If you think back to New Year's Eve, 2020 (that sweet and innocent time Before the Dawn of Covid), you may remember that the general mood was one of happy expectation. Individually and collectively, we were hoping for great things from 2020, not least because the number makes us think of having perfect vision and a clear perspective.
Well, be careful what you wish for, as they say.
Now that we're almost halfway through the year, what's clear is that 2020 really IS giving us a new perspective... on just about everything.
At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting last Saturday, we talked about how we can gather data to look for meaningful patterns in business and society and life.
We discussed how accurate observation of what we see going on around us, and appropriate interpretation of the signals, messages, and lessons implied, can help us forestall problems and avoid crises.
The pandemic is giving us a new perspective by breaking our existing mental schemas-- the patterns we have previously found useful for understanding the world.
This is a painful thing to go through. We have to let go of comfortable ways of seeing and doing things, and instead learn to cope with chaos and tolerate complexity in a new reality where the BEST one can hope for is to be able to say, "It's complicated".
At the meeting last week, we talked about the relationship between taking care of ourselves and taking care of others, at the level of our businesses.
Taking care of our clients and customers can be part of a positive feedback loop that nourishes rather than depletes us.
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The key is to build self-care and rest into our schedules. Although what we do as online educators can't compare with the level of sacrifice being made by front-line workers in hospitals, factories, grocery stores, transit, and emergency services, there is a way in which online educators are on a different kind of front line:
Online educators are on the front line of helping people learn in the new reality we all face.
Learning is the process of adapting to one's environment in order to promote survival.
So learning is one of the most important things people can and must do in order to survive and thrive.
At next week's community meeting (on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020) we will explore how one can have a balanced life under these new conditions:
- Personally, with balance between work and rest
- Socially, with balance between self and family, one's own needs and community needs
- Communally, with balance between personal freedom and public good
In a situation where no one has all the answers (and sometimes we feel as if we don't have ANY answers), the important thing, as we've discussed before, is to ask meaningful questions.
And once we've asked the important questions, we can work collaboratively to find answers based on patterns that start to emerge from accurate, meaningful, scientific data.
When we focus on collaboration rather than competition, we recognize that while none of us has THE answer, by co-creating things collaboratively we can allow everyone to contribute their own expertise to find solutions that benefit everyone.
Questions to ask on a community and societal level include:
- How can we strengthen social capital?
- How can we make sure everyone has what they need?
- How can we take care of the very young and the very old?
Questions to ask on a global level include:
- What is working for people in other countries?
- What systems can we find globally that we can all learn, from each other?
- What social structures are working for people (in families, workplaces, and communities) and which are not?
2020 has yanked us all out of our comfort zones and caused us to confront whatever needs strengthening: in ourselves, in our families, in our social and health care and financial systems, our supply chains, and our planet as a whole.
We've been forced to contract into our own spaces, to question everything we do, to ask life-or-death level questions about going to the grocery store.
If we can tolerate the discomfort of staying outside of our comfort zones long enough to accurately evaluate the data that we are gathering, the end result will be expanded awareness and improved collaboration and a more sustainable global culture.
So 2020 is giving us the gift of perspective… not an easily won gift.
Through collaboration we can create something that none of us can create on our own. Our role as teachers is not to have all the answers, but to provide spaces where meaningful questions can be asked and collaborative problem solving can occur.
If we learn to look for the silver lining, while accurately assessing the clouds, the end result can be expanded awareness, improved collaboration, and a more sustainable global culture.
You are invited to contribute your expertise, insight and wisdom at next week's community meeting. I hope to see you there!
Register for the meeting
Saturday, May 23rd, 2020
9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern