The tremendous health and economic crisis derived from the worldwide spread of the Coronavirus is already translating into thousands of deaths and a foreseeable increase in unemployment and company closings, with a special focus on SMEs and the self-employed. If this were not enough, a short-term solution is not foreseen despite the growing and multifaceted efforts on a global scale. Solid ingredients for a powerful recession if we are not able to avoid it together.
Fortunately, and in this context so profound and suddenly pessimistic, I see brave and supportive attitudes that emerge to better face this trance among all. Humble or powerful people, small or heroic deeds, decisions that reconcile us with the good human being that we all carry within and that arises frequently in these critical situations.
I share 10 positive attitudes of citizens that have caught my attention these days:
- Genuine solidarity: good examples of neighbors helping each other, healthy adults who are avoiding the deaths of the elderly and vulnerable people with their good daily habits, companies such as content companies that give them away temporarily to make the necessary confinement.
- Union between different parties: between political parties (where the opposition is supporting governments in their drastic measures without taking electoral advantage) or between countries (such as the transfer of teams from China to Italy to face the epidemic).
- Social recognition: a spontaneous and powerful current of support extends to the exemplary work and commitment of health professionals. A necessary, logical gesture that we should continue in times of prosperity for this group that is socially and economically undervalued.
- Deep understanding: how fragile and interrelated our Earth is or the “butterfly effect” (how a small bad habit in one part of the world impacts the world balance), how important health is, how complex, slow and expensive to discover effective vaccines or drugs for new diseases.
- Self-responsibility: the impact of our habits on others, how convenient it is sometimes to make difficult decisions that harm us individually but benefit the community, how true is this African proverb: “the whole tribe is necessary to teach and care for a child”.
- Courage: from many professionals and, especially, from healthcare professionals. Men and women who face this virus daily with courage, rigor, resilience and generosity (putting the general interest before the staff and that of their own family). And also on many occasions working with insufficient material means. A lesson on what it means to live guided by a high purpose of service to others.
- Agility: this crisis shows us again the importance of learning fast, listening and learning from others and being agile in complex decisions without all the information in this uncertain and changing world.
- Proximity and connection: the opportunity opens to us to enjoy more time with the family, to connect virtually with friends, to enjoy small domestic activities.
- Reflect to improve: Being confined can be a curse or a blessing if we find time to stop our frenetic rhythm and meditate on our life and how to improve it.
- Optimism and resilience: today is a good time to think big, look to the future with hope and realism, and take advantage of the opportunity to reinvent any crisis. All this while being aware that the remedies will be possibly slow and difficult.
A “black swan” is an unexpected and highly impactful event, as visionary Nassim Taleb magnificently explained. At the end of 2019 everything was reasonably well. Today a global recession is sensed and some experts already anticipate that it may be deeper than that of 2008. For the good of all, I hope they are wrong and the recent generalized panic (health, social, business, stock market …) does not take place.
These next months we are risking a lot for the global collective well-being of the following years. These 10 levers are just a few examples of the collective talent laying new and robust foundations while dealing in the short term with the most needy and fragile. I am convinced that we will collectively rise to the challenge of emerging from this important issue.