Earlier today I dropped off a bag of like 8 or 9 rolls of individually-wrapped Scott 1000 toilet paper in front of a little old lady’s house and drove off. And I feel totally okay about it.
For context: today is March 28, 2020. The United States now has 120,000+ cases of coronavirus – more people infected than any other country in the world at the moment.
And while millions of Americans are stuck at home with zero income, living in fear of COVID-19 and economic meltdown and scrounging for toilet paper – I did the unthinkable.
As a (currently) low-income dude, I’ve had times in recent years where I actually did run out of toilet paper. Like, I had no money in the bank. My credit cards were maxed out. And so I was rationing TP (i.e. counting squares) for the last couple days, knowing we were gonna run out long before payday. Folks, knowing you’ll have zero TP for several days before you get paid again is absolutely demoralizing.
That was panic. I felt it, man. And I felt like a total f*cking loser, not being able to even provide a single roll of g*damn toilet paper for my family. Demoralizing doesn’t even BEGIN to describe that feeling.
So I know how much it sucks to run out of toilet paper in the United States of America. We don’t all have fancy toilets that shoot water up our asses, like they do in more civilized countries. Plus, we have yet to invent the 3-shell method =)
(AND ON A SIDE NOTE): it kinda pisses me off when millionaire news anchors ask millionaire intellectual experts at political think tanks (funded by billionaires) why poor people are hoarding toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic. And then they both chuckle at the apparent absurdity of the uneducated masses. These establishment douchebags have never been so broke that they couldn’t buy toilet paper during “normal” times, much less during a crisis – wtf would they even know about what poor and working-class people are thinking and feeling right now? — Sorry for the rant.
Okay, anyway, I’ve gone to grocery stores several times over the last month. And every single shopping trip there’s not a single package of toilet paper available on those shelves. They’re totally empty every time I go.
Shouldn’t I be panicking about running out of toilet paper? Shouldn’t I have held back a tad on the toilet paper donation – at least until I could secure another package for myself and my family?
I probably could have. That would seem logical. I could have just given 3-4 rolls for now.
But when my wife talked to Aunty Pearl on the phone and found out they needed toilet paper, I didn’t hesitate to bag up nearly half of our stash.
No feelings of panic or worry running through my head. I just grabbed several rolls, shoved them in a plastic bag – and then went back and grabbed a few more rolls because there was still a little room left in the bag.
Why do I feel so calm in the midst of this sh*t storm lol.
So F*cking Zen
Honestly, I don’t totally know. At least, I don’t have an objectively rational answer.
I think part of it is that I’ve been working on my own mindset and personal development over the years. I’m trying to grow as a person in multiple ways. And one of those ways, especially over the last year, is this: facing my fears, embracing reality and letting go of the outcome.
I choose to do my best yet still accept that whatever happens, happens. And I’ll deal with it if and when it happens.
I guess that’s the word for it.
It all sounds so ZEN.
I wasn’t always like this. And I definitely still struggle with anxiety in certain situations.
But I’m glad I’ve come to a point in my life where I can look at the reality around me, understand that it’s very serious and that things will likely get worse before they get better. And yet, not panic or feel overwhelmed with doubt, worry, fear and anxiety. Just take it one day at a time.
Detachment Vs Religious Faith
I think it’s important to point out that facing and releasing your fear is not just “having faith”, like in some religious sense. Having faith that a capricious god will come to the rescue or miraculously protect you if you have enough faith or if you’re on the right team can give a sense of peace. Sure. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’ve learned to think through the reality of the situation, consider the worst that could happen and do what I can, within reason, to influence the outcome in a positive way.
And then release it and move on.
You accept the good with the bad because that’s all you can really do anyway. That’s life.
And that’s a huge difference to me.
I was raised in the “just have faith and believe that it will all work out for good but if it doesn’t then praise God anyway because the Lord works in mysterious ways and who are we to think we can comprehend God much less question His almighty ways” camp.
But I prefer the detachment camp. Seems more realistic AND more honest to me. Plus, it’s not like I really have a choice. Reality. It is what it is anyway. This is the way.
I think clarity is also important here.
When you have conflicting values, being clear on your priorities lets you make a decision even if it’s hard.
Like, I value having toilet paper. I feel obligated to take care of my own family’s needs first and provide them with toilet paper.
Yet, I also value compassion, love and generosity and giving to others. And I love sweet little old ladies. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a little old lady on the planet sweeter than Aunty Pearl.
I didn’t really think it through or debate it in my head. The path was clear. I reacted almost on autopilot. And I think I must have had clarity about my values hierarchy in order to do that so smoothly and instantly.
When you have values in conflict – which happens all the time – you feel frustrated.
Unless you have a clear hierarchy of values in which certain values take priority. Then, you just take action.
So in this case, my values prioritization was clear. I know this, because I felt no hesitation or frustration or inner conflict. I didn’t even think about it. Pure action.
But that course of action would have led me to fear for my own family having poop on their butts with no toilet paper at hand.
But since I have been consciously working on detaching from negative outcomes that are beyond my control (I have no control over toilet paper availability at the store), I felt no anxiety and conflict over the situation.
What causes doubt, worry, fear and anxiety?
I won’t pretend that I have this one all figured out. Not that NOBODY has it figured out. SOME people seem to be on top of it. So what is the difference between them and the rest of us mere mortals?
I still struggle with anxiety and insecurity in various forms, but I’ve learned some stuff in recent years that has helped me – a lot of it comes from Bob Proctor. I’ve really started to love Bob Proctor’s stuff over the last year and a half or so. I think he’s got some pretty good ideas about the causes of anxiety and depression – and how to reverse that process. Plus, Bob lays it out in such a well-organized presentation.
So in an upcoming blog post, I’m going to cover in depth how Bob Proctor overcomes fear, anxiety and depression. I’ll also link you up with an excellent video presentation I found from Bob that I’ve found to be super helpful.
You don’t want to miss that.
So subscribe to the blog and you’ll get an email notification when the next blog post is up.
And if you are trying to make money as a blogger and are interested in how this conversation applies to overcoming fear as a blogger, vlogger or influencer…then I think you’ll enjoy this recent guest post by Ryan Biddulph.
On the way to drop off the TP and some other groceries to Aunty Pearl, my wife found a Walgreens that had toilet paper! =D
#toiletpapercrisis averted for now…