An antidote for dark days: cherish every little conquest

Adriano Silva - May 29, 2020 Enjoy the simple victories during COVID-19 - it's the fuel that will get us through our darkest days, says Draft Canada publisher and co-founder Adriano Silva

If the tremendous importance of being happy every day sounds obvious to you, congratulations.

If finding joy in the little things is a daily routine in your life, accept my compliments and my warning: this text is not for you.

This article aims at everyone else who often forgets that we need to be happy today – not tomorrow.

You need to enjoy what you’re doing and who you are now – instead of locking your joy into a future goal.

A lot of people just forget that. Or overlook the importance of that.

Especially those who are stoic, like me.

It works like this: in the face of difficulty, you become even more austere. You thicken the armor. You clench your fists. You get ready to face the bad weather and put your smiles under quarantine until the sky clears.

However, when you stop smiling and impose even more contrition on your life, it doesn’t make the sun come back any faster. You only increase your own suffering in the shadows.

READ: Occupying the space between the past and future, the shadows and the light during COVID-19

Let me tell you, from tough person to tough person: discover what makes you happy. Allow yourself to savor it. Repeat.

This is a fundamental fuel to cross the valley of hardships. And it is an essential measure to feed your mental health.

You will not be less committed to the journey if you allow yourself a few moments of happiness amidst the hard work.

Cultivating moments of joy means supporting yourself during the battle – not fleeing from it.

As we face this huge crisis, it’s time to curtail expenses – not gestures of affection or words of comfort and encouragement.

These difficult times demand us to be supportive and committed to leaving no one behind enemy lines – starting with yourself.

This is a very difficult moment in human history. 2020 will be a year of losses for everyone. We will lose loved ones, thousands of lives around the world, jobs, personal finances, physical proximity to friends and family, even entire businesses.

But we don’t need to lose self-confidence. Neither can we lose the enthusiasm to carry on. For this is the time we will need all the energy we can get to move forward and reinvent life.

More than ever, you will need to defend your joy of living. And (re)discover what makes you happy.

SURVEY: What are your challenges dealing with COVID-19?

Hope is the most valuable resource we can share with each other. In hope lies our collective strength to keep going.

We have all lived – and will still experience – rough passages in our lives. Still, a global catastrophe can teach us – or remind us – how to overcome dark times.

It’s great to cultivate large goals in life. Dream big and beautiful. But it’s a mistake to attach your happiness to lottery tickets locked in vaults tied high on poles.

This sudden halt in the world’s economy, and the challenges it imposes on our careers, is an opportunity to reassess the way we are living. Our habits. The dreams we dream. The values ​​we embrace. Where and how we invest our time.

In periods like this, of great uncertainty and discomfort, it’s important to (re)assess what makes you happy. And (re)learn to rejoice at the simplest steps. And recognize advances, however small. And celebrate every little victory.

Being close to your children. Securing the health of everyone in your home. Giving a tight hug. Looking deep in someone’s eyes. A longer, warmer conversation with those who are far away. 

The maintenance of a business contract. Working more closely with your teammates, customers and partners.

The opportunity to continue working – or else to look for a better job. The continuity of your employment – or the chance to finally start that business you’ve been keeping in a drawer.

Reviewing your spending and realizing all the things you don’t need. Rediscovering clothes that you haven’t worn in a while. Shopping more selectively. Eating less – and better. And paying more attention to what you eat. And cooking the food you eat.

Studying something new. Getting perhaps some extra time to enjoy a good book.

Setting aside 30 minutes a day to do sit-ups, push-ups, and stretching – and seeing how good this simple routine feels.

Taking care of the house as a family – and reveling in this teamwork.

READ: Embracing change is the “new normal” for marketers in a post-COVID-19 world

Paying closer attention to what people are saying. And to what they won’t say. Pondering words as they come in through your ears – and as they come out of your mouth.

Letting those whom you love know how much you love them.

Being generous to those seeking help. Giving everything you have to give.

Being grateful for a welcoming gesture, for any door being opened to you. And learning to repay that. Or even better: taking the initiative to help. Offering someone a hand before someone offers it to you.

Refusing the toxic behaviour that you may carry inside. It hurts others around you. It corrodes you from within.

Noticing fundamental elements of life on this planet that we usually ignore: the deep blue of the sky, the warmth of the sun, the freshness of the breeze, the tranquility and quietness when the night falls after a long day of work.

The delight of fresh water. And the taste of a fruit eaten s-l-o-w-l-y. Playing on the floor with your youngest.

None of this means lowering your standards. In fact, forget about that “raising the bar” story. Life is not a high jump tournament.

READ: Pessimism can actually help during COVID-19 – if you use it strategically

This does not imply weakness either. Forget the references we find in social media – those ever-charming, self-sufficient people don’t exist in real life.

I am talking about (re)learning to live. Exercising your humanity. Being a little happier. With others… and with yourself.

Adriano Silva is co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Draft Inc. and Draft Canada.

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