Surviving the crisis

April 2020 · Koh Samui, Thailand · comments

In this post, I will summarize my thoughts on what helps me survive the COVID crisis and stay sane. I hope this post will help you survive the current and future turbulent times. Expect some good books here.


Opportunities

In 2014 I faced a crisis. I woke up one morning and asked myself what’s the point of going to work. And because my work lacked any meaning, the answer didn’t follow. The next week I resigned to pursue my dream – helping software developers grow professionally. Together with like-minded people, we created a software craftsmanship community and a successful conference. Since then, I’ve been running 20-30 workshops a year. I went from depression to passion, thanks to the crisis.

This crisis (危机 or wēijī in Chinese) is no different. 危 means danger. 机 means opportunity, a point where things change, the right timing.

If the crisis has hit you hard, treat it as a call to action. It’s good time for change. Perhaps it’s time to find your Element. The Element is the point at which your natural talent meets personal passion.

If you’ve already found your Element, help people in your circles discover theirs. Become a guide. Help overcome fears. Or just present them some motivational book. Here is a good one:

Noise

Today, what worked before has stopped working. That also applies to things that worked exceptionally well. For example, I organize a conference that developers enjoy. I know that because people keep returning every year and we are always full-house.

When people register, it makes me tick. For me, every registration is like hearing, “we like what you do; keep going.”

It’s April now - time when people register in large batches - but they don’t. The registration rate is as low as never.

To stay on track, I am telling myself stories. I understand that travel is limited, and people are waiting for the crisis to resolve. I know that the recession is temporary. I am sure that the conference is as good as before.

But there are also other voices living in my head. I am in doubt because there are no registrations. Conferences are getting canceled all over the world, with some of them running out of business. Online supersedes offline.


Danger lurks here. Because your efforts have temporarily ceased to provide satisfaction and money, you might start questioning your work, talents, and interests. It’s so easy to betray your passion and switch to something “that works now.”

But what was awesome before the crisis, will stay awesome after the crisis. While others withdraw from the race, stay on track — polish the awesome.

So, reminding myself that DevTernity is awesome, offline is the best way to learn, and the shit is temporary, I keep going.

Money

I keep 70% of my money in ETFs and 15% in cryptocurrency. The remaining 15% is cash that satisfies my daily needs; it also a safety buffer that, without impacting my investments, will keep me afloat for at least a year if my business goes bust.

Right now, my business is on halt, and I draw money from the 15% buffer. I will refill the buffer once the world is back to normal.

I am saying this because 85% of my life savings have greatly dropped in value. Thanks to the stock market crash, unrealized profits have turned into unrealized losses:



I don’t know what’s your current situation, but if you own stocks, cryptocurrency, or any other asset that has dropped in value, remember: don’t sell low during the market crash. Grab a beer and wait until market recovers. Stay away from red charts.

It’s common sense, but not a common practice. Humans are loss averse. When we see our assets falling in value, a demon on our shoulder nudges us to sell. Instead, if you have available cash, it’s an excellent time to learn investment and start buying.

If you drive a fancy car but have no available cash to buy stocks, maybe it’s time to learn some basic financial planning. If you neither have a fancy car nor free funds, here is a book for you. No need to thank me:

Optimism

The best cure against COVID is optimism. Scientists say that COVID doesn’t stick to optimists. Just remember to wear a mask.

I avoid mass media at all costs because it’s full of negative bull shiitake. Twitter is particularly guilty; Those never-ending COVID tweets plant virus seeds in our heads. If you don’t have a magic foil shield, make sure you’re checking news at most once a day. For the sake of your health, block people with apocalyptic mood. Before sharing something, ask yourself – does it plant hope? Does it spread optimism? Does it make people smile? Otherwise, don’t share.

And remember the power of positive thinking and affirmations. Yesterday, while having a walk, we cleaned the beach from plastic bottles. My wife said: fucking tourists. I said: you made the beach a little happier. We were both right. Yet, our words quickly become our thoughts.

Health

During COVID, not only our hands require hygiene, but also our noisy minds. Meditation is hygiene for our minds that reduces stress, anxiety, and makes us happier in general. I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation since 2015 together with Headspace:

Headspace app


Shaking up helps a lot. A closed gym is not an excuse. You can workout alone (doesn’t work for me). You can join an online class (my wife is attending this one). Or you find a private instructor for 1x1 training. A Muay Thai trainer is coming to my house three times a week, and we’re kicking the shit out of COVID. By spending money on good causes, I contribute to the wellbeing of people who also need to pay bills.

Wrap up

I hope that you found my brain dump helpful. If I can somehow help you overcome the crisis, feel free to DM me. Take care!

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