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I’m sitting at my laptop the morning of March 17. It’s a rainy Tuesday and I just drained my second cup of coffee.
And the world feels chaotic.
We’re facing so much uncertainty right now as the coronavirus begins its spread in the United States. Schools and businesses are closed here in Connecticut and certainly will be closed nationwide shortly. Most of us are figuring out what “social distancing” means and how to do it right. Some people still aren’t taking it seriously.
And it’s that latter group that has me thinking about language. Because I keep hearing the word “fear” repeatedly — in that puffed-up chest, take-no-prisoners kind of way. They refuse to be afraid.
They’ve completely missed the point. And part of it comes down to language.
So I went to Facebook and wrote this short post. Please consider spreading the word, and let me know your thoughts. (And a quick side note: the people hoarding supplies? Yes, that’s fear and panic, obviously. But shutdowns? That’s different.)
“Words are incredibly powerful. And so I propose a little shift for anyone still feeling put out by all of the shutdowns and inconveniences.
It seems to me that we’ve been so entrenched in the language and mindset related to terrorism that we’ve mistaken these two situations (terrorism vs coronavirus). As in: “I’m not going to let fear take over and I’m going to live my life the same as always.” Because that’s what we’ve been doing around here anytime a threat arises, and for good reason.
But here’s the thing: it’s not about fear this time. It’s about strategy. There’s a huge difference in those words. Can we shift the mindset to strategy? Americans love a good kick-ass strategy, don’t we?
We also miss our sports and our March Madness right now, so consider this: the coronavirus is a run-and-gun, blue chip, top-seeded team. And we are the Ivy League school that’s using a four corners offense to take them on. You know the one: where we spread out and stall and run the clock so the run-and-gun guys can’t score at will. We’re not kowtowing to them. No way. Screw those cocky sonsabitches. We can take ’em … so long as we stick to our game plan and be patient.
Whaddya say? Can we talk strategy instead of fear?”
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