Holding on to Hope

Look at these headlines:

Millennials at Higher Risk?
Layoffs Just Starting, Forecasts Bleak
Jobless Rate Could Hit 20%

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The coronavirus is pure heaven to online news services looking for clickbait and a dream come true to news networks and publications.

Fear sells, but it also reduces hope.

In all of this, finding ways to have hope and not give up on it is the main thing during a time of fear and panic.  Here are a few hopeful headlines:

97% will never get the coronavirus.
Of the 3% that will, older and infirmed people need more caution.
The stock market always rebounds sooner or later.
What a big party we will have when it is safe to comingle again.
Out of bad always comes good – wait for it.

There is a lot we cannot control about the pandemic and the economy, but one thing we are very much in charge of is the ability to legitimately remind ourselves of the hope of better times which will return.

Putting an End to Fear and Panic

There is fear thought and forethought.

Fear thought is intense concern about something that statistically, at least, will probably never happen.  And yet it feels real.

Forethought is preparing for trouble but not being afraid of it.

Selling stocks during the coronavirus crisis is fear thought.

Washing your hands, not touching your face or eyes, disinfecting services – that’s forethought.

Hoarding food and, yes, toilet paper as many are now doing – fear thought.

Planning contingency meals for the next two to four weeks – that’s forethought.

We are still in control even when outside sources make us feel like life is out of control.

When faced with the anxiety that panic causes, it can be helpful to know the difference between fear thought and forethought to calm down your nerves.

Reassuring Coronavirus Thoughts

Most people will survive it even if a large percentage of the population gets it.

Panic is a reaction to fear.  To lessen any panic you’re feeling, get the facts first.

Adversity introduces a person to him or herself and to those around them.

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There is always good that comes out of bad even if we often forget it.

Use periods of isolation in a proactive way.

What we may be restricted from doing temporarily such as attending a daughter’s soccer game, we can make up with facetime, family time and togetherness.

Making Lemonade Out of Coronavirus

It’s Saturday morning in Moorestown, NJ and everyone is out – families, children.  Main Street in this old town is packed.  The Pie Lady (a yummy meeting place) is sold out of home baked goodies even before the end of the work day.

Don’t these people know there is a coronavirus warning?

Yes, they do.  They are just rediscovering close family ties in the era of mobile devices and social distancing.

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These are challenging times.  There is no doubt limiting mass public gatherings helps reduce the effect of this pandemic.

But there are some benefits if you look for them.

Pay attention to the things that you may not have had time for.  Accept the new challenges (many college professors are sure learning how to use mobile teaching in record time).

This will end but while we are sequestered, there are things to be accomplished.

Dealing with Coronavirus Fears

This virus is scary.

Coronavirus is serious but as with other diseases and even pandemics, the chance of contracting them are still very small.

When an airplane crashes, it is so dramatic, ugly that many fear air travel for a while after a big accident yet flying is statistically the safest form of travel.

The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, the deadliest in history, infected a third of the world’s population, killing as many as 50 million people and 675,000 Americans.

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That’s 3% of the world’s population or another way to look at it is 97% survived.

Serious world health issues should be taken seriously.

The facts provide some reassurance in the Twitter world.

A Better Resume

Everyone has a resume and most of them are the same.

Thought you might be interested in what I advise college seniors looking for their first job or undergrads looking for a special internship.

Make a list of 7 specific reasons you should be hired on one page.

Bold each number and reason.

Add one (and only one) additional line for each of the 7 reasons that gives concrete evidence to back your claim.


  1. Work well with people – I use principles I learned in a human relations course I took.
  2. Generate new income quickly – Increased revenue 54% in the first six months.
  3. Can help Ajax Industries with the turnover problem – Reversed turnover by 30% in the first year. 

Be specific, provide evidence and make those 7 items so compelling your resume will rise to the top.

Controlling the Phone

In my NYU classes, I don’t dictate “turn your phones off”.

What seems to work better for the students and the professor is to ask “how do we want to deal with our phones”.

I explain what I need – their attention.

They usually say they would like to be able to use their phones (to text not call) if something is important to which I say “I’ll respect your right to walk out in the hall if you need to”.

By setting ground rules that are specific to everyone involved (they differ with each group), all of us have a stake in what we’ve decided.

Sound like a plan for home, work or elsewhere where the phone has become life not a lifeline?

Fear Fighting

99% of what you fear will never happen, it’s true.

The 1% of the time when it does, your fear rarely if ever is the way you obsessed about it making even 1% too much to devote to worry. 

Staying busy reduces fear. 

Focusing on others helps us forget at least for a time that which is bothering us.

Worry is like an onion — it comes in layers and often brings tears to your eyes. 

And if all that fails, remember that it is a scientific fact that the brain can be trained to reduce anxiety but to do that you will have to begin creating new anti-worry habits.

Hurry Up and Calm Down

How are we expected to reduce stress and fear and worry when even trying to rein them in is fraught with even more anxiety?

You just can’t deal with anxiety by becoming more anxious.

Ironically, slowing down is more of a positive force.

Sometimes it is not necessarily what we are doing to make ourselves so stressed as much as it is the number of things we take on.

Slowing the pace directly answers that problem.

Small Changes Change Everything

I’m reading Tiny Habits:  The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg.

For example, the more motivated you are to do a behavior, the more likely you are to do the behavior.

The harder a behavior is to do, the less likely you are to do it.

The easier a behavior is to do, the more likely the behavior will become habit.

Motivation and ability work together like teammates.

This is the reason we pick easier things to do even when they are less important.

Change takes place in small, incremental steps and being aware of it gives you the advantage.