The Fear Virus – COVID-19 Edition

Some time ago I wrote the first version of The Fear Virus, and it was about goal setting. It was about failure and the fear of failure, and how to overcome it. I’ve written a lot about failure, success, how we each need to define it for ourselves, and how we face fear and failure to bring about success. That was a different world. That was pre-COVID-19 when we had a little more control over our circumstances than we do today. However, we’re not powerless – there’s one thing we still have – Hope!

Fear still has the potential to spark us into action or kill our enthusiasm and motivation – fight, flight or freeze. It can still act like a virus, and once it takes hold, it’s difficult to push back down again, sometimes almost impossible. But there is an immunization available, just as there always has been – hope. Now, this is is a subject I’ve written on so many times. You can read some articles on hope here: Hope Is A Plan, Hope Floats Pt IHope Floats Pt II, Hope Floats Pt III, and if you just hit the main page of the site and type “hope” into the search, you’ll find even more about hope.

Aside from faith which I consider to be more important (but as a Christian, I would), I would argue that hope is the most important ingredient in anything we do in life, even more powerful than love. Hear me out on this one. If no man has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends, he is hoping for some benefit or something better for his friends. There is a belief that the sacrifice, driven by love, will result in something better for those he is laying his life down for. There is hope for something better, and this is where we need to hold on to our hope now.

Yes, these are uncertain and anxious times. Yes, businesses and individuals will struggle financially, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Yes, there will be conflict between those who are concerned by life now and those who are concerned with life later. But there are no easy answers for these problems. We cannot fix this alone. In truth, the best most of us can do is ride the wave and see where it takes us, and that’s scary when we’re being swept into unknown territory and the experience is as new to everyone else as it is to us.

But we can find hope in this situation we’ve been thrown into. If we’re experiencing a feeling of lack of control, that’s natural. If we’re unsure of what comes next, that’s totally normal and healthy. Some have lost loved ones, and sadly more will suffer loss before we return to normal. Hopefully, most of us won’t, and the most we’ll experience is anger at missing sport events, family gatherings. festivals, vacations, etc., and it’s important to keep this in perspective. While many grieve, most will be inconvenienced.We can take measures and do all we can (well, really that should be do nothing at all, weirdly) to prevent the spread of C-19, but ultimately, we cannot control this virus. We can, as a society and a species work to manage it. However, the other virus, fear, is the one we can manage, and we can immunize ourselves against it with hope. And here’s how.1 – Work on a Start, Stop, Continue list.

  • Start: What are the things you have started to do which have brought some clarity? Are you spending more time with family? Are you taking more time to read, write, play guitar, create?
  • Stop: What are some of the things you’ve stopped doing, and found them to be unhealthy and not beneficial to normal life?
  • Continue: What are some of the things you miss, and your life is a little worse off for it?

Take your inventory, manage your life, and start thinking about the post-C-19 life.2 – Don’t let these days go to waste. For those not able to work right now, don’t waste this time. Be productive, and keep taking steps for how you can make the post-C-19 life a better one than the life you left. You’ve been given a forced time of reflection and reinvention.3 – No one knows what the world will look like, and there’s actually some benefit in that. A lot of people will try to return to normal life, others will be unsure. Be a third option – make your plan and decide what your world is going to be like. We will be back in a world in which our efforts will change our environment – be ready, be focused, set goals, and never stop looking forward.Here are the three takeaways for today:1 – Stay focused on the future.2 – Make plans to decide what your post-C-19 world will look like.3 – Wash your hands, don’t hug people, and don’t be an ass hoarding all the toilet paper.Fear can destroy everything you ever worked for, and everything you want to achieve. It can stop you not just achieving your goals, but can stop you trying. Don’t let it. Focus, plan, decide, prepare. Hope.If you enjoyed this article please give a like and check out other articles at

One thought on “The Fear Virus – COVID-19 Edition

  1. I read this in March when you published it, and again today.
    After iteration of thought, action and belief changes over the last (almost) year of living with this, I still think this article holds true.

    Other thoughts:
    After hot debate an politicizing of the virus (fear vs liberty), I have come to see us as a very selfish nation. I say nation loosely, because we only care about what is happening to ourselves as individuals. I’ve become more hopeful, in that I can manage almost anything that comes my way.
    However, my hope for America has been diminished to a pipe dream. I see 300 million or so Americans as individuals only caring about their own well being. Not a nation of citizens concerned with the well being of others. Although, I do believe that we are ultimately responsible for our own actions, my hope of my children living in a world where people care about one another (like I was fortunate to grow up with) is gone.

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