Felled by a lack of patience and resolve…

June 28, 2020

Americans have a well known history of impatience and a lack of resolve when faced with a patient and persistent enemy. Ho Chi Minh knew that if he kept the war in Viet Nam going long enough that America would eventually loose its resolve and abandon the fight and the country. The Taliban leaders are probably counting on the same thing in Afghanistan. Now, we are seeing the consequences of that lack of patience and resolve in the fight against the Corona Virus, especially among the young for whom patience was never a virtue.

The resurgences of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations we are witnessing in the South and West are a direct consequence of people, many of them young people, becoming inpatient and ignoring the advice to socially distance themselves and wear masks. A recent hot spot outbreak in southeastern Michigan has been traced to a big college campus party at a bar that had just reopened. Event though he bar owners and staff took all of the precautions that they could, the crowd that gathered did not heed the warnings and advice and many did not wear masks. A couple of weeks after r the party, a large number of people reported being COVID positive and had spread the disease to others who weren’t even there when they went back home.

The Corona Virus isn’t aware of the lack of patience. It is just a very opportunistic organism with a single focus upon replicating itself. The fact that it sometimes kills its host just means that it must continue to jump from host to host as quickly as possible. It is convenient for it that many of the potential hosts choose not to protect themselves from infection.

In interview after interview that we see on the nightly news there are people (mostly young white people) who profess to be unconcerned about the pandemic. Many seem to be repeating the words of our MAGA-maniac that this is all somehow a big hoax or no worse that the regular flu.  Of course, they usually aren’t wearing masks because their fearless leader doesn’t wear one. To them, it is all fake news.

We could dismiss that lunatic fringe were it not for the fact that they are joined by a large number of people who have just grown wearing of this battle and are ready to walk away from doing the things that are required to win. There will be no dramatic pictures of helicopters loading those who seek to escape from this battle, like there were from the  the roof of the American Embassy in Viet Nam. There have already been claims of victory over this pandemic from the fearless leader that ring as hollow as the claims of victory over the Taliban. Like the Taliban, the Corona virus may hide in the shadows for a while, but it is not vanquished. It is just waiting for our patience and resolve to wane. The recent resurgence or second wave (call it what you will) has proven that strategy to be valid, as has the acceptance of the Taliban in so-called “peace talks” in Afghanistan.

The science of the situation has not changed; however, the economic damage and political pressures have increased to the point of overruling the best advice of our health professionals. The T-shirts worn by those protesting the restrictions that were imposed which used to say “Live Free or Die” would now be more correct in stating “Live Free and Die”. If it were simply that only the person unwilling to take precautions would be impacted, it might be OK to let that pass. Bu t it is not that simple.

So, now, five months into this pandemic, it is gut-check time for our resolve as a nation. Do we declare victory and walk away from the fight, knowing that thousands more will die; or, do we renew our resolve to take on this enemy and defeat it with the only real weapons that we have – avoiding crowds, practicing social distancing, washing our hands frequently and wearing a face mask?  Eventually, our scientists will develop and give us a better weapon – a vaccine. Until then we must fight with what we have.

The Corona virus is incapable of smiling or snickering at us, but it has to be happy to see the waning resolve and lack of patience that its target hosts are displaying. Perhaps it will take a change in leadership at the national level (or one might say just leadership at all) to rally Americans against this enemy. We can win this battle. We cannot yet defeat the virus, but we can work to make sure that it does not defeat us.

Stay safe. Wear a mask in public. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands often. Be patient and persistent. Let’s defeat this enemy!


A test of patience and resolve…

May 12, 2020

The Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote today – “How long is a minute?  It depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.” 

Our recent collective experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has really been a test of our patience and resolve as a people and many have failed that test miserably. For many it really depended upon which side of the economic-impact “door” they were on when the crisis hit. Some had the wherewithal to withstand an interruption in their normal revenue stream and others did not. Many entered this crisis already in “barely hanging on” mode in their business or life and for them any interruption was bound to be devastating. Others either had sufficient reserves to whether the storm or they were able to work from home without an interruption of their pay.

The problems caused by the business interruptions was exacerbated by the almost total failure of the systems that state governments had in place to deal with job loss benefits. Michigan was particularly ill prepared and its unemployment system failed the State’s population miserably. The effort at the Federal level was similarly flawed as many still await their so-called “stimulus checks” over two months into the crisis. The bright spots that have been reported, such as community food banks stepping up, were primarily driven at the grass-roots level and not by any government actions.

Further straining our patience and resolve were the cretins who came out from under various rocks to put forth their conspiracy theories and claim that the whole thing is a hoax. It wears one down to have to continually deal with such stupidity, but it provided all of the cover that many needed to justify their defiance of the advice of health and governmental leaders. Most of them were on the other side of the economic door to begin with and needed only a little push to join the dark side.

One of the things that it was very easy to get impatient with is the messaging that we are bombarded with in the media. Everyone is here for us. We are all in this together. These are uncertain times. This is an unprecedented experience for us all. Yada, yada, yada. You would think that someone in those high-priced ad agencies could come up with a different message – one that doesn’t sound like a repeat of what everyone else is saying. Just say, “This sucks” and then provide a message of hope and patience.

We have now entered the “re-opening America” phase at the national and most states level. We will soon see stories of the virus reappearing and new “hot spots” developing in states that reopened first. Have we become conditioned, perhaps numbed, to a nightly body-count report and impatient enough to accept that report and the risk that we will become personally involved in the statistics? We have been through this kind of numbing experience and loss of national resolve before as a nation – the Viet Nam war comes immediately to mind and more recently the wars in the Middle East. We’ll probably even see some entrepreneurial merchant start selling “I survived COVID-19” t-shirts this summer.

As has happened in our national politics, we have quickly separated into the two camps. There are those who are cautious and concerned about the disease, willing to head the advice to stay away from others until it subsides ; and those who are impatient and perhaps unconvinced that the disease is a real threat and who want to (they say need to) get back to work. It is unfortunate that the camp that is willing to take that risk is able to do so only by putting us all at risk and finds comfort and support in messages from our Head Tweeter in Charge.

We all have a choice to make, again. One can regain their resolve and re-set their patience to wait this thing out in safety or one can go get a haircut and join the crowds at the newly reopened malls and hope that it was all an overblown hoax. It must sadden (perhaps anger) the brave men and women in the health care industry who have lived through caring for the first wave of this disease to see the second wave so eager to join the statistics.

The choice is yours to make. As for me, I’ll be at home praying for you to be safe.


The five “P’s” of success in life…

September 22, 2014

There are, is seems to me, five things that are important to achieving success in life. Two of them I saw recently as I visited one of the blogs of a follower of my blog –

“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.” – as seen on the KSFINBLOG

I would add to those two essential ingredients Persistence, Perseverance and Patience, which are what ultimately lead to success.

woman carrying torchPurpose is what turns life from just wandering through into a journey. Purpose defines the goal or destination that you want to achieve. Passion supplies the drive to get to that destination or goal. If you have that passion lighting the way, then Persistence means getting up every day and taking a few more steps towards the goal. Perseverance means being able to bounce back from set-backs or disappointments and refocusing upon the goal; and Patience means understand that most journeys take a while and are not accomplished all in a day.

We have become a society used to instant gratification; to getting things right now; and, quite honestly, many times used to not having to work too hard to achieve our goals. Purpose-driven lives tend to take a longer view; maybe because they focus upon bigger goals or maybe because they start further away from the final destination. Purpose-gymnastdriven athletes tend to have train for years before they even get to the level where they have a shot at achieving their goal. Some, like Olympians have four years of training between attempts. It takes a lot of passion, persistence, perseverance, and patience to train for four years in order to get one shot at the gold. Imagine setting your sights on a goal that is four years out. Maybe you have evenlonger term goals.

So, as you set your goals and define the journey that your passion is leading you upon, make sure that you are ready for the long run. Make sure that you have the persistence, perseverance and patience for the journey. Otherwise you will just experience many short trips into failure and frustration. We’ve all met someone like that who keep making half-hearted efforts into “the next big thing” in their life, whether it be a relationship or a new job or some new hobby or sport that they dabble in for a while. They mistake an interest for purpose and an attraction for passion; but they really have none of the other things that they need to make things work. Many of us do take false starts at things that we reaching goalinitially believe to be worthwhile goals, only to discover that we really don’t have the passion to persist and overcome obstacles or maybe the patience to stay the course.

What purposes (goals) do you have in your life? What passions? Are you persistent in pursuing them with patience and perseverance? Where are you on those journeys? Have you taken time to feel rewarded by the progress that you’ve made? Have you made your goals know to others? If not, why not? If so, are they cheering you on? Think about these things in the week ahead. Just thinking about what the important goals are in your life will help reinforce your passin for achieving them. Have a great and purposeful week.