1: We Are Too Dependent On Large Corporations For Our Livelihood & Well-Being
It is clear how vulnerable the supply chain is to disruption from a systematic (global) level and an idiosyncratic (individual) level. To circumvent this the individual should establish their own autonomy and independence by reducing their dependency on global infrastructure, improve provisions and have local means of producing and sourcing essential food and medicine. Each individual can take steps towards sourcing ‘made in your country’ goods and services and support local community businesses to source their food, clothing and essential items.
2: Team Human
This pandemic was not yet damaging enough to destroy our world, but bad enough to cause long and consequential global damage. Short of an alien attack, it is one of the few catastrophes that could make all the humans in the world feel like they’re on the same team fighting against a common enemy…at least it felt like that for a moment anyway and envigorated a feeling that we are all on team human.
3: Money Is Like Oxygen
A huge amount of people are suddenly told they can’t go to work for months on end. Most of these people are dependent on that recurring income to keep them afloat. Suddenly money doesn’t buy happiness, money buys the mental space to not feel anxiety, anger and depression about whether you can pay your rent, feed your family. or whether you have to move back in with your parents.
Money is like oxygen, you need enough of it where you don’t have to think about it. But as soon as you don’t have enough, you can’t breathe and all you can think about is getting some oxygen. Prepare for the uncertain future by building a back up of savings that can last 3–6 of months to support basic living expenses. If you don’t know how much money is coming in and out, start recording it ASAP. Manage your money like it’s your children’s future life fund and you’ll be able to breathe more freely during the next disaster.
4: Relying On The ‘Just In Time Delivery System’ Is A Bad Idea — Always Have Backups
Many are still experiencing major delivery delays 1 year into this pandemic. We have become extremely reliant on the global delivery network system to support our lives and we are left vulnerable when the system is damaged. If something is essential to your livelihood and wellbeing have a backup of it.
“Two is one and one is none — always have a backup.”
5: Anything Can Be Taken Away From You At Any Moment
We have very little control over outside circumstances, but we can control how we prepare for guaranteed unpredictability. We have learnt that our profession, businesses, availability to food, ability to freely move around our city and for some, even access to basic utilities can all be taken away at a moments notice. Fight against your cognitive dissonance and understand this will not be the only time in your life that you will be left vulnerable, out of control and fearful for your life. Develop contingency plans such as:
- Grow your own food (vegetable garden, chickens etc).
- Invest in a back up solar-powered electricity generator.
- Own months of non-perishable food.
- Ability to filter water.
- Camping equipment.
- Emergency preparedness plans in case of natural or non-natural disasters.
6: Isolation Highlights The Importance Of Our Connection With The Natural World
When everyone is told they must stay inside they quickly realise how magnificent it is to go outside. Nature and animals that inhabit this planet support our life, it’s a good idea to live in cooperation, collaboration and respect for them. NASA maps show the effect of quarantine on air pollution. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Have Dropped 17 Percent During the Pandemic.
7: This Is Not A Once In A Lifetime Event — This Is A Practice Run For Something For More Serious
Assuming something worse will occur in our lifetime acts as a safeguard to mentally and physically prepare ourselves. Whether something worse actually happens in our lifetime is not as important as orientating our behaviour towards the acknowledgement that something more destructive is coming at some point.
While there is a very high probability for humanity to survive a single catastrophic event, over time, there is eventually zero probability of surviving repeated exposures to such events. If no one will survive what does it matter anyway? Before the last event that ends a species, there is usually an innumerable number of other damaging events that affect the populous. Preparation for these events is like putting your seatbelt on in case of a car crash. Whether that car crash will be fatal to our species or you individually we will not know until it occurs.
What are some possible car crashes that could face humanity? Let’s not just consider the natural predation of viruses, but also manmade biological viruses engineered by terrorist organisations who at some point may have access to the personal and technology to create and distribute a biological weapon that could wipe out millions. As a thought experiment take a moment to consider the multitude of serious disasters that could reshape humanity:
- Solar flares
- Nuclear warfare
- Natural disasters
- Artificial intelligence
8: We’re Not All Going Through The Same Or Even A Similar Experience
Each city is experiencing a different size battle wound from this virus. Every city responds differently to the battle wounds; some let the body heal itself while others put every effort forth to make sure a cut doesn’t become an infection. The severity of the virus and a city’s set of restrictions pressure tests its population. However, each city is being pressure tested very differently resulting in vastly different interpretations and judgements of this pandemic. If hard times make hard people, then there are still many cities and countries going through easy times due to light restrictions as a result of their success or lackadaisical approach. Not everyone will learn similar lessons from this experience.
9: Humans Are Generally Inefficient & Inconsistent At Assessing Risk
From the wide scope of inaccurate predictions and models (expected) to people digging their head in the sand of cognitive bias’ to people overdramatising the severity of risk. Every decision has shades of grey and degrees of risk. The 14-day quarantine rule has a risk because that duration represents a 95%~ statistical distribution but about 2.5% of people are still infectious after 14 days. Masks reduce your risk but don’t eliminate your risk. These examples highlight the degrees of error and wide distribution of risk during this pandemic.
Risk is relative and contextual. Blanket statements, assumptions and beliefs that don’t consider relative risk are relatively inaccurate and likely overestimated. E.G. A 20-year-old with no unhealthy lifestyle risk factors or medical conditions approaching COVID-19 more seriously than the average 65-year-old with prior health conditions on the surface does not seem to represent an evidence-based judgement of risk. Those two demographics are at opposite ends of the spectrum of statistical risk. Once the emotion is taken out of their assessment their risk should scale accordingly to those individual differences.
However, this is not an idiosyncratic problem (affecting one person), it is systemic, meaning this affects many people. Thus one’s risk must be adjusted based on the context and environment of the individual and who they are in contact with. Regardless, the application of relative risk from a basic first principles line of thinking should be established first and applied to assessments of action to regulate risk more accurately.
10: People Need More Than Information To Care
“Knowledge alone is not enough to motivate.”
Information without feeling is largely ineffective. Our unwillingness to change our minds based on information alone can lead in the opposite direction. Many people remain fearful or less willing to fly, even though statistically it’s incredibly safe. Many people may remain sceptical of the severity or risk of an event until it impacts them or someone around them and establishes an emotional connection that makes it viscerally real.
11: Pandemics Tend To Be Cyclical & Operate In Waves
While the amplitude of each wave is dependent on numerous variables it is expected the same country and/or state will experience 1–2 waves each year until herd immunity is attained.
Why is it cyclical?
A) As cities ease restrictions social mixing is increased and the potential for the infected to spread their virus in additional environments more suited for transmission is heightened.
B) Winter and summer months influence social behaviour and relative humidity of the air impacts spreadability.
C) The 1918 pandemic experienced a second wave much more deadly than the first wave. This doesn’t mean we are destined to repeat history, but history acts as a guide for a potential future reality.
12: How Government & Societal Structure Influence Emergency Response Capabilities
How a population of people prioritise freedom, liberty and choice is a significant factor in their adherence to governmental regulations. An example of freedom being diametrically opposed to human wellbeing and life are countries like China. They dealt with the virus in a very aggressive totalitarian but seemingly effective way primarily due to their authoritarian government and generally docile population. It’s a lot harder to function as a ‘black sheep’ in a country like China.
On the other hand, countries like the United States have a very independent system where individual liberty and freedom is prioritised as key tenents of their democracy. Those values don’t necessarily help combat a pandemic because you need consistent cooperation and adherence to curb its effects. It’s easy to function as a ‘black sheep’ in America and find your outlier tribe.
Australia appears to fall somewhere in the middle, it contains a society where its citizens are generally very abiding and don’t hold values such as freedom and liberty as highly, thus are more compliant and trustworthy of governmental rules and directions. But at the same time has enough ‘black sheep’ to get on the news, but not enough to storm parliament house.
Many people called 2020 the ‘worst year of their life’ or the ‘year from hell’. Consider how that perspective may be aiding in creating the conditions you say you don’t want. Maybe we can use the fire of suffering to sharpen our sword so we can fight future battles with more courage and strength.
“Within every adversity is an equal or greater benefit.
Within every problem is an opportunity.
Even in the knocks of life, we can find great gifts.”