Many years back, in the middle of the global financial crisis, musician and activist Henry Rollins offered some sage advice to the youth (and everyone else) which holds true even in these turbulent times. He wrote, “People are getting a little desperate. They might not show their best elements to you. You must never lower yourself to being a person you don’t like. In the worst of times the best among us never lose their moral compass and that is how they emerge relatively unscathed.” He continued, “This is a tremendous opportunity for you, a young person, to be heroic, to be morally upstanding, to have a great civic backbone and a great civic true north, to be helpful, almost Boy Scout-like, presidential, to be altruistic because desperate people are scared.”
We are again facing dark and uncertain times. People are scared. People are not bringing their best selves into play. If we choose, we can see this crisis as a tremendous opportunity to be a shining example. This is the time to be heroic. To be a world-class humanitarian. To be kind and compassionate, and serve others in the best way we can. To show up as an effective leader and be prepared for the worst-case scenario. To practice calm and cultivate mental resilience within us. To strengthen our inner fortress, to use our time wisely and to focus on what’s important.
We have to work for the benefit of others, because this is our moral and civic duty as a human and a responsible global citizen. As Rollins put it, “Don’t let this fear sidetrack you, blind you and minimize your potential. And now more than ever is the time to extol these great qualities which you have. Now it’s time to magnify them, personify them and inspire others with them and there has never been a time where they are needed more than right now.”