HOW I BEAT CORONAVIRUS IN 4 WORDS

For those of you who do not know, my name is Neil Panosian and I was diagnosed with the coronavirus on March 18th. As of right now I am all clear and recovered. Still getting back to tip top physical shape after 3 weeks of inactivity, but that will come. I am no longer contagious and depending on the day, I am considered to have some sort of immunity. Every day I wake up I am so grateful my symptoms were not worse and that I made it through. 10,000 people in the United States so far were not that fortunate and my thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family.

I want to share with you what I believe was my secrets in making it through. The interesting thing about the 4 words that I am about to share with you is that they not only got me through this virus, but they are the same formula that gets me through many challenges of life. If you are as unfortunate as me and become infected with this virus or know someone who has, please share this information with them. If you are spending time at home as we all should be, you can put these 4 words into practice in your own life to conquer whatever challenges you may be facing.

The first word that I used was preparation. Was I actually preparing to get a virus? Not exactly. I was taking all of the steps you were supposed to. I washed my hands often. Did my best not to touch my face. It is amazing how much you do this without ever noticing. As we did karaoke Margie and I wiped the microphones with disinfectant wipes. (Although someone at our Friday show did use half of our container to clean their hands after eating wings) Still, working with the public and at the Postal Service somehow I managed to get it. What is important to note is how I lived my life prior to coming down with this virus.

My way of living includes going to the gym here in West Allis, where I live, roughly 5 days a week. Some weeks it might be 4 times, sometimes it might be 6 but I go there on a regular basis. When I am there I actually am one of the people working out, not texting while sitting on a machine. I do it for the stress-relieving benefits. After a hard workout the other challenges in my life seem a little easier to deal with. The side effect of all this running, lifting and stretching is that I can enjoy my beautiful lady’s cooking without gaining too much weight. It also means I am doing my best to keep both my heart and lungs strong. Being that I have both asthma and heart issues, this is a big plus. I also do my best to eat right (sans the occasional pizza) and take a few vitamins. Before bed every night I meditate and follow other self-care routines. Couple these with my loving relationship with Margie and you can see I live a fairly healthy lifestyle.

When the virus hit me I was in decent physical shape. My asthma was controlled the best it could be and my heart was as strong as it gets. I liken this to learning to swim. The best time to learn to swim is on the safety of the shore, not when the ship is sinking. If I had waited until I got sick to try and be healthy I believe the virus would have had a far more severe impact on my body. That is why it is so important to use the time we have to prepare ourselves for challenges before they come. The better we are prepared to meet challenges, the more likely we are to overcome them.

The second word that I used to beat the coronavirus may be the most important one. That word is purpose. While waiting for my test results to come back I asked myself 2 very important questions. 1) How can I use this? and 2) What is good about this? I knew if I indeed had the virus I would share my journey here on this website. I would do so with an attempt to calm a lot of the fear that people may have facing this situation. I guess the good would be that having the virus would allow me to speak from experience. I would be going through it. I would struggle with the shortness of breath, the cough, ,the lack of smell and taste and the dizziness. I could tell everyone how tired you would get walking from the kitchen to the living room. If I tried something and it worked to help my symptoms, maybe it might help someone else?

One of the biggest things since I have recovered from the virus is attempting to donate my antibodies to help critical patients. If I can donate plasma and it may help save the lives of two other people, I would be selfish not to do that. I am still waiting to hear back from a few of the places that I called. I guess this process is still a little fluid. Being able to potentially save 2 lives, if not at least help them recover quicker feels like a true blessing. To think of the joy this would give their families and hopefully save them from the sorrow of losing a loved one fills my heart with happiness and gave me a purpose to getting better.

Word number 3 in my healing journey was persistence. When I was not feeling so good, especially the first week, I was tempted not to share my journey. I certainly did not feel like setting up my laptop, or making myself remotely composed enough to go in front of a camera to shoot a YouTube video. When this happened I thought of all the preparation I did that allowed me to be able to keep the symptoms to a level they were at. Most importantly, I thought of my purpose. Why I would use this virus even more than it was using me. I thought of the people who were out there that were scared watching the news and hearing nothing of the people that recovered. I thought about those who would fear what would happen to them if they got the virus. I thought of those, who like me, already had the virus. They may feel alone and scared. Having to be away from family and friends with a sickness that we know so little about. If, by logging on to my website or seeing my posts on Facebook, it helped them to see they are not alone, then I had served a purpose.

With every blog post and every video came not only well-wishes that I was extremely grateful for, but questions. I knew if I was home scared and had a question I would want it answered as quick as possible. This allowed me to persist in logging on every day and answering those questions. I once heard Earl Nightingale say “Persistence is another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you wouldn’t persist.” If there was one thing I had through this, it was faith. I am not sure what you believe in, God, the Universe, the divine power, to that end it doesn’t matter to me. What I did know is the creator had me get this for a reason and I believed that reason was to help others. That faith translated into persistence on days when I was tempted not to post or answer questions and just spend the day in bed.

The final word in my healing journey was perspective. Like all of us this virus and the challenges it has brought with us has also brought with it a change in how we see the world. Recently, I went for a walk in the park. This experience was appreciated more than ever. After roughly 3 weeks in the house I cannot explain how good it felt to be in nature. After not being able to do my 5 days a week in the gym, it felt so good to get my heart pounding and my lungs working. Every neighbor, or at least most of them, seemed to say “Hello” or some other greeting as they passed. It is not that I look friendlier than your average person, but I think everyone is just grateful to see new faces. Perhaps they were as grateful as I was to be out in fresh air. I watched the geese, ducks and seagulls on the lagoon and thought how blissfully unaware they were of all the societal drama unfolding around them. I watched the squirrels running around gathering food and attending to their usual spring preparations with a greater regard for something routine.

One of the biggest changes in perspective was how I viewed all of the news. I rarely saw stories of people going through the virus and how they were coping. There were not even that many stories of what to do once you had the virus. I was one of the fortunate ones that made it through, but all I heard were numbers of cases and deaths. Rarely would there be anything about those, like myself, who made it through. I knew it was even more important to share my story and to give people hope to help balance out the fear. As I return to work at the post office and am dealing with the fallout from my illness there, I feel it will be important to share this story too. That way something may be done to protect those workers who face uncertain reactions from both bosses and coworkers once they return.

Preparation, Purpose, Persistence and Perspective. These four word were the key to overcoming the virus for me. They are also my keys to overcoming the daily challenges we all face. I encourage everyone to take a look at there own lives and apply these four words as well. It may very well be the difference to falling victim to a challenge verses having the strength to overcome one. Next post we will look at a secret ingredient that also played a big factor in allowing me to beat the coronavirus. It also allows me to live a life filled with joy each and every day, whether sick or healthy. Be sure to look at that. As always if you have any questions about the virus, my formula for dealing with it or self-improvement in general, feel free to leave them in the comments below. I am here to serve.

WHEN LIFE IS A PILE OF…

This is an emoji of… well… a pile of poo. This is insanely popular for some reason. Margie has even received several orders for cupcakes in this design. I am using it for when our life feels just like a pile of poo. Your car breaks down, a relationship ends, you lose your job or even worse, you lose someone you love. Sometimes the poo really adds up in a hurry. At this point, life really starts to stink, both literally and figuratively.

We all have these periods. Even though it may not seem like anybody is having a worse time than we are, there are people out there who have it worse. Certainly not what we want to hear when the poo hits the fan in our life, or even worse, when we feel like the fan. However, a change in perspective can give us pause to think. So, your car broke down? There are people who cannot even afford a car, much less repairs. There are people, lots of them in fact, who have to walk miles every day for clean drinking water. It was Gandhi who said, “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” No matter how dire our situation, there is always something to be grateful for. Your relationship ended or someone you loved passed away? Remember they say It is better to have lost in love, than never to have loved at all. There are people who never find that special someone to love. There are people who never have their parents in their lives. Be grateful for every day you experience love. Even if that love changes it does not mean it has to stop. Try finding just one thing to be grateful for. It will lead you to find another and then another.

Even if you are having trouble finding something to be grateful for, you can still use the poo in your life. How on earth do you use poo in life? Here we are obviously speaking in metaphors, but using a literal comparison can help. We are talking about poo situations in our life as we discussed above, but we can use the same logic as we do for the organic matter itself. I do not recall if it was Meijer, Walmart or somewhere completely different, but I found myself strolling through the garden center fantasizing that I had the ability to grow things when what did I see? Poo! bags and bags of the stuff. Ok, here it was called manure and did not have an emoji on it, but the contents was the same.

That is when the light bulb went on. If we literally use poo to grow stuff in our gardens, why do we not use it for growth in our lives as well? Just like our last post when we discussed failure, if we just dwell on the poo in our lives it would be like sitting in that manure. Just try and picture sitting in a pile of manure and complaining how awful it is. If you were to plant a few seeds in that manure instead of just complaining about it what may happen? You would grow new and wonderful things! Things that would smell far better than the poo itself.

What does that all have to do with our lives when they seem…well..in the toilet? Plenty! If a relationship fails, you can use what went wrong to improve your future relationships. If you did something that brought about the end of the relationship, do not do that thing again. Maybe you were just connected to the wrong person. Going forward be aware that you may wish to start a relationship with someone more aligned with your goals and values.

Did you lose your job? Use that to brush up on your interviewing skills. Perhaps you should consider going back to school? Maybe taking that time to finish the book you have always wanted to write? When you start looking for a new job, apply in a field you enjoy and not the one that just pays the most. In that way the loss of a job can serve as the growth of a new and more rewarding career!

Did you lose someone you love? That is always hard and very painful. If you find yourself sad a great deal of the time, remember that is ok. If your heart feels broken, that just meant it has loved. Be grateful for all of the moments you shared with that person. I have an article coming out next month on this very subject. I can tell you one of the best ways to ease burden of loss is to try and replace some of the light that person brought to the world. Did your grandmother always make people feel welcome? Then you should do that. Did your brother have a great sense of humor? Then focus on bringing laughter into the lives of others. Another emotion that comes up when we lose someone we care deeply for, and I speak from experience, is regret. We find ourselves uttering the all too common phrases “I would’ve/I should’ve/I could’ve” Use this to motivate yourself to live in the moment and put all your love and effort into the relationships you have now. That person may be gone, but they can certainly help you make the most of those you love that are still with you.

Use the poo in your life my friends. Just like the manure in the garden center, use the poo situations in your life as fertilizer to grow new and wonderful things. Pain and challenge can be one of the best catalysts for growth.

WHY NOT?

This picture really says it all. If you are alive right now, you should be enjoying your life to the fullest. Sure, you might not have the perfect body, you might not have the perfect job and unless you are as lucky and blessed as I am you might not have the perfect mate. So what!

You are alive and the possibility to improve exists. You can become healthier, wealthier and whatever else you are chasing. While working towards whatever goal you have there is one thing you should had to the top of any goal, no matter what that goal is. What should be included in any list you have whether it is goals, to do, or even shopping lists, somewhere on that list you should have some version of these words – enjoy and have fun during the process.

Why? A better question is, “Why Not?” We only go once around the ride and if you are not finding ways to enjoy your life, you are wasting it. Want to get in shape? Maybe start walking with a friend? Sharing your progress online with a supportive group of people. Looking for that perfect person to share your life with? Maybe find entertainment in the ‘unique’ people you will no doubt have to go through. Stuck in a job you dislike? Be grateful for as many things as you can in that job even if it is just the motivation to look for something better for yourself.

I know people who actually do the very opposite of this. See if this sounds familiar. You are at a fabulous all-inclusive resort in the tropics. The sun is shining, the love of your life is across from you with a big smile on their face. Suddenly, from the table next to you a voice can be heard. It is a man complaining his burger is too well done. Not only is he complaining about it, but he seems to be almost obsessing about it. Then he adds how dry the bun is. Forget that the weather is perfect, you can smell the ocean and flowers and birds are everywhere, his hamburger is dry. Sound ridiculous? Some people really live this way. Don’t be one of them. If your burger is dry, take a nice slow slip of rum and say to yourself with a chuckle, “Next time I will get the jerk chicken.”

How can we enjoy the process? There are several ways. Ask yourself questions like these, “What can I be grateful for in this situation?” “What can I find that I love?” Also look for the humor is challenging situations. If all else fails, shake your head and say, “At least I am going to have a good story.” Remember every bad day only serves to make us more grateful for the good ones. Let us all remember to enjoy our life to the fullest.

GAIN A NEW PERSPECTIVE 

This is me…on the roof of my work. Every few months I like to go up there and look for things that need fixing. This serves a dual purpose. First I check for things that need fixing on the roof. Today I found some broken metal brackets and loose covers. Last year it was a few bad goose eggs stuck in a vent.

It also allows me to do something else. As I walk around the border of the roof I can examine things on the ground below at a quick glance. I can see the entire landscaping and what needs attending to. I can see the parking lot and where there may be issues. In short, I can see a lot of things that may not be apparent when I am looking at them on the ground.

What does this have to do with living an amazing life? Life is not much different than what I do here. Sometimes in my life I need to take a step back and view things from an entirely different angle. I think it was Les Brown who said, “sometimes it is hard to see the picture when you are in the frame.” In other words, when we are emotionally involved in a situation it can be hard to see it objectively.

Have you ever been working on a problem for what seems like forever and a friend comes along and points out what is a simple, and should have been obvious solution? How frustrating is that? We were so focused and attached to the problem we were unable to see the solution. Albert Einstein said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

That is what I am going to suggest you do for the next 24 hours. Try looking at situations from a different viewpoint. Pretend you are someone else, maybe even someone who has the opposite views you do. If you are facing a challenge try this simple method, write down all the facts of the matter with as few opinions and beliefs attached to them as possible. When you are done, trying looking at the problem from as many different angles as you can. You never know what ideas may come to the surface.

ALL ENCOMPASSING P WORD

image

Today’s P word as you may have figured out by the picture is perspective. This word, as we are going to use it, is close to attitude. It is, however, a little more. Perspective is how we view the world. What many fail to understand is how vital it is to have a healthy perspective on life.

So let’s ask ourselves what perspective is healthy? The first word that comes to mind is grateful. Having a grateful perspective can change the way life appears to you. In my own life i have constant reminders of this. When my hours at my job were cut from 45 a week to ten it seemed I had been left up a creek without a paddle. Then I went down to help at a homeless shelter.  Not only did these people not have jobs, many did not have homes.  Today as I write this i strained a muscle in my arm at work. The man who served me my coffee had only one arm.

I was explaining this to a man I work with at the post office and his response was “so what it doesn’t change anything”. After inquiring what he meant he explained my arm still hurt and my hours were still cut even if others had it worse. He was right of course, the reality of my situation did not change. What did change was how I felt about it
How important is that? As we discussed earlier in this blog feeling good about our life is one of the major indicators of a successful life.

Another conversation I had with this gentleman explains it perfectly. He had informed me we are all like the lemmings who eventually jump off a cliff to their death. We are all just slowly marching towards that cliff. Shocking him, I agreed. While he saw this as a ‘why bother’ I saw it as the importance of making every moment count.  We never know where the edge of our cliff is. He further informed me whether the “lemming” was focused on all he had to be grateful for in his life or just thinking about the fall, he is going to die. Again, I agreed, but added “which one do you think will have more fun on the way down?”

It was the famous speaker Les Brown who said “you can’t get out of life alive, so you might as well have fun while you’re here”. Isn’t that the whole reason we are here? If you are not enjoying your life, you are wasting the life that has been given to you.  So do yourself a favor and develop a positive, healthy and grateful perspective. It may or may not change your reality, but it is certain to change how you feel.

Feel free to not only share this post, but share your ideas for keeping a healthy perspective in the comments below.

PERSPECTIVE

In former posts I have talked about the importance of the way we look at situations. As I have also stated living an amazing life is a lifelong journey and not a goal to be reached. We all have much to learn. I would like to offer an example from my own life. Recently I had been discussing issues that were quite meaningful between another person and myself. It left me feeling rather connected to this person and quite special. Well a few days later this person had told me they had presented those very details we were discussing specifically when I was not there. Suddenly I felt hurt, like maybe the issues were not as much of a connection as I had thought. Have you ever noticed when your feel hurt your mind just seems to take over and make all sorts of connections that may or may not even make sense? Well that is what happened here. I began to wonder if perhaps the connection I thought had developed with this person may not have been as close as I had hoped. Perhaps there was no real connection at all. Even typing that makes it sound crazy. Knowing what I know of this person and the things we have shared in the past this thought should not have even entered my mind. A good fact to note here is when rational thought and emotion run into each other it is like a semi running into a sports car, emotion will always win. I had decided that this person did this so it meant that. Why would I do that? They are always several reasons. Past experiences when others have done the same and I ended up hurt? Misjudging what I know of this person? Living in reaction instead of action? So what to do when you find yourself in this situation. Well nine times out of ten if you are waiting to ask this question until you are in that situation you are probably to late. Again this site is about being proactive. So what actions can we begin to take today to help us should such a situation come up in our future? Here is the bad news, because we all are unique individuals with unique rules and experiences somebody in your future will hurt or disappoint you. Not even because they are trying to, but because they look at life different from you do. So knowing that how can we minimize the chances of being stuck in a train of thought like I was yesterday? Begin to develop a positive perspective. When something happens that you feel another person has let you down try to come up with as many positive explanations as you can. It may be hard at first, especially if you have been hurt in the past. When you ask why this person did this answers may begin to fill your head like “because they’re a jerk” “because they don’t care” pull the brake. Begin by trying to get at least one positive option. Maybe they simply did not understand what their actions would have meant to you? Maybe some even occurred in their life that caused them to have to make a change without being able to tell you. Maybe their actions mean something entirely different to them? Keep practice doing this. Why? I will give you two great reasons. One, you will feel hurt a lot less or at less not feel hurt as often. Two, you will find a lot less conflict with those you really care about. Let’s face it the more you care about someone the more they can make you feel amazing, but the more they can hurt you.

So how did my situation end up? Luckily this person has an amazing grasp on personal relations and a large dose of patience with me. They could tell that I was feeling upset and asked what they may have done. After some expert cajoling I explained that the ideas they expressed I felt were special between us and I was a bit(which at this point was an understatement)hurt that they chose to present them when I wasn’t even around. To my surprised they agreed that indeed they felt they were as special, if not more, than I did. They also went on to explain the reason they chose to express them for the first time when I wasn’t around was because they wanted to be able to do so flawlessly by the time we were together. So initially I just felt like a total jerk for even being upset. Still being one for learning from my mistakes I tried to see what I could selvage out of this experience. Here is what I learned. I have a lot to learn. One I learned I have one amazing person in my life who really does care more than I realized. I also learned that I still let my past affect me and the relationships I have in the present. Which is not only terribly unfair to that person, but also to yourself. I also learned I could probably learn to express how things make me feel in the future. Most importantly I learned that I really need to work on developing a more positive perspective on people and why they do the things they do. So I will be following the very steps I gave you earlier. As well as being grateful for the amazing people I have in my life. Tomorrow we will look at how we can productively expressing what we like and how to actually make people want to do those very things.