An invisible and elusive enemy has hit the Pause button in our lives. Every aspect of our lives has been disrupted. It’s an uncertain time. More than any we’ve experienced in our lifetime. But worrying isn’t going to help. To lift everyone’s sombre mood (including mine!), this post looks at some positive data. Not data about ‘positive cases’ which you’ve probably had your fill of! But positive data which shows how super our lives are. Compared to any other generation. Here are the 7 reasons to stay positive.
#1: Longer, healthier lives
From the start of the 20th century till date, infant mortality has reduced a hundred-fold. We are living longer and healthier lives. There’s a lot less disease. And we are much better equipped today to handle a disease when it does hit. Epidemics have hit with regularity in the past. And you’ll be wrong if you think that the well-to-do were spared from disease. The richest man in the world in 1836, Nathan Rothschild, died of an infected abscess. Antibiotics only became mainstream around 100 years later. There is even an American President who died of cholera!
#2: More peace, more safety
Statistically, you are likelier to kill yourself today than someone killing you. Contrary to what the news tells you, the world has never been safer. A lot fewer wars. Fewer accidental deaths. Sure, terrorism incidents have increased. But even there the numbers are minuscule. Our perception of the terrorist threat is much higher.
#3: More freedom
The opportunity to follow your passion has never been more. You can be a 15-year old and make good money on YouTube. Or a 70-year old and become a stand-up comedian. The chances of you making a living by doing what you love to have increased.
There’s more freedom to follow your religion or be an atheist. Or to have varying sexual orientations. There’s more freedom to choose your workplace, especially for women. Other than temporary blips, there’s more freedom for dissent.
#4: Less work, more leisure
An average person works less than a generation ago. And has more vacations. Work cultures are more open than before. And with professionalization across the board, companies no longer ‘own’ you. In our personal lives, we’ve got access to a million new ways to keep ourselves occupied. There’s almost an inexhaustible list of activities we can sign up for.
#5: More comfort
Whether at work or at home, technology has made our lives much more comfortable. There are machines for everything. And the machines keep getting more intelligent and simpler to use. From voice-activated remote controls to noiseless car cabins to communicating painlessly with someone from and to anywhere in the world are some of the few ways of the many ways our lives have become more comfortable.
#6: More rationalism
The world’s more rational. We no longer burn old ladies thinking they’re witches. Or force ladies to join their recently deceased husbands in hot places. There is more rationality in the world. We act based on knowledge and reason. Instead of superstitious beliefs or emotional responses. In businesses we use more data in our decision making. We make more rational choices with greater information access.
#7: More happiness?
Are we happier than the generations before? Maybe we’re not. But if we’re not happier, it not because life has become worse. It’s become significantly better. It’s because we find new things to be sad about. That’s a lack of contentment and gratitude. Our tendency of not being content in the moment. That’s something which has always been there. It’s not unique to our current times.
What about my business?
You’re hopefully feeling better after reading these 7 reasons. What about business? How should you deal with the business disruption? Some pointers below
- Keep moving: Try to continue all business activities to the extent possible
- Tweak or transform your strategy: There’s more distraction free time. Evaluate where your business is going and have a look at your strategy
- Relook employee roles: It’s a great time to sit back and understand the roles of your key employees.
- Relook processes: With employees likely to have more time on their hands, get them to document your key processes
- Find new partners: A lot of people are at home with less work than usual. It’s could be a great time to initiate dialogue with potential new partners or customers.
- Stop looking at the news: Nothing more than a couple of times a day.
- Be kind to employees: Its an uncertain time for everyone. Be kind to your employees at office and at home.
The intent of this article isn’t to belittle the magnitude of the current virus situation. It’s a scary situation and we all need to take required precautions. But think of the coronavirus as a temporary period of uncertainty and pain. As a moment in time which shall pass.
Uncertainty and pain both are a part of life. We’ve always worried and grumbled about it. And emerged stronger. So, stay happy and keep smiling. We shouldn’t let a virus or for that matter, anything or anyone else take that away from us.
‘Stay home, stay safe’
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Total lockdown has never happened in my lifetime before. A testing time but a good time to sit back and take stock, which we rarely do due to the hectic lifestyle we all have. unfortunately, due to the current scenario it is even difficult to think about anything other than the virus. Three weeks is a long time. We should have the mental strength to face this. People may become restless after a week and controlling them may become very difficult. But the biggest challenge faced by businessman today is – salary to employees. Should I pay them full salary for the lockdown period? Where will I get the money from? There will be no sales during this time. On the other hand if I look from the employees perspective, how will he survive without salary? He is dependent upon me, how can I ditch him? Only Government should come out with a solution to this issue.
Stay inside and be safe.
Great to hear from you as always, Ashok.
The Government needs to move fast to support businesses, many of whom are facing an uncertain future. Yet, the cashflow challenge will need answering before the government comes out with a package. One option which companies are adopting are staggered payments to employees. That’s easier on business cashflows and helps the employee meet basic requirements. What also helps is prioritizing which set of employees are the most impacted and paying them before other employees.