When you hear the words “survival of the fittest,” you may think of Charles Darwin and his idea of “natural selection.” But you may be surprised to learn that it actually wasn’t Charles Darwin who coined that phrase.
We can thank Herbert Spencer, the English economist, sociologist, philosopher and early advocate of the theory of evolution for that.
But this article isn’t about philosophers, natural selection, or theories of evolution.
It’s about survival of the fittest in the present moment.
Right now, the entire world is reeling from COVID-19 and the devastating ripple effects it’s having on our lives, the healthcare system and the economy.
COVID-19 took us all by surprise.
In a few short weeks, it pulled the rug out from under small businesses, companies and corporations, the stock market, our healthcare system, the airlines and travel industry, schools and universities, the sports world, annual conferences, music festivals and the supply chain.
Essentially, the whole world imploded right before our eyes.
And, sadly, we’ve not seen the worst of it yet.
I believe that we’re about to see “survival of the fittest” start to happen in every part of a person’s life including:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of adult obesity was 42.4% in 2017~2018.
And that percentage is likely even higher today.
Now, I’m not a medical doctor, but I don’t need to be to know that if a person is obese, their immune system — as well as other body systems — are being compromised on some level.
What we know about COVID-19 is that people older than 60 and people with health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are more at risk for experiencing serious complications of the coronavirus. And those three specific diseases are more common in people with obesity.
To say that it’s a sobering feeling to see all the empty shelves in so many grocery stores and big-box stores across America is an understatement.
If it gets to a point where the food supply collapses even more and there’s little or no food to buy, I can’t help but wonder how people who are used to eating large quantities of food numerous times a day will “survive.”
Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about money.
I found the following average American savings statistics on CreditDonkey and the numbers are absolutely mind-boggling:
Approximately 28% of adults have no savings set aside for emergencies.
An estimated 38 million households in the U.S. live hand to mouth, meaning they spend every penny of their paychecks.
Almost half of Americans would not be able to cover an unexpected expense of $500 or less. Almost a quarter would not be able to cover even $100.
Having $500 in the bank for emergencies can give you a sense of financial security but for 40% of adults, it's still a pipe dream.
And according to GOBankingRates’ most recent savings survey, 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.
At a time when countless businesses have reduced their hours or closed up shop altogether, laid people off, cut jobs, and lost significant revenue, I wonder how these average Americans who fall into those categories will “survive.”
Now more than ever we should give pause and think about “survival of the fittest” and what that means to us.
The first key way to safeguard "survival of the fittest" is to find and maintain balance in our lives.
As I look around and ponder things from time to time, I see an ever-growing lack of self-control and lack of self-discipline in our society. In our world. We want instant gratification in whatever form(s) speaks to us in the moment and we’ve forgotten what it looks and feels like to have a good balance in our life.
As a former yoga instructor, one thing I taught my students in every class was the concept of “balance.” Not just physical balance while doing tree pose on a yoga mat, but balance in all parts of their life — in body, mind and spirit.
If we are going to get through this global pandemic or any future crisis — both individually and collectively — we will need to commit to having more balance in our lives.
A balance that is healthy, high-minded, and holistic.
A balance that is attainable and sustainable.
So, how do we find balance in chaotic times like we’re
experiencing right now?
The wise Buddha specifically recommended maintaining a balance between faith and wisdom, and between effort and concentration.
** Regardless of what religious beliefs you may have or what faith you may follow or what political party you subscribe to, these are universal truths that can help us all right now. **
Faith opens one’s mind to the possibility of things that cannot be immediately experienced or understood.
But faith needs to be coupled with caution, questioning, and a healthy skepticism; otherwise, it can be misleading.
Maybe you’re a bit like me and you have a lot of questions about COVID-19 and the overwhelming impact it’s having on our lives.
Was it released from the lab accidentally or deliberately?
How did everything spiral out of control so fast?
Why is this happening?
What’s the meaning, purpose, and lesson of it… for us individually and collectively?
How many people will die before this brutal coronavirus disease is contained?
What will life be like for each of us, the U.S. and the world three months, six months, a year from now?
You see, when there’s a good balance between faith and wisdom — which consists of right understanding and right intention — we’ll have confidence only where there is ground for it.
Let’s move on to balance between effort and concentration, which can best be explained through this version of the Parable of the Lute.
Once, a monk named Sona was practicing walking meditation with such determination that his feet started to bleed.
The Buddha became aware of this and asked Sona, “Before you became a monk, weren't you skilled in playing the lute?”
Sona replied, “I was, Lord.”
“And when the strings were too tight or too loose, was the music pleasant and tuneful?”
“And when the strings were neither too tight nor too loose, was the music pleasant?”
“In the same way, when too intense an effort results in agitation and when it is too weak, it results in slackness. Therefore, Sona, keep your energy in balance, be sensitive to a balance between the faculties, and you will attain your goal.”
So, the first key way to safeguard survival of the fittest is to find that sweet spot… that healthy balance between faith and wisdom and between effort and concentration. Find what works best for you and commit to doing it.
I had the privilege of getting my yoga teacher certificate through Deepak Chopra’s highly acclaimed program that’s based on his best-selling book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
The second key way to safeguard survival of the fittest has to do with values.
Deepak Chopra said, “Without values, there is confusion and chaos. When values disintegrate everything disintegrates. Health disintegrates, poverty attains dominance over affluence, societies and civilizations crumble.”
“When we pay attention to these values that society has always held sacred (i.e. truth, integrity, honesty, love, faith, devotion, and beauty), then order emerges out of chaos, and the field of pure potentiality inside us becomes all-powerful, creating anything it desires.”
With my attention on those core values, it is my deepest desire that we all take this time to do some inner work.
Go within and connect with your Higher Self (a/k/a God, Spirit, Creator, Yahweh, the Universe, or whatever name resonates with you).
Express those sacred values via your thoughts, words and actions.
Practice a healthy, high-minded, and holistic balance in all parts of your life.
Be peace now and always.
We are all going through this extraordinary upheaval together. While I do believe that it will come down to survival of the fittest in body, mind and spirit, I also see this as an opportunity for people to awaken to the universal truths that never change no matter what’s going on in the world.
I see this as an opportunity to have and enjoy a better balance in our lives.
And I see this as an opportunity for humanity to come together to not only survive this global pandemic, but also to thrive in profound ways once we defeat this mass killer named COVID-19.
Be safe. Be well. And be peace.
I’d love to know your thoughts about survival of the fittest and/or what you’re doing to maintain balance in your life during this massive crisis.
Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
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Shelli Schilke | Results-Driven Copywriter & Content Writer
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