COVID-19 has put us in Château d’If — let’s make the most of it
If you’re reading this, you are likely in quarantine at home. Here in Florida, I’m trying to stay at home as much as possible but I’m already getting stir-crazy. And that’s in a 1,400 square foot home with a front yard and a basketball hoop!
But I’m starting to see the silver linings of the situation that COVID-19 has put us all in. I’m learning new ways to build up my immune system. My daily vocabulary is expanding with new words like ‘quarantine’ and ‘social distancing’. And my immediate family hasn’t spoken this regularly since we all lived under one roof.
After listening to Tim Ferriss’ most recent podcast, I acquired one more silver lining. His guest, Jack Kornfield, taught an online meditation class to students in China. Most of the students were under quarantine (there’s that word again). Mr. Kornfield pointed out to these students that they were getting the equivalent of what his retreat attendees would pay lots of money for.
While not true for everyone, many of us can treat the coming weeks as a retreat. This can be a time of self-reflection and self-improvement. It reminds me of the second best movie of all time — The Count of Monte Cristo*.
In the movie (sorry, never read the book), Edmond Dantès is convicted of a crime he did not commit. The French government imprisons him at Château d'If. This is a real place that I hope to visit one day after the world goes back to normal.
Edmond is in a dark place (both literally and figuratively) for a while. There are rats, uncomfortable floors, bad food and torture — sound familiar? He’s got every reason to be angry and depressed. But then something incredible happens: a prisoner bursts through the jail cell wall.
His fellow inmate is an educated priest who has been digging an escape route for years. In exchange for his help digging, the priest offers Edmond all his knowledge. Edmond accepts and now his prison has been transformed into a classroom. Edmond learns economics, mathematics, philosophy, science — and to read and write.
Edmond is slowly transformed into a smarter and wiser man through his daily efforts. He stops feeling sorry for himself and dwelling on his predicament. He takes advantage of this time to experience incredible personal growth.
And in the end, Edmond kills the warden and all his wrongdoers he swore revenge upon. A happy ending all around!
In case you aren’t following the metaphor, we are Edmond. Those that have wronged us are COVID-19. The priest is the books, internet and other growth opportunities that surround us. And the jail cell in Château d’If is our home during this quarantine.
Treat this as a golden opportunity to level up in areas you are passionate about. What have you been wanting to learn but could never find the time for? Don’t distract yourself by bingeing on Netflix. Take this time to level up.
For me, leveling up means learning new salsa techniques and fixing an old radio — what does it mean for you?
*The best movie of all time is Spaceballs — obviously.