For the past few days, I have been possessed by what I can only describe as a “dark passenger” that wreaked wild delirium on my sleep and spewed forth its evil in unforgiving phlegm and mucus.
I had a wicked bad cold.
It was while sick and in a zombie-like trance, wandering the house aimlessly, moaning and dragging my feet, that I had a random thought that I believe most entrepreneurs might have in a situation like this: Is my business prepared for the zombie apocalypse?
Well, a thought most entrepreneurs under the influence of cold medicine might have.
Related: 6 Ways to Stay Mentally Fit for Life
So I reached out to a good friend for advice, Dr. David Powers, a respected author in the area of cognitive psychology, a decorated veteran in two military branches, and a sought-after speaker, business consultant and life coach.
He also knows a thing or two about zombies.
In addition to playing roles in independent zombie films, Powers often lectures on business preparedness, including the specific topic of “Surviving the Apocalypse.”
As Powers tells it, his apocalyptic survival methods are tongue in cheek and based on the premise that while zombies may not exist as they are portrayed in pop culture or comic books, there is no shortage of zombie-like people in our daily lives, those people around us that lack purpose and drive and ultimately cause the contagion of apathy on everyone around them.
Powers points out that the major infectious pandemics that will eventually kill us will most likely be of our own creation, a result of the unintentional consequences of trying to cure all diseases. Much like many businesses that fail due to their own unintentional consequences, entrepreneurs can learn a great deal from taking preemptive measures to avoid the spread of infectious self-sabotage.
Here are Powers’ tips on surviving a contagious outbreak.
1. If it’s wet, sticky, and not yours, don’t touch it.
Do not allow yourself to get pulled into drama and testy situations that either are not your concern or you have no ability to change. It is better to focus on those life issues with which you can have a positive impact.
Also, misery loves company, so avoid getting dragged into the misery of others, especially when there is nothing you can do. Sympathize with them, point them in a direction for help, but move on. Often, the self-induced misery of others becomes a black pit out of which you will have difficulty crawling out of.
2. Assume everyone is contagious.
It is completely acceptable to be paranoid, especially as you achieve more and are recognized for your success. As the saying goes, the tallest tree gets the most wind, so there will always be people gunning for you while you are at the top.
This goes both ways as well. You should also be open to opportunities around every corner. Opportunities do not wait for you, so you have to be willing to see them and ready to act when they arise.
Related: 6 Ways to Avoid Getting Screwed
3. Assume everything is contagious.
Everything you encounter in your career, professionally and personally, will attach to you. Good and positive things will inspire, motivate and help you through difficult times. Bad things will do their best to hurt and slowly kill you and your business, most often from within.
Learn how to identify the positives and hold them close. Make them a habit and part of your daily routine. Equally important, know when to purge the bad things that are ultimately causing you more harm than good, especially those bad things that you are endeared to.
And in the end, strive to only come in contact with people and situations that help you.
4. Go one step overboard with precautions.
It is always a good idea to have a plan B, as well as a plan C, plan D, and so on. It is even helpful to have a plan Z (zombie). You may never use most of these plans, but you will be better prepared for the unexpected if you have thoroughly thought through and at least considered most of the worst-case scenarios.
5. If a little disinfectant or cleaner is sufficient, then even more works better.
When you find something that works, pour yourself into it. Make it a part of you. You may not see reward immediately, but in the long term, you will find it much more rewarding than spending your life pursuing another purpose with zombie-like apathy.
So while planning for an infectious disease apocalypse may seem like an exercise in futility, just remember that there are far more powerful ailments that can harm you and your business, such as apathy and indifference, which can be just as contagious and cause just as much harm as any super virus we might create.
And unfortunately there is no good cold medicine for that.