People are fake. — The number one thing I learned during social isolation was that people are fake. It might sound harsh but it’s true. Many people don’t care about you the way they might say. A lot of them are just pretenders. And it’s a sad reality. Most people are fake.
With the success of the vaccines, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this difficult period in our history. But before we jump back into the routine of the normal life that we lived in 2019, it would be a shame not to pause to reflect on what we have learned during this time. The social isolation caused by the pandemic really was an opportunity for a collective pause, and a global self assessment about who we really are, and what we really want in life.
As a part of this series called “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic”, I had the pleasure to interview Matthew.
Matthew is a young passionate individual residing in Cape Town, South Africa. Since a young age, he has had to overcome many obstacles such as premature birth, gang violence, and most recently covid-19. These obstacles have inspired him to become the first one in his family to ever attend college and now his love for people and his community has driven him to inspire others to achieve their goals and live their dreams.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
I live in a small neighborhood called Cafda. Cafda is situated in the very heart of the Cape Flats. Which is filled with a lot of poverty, gangsterism, and drug use. It’s become quite synonymous with gang violence and turf wars in recent times. Even though it’s one of the nicest areas.
I am the youngest of three children. Currently being 23. I completed my schooling at Crestway High. One of the schools in my neighborhood. Then went on to attend the College of Cape Town.
But it was somewhere during the pandemic that I began to look at my community and the surrounding areas that it stood out to me the need for change-makers. Especially in the community where I’m from. It’s become very rare. It’s not common for people to think differently. Certainly not for most youth in the Cape Flats.
Because certain things have become normalized. Drugs. Violence. Gangsterism. But I would like to change that.
I hope to be the one to inspire a community to think differently.
And this is something I look to achieve while on this earth.
Are you currently working from home? If so, what has been the biggest adjustment from your previous workplace? Can you please share a story or example?
No currently not.
What do you miss most about your pre-COVID lifestyle?
Freedom. This is probably the biggest thing I miss about the pre-covid lifestyle. The freedom of going where I want to go. Having meaningful conversations with people without everyone being so afraid of getting close to one another.
It’s become impossible to sneeze without hearing the word “Coronavirus”. The pandemic has made people so fearful that they’ve lost the meaning of what life is. We’ve become so concerned about the pandemic that we’ve lost sight of the good we can do for each other.
The pandemic was really a time for collective self-reflection. What social changes would you like to see as a result of the COVID pandemic?
The biggest social change I would like to see is people just begin to value life more. Be grateful for what you have. Be grateful for the time God has given you. You might be here today but gone tomorrow. So appreciate your life. It’s become so easy to lose focus on what matters. It’s become so easy to lose focus on what’s important and what’s valuable to us.
Society has this tendency of becoming obsessed with the things we lack. And I’ve fallen victim to this. I’ve been so worried about the things I don’t have instead of being grateful for the things I do have.
There’s so much to be grateful for. Take a look around you. If you’ve woken up this morning. Be grateful. If you’ve opened your eyes again be grateful. God has given you another chance.
So if you have a dream reach for it. If you have a goal make it a reality. Don’t let life pass you by.
What if anything, do you think are the unexpected positives of the COVID response? We’d love to hear some stories or examples.
I think the greatest change has come in the way we communicate. Now it’s become so easy to connect with anyone, anywhere at any time. We can connect with someone from a completely different country without ever meeting that person.
Look at the rise of Zoom. Zoom has exploded during the pandemic. And its platforms like Zoom that has enabled more people to build relationships around the world more than ever before.
Now we get to experience things like virtual concerts all while sitting in the comfort of our home. So the changes in communication have to be the most positive change.
How did you deal with the tedium of being locked up indefinitely during the pandemic? Can you share with us a few things you have done to keep your mood up?
Great question. I would think the lockdown has been hard for many people. Myself included. But I’ve been trying to keep my spirits up. I’m working out more regularly. I’m reading. Daily. I’ve been using this time to grow my faith as well. As a Christian times like these can be a blessing in disguise.
Another thing that has helped me keep my mood up is journaling. Just writing down my thoughts and daily experiences has been a great way to keep myself from not losing focus.
Aside from what we said above, what has been the source of your greatest pain, discomfort or suffering during this time? How did you cope with it?
Dealing with covid-19 twice during this pandemic has probably been my biggest pain. I’ve always seen people speak about how bad it is and you see it covered daily but once you experience it becomes a completely different thing.
But I overcame it. I drank lots of vitamins. I steamed 3 times a day. Which helps a lot. Kept myself moving. Spent time getting some sunlight as well. And I made sure I never spent my day in bed all the time. Which is the worst thing you can do.
Ok wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- People are fake.
The number one thing I learned during social isolation was that people are fake. It might sound harsh but it’s true. Many people don’t care about you the way they might say. A lot of them are just pretenders. And it’s a sad reality. Most people are fake.
It might not apply to everyone but most of them are.
I remember during my battles with Covid-19 and isolation I found myself alone. No one to talk to. No one to share my thoughts with. It wasn’t easy but It taught me a valuable lesson. Never put all of your faith in anyone. You will end up disappointed. And this was partly due to my stupidity. We tend to place people on a pedestal. We hold them in such high regard. But they end up being our biggest disappointment.
During my time in isolation not one of those supposed “People who cared about me” showed up. Not one. It was sad but looking back it proved to be a truly valuable lesson.
As the saying goes “When days are dark friends are few”. And this is nothing but the truth. Your darkest days will reveal to you who truly cares.
2. Loneliness can be a blessing
For a lot, isolation came like an unwelcome guest. No one could have fully prepared for it. And with me experiencing covid-19 twice while also battling the difficulties and challenges of it. It became a very lonely journey.
But it’s one journey I am very grateful for.
It was during my lonely period that I discovered how much more life has to offer. It was in my isolation that I learned more about myself than I ever have. Isolation became one of the biggest blessings for me. I got to spend so much more time with my family. Not just spend time with them but really get to know them. I got to know them on a much deeper level. And sometimes we tend to miss those little moments
I got to do things I never really focused on much. Like reading. I always felt distracted. But because of isolation, it forced me into a corner. Now there was no choice. Now I had to read. And to be honest I’ve never really read this much but I get it now. I get why it’s so important.
Looking back on those moments I’ve come to appreciate them more. Isolation came at the right time for me.
3. Motivation is not enough
The third thing I learned during social isolation and this pandemic is that motivation can only take you so far.
Now I know many people need motivation. And they need some kind of external force to give that extra spark or boost they may need. But what happens when all those things disappear? What happens when that spark is no longer there?
What are you going to do? See you might watch a video or two on YouTube or you might listen to your favorite speaker on Instagram or wherever it may be but what happens?
You get some kind of kick. Some kind of boost. You get excited. Now you start that business or you start working on your vision but somewhere down the line something happens. You lose that excitement. You lose that motivation. You lose momentum.
Because now reality has set in. Now it’s not as easy anymore. Now there’s no more motivation.
So what do you do?
You become self-disciplined. It’s that simple.
Self-discipline allows you to push through any obstacle no matter how big or small it may be.
Think of all the great achievers of this world. Think of all the greatest difference makers. What do they all have in common?
Self-discipline. This is the key to achieving your greatest dreams. Become self-disciplined.
4. Before your biggest breakthrough comes your biggest battle
Have you ever been to that place where you are working towards a dream or a goal and for some strange reason everything seems to be falling apart?
It feels like no one gets your vision. No one sees what you see and you have no idea why. I know this seems familiar to a lot of people. You know. I’ve been to that place. I know what It feels like. I know what it feels like to work towards something which seems so close yet so far.
You can feel it. You can see it, Yet no one else can, And you’re thinking to yourself. Why cant they see it? I know I’m not the only one. But I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Your biggest breakthrough always brings your greatest battle. And it’s so true.
When you are trying to do something different. When you are trying to break the norm. You will always have battles. There’s no way around it. And most times it will be you against the world and in other cases, it will be you against yourself.
But remember this. Nothing in life comes easy. Especially something uphill.
5. Your faith can move mountains.
You need to know this.
This is what most things come down to. One word. Faith. Faith is such a powerful thing. Faith moves mountains. There’s going to be a lot of times where you’re not going to have everything figured out. Things won’t always go as planned. You won’t always have the answers. So in those moments. When everything seems uncertain your faith plays a huge role. Don’t underestimate the power of faith.
No matter who you are. Your faith is powerful.
See when I was battling covid-19 and dealing with insolation and the struggles of it. It always came down to one thing. Faith. My faith in God but ultimately my faith in knowing I will be healed. Twice.
I survived. All because of my faith. If I didn’t have faith I wouldn’t be here today. I count myself lucky. Many don’t even survive it the first time around. But my faith allowed me to keep fighting. It allowed me to keep my hopes up even though it was one of my greatest battles.
So I would encourage everyone to have faith. Have big faith. Don’t always look at things for what they are but look at them for what they can be. Even when things seem to fail. Have faith that you will succeed. One way or another. Your faith can move mountains.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you during the pandemic?
The quote that has had the most impact on my life would have to be “Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows”
And this quote is found in Matthew 10:10 in the bible. Now the reason why this quote holds so much value for me is because it’s so true.
Many people walk around not knowing the value that they have.
They don’t know the gift or the talents they possess. I remember one day I was sitting in my room and I had this 10c in my hand. And as I was about to throw this 10c on my bed something stopped me.
And it hit me. We have so much value. More Value than we think.
See, that 10c might seem small but it holds so much value. That 10c might be the reason someone has a piece of bread to eat tonight. That 10c might be the difference between someone paying their bills and not paying their bills.
That 10c might seem small but it hold’s so much value. And it’s the same with me and you. We might seem small. To the world, we seem small. To everyone else, we seem insignificant.
Even to ourselves, we might seem small and insignificant but we have so much value.
We hold more value than we might think. We are created in God’s image so the value we have is big. Bigger than what you may think.
So once we realize the value we have. We can become unstoppable.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Les Brown. His speeches are probably some of the most inspiring speeches I’ve ever heard. Whenever he speaks I feel like he’s speaking directly to me. So to meet him would blow my mind.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
If anyone would like to get in touch with me they can connect with me at [email protected] or follow me on Instagram @svtmotivations
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.