On Pandemic Rubbernecking

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I recently finished listening to what has become my annual listen on audible to The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. It is an incredible account of how many people from history have turned trials into triumph; pulling lessons from Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Marcus Aurelius and many more. I strongly encourage anyone who has not read this book to get a copy now (here is a nice video summary of it). 

One of my favorite concepts from the book is one that Ryan recently made a video about called Alive Time vs. Dead Time. Ryan exemplifies this choice by telling the story of Malcolm X. Faced with a 15 year prison sentence, how would he choose to spend his time? He chose alive time. He started by learning to read. How did he do this? By reading the dictionary. Then he used his new talent and the remaining time to become a student. Studying day in and day out, making his time there some of the most formidable years of his life. 

And yet, streaming platforms are at an all time high. People are glued to the television set. As a friend of mine called it recently: we have pandemic rubbernecking. Yes, bad things are happening around us, but we still have a choice on how we will spend our physically-distanced time. Use this time to sharpen the mind, body, and strengthen relationships with phone calls & video chats; or the click-bait news cycle that wants you to panic. The choice is ours.

Or, as Gandalf eloquently puts it:

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time’, said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’”

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