Seeking Opportunities & Abandoning Obstacles in a Quarantined World
Updated: Jul 23
Every situation in life can be viewed as an obstacle or an opportunity. The trick to deciphering between the two comes from prioritizing your happiness. Happiness is a choice and if you choose to focus on the obstacles instead of the opportunities, you will be unhappy.
When you remember that you control your happiness, you'll master the art of seeking opportunities instead of dwelling on obstacles.
This doesn't mean you become a magical fairy godmother who *poofs* the obstacles away. You can still identify obstacles in your life without dwelling on them. Here's an example:
How I Distinguished An Obstacle From An Opportunity:
I’d been working on an article for several weeks. The more I read and wrote, edited and re-edited, the more unhappy I felt with the piece. As writers, we have to be able to distinguish an obstacle piece from an opportunity piece. It's a crucial tip to save time & stress! This piece initially felt like an opportunity to write something great, but after consistent disappointment with the revisions, I realized the piece was an obstacle preventing me from writing a better article. The more time I spent on that mediocre piece the less time I spent writing something wonderful. So I abandoned the obstacle piece and invested in this opportunity piece you’re currently reading, minus the dwelling and woe is me bullshit.
Every day we can decide what is an obstacle and what is an opportunity. Every day we can decide what we focus on and put our energy into. The moment you focus on your happiness is the moment you choose to seek the opportunities and abandon the obstacles.
Here's How You Can Apply The Trick to Quarantine:
A global pandemic
Perhaps you want to focus on the opportunities but the negativity in the world is too much to overcome. I have news for you. There is always a opportunity to focus on and an obstacle to tune out. Speaking of news, let’s use the media as an example. The news of the 21st Century proves an enormous obstacle. Let’s face it, pandemic or not, the news is a constant source of negativity.
But if we...
see the news as an opportunity for education
as opposed to
an obstacle filled with negativity
we enter a state of humility and gratitude
LET'S TRY IT!
Instead of focusing on how many people are dying, focus on how many people are surviving. Tons! There are tons of people in the world and the survivors are not limited to people younger than 60.
Retrain Your Brain
Instead of thinking,
“Every time I turn on the news I become more worried and afraid of this virus,”
“Every time I turn on the news I’m grateful to be alive in the 21st Century where the resources of information are endless.”
We’re not living during the Black Plague. We're living with advanced technology that is helping us combat this pandemic faster than ever before. The information regarding preventative care and spotting the symptoms is endless! We are not living in the dark and for that we should be grateful. Sure the news can be scary, but it can also be informative and helpful. So appreciate it as such and when you feel it is more of an obstacle than an opportunity, shut it off. That's allowed and encouraged! Remember, your happiness is a priority.
Your Quarantine Opportunities:
Watch black and white movies, write letters, call your grandparents, start a Netflix series, read, walk, write, draw, watch a documentary, do yoga on your front lawn, sing, laugh, cry, cook, create DIY spa day masterpieces, clean out your closet, clean up your social media accounts, finally create a LinkedIn, vacuum your home for your parents, craft, eat, sleep, knit, figure out how to play Sudoku (still confuses me).
When we choose happiness, the opportunities are endless!
How I Retrained My Brain For Quarantine:
When the virus first hit America, I admit I had a breakdown. I began having flashbacks of my life post Hurricane Sandy and how miserable it was. I began to think, "I cannot go through anything like that again." Then I remembered that it is because I experienced Sandy that I know I can endure this. Hurricane Sandy was once an obstacle in my life. Now I see it as the opportunity that prepared me for quarantine.
Perception is reality. Make sure to constantly see the opportunities in life.
It's Not Just Me
If you still feel you like the current state of the world is an obstacle let me end with the story of my friend Elise and her opportunity of a lifetime.
About 6 months ago, Elise left Long Island to teach in China. From educating germy kids to exploring a new city, Elise was constantly around other people. On top of that she lived in an apartment building with 36 floors. When Chinese New Year arrived in January, Elise got time off from work. She wasn’t going to travel, but when she noticed most of her coworkers were, she went for it. So she packed her bags and left her new home. Did I mention that new home was Wuhan where the pandemic started?
The day after Elise left Wuhan, the city completely quarantined. No one in or out. Elise was left homeless which to most would be considered an enormous obstacle. Looking at the glass half full, Elise took this opportunity to travel. Before the pandemic exploded and traveling became socially irresponsible, Elise went to Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia until she was finally quarantined in Malaysia.
Instead of focusing on the obstacle of being homeless, she focused on the opportunity to travel to places.
As she explored, she grew spiritually, relying on the kindness of others for places to stay and the grace of God to remain healthy. Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention, she’s perfectly healthy. I guess I was so focused on her traveling opportunity that I neglected to remember the obstacle of the virus ;)
What you have right now is an opportunity, not an obstacle and the sooner you accept this the sooner your happiness begins.