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Photo by Yunus G on Unsplash

You might find it offensive when I say that this pandemic is also a blessing.  To date, there are 2,633 cases in the Philippines, with 107 deaths and 51 recoveries.  Many frontliners are infected, and some have been pronounced as fallen heroes—and my sincere sympathy is with them. With all the uncertainty, many people around the world are going deeper within themselves to get in touch with their emergency reservoir of courage, faith, and serenity.  

But some people like me see this situation differently. As with yin-yang—a Tao concept that two halves come together to complete a whole—I see this pandemic as disaster and an opportunity.  Both halves are chasing after each other as they seek a new balance with each other. 

History tells us again and again that after every crisis, people will be grouped into two. Those who view the crisis as judgement against all their sins and who think that the world truly deserves it, and the other group who see the opportunity that comes with the crisis. This is like separating the goats from the sheep. 

In 1939, legendary investor John Templeton made a fortune by going against the fear of the Great Depression and invested $10,000 in U.S. stocks.  Four years later, he sold his investments for a 300% gain.

In 2008, the financial crisis brought about by the failure of major U.S. banks ruined the finances of many business and individuals. But the fear had offered many opportunities for some brave souls.

Yes, we all need to stay home; this is the key to win from the battle.  But what are you going to do while the battle is ongoing? Participate in the political debates on social media and further divide our country?  Play Mr. or Ms. Perfect by blaming as many people as you can for being responsible for all the mishaps that are happening around? Or you can join the band of people who are seeing and maximizing the opportunity that this pandemic offers. If you want to be part of the latter, here are some simple suggestions that I may suggest:

Prepare for when the doors open

While some are fortunate to have the opportunity to work from home, many have lost their jobs and sources of income because of the ongoing quarantine that has forced us all to stay home. But even at home, we can always be productive. Use this time to upgrade yourself—take some online courses, for example. There are courses on a variety of topics and fields being offered for free!  

Are you thinking of starting a business? Study and strategize now and then execute later.  For people who dream of writing a book, this is your moment. I am now writing my fourth book and hoping to finish the majority of it before the quarantine is over. One message of this pandemic may be for us to step back and rethink what we have been doing. Perhaps God is giving us the chance to reorganize ourselves because when doors open after this pandemic, new opportunities will arise.  The question is, are you ready for that?

Heal family relationships

In the time of quarantine, everybody may be inside the house, but nobody talks to each other, and everyone is glued on their phones and gadgets. For families unused to spending so much time together, even have mealtimes together may be awkward. But a week after, family members are starting to laugh together, and enjoy doing activities together as a family. 

Unhealthy family relationships have caused problems such as teenage pregnancy, drug addiction, depression, to name a few. Now, we are forced to stay together, spend this time getting to know each other again. We don’t need to spend a massive amount of money on traveling the world in the name of family time.  All we need is to stay home and enjoy each other.

Renew your spiritual life

One of my favorite bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Especially during times like this. It brings me comfort. I know that motivational quotes and even scripture can feel cliché and unsympathetic when delivered during a crisis. Still, I have heard story after story of faith; God somehow brings good from the devastation crises leave behind. Maybe this pandemic is trying to remind us that we are not just money-making machines, but spiritual beings in search of a real spiritual experience. Honestly sometimes, we are like toddlers shouting “I can do it!”—the daily cries of our ego. We fall, and then our beloved parents are the only persons who matter to us. Take a moment of silence.

What is happening to the victims of COVID-19 is saddening. On the other hand, there are lots of things to be grateful for because of this. The world has set aside their need to win the race of finding the most sophisticated nuclear weapons. Scientists around the world are sharing information and helping each other to find a cure for the virus.

We don’t know for sure what will happen to us during and even after this crisis. But one thing is for sure you can always choose to be grateful.

Christopher Cervantes
CIS, CSR, RFP

Christopher G. Cervantes, is a registered financial planner, a certified investment solicitor, and Certified Securities Representative.  He is also the author of the book Financial Planning for the Fast Changing World and The Seed Money.  Aside from being a financial planner he was also an active seafarer for 17 years with a position of Chief Officer on board oil and chemical tankers.   It is his mission to help his fellow seafarers and OFWs to attain financial freedom through sound financial education.  For any questions email him at: [email protected]   You can also find him on www.facebook.com/FinancialPlanningfortheFastChangingWorld and www.cardinalbuoy.com