How many times have you played through a scenario in your head and played the role of the hero? I don’t mean you always save the world from invaders in day dreams, even simple conversations where you act out what you would have said, the perfect retort, a speech that reinvigorates those around you. Whilst we often punish ourselves by reliving our greatest failures, moments we wish we could get back and run through one more time to change those haunting mistakes – the idea of what we would do in a time of adversity is certainly not an uncommon one. It’s said that there are only a few moments that truly matter in our lifetimes (Deadpool reference), defining decisions where we get to show who we truly are. Perhaps these imagined scenarios sit in place of these life altering events that are yet to happen – allowing us the freedom to define our perception of who we are in their absence. We are then open to act as the person we believe ourselves to be, knowing that when those big moments come, we’ll greet them head on, becoming the person we’ve always known ourselves to be.
What happens when the time comes and we freeze? What happens when instead of being the hero, we are simply engulfed by the chaos?
At the time of writing this – we are living amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A massive percentage of the world is living in lockdown – a period of isolation to slow and control the spread of the virus. During this time we have seen the best and worst in people. Whilst we have seen stockpiling essentials to resell at a higher price, fake PPE companies suddenly springing up on Amazon, this plague on humanity of those who will find a way to monetise times of hardship, we have seen people rise up to the challenge. First responders and emergency services working overtime with little to no protection, hundreds of thousands volunteering to get emergency supplies out to those who need them most, fitness companies dropping their fees entirely to ensure everyone is able to stay active at home and so much more. These people will look back and know that when the time came, they stood up and made a difference.
I would love to say I fit in with the group above. I should be the person meeting this challenge head on, this often imagined scenario where dark days allow for the brightest prevailing light. Jocko Willink has a great quote where he talks about being a rock in times of adversity; being the one thing people around you know can be relied upon. This is one of those moments, a defining time where the person you are matters more than ever. Now is the time where our actions should echo across our communities, a time where we must be the light
Personally, I feel absolutely lost in the chaos.
The NORSE mindset is built upon a resilience built through adversity, with the wellbeing of your pack, your community pushed above all else – an acceptance that we must always act with at least some level of selflessness. During this period of isolation – we should be looking out for the people around us, being their rocks, being the thing to be relied upon. A truly purpose driven existence – something that is universally needed; goals, targets and dreams to work toward are the things that keep us moving, keep us driving. Purpose.
As stupid as it sounds, my fall into questioning my purpose was triggered by a computer game. I play a character that is geared around protecting the rest of the team, absorbing the initial impact and controlling the onslaught, keeping it off your team. For one reason or another I couldn’t do that and found myself wandering around aimlessly whilst everyone died, only in a game of course. This only in a game moment caused me to reflect upon everything else that is currently happening around us, and my place in the world.
What is my purpose? The truth is, I have no idea. We find ourselves in a scenario where you can strive if you remain disciplined and driven. When the discipline wanes, we have too much time to think, too much time to question and too much time to destroy. This is by no means a comparatively hard time, being locked at home on the scale of hard and tough scenarios is for damn sure pretty low down. Even in these comfy surroundings, we are still able to find ways to mentally break and erode away. I want to be useful, I want to be the thing to be relied upon, but am I? In the past I was able to act out scenarios in my head and say absolutely I am, and when the time comes, I will be. The time is here and now. Honestly, I don’t think I am, I am lost in this chaos, struggling to find purpose. I find myself aimlessly staring at the things I know I need to do – lost in trying to take the first step in making them happen. Those big moments come and maybe we don’t step up to the plate. Maybe we aren’t the person we hoped we would be, or maybe we just need to get up and go again. I don’t say this as a means to set up an epiphany, a grand reveal on how we cope with these times where we aren’t the person we hoped to be, sadly I don’t have those answers right now.
I don’t know what comes next. I know that just waiting for it to pass isn’t an option and opting to remain frozen amidst the chaos will be a weak decision that would no doubt end up on the wall of things I wish I could take back.
I don’t know what awaits, once again not living up to my own vision of myself, more moments of feeling lost, or maybe even a little redemption. The only thing I do know is, all of those are better than staying motionless and just waiting for it all to play out.
We stand together. Always.
For The Pack,
If you want to volunteer and help our during the current pandemic – there are plenty of resources available to find companies and non-profits that are looking for help for people of all skillsets. Below is a link for the UK but a simple Google search will likely find a very similar localised version.
DO IT: www.do-it.org