March 28, 2020
Just three short weeks ago, I was putting the finishing touches on a keynote presentation for a group of 500 entrepreneurs. They were flying in from around the world to enjoy the sites of Sydney and an amazing learning experience with their peers. Like so many large events, the next day it was cancelled due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. The irony is that the talk was entitled Human First, and the premise was to create awareness of how our focus on doing was compromising our state of being ... human being. It opened like this:
The world is abundant yet overwhelmed
Affluent but desperately wanting more
Connected yet starved for human interaction
This is the world we live in
but I ask you is this the world we want?
Fast forward three weeks, and mother nature has forced our hand gifting us a moment of inflection that is long overdue. We find ourselves at a decision point that will shape history, one that requires us to consider a fundamentally different future, a future that puts Humans First. Our very survival depends on it.
Up until now, we’ve been distracted. Many of us have been ‘busy’ doing, accumulating, and prioritising productivity at the expense of our humanity. However as the world goes into lockdown, we find our eyes wide open. We’ve started to consider perhaps one of the most important questions there is … what does it mean to be human?
My observation based on how we are adapting is that it comes back to basics. It’s about connection, kindness, and a sense of purpose. The change in human behaviour has been swift and more often than not, it is grounding us back to the things that matter and light us up as human beings.
We see neighbours no longer walking past each other looking at their mobile phones but looking up smiling, asking how one is and investing the time getting to know each other. Parents are reconnecting with their children in new ways now that home schooling is a reality. We are prioritising our elders, ensuring they have what they need and are safe. We’re reconnecting with nature, going to the park to kick a ball, walking the dog just to be with others even if it is at a distance. We’re creating the time to humanly connect even if the only means we have is FaceTime or Zoom. We’re seeing people around the world singing together from their windows.
The reality is we are one big human family and the ability for that family to not only survive but to thrive, at unprecedented time, sits firmly with us. We are human first.
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