This has been a harrowing and unprecedented time for all of us. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives forever, much the same as 9/11 did. However, this is far more drastic. There is no good news to talk about, especially considering that as I write this more than 170,000 people in our country have succumbed to this dreadful virus. However, I was thinking about whether any good might come out of this. What lessons have we learned? What do we now know about ourselves, about our relationships, about our businesses and about our heroes who we’ve failed to recognize? So, I did a little exercise to complete this question: If this pandemic never happened . . .
Here goes. If this pandemic never happened, I might not have . . .
. . . realized how important simple freedoms are, such as walking out of your house.
. . . understood how important friendships are when they are physically taken away.
. . . valued older Americans as much as I do now. as well as understand the fragile world in which they live.
. . . understood how quickly and firmly we can adapt when we don’t have a choice.
. . . grasped that sometimes the success or failure of your business may be 100% out of your control or realized planning for such events is a worthy exercise.
. . . realized that connecting on Zoom is a fairly good but not perfect alternative in business and in life when face-to-face interaction is not possible.
. . . been as amazed by what frontline healthcare workers mean to this country, or by how their sacrifice goes beyond what most of us imagined.
. . . recognized that teachers are also among our country’s most important resource; nor realized their resilience in changing and adapting to a whole new way they have to interact with our children, most with no training at all and no time to learn.
. . . recognized how much employees mean to me, and how the word “friend” can be a worthy substitute for “employee.”
. . . seen how selfish some people are.
. . . understood that something as simple as wearing a mask could save thousands of lives, yet some still choose not to.
. . . realized that incompetence can cause massive death.
. . . accepted that a phone call or FaceTime is not as good as hugging someone you love. It’s not.
. . . recognized that ignoring science breeds more ignorance.
. . . realized that the world is much smaller than I thought.
. . . recognized that cheap gas doesn’t really matter when you’re not driving anywhere.
. . . realized that something as simple as going out to dinner with friends is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
. . . understood how much money I’ve spent on things I don’t really need.
. . . realized that a nice vacation is not a given. It’s a privilege.
. . . understood that a country working together and sacrificing together can accomplish so much more than a country whose people care more about themselves than others.
. . . realized that family is everything. And your family doesn’t have to mean your relatives.
I’m sure there are so many more. I would love to hear your thoughts. My best to all of you. We’ll soon be looking at 2020 in the rearview mirror and wondering what just happened. However, hopefully, we can take some important lessons forward—and never take anything for granted again. If this pandemic never happened . . .