What To Do If You Feel Afraid Now
By Neenah Payne
Two kinds of fear are gripping America now. The first is held by people who believe the official story that COVID-19 started in a food market in China. Since they may be afraid of catching the virus and concerned about spreading it, they are helping to “flatten the curve” by “self quarantining”, keeping a distance of six feet from others, washing their hands more often, etc. They may welcome a vaccine that is reportedly in the works.
However, even people who think the virus may have been bio-engineered and don’t believe it poses more of a threat than the seasonal flu can be alarmed by the government’s unprecedented response. The shutdown of schools and businesses has put millions of Americans out of work for an undetermined length of time. The economy, which had never recovered from the 2008 housing crisis, is further shaken. They may be concerned that a new vaccine may become mandatory.
People who suddenly have to stay with their spouses and/or kids all day every day for an extended period of time may be under additional stress. People who live alone may be suffering from an increased sense of isolation and loneliness now. The UN warns that we face imminent food shortages. That may lead to riots and martial law. Since Trump extended the “self-quarantine” recommendations until the end of April, this nightmare will not be over for at least another month. At the beginning of March, the world was normal. Now, a month later, we can’t take anything for granted.
So, everyone is struggling now with ways to manage the growing uncertainty and may appreciate the sage advice in the podcast below by Jon Morrow, multi-millionaire founder and CEO of Smart Blogger.
The Difference Between Fear and Panic
The Power of a Positive Mind! says that Jon’s site offers courses to teach writers how to be successful. It is now the biggest site about blogging in the world! Jon has a dozen employees who work remotely from all over the world and three million readers! Over 30,000 people have taken his classes. However, Jon has had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular disorder, since he was a baby and his doctor did not expect him to live past age two. Jon said that 99% of the people with his disease die of pneumonia. Over 16 years, Jon battled pneumonia 16 times. He credits his survival to his mother’s willpower.
Jon is a blogger whose work is read by 200 million people around the world. Because of his muscular dystrophy, he could never walk. He was able to move his arms and feed himself until he was 12 years old. Until his was 22, Jon could move his hands enough to operate a joystick. However, the only thing he can move now is his face. So, Jon uses his mouth (voice to text) to write now!
When Jon was 12 years old, he got his first programming job after school. He graduated from high school not just near the top of his class, but also with college credit. While in college, Jon started a software company which took off in a huge way. That was just the beginning of an amazing career.
Jon was in a monstrous car accident that left him with more than 50 broken bones. He said the accident made him realize he could die at any time. So, since he had always wanted to write, while he was in the hospital in a half-body cast, Jon started his first blog. It got nominated for a “Webby Award” as the best new blog! His career took off from there. All his employees now work from home, around the world. No one has ever quit. Everyone says they love that job more than any they have ever had.
In his podcast What To Do If You’re Terrified About The Future, Jon points out that it is reasonable to feel fear in the current COVID-19 situation. However, he makes a distinction between fear and panic.
From Tragedy to Triumph
Jon is an authority not just on writing – but on how to handle major crises. He discusses the terrifying situation he faced after the 2008 housing crash. His healthcare costs which were over $100,000 a year were paid by Medicaid. However, his coverage was suddenly cancelled in 2009 because of the loss of state funding! That meant he would no longer have access to the medications he needs to survive. It was literally a life-threatening situation that he faced with no warning.
However, after Jon visited a friend in Mexico, he decided to move there with his mother because the health care costs were lower. Friends told him he was crazy to leave the US – especially to go to a country in the middle of a drug war that was on the front pages of the news. However, when Jon moved to Mexico with just $5,000, he was able to get a condo on the ocean.
When Jon worked for Brian Clark at copyblogger in the US for 2-3 years, he couldn’t earn more $800/month to avoid losing his Medicaid benefits. So, although he became the top writer on the site, there was no future for him there. When Brian sent Jon referrals in Mexico, Jon immediately began earning $10,000/month in consulting revenue. When Brian promoted Jon’s first course, he earned another $50,000 to $100,000.
Jon started his own company in Mexico. After three and half years, he had earned enough to come back to the US and pay for his healthcare here. He moved back about three years ago and lived near Miami for about two and half years. He recently moved to Austin, Texas because loves the entrepreneurial spirit of Austin. It is a place where he feels challenged.
Jon went from making nothing to earning $200/hour! Eventually, he started Smart Blogger to teach other writers about blogging. Jon says that many people feel limited because of their belief about what’s possible. However, his parents and teachers always encouraged him to believe that anything is possible even if you don’t know exactly how you will get there
Jon’s “Counter Punch” Philosophy
Jon said that one of the things he has learned is that every disadvantage comes with an advantage of equal size. If you can see the opening and respond to it, you can “counter punch” and make amazing things happen. He eventually figured out that his own mind is the only thing he is in control of and that his opinion of himself is the only opinion that matters — and he likes who he is! That realization gave him a lot of peace of mind and confidence in business.
When Jon learned to control his own mind, he not only found peace, but abundant financial and social success. Jon is dating now. He began by going on 10-20 dates a week. After 3-6 months, 15 women were telling him “Good morning” every day. He discovered that a lot of women are looking for a guy who is confident and passionate about what he is doing in life and who is honest. So, he learned — to his surprise — that he is very attractive. He discovered that for women, love and sex are more mental than for men. The women he has slept with have said he is one of the greatest lovers of their lives although he can’t move!
Jon has learned to accept his limitations without being limited by them. His positive attitude continues to inspire millions of people.
Unstoppable Jon Morrow
Jon’s Unstoppable Me site says: “You Can Accomplish More Than You Ever Thought Possible. Here at Unstoppable, we’ll show you how.”
In 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face, Jon discusses his empowering philosophy that allowed him to overcome multiple hardships and live a rich and satisfying life that also helps to inspire many people around the world.
- Lesson #1: If You Can’t Win the Game, Change the Rules
- Lesson #2: Pain is Power
- Lesson #3: The Secret to Survival
- Lesson #4: The Art of the Counterpunch
- Lesson #5: How to Find the Courage to Face Anything
- Lesson #6: Embrace the Crazy
- Lesson #7: Never, never, never give up
The video “What I learned from Jon Morrow and Beeple” discusses Jon’s triumphant life.
The video “7 Life Lessons From A Guy Who Can’t Move Anything But His Face” is very insightful.
Make Rational/Logical Decisions — Not Emotional Ones
In What To Do If You’re Terrified About The Future, Jon talks about how to handle the COVID-19 crisis and come through this time so that you are stronger in every way!
Jon explains that he built his career during in the last recession – starting from nothing! He had hardly any experience as a writer and didn’t have any savings to support himself while he learned. He didn’t even have any health insurance for his monumental health issues! However, when the recession was over, he was a multi-millionaire!
So, if you are worried about the future now and wondering how you are going to get through, Jon says that you can work with that situation so that you come out even stronger from this in every way – and from every other crisis in your future. He discusses what he is doing in the midst of the current crisis.
Jon points out that fear is a totally reasonable response to what’s going on now. In just a few weeks, the world has gone from completely normal to a ghost town. People are standing in line to get food. The economy is in the toilet. We are afraid for our health, our families, for our futures. Everyone is afraid right now — and that’s okay.
However, Jon says that the first lesson he wants to share is that it’s important to remember that there’s a big difference between fear and panic. If you are afraid, you can still think. You can still make good decisions. You can still function. However, when people panic, they are RULED by fear. They can’t think. They make terrible decisions. They lose the ability to function like human beings. Often, they suffer the consequences of that loss of control.
So, it’s okay to be afraid, but it is NOT okay to panic – not ever, not even if your life is on the line. Jon reminds us that he speaks from experience! He is talking about keeping a cool head under ALL circumstances. When Jon suddenly lost his Medicaid coverage, no other carrier could take him because of his pre-existing conditions since it was before the Affordable Care Act. Since there was no way to replace his insurance, Jon was tempted to panic because the letter from Medicaid was basically a death sentence! Without the medications and medical staff he needed, he would quite literally die!
Jon said that he had to force himself to think rationally. The only rational decision involved leaving his home, leaving the US, and moving to Mexico where healthcare is dramatically cheaper. Even though countless people told him he was crazy to move, he had to think about it logically. He could move and maybe die – or stay at home and certainly die! So, it was a no-brainer. The decision was easy to make from a logical perspective, but a difficult one to make from an emotional perspective.
When you are in the middle of a crisis, a lot of times, the difference between success and failure is the ability to think logically rather than being ruled by emotions. When times are hard, you HAVE to be rational. You may still be afraid. When Jon drove to Mexico with his mother, he was terrified. However, he didn’t let his fear impact his decisions. The decisions were based on cold, pure logic.
The biggest danger now is not actually the coronavirus. It’s the economic fallout from the government’s response to the crisis. All of us are going to wake up in a new economic reality. Jon says there’s little we can do about the coronavirus, but we can prepare for the economic shift. That’s what all the smartest people he knows are thinking about and doing now. He is reviewing the data of his company now and is making rational choices based on that data.
Jon’s Recommendations Now
Jon says that the first thing he recommends is that people look at how much money they are earning and spending. Then project how long you can make it before you run out of money. Then think about different scenarios like — what if you lose your job? If your job is at risk, be ready to apply for unemployment insurance. Homeowners might want to look into deferral programs for their mortgages.
Jon says to put each expense under a magnifying glass because the more you spend now, the faster your safety disappears. Jon mentions several ways to increase your cash on hand. All of that is a good idea because it extends the amount of time you can avoid a financial meltdown.
Jon then discusses depression. He points out that whenever people are in a terrible situation and there is nothing they can do to change it, they feel powerless. It’s incredibly easy then to sink into an apathetic depression, to lose all of your ability to focus, to really have no motivation to do anything other than to just sit there and watch what happens.
Jon explains the technique he uses to break out of that apathy. He says it is not an approach he has heard other people discuss. However, Jon issues a warning to people who have a history of severe depression with suicidal thoughts or severe paralyzing anxiety. He says they should NOT follow the recommendations below because they could be overwhelming and dangerous for them!
However, if you are just feeling frightened, unfocused, unmotivated, or lethargic, you might benefit from trying the following principles Jon uses when he’s in that situation.
- Garbage In: Garbage Out: If you spend the majority of your time around people who are panicked and/or you are consuming media that causes panic, you will either become panicked or you will just shut down because you will feel so powerless.
- Limit Stressful Input: Turn off your cell phone and stop logging into Facebook for most of the day. Especially stop watching TV news. Get your local news in print or on the internet where you can read it. That will have less of a negative emotional impact on you.
- Increase Empowering Input: Listen to podcasts or audio books, watch TED Talks, read books. When you fill your brain with empowering ideas, it will become much easier to focus and not be distracted. When Jon was in Mexico, he took this step for 5-6 hours a day to ensure that he had lots of empowering information coming into his head. So, there wasn’t room for anything else. That helped him focus and make wiser decisions that allowed him to move forward.
- Harness Your Fear To Create Motivation: Imagine the cost of doing nothing. When Jon’s life was on the line, he turned doing nothing into the “enemy”. He saw clearly what a bleak future he had if he did nothing. That motivated him to work 18-hour days for months on pure adrenaline. Using that fear gave him super-human levels of drive that helped him survive.
Jon is doing the same thing to a lesser extent right now. He is imagining the worst-case scenario and is using the data as a map to find his way out of that hell. Jon says you can’t control what happens with the coronavirus, the government, or the economy. However, you are in total control of yourself. You can control your emotions and your thoughts. You can make good decisions guided by data and logic. You can come up with a plan and fight your way through. And you can win.
Jon’s Content Marketing Certificate Program
I am taking Jon’s Content Marketing Certificate Program now. It is without a doubt, the best organized course I have ever seen. I can’t praise it enough. The course is organized in five modules – each with short lessons to reinforce the content. There are conference calls every other Thursday.
The Power of Now
None of us is guaranteed one second beyond this one. So, don’t waste today worrying about tomorrow. Enjoy the Spring. Revel in the beautiful trees and flowers bursting into bloom now. Enjoy the sun and celebrate the end of winter. If you are out of work, use the time to relax, exercise, read, learn new skills, play games with family and friends, etc. Challenge yourself to invent a way to turn this trying time into a period of triumph.
Amazon says about The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle:
To make the journey into The Power of Now, you need to leave your analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Access to the Now is everywhere — in the body, the silence, and the space all around you. These are the keys to enter a state of inner peace. They can be used to bring you into the Now, the present moment, where problems do not exist.
It is here you find your joy and are able to embrace your true self. It is here you discover that you are already complete and perfect. There are new discoveries to be made along the way: you are not your mind, you can find your way out of psychological pain, authentic human power is found by surrendering to the Now. When you become fully present and accepting of what is, you open yourself to the transforming experience of The Power of Now.
Note: Natural Blaze does not receive commissions from Jon Morrow’s products or courses – all details are provided for informational purposes by the author.
Image: Adobe license #308085891