Dealing with Fear and Worry During a Pandemic

This is not an unprecedented virus… but the media coverage and authority reaction are. 

Personally, I’m politically neutral and ambivalent to all politics, but even I wince when someone calls a virus an opposition hoax, then claims that although 15 people have died, that statistic will soon be zero, and then later claims to be the one to limit deaths from millions to tens of thousands. 

It does nothing to help alleviate fear. 

In the U.K., the ‘leader,’ told everyone to engage in social distancing — but in the same press conference said he was still shaking hands and refused to stop doing that. He ended up in ICU. Their arrogance and conceit add to the sense of fear and chaos.

People are surprised when I reveal that I share the same fears as anyone else. 

My wife has congenital health conditions that make her very vulnerable to things like Covid-19. I joke with concerned friends and family that I have her wrapped in swaddling clothes, locked her in a drawer, inside a locked chest, inside a locked closet, inside a locked tower. Her only way out to make contact with the world is if she can grow her hair rapidly. (But then I am on 24/7 guard outside the tower window.)

I shop early in the morning, so I can take a full scrub and shower before we get anywhere near contact. 

I sanitize and wash my full set of clothes after every venture outside. 

We have lived this way for 40 years and through all the viruses and flu pandemics. They always pass. 

We are both cancer survivors and she has survived three open heart surgeries as well, so we know fear… but somehow dying from a respiratory influenza feels even more traumatic and fearful than that. 

So I also return to the tools and techniques I share in my work — I need them as much as anyone.

And it’s why I call them something different… something authentic.

For a Brit, social distancing is the best thing to come out of this virus. When I first moved to the USA, I had the typical aloof, 6’ radius forcefield around me. I would shake hands reluctantly, but high-fives and hugs were forbidden. 

I would leave everyone hanging — a hug would likely see me run in the opposite direction just to keep the forcefield intact. 

I have since been Americanized, mainly due to efforts of a good friend who has slowly and painstakingly worn me down. That friend has an operation for prostate cancer scheduled for next week and I can’t go see him and return his hugs, which is all I really can think of right now. I want to be there for him and I can’t. 

I know many of you will be in similar situations. It’s hard. It’s easy to concede to the fear and the drama. Instead, I believe these things can make us stronger.

Fear and worry are real, for everyone. 

How we deal with them make the difference. 

The difference is using the situation to grow rather than wither… that’s all I’m trying to share. 

And while this lasts, you have a golden opportunity to work on strengthening your mentality. 

If you want someday to start a business online or elsewhere, what greater opportunity than to start the business plan process now and to finesse those mini-mind movies we discussed in the Jumpstart webinar. 

Use this time and use the fear to set yourself up so that ,when this passes (and all things pass), you’re ahead of the pack. You’re ready and not, like most people, simply letting out their breath and catching up.

So why is there so much fear this time? 

The conspiracy theorist in me says that politicians see an opportunity to distract our attention from something even scarier like stock buy-backs and corporate bond debt at $29 trillion. 

If someone wanted to create a depression, these would make the perfect storm and a virus would make a perfect distraction. 

I am not, however, a conspiracy theorist and I think it’s something simpler — the nature of the virus itself. 

Here’s a prophetic headline I found online from June 2019:

The last pandemic was a ‘quiet killer’…Ten years after swine flu, no one can predict the next one.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was holding an important teleconference for a few reporters. Just a handful of reporters were on the line. Also in attendance were the CDC’s top flu experts. They sounded worried. Two unrelated children from southern California had tested positive for infections caused by viruses that normally sicken pigs. 

It could have been a fluke, but from the unusual nature of the call and from the tension in the voices of the experts, it was clear that the CDC officials thought it might be something else — an influenza pandemic. 

That teleconference took place on April 20, 2009. Over the next 7 weeks, it became apparent that any fears they had had been well-founded.

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization declared that the swine flu virus we now simply call H1N1 had indeed triggered a pandemic, the first time in 4 decades a new flu virus had emerged and was triggering wide-scale illness around the globe. 

Since it started circulating in the spring of 2009, H1N1 had infected about 100 million Americans, killing about 75,000 and sending 936,000 to the hospital (according to CDC estimates).

Another virus, H3N2, is responsible for more infections, but ‘in terms of the severity, H1 is kind of this quiet killer,’ said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, head of the CDC’s flu division.

In the hands of Hollywood, pandemics tend to be of the one-size-fits-all variety: They unleash massive chaos and spread at lightning speed, as health officials in hooded biohazard suits rush to distribute vaccinations. 

And in real life, flu pandemics, which tend to strike only a few times each century, could be that terrifying. But, a decade onward, the experience of H1N1 is a reminder that it’s impossible to know from the get-go how a pandemic will play out.

In the case of H1N1, the public health world was steeling itself for a potentially catastrophic outbreak. Just 6 years earlier, officials began to respond to a very dangerous bird flu virus called H5N1. a first in Southeast Asia and then beyond. It was deadly to chickens and other poultry but — and this was unusual — it was also occasionally infecting people. 

When it did, the outcome was sobering: More than half of people known to have been infected with the virus died from the infection. The number of people infected with H5N1 was small, but it stoked fears that this fearsome flu might be readying itself to cause a pandemic. 

In its place, however, arrived H1N1.

It was distantly related to other H1N1 viruses that had circulated among people for most of the 20th century. (In fact, pigs acquired H1N1 decades before from people.) But this new virus had evolved in a way that helped it unlock the mysteries of the human respiratory tract and sicken people.

That article could just as easily be written about Covid-19. 

This is a quiet killer. 

Among the grocery aisles, it is impossible to detect who has it. No one is sneezing or coughing. Everyone could have it, but not know it for 5 days by which time their lungs are already in fibrosis and they have infected you. 

It’s easier to avoid someone who’s coughing or sneezing. Everyone is looking at everyone else and thinking ‘Maybe they have it.’ 

It’s a scary illness because it’s a silent killer.

We also live in a time when social media and regular media sensationalize the situation.

Daily death counts… 

Dramatic social media stories of what it was like to have it… 

It’s like watching a live news TV car chase and crash 24/7.

Yes, I’m sure the illness is horrid. A relative of mine has actually had it and recovered. She described it as the strangest ‘flu’ she ever had. She was flat on her back for 10 days and took even longer to shake off the persistent cough. This was in January before the UK had heard of Coronavirus. 

My relative had a visit from a neighbor who had returned from a 2-week trip in China and was complaining that she spent the whole time in bed with the flu. The neighbor bore a gift and in the handing over of the package, my relative was infected. 

Silent and potentially deadly. 

Before long the whole street had it, all of them believing it was just a strange type of flu. No one had underlying health issues and all survived. They don’t condemn the neighbor who brought it from China, but she feels so bad about it.

It seems to be something to definitely avoid, so all precautions are necessary. 

At the same time, it has some way to go to be the same disruptive force as H1N1, so the reaction seems at odds with the threat. 

As always, history will be the jury and judge.

In the meantime, I recommend taking all precautions because who wants any kind of flu if it can be avoided? 

I can recommend a few things:

Keep perspective by reading up on Swine flu and Bird flu. 

Follow closely smart market and cycles analysts like Andrew Pancholi (if you’re in my new Monthly Coaching & Mentoring Program, you’ll meet him soon). You can watch his latest free Market Timing Report on YouTube. 

Last but not least…

Use the 12 ‘mentality tools’ prescribed in Transformation.Cheers,


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