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There’s a lot going on right now.

That’s an understatement, right? The COVID-19 pandemic has taken everyone’s attention in the last few weeks, and rightly so.

Hopefully you’re in a situation where you’re safe, and healthy. But that doesn’t make it easy. A lot of things are changing all around us, and quickly.

How do we stay on track with our lives? How do we keep working, playing, eating, exercising, and supporting one another when every day brings more uncertainty?

Today we’ll talk about the mindsets and tactics needed to keep going, even when the world is more uncertain than ever.

Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.

Ben: [00:00:00] Man. See, it’s too bad we don’t have video. We could have somebody take a tally on the number of times we touch our faces.

Dan: [00:00:05] I’m going to wash my hands 10 times during this broadcast.

Ben: [00:00:08] Yeah, no, I’ve got my hand sanitizer right here. I just

Dan: [00:00:11] I have a basin. I don’t have any, I don’t have Hanson sanitizer, but so can never go anywhere.

Ben: [00:00:34] Good morning, Dan.

Dan: [00:00:36] Good morning, Ben.

Ben: [00:00:39] So how are you doing?

Dan: [00:00:41] Mm, I’m doing pretty well. All things considered. How about you?

Ben: [00:00:46] You know, I, I feel like I’m doing pretty well. But yesterday I ate a 16 ounce container of peanut butter cups. Like just in one day.

Dan: [00:00:58] Whoa. Are those like Reese’s peanut butter cups or something else?

Ben: [00:01:01] No trader Joe’s.

Dan: [00:01:03] Oh, okay. But same idea. I assume a peanut butter core covered, covered in delicious chocolate.

Ben: [00:01:09] They’re smaller. It doesn’t matter that they’re smaller. They’re like the, you know the bite size ones, but not the tiny ones

Dan: [00:01:15] I know the ones, no, I know. I know. The bite size ones you’re talking about, those are delicious.

Ben: [00:01:19] you could just pop me, just pop them.

Dan: [00:01:22] 16 ounces of those. That’s, so that’s what, that’s about. 7,500 calories and 127 grams of fat and 9,000 grams of sugar. Probably

Ben: [00:01:32] You know, I didn’t look at the calculations, but thanks. 

Dan: [00:01:35] just helping you stay on your fitness goals.

Ben: [00:01:37] no, I, I appreciate it. no. I, you know, we’re, we’re hanging in there. It’s been for anybody who’s listening to this. And, and maybe needs the context. There is a crisis going on right now. the world health organization has declared the coronavirus or Cove at 19 as a pandemic, and there are just, Mmm. All different levels of crisis going on in different parts of the world.

And currently in, in our part of the world. and I, I would say that I would say that for Dan, Canada’s not too far off of where the United States is in terms of, I guess the, the curve of the pandemic  it’s starting to, I say it’s starting, it has dominated everything. I mean, there, there have been. Now, like people panic buying and there are recommendations from national, state and local officials or staying in your house to reduce the, the rate of spread.

all kinds of, all kinds of things. And you know, there is, it’s, it’s difficult just with all of that going on for that, not to disrupt things, but. In addition to that, you know, there are so many, so many economic disruptions, changes to people’s routines. I mean, it is really just appending a lot of stuff.

Dan: [00:03:22] It really is dominating the, you know, the news, the cultural dialogue. I really. Haven’t, you know, every, even like the technology blogs and the stuff that I follow, it’s pretty much all anybody is talking about.

Ben: [00:03:37] And so we decided, why don’t we talk about it too?

Dan: [00:03:42] Why don’t we jump on the train? Well, no, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s interesting, Ben and I were talking before the show, we actually were gonna tackle a whole different topic today and we just found we didn’t have that much to say about it. And. they, you know, this has been so much on everyone’s minds, but at the same time, you know, the Sean West podcast, we try to deliver value that is sort of, eh, evergreen, you know, so, so like, we’re recording this on the 17th of March, and it’s a, it’s going to go live at the beginning of April.

So, just to give you a glimpse at how the sausage is made, we always record the show about a week in advance. This, this shows two weeks in advance, cause we’ve got a sabbatical week coming up. Ideally a year from now, two years from now, someone can come back and listen to this episode of the podcast and find, find something valuable in there.

So, so we, we took this topic to a slightly higher level than just talking about the, the Cove at 19. Pandemic and its effects. So this episode is called how to keep going when everything is changing. We’re definitely going to be talking about it in the context of what’s going on in the world right now, but hopefully we’re going to be providing something universal.

Ben: [00:05:03] Yes, and it’s, it’s going to be impossible for us not to talk about this in the context of what we’re experiencing right now. But certainly all of us have gone through times in our lives where it just felt like everything was changing. And, whether that’s some kind of a personal crisis or something more local that’s happening, that is, that is disrupting everything.

You know, what we’re experiencing now is global, and because of that, it feels, you know, talking about it, it feels like a lot bigger then some other type of crisis you might’ve experienced in the past. But in terms of, in terms of your ability to continue to, to follow a routine, get work done, things like that, there are certainly things that many of us have experienced in our lives that have.

Served as, as much of a disruption, as much of a derailment to the things that we’re trying to do. And it has a lot of the same qualities. the, the sense of uncertainty, not really knowing what things are going to look like on the other side and not sure what you should be doing right now, whether or not it’s responsible to just keep working and doing.

What you do normally, or if you should just be in panic mode and, and trying to solve the problem at hand. You know, so I, I feel like there are a lot of, a lot of really good questions that we’re going to bring up in this episode that will also be helpful for a future crisis and whatever that might look like.

We’re all going to experience those at some point in our lives. So.

Dan: [00:06:50] Just to put that in perspective a little, I would say that, you know, the, the sort of uncertainty and disruption can come from. Kinds of different sources and they don’t all have to be what you, what you might consider a crisis by the, you know, typical definition of the world. I mean, the uncertainty can come from a global pandemic, but you know, uncertainty in your life can come from really good things.

I mean, you could, you could like get married and move to a new country with your partner. And that could all be, you know, wonderful, exciting changes and yet still be so completely disruptive to your life that you’re not sure what to do with yourself.

Ben: [00:07:33] Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah. I’m glad that you, I’m glad that you made that distinction. Mmm. So.

Dan: [00:07:42] Well, so we want to, we want to talk about sort of what you can do. Two, keep going right to stay on track. No, Matt, no matter what’s causing the disruption. You know, and Ben, if you want to start somewhere else, let me know. But I think we can divide, we can kind of divide how to tackle this into sort of two sections into like mindsets and tactics.

You’re not, in other words like how to think and what to do.

Ben: [00:08:09] Yeah. I think that sounds good. I’d like to, I do want to, I, I wanted to ask you, Dan, like, what are, what are some of the ways this current situation has disrupted your everyday life and what are some of the ways it has threatened to take you off course and, and, and keep you from working toward the things that you are working toward?

Dan: [00:08:38] Well, you know, I have to admit to being in quite a fortunate position, a lot of what’s been changing for people is closures in public spaces. So for example, schools or schools, a lot of schools are closed. I know for you, Ben, your kids are at home. and I don’t have kids, so that doesn’t really affect me.

a lot of people are being sent home from work and in some cases that means they can’t work, which is incredibly difficult for some people. It means working from home, which can be challenging. Well, I already have a job where I work from home. A lot of people are, you know, the people are talking about things like getting your groceries delivered instead of going to the grocery store, I already get my groceries delivered so.

I, you know, I’m not going to go so far as to say that the situ situation hasn’t affected me. It has, and I think, like you said, a lot of this depends where you are in the world too. where I live, we’ve had, we’ve just, just in the last day or so had kind of a, like the public health authorities saying like, okay, we’re banning gatherings larger than.

I think it was about 50 people. and that’s something that you saw in Seattle, for example, a week or so ago already. So I think we’re, we’re still slightly behind the curve of some of the changes that have hit those of you in the United States and elsewhere. and I know, for example, in, in like Italy is even further ahead of that, right?

Where, kind of as we look around the world, you can kind of see what might be coming. But as far as it goes for me, I, I’ve, I’ve mostly been living my life the way I usually have. It’s just I’m, I’m cutting out evil, you know, the voluntary, like going to public places, like going to restaurants and coffee shops and things like that.

Those, those, those haven’t yet been like F like league, like closed by legal order, where I live, although they have been in some other places. So for me, it’s just kind of a tightening down of, the lifestyle I already had. but I mean, what a, what about you Ben? I guess this is probably kind of early days, for you as well, but how are you, what sorts of things are you looking at?

I know you also, you also work from home, I believe, but your kids would normally be in school.

Ben: [00:11:00] Yeah. So one of the ways I feel extremely fortunate is that, for the most part, my life was built around isolation. and you, you know, you can kind of look at that, in a couple of different ways. Charlie praying, Lee posted something on Twitter about how it kind of. Became indicative of, you know, the fact that she didn’t really have to change much about her lifestyle.

Mmm. Made her take a really serious look at, okay, what am I isolating too much? You know, on the other side of this, are there some things that I need to change? But we, we were already on spring break. When the news really started coming out, so the kids were already home, and we have a mode that we go into for that.

We’re not quite as prepared as we would like to be for them to have a longer extended period of time at home, which is looking like a real possibility at this point there talking about the potential of just canceling the rest of the school year, depending on how things go.

Dan: [00:12:09] Wow.

Ben: [00:12:11] and, and none of that is certain, like the, we don’t have, we don’t have any new updates yet, but all along I’ve just been, and it’s, this is, one, one of the ways it’s really disrupted me, I think more than my lifestyle.

Like I stopped going to the gym. That’s not a big deal because I also do a lot of running just in the neighborhood, and I do at home workouts and, and stuff like that. But I have felt a really strong pull toward getting, trying to get as much, accurate information as possible because, and my experience has been, and again, this is just me personally, my experience has been that what comes out from officials tends to lag behind.

the, the most accurate and relevant information and recommendations from people who are actually on the front lines and know there’s kind of this general distrust or skepticism of news media,  some parts of our culture. And so I really, I really tried hard because I knew that if, if this was going to have serious implications for people who I care about, I want to make sure that I have the most accurate information that I can point to the right sources so that I can be as early and as convincing as possible to the people who I love that.

or, or the people who are responsible for, in some ways, the people I love two, to take the right action.

Dan: [00:13:59] So was was the disrupt the disruption there was you, you kind of have this like part time job now where you have to become. Like a filter and disseminator of information?

Ben: [00:14:09] Yeah. And, and again, that might be, that might be more of a personality thing. Like maybe, maybe I have. Some trust issues or.

Dan: [00:14:21] Well, I think a lot. I think a lot of people have felt that way though, and, and it is probably something we want to touch on is just the, I’m feeling feeling more of that need to. Stay connected, but like you can stay connected to the world in a positive way or a, or a like a helpful way or an unhelpful way, right?

Where you can start to consume information in a way that that is like not helping you is increasing stress and anxiety versus a versus what you need to do to sort of be responsible and make good decisions.

Ben: [00:14:54] And I’ve been, you know, to be completely honest, I’ve been doing both. I have probably what I think is, you know, a set of responsible actions that I’ve taken and things that I’ve been doing to stay informed. But then, you know, there’s definitely that part of it that’s like constantly refreshing the news feeds to see like, what are, what are people saying?

How are people reacting. And again, there’s, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a pulse on those things, but not, but not every five minutes, you know, like, that’s a little bit excessive. So I’ve had varying levels of obsessiveness with what’s going on. And that has. That has definitely affected my ability to stay productive and to do the things that, like some of the extra things, like the 30 day content challenge that I set out to do.

You know, that’s kind of fallen by the wayside. And in some ways, you know, like that’s understandable, but in other ways, like I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that there was stuff that I’m doing, ways that I’m engaging with the current crisis. That are really not helping me and not helping anybody else and keeping me from doing some of the stuff that I want to do.

Dan: [00:16:15] Well, let, let’s, so let’s run with that a little bit because I think this is one of the first, you know, this is one of the things that, that goes to the topic of, of how to keep going when things are changing. Because. It’s always going to be a struggle to avoid over-consumption, right? Because you know, like this, this constant stream of information vying for our attention, is not a new invention of the last couple of weeks.

It’s been there for a long time now, right? We, we’ve all, we’ve talked plenty of times in the past about. Getting, you know, get it getting lost and consuming and how it’s better to produce things than to consume, in terms of, of information, online content, all of that stuff. But it feels more urgent suddenly.

And to a certain degree, it is more urgent to stay on the pulse of things. But I think one, you know, one good thing to take away is. Kind of trying to separate or trying to identify what the true urgency is. So as far as things go with the current situation, it’s unlikely that something is going to change over the course of five minutes that you’re going to have to immediately react to.

Right. Like if, if this, if your, if your city was. If you know, if there were like uncontrollable fires spreading through your suburban area, that’s the kind of thing that you would need to, to drop everything else and spend all of your attention on. Right. But you know, fortunately that isn’t the case. And so things are changing very quickly as this pandemic occurs.

But at the same time, the sort of my, my impression is that the sort of directions that we’re receiving for how to conduct ourselves. Are not changing day by day. You know, there, there’s P people are sort of moving more and more in the direction of, okay, isolate more and more things. But as individuals, the general guidelines are at this point, I think fairly well known.

And that being the case, it makes sense to keep track of updates maybe, especially in your locality. Right? So if. If you had, if you, you know, if you had a, an appointment that you had planned to keep or you were thinking of, let’s say going to a restaurant, it’s worth finding out that the city has, has now, you know, told all the restaurants they have to close at the same time.

You know, give your, give yourself some kind of guideline for how often you have to take in that information. So for example, maybe that’s once or twice a day at specified times because you know, I know what’s really easy for all of us, especially, we’ve all got smart phones. We’re always connected to the internet.

When something like this happens, especially, it’s easy to turn consumption of information into a default activity and it’s easy to use the availability of information as a way to soothe. The anxiety that comes with uncertainty, but that’s problematic because that can really lead to you. For example, instead of getting done any of the work you want to get done, now you’re just, you know, you’re sitting there on Twitter or Instagram or whatever without really realizing it for four hours a day and it feels like you’re being productive or you’re being responsible, but you’re not really, you’re not even really learning anything new.

Ben: [00:19:38] Right? I w you, you mentioned uncertainty and I want to park there. And bring in something that Laura said in the chat. She says, well, in the short term, the thing to do is to take things one day at a time and see how the situation evolves. How do you approach making longterm plans? The further out you take the focus, the harder it seems to be able to find any stability.

Something I’ve been reading and thinking about on the topic of managing the anxiety that comes from uncertainty. Just to teach yourself that you can handle not knowing what’s going to happen and that to our brain, bad news is more favorable than uncertainty because it can deal with bad news. But how do you switch from reacting to a situation to having a more active role?

Do you just stay put until the storm passes? so the, and there, there are a couple of different questions in there and I think we should definitely get back to. Some of some of the specific questions, but the one, the thing I want to focus on is this idea that to our brain, bad news is more favorable than uncertainty.

I think the relief part of the relief that we’re looking for when we’re refreshing our feeds  the relief from the sense of uncertainty, like, tell me, tell me what’s going to happen. Like good or bad, just tell me, you know, like we’ve seen, we’ve seen that played out in movies and stuff like that, like  and I have, I have the same thing.

Like sometimes I’ll wait to tell Rachel about something because I’m waiting to see whether or not it’s going to play out one way or the other so that I can give her. An accurate update because if I, I know that if I say, I don’t know how this is going to pan out, that’s going to create more anxiety for her than if I have a conclusion, even if it’s a bad one.

You know?

Dan: [00:21:37] Yeah.

Ben: [00:21:39] So I th I think there are a couple of different layers and I feel like this is, this is almost kind of in the, in the area between tactical and mentality. Like there’s a little bit of overlap. And this might kind of be in there somewhere, but I think one of the layers is this practice that we’ve talked about on the show many times before of relegating social media time to a specific scheduled time, like actually scheduling it so that it’s not that you get out of the habit of checking it several times a day.

You still get to, engage with people and interact and. Keep up with the news or whatever. But I think, I think FOMO, fear of missing out, and just that like feeling of uncertainty and not really knowing what’s going to happen come from a really similar place, you know? So I feel like, I feel like that habit of whatever you feel like is responsible and, and that’s not going to drive you crazy, but, but maybe say, okay, every two hours.

I will set a timer for five minutes and I’ll let myself check and see what’s going on.

That seems like an eternity to me to be honest. Like

I just, honestly, I want to sit right now. I want to sit down in my chair and I just want to keep on top of what’s going on every second so that if something happens where like I might need to take some action. I know immediately, but I think more than that, it’s really that I feel extremely, extremely uncomfortable not knowing what’s going on.

Like we’re doing this podcast right now. I don’t have any news feeds up. We’re going to be talking for at least another, you know, 45 minutes to an hour. And it drives me a little nuts to know that something might happen between now and when we’re finished that I just, I don’t know about.

Dan: [00:23:49] Let’s drill into that a little bit because I think this really, there’s a lot to say about dealing with. Anxiety and how it inter, how it interacts with uncertainty. Because let’s jump back three months to before this pandemic was a thing like before most of us had probably ever heard of this particular virus.

Did you feel the same way even though technically the best way to be prepared if a giant radioactive lizard starts stomping through your neighborhood and you have to evacuate immediately, which is the only kind of situation that you really would need to find out about, like in the next 30 seconds and instead of the next two hours.

That could always, that that was as, that was as likely a couple months ago as as it is now. Right? So there’s an argument to be made that like, surely you should just be constantly refreshing your Twitter feed all the time. Why do you feel more inclined to constantly refresh your Twitter feed now and you did three months ago.

I think, I think it, it’s because of the overall uncertainty. Three months ago there was no reason to think that some vague, terrible thing could happen in the next little while that you really need to know about now. I’d argue there, there’s, there kind of still isn’t a reason to think that some vague, terrible thing will happen in the next couple of minutes, but it feels more that way just because the general tenor of the world around us feels more uncertain.

Ben: [00:25:31] Yeah. And the uncertainty is. I think it’s, it’s not just an existential thing like we’re, we’re not sure what life is going to look like or whether or not this thing is coming for us in some way. I think it’s, it’s also like I’m not, I’m not sure how life is going to be different and not knowing that it makes it impossible for me to make plans and make adjustments.

And. Changed my routine, like I want to be able to sit down and have a meeting and say, okay, here’s, here are the way things are now, and so this is what we’re going to do. And so when there’s, there’s uncertainty.

It just, it feels like I can’t, I don’t know if I can find a new normal, you know, like when, when, when am I ever going to feel settled again?

Like, I’m actually. Maintaining a rhythm that that is compatible with what’s going on in the world around me.

Dan: [00:26:38] I think there is, there’s an argument to be made and circumstances like the ones we’re in right now sort of point this out or they shine a spotlight on it. Stability is, is always an illusion. And, I don’t say that to be. You know, to upset anybody. It’s, but it’s the truth. Cause again, like right now, you don’t feel comfortable making long range plans.

This, this goes back to Laura’s question. You don’t feel comfortable making long range plans because you can’t predict what’s gonna, what the future is going to be like say a few months from now. But again, let’s jump back a few months. If you made plans for, let’s say, mid March to go on a trip somewhere.

Those plans turned out to be impossible to carry out or much more problematic to carry out, and you were no more able to predict that three months ago. Then you’re able to predict what the world will be like three months from now. The only thing that’s changed is your feeling like your awareness of the unpredictability of events.

And I guess the reason that I make that distinction is if we’re going to talk about. How to keep going. You kind of need the same strategies for how to make plans and how to adjust plans all the time, regardless of whether there’s a global pandemic going on because the future is always unpredictable.

Ben: [00:28:12] Yeah. And, and so it is kind of this mix of making plans as if things are going to continue in a way that you expect them to

because you can’t, you can’t live your life constantly saying no to things because it might not pan out. with, you know, with reason, like if somebody’s, if somebody said, Hey, there’s a conference in three weeks, I want to give you a free ticket and pay for your airfare and you should go to this video production conference, it’s going to be really great.

I’d probably say, Hey, I really appreciate that, but it’s not wise to do that. You know, right now, you know, save your money. Or even even a couple of months from now, like I, I feel like. There. There are certain reasonable limits that you can put on those things. But you think about longterm, like I think about next year, you know, like some of the conferences that have canceled have said, we’re going to let your ticket purchase for this year, go toward your tickets for the following year so you can, you know, not have to worry about paying for your tickets for that.

And I’m just, you know, like there’s a part of my mind is just assuming, Oh yeah, that’s gonna. That conference is going to happen. I’ll go to it then and, and that’ll be fine.  this is, this is like, I have evidence to show that when things do change, I am able to manage that. Like I’m, there were, there were events that were canceled that I was really looking forward to and I did feel disappointed, but I also understood, given the circumstances, and.

You know, I, I was able to adjust. And so if, if I fear in any way that I might not be able to cope with or make adjustments to some major change in the future, I have evidence to point to, to say, actually, you’ve done that already. You’ve been able to cope with those things you’ve been able to manage.

You’ve been able to find a new normal for a variety of different changes. The view that you’ve experienced throughout the years, big and small. There’s, there’s no evidence to the contrary, like there’s no evidence to show that you are going to completely fall apart and that you’re never going to be able to find your compass again

if you go through some major change.

Dan: [00:30:38] That’s really where I want to go with this. especially, you know, going back to Laura’s question about, you know, the short term that seems like the thing to do is take things one day at a time, but how would you approach making longterm plans in terms of making longterm plans? There’s always a degree of unpredictability.

I mean, this is why when you buy plane tickets, they offer you group trip cancellation insurance, and then you can make up your mind about whether to take it. One thing that does change when the world seems a little more uncertain is you want to get a little bit more deliberate. You want to pay a little more attention to capping the downside risk of what you, what you’re going to do.

So that’s all to say that right now, if someone said, Hey, there’s a conference next year. Do you want to go? I’d probably say yes, but I might be more likely to buy a trip cancellation insurance than I was a year ago. On the other hand, like you said, Ben, if somebody said, Hey, something’s going on in the next six weeks, do you want to do it?

I’d probably say, well, I’m going to guess that it’s either going to get canceled or even if it doesn’t get canceled, I’m not going to feel like it would be wiser, responsible to go so. I’m going to say no, whereas a year ago I would have taken you up on the same offer. I think I want to try to help people get past this complete paralysis that can set in where the degree of uncertainty you feel makes it feel like I can’t make any decisions about anything outside of the immediate, like what’s in what’s right in front of me because I just have no idea what the future holds.

And I guess when I say things like, you know. Pandemic or not, you never know what the future holds. It’s not to, it’s hopefully it’s not to increase that anxiety. It’s to point out that we can always make decisions in the face of uncertainty.  we just have to, you know, we, we, we have to be able to, well, a, we have to be able to do our best to cap the possible downsides and then B, we have to be comfortable improvising.

Ben: [00:32:51] Yeah. So I, I kind of think of this like, because maybe it’s not a conference, but maybe you’re thinking in terms of your longterm plans for growing your business. You know, like w, w, w, whatever strategies you had set up or marketing your business and or growing your audience or the, the work that you were going to do before a product launch or whatever the case may be.

It can, it can feel like in light of the circumstances. Well now I can’t, I can’t reliably say that any of that stuff is going to pan out. So like, is it worth still doing? And I’d say especially for things that, you know, like these are goals that you are working toward, even though you don’t know what’s on the other side of this current crisis.

Mmm. You, you make those plans and you carry out those actions as much as you can, but you, you hold, you hold those loosely. And what, and, and, and you also, I think you have to trust yourself in the moment to be able to follow your gut and improvise and, and shift things. That’s, that’s something that is really difficult for some people.

Easier for others to, to just trust themselves and to know, you know what, I, I may not know what the future’s going to hold, but if, if something happens. I believe that I’m capable of coming up with some kind of alternative path or idea or something that will still allow me to, to accomplish those things, to reach those goals.

But as, as far as the mindset of holding something loosely, I think that’s, it’s really challenging for some people, like some people get really bent out of shape

when things don’t go the way they planned for them to go. And I know that some of that is personality. My personality has always been like, just go with the flow.

And, and sometimes that ends up being really frustrating for some people. admittedly, you know, like that has its downsides, but in, in a crisis type situation or in a situation where there’s a lot of change going on, because that is kind of a feature of my personality. I tend to feel a lot more at ease.

and it’s easier for me to let go of my expectations. But I think if that’s not your personality, it’s really valuable to do the work, to, to get some level of comfort with the idea of letting things go, not, not holding so tightly to your expectations of how things were supposed to turn out. I mean, peop some people.

Got really, really upset about March madness being canceled.

Dan: [00:35:57] That’s a, that’s a sports thing,

Ben: [00:35:58] That’s a, that that’s a sports ball thing. Yeah.

Dan: [00:36:01] Sports ball. Oh yeah. We don’t have that in Canada, so that’s a, that’s a lie, man. CFL for life.

Ben: [00:36:08] I dunno what that is.

Dan: [00:36:09] you? That’s the Canadian football league. Ben, y’all are amateurs with your three downs or your four down. I can’t remember which one it is. We have different numbers of downs.

Ben: [00:36:19] Is this football like, like with the football, football, or is it like soccer?

Dan: [00:36:25] Is this the show? No, it’s, it’s football. It’s America’s so-called American football. Now that’s not the same as Australian football, which is a whole other sport with like a big circular field. It’s really

Ben: [00:36:35] thought that was rugby.

Dan: [00:36:37] No, no, no. That’s a whole different thing. That’s where I think people hit just punch each other for the whole game.

Right? Isn’t that rugby?

Ben: [00:36:44] was, I thought that was a mosh pit.

Dan: [00:36:46] No. I think you’re thinking of boxing

Ben: [00:36:48] Okay. So

Dan: [00:36:51] Merlin, Merlin Mann, and Dan Benjamin do that bit a lot better than we do

Ben: [00:36:55] yeah, they do. Yeah.

Dan: [00:36:56] combo. We’re trying, we’re trying.

Ben: [00:36:58] You know, it’s fun. I saw this, this, this ridiculous Twitter thread, and it, it’s a new kind of meme thing that I’ve seen every once in a while, but somebody, somebody will like

quotes someone else and, and say, no, that’s a S and they like define the actual word that the person, that’s great.

Dan: [00:37:18] But they keep, they keep giving a different definition, and then someone’s like says, no, no, you’re thinking of matzah balls. And then they’re like, no, that’s, that’s where you, you do this other thing, and then they’re like, no, no, no. You’re thinking of the Mandalorian. No, that’s where.

Ben: [00:37:33] Have you stay tuned for the after show? I’ll give you real example of what that is because we’re doing a really poor job trying to explain it.

Dan: [00:37:43] We bet we better shelve that for now, but I, but I guess what we’re saying is one way to keep going when everything’s changing is to hold onto your sense of humor.

Ben: [00:37:52] Yeah.

Dan: [00:37:53] See, I brought it back. I brought it all the way back.

Ben: [00:37:55] There you go.

Yeah, I found, I found it though. I will. I will bring it in.

Dan: [00:38:02] Okay. You’ll bring it in. All right. I’m looking forward to that. This is a good state that you got to stay tuned for the after show folks. It’s going to be worth it. Laura, Laura mentioned quickly in the chat, she said, I, I like having it put this way, trust your ability to improvise. I, I think I’m, I’m a big proponent of looking for the upside and.

Everything that’s going on in the world right now. Obviously the consequences are not equally distributed. Like I said before, I feel like this has been a lot less disruptive on me than it has been on a lot of other people, and I want to be cognizant of that. I don’t want to come off like, Hey, this isn’t a big deal we’re at, well, while other people might be struggling with it a lot more, there’s definitely a lot of uncertainty and, and it is a big deal, but.

In terms of looking for the upside. I do think that what’s going on right now  is a challenge we can rise to, and one of those challenges is it challenges our ability to improvise. It challenges our ability to go, can I still make decisions when I have less certainty? And especially in terms of the longterm decisions.

you brought this up, Ben. I want to bring it back a little bit. Especially if it’s a person who’s thinking about longterm plans. We’re talking about very concrete things like if you’re going to book plane tickets or not, but if a person is, is thinking about longterm plans, like they want to build a business or they want to pursue a certain career and maybe now they’re going, can I even still do that?

You know? I want to say to those people, yeah, make those longterm plans. Like assume that things will work out. Don’t hold yourself back. You know, like, don’t, don’t cut yourself off before you even get started because of the amount of uncertainty in the world right now. Make your longterm plans, but then, well, a bring things into the, those plans that acknowledge, the difficulty of things.

So for example, if you think you want to pursue a certain career. And it means you’re going to go to graduate school, but honestly, you don’t even know if your grad school is going to be open for the next semester because Ben, like, like you said, their, their school divisions right now that are, that are contemplating maybe just canceling the whole the rest of the school year.

Well, that doesn’t mean you can no longer pursue this career, but it might mean that now is the wrong time to like give a graduate school a gigantic monetary deposit. Because there’s a chance that you won’t be going. You know what I mean? So take those sorts of things into account, but I want people to hang onto those longterm plans.

Ben: [00:40:52] Yeah, absolutely. This segues a little bit because I think it’s, it’s important to think about those longterm things and, and to have longterm plans, especially when you’re in the middle of the crisis and the things that you’re going through. it’s, it’s important to continue some sort of practice where you’re zooming out and, and, and making plans because.

The more acute the crisis, the easier it is to just stop thinking about those things all together. And, and so this, this advice is not to say like, don’t deal with what’s in front of you right now. Continue, you know, thinking longterm. But it’s, it is in some ways, like for your mental and emotional wellbeing, you’ve got to maintain some.

Kind of practice of making longer term plans of, of projecting into the future and imagining and dreaming what things could be and, and what you might do. that said, you do need to like you, you may be in a place right now where

you do need to drop things and focus on the crisis at hand and do, and the work that you have in front of you is.

You know, it’s, it’s self care. It’s like working through your feelings of anxiety or depression because of the situation that you’re in. Reaching out and making connections with people to try to get the help that you need because of the circumstances the crisis has caused. It could be similar to like some of the stuff that I’ve been doing where I feel a strong sense of responsibility to keep people informed, especially reach out to decision makers.

And, make sure they have accurate information and that they’re not putting people in danger. And there, there are some other ways that I feel like in the middle of this crisis, just to be, I’m as helpful as I possibly can be because of the fortunate situation I find myself in. You know, so they’re, they’re, they’re all different levels of, of work that the crisis might call upon you to do.

And it’s okay to do those things, to focus on those things and put aside the things that you might work on for your longer term goals for now, or to scale those back, you know, whatever the case may be. without, without feeling like you are undermining yourself or, or, or that you’re doing something wrong.

You know, like you, you have to deal with the crisis first.

Dan: [00:43:44] Yeah. You, you don’t D dealing with something that comes up in the short term does not. I mean, you’re abandoning your longterm goals, right? Like the things that happen might be setbacks, but a setback does not. You know, a setback doesn’t take you out of the game. Like, I think we can have this very, you know, Le leaving aside the leaving aside pandemics and other stressful situations.

Just in general, when we talk about. The things we want to do and, and the things we talk about on this podcast, stuff like building businesses, we, we tend to have this very rigid thinking where like, I’m going to try this thing, I’m going to launch a course and I’m gonna, I’m gonna get it, I’m gonna launch it in the next three months and I’m gonna, you know, do this and do that.

And if something comes up and it throws us off. A lot of the time we go, well, I plan to do something and it didn’t work out the way I planned. Therefore I failed. And then maybe you never try again. Maybe you spend years, you know, sort of subconsciously treating yourself like less of a person because things didn’t work out the way you expected them to.

This is all very problematic, right? It’s very important to understand that setbacks occur. That their occurrence doesn’t say anything about you. If you’re having a really hard time dealing with the global situation or your local situation, if all you can do right now is try to figure out how the heck you are going to work from home while your kids are also home from school and the grocery stores are closed, it’s perfectly okay to focus on that.

It’s for the so two things. It’s perfectly okay to focus on that and if that means that you set your. Content marketing for your side, business aside for a little while, that’s fine. It doesn’t make you a failure and it doesn’t mean that you’ve abandoned all of your hopes and dreams. It just means that you are dealing with, you know, the hand you’re dealt, you’re dealing with what’s in front of you.

And then I think the other thing that’s important to remind yourself is that this is, this is just a season of life. Like it’s not a season that you picked. It kind of came out of nowhere. But it will almost certainly pass. And then you’ll. You know, there will come a time when you can focus on things the way you want to.

Again, maybe maybe you work from home permanently and your kids get homeschooled from now on and grocery stores ceased to exist and we all have our food delivered maybe, but even if that happens, that will eventually become normalized for you and you’ll be able to get back to work on your business. I want people to look at what’s going on around them as.

Something that they can adjust to and something, you know, goes back to your ability to improvise. Something that we can figure out. Not something that, you know, ruins all of our hopes and dreams for the future.

Ben: [00:46:58] Well, and, and I, I will say this, if you are a human being, which, if you’re listening to this, and you understand what I’m saying, sorry, dogs in the room, but if you’re listening to this and you understand what I’m saying. You have a super power that is unique among every other creature on the face of this earth, and that superpower is this ridiculous ability to adapt.

And it doesn’t feel like it’s sometimes when there’s, when there are huge changes going on, major shifts. I mean, you know, like, like you said, Dan, there may be, there may be. industries that are completely changed after this. Or it might be that, so something really personal like you because you were forced to work from home.

Now your boss realizes, Hey, I can actually just have people work from home and that’s your new normal. Like any number of things could change and, and potentially permanently. But your super power is the ability to adapt. Two, whatever circumstances become the new normal. And I just, I want to encourage you to trust in that and to, and to know that when the time comes though, it may feel uncertain and scary right now.

When the time comes, you’re going to be able to figure it out. You’re going to, you’re going to be able to figure out what to do. It is not going to destroy you.

Dan: [00:48:29] There’s a really challenging thing for human beings to do. At the same time, you, you want to strive for something, you have to also not how to put this. You have to also not make your identity dependent on its achievement. So for example, in the long run, I want to write novels. I want to be a novelist. You know, I want to be a published author and end all the various.

Imagined things that go along with that. So on the one hand, I, I, I want to want all of that strongly enough that it drives me to pursue this ambitious goal. But at the same time, if I let my whole identity get wrapped around the notion that if I, that I have to either achieve this or else I’m a failure, I’m a bad person.

I’m, you know, I, I’m not good enough. That’s gonna be a source of immense psychological damage. Like the, the tricky thing is I, I have to somehow come to terms with like, I have to somehow both be okay with, I’m going to work really hard towards this goal and yet if I never achieve it, that’s fine. Like, I, that’s okay.

Like may it’s disappointing maybe, but it doesn’t destroy me. And I think similarly. This is something we all have to figure out for ourselves in the face of setbacks. Because I think that’s where a lot of this stress and anxiety comes from, is I felt like I was doing such a good job at whatever I thought my life was supposed to be about.

And now circumstances out of my control have changed everything. And now and, and I’ve, I can’t do the thing that I wanted to do. So now who am I? And. We, you talked about crises before, so there’s this real crisis going on in terms of a global pandemic, but it can lead to this existential crisis of now I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with myself.

And we talked about the, the sort of more tactical part of this being the ability to improvise. I think the, the more mindset portion of this is. Learning to put your eye, the seat of your identity somewhere other than your goals and aspirations, like developing an understanding that you are, you know, you, you are worthy.

Even if you, even if you’re not getting as far with your side business, for example, as you’d like to be.

Ben: [00:51:14] Yeah. And that’s, and that’s really tough. And it’s not, it’s not just one of those things where, okay, suddenly you find yourself in the crisis and it’s a S a switch. You can flip. You have to work to cultivate and identity seated somewhere other than, and you know, like. I F I feel like I’m discovering every day new ways that I’ve been misplacing my identity and specific things.

so it’s, it’s work that you have to do. I w I will say as a piece of a tactical advice regarding this idea is if you do find yourself, so for example, like. Somebody, somebody who is a musician, and I’m just, I’m kind of creating this as like a, for instance in the circumstances, using it as an example. I don’t know if this is too far fetched or whatever, but they were set to meet with some music executives who wanted to sign them and give them a record deal and they were going to, you know, have them fly in next month.

Well now that flight is canceled. They don’t want to do it remote because that’s not the way they’ve ever done things. So like they’re, they’re postponing that. And it could be, it could be postponed forever. And you’re kind of getting the sense as the, as the musician that, Oh, this, this might not actually happen.

Like by the time this all blows over, they’re already looking at other things. What do I do? You know, like the, it could be, so it can be such a huge. Drop in your sense of self worth, that you actually do end up legitimately depressed like you, you are. This is so impacted you that you are now having really negative thoughts and that like tactically speaking, if you find yourself being that affected by what’s going on, you need to get help and you need to get professional help to walk you through that.

it’s not the time for you to rely on yourself to change your mindset about your personal identity because the damage is, has already been done. And that doesn’t mean that you did something wrong. It doesn’t mean that you made a mistake. It just means that you happened to be in a certain mindset when these circumstances came down on you.

And now you’re not in a position to be able to help pull yourself out of that. You need professional help to do that. So tactically speaking, if you find yourself, and, and not just for the identity thing, but just circumstantially, if this has hit you so hard and you’re like, I don’t know what to do now, whether that’s because of money or because of childcare or because maybe someone you love has gotten sick or whatever the case may be.

It’s okay.  you should ask for help and it’s not necessarily mindset work that you need right now. It’s no professional help to get you to a place where you’re healthy enough to be able to do that work, if that makes sense.

Dan: [00:54:37] Yeah. I mean, you’re saying, you know, like on the one hand, an ongoing crisis can be an opportunity for personal growth. But on the other hand, if you’re not in a, a position mentally, that makes it. Possible to whether a crisis on your own, then you shouldn’t be feeling like, Oh, I just gotta be strong enough to get through this.

Like it’s important to find help and support.

Ben: [00:55:04] Yeah.

Dan: [00:55:06] I mean, we, you know, like we said, the, the pandemic has sort of dominated everybody is consciousness for the last couple of weeks and probably for the next few weeks out or who knows. We could keep talking about everything going on for a long time, but I, I’m pretty pleased with what we’ve been able to do on this show in terms of hopefully giving people some perspective, you know, not just for what’s going on right now as we record this, but for any sort of crisis, either a global or personal.

In the future. This notion of, you know, considering your ability to improvise as perhaps even more important than your ability to plan because there’s always uncertainty, right? And a, a willingness to both make long range plans and trust that you’ll be able to get to where you want to go. But at the same time.

Deal with what’s in front of you and recognize that the path you take to get there might not look anything like you thought it would.

Ben: [00:56:18] Yeah. . I do want to, I do want to say one more thing here, just kind of circling back to what I was describing as the disruptions I’ve been experiencing and how that has affected my ability to continue producing daily content and that kind of thing. There’s a lot of value in being able to step back and make an honest assessment.

Of what you’re doing and this is, this is just kind of like, I don’t know, I don’t want to call it tough love necessarily, but it’s, it’s something that I can lovingly say to myself in honesty, and you have to be able to do that, but, but just backing up and looking at the way that I’ve been spending my time, I can say, you know what, Ben?

I think it’s really good that you’ve been. Focused and, and trying to get accurate information to people. I think it’s really responsible. I think you’ve been doing good work and the, you know, this is the time for that and it’s totally understandable that that has kept you from being able to do some of the things you’d originally set out to do.

That’s completely understandable, but you have been also checking social media obsessively. You’re not using that time as wisely as you should. You’re letting that keep you from being present. And so that’s an area where you could make some changes, just some small tweaks that would allow you to spend some time, maybe not as much time as you’d like, but some time doing the things that you say you’d like to do.

And so I can be honest with myself about that, and if I can be honest with myself about that, that becomes a tactical thing that I can do to make. Some, some small tweaks and get back on track with some of the things that I should be doing in terms of producing content and being present with my family and getting my work done on time.

You know, like all of those things, those things don’t necessarily have to suffer. And again, that’s not to say that the, the way you’re experiencing the crisis right now may not leave room for some of the other stuff. That you want to do and that’s okay, but don’t. Also, don’t let that keep you from zooming out and just being honest with yourself about ways that you could actually get back on track with things.

Because honestly, the world needs our creativity. It needs us to share things, and. Help provide some semblance of routine and, and it needs the familiarity of trusted voices and, you know, even entertainment. And so any of us who are engaged in providing that, that’s also good and valuable work. So be honest with yourself.

You know, if there are ways that you can get back to doing that work, find, find a way to do that.

Dan: [00:59:28] That’s a great way to wrap it up is making that distinction between the things that you need to do to take care of yourself right now and the things that may be are coming from a place of. Uncertainty, like constantly checking your social media feed that you might be able to leave behind in favor of creating.

You know, that that thing we’ve said before, that’s better to produce than it is to consume, you know, still still applies. And that can really be a great way both to keep pursuing the things you want to pursue. And also to help your, you know, how to help yourself, help your mindset. It feels good to create stuff.

And it can help take your mind off things that are worrying you.

Ben: [01:00:13] Yeah. And, and like we said already, there’s nothing wrong with producing content that doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on right now. You know, like, people need relevant information. They need news updates, they need to know what to do, but they also, they need, relief. They need a, they need rest from the new cycle.

They need entertainment. They need. To learn things that don’t have anything to do with, with the pandemic, you know, so like they, they need those things too. And it’s absolutely okay for you to, to produce that kind of content as well.

Dan: [01:00:55] Yeah, that’s right. Go, go out there and make stuff because we need it.

Ben, you wanna you want to wrap this up?

Ben: [01:01:02] Dan, where can people go to find us online?

Dan: [01:01:06] You can go to  dot com and you check out our membership. We’ve got the Shawn West community, and it’s been a pretty amazing place to be over the last couple of weeks. Obviously we’ve been talking about the ongoing pandemic in there as much as anywhere else. We’ve got, started a thread called a work from home support group for people who are.

New to working from home and, and could use some resources and use some support. That’s been really great. I died. Encourage everyone to come and, and check it out. Our membership includes access to the community and also to all of our business training courses. It’s a pretty amazing deal and it’s a great place to spend time, so I’m just going to leave it at that.

Go to  dot com check out a check out our membership and our community.

Ben: [01:01:52] Yeah. That’s fantastic. I love that there’s the work from home support group.

Dan: [01:01:57] Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s coming in handy, even though I already work from home and I’m clearly a master of doing so. So Ben, where can people find you online?

Ben: [01:02:07] You can find me@bentolson.com and I’m also at Ben Tulsan on all of the things. Hit me up on Twitter, just a drop me a line. I will respond. Dan, where can they find you online?

Dan: [01:02:22] Well, you can go to DJ jacobson.com and I’m at DJ Jacobson, author on Instagram, and, I may or may not respond. If you drop me a line, I’ll think about it.

Ben: [01:02:33] Fair enough.

All right, sir. Are you ready? Are you ready for this? A Twitter thread? Is this interesting?

Dan: [01:03:22] I’m excited. I can’t wait.

Ben: [01:03:23] So this started on March 11th as a, as a tweet from dictionary.com the tweet says. Searches for the meaning of quarantine have been climbing on dictionary.com so let’s break this down. And that’s, and that’s their tweet.

And someone quote, quote, tweeted them and said, isn’t that the guy who did kill bill ? And then somebody quote tweeted them, I’m not going to keep saying that. And they said, Nope, that’s Quintin Tarantino. Quarantine is the round silver object. That’s one fourth of an American dollar. No, that’s a quarter.

Quarantine is a university in Connecticut. Perhaps most well known for its political posts. political pulse. Nope. That’s Quinn. Quinn quantify it. I don’t know. I can’t pronounce it. A quarantine is a heated tortilla with melted cheese inside and it’s delicious. That’s a case of DIA. A quarantine is what gives tonic water its distinct bitter flavor.

That’s Quintin Quinene. The quarantine is a popular show of five fabulous lifestyle experts who help people feel their best selves.

No, that’s queer eye. A quarantine is a chain of fast casual restaurants in the United States and Canada serving Mexican style cuisine. No, that’s, that’s Qdoba. Quarantine is the sounded duck makes, Nope.

That’s quack. Quarantine is a keyboard layout. No, that’s Cordy. Quarantine is a long journey. You go on when you set out to do an Epic task. No, that’s a quest. Quarantine is the dude is the dude from family guy. Nope. That’s quagmire. Warranty is, I can’t believe there’s so many of these.

Dan: [01:05:14] How, how many more? How many more of these are there?

Ben: [01:05:17] I just have a few more because I’m getting to mine and then I don’t know where it went after that cause no one quote tweeted me. A quarantine is the muscle on the front and side of the thigh. That’s a quadricep. Quarantine is an algebraic equation. And, and then I said, no, that’s a quadratic.

Quarantine is a car or chariot drawn by four horses of breasts. It was raced in the ancient Olympic games and other contests. So that’s, and that’s where we

Dan: [01:05:46] and then . That’s where it stopped. Nobody took you up on that.

Ben: [01:05:50] Yeah. Not that I know of. I, and you know somebody, somebody may have quote tweeted the person before me and then, but that’s as far as I know. That’s where it ended.

Dan: [01:06:01] Okay. What, what is the, what is the thing with the horses?

Ben: [01:06:06] A quarantine. That’s what I said.

Dan: [01:06:08] All right. All right. Okay. Ben?

Ben: [01:06:12] No, I actually don’t know. I had to look this up. It’s, it’s a quad. Riga.

Dan: [01:06:18] The Quadrigas. Huh? Okay.

Ben: [01:06:20] Quadri IGA is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast as opposed to like two side by side.

Dan: [01:06:27] Right. Like in a row. Yeah.

Ben: [01:06:29] Yeah. And it was raced in the ancient Olympic games and other contests. Yeah, I can, I can see that. Yeah.

Dan: [01:06:37] That is a, that is a, I’ve seen that on the internet before and it’s a, it’s among my favorite stupid internet things.

Ben: [01:06:44] Yeah. There have been, you know, there have been some good memes coming out of this endemic.

What a what a sentence.