How Lock-Down Changed My Life!
I read the following news-clips a few days ago on https://cnbc.com.
“Shakira completes online ancient philosophy course during coronavirus lockdown.”
This one followed with another news-clip about two dog trainers on https://www.wkbn.com.
“Local dog trainers offer online courses for new pup owners amid stay-at-home orders. One positive side of the stay-at-home order is that more people are adopting or fostering pets.”
Ordinarily, such news never triggers any emotions in me, but this time, under the circumstances, it did.
I am from New Zealand, and the decision of lock-down came here so suddenly that we never had time to think about what we are going to do during lock-down. We just stopped going to work and started working from home but working from home didn’t work out for me for some reason. That was the time I started thinking about what should be my next line of action for this indefinite lock-down? A day or two passed in that frustration. I got some clarity on the third day when I decided to think about my daily schedule. I sat with my notebook to start jotting down my “To-Do List”. It was a super challenging task. Obviously, how do you make your “To-Do List” when you have nothing to look for, and nothing is expected from you. I sat staring at my empty list for about half an hour. It was a complete mental block. I sat again in the afternoon and then suddenly, a lightening thought appeared out of no-where. Why not make a “To-Do List” for all my long term goals and dreams. The work for which I never had time. I was always worried about my business even during my annual holidays. And here, I am in a situation when I can’t go out, and there is no immediate target to achieve and plenty of free time. The thought itself worked as a relaxant for me. Now, my mind was thinking faster than the speed of the light. I was able to write down more than 15 points in a matter of minutes. In another half, an hour my “To-Do list” became so big that I started prioritizing what is essential and what is not.
The final ‘To-Do List” looked like below:
- My main long term goal was not only building my Online Courses but start living on them. I never had enough time for starting it. So, this has to be my number one priority. I had more than three ideas about the topic for my online course, but I decided to choose the easiest one to start with and complete it fast to gain initial confidence. And the subject that I chose was “Microsoft Excel Tutorials For beginners”. It was a topic where I didn’t need to do any initial research and could start it without any problem.
- Second, in the list was my passion for art. I have to start making pencil drawing and watercolor paintings for fun. I was a reasonably good artist as a child but never had time for my favorite passion when I grew up. I thought of picking it up again.
- I am passionate about gardening but never had time for it, and as on today, my garden is in a big mess and needs lots of love. I decided to fix it up.
I decided to concentrate on the above three points and deleted all others from my “To-Do List”. I didn’t do anything else that day. Just having a list of three stupid points filled me with an abundance of joy.
I started the next day over-enthusiastically with number 1 job in my “To-Do list”. No sooner than I started working on my Online course, I realized that it is not as easy as I had thought. But I was so determined that nothing was going to stop me. I continued till late in the night, and by the time I called it a day, I had finished 40% of my work on “online course”. It was 2 AM. I was tired but not sleepy. My eyes were burning because of staring continuously at the screen. I decided to pick up my sketchbook to draw something, and water droplets were the first thing that came to my mind. Drawing water droplets always fascinates me because of its variety of challenges. Your main objective is to observe and transform reflections and shadows on paper when you draw any solid object. But for drawing something like water, an extra feature appears, and that feature is the refraction of light that travels through the transparent water droplet creating multiple reflections of light. I find this zig-zag pattern of refracted rays very fascinating. Observing and drawing it was relaxing.
I continued through my online course, where I had left yesterday. Once, the tempo picked, I was racing through the modules one after another. I made a couple of mistakes on the way but learned to keep on creating new strategies to make the process more efficient. For example, I did not like my script narration in a few of the modules. Initially, I was re-doing the whole module, but later I decided that I can do the audio editing separately. I don’t want to bore you with the entire process of what I was doing, but the point I am trying to make is, this whole effort was bringing so much of joy and bliss to me. That joy that you are working towards your long term goal is immeasurable. I developed lots of confidence as 90% work of my first online course was completed.
Once again, when I became tired of staring at the screen, I sat with my sketch board and drew another drawing. I am not a professional artist, but I was quite satisfied with the result, mainly because the central theme of the picture was around my pet Fred.
I was bubbling with confidence in the morning on day three and completed the remaining part of my Online course and was quite satisfied with the result. The online class was now professionally published on my blog. With the whole afternoon still there, I decided to go one step further and published the online course on one of the prestigious membership sites as a product. Of course, I am not revealing that link as it will look like cheap self-promotion. That gave me extra satisfaction as now my product developed in three days has approval from a professional membership site. It satisfied my ego, as well.
I completed so much on day three that I decided to take a slightly more significant challenge in my drawing target. Instead of a pencil sketch, I decided to experiment with water-color. I was, of course, too happy with the outcome. The whole life seemed to be flowing like a sequence of dreams.
I know my long term goal is still far away, and I have to work a lot to achieve them. But I am happy that at least I have begun to work on that. Even if I forget about goals and targets, I at least realized that life is all about continuing to keep implementing ideas that you carry in your mind like a burden. And once you start working on the long-term targets, a time comes when you begin enjoying your ideas so much that the goal becomes less relevant. You enjoy what you do. And because you have a target without undue emphasis on completion time, the quality and your joy take precedence. And this is what we call mindful moments. The process of implementation gives you real happiness and satisfaction. You learn the true meaning of what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
And surprisingly, the whole thing started working for me accidentally because of Covid 19 driven lock-down.
I will love to read your comment about my experience. Do you think that sometimes life takes a positive turn because of some unexpected accident like COVID 19?
P.S. My garden still needs love. I became so busy in executing no.1 & no.2 of my “To-Do List” that I could not do anything to fix my backyard. But I promised myself to work on this crucial part of my “To-Do List”, in the following weeks.