Richard S. Levick 25 Mar 2020 // 8:26AM GMT
The story goes that when my grandmother was a young woman she would get a live, fresh carp and put it in the bathtub around the Jewish holidays and then begin the two-day process of turning it into gefilte fish. I’m 62 and have never tasted anything but store-bought gefilte fish. Who has the time?
And while those who have tasted gefilte fish know it isn’t worth the two days of labor, many other things are, from fresh baked bread and home made ice cream to husbanding the log pile and gardening. For all the terrible things this pandemic is, it is also a gift of time. We now have the gift of time, lots of it, to do what our far more resourceful, usually far more isolated grandparents did. You didn’t buy it, you made it.
If humor is tragedy plus time our modern lifestyle is convenience plus money. We have all forgotten (never learned in most cases) how to needle point, make our own soap or fix just about anything we use every day. I am not suggesting we make everything from scratch, but we could. Up until a week ago, we could order almost anything we wanted and knew it would be at our door in 48 hours or less. With convenience came mass amnesia. We are dependent on the app.
In the pre-pandemic age many took to social media with their time, often to mob others who had uttered a syllable, wrote an article or worked for a client they found intolerable. We are now learning that we are better off learning a new skill other than judging. Who knew that the phone could be used for a genuine person to person conversation?
The arc of history is long and its consequences aren’t always apparent. We must learn from this new normal, including using this new gift of time, to learn and re-learn about independence, and, ironically, community. And each of us must lead.
After 9/11 shattered our sense of domestic invulnerability, we were forever changed but normalized fairly quickly, because we felt future attacks, though possible, would be isolated and still rare. Even in our sorrow and fear we saw the future.
Today, we cannot even harbor a guess as to what’s next. The stillness of the night, when we have the time to really think, is the devil’s workshop. Everyone – everyone – has fear and many are fighting panic in their isolation. More than ever, local and company leadership is required. We need our families, partners, clients and employees to know, we will get through this, there will be opportunity and we will be stronger. In the worst crises, we don’t always know the exact road to the promised land, but we know we are going to find it.
We are developing a number of resources – our own, such as a series of articles, webcasts and an infographic on the likely media trends of the coronavirus – but also a list of some great content developed by others:
• Turbine Labs Cue Alerts: A text and email alert based on curated content that provides much needed instant information reduced to minimal content
• Business planning for the post-pandemic recovery by bestselling author Martin Lindstrom
• Five great instant medical recommendations developed by the staff of The Washington Post
• Inspirational lessons from the 1918 flu pandemic by author Kiley Bense
• The brilliant Marriott video on leading through a crisis in Forbes
• Author Rebecca Solnit on NPR’s “On Being” with Krista Tippett
• Earth Abides, the 1950 post-apocalyptic radio program that reminds us of the importance of order, hope and love.