How Should We Count The Days To The End of The Pandemic?
When? When? When?
This is a major question asked and posted about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here was a question that was posed to my 5:15 am Bootcamp group a few weeks ago…
Do you count your reps going up or down?
Now, I have always counted up! But, some people counted down and even one person shared that he counted up, until past half-way and then he counted down.
He related it to climbing up a mountain and then coming down on its other side.
Ever notice that if there is an instructor, he/she may count down for everyone and then as a result, you’ll count down too. Their voice trumps our own.
I count up for one simple reason! There can always be one more! When I get to 10, I try to do just one more. Just one more is a way we build grit. If I’m counting down, however, I can’t go past zero.
So, how should we count our days to the end of the pandemic?
During my 50-mile trail run, my mentality was simply one-mile-at-a time!
One mile at a time kept me focused just on my rhythm and what I can control. Except, when I hit mile 42, then I started counting down miles. And that’s when it got tough.
At mile 42 on, I was now focused on just finishing the race and when your tired and a raging desire to be complete kicks in, it’s even more crucial to focus on your process, not your results.
During this pandemic, it is crucial that we focus on our process.
We must count up and avoid counting down!
Counting down to an end of the pandemic of coronavirus crisis means having a specific date in mind of when we return to our “normal.” However, this is dangerous!
First, we can’t know when our date will be!
Dates and deadlines change and switch almost daily, so we are trying to shoot a moving target. We don’t know when things will open up and this unknown can cause stress. It also reminds us of our lack of control.
If we have a specific date in mind, then we are just setting ourselves up for a huge mental letdown.
Admiral Stockdale was a POW for seven years during the Vietnam War. He endured immense torture and faced many atrocities as a prisoner.
In the Jim Collins book, “Good To Great”, he mentioned how they overcome their own hardships. A key he said was: “never losing faith in eventually being released.” However, he also confronted the stark reality of his dire situation.
This would become known as: Stockdale Paradox.
He also stated that the optimists were the ones who would not make it. The optimists would state, “We will be home by Christmas.” Then, Christmas would come and go and optimists’ would lose faith and succumb to their horrible conditions.
We can’t focus on an end date to the pandemic or when we will move on with our lives. We need to stay dialed in to what we can control and getting better as a result of this hinge moment.
Sadly, many more people will struggle during the next few weeks and months. One’s level of mental toughness will be revealed and exposed during this struggle. We all can help each other out, by refusing to guesstimate or become time-travelers wondering what date this will all be over.
If you’ve been looking at a specific number of days or how long to the end of the pandemic- STOP IT.
Remember a key to counting was invented by Muhammad Ali who said: ” I don’t count my sit-ups, I only count when they start to hurt.”
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.