It was the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth who wrote that, “life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, from the present to live better in the future.”
In these words, the poet summarised one of life’s enduring realities, namely, that transformational moments are ever present. They need responses. The inordinately long season of lockdowns amidst Covid-19 containment measures has provided many such moments of reflection and growth.
Through a constant re-examination of opportunities, constraints and obstacles, people have been challenged to revisit and review choices, patterns and behaviours. It is safe to deduce that an agile, sensitive and responsive mind set is necessary if one is to remain vital and buoyant in the sea of coronavirus-induced change.
Civil servant Huda Rasid and data analyst Taufiq Rashid initially wanted two wedding receptions with two thousand and five hundred people respectively for families and friends later this month. Their new venue only accommodates thirty people. Ms Huda and Mr Taufiq have told the Straits Times newspaper about fixed and variable costs. They have since settled for only forty-eight guests who will be divided into three groups over a five-hour wedding.
The paper sees four big changes that will shape the so-called new normal, namely, “a more fractious and uncertain geopolitical environment; the reordering of supply chains; the transformation of jobs, with the rise of remote work, and a possible increase in social frictions as the economic pie shrinks. These trends will have profound implications for companies, workers as well as public policies, creating both new challenges and opportunities.”
In a world where conversations are forced to revolve around disruptions, painful adjustments, job uncertainties, right-sizing manpower needs, retooling workers and the search for new growth areas, it goes without saying, that self-transformation is a winning attribute.
The creative and intentional restructuring of the self into one that remains hopeful and forward-looking is possible. The process should thus be facilitated and encouraged, even as people are constantly reminded that it cannot be delegated.
It is important to note and acknowledge the stresses and pressures that are associated with the socio-economic fallout and the strict public health measures which are now coupled with the real challenge of making it through the day. Yet the heavy basket of obstacles still does not disable or distract people from seeking the best versions of themselves.
The author of ‘Still Be You’, Megan Chan, says that, “one percent or ninety-nine percent complete are both incomplete.” With this in mind, there is no doubt that the acceptance of disappointments and disillusionment, a renewal of the mind, followed by a determined break from painful and self-limiting narratives, is a winning combination. Concerning this difficult yet necessary and unavoidable mind shift, consultant Jude Treder-Wolff writes that, “mental and emotional patterns persist long after we make a behaviour change, and nothing but persistence in a new direction will get us to the finish line.”
It seems to me that a successful recast of self-identity and self-worth is only possible through a forgiving and hopeful frame of mind. This does not have to be a lonely undertaking because psychologist Benjamin Hardy encourages people to create networks of “empathetic witnesses” who can give active and unstinting support through the highs and lows of growth.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow said that, “one can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”