David Strittmatter

How to deal with the chaos 

When the common good is more valuable than one’s own

As you might know, I am a strongly positively minded person. Right now, though, this “crisis” is overwhelming. So many things are happening and I feel like we are losing more and more control over our life. Every day a new escalation level is added due to the current pandemic. 

My generation and I have never really experienced such a situation. I cannot remember any similar time when we as individuals felt so powerless. Even the global economic crisis 2 decades ago rolled by without me/us really noticing it. 

These days it is a truly disquieting time. There are people varying from extremely panicking to ruthlessly not caring, from going out of business and losing everything they own to making a fortune from short-selling financial assets or using arbitrage opportunities. 

Our world is currently fallen into chaos. But how can we deal with it? How can we manage this massive degree of uncertainty, fear, and hysteria?

When I was thinking about these questions, I had a pretty rough time because of the complexity and far-reaching consequences of every individual’s actions. Yet, I decided for myself to align my decisions with three guiding principles for the upcoming weeks:

Maintain a normal life in a cautious manner

Panic has never contributed to a better outcome. When we fall out of our daily life, feel fear, or are exposed to the unknown, we quickly tend to act irrationally and make dumb decisions. As a consequence, I want to live as “normal” as possible. Panic and hysteria are contagious. If people around you don’t act fearfully, you will automatically feel much safer.

Taking care of the weakest of family and friends

While the disease itself is not dangerous for most of us, the weakest (people of risk groups) of our society strongly rely on us to take care of them. We need to make sure that we support these people and lower the risk of infection for them as low as possible. If you have grandparents, for instance, help them out with groceries shopping. We all can contribute to this crisis in a positive manner and when you have to make a decision and take action always keep in mind that our weakest ones are at real risk.

Comply and adhere to new rules issued by the different governments

Yes of course, it is f***ing annoying when your vacation is on ice, your indoor sport facilities are closed. or cannot leave the country anymore. But all those decisions are made to protect us, not to annoy us. Once we trespass a critical line and don’t respect key rules, the situation will be even worse. The bad thing is not the single act of disobedience, but the mass movement that is triggered. Once someone ignores a governmental rule, many might do it as well. And in a collective, the consequences will be severe for the society. So, I will think twice before I bend a rule in the future.

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