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(For reading in Chinese, please scroll down to the end of the English text.)

(For international readers, allow me to explain: I am an American but I have lived in China since 2004. My city of Chongqing, often abbreviated as CQ, is pronounced Chong Ching to rhyme with Wrong Ring. CQ is a megacity of 30 million people in south-central China, on the Yangtze River.)

July 2020

From the 18th-Floor homestead

In previous articles, Pandemic Reality Check #1 and #2, I explored two different ways to determine what is really important in our lives – or, at least, what should be really important. (If we are not devoting adequate time to what we have declared to be our most important activities, perhaps we need to question if they are truly important to us.)

In this final segment of the series, I propose a set of questions which, if honestly and thoughtfully reviewed regularly, will help determine what activities would be most valuable to us – and, accordingly, what should be getting as much of our time, attention, and energy resources as possible.

Let me begin with an excerpt from an article published in March of 2019. That was only last year but, due to the emergence of the Covid-19 virus, we certainly live in a vastly different world now. However, maybe the principle concept of defining what activities are most valuable, then focusing on them as a high priority, is more relevant than ever. If we have learned one thing from this pandemic experience, it is to stop assuming that we have an unlimited number of tomorrows with no restrictions to prevent us from doing what we choose. Briefly: Don’t wait! Do it now!

Photo by Spring

The third way to use the word “really” is to ask what is truly important. In a new book I am preparing about life lessons, It’s That Simple, I gave my son some questions about “threes” to assist him in recognizing his priorities. Those questions include:

What 3 things, if done today, would make today great?

If you only had 3 hours for your work today, what would you do in those 3 hours?

Which 3 people would you want to impress today if they were observing you?

What are 3 things you are grateful for today?

Which 3 work projects should you spend time on today?

Which 3 personal projects should you spend time on today?

Photo by Spring

(July 2020 again)

So, what is important in your life today? Really important? Really? Why?

Personally, one of the most important revelations from the past few months is the immense value and comfort – indeed, necessity – of my relationships. I have many cherished digital friends spread throughout the world. But, thanks to the internet, contact with them is as close as the nearest computer with internet access. Locally, my Chinese and expat friends offer company, support, and entertainment – even, under the right conditions, intelligent conversation. Recently, though, I have come to more fully value my immediate circle – wife and son who live with me, and two aunts and their families who live nearby. Finally, the awareness that my nuclear family of three is the irreducible element in my universe was a stark reminder to be more courteous, grateful, and helpful – and, hopefully, a little more patient. If any one of the three legs of our family unit were removed, the stability of the remaining parts would be seriously threatened. Even in a best-case scenario, the quality of life would be greatly diminished.

In my book China Bound, I wrote a lengthy response to the question about what I missed from my old life in the US. The answer was a paean to the more rustic and outdoor life I had left behind and was summarized with: Kiss a squirrel for me. Admirers of Gordon MacQuarrie and his tales will understand. It continues to be a reminder that I want a simple lifestyle with carefully selected comforts and conveniences but minimal possessions. Hence, I began this post with “From the 18th-Floor homestead.”

What about you? What activities or relationships have you been assuming would continue undiminished and unchanged? What would make this a great week for you? Could you answer those questions about the “threes” – in writing, to focus your thoughts – or are you still dealing with vague generalities and unquestioned presumptions? What is really important to you… and what are you doing about it?

Photo by Spring

大流行病现实检查#3

2020年7月

从18楼的农家院

在以前的文章《大流行病现实检查#1和#2》中,我探讨了两种不同的方法来确定什么是我们生活中真正重要的东西–或者至少是应该真正重要的东西。如果我们没有把足够的时间投入到我们所宣称的最重要的活动中去,也许我们需要怀疑这些活动对我们是否真的重要)。

在本系列的最后一部分,我提出了一组问题,如果能诚实地、深思熟虑地定期审查,将有助于确定哪些活动对我们最有价值–相应地,哪些活动应该尽可能多地获得我们的时间、注意力和精力资源。

让我先摘录2019年3月发表的一篇文章。那只是去年的事,但由于科维德-19病毒的出现,我们现在肯定生活在一个截然不同的世界里。然而,也许定义什么活动最有价值,然后将其作为高度优先事项加以关注的原则概念比以往任何时候都更有意义。如果说我们从这次大流行的经历中学到了一件事,那就是不要再假设我们有无限的明天,没有任何限制来阻止我们做我们选择的事情。简而言之。别等了!现在就去做吧!

*********************************

第三种使用 “真的 “一词的方法是问什么才是真正重要的。在我正在准备的一本关于人生感悟的新书《就是这么简单》中,我给了儿子一些关于 “三 “的问题,以帮助他认清自己的优先级。这些问题包括

如果今天做哪三件事,会让今天变得更美好?

如果你今天只有3个小时的工作时间,你会在这3个小时里做什么?

如果今天有哪3个人在观察你,你想给他们留下深刻印象?

你今天要感谢哪3件事?

你今天应该花时间做哪3个工作项目?

你今天应该花时间在哪3个个人项目上?

**********************

(2020年7月再次)

那么,在你今天的生活中,什么是重要的?真的重要吗?真的很重要吗?为什么这么说呢?

就个人而言,过去几个月最重要的启示之一是我的人际关系的巨大价值和舒适性–事实上,是必要的。我有许多珍贵的数字朋友,分布在世界各地。但是,多亏了互联网,与他们的联系就像最近的一台可以上网的电脑一样近。在本地,我的中国和外籍朋友提供了陪伴、支持和娱乐–甚至在适当的条件下,提供了聪明的对话。不过最近,我开始更加重视我的直系亲属圈–与我同住的妻子和儿子,以及住在附近的两位阿姨和他们的家人。最后,意识到我的核心三口之家是我宇宙中不可复制的元素,这是一个鲜明的提醒,让我更有礼貌、感恩、乐于助人–而且,希望能多一点耐心。如果我们家庭单位的三条腿中的任何一条被移除,其余部分的稳定性将受到严重威胁。即使在最好的情况下,生活质量也会大打折扣。

在我的《China Bound》一书中,我写了一篇长篇大论来回答关于我在美国旧生活中怀念什么的问题。答案是对我留下的更加质朴的户外生活的赞美,并总结为:。为我亲吻一只松鼠 戈登-麦奎利和他的故事的崇拜者会理解。它继续提醒我,我想要一种简单的生活方式,精心挑选舒适和便利,但尽量减少财产。因此,我在这篇文章的开头写道:”来自18楼的家园”。

那你呢?你一直以为哪些活动或关系会继续不减、不变?对你来说,什么会让这一周变得很棒?你能不能回答这些关于 “三 “的问题–以书面形式,集中你的思想–还是你还在处理模糊的笼统和毫无疑义的假设?什么对你来说才是真正重要的……你又在做什么?

2 Replies to “Pandemic Reality Check #3”

  1. real food-for-thought stuff! We have been transformed by this world-sweeping pandemic, no matter whether we would like to admit or not. Nevertheless, we should stay faithful to what really matters in our life. Your suggestion of “threes” is really interesting and helpful to maintain our calmness during such a period of confusion and chaos. Thanks man.

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