For months, many countries all over the world have been under lockdown, to slow down the spread of COVID-19, the invisible enemy that is doing havoc around the globe. The measure became necessary because thousands of people with either no symptoms or very mild symptoms had been spreading the virus unaware that they themselves were even infected. Through travels across borders, the virus had already been spread to many countries before the health officials were aware of the problem and began to suggest certain measures to contain it including lockdown.

The lockdown has been inconveniencing, exerting great discomfort to several millions of people. It has seriously impacted negatively on livelihoods. In fact, the effect of the coronavirus has gone beyond the health crisis to produce other multiple crises, including financial crisis, high prices of foodstuff, scarcity, hunger, and collapse of businesses particularly the microbusinesses and daily-income outlets that feed majority of the households in some countries.   

In a number of countries, especially the developing countries, many people are lamenting that the hunger that the lockdown has occasioned, due to their inability to go out and engage in their daily trading, is as threatening as the coronavirus itself. Truth is that the lockdown has produced very noticeable difficulties, and as it’s natural with humans; some people have blown the inconvenience out of proportion.

People have so concentrated on COVID-19 and the lockdown that they tend to miss out on more serious matters arising from the lockdown. They are so focused on the immediate pains of the lockdown - insufficient food, scarcity of money, inflation, staying indoors - to the extent that they tend to forget the incredible and ultimate gains they can get out of the lockdown.

The coming new reality: The truth is that the unprecedented dimensions of transformations and disruptions that have taken place in the world in the last four months may mean that life, as we use to know and live, may not be exactly the same thing again after the lockdown and COVID-19.

The way we relate, communicate, do business, receive education, buy and sell, access healthcare, and do virtually any other thing in life, may undergo changes that will bring about new ways of thinking and doing things, at least in the next couple of weeks, months and years. Shutting down the world, stopping all economic activities, and disrupting livelihood for months, will certainly have a lot of implications. The unemployment we saw before the coronavirus could double or triple after the virus; and cost of living will be much higher than what it is now. Economic and financial experts are predicting a recession; some are suggesting that it could graduate into a depression in the next few months ahead.

So, beyond blind optimism, COVID-19 is shaping the world into a new environment and turning life into a new reality. As it is, we are gradually entering into a more challenging economic environment and more demanding world. We have a new reality right before us.

A new mental preparation: What comes after the coronavirus is what we should begin to focus on now. It’s important to note that the fear of COVID-19 is more deadly than the virus itself. As we continue to obey the simple rules of regular hand washing with soap under running water, sanitizing, social distancing, and avoidance of crowd, we shall all survive it.

But if we must also survive after COVID-19, we have to be mentally prepared for the challenging days ahead. The world after the virus will be more worrisome than the world before it. The only way to fit into the post-coronavirus world and make any meaningful economic and financial progress in it is for us to mentally prepare for it. Lailah Gifty Akita, a Ghanaian founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation, writes that, “You have to prepare physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to conquer any mountain.”

The nature of the preparation: Our strength in the weeks and months ahead wouldn’t just come from winning the COVID-19 war; it will come from the preparations we make now to face the coming weeks, months, and years. The lockdown, whether it’s staggered or total, is the preparation time; it’s the moment to invest for our mental and emotional growth.

This preparation is fundamentally about your personal or self-development. This has to do with taking steps to better yourself such as reading relevant books and learning new things on inspiration, attitude development, overcoming bad habits, forsaking ungodly character, leadership, human relations, business building, wealth education/financial literacy, and digital skills. Yes, it’s the season for building up our spiritual sagacity, mental toughness, emotional robustness, and sharpening our creativity, if we really want to earn our place in the business world and our spot at the financial table in the upcoming months and years.

We can be too sure that the months and years ahead will bring several opportunities. Problems always produce opportunities. The restarting of several economies around the world, particularly in your environment, will present opportunities for solving the numerous problems created by COVID-19, lockdown, hunger, and so on. And opportunities only favour the prepared people. Idowu Koyenikan, an internationally acclaimed organizational consultant and author of Wealth for All, says that “Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.”     

In the words of Alan Armstrong, an English actor, “Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” Self-development is the best form of preparation we can make during the lockdown to take serious advantage of the post-lockdown and post-coronavirus days.

Mohit Joshi opines that COVID-19 will accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and that technology savvy businesses and individuals will be big winners in the post-pandemic economy. In fact, the months and years ahead will witness more digital transition – increasing tele-education, tele-conferencing, increased online businesses, tele-medicine, and many more digital transactions. We’ve got to upskill.

When the mind knows the reason for the tougher days ahead, the heart prepares enough how to cope with it. What we are doing now as we are waiting for the days ahead is most crucial. Noah didn’t build the Ark when it had already started raining. It will be too late to prepare in the face of the opportunities in the future. So let’s invest so much of the lockdown time – when we have enough time and rest from our busy schedules - in our preparation, by building and gathering inner momentum in thoughts, meditations, ideas, imaginations, inspiration, attitude, character, skills, in short, the “inner man” to emerge a far better version of ourselves to win the most serious, longer post-coronavirus war ahead.

The post for next week is still loading. Till then.

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