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What a mess we are in, and what a mess the authorities seem to be creating. I don’t know whether they are right to create fear about a virulent flu that is a threat, whether this is a gross over-reaction to an annual event (and will happen every year for the foreseeable future), or whether it is a failing effort to reduce greenhouse gasses using the annual plague as an excuse. All I do know is that it is creating havoc for people, like me, who ‘make plans’ only for the prevailing rules to change 24 hours later. And I am lucky – I have no business or formal employment to worry about.

I don’t want to get caught up in the stats and how they are skewed and interpreted to suit. An increase in ‘cases’ resulting from an increase in ‘positive tests’ which results from massive testing doesn’t tell you/me how many cases have required action above going to bed for a few days. No, this blog is about how to respond to these inconveniences.


Whatever kind of challenge presents itself, it creates a psychological anguish that is representative of the gap between ‘what should have been’ and ‘what now is’. It means that we believe that what we had under control is, for the moment, outside of our control. The key to an effective response is to decide to act within that gap, using our God-given personal endowments.

You see, whatever happens, we can control our response if we decide to do so. We tend to default to ‘Poor Little Old Me’ (PLOM) in the first instance because the change imposed upon us creates work, in the sense that as we can’t do what we intended, we have to apply mental effort – and occasionally physical effort – to regaining the control we had. But that’s life. We do it every day, but most days we are immune to the PLOM effect because we are familiar with that particular inconvenience.

Three days ago I booked an event in Kent which I know would go ahead because despite that area’s Tier3 status they were still holding events of the kind I’d booked. Then yesterday, the local authority where I live changed its rules and threatened to cock things up here, instead.

Initially, despondency. Then a moment of clarity and the decision to explore with the event’s organisers whether I can change my date and pay a slightly increased fee for a later, less threatened date. If they say No, I have a choice – wait and see what happens the week before the event (when the Tier gets reviewed as planned) and comply. Or, yes, I can choose to go in any case. If there are penalties, then I can choose to pay them. It’s up to me.

And that’s the other abiding truth. We can decide how to respond to any imposition or event that affects us. But we can’t choose the consequences. They are outside our control. We can anticipate and plan for the consequences we reasonably expect will occur as a result of our choice, but we can’t guarantee them. So (for example), in the event that I would have to bend the law to execute on my plan and go anyway, I can choose to risk the authorities’ wrath. Or I can decide to comply, wear the relatively cheap cost of not being able to go, and start a revolution instead. (I am soooo miffed.)

If you think you have lost control of events, simply decide to take it back.

Look at the event and consider alternatives. Talk to people, ask questions, and despite advice to the contrary look for loopholes that will enable you to come through on what you intended. That’s why they are there – to exercise the mind, to beef up your initiative, to make you better.

Or you can just be miserable. ‘Cause that’s easy.

By all means. explore the purchase of my book. No pressure.