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I think today is a good day to offer one of my favorite quotes. I like it so much; I have it in my Gmail signature for anyone to read when they get an email from me. Here’s the quote:

“Every time you think the problem is ‘out there,’ that very thought is the problem.” – Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The reason I like this quote is that it addresses one problem many people suffer from—worrying about things they have ZERO control over. The coronavirus is a good example.

None of us controls who will get it and who will not. We can do what we are told to mitigate the chances, but we’re still not 100% safe from this thing. You can’t control your friends or your neighbors. You can’t control anything other than you. You can follow instructions. You can stay informed. You can help others. You can control how you react to this thing. You can control what you watch, what you read, and what you listen to. You can control how you react to these input streams. You can’t control the emails you receive, the negativity or fake news stories on your social media news feeds. You can only control you.

It it a time of uncertainty? Sure. Is it scary, uncomfortable, nerve-wracking? It can be, if you let it. A wise man once told me that when bad times hit, you can serve others. You can serve your loved ones. You can serve your immediate family. You can serve your pets. When you serve others, you stop thinking about yourself. Be selfless.

If you are one of the unfortunate people stuck in an area where the coronavirus is hitting really hard, like New York, Washington, or any number of places in the U.S. or abroad, I can only hope that you and your family are safe and sound. If not, I am sending good thoughts your way. I hope the effects are minimal at most.

It is times like these that remind me of some situations I found myself in the Army. When you’re in a tough situation, you do the best you can. You take care of one another. That’s all you can do.

I remember a friendly fire incident during a training exercise I took part in. One of the soldiers in my unit dropped a training round inside his personnel carrier and the round went off, sending a 40-mm projectile through his face. It was horrific, sudden, and unexpected. We jumped into action to get the soldier to a nearby hospital. He was dead on arrival. Just like that, a young man was with us, laughing and joking around. In a second, his life ended. Just because he dropped a training round.

This coronavirus acts the same way. It strikes people who did nothing wrong. They were just living their lives. Then, just like that, they get sick; they get rushed to the hospital, and they’re gone in a few hours or days. Could their loved ones do anything? No.

My heart goes out to anyone that has lost a loved one to this nasty bug. It goes out to the first-responders who have to deal with the families who have lost a loved one, through no fault of their own. It goes out to the hospital staff and the doctors at risk and putting their lives on the line every day. It goes out to the people who lost their jobs and don’t know how they will pay their rent, buy food, or take care of their families. It goes out to the many teachers getting creative to continue teaching their students. It goes out to literally anyone affected by this tragedy.

Take care of yourself. Only trust sources of information that are credible. Check everything you receive, including information sent by paranoid and conspiracy-theory driven family members and friends. I don’t blame anyone for what they do during times like these. People deal with things differently. Some believe they are doing good by passing along information, they believe is true.

You are the only one who can control you. You are the only one who can control how you react to these trying times. You can’t control the disease. You can’t control what will happen to your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. You only control you. I’ll end here.

Please be safe. Please stay informed using credible resources and news outlets. Please follow your local guidance. Please take care of yourself.

Until next time…