No pain, no gain. The greatest leaders come from the greatest depths. There is no such thing as a free lunch. You have to work hard and persevere. You have to push forward!

I’m sure you’ve heard lines like the ones above many times before. Many people have preached. Many have followed.

And now… having gone through two months of a Movement Control Order (MCO) to battle COVID19, we now hear of “the new normal”; that things will never be the same again. We hear of speculations that range from “having a vaccine ready by September 2020” to “having the Coronavirus come back every year from now on”.  And of course, we see what is happening to the economies of the world.

Yes, many people have fallen to COVID19. Yes, our front liners have been working tirelessly to treat and save the sick; some who have fallen to the virus as well.

And yes, there are people who are unable to feed themselves and their families. There are people who are struggling to survive.

All in all, we, collectively as the human race, are facing one of the greatest challenges that we will ever face in our lifetime.

And the common question we are all asking ourselves is… how will we get through this?

But that is exactly it…

Have we not met with adversity before?

What happened to “no pain, no gain”? What happened to “the greatest leaders come from the greatest depths”? What happened to “There is no such thing as a free lunch”? What happened to “you have to work hard and persevere”? What happened to “You have to push forward!”?

The truth is things were never normal, to begin with. Even before COVID19, we faced off with SARS. In the last century, we had the Spanish Flu which took 50 million lives! We had two world wars. We had the cold war. We had the wars in Iraq & Vietnam. We have global warming.  

Think about it. Pain and adversity are not new to us. We know it all too well because we have been through it. But we have not just been through it, we have thrived through it. So, what is COVID19 but another challenge for us to overcome?

But it begs the question… what have we learned about ourselves through these repeated episodes of “Man & Pain”?

And it’s especially tricky with COVID19. With social distancing, we have been made to stay apart from each other. We have created borders between ourselves. We have simply put up “greater walls” between ourselves. But this is precisely the illusion that we must see through.

As human beings, we were made to work with one another and help one another. It is even written in the biology of our bodies. And every single time we have faced a great challenge, it has always been the stories of great contribution to others that have plucked our heartstrings and inspired us to keep moving forward. And in each story, there has always been great leadership that came with great sacrifice, but always for the greater good.

So, there is no new normal.

As we have seen in life, it will be painful. It is just another challenge that we will get through together.

But would you like to know an absolute and universal truth of the human race? What has always been “normal” for us?

It’s simple. We were made to love. And only when we act out of true love, can we truly grow and overcome adversity together. (For the critics and pessimists reading this, here is the flip side. Is hate, greed, and personal gratification NOT predictable? Don’t we all know what will happen when one acts selfishly at the expense of another?)

We simply have to open our eyes and choose to see the greatness around us.

So, here… let me pass you the ball. Have you been aware of your own thoughts and actions? Have you been reacting or have you been choosing to see? And most importantly, what have you been doing about it?