‘War weariness’ is defined by the Collins Dictionary as “exhaustion and low spirits caused by a long period of fighting”. It manifests in many ways, one of which is the disapproval, either publically or politically, for the continuation of a prolonged conflict or war.
A nation and its people get weary of conflict when the price for fighting that conflict becomes too high, usually when the financial burden becomes too great, or civilian and military casualties mount up.
When losses far outweigh the potential gains for continuing the fight, weariness sets in.
It happened to the British when under siege from Nazi forces in World War 2, and it took a master leader, Winston Churchill, to see the fight through to victory despite the weariness of his nation.
It happened to the Germans and their allies too, toward the end of the war, when the Allied bombings flattened their cities night after night and their troops were forced into retreat across all fronts. It took the liberation of the German people from their own Nazi forces to steer the country back toward democratic freedom and economic prosperity.
Today the world is fighting another world war. This time it’s not an ideological war against fascism, but a biological war against an unseen enemy, Covid-19.
This virus is a stealthy and relentless foe. Give it an inch, and it takes a mile. Relax your guard, and it attacks quickly and without mercy, like a blitzkrieg. Nations who have shown complacency have the threat of a second wave bearing down on them like an invisible and fanatical force.
The world has been fighting this new strain of coronavirus for over 6 months and now the people of the world are feeling weary.
Health workers are exhausted under the continuing flood of sickness and death. With the crippling loss of customers and cash flow, businesses and corporations around the world are staring into the abyss of bankruptcy. Millions of employees are being told the job they once had before Covid-19 no longer exists. Mental health issues, alcohol abuse, and suicide are trending higher and higher.
The world is weary. We want to get back to some kind of ‘normality’.
It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as it was prior to Covid-19, we beg, but at least something similar. Please.
We want the isolation to end, to meet friends and hug our family. We want to have fun and play sport, go fishing, go to the gym, swim at the beach, take a stroll in the park and walk through nature without being moved on by police officers telling us to keep our distance and put on a face mask.
We want to eat at our favourite restaurants, have a drink at our favourite pub, and go shopping again without having to worry the staff we hand over our money to or the customer standing behind us is infected with the invisible enemy.
We are tired. We want to rest. We want it all to be over. To put our feet up and relax and let the worries of the world take care of themselves for a while.
We want the time to rest our aching muscles. The opportunity to rejuvenate our bodies to help us get through this marathon and cross the finish line.
We want a safe space to calm our emotions. To plug into our inner reservoir of life-energy so that we can recharge and get to grips with all the ups and downs we’ve still got to face on the long road ahead.
It’s been 100 years since the last pandemic, and like the Spanish Flu it will be several years before the world can shake it off. Just as World War 2 was fought out over a 5-year period, we’re looking at a roughly similar period of time before the world can get back to any semblance of pre-covid ‘normality’.
Even with a successful vaccine for coronavirus, we’re likely to see a 3rd, 4th, and maybe even a 5th wave of the pandemic before we can get it under any form of control on a worldwide scale.
But what can we do? What can we do as individuals to not only help others, but also help ourselves through this?
Mindset. In order to arrive at that endpoint we so desperately want and need, despite our covid-weariness, we need to set our minds to prepare for the long haul.
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to develop that formidable ‘never say die’ attitude to keep us going when it all seems pointless. Now is the time to galvanise our determination and spirit to keep moving forward despite the setbacks we face.
This you can do by giving yourself a regular PEP talk in this time of crisis.
Your PEP talk is simply this:
#P: Find Your Passion—engage your inner drive and immerse yourself in it.
#E: Turn On Your Energy-Management Systems—identify your energy drains and release your second wind.
#P: Build Project You—build an air castle that the outside world cannot wreck.
#P: Find Your Passion
I teach these things and advise transformational clients to take these mantras on board because I’ve come to realise that there are two types of successful people in this world: those who are passion-driven, and those who are project-minded—swimmers and shooters, respectively.
We will talk about shooters in just a minute in #3: Build Project You, but first we’ll talk about swimmers.
Swimmers are passion-driven. They swim in the ocean of their passion and immerse themselves in the act of creation for as long as they can keep their eyes open. They dive into their passion, swimming with the undercurrents of their imagination, and only awaken after many hours with the feeling that only seconds have passed.
They are caught in the ‘flow’ of life, and if they’re really good, they learn to surf on the waves of bliss for years on end.
Swimmers are generally, but not always, creative thinkers. They are right-brain dreamers and visionaries. They are masters of their imagination superpower and they use it to create the world and the environment in which they want to live.
Swimmers see things as they could be and as they want them to be.
Swimmers have usually known what they were going to do with their life from a very early age. They knew they were born for a certain task and it wasn’t going to be any other way. In fact, it was as impossible for them to be or do anything else as it was for them to change their DNA. It’s simply who they are and what they do.
Ex-Formula 1 driver, Michael Schumacher, is a swimmer. When he was interviewed after winning his 7th Formula 1 world title and at the peak of his career, he told the interviewer, “I was born to race motorcars.”
He knew in every cell of his body that he was born to fulfill this role. He committed and dedicated himself to racing, his chosen career. There was simply nothing else he was going to be or do. He had found his passion, which had led him to his life-purpose.
I too knew what I was born to be, a writer. I felt it from an early age (and still do) with every cell of my body. It’s where I dive into my passion and find my bliss.
The key is getting in ‘the flow state’, which is the term coined by psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi. Some call it ‘the zone’, but it’s essentially the same thing—the state of intense absorption where you forget yourself and your surroundings, especially when you are doing something creative.
At beaches around the world, if surfers can find a wave that will give them a 15-second ride, that’s a surfer’s dream. That’s heaven. Then they paddle back out again and catch the next one. Likewise, when I’m in the flow of writing it’s as if I’m surfing a blissful wave. Only my wave can last 15 hours at a time.
So spend some time asking yourself these questions:
- “What’s my passion?”
- “Am I a swimmer or a shooter?”
- “Where do I find my bliss?”
- “When was the last time I was in ‘the flow’, and what was I doing at the time?”
- “What did I do as a kid when I was so absorbed in what I was doing that I’d lose all track of time?”
#E: Turn On Your Energy-Management Systems
What is energy-management?
In my programs on personal and professional effectiveness, I summarise personal energy-management as a single word: choice.
Disregarding any chronic illness, your current mental and physical energy levels are the result of the personal and professional choices you have made up until this point in time.
Personal energy-management is the result of making conscious choices that support sustained energy, vitality, productivity, and inner calmness.
It’s using the Law of Cause and Effect to sustain your energy levels on a consistent basis. Your choices are the cause you set into motion, and your energy levels, vitality, productivity, and calmness are the desired result or effect.
When I’m fitter, it’s because I choose to go to the gym and exercise. When I’m unfit, it’s because I choose to drive past the gym or watch the football game on TV.
When I’m feeling healthier, it’s because I choose to keep an eye on what I’m eating and drinking. When I’m feeling unhealthy, it’s because I’m choosing sugary ‘feel good’ foods and choosing to ignore the amount of calories, cholesterol, and alcohol I ingest.
It’s simple cause and effect: my choices affect my fitness and health, which ultimately affect my energy levels.
Proper “choice-making” is therefore a conscious process. It is a deliberate focus of your intentions to achieve a certain outcome. If your intention is to better manage your energy levels, then conscious choice-making is essential in achieving that intention.
A good technique to assist your choice-making is to identify your energy drains. Here is an exercise I give my clients at my transformational workshops that you can do right now to better manage your energy levels. Get a pen and paper and do the following:
- Identify where your energy is being syphoned off in these 7 key areas of your life: Family & Relationships, Career & Work, Money & Finances, Health & Wellbeing, Learning & Education, Fun & Adventure, Spirituality/Morals/Ethics/Politics.
- Next, review the list you’ve just made of your current energy drains and choose your Top 5 Priority Items that you would most like to handle now.
- Then decide which one you will action today and how you will do it.
- Finally, write down how you plan to reduce your energy drains over the next 21 days.
Once you identify your energy drains, make a written plan to reduce them, and then take action on that plan, you’ll find not only that your energy levels bottom out and begin to increase, but another remarkable discovery—your second wind.
The founder of American psychology and one of its greatest philosophers, William James, published a paper in 1906 in The Philosophical Review, titled ‘The Energies of Men’, in which he asserted that most people tend to give up on tasks and projects too soon. They usually give up before they get their “second wind”, which can propel them across the finish line.
James reckoned that we, as human beings, have stored-up reserves of energy that are ordinarily not called upon, but nonetheless exist and can be tapped into. We just need to keep digging and we’ll find it.
Unfortunately, he opined, most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.
“Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”
Conscious and considered energy-management not only utilises your first wind, but also your second wind.
#P: Project You
As discussed, there are two types of successful people in the world—swimmers and shooters.
Swimmers, we’ve talked about. They are the ones who are passion-driven and immerse themselves in their lifelong creative bliss.
Shooters, though, aren’t so much passion driven as they are project minded. Their greatest joy is to immerse themselves in thoughtful endeavours. Where swimmers are left-brain creatives, shooters are right-brain thinkers.
Shooters are goal orientated. Like football players, they kick goals. Like archers, they take aim at a target and make the shot.
Swimmers are centred in the moment of now; shooters are focussed on the future and how to get there.
Where swimmers get lost in their passion, shooters find themselves in their projects. They like nothing more than to set themselves a goal, plan a route on how to get there, and then set forth toward that goal.
A shooter’s happiness, joy and fulfilment is in the effort and journey toward their goal.
Shooters take on board B.C. Forbes’ advice on building an air castle that the outside world cannot wreck.
“It is when things go hardest, when life becomes most trying, that there is the greatest need for having a fixed goal, for having an air castle that the outside world cannot wreck. When few comforts come from without, it is all the more necessary to have a fount to draw from within. And the man or woman who has a star toward which to press cannot be thrown off the course, no matter how the world may try, no matter how far things seem to be wrong.”
Shooters are project people. Their projects are their goals, their air castle, their star toward which they press and cannot be thrown off the course, even in these times of Covid-19.
The goal to which a shooter is aiming helps lift the mind fog and the haziness they’ve been trying to steer their life through. It gives them clarity of the path ahead, the direction they need to take, and it gives them the confidence to strive down that path toward the destination they want to reach.
They also find they are filled with enthusiasm for the effort and work they need to do along the way. Even though they get tired, they are motivated to keep striving. Even though they get weary, their enthusiasm pushes them forward like the wind in a sail.
So what’s your major goal in life? What is it that you want to be and do? What’s your “Project You”?
If you like, here is another transformational exercise that you can do right now to help you identify your “Project You”. Get a pen and paper and answer the following questions:
- Who do you want to be when you grow up?
- What do you want to achieve?
- Why do you want to become that person and do what you want to do?
- How do you plan on achieving that?
This exercise will help you identify the who, what, why, and how of Project You. My advice is to think of how you can best serve your community, taking into account your strengths, personality, talents, and abilities. It’s through serving others that you’ll find your higher calling and your greatest purpose. It’s through serving others you’ll find your enthusiasm and zest for life.
You’ll find your Project You.