I want to live this year – not just survive.

The world’s population has just endured two really tough years – not just on account of the corona virus COVID-19 pandemic with all its variants, but also because of many other related ensuing trends. The virus has challenged major economies exposing their fragility. Some people have lost sources of income, many have lost their jobs. The poorest are now fighting for survival, many trying to fill their stomachs on less than a dollar a day. The pandemic has also exposed poor leadership – some government officials proving their inability to make decisions that protect and develop their people, giving them hope and a potentially prosperous future.

One of the largest of all our problems, the extent of which we are yet to discover, is the impact of the pandemic on mental health and emotional wellness. Statistics alarmingly show a serious decline in optimism, hope and resilience, the same often weakening tenacity and perseverance and leading to frustration, depression, and more serious mental illnesses. Governments, companies, and other organisations have a responsibility to assist their people in this regard.

Moving from ‘survival’ to ‘living’ is no small task. The ability to live well (not just in terms of financial security, but holistically) is not handed to people on a platter – ‘living’ is something that needs to be crafted personally, purposefully, and carefully as one navigates the fallout from change and manages the emotional challenges of picking oneself up again and taking deliberate steps towards improvement.

Living intentionally, not drifting in self-sorrow or self-pity, requires refocusing energy on the things that matter most – meaningful relationships, faith, income generation and health. Living well means that I use my talents, strengths, and giftedness strategically. Living meaningfully means that I not only look after myself and my own family, but that I start taking care of others – contribution is a great healer of personal pain and shifts the focus away from detrimental self-interest to the needs of others.

Living, and not just surviving, is not a gift – it is a creation. It is developed over time through thoughtful decisions and practical steps that need to be taken to achieve your own contribution and the value that you can add to the world.

I want to live this year and not just survive!

Free To Grow offers “Staying Strong”, a workshop designed to help you and your colleagues navigate through the current challenges and storms of life successfully. For more information, contact me on jonathan@ftgsa.co.za (www.freetogrow.com)

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