Friday, March 20, 2020

Simple Social Mathmatics - Reacting During Crisis

From the title, you might be thinking this is another piece about using a scientific approach to the rate of infection for a COVID-19 scenario. It isn't. I'm not a scientist. I've been observing people and their behavior for quite some time. This post is more specifically an observation about what I see in society today. Please hang with me a few minutes and I promise this will all make sense in the long run - I hope.

The Equation

I was listening to Greg Gutfeld speak on a TV show the other day and he said something that really made sense to me. He mentioned that when he gets up in the morning he has to decide if he is going to impact the world positively or negatively each day. Simply stated, am I going to be a plus or minus to society.

When we deal with a particular situation you have to mentally decide how you want to impact a situation. Some people do that instinctively and others really have to work at it.

There are some folks that just say that they are who they are and that won't change. Well, maybe that is honest, but I think there are some traits that affect people negatively whether they want to hear it or not. Unfortunately, with social media being so prevalent, the factor of general anonymity can compound that issue.

Plug-In New Factors

So, with this all being said let's add in some factors that this COVID-19 virus adds to the mix. There is a whole lot of uncertainty that this occurrence has created. First, no one truly knows how things are going to affect them. Will we have a job tomorrow? Should we actually go to work if we do? What am I going to do if I get sick? Is that guy right there next to me going to do the right thing when it comes to all of this? What about the stores. What if they don't have what my family needs? What if the Government decides to shut everything or nothing down?

When you look at these questions some of them are things you have some control over, and some of them you may have little or no ability to manage. There's the rub. What do you do with the things you can't manage?

Some folks in their concern, or fear, turn to social media to put in their two cents. We can pretend we have the plan in mind that needs to happen and we have to share it. We hope that enough people jump on board or like something enough to make us feel better. Woe be unto those that don't appreciate our opinions.

If we apply this to the initial equation, am I going to be a plus or minus in this situation, some aspects might help us realize that our plus might actually be a minus overall. If you ask yourself, "How might I react if someone said this to me?" If that response is something like, "I don't know that &%*# so and so, and just who do they think they are?" You may have revealed that your plus is more like a minus. If you don't think through what you said at all and you just say something because you have to. This may also reveal a minus. If virology isn't your area of study you might be best to start your post with "It's my opinion" instead of "thou shall". Truthfully, you have to decide if your statement is actually beneficial to the conversation or you just want to vent. While venting is good for you, putting it in a public forum where a whole bunch of other people are unsure then it might just be a minus after all.

While those things you can't control irritate you, does it really do the world good for you to try and jump online and get it all out?

I live in Branson, Missouri, and there are a lot of folks that think that the city officials came late to the decision party. Is there an aspect or two that we may not understand about the issue that may steer their decisions or movements? Could we handle that differently to make things more effective? Taking the time to understand and listen a little more than we speak could easily turn a minus into a plus. It's hard to protect people and their freedoms at the same time. When it all comes down to it, the only thing you are accountable for is yourself. Yes, you might have kids, but they may make decisions you can't control. A city official is accountable for a whole lot of lives. Your opinion is your opinion, but it's also a reflection of the way you view the situation. The big picture is a whole different story.

What Does My Opinion Add Up To

I have been trying to apply this to my life and I don't always find it easy. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I have a tendency to feel like my opinion is pretty critical for the world to hear. I don't "just be quiet" well at all. However, I am finding that being quiet might be the biggest plus for a given situation.

I believe most of us are stressed about this virus thing for many reasons. I work multiple jobs like a lot of you. They've both slowed or closed. I have to get away from social media otherwise I get dragged down the rabbit hole and my mind locks onto stuff that often isn't good for me. I guess part of why I wrote this is because I wonder if I am not the only one who struggles with this.

We all have to decide whether our comments and reactions in life, whether that be on social media or at the grocery store, is going to add or subtract from the life equation.

I am curious about what things help you to get yourself to the plus side in things. I wrote this as more of a fluid conversation than a piece that shows I have all the answers. One of the things I try to do to center myself is write. It's part of my vocation but it's also something I am passionate about. If this shows up somewhere in social media and you feel the need or desire to comment below, I would love to hear your opinions. All I ask is that we keep it on topic, and don't single anyone out. You might be thinking that you know someone that needs to hear this, but, and here's the catch, *think*, will they see that as a plus or a minus in the way you try to deliver this?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you.