What I Learnt in the World’s Longest Lockdown

“The Obstacle Is the Way.” 

From the Buddhists of the East to the Stoic philosophers of the West, each culture has some version of this wisdom.

The unprecedented lockdowns that have marked the past year and a half are ongoing for many of us. Undoubtedly, they’ve thrown a huge, pandemic-sized spanner in the works for nearly all of us. 

But, these various obstacles that lie in our path have also created unprecedented opportunities for those who gain the perspective to see them.

As in Muay Thai, in lockdowns, angles are critical.

The clinch begins where boxing ends. In that tight, cramped, and claustrophobic space, the untrained struggle against a feeling of suffocation and helplessness. 

Kicking and punching are no longer options.

For the Muay Thai fighter, though, the clinch offers a world of options not available to the mere kickboxer – elbows, knees, sweeps, tosses, or the application of unrelenting pressure, to name but a few. 

In this close-quarter world, the Nak Muay doesn’t focus on what he or she can’t do, but on what they can.

So, ask yourself, what openings for attack can you spot in the 50/50 clinch of these seemingly endless cycles of restrictions? 

How can you metaphorically advance your position to the Thai plum, where you can smash this lockdown into a final, bloodied defeat?

Look no further.

First, Get Organized

Do you remember the pre-lockdown world? Did you get around to everything during those blue-skied days of freedom? 

I doubt it.

Lockdown is the perfect time to get your stuff together finally. Have you struggled with your diet but have always been too busy to set up those healthier eating habits? 

Now is the time to get the recipes and skills you need to take your diet up a level.

They say, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. With the silence that lockdown offers, get strategic. When the heavy weight of these strange times lifts (and it will lift!), you want to hit the ground running. Get organized now.

Sharpen the Blade

When a swordsmith forged a samurai’s katana back in the day, the sharpening of the blade was no joke. Many, many hours were spent honing the blade against grinding stones. Often, years were spent on a sword before it ever saw battle.

Likewise, though training with your teammates may not be an option right now, self-training is always an option.

Whatever your sport, you can improve your fitness in all areas during a lockdown. You need no special equipment or huge spaces to increase your cardiovascular fitness, strength or flexibility.

Not only will this make the transition back to the gym easier when things reopen, but you will maintain (and indeed, improve) your mental and physical help despite the challenges.

Add to Your Skillset

Learning doesn’t stop when we leave school. The real path of the fully-realised human is that of a lifelong learner.

Online learning has taken off at an exponential pace. High-level education is no longer restricted to those who can afford to pay the exorbitant prices unis charge.

These days it is possible to learn almost anything, often for free, virtually. 

While the world sleeps – master a new skill.

Create a Business Plan

If the lockdown has forced you to work from home and you’ve always had aspirations to start your own business but never found the time, this is the time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was any worthwhile business venture. This is the perfect opportunity to do the market research, sort schedules, check out the competition; in fact, any of the million and one little things required to make an ambition a reality.

But, as with so many things in life, start with a well-thought-out, strategic plan.

Don’t Lose to the Lockdown

Whatever you decide to do with this gift of limited distractions and unlimited time that lockdown offers, think like a fighter. 

Stay in the fight, exploit the openings, and when the final bell rings, you’ll surely see your hand raised.

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When one door closes, another opens. The journey never ends. This is the life I choose to live. This is my story.

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