Week #17
Clouds Ahead

Clouds ahead… based on this photo, a more obvious name for this blog might have been “Typically Dutch” with a windmill and a bridge. Or “On the way home” because that is when the photo was taken. Even “After clouds comes blue sky” because half an hour after taking this photo, the sky was almost clear blue. But that’s not the name of this blog, it is called “Clouds ahead”. Related to the clouds you see through the windshield. And that of course has to do with the corona frenzy and the covod-19 stress that currently dominates the lives of a lot of people.

“The whole of Europe is down”

Yes, the whole country, in fact the whole of Europe is down. No more traveling, going to school, to the pub or to a party for at least the next three weeks. At least?? Yes, at least. Within three days of the announcement of the first really tough measures against covid-19 in the Netherlands, the “quarantine” has already been extended by a week. So, who knows how often that period is will be extended? Staying at home for a minimum of three weeks for anyone who only sneezes or coughs a little. If you suffer from hay fever this happens fairly quickly with the current mild winter. Annoying, but okay: better safe than sorry. A period that is tense for many people and organizations.

“Utterly embarrassing”

For healthcare since they need to be able to help many sick people with perhaps very few people while risking becoming ill themselves. For others, especially bars, restaurants and small businesses, because business is bad and no income means something no salary. And for people from supermarkets because they are treated quite embarrassingly by a good number of hoarders, while slaving away and risking getting sick with that virus since they meet loads of customers.

“Focus on what you can influence”

Clouds ahead, clouds full of worries which are different for everyone. And how do you deal with that? Gijs van Wulfen, LinkedIn influencer, said something about it in a video message I received from him recently: “control the controllable”. Focus on what you can influence. And saying that he is in good company. In Buddhism they state we humans are most unhappy when we constantly long for what we cannot change or reach. Therefore, we set unrealistic goals we‘ll suffer to reach but never accomplish. For example, being chronically incurably ill and thinking all the time: “I wish I was healthy”. Those longings and thoughts don’t make you very happy.


Right now you might think: “If only there was no covid-19”. Which I understand perfectly well. Maybe I even secretly think so too. But for now, covid-19 is here to stay, so deal with it. Look for the things that are possible, for which you see opportunities now that you might not have seen otherwise. Gijs also mentions this in his video. He says: Experiment!! In this context this quote of Darwin contains a very important lesson: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” When you suddenly are not allowed to do many things, there suddenly is the opportunity to try a quite few new things you never had time for.  At work and at home.

“Finally learn to knit”

For example, learn how to program in C of Swift, write that story you have been thinking about for so long, finally learn to knit or start a study. And ofcourse apart from a lot of problems new possibilities arise as well at work. Now is your chance to prepare well for that enormous package of work that will be dumped at your desk once everyone gets back to work. Make plans, invent smart solutions and try them out whenever possible. Finally work out that plan for this new product and ask several people for their opinion by skype, mail of phone. And finally, call those people you haven’t spoken to in a long time. You finally have time for that!

“Do what you didn’t have time for before”

Hopefully great initiatives are being developed and cool inventions are born out of necessity. Different ways of working together and communicating with each other. Maybe even new mindsets and thus different ways of looking at problems so we will be able to see more opportunities and dare to experiment more often. Yes, there are clouds ahead. And it certainly won’t be easy. In fact, sometimes it will be downright difficult. Not least for all those who lose a family member or friend to this virus. But luckily every cloud has a sliver lining and clear sky’s follow storm. Until then: do what you didn’t have time for before, experiment, learn and live! 

PS. Don’t forget to enjoy the cloudy skies every once in a while, because luckily, they can also be very beautiful. Especially if there is a thin spot in the clouds or rays of sunshine seep through them.

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