The legendary black swan. Unpredictable, uncommon and unforseen circumstances that change the very fabric of society. We don't usually like them because they take us completely out of our comfort zones. These kinds of life events can often arrive with a deadly intensity, as with the current COVID-19 pandemic. As ugly and as maddening as these period upsets can be, they are necessary for us to get clarity about who do we want to be when we grow up.
Here are three important gifts the black swans present.
Self-examination. Let's face it....most of us never get to the point of self examination or self exploration until we are hit with some crisis. When was the last time you remember things going so well, it made you say "I think I'll change things up". The opposite is true. We become more conservative and want to maintain the status quo, even if it comes at the expense of other human beings. This black swan event is forcing countries around the world to look at how their healthcare infrastructures have left many people behind. This will help us determine what kind of people we are.
New ideas. There are a lot of ideas that are floating out there that never get the light of day until we face a crisis. Some of the most innovative ideas in the world all came during moments of crisis and necessity. We can now make room for those new ideas, knowing that the old ones don't work very well and require an update.
Visionary leadership. Often times, a society becomes stale because the leadership becomes stale. There is no bigger vision beyond maintenance. This is where the dynamism, the "electricity", the juice that drives a society to become great gets lost. Care taking leadership is the wrong kind of leadership during a black swan event. New ideas, new courage and new vision are critically important during this critical time. This does not mean to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but rather, how to build something new on top of the sacrifices made by others.
We can get stronger. There's an old phrase that's been traveling around for years that says "that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. " I've spent 12 years as a volunteer at the Samaritan House Homeless Shelter in Denver, Colorado. I can say with great confidence that statement simply isn't true. It's not the circumstances that makes us stronger. It's the decision we make about the experience. Often times, I've seen situations that didn't kill people immediately preceded to kill them later.....all because of the decision they made about the circumstances. This is an opportunity for us to become stronger....if we choose correctly.
This may not be what many of you wanted to hear right now in a time of crisis, but these are necessary steps in a long process. It's true. We can do this.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org