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Developing our inner strengths in the face of the lagging effect of the pandemic

In recent few weeks, people are more comfortable in going out during weekends due to the reduction in confirmed local cases of COVID-19.  Family members and friends are starting to organise gatherings that are longed for.  Some restaurants are fully booked for dinner and the atmosphere is more positive.  Given the gradually resuming of normality, those who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic may try hard to find a new job or think about new options in their lives.  However, there may be lagging effect of the pandemic that causes job searching or starting up businesses more difficult. 

For those who had lost their jobs, some may need to consider changing their career paths.  It may be difficult for those who are specialised in some skills to abruptly change into a complete different field that required other specialised skills.  It is because even if the person is willing to learn, there is a learning curve and it takes some time to internalise the skills.  Furthermore, if those who had lost their jobs did not have a growth mindset or they tended to search jobs with a narrow mind, it is very difficult for them to survive due to the lagging effect of the pandemic.  For example, the lagging effect of the pandemic in tourism and air travel may limit the opportunity for those who only consider finding a job in these two areas.

Even if people are considering changing their career paths or starting up new businesses, the learning phase ones need to go through can be difficult and long.  In this learning phase, we need to develop inner strengths from our experience so that we can be stronger to face our future challenges.  The first stage in the learning phase is to have new experiences.  In order to have new experiences, we need to have the courage to try and engage in new things.  It takes bravery for us to engage in these new experiences because it is inevitable that we may face difficulty and failure.  For example, if a flight attendant wanted to start up a business in opening a Hong Kong style local restaurant, he or she may need to work for a similar type of restaurant for a few months to get to know more of the business nature.  In this process, this new experience may generate discomfort and challenges.

After creating new experience for oneself in the learning process, we need to be mindful during this new experience.  By repeating this new experience and be mindful of the elements of this experience, we can gradually internalise new skills into our repertoire.  In this process, we inevitably failed.  In fact, it is from our repeated failure we learn and internalise new skills.  At the same time, we develop inner strength of conquering our fear of failure and avoidance of negative emotions associated with failures.  It is because we may feel shameful, upset or even angry when we experience failure in the learning process.  Without the mentality of embracing these negative emotions, it is easy for us to have the tendency to quit in order to avoid these unpleasant feelings.  We may also think in a negative or pessimistic way.  For example, we may prematurely think that we are not capable enough for learning the new skills required by the new venture in our plan.  By cultivating inner strength, we also acknowledge any negative or pessimistic thinking and not being too ruminative.  In this way, we may have the capacity to perceive the learning experience in a more objective way.

It is predicted that the future economic activities might have a different outlook given the lagging effect of the pandemic.  It is inevitable for some people who used to work in a certain field to change their career path.  Apart from the practical issues of changing one’s career path, a growth mindset and cognitive flexibility are very important for acquiring new skills required.  Though difficult and full of challenges, it is worth the journey of this skills redevelopment because we will definitely cultivate inner strengths to face any future challenges and adversities.

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