The pandemic has forced us to stay indoors and many are struggling with feelings of inertia and coping with the daily routine. People take joy from little things such as buying a cup of coffee, meeting with family or taking the children on a day out. We need these moments of excitement to break up the monotony of life, but the lockdown gives us the opportunity to address the need to be constantly entertained by new experiences.

The lesson from ‘The Moth and the Candle’ tells us about a young moth who was flying closer and closer to the flame as he was enchanted by the beauty of fire until the inevitable happened and he singed his wings bringing him crashing down to earth.

Like the moth, we crave bright new experiences but unless we learn to control our impulses, we can harm ourselves or our finances. We can use this current crisis to build discipline and take pleasure in simple things such as cooking a meal or taking a walk in the snow. This will enable us to be resilient in the future and stand us in good stead when we face future challenges.

An alternative view was expressed by the poet, Don Marquis, who said ‘It is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while’. However, I believe what he was really saying was that in order to be successful, we all have to take some risk. To achieve our goals, we must back them with fortitude, determination and the self resolve to make them happen. I see many students trying to short-cut the short-cut. Unfortunately, if you do this, you end up nowhere. When sitting professional exams like Advanced Tax, you need to put in the work. If you do this, you too will enjoy the joy of success and have career choices giving you the opportunity to travel and do things you love.

So, what is your flame? Is it shopping for things you do not need, excess consumption of sugar or alcohol? Perhaps like me, you enjoy overpriced cups of coffee, pastries, lots of holidays and eating out at every opportunity.

COVID has taught us that we can survive without these things and that we can be happy in spite of not having what we took for granted.