Fear and Rigidity

The need to be flexible in these uncertain times.

Posted Jul 31, 2020

These are certainly stressful times we are living in – personally, professionally, nationally, and globally. When we are under stress it is very natural for us to dig our heels in and refuse to change. When we are afraid, when we are filled with uncertainty, we are even more likely to dig in and hold fast.

Unfortunately, rigidity is not helpful in a crisis. Flexibility is usually the key to survival. So in the present pandemic crisis we all are faced with, there is a great deal of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that we or a loved one may contract the virus and not survive. Fear that we may lose our job if the crisis continues to effect our ability to get back to work. Fear that it may be a very long time before we return to the “normal” we once knew.

Yes, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding what the future will bring. However, to be resilient in this crisis we must manage our fear in order to be flexible in our response to the challenges that this crisis presents.

We all want things to get back to normal. But, unfortunately, they probably never will. There will be a new normal, parts of which we may like and many parts of which we will not like. Adapting to this new way of living will require flexibility in our thinking and our actions, and the willingness to accept and to embrace change.

To manage the brave new world that we will be a part of, we will need to continue to communicate with and to connect with others. And we will have to develop more tolerance for uncertainty. At this point, the future is not in any way predictable. We are going to have to find purpose and meaning in an unpredictable world.

For many of us this may be very hard. To do so will require developing new skills. Some of these skills may be occupational skills. Some of us will be taking new jobs, not able to go to back to the ones we had pre-COVID-19. And many of the skills we will require will be new life skills.

The “new normal” future will be demanding. There will be much work to be done to rebuild our lives and our communities. But we must believe in ourselves and develop the self-confidence to be resilient. We have no choice.