In times of crisis, your ego is your greatest enemy

To survive the storm, tough decisions have to be made. The biggest fight, however, will be with your ego and that's a fight that you'll need to get up and slay every day over and over. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • If you've lost your income during this period, now is the time to make tough decisions and leave pride alone.

Amid the unprecedented uncertainty and what some people refer to as a new normal, this has been a pretty good week for me. It's all because I've been in touch with the people in my life that mean a lot to me. My grandmother sent over some cassava and sweet potatoes after I called to check up on her while the other grandma spent almost two minutes on the phone telling me how she had missed me; her sweetheart. It's the small things that life is made of.

The week however, hasn't been kind to everyone though. This week a few friends lost their jobs and they're among the one million people rendered jobless by the pandemic locally. There are hundreds of thousands of men seated at home not knowing what to do because sudden unemployment doesn't come with a manual or starter pack. You just find yourself sitting at home on a Monday without a clue about what to do and where to go.

They think about all the decisions that they made, the things they could have done better, opportunities that they said no to instead of yes and wondering about a way out which they don't seem to see. They are hoping that the next day will be better but suddenly all days seem the same.

Some men bought one drink to deal with the issue then another one the next day and the cycle has continued. It's rough.

To survive the storm, tough decisions have to be made. The biggest fight, however, will be with your ego and that's a fight that you'll need to get up and slay every day over and over.

It's time to get real. You'll need to move to a cheaper, smaller house. You'll probably need to get your children to a cheaper school. You may need to put your car up for sale because as you have now realised your car isn't an asset. It's time to talk to those relatives who you support and tell them to tighten their belts. You'll need to say no to those friends who hit you up for loans. Not forgetting a firm no to those friends who haven't felt the effects of COVID and suddenly want you to have drink-ups now that the economy has been opened up for the next three weeks—until a spike happens and we are back to lock-ups.

The thing is that you need to take these ominous decisions now. You need to overcome the trap that you've fallen into, since you started working, when you defined your identity based on the job that you have and the money that you've made. That's honestly not an easy hurdle to overcome because you're used to a certain lifestyle and that's probably the level at which you've found friends. It's where you feel like you belong. The changes will honestly in some regards feel like back-pedaling because you've worked hard to get to where you are. You've overcome obstacles and grown and suddenly it feels like it's all disappearing at the wave of a wand. Its honestly isn't. It's being an adult. It's called being realistic and it will put you in a better position to recover sooner.

Right now you may not have tons of options in terms of places to invest your money for a bit of passive income, considering that salaries have been so suddenly cut. Realise that you don't have the privilege of pride, that's for people with money. You need to allow yourself to feel the emotions but move beyond them and make the changes that you know you need.

It's hard initially but believe me you, you're not the first one to scale down. Your kids will adapt, and hopefully, for your mental health, your wife will too. Do you expect to lose a few friends during the period? Yes, but were those your invaluable friends if they're not useful when it matters most? Do what need to be done and don't give a hoot about anyone else's opinion because they don't matter. Man up and do what's best for you.