With the invasion of a new public enemy — a virus spreading across the globe, and with it, largely unforeseeable experiences and outcomes — we’re entering uncharted territory in many ways.

Each crisis or conflict that we face has within it opportunities to grow and learn.

To improve something, it takes intentional effort paired with repetitive practice.
Like any skill, the more reps we get and experiences we take part in, the better at it we become.

We’ll likely never have the opportunity, as we do now, to get this level of access to effective practice reps at several valuable, and relatively abstract attributes/skills.

Here are a few things we might choose to focus on in the coming days/weeks/months if we want to make the most of this strange time:

1. Composure

People’s interactions with one another can seem laced with skepticism and threat, especially if you spend any amount of time discussing the virus in online forums or on social media.
Are you informed? Are you panicking? Are you doing your part?

When it feels like the stakes are higher than ever, it’s a great time to take a deep breath and remember: level-headed thinking, empathetic words, and patient communication usually produces the best net-outcomes. When we find ourselves engaged with a person who doesn’t seem to be able to keep cool, just remember, we’re unlikely to persuade them one way or another in that moment, and all parties would benefit from a little composure.

Get some great reps.

2. Research & the Algorithm & PERSPECTIVE

The C.D.C. and W.H.O. are certainly the best foundational references that we should all use as a baseline, but let’s be honest, the personal anecdotes and empirical data that are circling this crisis looks totally different to each of us on every platform.

Be diligent in reading fully, and critically analyzing, every article. Most of us have some level of concern about the virus, or at least would like to act responsibily, so it might also do us some good to start a ‘note’ on our phones or use a notebook to jot down notes and ideas as we read and research. That practice can do wonders for our overall understanding and organization of the vast amount of information available to us.

It pains me to see our older generations do what I’ve been calling ‘boxing your own shadow’ when it comes to social media use. Look, the algorithms are complex, but not that complex. This is Facebook 101: the more we engage with it, the more of it we will see. Of course, videos of people clearing the shelves of toilet paper don’t help, but the truth is, many folks were pissed off at the ‘hysteria’ surround the virus, but most of it has been over-abundance of conversation and not necessarily hysteria.

To minor avail, I personally tried explaining to several family and friends that the more we comment, type, like, etc. on posts/articles that contain #coronavirus #COVID-19 or other buzz terms, the more we are propagating it’s popularity on other people’s feeds, and also triggering the algorithm to show us more of the same — this is sort of like an echo-chamber. While only 50% of our friends’ posts were about the virus, 100% of what we saw on our feed was about the virus because we trained it into giving us more. Want less ‘hysteria’? Stop talking about it. For many folks (as I’ve reviewed my own threads), it appears that panic has not been the norm. There’s a situation right now that the entire world has interest in, and people (of course) are all having discussion about it. In summary, our patience in understanding of The Algorithm and considering different Perspectives will yield some calming emotions.

  1. Everyone’s talking about it, but not everyone is panicking. If it bothers you to see that many articles and conversations about it, just log off. Print the CDC site suggestions and go for a walk.
  2. Empty store shelves doesn’t mean that doomsday preppers are hogging it all. How about the fact that our gov’t officials are recommending mid- to long-term social distancing? As everyone is planning to hole up in their bunker for a few weeks, when each of us go to buy 1-2 packs of toilet paper or hand sanitizer bottles, our stores have not been stocked well enough in advance for that much traffic at once. And of course, you wouldn’t know the shelves are empty unless you also were there to buy some.
  3. This is how we communicate now. The news is unregulated. There are far more people speaking as experts than there are experts, so the duty is on each of us as individuals to do our research and contribute to the extent that we believe to be helpful. For this virus, there is a level of duty that involves how we physically interact — be informed about that. After that though, only engage to the extent that you can understand how much of the noise holds no value.

Get some great reps.

3. Self-Discipline & PRODUCTIVITY

Besides our nurses, doctors, other medically involved citizens, and those who work in the trades (many people), masses of our workforce are being sent to do work from home. This will prove difficult for many people. If you’ve never had to self-regulate your schedule or designed at-home work environments, you’re in for a treat. The daily tasks that we typically get to ignore while at the office are staring us right in the face when we try to work from the couch: Netflix, taking a hot shower, cooking some food quick, tending the garden, playing with the dog, going for a walk, or cracking a beer, are A FEW of the things that will appear more attractive than doing work, and they will be screaming your name like never before! Be ready for it. Create a productivity plan, set some standards, and don’t compromise.

Communicating from a distance is a challenge as well. Emails are great, but tone of voice, immediacy, and small tasks are all at odds with digital communication channels. This experiment in remote-work might actually prove valuable to some folks though. Many people are pushing their supervisors to allow them one or more work-off-site days each week. Don’t squander the opportunity to be thorough and communicate effectively while it’s mandatory and prove that the job can be done from a distance, and done well.

Get some great reps.


If there are any ‘best practices’ that you come up while going through this chaotic time, please share them with me on here or on my social accounts. I’ll be talking about a few of the more interesting and curious things people are learning and experiencing while we deal with this virus.

Stay healthy, my friends.

About the Author Jakob Gollon

I have re-written this section countless times. This is the crisis of our generation, defining one's self in an 'about me' box knowing that 95% of our peers will log that as 'who we are' without ever speaking to us, because reading the long-version is just too cumbersome for our over-crowded, busy lives. // In short: I'm a polymath with a hyperactive mind, curious about and fascinated by the complexities of, basically, everything. I'm firmly committed to living a life of "areté"—omnipresent excellence, and my mottos are 'making the best of this life' (Mt. Botl), and "Do it now or forever wish you had". // I had a 'famed' basketball stint (captaining the 2014 Mercer team that upset Duke in NCAA Tourney + winning a Nat'l Title as a coach). I quit the sports industry all-together, cold turkey, soon after. I had an existential crisis with 'glory' and 'meaning' and other challenging thoughts revolving around how many hours (90+/week) I was spending trying to 'win games'. // Since 2017, I've been in pursuit of several entrepreneurial ideas and am educating myself on a few new areas of focus. The following is a condensed list of the countless curiosities and industries that I've explored, worked in, or studied the last 3 years (of which I will need to choose 1-3 of to focus on sooner than later). Writing, Podcasting, Teaching—Adjunct College Professor, Public Speaking + Workshops, Building & Construction, Sustainable Real Estate Development—Industrial + Urban Repurposing in particular, Negotiation, Marketing—Branding/design/communications, Woodwork, Gardening, Permaculture-based farming and homesteading, Psychology, Industrial Engineering—Process Improvement + UX consulting, Project Management, Renewable Energy, & Executive Coaching for (select) clients focusing on leadership, personal brand + career development, health habits, productivity, networking, and communication skills. Yes, all of it, and since I sleep minimally, and my mind races like an ostrich all day and night, I know a fair bit about each of those topics. I have an obsession with learning. I'm always looking to connect and have conversations with folks, so, hit me up. I hope my work brings you joy, value, a challenge, or a ripe perspective. Much love, Jakob

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