The pandemic has concerned Mario Alonso Puig (Madrid, 1955) in his triple role as a doctor with an international reputation, as a writer and as a lecturer who fills large audiences giving lessons on leadership, stress management and personal balance; All of these areas, in addition to health, are essential to fully emerge from the coronavirus emergency.
-Does the human being have the tools to face such a crisis?
-In a situation as unique as this, the human being can activate two patterns. The first is survival, which generates aggressive, flight or blocking reactions. These attitudes are useful when we face physical danger, the attack of a predator, but not in the face of what is happening now. In fact, they are counterproductive. Now we must turn on the second, much more intelligent mechanism: the adaptation pattern. This pattern allows us to be alert and awake when acting, but does not alter mental capacity. Thus, we have to perceive the new reality as an opportunity. The virus is still contagious and economically it is doing enormous damage, but we have a choice. Faced with a tiger, we don’t have it.
– Can you think of concrete examples of opportunities?
-Personally, I had never believed in online training, and at the beginning of the crisis it cost me, but now I feel very comfortable connecting with people from many countries. Or videoconferencing and teleworking, which allow us to spend more time with the family, saving money and time on trips … In general, before the pandemic, we were in a world full of conflicts where human relationships shone through its absence, and now we value interpersonal contacts more than ever. Although it seems that it costs us a lot or that it is impossible, each of us has to look for our opportunity.
-The coronavirus has shown the two faces of society: that of health workers and cashiers who have left their skin and that of unsupportive people who ignore protection measures.
-Let’s think of a swimming pool. On the one hand, we have people who pour clear water. On the other, those who pour cloudy water. The final quality of the water will depend on whether more people have poured clear or, conversely, cloudy water. I tend to look on the bright side and I believe that the pandemic has taught us to distinguish beauty from ugliness and has shown us that beauty is better than ugliness.
-What would you advise anyone who wants to take advantage of the crisis to turn their life around?
-Success is not something that is sought, but that is attracted. And for that you have to take care of the three human dimensions, body, mind and soul. The body, eating well (Mediterranean diet), exercising, sleeping more than seven hours … The mind, focusing on what we want, ending the regrets, which damage the body, and letting ourselves be surprised by life. Saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘what a disgrace’ repels opportunities. And, finally, the soul takes care of itself by taking more care of others and not only of ourselves. Even in the most difficult moments, helping others pushes us to move on, because the person who lives in gratitude is fearless, joyful, and attracts abundance. If the inner and outer worlds are in community, if within us there is gratitude and generosity, life will respond to us through the most amazing channels. When something goes well for us, we usually say that the stars have aligned. Actually, we align them. The great power of the human being is in its ability to bend reality.
-What can someone do who has a family member or friend who is having a bad time?
-Our life is our message. If someone sees that, despite the difficulties, I still have energy, they will end up asking me how I do it.
-And as a country? The collective spirit of the Spaniards is touched.
-We would improve a lot if we understood that the union is the solution. We could be the best country in the world; We have it all, hours of sunshine, a unique gastronomy, history, professionals in any field who do not have to envy foreigners at all … But we are constantly confronting each other. If we are able to put aside selfishness and divisions and think more about what unites us than what separates us, there will come a time when we will understand each other and things will go in the right direction.