I am not a person to let a pandemic go to waste. There are some lessons to be learned from the current COVID-19 pandemic. I hope ( fingers crossed) we are now learning, and will continue to learn ( finger crossed) after the coronavirus has passed, the following:
* This is what mind control looks like. Mainstream news tells people to panic buy toilet paper ( not food, water, medicine), along with providing visuals of empty store shelves and people with shopping carts piled high with toilet paper. While this does not pass the common sense test, it does stir up hysteria. People, as if on command, panic as they are told to do. Stocking up on toilet paper is a cheap action, and people like to think they are actually “doing something” to address their fear. The single best thing you can do right now to protect yourself from coronavirus is what you should be doing every day: Eat well ( lots of fruits and vegetables), take vitamin C and D supplements, drink plenty of water, drink less alcohol, do not smoke and wash your hands.
* Tagging onto the above, mainstream media is in the business of creating collective angst, so you become addicted to the news ( viewers = advertising revenue, which is a news outlet’s lifeblood).
* The economy is dictated more by intangibles like optimism and fear, than tangibles like supply and demand. Our collective emotions are what drive the economy. When we feel optimistic, which unfortunately is not very often, the economy does well. Money circulating more freely is always a good thing. However, since it seems to be in our DNA to always look for the worst, to find reasons to feed our need to feel disjointed, nervous and anxious (feelings we can easily identify reasons for, relate to, and therefore understand), it is easy to justify why we are dumping stocks, panic buying or shifting our consumerism to fulfill our individual needs as opposed to the prevailing social good.
Speaking of the economic impacts COVID-19 will have, there is an elephant in the room nobody talks about, de-globalization. Quarantines and broken supply chains will force countries to adapt by reinvesting resources within their own borders, reducing and, in some cases cutting off, trade ties, being skeptical of leisure travellers and cross border business relationships and causing all sorts of political-economic shifts. On another note, get ready for mind-blowing geopolitical changes, like we just saw with Trump’s travel ban on 26 European nations.
* You don’t need the government to tell you to do what’s right for the common social good. As always, everyone is waiting for the government to tell them what to do to deflect responsibility from themselves. We all know it is risky to travel now, so why are there still people going on March break vacations? You know if you are showing signs of COVID-19 symptoms, you need to self-isolate, yet many are not doing so. People tend to put their individual needs above those of the common good. Our values, some would call it “survival instincts”, causes us to view things through a window of how they affect us, not how they affect our community, our or the world. Therefore, unfortunately, in 2020, for better or worst, we still need the government to tell people how to behave towards each other, and to remind us we are one large interdependent community.
* Question why and how we gather. Concerts, conferences, meetings are being cancelled or postponed. When we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and begin going back to our daily routines, I hope we come to the realization how many of these gatherings are unnecessary time sucks, provide no long-lasting value and create significant negative impacts on our environment in terms of carbon footprint and the waste generated. With the advent of webinars and online streaming, do we really need conferences where participants are flying in from all over the world to listen to a bunch of speakers?
* Most air travel is frivolous and unnecessary. How much of our air travel is necessary? With the drastic curtailing we are seeing in air travel, I am sure someone somewhere is busy calculating the reduction in CO2 emissions this is having. Everyone claims to be concern about global warming. It will be interesting to see, once this pandemic has passed if we return to boarding airplanes to go sit on a beach somewhere or play tourist in a faraway city, as opposed to exploring our country and connecting with our community.
QUESTION: When is travel considered “essential”?
* It is possible to work from home. Many employers are FINALLY allowing, when possible, their employees to work from home. Yes, a business can be successful with employees working from home. Like unnecessary air travel, commuting to an office to do work, you can easily do from home, punishes our environment, as well as the employee. I hope we begin seeing a much-needed change in our work-life cultures.
There will be one negative fallout: the further divisiveness between those working white-collar jobs versus blue-collar jobs. White-collar jobs tend to lend themselves to having the option to work from home. What about truck drivers, waitresses, warehouse workers, those who work the blue-collar jobs you scoff at ( God forbid your children should ever want to learn a trade instead of getting a University education.), however, you depend on to stock food in your local grocery store, clean up after you in public places, wait on you in restaurants. As a white-collar worker, try being more gracious to those who do blue-collar jobs. Understand you have options, like being able to work from home, they do not have. Next time tip the food delivery person more than you usually do, or the person behind the counter serving you coffee, or say, “Thank you, I appreciate you being here today.” to the cashier at your grocery store. These days they are literally putting their health on the line to do their job, which allows you to have access to what you need. Keep in mind the impact blue-collar workers have on your everyday life.
* A new lexicon will be born, social distancing. Until now, we tended not to give much thought regarding whom we associated with. As COVID-19 is making its way through the population, we are now questioning our relationships and friendships. Is meeting with someone worth the exposure risk? I predict there will be a social recession fallout from this pandemic, which may be a good thing. Too many of our relationships suck our energy, provide little value and use up time we could be spending with those whom we should be spending time with. Questioning whom we spend time with, and why, is a good thing.
* Jobs are only temporary. Already we are witnessing the bleeding of jobs, temporary layoff and reduction of income. There’s much more bleeding to happen. Your job only exists if there is a demand for your job, which is a harsh lesson to learn, but better learned than not. Hopefully, people will do some hard thinking when it comes to determining their needs versus their wants. I will be completely upfront, a good portion of our lifestyle, especially those of us in the west, is wasteful. I would conservatively estimate we waste somewhere between 20% to 35% of our income on crap we do not need, which end up in landfills, or on activities which can be done for free or for much less ( eating out versus cooking a great meal at home). Undeniably we over-consume.
Regardless of your income, it would be best if you strived to live on at least 20% below your take-home pay and save for the numerous uncertainties that life throws our way, such as a pandemic that may find your hours cut or you being unemployed. This is a lesson many are now learning. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is choosing not to manage your money correctly. Know the difference between your needs versus your wants and act accordingly.
* Humanity is not coming to an end. Thanks to drinking the media’s Kool-Aid our perspective has become distorted. We thought in 2000 Y2K would destroy everything. In 2003 SARS was supposed to kill us all. The same in 2005 with the Bird Flu and 2016 with the Zika Virus. Remember how the Mayan calendar predicted the world would end on December 21, 2012? Pandemics are the norm throughout human history, not the exception. We will make it through this, we always do Once we realize mankind will survive its umpteenth recorded pandemic I hope people will learn, for the next inevitable pandemic, to breathe, take a few moments to let common sense sink in, question the media’s motive for causing hysteria and calming do what they need to do to protect themselves and their community.
* Mother Nature is telling us something. This is where I get to be somewhat surreal. Given all the environmental benefits I have mentioned, I wonder if Mother Nature is maybe… just maybe… trying to tell us something, like your lifestyle is rapidly killing the planet, which for now is the only place human can live. I know this is “being part of a grandmaster plan,” is weird thinking. Perhaps if we all thought this way, we would do a much better job taking care of our planet and each other.
Throughout history, the biggest and necessary changes usually came in the wake of crises, just like our significant personal changes often come in the wake of our traumas. There’s always growth in pain. There’s always an opportunity for creation in destruction. Months from now, when COVID-19 has begun to dissipate, let us see if we have learned to change the way we live, so it is healthier for ourselves, each other and our planet. To keep your expectations in check, keep in mind, we tend to focus on one-off solutions (panic buying) instead of refining our daily living habits.
For now, stay safe, stay home as much as possible and do what you know is right for yourself and the people around you… do not wait for the government to tell you what to do.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.