Hard times will pass, so never lose heart
Not yet another useless newsletter in your inbox
Evgeny here. And this is the first edition of my newsletter in English. Man, it took me one year and a half to actually get started. So, don’t take it too seriously, ‘cause I won’t.
This newsletter is a journey as well as our life. I don’t know where it’s going and what will happen with this project in a month or a year. I feel like writing in English, so be it.
I can’t promise there won’t be any mistakes in my letters. I also can’t promise that I won’t change the format of the emails if I find a better one. I can’t promise I will not add new topics and sections if I explore something that’s worth sharing with you.
But no matter what, I promise that each edition will be fresh and worthy of your attention. Let’s begin and see where this journey takes us to.
Insight of the week. Values come first
I had this newsletter planned before February 24th. But the war in Ukraine started, and I postponed it till better times come. Better times didn’t come, so I’ve decided to go all-in and simply do it.
Even though the city I live in is two thousand miles away from the war zone it struck me and pierced right through my heart. The first two days I was in shock, devastated. I didn’t know what to do. There was a moment when I was hesitating between two options: stay or run. Heh, run. Sounds easy, but where to? There was no answer.
But here I am, three months later, sitting in Tyumen and writing this letter. I stayed home and I’m glad I made this choice. If it weren't for my values, it would be a nightmare to decide. My values actually showed my the way out of this madness and helped me keep my mind safe. Here’s what I learned:
You can’t deny your identity and spend your life hiding it. I’m Russian and I’m a part of Russian culture. Wherever I go, I will be a Russian guy from Russia, although you can't tell that at first glance. I was breed in this culture, it’s a part of me, and I simply can’t rip it out of me.
There are two different words ‘rossiyskiy’ and ‘russkiy’ in Russian language. First is used for defining the country of origin, for instance, a Russian car would be ‘rossiyskaya mashina”. The second word is used when we speak of nationality: ‘on russkiy’ means he is Russian or his nationality is Russian. There’s no such division in English, and the word 'Russian' is used for two different meanings which may cause some problems in translation. Read more in my blog post “Not all Russians are Russian” →
Value people, friendship, and relationships over the state. I can’t take responsibility for the actions of the Russian government, but I can take it for my actions and my words. No matter what happens, I will help people if I can, I will support my friends as I did before, I will keep our friendship and relationships till it makes sense and till it’s mutual.
Keep a focus on your life. It’s easier said than done. But honestly, I have no other recipe to stay calm and to keep your mind intact. Trying to be responsible only for what I’m responsible for is what helped me to get through past three months. The life we have—each of our own—is the only thing that matters in the end. Sounds selfish, but it’s true.
We are not used to pay much attention to our values in the times of quiet and joy. But in dark times, they are the only thing we can lean on. Our values support us, they help us move forward when the will and logical reasoning fail us.
A man is defined by his actions, and his actions are defined by his values and views. So mind your values as your values define your actions.
Values always come first. If you want to be a better person, deliver better results at work, or become a better parent—in general, succeed at something—you should start with reviewing your values. Once you define them it’ll be easier for you to make decisions and find your way.
Question to think over
What values keep you going? What things in life you value the most?
Share your thoughts and answers in the comments to this post or email them to email@example.com to discuss in private.
A few words about war
One day I heard someone compare war to cancer. But I find it much worse than cancer. Cancer only kills people while war enters every house, every family and if it doesn’t kill, it leaves scars, horror and terror for decades even after it’s over. There’s no hiding from it. No matter how far you go it’ll stay with you.
I say so not because I saw war. Fortunately I didn’t. But I talked a lot with my granddad who spent 8 years in the Red Army, five of them serving in Germany after WWII. I saw the pain in his eyes, I saw him cry recalling the moment when his father walked him to the recruitment office. I will never forget it.
You may ask, “What do you feel about this war between Russia and Ukraine after all?” I don’t think I feel anything, but pain. It’s pain for those civilians and children who died for no reason. It’s pain for people who suffer just because one guy wanted to make a fucking point.
Leadership principle. Never be daunted
I learned this one from Hemingway and sticked to it ever since. It helps me not to lose heart when the world is on fire and I feel off.
It’s hard to think clearly in difficult times. Fear paralyzes, impotence suppresses the mind, you feel dropped out. The one idea that helps me keep my mind clear and sound is this:
“Continue going your way and don’t lose heart. Never be daunted.”
Not to lose your way, manage your focus and keep moving towards the goal when the world is on fire is an invaluable skill and strength. To remember that difficult times are not forever is a sign of incredible resilience and stamina.
Be strong and resilient. Continue on your way. Never be daunted.
That’s it for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed this email. And if you have, share it with your friends and people who may like it. I’ll appreciate your support and feedback.
See you in two weeks.
Tyumen, 22 June 2022
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Evgeny I love this so much. Excited to read more of your work and thoughts about being Russian. As a soviet myself, and someone who speaks Russian and not Ukrainian and has no idea who he really is, its so nice to hear the perspective of other Russian people. And do not even worry a little bit about grammar or typos or any of that shit - what matters is the feeling and its so clear in your piece how much feeling there is!! Sending love, Sasha