Ten Common Mistakes People Make During a Crisis

Rich Handler is the chairman and CEO of Jefferies Group. What separates him from other investment bank executives is that he has embraced social media in a big and light hearted way.

Rich is a curator of life principles and has shared words of wisdom throughout his career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he shared the following "Ten Common Mistakes People Make During a Crisis". If you want to find more from Rich, I encourage you to follow him on Instagram @HandlerRich.

Ten Common Mistakes People Make During a Crisis

  1. Thinking that it will never end - mentally and physically allowing yourself to become frozen or fall into the abyss.
  2. Thinking it will end quickly - falsely encouraging you to over-react as an aggressive contrarian when you should really be focusing on assessing all and protecting yourself, loved ones, firm and liquidity.
  3. Not anticipating how the world going forward will change for both the worse and better. It is too easy to expect everything will return to normal in time or be positive that everything going forward will be completely different. Things are rarely so obvious or predictable. Think.
  4. Failing to keep perspective of all that is positive in your life and all the things that prior to the pain you may have taken for granted but now can truly appreciate. It is a great time to rid yourself of all the negative clutter (people, things, obligations etc...) that drag you down and identify and focus on all that lifts you up. When you eliminate the notice, what's left is precious time to make wonderful music.
  5. Putting all decisions regarding personal improvement (health, relationships, career, friendships, family relationships, etc...) on hold because you "dont't need one more thing to worry about or change." "Justifiable procrastination" becomes your life theme. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste because it provides the perfect opportunity to begin the changes that are long over do. When the crisis passes, you will be on your way to a better path and besides, when things are good you know you will be "too busy" to prioritize tough decisions.
  6. Not giving yourself the time and peace to put everything in perspective. If times of crisis, uncertainty and stress don't force you to step back and re-evaluate where you are going, when exactly do you expect it to happen?
  7. Worrying constantly about things you cannot control is ridiculous, a waste of time and a distraction that will prevent you from focusing your energy on the things you can affect. You might not be able to have complete control, but if your actions, attitude, emotion and effort can at least partially affect the outcomes, time on these issues is well spent. Identify which things you can and can't affect and ignore or immerse yourself accordingly.
  8. Sometimes people make major decisions in the heat of a crisis or panic because they think they finally are seeing things clearly and they cannot fight their overpowering unstoppable urge to take drastic action. Some drastic changes are good, but usually it is best to think about these over time and see how you truly feel as the circumstances evolve and the sunlight eventually returns.
  9. It is easy to keep yourself in a "comfort zone" induced "personal rut" during a crisis. The same mindless activities can consume you and appear comforting because you know what the expected outcomes will be. The same can be said for talking regularly with only the same people because it is easy and requires little personal investment or risk of embarrassment or rejection. If you expand your horizons during a crisis it will be empowering and a personal growth experience. You may also find that others are more welcoming than ever during their crises, especially if you are helping them expand beyond their comfort zone.
  10. People can convince themselves that it is not ok to smile, laugh, enjoy themselves or have happy times during a crisis. The seriousness and pain in the world is real, but if you can find some happiness in the midst of a crisis, you can find it anytime and that will serve you well through life's many ups and downs.

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