to get support with shifting your perspective, improve the structures and routines in your life to increase your energy and productivity, and become better equipped to deal with the challenges that will be coming down the road.
#2: My Get Out of Overwhelm Journey videos are still available (for now). There are five of them, each about 15 minutes long, and you can access them for free here:
They’re a great way to take a little break, especially if your monkey mind is feeding you negative, fear-based stories about what is going to happen and adding to the fog. Drop into the most important areas of your life: your Energy, your Work (paid or not), and your Love (all your relationships), as well as discover your Kryptonite, and get ideas and focus for moving forward in a productive way.
Stay well, and don’t let your worries turn into a fog bank!
*If I did my math right! Fogquest.org (they specialize in collecting water from fog), says that there’s typically between 0.05 to 0.5 grams of liquid water in 1 cubic meter of fog – I’d show you my spreadsheet for the rest, but that’s getting too geeky! I’ll leave it to you to check my work if you’re bored. Why the math? Well, I heard about this metaphor through Optimize (the program I recently got certified in as an Optimize Coach). It came from Earl Nightingale’s book, The Essence of Success, in which he says that a bank of fog that is 100 feet deep and covers seven city blocks contains less than a glass of water. I think he underestimated the amount of water, which explains my geeky math as I was trying to be sure I was sharing correct information. But regardless, the metaphor still holds. 🙂
Woman in the fog: Артём Мякинник
Cat in bathtub: Brad Pearson