We have ahead of us a period of indefinite duration that will be characterized by discomfort, loss and deficiencies of various kinds. This does not mean that we should be catastrophists, that is, that we should sink into the despair of feeling that everything will be terrible. In the end, the principle of uncertainty that now governs everything works for both the positive and the negative: just as we do not know how bad this era we are now entering will be, we do not know how good it will be.
However, the difficulties have already begun to appear and it is essential that, in order to cope as best as possible with what is to come, we put in place all the personal resources we have.
To get an idea of what features can help us do this, we have built a composite picture of what we might call a model survivor of the crisis we are getting into.
It’s nothing scientific, but rather intuitive. It cannot correspond to someone real, because nobody is perfect and it is very difficult to gather all the qualities that we are going to list here or, at least, to do so for too long and therefore ensure that, if they work, everything will work. Besides, it would not be fair to expect people to be lucid, mature and optimistic when their situation is really precarious and full of stressors that most of us would have a hard time overcoming no matter how much we tried.
What we are trying to do is simply describe the ideal person we would like to become in the next few months (or years). That is, to detect which characteristics will make it easier for some people to cope better with their situation as long as they do not have serious circumstances that make it impossible to put these resources into action.
Thus, the ideal survivors for the new crisis…
1. They are people with good resistance to uncertainty, that is, what we call in psychology people with a low level of neuroticism. These people easily assume that things require time until they are known and time until they are understood, and that those times need not be brief or be the same.
2. They are people with a good capacity to delay rewards and adjust to other people’s rhythms with minimal wear and tear. In other words, patient people, capable of projecting themselves into the future, waiting and being able to renounce present rewards in the face of the prospect of better rewards in the future. They are also people with a good capacity to delight in abstract values and not only in concrete (tangible) goods.
3. They are cooperative people. On the one hand, they are oriented towards the common good because they understand it as a source of individual good (even if it is deferred, that is, even if it is delayed). They do not necessarily cooperate because that is what is right, it is enough for them to understand that it is what is useful (so if the group is doing well, they will do well). They know how to sacrifice themselves if they see that giving up something is a fertile exercise for both them and the group. On the other hand, they orient their individual good towards the common good, that is, they share the good they have without reserving it only for themselves because they understand that on other occasions they have benefited from what others had and they consider this dynamic as positive. They believe in the value of contributing.
4. They have a panoramic and equable vision of reality, not optimistic or pessimistic. They see the whole by correctly adjusting the level of importance that things have, they do not judge what happens in terms of “everything will be fine” or “what a disaster”. They do not see the bottle as half full or half empty: they see what is inside the bottle. If the situation is hard, they know it is wrong, but if the situation is not too bad, they try to be right. They know how to extract satisfaction and learning even in adversity but they do not need to deny adversity either when it is mild or when it is serious in order to feel at ease. They can verbalize it. They capture nuances.
5. They are intelligent, perceptive and intuitive even if they are not empathetic: they know how to put themselves in the other’s place and observe reality from other people’s perspectives. Although they do not respond to the needs they detect in others, the fact of detecting them allows them not to judge them unfairly and to understand better what is happening around them. This diminishes certain unpleasant surprises in the future, or disappointments.
6. These are curious people with a high level of openness to experience, which, like neuroticism, is one of the main traits of the personality. They have a good capacity for constructive entertainment and do not base it only on immediate social contact or audiovisual stimulation. They find enjoyment through the reading of diverse contents and are open to visual creativity (painting, drawing, sewing, DIY, cooking, gardening, etc.) and physical activity, among other possible activities.
7. They have a positive social network, not a depressing one. They spend time with positive and happy people, who allow them to escape from their own reality and with whom dynamics of mutual care and exchange of constructive messages prevail over complaint or destructive parasitism.
8. They show a developed critical sense and good ability to select adequate and sufficient sources of information and communication. They are assertive, know how not to over demand themselves and curb external influence that is excessive or toxic to them. They measure their strength and do not need to attack to defend themselves. They know how to restrain themselves when they consider that their contribution won’t be useful.
9. They are mainly (but not only) oriented towards the present, as they understand that in times of crisis the future is much more uncertain than it already is by its very nature. They do not act on the premise that things will go well, but with the confidence that they can go well provided that the right conditions are in place. They are little oriented towards the past. They try to cultivate a mood where realistic hope prevails over melancholy.
10. They are people of good settling, capable of extracting satisfaction and profit from the little. They praise simplicity and know how to distinguish it from scarcity. They adequately differentiate what must be asked from what must be demanded and know how to do so in terms of respect and justice. They do not ask for the impossible and make rigorous and timely demands.