Six life-altering lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught me

Anjana Bhaskar

By Anjana Bhaskar

Life-Altering Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19. It’s what’s on everybody’s mind these days. From the government to the media to the public citizenry, we all agree that the havoc created by this little virus is turning the economy on its head; sinking empires, quite literally.

Whatever chaos Covid brings along, it’s proving to be a great teacher. There are so many life-changing lessons to be learnt from this unwelcome, diabolical visitor, who has chosen to make camp amongst us all. Here are a few that made the top of my list.

Lesson #1:
We are never fully in control.

Before COVID-19, there was the H1N1 pandemic that infected millions across the globe, and resulted in tens of thousands of casualties. Before that was the Hong Kong flu of 1968, another pandemic, where the global death toll stood at about a million . Before that, the H2N2 or Asian flu pandemic is said to have caused at least a million fatalities. The list goes on.

Clearly, these things have a way of escalating. Yet no one saw the coronavirus situation spiralling out of control, despite clear historical indicators. It goes to show that with all the sophisticated analytical models at our disposal, some things are bound to slip through the cracks.

Lesson #2:
The digital divide exists, and it’s frighteningly wide.

Despite our best efforts to push the envelope on digital transformation, we have to accept the fact that a lot of the transformation that’s currently happening is superficial at most. Even in this advanced day and age, we have few industries that can claim to be truly digitized. Then we have those sectors which can never fully be digitized. The gap has never been more glaring.

The Covid situation teaches us that digital can never fully REPLACE the value of real human interaction. Technology is at best a reliable ally, a useful tool, a comfort factor, and nothing more.

lesson #2

Lesson #3:
It’s important to stay connected.

Admittedly, in the race towards bigger, better, bolder, we tend to leave relationships behind. Crisis situations have the ability to mend these fractures and forge strong social bonds, as people overcome their differences to band together for survival.

The Covid situation teaches us to settle our petty differences, and focus on the big picture. We may like to think of ourselves as sedentary souls who value “space”, but as human beings, we are built for an inherently social lifestyle.

This is critical so we draw from each other’s strengths, and find reassurance under even the most grim circumstances.

Lesson #4:
A break has been long overdue for most of us!

All you need to succeed in life are a sound mind and a sound body. After all, what good is all the wealth and success in the world if you or your loved ones are not around to enjoy it?

Now is the time to get your priorities straight. Focus on your health. Ask yourselves those existential questions: Why am I in the race in the first place, and for whom; what makes a difference to me at the end, and what really doesn’t?

You’d be surprised at the answers!

Lesson #5:
Work can be surprisingly cathartic.

When the world around you is imploding in a mushroom cloud of fake news, speculations and panic, keeping yourself engaged with work can be a much-needed therapy.

Working from home can present you with new challenges to overcome that’s unique to your situation. All the time you save on travel can be invested in pursuing your hobbies – or the priorities you put in the backburner.

At the very least, doing something differently can be a welcome distraction, keeping your fears at bay and your mind 100% occupied.

lesson #5

Lesson #6:
Crisis brings out your hidden qualities.

In any battle, you have the generals who build the strategy in line with the overarching objective. Then there are the sergeants, who instruct, advise and oversee the troops, and the soldiers who execute the strategy. They are heroes, bonded by camaraderie and courage in the face of imminent danger.

Fear and stress can make us react in ways that are unimaginable under normal circumstances. The best of us choose to fight the fear and emerge heroes – pillars of strength to those around them. Others cave under pressure, and become harbingers of fear and panic in their community.

Which one will you be? The choice is fully yours to make.

To the victor belong the spoils

The war against the coronavirus is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Situations like Covid call to us to summon our spirit of survival, and embrace it to think, act and react with utmost logic and boldness. Even under the most chaotic of circumstances.

Now is when we tap into our infinite reserve of wisdom and strength, and impart it to those who need it most.

Only in doing so can we defeat this deadly, unrelenting, otherworldly foe of the COVID-19.