Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pathways - Inspire your Audience - Ctrl-x | Ctrl-c | Ctrl-v

Pathways - Inspire your Audience -  Ctrl-x | Ctrl-c | Ctrl-v (Dynamic Leadership Path / Level 3 / Project 2)


What if I get the virus? 

What if companies start to layoff employees? 

What if my investments lose their value? 

When our government announced a 3 weeks lockdown on the 24th of March, fear engulfed me... like a hungry shark eating a human prey. 

Good evening fellow Toastmasters and guests,

Did the lockdown make YOU more fearful about the future? You are not alone. The more I thought about my future, the more fearful I became. 

Seeking Knowledge:

A famous author once said “Fear is incomplete knowledge”. So, I started seeking knowledge from the news media, to overcome my fear. As days progressed, there was a 200% jump in the time that I was spending in gobbling all the news - Newspaper... TV... Whatsapp... Facebook…. I was consuming news as if I was going to write a competitive exam on Coronavirus. As I consumed more news, I became more fearful. Do you agree with me… that the news media spreads more fear than hope?

At one point, I felt… “Wouldn’t it be cool, if there was an option to type Ctrl-Z on our keyboard, and we could all go back to the pre-Corona days?”. Unfortunately, we cannot undo what happened. 

Visiting Market:

Days became weeks. Two weeks into the lockdown, I had been to the local market. I saw Rani there. Rani, a woman in her mid-30s used to be our domestic helper, a few years back. I had not seen her in a while. 

I was happy to see her after a long time. Rani was standing there, with a large bag full of vegetables. It appeared as-if she was shopping for an entire community. I waved my hands at her. When she saw me, she started walking towards me. I was not sure how she was managing the lockdown. I asked her “How are you Rani?”. She smiled and said “I am doing great Sir”. I asked her out of curiosity, “Who is this for?”... pointing at the large bag full of vegetables. She said “Sir. I’m buying this for myself”. I was surprised even more. 

Story of the maid:

Rani narrated “Sir! When they announced the lockdown, I was afraid. My husband, and I, being daily wage earners, could not go to work and we were stuck at home. We were clueless about how to make our ends meet. Our savings vanished in the first week itself, like a drop in an ocean. I didn’t know what to do. I was not sure where my next meal would come from. But, I was hopeful. I know, if God closes one door, he’ll open another for us. One day, when I stepped out of my home, I noticed a few bachelors from a hostel nearby, picking up their food from a food delivery person. I asked them, isn’t the hostel preparing food for you guys? They said they don’t have anyone to cook food and hence, they are ordering it from outside restaurants. I asked them how much they are spending for their meal. They said they are spending Rs.200 (which is roughly 3$s) every day for 3 meals. Immediately a light bulb went on in my head. I made a deal with them. I told them that  I’ll prepare healthy meals for them for half that cost. They liked the deal and agreed. Since then, I’ve been cooking meals for nearly 10 people staying in that hostel. My husband and I are now able to eat three meals a day. Not only that, we also make a Rs.100 profit everyday”. Rani’s face brimmed with confidence. She was in a hurry to leave, as she had to go home and prepare lunch.

Lessons from the maid’s story:

I stood there for a few seconds, pondering over what Rani shared.

If someone had to be more fearful in this world, it should be Rani, trying to survive the lockdown without having any money in her hand… without knowing where her next meal would come from… but, she removed fear, and replaced it with hope. Hope manifested into actions. Actions produced results. 

Incorporating the inspiration:

When God closes one door, he opens another. But, if you keep staring at the closed door, you’ll NOT notice the doors that are open. I was ashamed of myself. I was expecting hope from Television channels, Newspapers and Whatsapp forwards. But, I realized later that the media spreads more fear than hope. I realized, you cannot change what already happened, but you can change how you respond. 

On that day, I pledged to remove fear by doing a Ctrl-x and replace it with hope, by doing a Ctrl-c and Ctrl-v.

Instead of worrying about the virus, the economy and the job losses, I hoped that things will come back to normalcy soon. I started focusing on things that are in my control. 

I diversified some of my investments to minimize the risk of losing them all

I completely stopped watching TV… and cut down on my Whatsapp / Facebook time. I used the spare time to write a book, which I had always wanted to write. In the last 4 weeks, I’ve completed writing 50% of the book. I hope to finish writing the book soon and publish once the lockdown is over. 


Dear Toastmasters,

When you sow fear … fear grows.

When you sow hope … hope manifests into actions and actions produce results.

Remove the fear of getting caught by the virus, replace it with the hope of living a long healthy life… maintain hygiene, eat good food and do simple workouts. 

Remove the fear of losing your job, replace it with the hope of building a lasting career. Work hard… deliver your best and learn new things.

Remember…in life, when the future is uncertain and bleak, do a Ctrl-x on the fear, and do a Ctrl-c/Ctrl-v on the hope … Will you?

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