MINDFUL

By Jay Ledesma

WE all make plans, either personal or business-related. And when we plan, it’s human nature to always expect that things will work out the way we want it, the way we planned it. We set our own expectations. And when things didn’t go as expected, we feel unhappy and disappointed. 

Many people, nowadays, are feeling unhappy and disappointed because the pandemic has impacted our plans and has brought results far from our expectations.  

Picture this… In months when the number of new covid cases slowed down, and quarantines were less strict, a number of our kababayans immediately made travel plans.  They booked airline tickets, made hotel reservations, and filed for vacation leaves. Just when everyone was ready and so excited for that much-awaited vacation, new cases go up and stricter quarantines are again implemented. Travel plans are canceled, people are disappointed and sad.

Under relaxed quarantine classification, more businesses are opened. That means more people, especially our daily wage earners, can go to work and earn money. This goes on for months. Everybody is happy doing their daily work routines and earning their keeps for the family until ECQ is again implemented. People cannot go out and business operations were limited only to the essentials. Those who were affected are stressed and disheartened as they expected continued work and income. Add to this, is the uncertainty of when they will be able to work and earn again.

How about those investors who are already rejoicing as markets showed some positive movements already, with PSEi index even breaking the 7,000 mark? They were all confident that reaching the 7000 mark was already the start of the market rallying towards the yearend projection of 7,800-8,000. However, it continued to be a rollercoaster ride for the stocks market. As may be expected, a number panicked when the market dropped to the 6500-6800 level again. As they have an expected market price in their mind, anything lower is a cause of distress and unhappiness.  

But it is where it is now. We are where we are.  We are in a situation where we cannot control and even predict what will happen tomorrow, more so next week, next month, or next year. The crisis just changed what we can know and predict will happen and when it will happen. Therefore, the more we set specific expectations towards a plan or a project that we cannot control, the higher the chance we may not realize them as expected. And will lead to a lot of unhappiness and disappointment. 

This is where we can best apply and use into practice this principle from Zig Ziglar…Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. He even added a third component, "capitalize on the outcome”. By following this general process, and not focusing on specific expectations, one can find a positive outcome in every situation. And we can be a little happier. 

Expect the best  — we have always been taught to always expect the best in every situation. We are always encouraged to tap into the positive power of our minds. Expecting for the best is a positive attitude that leads to positive actions. When our mindset is positive, we are motivated to always do our best. When we do our best it will almost always lead to positive results. Expecting for the best leads us to focus on the more positive aspects around us. For instance, what are some of the indicators around us that can make us expect the best in the near future? More vaccines are coming and more people are getting vaccinated. When more are vaccinated, it will mean lesser critical confinements and deaths. It also means lesser restrictions and more movements for our people. 

Also, we are now doing more granular lockdowns, which lead to more businesses being opened outside the affected communities. It is the start for local economies to slowly recover. The PSEi breaking the 7000 mark is another good indication of a healthy market recovery in the near horizon, despite its rollercoaster performance. Filipinos are expecting the best in the forthcoming May 2022 national election as new leadership usually means new and better changes and new hope. Now, what do we do while expecting the best? Do we just sit and watch or do we take active participation and do our share as we expect for the best?

Prepare for the worst — as we expect for the best, we are also advised to prepare for the worst. What is the worst scenario that can happen? Are we prepared when this happens?  Preparing for the worst scenario doesn’t mean having negative thoughts about the situation. It should not be confused as having a negative mindset. Preparing for the worst is a self-protective act. It is a discipline that we should have whatever the situation is. That’s why we have what we call Plan B because Plan A does not always work and the worst scenario can always happen. This pandemic has definitely shown us what preparing for the worst scenario means. It takes discipline to save money, enough money. When we are earning well and regularly, the discipline to save enough money for the proverbial “rainy days” is not always the priority. That’s why when the prolonged pandemic happened, a number of our kababayans, even those employed and with a steady income, were caught by surprise and were financially unprepared. The on and off lockdown we are now facing is also teaching us the importance of always preparing for the worst, as we cannot predict and control when the next lockdown will be.  A practical question that we often ask ourselves these days is, “if the government will again put us under ECQ, how will it be for me and my family, at least in the next 15 days?"         

Capitalize on the outcome —  either the best or the worst scenario happened, there will always be a result or an outcome. If the best happens, then make a big deal about it! During this trying time, when almost everything is difficult and challenging, we need to be more magnanimous with our praises. Celebrate every victory! Small wins are still victories that need to be recognized and celebrated. Analyze what made it successful and learn how to do it again, or even improved on it for the future. Share it with others so they can learn and benefit from it as well.    

On the other hand, if the worst happens, still learn from it. Determine what went wrong and how can this be avoided in the future. We still learn lessons from failures. We make mistakes. Don’t fret about them but learn and build something better from them. 

With the prolonged pandemic, things continue to be more uncertain and unpredictable. While we cannot control most of these things happening around us, when and how they will happen and the outcomes they bring, we can definitely control the way we will react to it. And the way to best manage our reaction is when we do the simple approach of expecting the best, preparing for the worst, and capitalizing on the outcome. 

Many are predicting that the pandemic will be over by end of 2022. Again, we can only hope for the best. But are we also prepared if this will not happen as predicted? 

About the Columnist

Columnist Image

Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.