It was Thoreau who noted that most people “lead lives of quiet desperation.” As we endure the ongoing effects of a global pandemic, it’s important to reflect on how we were each touched quite personally. We longed for what we had lost. And yet, we found that for the most part, we bounced back each day. We demonstrated resilience and courage in the face of uncertainty.

Our values changed ~

Most people found that they stopped wanting things to fill their lives and rekindled a desire for exploration. In the stark absence of options, even going to a local restaurant became a novel experience. And when that became a shared experience, all the better. We found we valued togetherness more than we realized. But, we also didn’t enjoy forced togetherness. Finding exclusive space at home became precious.

How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

Ahhh… the things we found as precious. As wonderful as the 12-second commute is, there’s something to getting out of the house to go to work. For better or worse, we’ve found our new rhythm at home.

The quiet desperation felt in years past was about getting ahead and having more. We wanted a better car, nicer clothes, and that elusive corner office. And now, most of us have found that we don’t miss the commute, don’t need that car, and that athleisure wear works just fine, thank you.

The desperate grab to have more has faded to contentment with having enough. And while now more than ever, we miss connection, true human connection, we will always have the need to seek more.

We ache to Do More, Have More, and Be More.

The struggle to get takes us off the path of connection. We need only look at consumer behavior to understand how quickly we disconnect from others. Though there could have been enough for all, Win/Lose thinking became the strategic game plan as toilet paper, eggs, and dry noodles disappeared from the store shelves.

Quiet desperation is a fear-based emotional state.

We can all admit that buying massive amounts of toilet paper was ridiculous and some readers might even admit to participating in that kind of grab. It’s but one great example of how we lived prior to the pandemic – our store shelves would be stocked with the staples. Why wouldn’t they be?

Unfortunately, most people live in a place of “not enough.” The cage that holds us is the sense that we don’t have enough and perhaps that we aren’t good enough. Worthiness, then, becomes validated by what one has. More specifically, the response to what one has.

This awareness creates an opportunity or two. You may choose to live further into a feeling of need. You may choose to fulfill that empty ache with acquiring things and taking the last of something from a grocery store shelf whether you need it or not, simply because it’s the last of that thing being sold.

Leaving quiet desperation behind means working on yourself!

You could recognize that you have enough and that leaving quiet desperation behind means that you begin to work on yourself. You look ahead to a brighter future for yourself and you determine who you need to become to have that future.

That’s not about acquiring (getting or hoarding) out of fear. It’s about choosing to live into a brighter, bolder life for yourself where, perhaps, you’re also choosing to deliberately, actively, positively impact the lives of others.

Making a difference in someone’s life and choosing to expand your life by working on becoming more confident, productive, and fulfilled – that leaves quiet desperation in the dust.

~ Dr Wayne Pernell is a breakthrough success coach who serves clients internationally. His programs and contact information can be found at


  • Dr Wayne Pernell

    Breakthrough Success Coach, Speaker, #1 Best Selling Author

    DynamicLeader, Inc

    Dr Wayne Pernell Known as the Powerful Presence™ Mentor and “Outfluencer™,” Dr. Wayne Pernell is a highly sought speaker, Amazon #1 International Best-Selling Author, blogger, podcast host, and High-Performance Breakthrough Success Coach. While earning his doctorate in clinical psychology, Wayne began working with leaders and high-performers, and over the past 35 years, he has honed his craft of helping others break through to their next level of success. In addition to his PhD, he holds certifications in High-Performance Coaching and High-Performance Leadership.  Over his career, Dr. Pernell has held a variety of executive-level positions and he now brings his vast experience in lifting others to set new strategic targets and attain exceptional success and fulfillment both personally and professionally!  Dr Pernell is the president of DynamicLeader®, Inc. He founded the #StartsWithOne™ movement, he is a member of the Forbes Business Council, he is a TEDx Speaker, has been featured in the Amazon Prime Television series SpeakUp Season 2, and is regularly seen on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and The CW, as well as heard on radio and podcasts around the world. His work can also be found in Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and the NY Times, and so many others.  “Dr P,” as his clients and friends call him, runs programs for individuals and organizations and is booking consultations when you’re ready to leave “stuck” behind and step into your next level of success.  ALL SOCIAL: