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How I Learnt In Lockdown That There’s No Such Thing As ‘I Can’t Handle This’!

Posted: April 8, 2020

“I cannot do all of this”. “I have never done this”. “I can’t handle things”. These very words are being rubbished today as we try to do all we can by ourselves under social isolation. 

It was the perfect starting point for some of the things I have been doing lately, as we stay home during this lockdown.

The morning breeze was never so refreshing than now. No hue and cry for things not happening at the right time. A day filled with the right amount of amount humour in an otherwise independent, to each his own space. The dusk bought in never seen before view of flocks of parrots zooming past the clouds. And the evening brought in the starry views of the Moon and brightest star, Venus in the spotlight.

It brought in a wave of new relationships which was hitherto ignored – The urge to learn something new. And strive beyond your limits.

The sudden significance of the mundane coffee on the terrace was of paramount importance now. The calm and the serenity of the day beckoned like never before.

Does it ring a bell?

And the treasure trove opened

Following the nation’s lockdown has opened a treasure trove of how we think. It gave me a chance to think about how we think and so the share. Then it led me to believe that all of these existed before but was never thought of. And there comes in our “Thinking Errors”.

The flock of parrots flying in hundreds always existed but what masked its existence was our “Black or White Thinking”. Yes, we think that there cannot be so many birds in existence in a residential area filled with concrete buildings. The relationships which were taken for granted assumed new meaning under different perspectives. It was no more “Black or White”.

An urge to do more

Moving on, the urge to try something new always existed. But now the time gave us the need to strive beyond our limits.

“I cannot do all of this”. “I have never done this”. “I can’t handle things”.

It seems these very words that stopped us doing things never done before are being whisked out of the window. And the results are there to see.

What stopped us was our ‘over generalization’ and ‘jumping into conclusions’ even before we begin with the task. Once a failed task, always a failed task. Some of the nooks and corners of the house (and our life) which were ignored in the rigours of everyday busy life, or done by our domestic help, are now noticed, nurtured, and cleaned up. Like the furor over exams led us to stop over-generalizing that exams are the be-all and end-all of life. No more, right?

This also opened new avenues for ‘work from home’ approaches across all fields, and most importantly in teaching. The approach of black or white thinking is slowly being replaced with a diverse approach to learning, to open the locked doors to many.

But there’s fear and anxiety too

However, the scenario also brought in a wave of blowing things out of proportion. Another classic case, in the current situation.

On the one hand are some citizens taking the pandemic lightly and moving around as if nothing is going to happen. And on the other hand, we have some home quarantine people running away with the thought of “something will happen to me”. The fear and anxiety gripping us leads us into zooming things out, magnifying worries, and believing either the worst, or minimising our real risks, irrational fear taking over practical thinking.

The influx of social media messages derails our filtering mechanism, another thinking error, wherein we focus only on the negative aspects. And one thing spiralling to the other, conveniently ignoring the positive aspects of the situation.

Don’t jump to conclusions

We know the players on the field are blaming each other, blowing things out proportion, over-generalizing things, and making negative statements all the time.

But, don’t jump to conclusions, stop thinking in extremes as absolutes are not the end, there are more shades than black and white. Stop and think about other colours in between. The many approaches we had looked down upon are gaining momentum in this new situation. The “cannot do”, “not my cup of tea”, “it’s impossible” views have taken a backseat.

With sufficient time to reflect over minute aspects, bond over small pleasures, connecting, sharing and learning, crossing the unchartered water, the lockdown challenged each of these thinking errors. It has helped in identifying those and refuting it each day every day. The abundant time helped us delve into exploring aspects, and that is our new calling now. A new artist in the making, a storyteller in the offing and a novel idea in the pipeline.

Image source: unsplash

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Vandana Bhargav is a psychologist, behavioral skills facilitator and founder of Empowered Insights, based in

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