How the Coronavirus Turned This Pessimist into a Positive Thinker

When people used to tell me to think of the positive side of a bad situation, I’d grumble that when you need to resort to that sort of self-brainwashing, it’s a sure sign that things suck. But what a difference a pandemic can make.

As a natural-born introvert, I’ve used a lot of psychic energy in my lifetime trying to talk and mingle more than I’d care to, simply because it’s societally expected and was a requirement of my work. Being socially reticent could penalize me for everything from my kindergarten report card to my year-end performance review.

Susan Cain wrote a whole book about the phenomenon a few years ago called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” No less an authority than  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the father of “flow,” had this to say in his testimonial on the inside jacket:

Those who value a quiet, reflective life will feel a burden lifting from their shoulders when they read (this) paen to introversion – and will no longer feel guilty or inferior for having made the better choice.

Talk about “Eureka!” moments!

When I first heard the terms “social distancing” and “shelter in place,” they sounded serious, but not life-shattering. Little did I know I’d revel in them. For me, these unprecedented times are like livin’ in an introvert’s paradise.” The pandemic is even eradicating the dreaded FOMO syndrome: What can anyone miss out on when the world is shut down?

And so I happily eat my breakfast of yogurt, nuts, and berries, read The New York Times inside out, segue into books, writing, in-home exercise, a couple of drinks and dinner, followed by some high-quality video streaming and a great night’s sleep.

That’s as long as I stay healthy. If I catch the virus, I know I’ll bitch and moan like the world’s most pessimistic grump. But until then, I’m savoring every socially distanced moment.

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Martin D. Hirsch
Martin D. Hirsch
Martin Hirsch started building his own communications consulting practice in 2017 after a career spanning almost 35 years with one of the world’s leading international healthcare groups. He’s led internal and external corporate communications, brand and reputation management, and crisis and issue management. Working in both the United States and Europe, he has advised multiple CEOs and collaborated with colleagues all over the world. Martin’s strengths include executive consulting, strategic message development, content marketing, storytelling, communications training, public speaking, mentoring talent, and inspiring organizations to advance beyond their limitations.Lately he’s been helping clients by writing keynote speeches for top executives, developing strategies for pitching new business and explaining complex issues, ranging from how to apply new digital health tools in the pharmaceuticals industry to making sense of the rapid and complex changes challenging employees to maintain their equilibrium at major corporations. Martin also works as a faculty adviser at the New York University School of Professional Studies, helping graduate students with their Capstone Papers. His speaking engagements have included presentations at the IABC World Conference, the European Association of Communications Directors Summit, the Corporate Communications International Leaders Forum, the European Commission Communications Directorate and the Rotterdam School of Business Reputation Forum Netherlands. More recently, he was a panelist at the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association conference on expat issues held at Pfizer headquarters in New York. Martin’s writing, including essays, letters and poems, has appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Europe. You can read his blog on MUSE-WORTHY, here on BIZCATALYST 360°. He received the American Association of Journalists and Authors 2018 Writing Award for Best Personal Story Blog.


  1. Martin, it is always a pleasure to see a new article from you. While I am not a pure introvert (although I am uncomfortable being in a group of people even if I know them) there are those times when I am an extrovert. I hate peace and quiet. There will be plenty of peace and quiet when I am laying underneath the bushes. For now, I am miserable without recruiting. When I gave up writing I fell back in love with recruiting. Stay Safe!

  2. Yup, from one introvert to another, Martin — I salute you!

    I almost feel guilty that my life hasn’t changed that dramatically; I’ve worked from home for several years, and while I actually do enjoy networking — the face-to-face, out-of-the-house kind occasionally — I revel in returning home, closing the door, loving my dogs, and not having to talk with anyone for a while! (Does talking with my dogs count?)

    Stay safe!