Today, the 1st of May, 2020, is day 47 of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Many business establishments continue to remain closed. There is still no sign of victory versus the COVID-19. Given the rising death toll, many are paralysed in making sense of the future.
Need to Adapt to the New Normal
Meanwhile, as the country prepares for the easing of the lockdown, the lives of approximately 29 million workers* are in grave danger. Aside from health risks, these people are prone to suffer from the risks of unemployment or wage reduction. This is largely because of substantial financial losses incurred due to the stoppage of businesses during the lockdown period. Moreover, in the absence of a known cure or a vaccine against COVID-19, many small and medium size businesses face the risk of closing shop or continuing to operate albeit at drastically reduced levels of operations.. For the next 18-36 months, businesses together with the working class will need to adapt to the new environment in order to survive. Without a doubt, as life after the ECQ will never be the same again., there is a need to adapt to the new normal.
Making Sense of the Future
Interestingly, I came across a relevant article recently published by the Harvard Business Review. In this article, Ms. Sally Maitlis, professor at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School, wrote a very interesting paper on how most people who lose their jobs do manage to create meaningful futures and even feel more fulfilled than they did before.
In sum, my own take of Prof. Maitlis’ insightful research is that, during life-threatening situations such as this pandemic, it is important to consider making sense of the future through the following steps:
- Tame the emotions. It makes sense to rid the mind of emotional garbage in order to be able to think clearly. According to Prof. Maitlis there are many proven ways of dampening emotional stress i.e. talking to a coach or mentor, doing yoga or taking up physical exercises.
- Practice Self-Knowledge. Upon controlling the emotions, one should undertake a self -examination of how to solve the existing problem. This is done by arriving at a checklist of one’s strength of character, knowledge & capabilities.
- Create a New Future. Lastly, one should re-think of new possibilities of how one could use his/her talents and past experiences in rendering work or service within the context of the new normal. The important element here is to simply be open to doing things one has never done before.
Soaring like an Eagle
As a corollary measure to the discerning prescriptions above, I would like to suggest adopting a “can do” attitude during the process of re-thinking how to navigate the future after the ECQ. Point # 7 below gives a frank admonition, as follows:
Point # 7 Don't have a "small town"outlook. Enlarge your heart until it becomes universal - "catholic". Don't fly like a barnyard hen when you can soar like an eagle. St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way
In weighing the differing scenarios of entering the new environment, one should guard against falling into complacency and small mindedness. This is the defeatist mentality. Such a mentality is tantamount to settling for whatever crumbs are left., being contented with “flying like a barnyard hen”.
On the contrary, one needs to have a winner’s attitude. This is because of the fact that the human intelligence knows no bounds, capable of achieving limitless possibilities. This human outlook of aiming for greater heights will certainly bode well in planning for the future. Hence, by “soaring like an eagle”, one effectively fosters trust and confidence in oneself for the attainment of the greater good.