COVID has shown us, humans, that most of the problems the world faces are actually solvable.
COVID forced our lives into lockdown, lockups, isolation, and quarantine.
The result has been all sorts of wonderful outcomes.
We developed vaccines in record time.
Homeless people were given homes.
As many people have lamented, it is a shame that such a large tragedy was needed to demonstrate what was actually possible.
But, most of these things - climate change, pollution, vaccines, homelessness - are not within the control of you, or any one individual. Rather, group action is required. We ALL need to do something in order for things to change.
However, I do think there is still a BIG opportunity for us all. At the individual level. Well, for those who had most of their life shift from in person to virtual.
Let me explain.
By adhering to lockdown, lockups, isolation and quarantine our lives were simplified. Everything was taken away. No social sport. No music. No art. No big nights out. No holidays. No new big purchases. No visits. No drop ins. No take-out. We saved money. We did not commute. We slowed down. Perhaps too slow for some.
Essentially, you performed an experiment on everything in your life. You turned it all off and got to see what you missed. And in seeing what you missed, you have now determined what you valued. This is something you’d never choose to do. Not on this scale. Not consciously.
So, with that information, you now know how much you want or need all of those activities. And now, as you add them back in, I encourage you to ask yourself - Do I need this?
The BIG opportunity of COVID is to assess if everything you had in February 2020 is everything you want in February 2021. Rather than adding everything (and more perhaps) back in, consider when you are full. What research do I need to do? Which colleagues should be in my team? Who do I want to socialise with?
That's the BIG opportunity of COVID. That's the big opportunity of 2021.
And if you are game, you should continue to use this technique every year. Think of what you can take out, rather than what you put in.
This post was inspired by a post by Peter Cook.
Dr Richard Huysmans is the author of Connect the Docs: A Guide to getting industry partners for academics. He has helped more than 200 PhD students, early career researchers, and established academics build their careers. He has provided strategic advice on partnering with industry, growing a career building new centres and institutes as well as establishing new programs. Richard is driven by the challenge of helping researchers be commercially smart. His clients appreciate his cut-through approach. He knows the sector and how to turn ideas into reality.
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