What an interesting time we live in, now. Many things have changed since then – from the routine of our daily lives to my internal beliefs. Not all are positives but undoubtedly they all provide useful insights and require some reflections, for sure!
Sharing my 7 main lessons from the last 70 days – some are the old-aged conventional wisdom and some may seem counter-intuitive:
1. The importance of routine
We are the creature of habits and routines give some sense of normalcy. I have to admit that this plays a major part in stabilizing our household and creating that sense of security. Enlisting our children as part of the planning process helps in empowering them to choose their own commitments and decide on how they will spend their time. In turn, this helps me to balance working-and-parenting and to focus on other matters.
2. But, Always be Flexible
While we like to have all our plans to be 100% fool-proof, I would be naive to say that everything will go according to plan (never!) Hence, my second lesson is a constant reminder for me to remain flexible in our routine plans. This also helps me reduce all the unnecessary mental distractions if things don’t go well. What helped me really is to be curious to solve unplanned issues (be it from broken printer to lack of vegetable supplies!)
3. The fallacy of Dream
This fallacy is such a good lesson for me to re-evaluate and learn to distill the essence of my dream / aspiration. I have always dreamt of working from home and being able to homeschool the children. After these 2 1/2 months, shall I say it is always good to test and validate my dream! It turns out that I am definitely not fit to be a homeschool teacher and would rather delegate this role to professionals (and I have no qualms admitting this!) Instead of being so surprised by this, I got curious and explored this assumption. I still like the part of being accessible to my children and imparting some life lessons – but that was it. I did not enjoy teaching them the run-of-the-mill school subjects, but enjoyed their presence. In summary, more than ever, I become more cognizant of the fallacy of dream and the only to do it is to test and experience it.
4. But, dream anyway!
This crisis presents such an opportune time (and low risk) to test this assumption of mine. Without these experiments, I will never learn. So, dream and set goals anyway!
5. The wonderful way of learning new skill
(Note: OK, so I am one of those statistics of working mothers who suddenly find herself immersing and learning new cooking skill). I cannot tell how much I used to stay away from cooking and baking (and would prefer to delegate to our food delivery services and restaurants!).
One observation I had in learning (any) new skill is to be conscious of the objective of learning, be clear on the foundational skills and be confident to try. Of course, the external motivation for me is to see the family enjoy the cooking.
Similarly, some people broaden their skills by learning other cognitive skills like data science, finance etc. The basics remain the same in approaching new skills, whether it is learning about investment or cooking – be clear on learning objective and nothing beats immersing yourself by being in action.
6. And, at the same time, honing our superpower(s)
For learners like me, we thrive in the process of learning itself, so this is the part that I struggle the most when I get distracted in the learning journey itself. After so much divergence, I finally decided perhaps that I can try to focus on one thing at a time, especially sharpening my existing superskills/ superpowers. What helped my distracted self is to create monthly reflection on what I can further improve on. Incremental daily improvement of 1% is better than a yearly 10% step improvement.
7. The critical part of building mental fortress
This comes as a no surprise, yet remains a powerful lesson in terms of daily application. I find micro breaks and micro gratitude practices helped me tremendously in prepping the mind. I would have never imagined that visualizing my favorite vacation spots is on top of this list, but it has proven effective once I try it. The act of eliciting positive emotions really helped me to prepare my mind to be more expansive.
So what would be your surprising practices to clear the mental fog?