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How to Adapt, Survive, Prosper, & Thrive




30.09.20 – Darrell Priestley, co-founder and Academy Principal

Success. Good News – It’s achievable! And it starts with a definition.

In this modern world, we are confronted by challenges, and we find ourselves forced, sometimes reluctantly, to cope with them. And there’s no question that right now, especially, it’s tough, but… With every challenge comes an opportunity. The opportunity for us now, in the era of the pandemic, is to re-evaluate, re-think, and re-callibrate our lives, and what is important to us. What we think of as a successful life might soon be something else, involving not wealth and instant celebrity, but deeper satisfaction that comes from a life well lived, in pursuit of worthy goals, solidly held values and meaningful relationships with others. Out with the private jet, 42 foot yacht and villa in Tuscsany, and in with a deeper appreciation of the moment, clean fresh air and life long friendships.

So, if we are at a point in our lives where adjustments must be made, in order that we can not only adapt and survive, but prosper and thrive, well then – we might as well make them for the better.

Adapt is everyday. We do it all the time. We do it when a friend treats us differently, when we move house, or change school. We do it when we meet someone new, lose a job or get a promotion. Sometimes we do it well. Often, we do it badly. But since it is every day, it’s absolutely a life skill, so for the sake of our sanity it’s going to be so much better if we learn to roll with it. Like many other people, at first I had no idea how I was going to deal with the first wave of the pandemic. I just knew that, by 23rd March 2020, we had to close. That was incredibly hard for my wife and me, because we have always worked in music, and nothing in us wanted to stop. But immediately the adapting process kicked in, as we scrambled to prioritise, and get back to a place where we could feel good about ourselves and, importantly, in control, which meant not only delivering music lessons, but also ensuring that each of the teachers who work with us was in a position to do the same.

Surviving was always going to happen. The key point is that, to begin with, we didn’t have any idea how. Not surviving was unthinkable, so that got us busy working on a way of delivering lessons affordably in a crisis, to those that wanted them. Happily, it also meant starting this regular blog, because I felt most deeply that it was important to stay connected, knowing that people would need support, and as we are a community, there had to be a way for all of us to stay in touch. Delivering the blog for all these months, together with keeping our fellow teachers, all our students and their families informed about progress, has been a major investment in time, but it has done me so much good, because I have felt connected to many of the wonderful people in my life. This has truly been a lifeline, and it’s helped me not only to face the present, but actually look forward to the future.

But how to define prosperity? For me it’s easy, and it does not involve wealth, or second homes. Prosperity is simply about being in a position to keep doing what you like to do, and doing it well. That means the basics, like feeding yourself and your family of course, together with some comforts, which will differ for everyone but for me would include reading, music, and enjoying the outdoors, such as walking, nature, cycling and gardening. But it would also include socialising, so really prosperity requires something like a post Covid world, one where we have the virus under control, whether that includes vaccines, testing, treatments, suppression of transmission or even eradication. That’s the kind of prosperity to which I aspire – one that includes friends and family, and living a somewhat ‘normal’ life.

Finally, thriving would mean reaching a point where we we could reasonably expect to sustain this heady state of prosperity indefinitely. I am an optimist, but also a realist, and here’s the thing: I absolutely expect to prosper and to thrive, according to the definition outlined above. Because it’s do-able; and because I want it enough. Which is great, because for me this means continuing to do what I love, sharing my life with wonderful people, educating others and enriching lives with music. And who wouldn’t look forward to that?