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Commentary: Timeless principles don't change when bad things happen.

May 28, 2020

3 Min Read
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TAKING ON UNCERTAINTY: It may be hard, but in the midst of a major challenge, taking the right action can make all the difference for the future.Thomas Jackson/Getty Images

I am guessing most of us weren’t thinking about what’s happening in our world today at this time last year. The worldwide pandemic and its effects are affecting virtually everyone on the face of the Earth. While we are each feeling the pressure and impact related to our individual situation, I’m hoping to share some perspective that can apply to everyone.

As we face uncertain and challenging times, we should seek wisdom and not allow fear to control our thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, human nature brings fear to the top of our mind. (I think it has something to do with our distant relatives being chased by sabertooth tigers.) I have some suggestions that might help you deal with the instinct to allow fear to take over.

Solid tactics

First, limit your news media exposure. Wisdom dictates that we should have enough information to act wisely, and lawfully, as it relates to the situation. However, fear, crisis and conflict sell advertising! All news media outlets are businesses. Their sole business goal is to get as many people to watch as possible so they can charge higher rates to advertisers. Their goal is not to provide you with the most accurate information, unless it increases ratings.

Related: Complete coronavirus coverage

Unfortunately, (also because of human nature) rarely does the most accurate information increase ratings. I’m not saying that their approach is bad or unethical; it’s just a reality we need to keep in mind. Constantly being bombarded by stories designed to tug on your emotions and activate your fears is stressful and unhealthy. I recommend you turn off the news media (your television, radio, computer, newsfeeds on your phone) for set periods of time. Turn it all off, choose a time in the future to check in to see what’s happening and then go about the business of the day.

I think you’ll find when you check in later — even if it is a day later — you haven’t missed much. And if something significant happened, somebody in your world is likely to have contacted you and told you about it.

Second, look for wise principles and thought processes that can help you move through the challenging times effectively. Often, the challenging times in our lives reveal opportunities we were missing or provide opportunities for us to grow. We miss these opportunities if we remain in a mindset of fear.

Get a valuable resource, be one too

I have a suggested resource I consider to contain elements of timeless wisdom that can help change our thinking around your current situation.

The resource is titled “The ‘Scary Times’ Success Manual.” This free publication by Dan Sullivan is available from an organization called Strategic Coach. I’ve provided a link at the end of this article where you can download a free copy.

The manual provides 10 suggestions for how you might change your thinking or approach during scary or uncertain times. While the manual is written for entrepreneurial business owners, the points the author makes are just as applicable to farming and ranching operations and their related businesses.

Here’s a link where you can download a free copy.

Also, since you are stuck at home, don’t miss the chance to reflect on a life well-lived. With the extra time staying at home, think about recording some family history and stories using a digital recorder or video camera on your phone, or writing them out and putting pictures with them.

This kind of historical material can be a great addition to your well-prepared estate plan. It also makes a great Christmas or birthday gift that recipients will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Dolan, an attorney, helps farm and ranch families achieve comprehensive estate, succession and legacy planning objectives. He is the principal of Dolan & Associates P.C. in Brighton and Westminster, Colo. Learn more on his website, estateplansthatwork.com.

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