This Too Shall Pass: A Reflection on COVID-19 by Dr. Tyler C. Cooper
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2020 started out very promising for many people. Here at Cooper Aerobics we began the year full of excitement with big plans for celebrating our 50th anniversary as a company. But as we all well know, 2020 came with many unexpected twists and turns. It’s shown us you can never predict what’s coming next and to never take anything for granted.
Living between the two dragons
Regarding the business side of Cooper, the COVID-19 crisis created multiple challenges with our entities being shut down for a couple of months during Dallas’ stay at home order. As we were able to reopen our businesses, the greatest challenge was keeping people safe and free of exposure to the virus while still providing services with our expected level of quality and service. This difficulty reminded me of the analogy of living between two dragons based on a quote by theologian Francis Schaeffer. In this scenario, dragon A represents the dangers of COVID-19 and dragon B represents the health-related dangers associated with reductions of the economy and the physical restrictions. Both dragons are dangerous and deadly, so it is vital for us to not live in fear of only one dragon or we will back up too far into the mouth of the other dragon. We must learn to live balanced between the dragons.
A special thank you
Each of us should take the time to express our sincerest gratitude to all the first responders and front line workers around the globe who have sacrificed so much. They’ve saved lives by putting their own lives at risk and we owe them our greatest thanks. People willingly putting their lives on the line to help others is one of the most beautiful components of humanity.
I want to thank the tremendous group of teammates who work here at Cooper Aerobics. They have worked diligently, made sacrifices and built comradery to help the business survive during this difficult time. And while I’m not surprised by their actions, I am inspired and encouraged by their remarkable response to this extremely challenging year.
Once the Cooper businesses were allowed to reopen, I was also inspired to see so many patients, members and guests returning to use our services. Their actions speak to how much they believe in our efforts to help them improve the quality and quantity of their lives through preventive medicine, scientific research and physical fitness as part of overall well-being.
One of the greatest compliments we received during this crisis was from a patient who told me, “Cooper has met my expectations as they always do—doing everything they can to try to do things right.” It is rewarding for me to see that ring true in so many different ways across the business and makes me grateful for our team at Cooper.
Leading our business is a great responsibility and one I’m honored to fulfill. While this year has been full of many difficulties, I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of family and so many others who challenged me to be a resilient and faithful leader.
Challenges are a normal part of life that we all encounter, but so are blessings. As such, this most recent challenge of COVID-19 reminds me to continue to lean into my Christian faith for guidance and contentment in all circumstances. I learned to exemplify that truth through showing compassion and helping wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself. And while possessions and accomplishments can often be positives in our lives, a crisis ultimately reminds us that they are temporary and fleeting. Consequently we should hold onto them loosely, as they cannot sustain the well-being of our soul, and instead rely on the stability of faith and the love of others.
While I do not downplay the lives lost during the COVID-19 crisis, I do believe we can grow from what the challenge has taught us. One element of growth, as it has been culturally noted, is that for many COVID-19 has forced life to slow down. Over the years, I have seen many patients who struggle with the anxiety that comes with how quickly life moves, never getting a break and constantly being connected by technology independent of the time and place. In this forced slow-down, I’ve witnessed many friends, patients, teammates and others finding more time for their physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health while also appreciating the joy found in serving others and engaging with family. My hope is that as COVID-19 ultimately comes to an end, these important lessons learned will not fade away but will continue to positively impact our lives.
Looking ahead to 2021
As the new year quickly approaches, I optimistically believe 2021 will see the virus come under control as the vaccines become widely and readily available. Global health will improve, fear and anxiety will decrease in the population and our will company grow and flourish as we expand our goal of working to improve the quality and quantity of the lives we touch. I am also looking forward to continuing to practice what I preach in terms of health and fitness in the coming year as I turn 50 this month. My plan is to celebrate my 50th year by finishing my personal goal of climbing every 14,000 ft. mountain in the Continental United States as I only have one left of the 74 mountains. We all look forward to celebrating my father’s 90th birthday in March and continue to be amazed with his dedication to living a healthy lifestyle, which has clearly resulted in his incredible quality and quantity of life.
Throughout this year, scientific evaluation has discovered the important role both vitamin D and general supplementation play in fighting COVID-19 through prevention and treatment. In addition to supplementation, we also know a healthy lifestyle decreases the risk of serious complications from COVID-19. This is one of the many reasons making the 8 Steps to Get Cooperized™ apart of your daily routine is essential in achieving your best quality and quantity of life.
For over the past 50 years my father and I, along with the entire Cooper organization, have worked diligently to prove and teach that prevention is key to a healthy life. Our persistent hope is we will be able to continue this important work for many years to come. As we continue to fight COVID-19, remember preventing the spread of the virus is one of the greatest weapons we have in this battle. As such. live between the dragons by being considerate of and compassionate to others, using the basic protective safety measures when in public. These collective efforts will help save lives, rebuild the economy, revive businesses and ultimately put COVID-19 behind us.
As a young boy my mother taught me a lesson about going through challenges that I remember to this day. In every trial she said, “This too shall pass—but will you be proud of whom you are and the way you responded when you reach the other side of it?” We are all in this together. Let’s continue to work hard and generously, and when we reach the other side we can look back and emphatically answer “yes!”
Best wishes, God bless and happy New Year to you all.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics President and CEO Tyler C. Cooper, MD, MPH.
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