Pandemic Reality Check #3

(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








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











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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