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The Outpost

COVID-19 Could Be a Catalyst
By Theresa Potratz
Published March 22, 2020
COVID-19 COULD BE A CATALYST - mindful stretching

Think Bigger.

This is a sort of mantra for this community, a guiding principle for life, creativity, business, and problem solving. It means thinking bigger in terms of what we expect from products (design quality & depth of concept), in what we expect of other people, and in what we’re able to do with our time and passion. In who we can be. In what we can make. In what’s possible.

“Bigger” is subjective. The “bigger” you aspire to is different than everyone else’s. The maxim works because it’s about choosing to find more in life in a way that’s specifically personal.

What does constantly being online do our mental health and creativity?

This is a unique time. Many of us are out of work—we certainly know people who are—and the world around us feels different than it did a few weeks ago. Things are slowing to a crawl. We’re all impacted.

How do we think bigger in all this? Not in a global, humanitarian, or health & wellness sense—though we should all be reflecting in those ways too—but strictly in terms of what this community builds itself around: creativity, passion, and meaningfulness in those things. What does thinking bigger mean in a moment when we’re more disconnected and have more free time than we’re accustomed to?

“Time,” generally speaking, is our most valuable asset, “free time,” perhaps being the rarest of its forms. The present proliferation of articles on how to “kill” it is emblematic of how shallowly society views our lives.

To kill time is to kill your aspirations.

We choose not to see our lives that way. Let us instead find opportunity, do something, think bigger. This is a different season, let’s do something different with it. We are each able to define this moment for ourselves. Let’s use it for more than the Ultimate Streaming Marathon and melodramatic idleness.

Let’s unleash our creative selves. Make the things we’ve always wanted to make. Start what we’ve long wanted to start.

We can choose to make COVID-19—or rather, the social distancing, stay at home, life-on-hold world it has created—a catalyst for something in us that we’ve never found the time to prioritize.

COVID-19 Could Be a Catalyst - hobbies

What are the things we want to tell ourselves, about ourselves, that we’ve never quite felt justified in saying because we’ve never prioritized them?

“I am a writer.”
“I am a photographer.”
“I am a designer.”
“I am an artisan.”
“I am a chef.”
“I am an entrepreneur.”

These are things many of us feel, but to say them out loud feels fraudulent, as though our most authentic forms have never been fully born into the world.

Let’s stop denying ourselves. We are those things at heart. We can be them in the world. The lie is in keeping them suppressed—enough of that. Let’s claim these statements and make them tangible.

Life—if we choose to see it this way—is telling us to take a step back. To remove ourselves from the hurried flow, to slow down, to spend time with our thoughts. The moment is telling us to reflect. It’s telling us all the things we’ve been telling ourselves for years; all that “mindfulness” guru stuff we know would improve our lives, but we never find time for.

Many of us now have the time. Will we seize it?

We have the chance to lean into this moment—when things are still—and reset. To actually disconnect, to rest in ways that bring real restoration and growth, and then use this time to bring genuine value into our lives. We can bring fresh light, passion, and life into a world that increasingly needs those things.

What will we remember of these times upon reflection? We could just let life happen to us; we could allow this moment to be about hardship, disruption, or frustration. About toilet paper. About maximum media consumption.

But let’s not.

Instead, we can think bigger and make this an opportunity. We can insist that when looking back, the financial burdens and the anxieties will have faded (as they almost always do, into a sort of fog in the background), and what we remember is a singular time where the world paused itself, and we did something with it. 

Read more about creativity: “Make something awesome. Your creation, even if it’s small, could inspire someone else to activate their potential.” – The Creation of Mimics

Let’s build a moment in which we spend our time more meaningfully, do the things we usually haven’t time or energy for, start (or finish) projects we’ve been thinking about for years. A moment in which we let our passions come alive and see to it that, when when the world returns to something-like-normal, our creative lives are never quite the same—they have grown into what we’ve always wanted them to be.

“Make the most of this time!” say articles like, “Streaming Services with 30-Day Trials,” and, “All the Movies Coming Early Because of Corona.”

We should make the most of this time, but let’s do it our way. Let’s each make our own list: “Things I’ve Always Felt I Should Be Doing.”

Then let’s pick something – and start.

Continue reading what Tom thinks about how he destroys her own creative potential.

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