I’m writing this from my home in France, stuck in a Hollywood-ish lockdown for the last four weeks, waiting for the hero of the movie to break the rut. We do not have a complete understanding of what is happening and what will happen in the near future. My 5-year-old son has even learned the term COVID-19 or better “Mom, it is is because of the coronavirus”, sometimes he explains to me.
This morning he came up with a baffling question, “Mom when he will be able to go back to school?” This is a question, one that cannot be answered by the greatest minds on this planet. However, this is when I realized that the best, we can do at this moment is not to wait for the hero but to ensure that this time is utilized for him as an individual and us a family to learn, adapt and help. I explained to my son, that I do not know the answer to his question yet but I do know that we will keep using this time to learn new things and play with mom and dad. Adapting to such a situation is hard, but the whole world is trying very very hard!! We need to be brave and help each other, mom, dad and others to cope with these times. The infinite circle!
I am along the millions who are still baffled on the fact about something that has brought the whole world to a literal standstill from New York to Paris to Manila; everything boasting a pin drop silence day in and day out!
In 2015, Bill Gates Ted Talk “The next outbreak? We are not ready” spelled this situation. At that time, It sounds surreal, “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes” How true it seems a possibility now, is scarier than the thought of in 2015.
We are now learning to acknowledge lessons and reflect on new priorities in this standstill of life as we knew. The earlier part of the lockdown was the worst as we feared for the health of our loved ones and did not want to accept the reality of an epidemic in the modern world. The frustration of not being able to do anything along with being locked in the sanctuary of our homes took a heavy toll on our mental health and continues to do so. Most of us are trying their best to sail through these troubled waters. We are constantly looking at ways to save ourselves from the virus and take precautions so we may save people whom we love, around us.
At the same, we try hard to focus on our work, check on our family, friends, colleagues and the world. However, the new phase is of sorrow when we get the news of hundreds of people dying every day. All of this is a lot of learning for a very short period, yet we are learning as quickly as possible as there is no end in sight for this!!
As the crisis enhances, we also learned to be thankful to have a home to stay in and loved ones around us to take care of and vice versa. The small things we took for granted like walks in the park with my son mean a lot more now than they did before.
It seems that Tom Cruise has failed to stop the pandemic and here we are!
We all are witnessing real heroes like medical staff, front line emergency responders, supermarket workers, drivers, garbage collectors, governments, epidemiologists, working day and night to cope with the crisis. This includes people who run a business trying to keep it up so they can pay their employees. It also includes people staying at home, taking of loved ones and homeschooling their kids. The best part of this new world order is that everyone is chipping in to make things work out in this devastating situation.
The superhero becomes this amazing collective effort. Yes, this is not simple, as we all will break at some point. We are all on the same boat, the real deal is how we save ourselves from going berserk, better adapt and move forward.
As many countries are going through this health and economic crisis, juggling through saving the present and worrying about the future, we are doing the same while bogged down in our homes. To stem the spread of COVID-19, several countries have implemented general containment. Businesses are either closing down or revolutionizing their products and going for the production of health supplies. We see different approaches on how to cope with this crisis, some luxury companies producing masks or other health supplies, other releasing policies to help their employees during this period or allocating resources to research to find new medicines. These are real examples of learning and adapting to be contributing socially to this crisis as an individual, corporation or an entrepreneur.
There has also been an incredible shift in the behavior of the consumer and/or buyer. They are not consuming less, but differently. Experts are seeing how the production of wealth is falling, which should inevitably lead to a huge recession after the epidemic has passed. In financial markets, these prospects have already brought down the indices, in Paris, New York, and Frankfurt. To avoid the mass bankruptcies of companies and limit job losses, governments in countries like Denmark, France, Germany, and China are taking different routes and rescue measures. In France, postponement or cancellation of corporate expenses to the tune of 32 billion euros in March has been announced. For this purpose, the European Central Bank will put 750 billion Euros on the table to buy, among other things, the debt of the State.
Yes, we are worried, which has led to a shortage of toilet paper, flour or pasta but we all reacted differently to fear and therefore, empathy and understanding are key to cope and adapt. In front of the pandemic, we are all equal as the virus does not differentiate between the rich and poor. This also means that we all can make a difference independently of our culture, work, financial situation and, empathetic values. From donating millions or few dollars to the cause of producing health care supplies, or protecting our families to buying food for the need, checking on our friends or others. All we can do to help, it reminds us that we are connected, it reminds us what is important for us even in times like these! It reminds us of our real purpose on this planet.
I heard friends, colleagues & experts talking about the end of the sanitary crisis and the start of a new world. I was asking myself what would be the new world like and how our world will learn the lessons to come out of the COVID-19 and hit the world as a fresh, new and empathetic human ecosystem. This is not an easy guess as the world can easily forget everything and go back to the ways that brought us here in the first place!
Let’s put some hope in our thoughts to start working on what’s coming up next. Perhaps at the end of the COVID-19 crisis, we may learn that we need far less to survive than what we thought of. Maybe we end up or start with focusing on collaboration, new models and we acknowledge that financial markets are extremely fragile.
Do let me know in the comments section your learning, how you think we collectively can adapt and help each other during the COVID-19 and especially when this storm blows over.
No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.
We can stand together and bring our best selves to the work we came to do in this world!
Cheers, stay safe, be well, be kind and keep helping!
Bill Gates TED2015, The next outbreak? We are not ready.
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#COVID-19 #coronavirus #socialreponsability #resiliance #newnormal