How to stay calm and productive in a crisis.

Yesterday I did a webinar for Dutch freelancers (here’s the recording).

It was the start of a series of webinars, hosted by an innovative company creating accounting applications, and a spontaneous initiative to spark some positivity amongst people who might see their income dramatically diminish over the coming months.

Of course I talked about the C-word.

They gave me half an hour to say what I wanted to say, and I took 25 minutes to elaborate on the workings of the human mind, where clarity actually comes from, and how anxiety and panic are created.

The last 5 minutes were about using this unique and weird time in the history of mankind to reset, regroup and rethink, and use the amazing clarity that we are all capable of to get to new places, even while being in quarantine.

I shared a distinctive moment in my life, somewhere in December 2019, when I was worried about getting clients (again) but suddenly had some major insights.

The first one: what if everything in life IS really perfect (and not just when things are going smoothly for us), and this is just a time to recuperate, rest and heal?

The second one: what if I truly realize that I don’t know where this is all going, and the feelings of disturbance and anxiety are nothing more than a half-ass projection of the future, made by my personal mind that doesn’t know shit?

The third one: what can I do that brings me joy and excitement and fulfilment, even if there aren’t any paying clients involved?

And the third one really put me back on track.

Because I remembered that I love to help and serve people.

That I truly come alive when making complicated things simple.

And that I deeply enjoy being taken over by the process of creation, whether it’s making videos, blogs, books, music or paintings.

These things bring me into a state of flow, of not-thinking, and that’s where I want to live as much as possible.

I saw, very clearly, that I didn’t have to attach my fate and wellbeing to the amount of clients I would be able to get (or not).

I could do the wellbeing-thing first, find this place within me where joy and wonder and optimism and resilience are very much alive, and see what would come from that.

Keeping it calm and real.

So this is what I told the people who where watching the webinar.

The feelings of restlessness and insecurity and fear aren’t caused by the Coronavirus; they are the result of our imagination.

What we feel is our moment to moment thinking, the energy of our personal minds, brought to life through our senses.

We feel what we think, and that’s it.

We only ever feel our thoughts, so if what we think is filled with darkness and despair, we will feel dark and dreadful.

This is in no way meant to trivialize what’s going on in the world or within you: this is meant to help you open your eyes and get through this gracefully and powerfully.

You CAN be in this weird situation without freaking out, and it will really serve you well.

You can watch some news in order to know the essentials, but over-indulging will just fuck you up.

You can and will get used to this new but temporary way of life, this forced glamping, and you will find ways to do stuff, make money, and take care of yourself and others.

Being worried all the time weakens your immune system, and we all know that we desperately need it to be as strong as possible right now.

Worrying is just a bad habit, and it doesn’t get you anywhere.

What wíll get you through this in a healthy way, is the realization that we create our own experience of life, that most thoughts are completely random and unpersonal, and every (emotional) experience we will ever have will come and go, like clouds in the sky.

It’s not you doing the thinking: you’re just aware of this spontaneous, constant mental fabrication.

It’s not you, because if it wás, you’d be able to clean up the mess in your head straight away.

It’s not you, so why feel responsible for all these shitty thoughts in the first place, let alone dwell on them four hours every day?

And you don’t have to frantically try to make all your thoughts positive: we’ve all been there and it simply doesn’t work.

Just remember this:

You are not what you think.

You are not a virus, you are not your ideas about the future, and you are not your thoughts about money.

And when you start to really see and feel that as the truth (because it is), you’ll get to relax a bit.


You’ll find a bit of space in the turbulence, some clarity of mind, and all of a sudden ideas and new possibilities will arise from there.

Getting out of your head will not make you irresponsible: it will give you the amazing power of intuition and wisdom, the ability to respond perfectly in the moment.

And that is all you need right now.


(Photo by @aplaceforcreation, for Unsplash)

Scared people.

Scared people.

Slow learning.

Slow learning.