I promised myself I would not “react” to the insanity that has enveloped our entire planet until I realized, this is a perfect opportunity to offer some advice from the most sane person I know…me! By the way, for all of my friends and particularly my wife, Darlene, who are on the floor laughing right now, that’s fine, because though this isn’t a blog meant to humorous, it’s also not one to cause even more anxiety…we’ve got plenty of that right now.
If you didn’t know, I have a best selling book called “Alvin’s Laws of Life…
5 Steps To Successfully Overcome Anything!” My “Laws” are guidelines taken from my life experience having no arms and obviously “overcoming” a great deal. In fact, I truly am a humble person so tend to downplay what I faced from birth, but I am sincere when I say…”We all have something to overcome and we all can absolutely do that if we consider my knowledge, and take it to heart”!
I’m also not a “Covid 19 Virus Expert”, a doctor, nurse or health care specialist. I’m also not a “Certified Safety Specialist” but was the first person to speak for the First Responders of the horrific Humboldt Bus Crash that took the lives of 16 people, the majority junior hockey players in Saskatchewan, Canada in April of 2018. Why did I mention that? Certainly not to boast. People often book me because I am a visible and powerful reminder of the frailty of the human condition and especially for those struggling with PTSD. But also, because that incident set a precedent for the number of volunteer responders attending and number of fatalities in a sports related accident in Canadian history. For many, there was no training that could have prepared these folks for what they witnessed and it’s impact on their psyche. This pandemic is illustrative of what happens when something is a “first”, and how it creates a climate of uncertainty, fear and insecurity. Ironically, I’ve actually been taking advantage of my own forced time off with all my upcoming events being cancelled to write my second book, a follow up to, you guessed it …my first! It’s working title is…”Insecurity” and I actually started working on it last year which is both prophetic and for me, weird.
My “5 Steps To Overcome Anything” or “Laws” also spell my name.
Attitude, Learn, Value, Imagination, and Never Give Up! So here’s my take on applying this framework for “Pandemic Peace”!
It’s fascinating for me how such a cliche can be the most vital component of mental health. By the way, this is a “blog”, not an entry into a medical journal or DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders).
“Just Have a Positive Attitude”! Sure! No problem! See what I mean? So try this little test. E +/- R = O. “E” stands for “Event”. “+/- R“ stands for Positive or Negative Response and “O” stands for Outcome. Apparently, this concept was written about by Jack Canfield in his excellent book, “Success Principles”, which I’ve never read. But while working for a group in England in 2018, their CEO told me about it and that I exhibit its principles better than anyone he’s ever met! What a compliment. But this isn’t about me right here, it’s about how you can “measure” your “Attitude” and with all the understandable anxiety, which can directly and negatively affect our mental health, our “Response” is “Everything”!
Apologies for insulting your intelligence, but isn’t this a “no brainer”? I’ve read a great deal that social media and the Internet have been a “Blessing” and a “Curse” at the exact same time and for this pandemic, it’s like “The Poster Child” of our new reality. And I AM NOT CALLING THIS OUR “NEW NORMAL”! What a dumb expression! So, what do you know about Covid 19, or The Corona Virus? What do you believe? What’s The Truth? Again, this blog isn’t about explaining the virus, which is precisely my point. “Learning” is not just something we do in class or a training program. It’s a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and perspective and can be a profound element of calm when the exact opposite is all around us!
In my book, the “V” actually stands for…”Value Your Life & Spirit” and was the opposite element of another “V”…”Victim”. I grew up with a different comparison…”Curse vs Blessing”. I know a whole bunch of people who thought being born without arms was a huge “Curse” and even my own birth family were so horrified, they gave me up for adoption. What always fascinates me to this day is when I tell this story on stage, you can hear audible gasps of sympathy, which is so ironic. I was adopted and in my forever home, I was viewed as “A Blessing”. By the way, this is an almost perfect example of “E +/- R = O”.
The other irony of the Covid Pandemic is it’s Global and human arrogance tends to place other humans “Value” below theirs. With due respect, the United States of America loves to call itself “The Greatest Country on Earth”! That’s pretty arrogant! Every human life is “Valuable” so if we can adopt that point of view, sacrificing our human “comforts” for the “Greater Good” can play a significant role in beating this.
What’s also vital is respecting your own “life” and do whatever you’re told to protect yourself from contracting the virus. I don’t normally like to “time stamp” my blogs but this time, I have no choice. I’m shocked to see that Florida in particular is more interested in commerce than safety and have their beaches open in favour of the drunken, stoned, college students who “Deserve” Spring Break! Incredible. Talking about taking your life for granted!
This is another one that seems common sense, but let me interpret. I’ve always believed that no matter how far “Artificial Intelligence” gets in our new reality, it will never, ever replace the immense power off the human mind! It is another “blessing and curse”! A blessing for how it’s infinite ability to advance human kind should be a great reason we shouldn’t live in fear. I learned to type with my toes on an old manual typewriter with a basket of keys that struck an ink ribbon you had to replace frequently and keys that stuck together all the time. I’m composing this on an iPad and I still can’t believe how incredible this device is. “Imagining” it, however is only the first step. Making it real is another thing and is addressed in my final “Law” but for here, we should always respect the power of our mind and treat it carefully and with respect.
The “Curse” is something I’ve spoken and written about before. My quote is; “People tend to think too much, and not about the good, but the bad”! We can “drive ourselves crazy” with worry. “What if”? Those two tiny words can be extremely powerful and negatively impact our mental health very easily. I’ll be writing about the incredible impact of “Positive vs Negative” energy in my new book but for here, this is really simple…please don’t allow your “Imagination” to steer you into darkness when what’s really needed is “more light”!
Never Give Up
We have entered into uncharted territory and even for the first explorers in history, it can be a daunting task to press forward instead of retreat. “Never Give Up” isn’t a cliche as much as “A State of Mind”. Let’s try a really basic instruction, as opposed to some philosophical deep dive. Have you ever had a trip you’d been planning and it’s a really long one? Preparing the day before, especially if you are leaving home for a while, is so stressful. Packing, organizing, trying to sleep…it’s crazy sometimes, huh? Then comes the day of travel to your destination which may include several airports, security, connections and the genuine “fear of the unknown”. And then…Relief! You arrive at your destination and have a huge sigh, and if you are like me, an adult beverage!
But it’s the “Huge Sigh” I’m interested in here. I view it as the non tangible trophy for “Not Giving Up”. It’s like an internal badge of personal honour for staying with it and not quitting before you complete the journey. Life works the exact same way! I know it’s cheesy, but our whole existence is a daily journey and trust me, I get annoyed with the cliche too…except it’s a really good one.
This Pandemic will end. Perhaps that is the epicentre of this whole panic. Our society has fallen prey to “Instant Gratification”, another huge topic in my new book I’m writing. Please pay really close attention now. When you grow up with no arms, you fail at stuff…lots! You therefore make a “Choice”. Give up and be miserable, or be “Patient” and “Try Again”! I’m telling you, it’s a critical component of what made Alvin Law who I am!
Please be “Patient” and view this as a “Journey” without all the annoying travel stuff. I’m not going to sink to the level of…”Take this time as a gift” because even I don’t feel like that! But this is an absolute “Test” and nobody likes tests. But just like high school, you have to take them. And just like those exams, are you going to go in “prepared” or “just wing it”. We all know what tends to happen with each approach so now, it’s your turn. Just for fun, try creating your own set of “Laws”. Pick a word you like, maybe even your name, and write a short “mission statement” that’s meaningful to you and critical point…It Must Be Positive! We might not be able to “bottle” this cure, but it’s a great “Prescription” for Pandemic Peace!
Remember, the “Outcome” of this “Event” is about “Reaction”…Yours!