Finding the silver lining in a pandemic

I know that many of you have heard this joke before, but it does serve as a good setup for some thoughts for today:

Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. To dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Instead of displaying distaste, the little boy climbed to the top of the pile and started digging. “What are you doing?” the psychiatrist asked. “With all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere,” happily responded the little boy.

There is absolutely no doubt that there is a plethora of manure out there in our real world today: coronavirus, riots, protests, lootings, shootings, business shutdowns — the list goes on and on. It is all too easy to fall into the crap and let it drag our attitude down. With the clear understanding that we all must deal with these issues in a logical, proactive manner, what is vital is to focus on the silver lining in the clouds. Here are my top three suggestions for that focus:


I am not sure how often you communicate with your grandmas, grandpas, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, kids, and grandkids. I am definitely not sure how to define “often.” What I am sure of for myself, prior to our current mess, is that I was not the most frequent communicator with many of my closest family members. Since March, there has been a dramatic turnaround and I am feeling closer to my family than ever before. With Zoom and FaceTime, it cannot be any easier! If you haven’t already been doing this, go for it!


The vast majority of our business at Dale Carnegie Training, like many others, was face to face. Whether in a training room, at a client site, or executive coaching, we were always in person. After the coronavirus hit, we lost business and like many other organizations, we had to change. We converted to an online format where it was possible. As things start to loosen up, we are starting to get back to in-person training, albeit with smaller groups due to social distancing requirements. As we look forward to the future, “blended learning” (a combination of face-to-face and online) is very likely going to play a bigger role.

Many restaurants went to a “delivery/carryout” model. This new system did not even closely replicate going out to eat. However and hopefully, it did give the establishments a means of survival.

Unfortunately, many taverns and other retailers did not even have the option of the “silver lining.”


I have been walking two to three miles per day for a long time. It’s my “first-thing-in-the-morning” exercise. Not only is it good exercise, it clears my head for the day, as well. It used to be running but the hips just don’t like that anymore. In addition, Kathy and I started going out for daily walks on top of my morning regimen. We walk and talk — what a duo! Recently, after talking with a colleague from Indiana, I have started to get back on my bike again. I had forgotten how exhilarating a five to 10 mile bike ride can be! I am not sure what the best exercise is for you but find it and do it! It feels great!

In summary, I fully realize that not everyone has the ability to turn on a dime and proceed in a new direction. The coronavirus restrictions impact many businesses more directly than others. Regardless, whatever you can do to keep digging for that pony and looking for that silver lining will only help your attitude and the impact it has on those around you.

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