Our lives and our world have been well and truly disrupted by coronavirus and all that it entails.

We have each been living our own ‘temporary normal’ in order to survive and cope.

Many are already talking about what our ‘new normal’ will look like afterwards.

All we do know, for sure, is that no-one is unaffected and that we can’t go back – we can only go forward.

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I’m not ignoring how awful this time has been, and still is, for many people. Relationships have floundered and fractured for some, others are suffering intense loneliness, jobs and businesses been lost or are at risk, education has been interrupted and, of course, many people have already died and there will be more deaths to come – and we have essential workers keeping our services going, often at great personal cost. If you have been affected by any of these issues, I do encourage you to seek appropriate help and support as soon as you can.

However, I think it’s also important to recognise the opportunities that this disruption also presents in terms of re-assessment, learning, creativity and change – now that we’ve been jolted out of our comfort zone.

I’ve written about this before (in my 2016 blog: Disruption – Friend or Foe?) and I’m noticing other people talking about this now, too.

The BBC podcast series, Digital Human, Series 20: Disrupted talks about how the current situation may accelerate change that might otherwise have taken a few more years to achieve, for example:

  • Identifying the people/things/habits/goals which are most important to us – who/what have we missed most? 
  • Taking (increased) pleasure in some of the smaller, simpler things in life.
  • How we harness technology to help ourselves and others:
    • holding video meetings because we can’t travel may now turn into video becoming the default position instead,
    • many who are now working from home for the first time are seeing this as a more valid option than they did previously,
    • businesses of all sizes are getting more used to working with a remote workforce. 

In The Economist, Bartleby’s article ‘Working life has entered a new era’ discusses how this technology has enabled many of us to transition: 

from ‘BC (before coronavirus)’

to ‘AD (after domestication)’

and highlights some of the pros and cons of this.

Arundhati Roy wrote about our opportunity for change very powerfully in her recent article in the Financial Times: ‘The pandemic is a portal‘. I encourage you to read it for yourself – particularly the paragraph which starts: “Historically, pandemics have … ” which so resonated with me.

In: ‘Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts’ which I found on Spotify recently:

Episode 4- Work reinforces many of the above points, cites research into how many of us hate our current jobs and discusses the state of the (now broken?) social contract.

Episode 6 – Travel examines how travel might be different – international travel, as we’ve come to know and expect it, is unlikely to return for some time, if ever. As well as thinking twice before we travel for business, maybe we will also re-assess travel for leisure or self-development – seeing it as a privilege rather than an entitlement and planning and valuing it differently from now on? 

In Episode 1 – The state of play… the presenters talk about global and national issues as well as what we can each do, as individuals. They remind us of what Ghandi said about the occasions on which we might be feeling as if our actions are just too small to make any difference:

“What you do may be insignificant, but it’s important that you do it.”

And that it’s never too late to take action:

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.

The next best time is now.”

Chinese proverb.

And these six questions:

  1. What am I grateful for today?
  2. Who am I connecting with and checking in with today?
  3. What expectations of normal am I letting go of today?
  4. How am I getting outside today?
  5. How am I moving my body today?
  6. What beauty am I creating or inviting in today?

Question #3, particularly, may be helpful in terms of identifying any changes that we have made during lockdown that we might want to take with us into our ‘new normal’…