Updated: May 31, 2021
A New Reality:
Four weeks into social-isolation, and frustration is starting to build. Unease is settling in. Restlessness is the norm. This is the new reality for many people, as we patiently (or impatiently) wait for a day where we can return to our ‘normal’ lives.
While I understand these emotions, and am empathetic to those who feel trapped within their four walls, I feel a much different set of emotions. I am excited, optimistic, and overwhelmed with a sense of opportunity each day. I can’t help but feel as though my soul has been freed from the monotony of daily life.
Inputs and Outputs:
In a way, it’s discomforting to feel such positive emotions in a time of such tragedy, and discontent. I want to understand why I’m feeling these emotions; what is it about this newfound freedom that sparks something within?
There are a few things that I notice as I go about my daily ‘self-isolated’ life:
I find enjoyment in having the ability to choose my path each day. I set the plan, I take action, and for the most part, very little stands in my way.
If I make mistakes, and come away with a net-loss that day, it’s all on me… and I’m okay with that. I’ll adjust and be better tomorrow.
I am the master of my environment. I decide what I see, hear, and listen-to. My environment is essential to my success.
These three takeaways all revolve around two things: inputs and outputs.
I decide the inputs that my brain takes-in and processes each day. There will always be things unforeseen that I have to account for, but the numbers are in my favor more than ever.
The output is in direct correlation to the inputs that I allow. If I allow myself to be distracted by Sportcenter and Instagram for an extended period of my day, the output (my work) is lacking; however, if I establish a task-oriented environment, my inputs are limited, and appropriate for the work that’s being done. My work excels, and my mind functions on all cylinders.
This may not be true for everyone, but for many, working from home allows you to control your inputs and outputs more than you ever have before. Choose wisely, and you may just find yourself as productive as ever.
But here’s the issue… what does productivity really mean?
Expression: A Key to Fulfillment
Productivity can come in multiple forms. Think about your years in the school-system: go to school, see some friends, socialize, be on-time for all of your classes, complete the work that has been assigned to you, go home, repeat Monday through Friday. You do all of those things, and maybe add on some extracurricular activities to boot, and you are on your way to four-to-eight more years of ‘productivity’ in college.
I did these things, and I was being productive in many respects. Yet, if this is all you do, if you go through the motions mindlessly, and don’t take a step-back to observe the true wants and needs of your mind, you haven’t really done anything at all.
The quarantine-lifestyle has taught me about myself in ways that I could never have predicted a month ago. I have affirmed certain aspects of my personality, believing more than ever in my passions, as well as discovered other areas of interest, that I had never fully uncovered.
Isolation is just that, isolated. I’m not under anyone’s microscope, and I’m not seen by more than three people on a daily-basis. I’m realizing that the things that I decide to do everyday aren't influenced by my desire to be validated by others, but rather, I am expressing myself through the actions that my heart yearns for.
Unconsciously, I have a vision for what I am becoming. I believe that we all do, and these visions are all inherently good. We live this vision each day through the ways that we express ourselves.
Forms of expression are inumerable. It can be a book that you choose to read, the ideas that you put to paper, the way that you push yourself physically, or the ways that you connect with people. For many people, this is the issue with the ‘self-isolated’ lifestyle: you have lost many of your chosen forms of expression.
You can’t perform your normal work-tasks that help you to feel productive. You have lost the ability to have face-to-face conversations that ultimately allow you to speak your mind. You have lost your ‘you-place’, whether it be the gym, a park where you walk your dog, or any other space that you can physically be free in the world. The world is different, it has many restrictions, and you don’t know how to express yourself in this world.
That is a way to look at it… or we can view it through this perspective: your world has slowed-down.
The inputs that your brain is forced to process and adjust to each day have become fewer, allowing you (and your unconscious-self that so desperately wants you to become something greater) to excel through outputs of your choosing. You don’t have to meet the needs of others, you have to meet the needs of your soul.
Over the coming days and weeks, find the forms of expression that speak to your heart. Learn a new hobby, that may just change your life. Read more and learn something that you’ll never forget. Create a success-routine that you can’t help but perform, even when the world speeds-up again. Open your eyes, the opportunities are endless.