Words like targets, performance ratings, top company, competition, shareholders etc. sound so meaningless these days. Discussions around fashion and travel feel vulgar and frankly the opportunity to only deal with the emotional and not the financial side of social distancing looks like a privilege. The discomfort that most of us feel as a result has been termed as ‘grief’, ‘denial’ and ‘shock’ among others. Regardless of how you skin this cat, it is painfully obvious that we are still trying to make sense of this new context through an old frame of reference. It’s time to ditch the old lenses and get the new ones. Maybe it’s time to look beyond the prophets of capitalism to the wise old men and women of tradition to look for answers.
Here is what I have discovered so far and propose these for your consideration:
• Do less with less than doing more with less. Our drive to do more and more is a remnant of the industrial age thinking. Everything around us is over-optimized. Even nature allows for redundancies to counter any shocks in the system. Think of why there are two kidneys and not one. The current global supply chain disruption is mainly because of its over optimization; the idea that there must be no back-ups to be more efficient.
• Shift from becoming to being. Becoming assumes that you need to acquire a set of tools, being on the other hand assumes that you already have it in you. It’s just a matter of discovering and using it. We are too worried about our own mental struggles and most of the time they tie us down and don’t allow us to look at the human condition in totality. Breaking free from the tyranny of our own orbit will hopefully launch us into a newer and a grander orbit. I suggest we listen more. It is extremely difficult being with self. Most people want to express as we have become a hyper-expressive society. Maybe it’s time to listen more and talk less.
• Be skeptical. A skeptic is someone who doesn’t believe anything without any evidence. The urge to stay one step ahead of the virus has us externalize our worries and hopes in a weird manner. We share everything without wanting to dig deeper. Being skeptical will help us and others who are trying to help us.
• Don’t be cynical. Cynicism is thinking about and believing the worst of something or someone. While skepticism is cherished, cynicism isn’t. You are not helping anyone by dashing their hopes.