Peter Koijen writes about the future and the learning from that we can take away for the corona crisis.
The coronavirus has put a stress on society, the economy and therefore people. People are resilient and respond very differently to a crisis like this. This is not only due to their personal situation but also depends on the type of person they are. In a crisis you really get to know yourself and other people better in how they are in a situation that is immensely different from before.
I predict 5 trends that we will see after the coronavirus crisis, based on my experience and future trends and perspectives that are happening in society, the economy and politics. Companies need to prepare for a new era since the virus has been a major disruptor for many of us.
People usually act either on the cause side or on the effect side. Being on the cause side is a mindset that implies that people take full responsibility for their own emotional state. These people basically deal with a crisis with a belief set that implies that anything that happened in their life is due to their own choices. Therefore they believe that the crisis is what it is and that they are in the current situation with their job, finances and relationships because they chose to be in this situation. Great. Having this mindset means taking new actions, seeing new opportunities and working on changing to a positive mindset all the time, particularly in the most difficult times.
The other mindset is being on the effect side. This is when you act, think and feel in a way that you are suffering the effects of any negative consequence of the virus. Often this can turn into complaining, like repeating how bad things are. It can also lead to blaming, such as saying that the government is not helping enough, or your employer is not doing enough, or other people are not doing enough. It can also lead to a victim position, feeling that the world is against you, seeing no way out of your current situation and basically blaming, complaining and being negative, feeling sorry for yourself.
After the corona crisis, people will differentiate themselves through their mindsets. They will make the difference in the quality of their life and their work, through how they are able to change their mindset and having the tools to continue doing that. There will be more diversity in these people. The task for employers is to ensure that people are more equipped.
People have different relationships with their bodies. Some are consciously aware and take care of them, while some never pay attention to their bodies unless there have pain or some other discomfort or disease. The body is always there and through our breathing, our organs and our body system we are alive. And the body is incorporating the mind as well. The mind is part of the body.
Coronavirus has made us more aware of the vulnerability of the body. It has also shown us that the safety and health of our body depends on what others do. This has become clearer than ever before. During the crisis, people are protecting themselves through distance, through clothing and other protective measures.
After the crisis, people will deal differently with their body: differently than before coronavirus, but also differently amongst people themselves. More people will be asking and demanding safety from employers and suppliers like shops, and the travel and tourism industry. The patterns that we are creating, driven by the need for bodily safety, will stick with a lot of people for a long time.
In this crisis, a lot of people have been driven by fear, anger and sadness. Some people have been driven by happiness and surprise. Obviously it depends on the personal situation, combined with someone’s character.
During any crisis, we go through ups and downs much more than in a normal situation. And surviving that is training the flexibility of the mind and the body when it comes to emotions. However, it will also bring long-lasting patterns for people. The longer the crisis lasts, the more we will feel the need for positive emotions. The only problem is that if people are not equipped to deal with their emotions, they will substitute their negative emotions with stuff that is bad for the body. When you are not exercising, eating healthily, consciously reframing your mindset and taking care of your body, you run the risk of overeating, drinking, gambling, or developing another form of addiction to still experience pleasure in life or at work. Even attention seeking can be a way of installing a pattern to experience positivity in your life.
If you are an employer, parent, teacher or in any other kind of role in which you are responsible for others, you need to look out more for signs of people who are not able to handle their emotions in a productive, positive or entrepreneurial way. They need to watch out for signs of depression, addiction or other changes that are not healthy for themselves and their environment.
I still believe people are very agile. The only challenge now is that with a crisis you want to be aware of people who can do more harm to themselves and others.
Behaviours differ for every human being. People have patterns in behaviour and also already have patterns for dealing with a crisis. These patterns come from our education, upbringing, norms, values, experiences but also the current circumstances. This virus has an impact on the mind, body and emotions of people and so causes behaviours that are sometimes unpredictable. After the crisis, people will have learnt new behaviours to protect, love, shop, interact and do anything in life. Some of the patterns will be long-lasting, but some old patterns will re-emerge. The old needs of Maslow such as physical needs, safety, social contact, appreciation and self-development will still be there, although they might have shifted back more to the basics.
In any case, these needs will be unpredictable for every person or situation. Generally you can say that after the coronavirus crisis, it will be important for companies, teachers, parents and other people who are responsible for others to check where they are themselves in their needs and patterns, but moreover to ensure that people are safe, social and appreciated in the new digital world.
For example, people in some professions will resist coming back to their office cubicle every day because they have experienced that it is also possible to do a lot from home. People will need more and it is up to the ones caring, needing and employing other people to pay attention to that.
Einstein once said that it is insane to do the same thing over and over and again and expect a different result. This is particularly true for people after the coronavirus crisis. You cannot expect the same person to deliver the same result. You need to take into account that some results will be better and some will be worse. In the latter case you want to clearly take a step back to analyze what has changed in the person, in the environment and in the new digital world that people have entered in. That means you need to prepare people, train and coach them in mindset and emotions, provide them with tools for feeling safe in their body and train them in new ways of working. Not everyone will adapt that easily and if you want productive work results, a happy family or any other result for your own situation, you need to educate and reframe all your stakeholders. This is true for companies but also for families, schools and any other context.
Keep an eye on people, care for people, and care for yourself when you are caring for others. As they say on an aeroplane, in the case of an emergency, first put on your own oxygen mask before you put on your children’s. Otherwise, in the worse case scenario, you cannot help your children any more.