The world is changing rapidly for many of us right now. Things we could not possibly imagine to ever happen to us are suddenly becoming reality. And that is scary. It is a stark reminder of how vulnerable we really are, and of just how easily Mother Nature would be able to wipe out our species if that is what she wanted to.
At the same time, maybe we could also see this as the opportunity for change it provides. It is times like these that are often breakthrough moments in history. Moments when the status quo is broken, and suddenly the old rules no longer apply, because they belonged to a different kind of reality. Now could be such a moment, if we use it well. Some famous politician once said ‘Never waste a good crisis’. Maybe this is a good time to follow that advice.
How? What could be the outcome? And isn’t it cynical to try to use this for our own ends while people are suffering and dying around us? Or is it? Would it not be more cynical to just go back to business as usual once this is all over, just pretend it never happened, only to start making the exact same mistakes again a few years later?
So permit me to explore the idea. How can we see this virus as an opportunity to create a better world? For one thing, ironic as it may sound, it brings us closer together. It causes us to have to be more aware of our social network, and whether or not it is strong enough to support us through a crisis like this. Will there be someone to help you if you are forced to stay at home? Are you available to help your neighbours when they are the ones in need? Think about your priorities. Now is a good time to improve these connections if they are weak. Join the local volunteers, or come up with an idea of your own if nothing is happening yet. It is something that will pay itself back a million times over in the future, when you have a more reliable connection to your neighbourhood.
It is also a good time to allow yourself to rethink your priorities in life. That work your boss is asking you to do, but which you actually hate doing because it is killing your creativity, is it really the life you want to lead? Is it what you want to look back on at your death as the purpose your life has served? Is it? Or could this crisis make you realize that actually, you don’t really mind the fact that your company decided to shut down and reduce itself to essentials only. It might now realize that the work they asked you to do, was not an essential task after all.
It is a time when you can grow beyond your skin, when you can dream about the things that really matter, and start to draw up some plans to put them into actions. Amid all the misery in the world, people are desperately looking for sparks of positivity, so this may well be your best chance ever to convince other people to co-conspire with you on some crazy idea. Just think of the Italians doing concerts from their balcony windows if you do not want to believe me…
Think positive, and enjoy the fact that right now all bets are off. Walk a different path for a change. And who knows, once this all starts to recede into the past, you may notice that the experience has changed you, but for the better rather than for the worst. If enough people could do this, we could turn this into a viral infection of a different kind…