…either we change or something will change us
“These are not normal times.” Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo used these words when he addressed the nation on March 15, 2020 on the covid-19 global pandemic which had entered the country. Many other leaders and people across the world have used these same words since the outbreak. Many of us make same or similar declarations when we have emergencies at hand. When times become abnormal, you have to adopt an abnormal response too.
The usual becomes abnormal
IN the wake of the outbreak of the virus, we have been told to maintain social distance and avoid public gatherings. The experts have advised, “Don’t touch your face.” Somehow, a cessation from things we do routinely and involuntarily has become our key to survival. People have asked, “How can I not shake the hands of my friend or colleague?” “How can I possibly keep my hands from my face?” All of a sudden, we have to become conscious of things we do unconsciously. Now we have to unlearn things we have been used to all our lives, otherwise we could fall prey to the virus.
The ability to adjust our patterns and habits when it matters is a major skill we need to have. This is one of the lessons we must glean from the pandemic. We must constantly observe and review the reality of our lives and make the needed but difficult changes. Change is difficult but it is a necessary fact of life; either we change or something will change us.
Basic principles save the day
ALL of a sudden, something as basic as washing of hands with soap under running water has become a life-saver. Just because of a strange virus! This is an indication that we must not throw away principles that are fundamental because we never know when they will serve as the measuring line between life and death. Although a vaccine will be a great antidote to the virus, we are being told that in the absence of the vaccine, we should take washing of hands more seriously than we have ever done.
Things that are basic don’t always become obsolete. Rather, they serve as the platform for innovation and sophistication. In the absence of immediate contextual interventions, you can fall back to the basics. When you are in a state of emergency and there is the need for an immediate response, you don’t always have to look too far. The answer may be closer to you than you think.
NO person, company or country will ever be adequately prepared for every emergency. This is because we can never always tell which emergency is likely to occur. Nonetheless, there will always be the need to respond when an emergency comes up. In responding, we must be prepared to give up some old habits while we hold on to other old habits.
About the author
Terry Mante is a business development and management consultant who has worked on market research, strategy, branding, corporate training, capacity-building as well as PR and communications projects for clients in diverse fields. He is an incisive and inspiring author, personal development coach, moderator of focus group discussions and conference/workshop resource person.
To book or network with Terry, connect through facebook.com/tmexchange1; facebook.com/terrymante, Instagram/Twitter: @terrymante; LinkedIn (Terry Mante), Email: [email protected]; WhatsApp: +233.249.827.575