May you live in interesting times.
It’s not easy to appreciate the maxim: “May you live in interesting times.” Not until such times arrive and we have to reevaluate how we do things. It has become a little easy to be complacent in today’s world. A globalised playing field means we know what is happening everywhere and we benefit from the scale and variety of different regions.
But while we enjoy the benefits of globalism, its risks have been harder to appreciate. If anything, globalism seemed to mitigate the worst of humanity’s actions. Even wars are absorbed into the system. Events that were once significant problems now look like small bumps on the road forward.
This month though, the reality of global risk made itself well-known. The COVID-19 epidemic is a stark reminder that a connected world also means connected risk. The mood around this is sullen and anxious, which would make sense since the outbreak is unprecedented in modern history. If we are perfectly honest, we can’t fully predict what will happen next.
Yet we can be prepared, and COVID-19 could have been a lot worse at the start. Fortunately, we have taken note of previous outbreaks in the past few decades – in particular SARS in 2006 and the more recent threats from ebola. These have prompted the establishment of international infectious disease agencies and responses – all which are operating at full steam to counter COVID-19. Though the current epidemic has new lessons for us, we are nonetheless on better footing than if we didn’t pay attention to previous outbreaks.
COVID-19 is also a reminder that many people in the world still suffer from other infectious diseases. Tuberculosis is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide, and HIV continues to wreak havoc on more impoverished people in particular. COVID-19 shows that we can work together, show compassion and find a way through the rough times.
Risk can be unpredictable, and we meet risk by preparing and creating agility so we can respond in useful ways. The quick switch to work-at-home options demonstrates that with the right preparation, we can think on our feet. These are scary times, but they also show what we can do.
This reminds me of another maxim: “Courage is not a life without fear, but living despite fear.”
Catch up on our past newsletters
FIRESTORMS, EPIDEMICS AND ESCALATING CONFLICTS
It is tempting to refer to the start of 2020 as biblical. Firestorms, epidemics and escalating conflicts – this is already shaping up to be the year of external risks.
CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR AND ANOTHER CHANCE FOR US TO GET IT RIGHT.
Please enjoy the inaugural thryve New Shoots newsletter, kicking off 2020.
2019 has been a good year for thryve.