In this historical time of fear, anxiety, privation and grievous loss, I wish to offer some inspiration and hope for better times to come. Sadly, while I’m pretty good at platitudes, I lack the poetry gene, so I must defer to others to help us out here. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” That reminds us to appreciate the opportunity for each of us to get through this unprecedented-in-our-lifetime global crisis, and come out stronger on the other side.
We’ve all heard of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, a sometimes crippling mental health disorder. But have you heard of PTG? PTG is post-traumatic growth, positive changes and enhanced personal development experienced by some who have survived traumatic events. PTG refers to any beneficial change resulting from a major life crisis or traumatic event, but people most commonly experience a positive shift by having a renewed appreciation for life; adopting a new world view with new possibilities for themselves; feeling more personal strength; feeling more satisfied spiritually, and/or their relationships improve. Lets strive for PTG.
And now, time for a platitude. People, like trees, grow and reach their true potential by overcoming adversity. A cliché, true, but still, its true. We can come out of COVID-19 stronger. Do what you can every day to further your work goals and personal goals, from your home office. Do what you can every day to help someone else, even if it’s from your couch in your pajamas on your laptop. You will overcome this adversity and you will be stronger for it.
And now, time for some poetry.
Good Timber by Douglas Malloch (1877-1938)
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength,
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
That is the common law of life.