How to Be a Positive Force in a Time of Crisis

Ryan Gottfredson

by Ryan Gottfredson

Viktor Frankl2

Holy cow, can life change in a heartbeat?

Truly, my heart goes out to the folks who are forced to close their businesses and forced to make tough decisions about whether or not to continue paying employees even though they are unable to generate revenue or limited in generating revenue.

And, my heart goes out to those who may find themselves without a job or a way to continue to be compensated in the manner they once were.

Regardless of how we may be affected or how those around us may be affected, one thing is clear: If we want to be a positive force in a time of crisis, rise up to the challenges that we face, and live up to our very best, our ideal selves, then we must be intentional rather than reactive.

This is easier said than done

The Challenge Associated with Crises

Whenever we experience a crisis, whether it be micro or macro, we feel pressure to self-protect.

I think toilet paper flying off the shelves is evidence of that.

Although we feel the pressure to self-protect, and we are justified in self-protecting, when we react in this way, we limit our ability to be a positive force for good.

When we get into self-protection mode, we become focused on:

  • Preserving our image/health/well-being
  • Being right or seen as smart
  • Avoiding problems and ensuring our safety
  • Getting ahead, often at the expense of others

Again, these are desires that are easy to justify. I mean, who wants to:

  • Look bad and have poor health
  • Be wrong or seen as dumb
  • Have problems and not feel safe
  • Get passed up?

The answer: No one!

But, here is the problem: where is our focus? On ourselves. Whenever our focus is on ourselves, we make decisions and behave in ways that may be beneficial to use, they are decisions and behaviors that are blind to the negative effect that they may have on others. Ultimately, we will be living at a level less than our ideals and our potential. We will not be a positive force for good.

In fact, these desires are associated with the four negative mindsets that have been proven to limit our success: fixed, closed, prevention, and inward mindsets, respectively.

The Implicit Invitation Associated with Crises

While the pressure to turn inward and self-protect in a crisis is natural, it is not our only option.

With any crisis, there is an invitation to become something more, to rise above the pressure, and become a truly positive force for good.

Now, you may not fully trust me, but I believe that we can all trust someone who has lived through the worst that we can imagine, Viktor Frankl (who survived three years in concentration camps during World War 2).

In his great book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he wrote the following:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked throughout the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

In fact, prior to being put into a concentration camp, but after Jews had been rounded up and forced to lived in cramped ghettos, what did he do? Did he self-protect?


Despite the pressure to self-protect, he organized, likely at the risk of his life, closed events involving a series of lectures that included “Sleep and Sleep Disturbances,” “Body and Soul,” “Medical Care of the Soul,” “Psychology of Mountaineering,” “How to keep my nerves healthy?” “Medical Ministry,” “Existential Problems in Psychotherapy,” and “Social Psychotherapy.”

Rather than instinctively give into the pressure to:

  • Preserve his image/health/well-being
  • Be right or seen as smart
  • Avoid problems and ensure his safety
  • Get ahead, often at the expense of others

He intentionally chose to:

  • Learn and grow
  • Find truth and think optimally
  • Reach goals
  • Lift other

In fact, we might even say that his desires weren’t justified. Relative to the alternative self-protection desires, these seem outrageous.

But, the result was that he was a positive force in a time of crisis, and even for the rest of his life. The impact that he has had on humanity is monumental!

These desires are associated with the positive mindsets that I focus on: growth, open, promotion, and outward mindsets, respectively.

Your Challenges are an Invitation

Regardless of where you are and the challenges you are facing, your situation is an invitation to rise above and become a force for good. In doing so, you may very well be putting your life on the line, but you living up to your ideal self. You will become someone you and others can be proud of.

Let me invite you to resist the pressure to turn inward, and instead, turn outward. I believe that the more we focus on advancing our communities, businesses, families, and social networks, the more we will

Yet, of course, we can do this while still physically distancing ourselves from others to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thank God for the internet!

Success Mindsets

If you would like to learn more about how you can more fully live up to your ideal self, let me encourage you to check out my book: Success Mindsets (published by Morgan James).

You can purchase it here. And when you buy the ebook, you will get the audiobook for free. Plus, other freebies.

In fact, if you want to sample the book, click here to get the first four chapters for free.

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