Stay Busy to Stay Happy – 200-year old Lockdown Advice

swiss family

I’m reading the classic novel “Swiss Family Robinson” to my 9-year old son.  The story follows the adventures of a family of six who are shipwrecked on a tropical island, and must learn how to survive with no outside human contact.  Sound familiar?

In the ultimate example of social distancing, the Robinson family must find their own food, shelter, transportation, clothing and supplies, with 100% independence from the outside world.

The hardest time for them is the rainy season:  a 3-month period where they are forced to stay “indoors” to avoid the tropical storms and constant downpours.  They are on lockdown in a cave without Netflix, Instagram, video games or YouTube, and must somehow maintain their sanity for those 12 loooong weeks.

Here’s what Mr. Robinson observes about their lockdown:  “The more there was to do, the better.  I never ceased contriving fresh improvements, being fully aware of the importance of constant employment as a means of strengthening mind and body. 


Swiss fam

This, indeed, with a consciousness of continual progress toward a desirable end, is found to constitute the main element of happiness.”

This book was written in 1812, originally in German, so the language is a bit tough to follow.  But he’s basically saying “You’ve gotta stay busy to keep your mind & body strong.  And if you can see yourself making progress on your goals, you’ll feel great!”

This advice is SO RELEVANT for us!  We are shut in to our ‘caves’, and the storms outside may last for weeks or months.  In order to thrive during this rainy season, the more there is to do, the better.  Find projects, opportunities, and goals that excite you and compel you to action, and keep actively making progress day-by-day.

For some ideas on how to stay productive and build solid habits during this time, see the recent videos at

For some 1-on-1 coaching to help you get on the pathway to ryan.