Please take everything I’m about to say as it’s intended – Tough love.
For all those saying “We’ve never seen anything like this” – Yes we have, and it can get much worse.
In June 2018 I published an article in which I stated:
“If you take a broad look at the full history of humanity, what’s most normal has been death, disease, famine, and war.”
It’s something I have frequently repeated during speaking engagements and podcast appearances. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think it’s worth repeating now while the world is gripped by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Perhaps more ironic, during a November 2019 podcast appearance and in a subsequent article I wrote:
“2020 will be a year of reality checks and reckoning.”
I had no idea how true this would be, but I’m starting to feel like Cassandra: destined to foresee the future, yet never to be believed.
I’m far from alone in this. There are many others who have observed a gradual skewing of reality towards entitlements, grievances, and perceived challenges (sometimes referred to as “first-world problems”).
In January of this year, during the World Economic Forum, Historian Niall Ferguson tried to raise the alarm about an impending global pandemic. No one would listen. Instead, global leaders obsessed over the environment (the 4 top global risks identified at the forum were all related to climate change).
None of this intended as an “I told ya so”. Nor is it to undermine the seriousness of the current health and economic crisis. I urge everyone to take this pandemic seriously; to respect physical distancing protocols and to wear face masks in public (no they are not a symbol of tyranny or oppression, they signal respect and care for your fellow man).
My point is two-fold:
1) If ever there were an opportunity to curb our frivolous wants, this is it! If you’re not using this time to reassess what (and perhaps more importantly WHO) really matters, you’re doing it wrong.
2) If ever there were a time to prepare for other potential risks to our economy and well-being, this is it! Consider what might happen if a major cyber-attack wiped out the world’s digital infrastructure… our “In This Together” hashtags would have nowhere to go and that would be the least of our problems.
I’m not saying things aren’t bad right now. But to be frank, let’s consider ourselves gently slapped by reality. When we get through this current crisis (as we most certainly will), my prediction is that the “new normal” will, in fact, more closely resemble an “old normal” – one that is better aligned with the expectations of my grandparent’s generation, who lived through multiple wars, economic crises, and pandemics.
Let’s try not to lose sight of this and the opportunities this situation affords.
#InThisTogether #COVID19 #NewNormal
*SIDE NOTE: I decided to apply my skills as a web developer to visualize the plethora of real-time data available for COVID-19. You can check that out here.