This is my first blog since I wrote the three on COVID in March.

I stand by the thought that COVID could stand for: Concentrate On Victory In Defeat. Not sure how you’re feeling at this stage of extended lockdown but at least, Concentrate. In doing so, even though a possible mist of bewilderment, you can begin to think, relationship manages, and plan what lies ahead. I’m involved in a couple of these scenarios in the other work I do and whilst there is a large margin of error, the exercise is necessary and thought-provoking. Necessary, because we will return to normal again. Thought-provoking, because you actually have very little control over how things may unfold.

One of the things I find annoying is the over-60 rule. I mean really, I know 80-year olds who are fit mentally and physically and 40-year olds who were high-risk a long time before coronavirus. Surely, and especially if I bring the rich skill of experience and/or capital to a business that employs others, a medical test including corona, should be sufficient to establish my ability to deal the virus? Blanket solutions are understandable, but every blanket solution should have exception rules to get on with life, especially work life. I just don’t see enough of that in the rules per Level.

Then we have a new business and principal in Hermanus who got a slot in the trendy newspaper to write uplifting property articles. His energetic February article was headed, Two Months Into 20Plenty. I kept the article as I often do, for insights and maybe some inspiration for my blogs. Reading it this morning, one sentence caught my imagination:

The root causes of the situation [referring to “a tough market”] included a significant decline in economic activity in the country as a whole, caused in part by an epidemic which has become known as state capture.

The above thought got me going for what will be my only blog this month…

We’re Human: It’s really hard to laugh at yourself. It’s often the other guy who’s the idiot or, worse, that ah-word. But when it comes to your feelings, your moods, your thoughts in your self-isolation, you and I are only human. It’s good to be positive and the Always-On guy in yourself and for everybody else, but every now and again you may let slip, let your guard down and perhaps even regret or self-deny what you said or did. That’s forgivable so Let It Go. Say your sorries if you need to and then Let It Go. We love to call it “cabin fever” but if I told you 2 months ago you’re going to spend 5 weeks in compulsory isolation and then another 2 months in some kind of voluntary isolation, you would have thought I’d lost my marbles. Well, you’re just 2.5 days away from the first bit. We made it, many of us without ciggies or the odd lemon-butter-cherry vape. No wonder you may have been grumpy on day 22. It’s okay, Let It Go.

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be: Donald is claiming “sarcasm” in his conversation with USA’s leading medical scientists including the President of CDC [Centre for Disease Control], about injecting disinfectant against the virus. Dettol ads on FB now give free exposure to our most well-known disinfectant brand. The only problem is, he was exchanging ideas on America’s most watched channel and programme – his slot to address the nation! Needless to say, the future isn’t what it used to be. Does that scare you? Are you the ‘comme ci comme ca’ kinda guy who manages a shrug and says, “We’ll take it one day at a time?” Have you managed to mentally rummage through all the conspiracy theories and pick your poison? Or are you faithful and hopeful that God will have His way?

Truth is, whatever “kinda guy” you are, the future isn’t what it used to be. The little I know about that future is that in this present, we tend to Catastrophise. It’s a normal part of the human condition and “not being able to see the wood for the trees” is our catchphrase for the way it seems. So, as much as you Concentrate on the future, cut yourself some slack on what it looks like. Perhaps the most honest and open thing we can say, like “Sorry” above, is “I don’t know.” I watch eNCA, Sky and CNN every day to get a sense of what the virus is doing in other parts of the world and how other parts of that world are reacting [particularly loosening] to it’s spread. I watch enough just to get a sense because I’ve learnt in the 42nd interview by the 22nd guy on the same topic on CNN…that they don’t know either. Watch the American Governors struggling to open their States as people have become more belligerent over time. Their fear: Too early and a contagion starts up versus No Jobs, No Income. And you have the future mapped out…? Really!?

One of the ways to assess the future that we’ve all become accustomed to is Scenario Planning. Base, Best, Worst case theory. Don’t write it off. Once you’ve done the obvious calculation of “Can I survive financially and, if so, for how long?” the next best thing is an estimation of the time “this” is going to last and how you intend to relaunch your business relationships and success. Don’t lose sight of keeping in touch with people virtually – a positive telecall or some smiles during face-time will do wonders 2 months from now when the market begins to open. Remember to write down your thoughts so you can refer to them later even if only to reset them.

Watch Your Words: Even as I write, I’m conscious of my words. “2 months” in the first point above may have some readers reeling while others are thinking, “I hope so.” 20Plenty is the exact kind of cliché I would have used to motivate you in February. It was cute then but looking back, it may seem so inappropriate. Trust me, I’m not trying to be clever when I quote the sentence above; I could have written it exactly the same. It’s so important at those times when we’re emotionally or even physically tired, to watch our words. Like a boxer, don’t get yourself locked into the corner where you are pummelled by “I shouldn’t have said that.” It is true that words are Life and it’s so important during these times to be careful of our moods and what we say. The other day we met with a man who was battling to work at home; we could hear the kids in the background during a business meeting. Just like people could hear my dogs bark when the doorbell rang. What about those Mom’s who are working, cooking, house-working and homeschooling all at the same time? Pulling your hair out, I would think – so just watch your words.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I got to this point in writing this blog. Perhaps you need to hear the thoughts or perhaps you’re reading because “boring” is better than “nothing.” I always have to be confident enough to say what I think will count but also confident enough to accept some may hate it. Fact is we’re all human at some stage and pressure brings out the natural part of me and it’s not always pretty. As regards to the future, we really don’t know and if our fears patrol our mind, we may get it completely wrong. To this point, just remember about one third of the World’s population has been, or is, where you are; you’re probably normal as things go. Part of that “not pretty” is what I say under pressure. It can be ugly but just make sure those words are not indelible. “Hang loose” a little before you “hang up” on someone.

To conclude, here are five tips to cope with corona:

  1. Take “Me time”.
  2. Create routine.
  3. Plan what you need to do and do it.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Sleep.
  6. Eat well [By the way, Lindt Easter bunnies are R30 on special at Checkers ]
  7. Be flexible as you plan

In closing, ensure a support system. WhatsApp will get you so far and comical videos may make you laugh a little, but sometimes you need “people with skin” to confide in. Know them, trust them and share if and as you need to. True love is a precious thing, but true friendship runs a close second.

See you in Level 4. Keep distance and wash your hands. We have to, and can, beat our way down as quickly as possible.

Per a DSTV ad: We are All of Us, Delicate.

God bless You.

Yours in Property.

Jack Trevena
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