We are seeing a lot of information being shared about what’s happening “tactically” with the Covid-19 pandemic. I don’t know about you, but my inbox is overflowing and most of it I ignore. I hope that you won’t ignore my message here because it’s one of hope. It’s about the human factor and the change that is no doubt taking place inside each individual – mentally and psychologically, as we react to the events that are happening in our communities, within our families, among our friends, and even inside our homes.

Unlike other major events, this one is a human/immunity crisis, leading to an economic crisis, not just an economic crisis like we saw in 2000 & 2008. Every person and business will be impacted, permanently. We must adapt by changing our behavior, sometimes by force (shutdowns) and other times by will (staying indoors), and this has an impact on us both mentally and psychologically. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our highest need as humans is self-actualization, or achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities – yet these events have forced us to move down that hierarchy and focus on basic needs first and foremost. This is causing us to prioritize our physiological and safety needs first by doing everything we can to ensure that we have enough food, drink, and other essentials that give comforts, such as a roof over our heads and clothing. There is less concern about more materialistic things like fancy clothes, electronic gadgets, and “fun” items.

The world’s economy is taking a huge hit as well and is either directly impacting us individually, or we are concerned by what we see going on around us. As we strive to observe proper sanitation and hygiene, we are also being encouraged to practice social distancing and keep our interaction with other people to a minimum. This very action flies in the face of our need for human interaction (belongingness and love needs, as Maslow defines it). While this cannot be easy for most of us, the need to remain safe and healthy is motivating us to adapt.

In life, we have seen humans adapt to change and I believe this is another opportunity for us. Those who are forced to deal with their basic needs should definitely do so. Those who are able to focus on more psychological needs in this time of crisis should look for every possibility to do so. Let’s spend time with our immediate families in our homes. Let’s reach out to our friends and family via phone calls, text, video, and social media. I am excited that we live in an age where these things are possible. I’m also excited to hear how companies that provide these technologies are adapting to the increased demand and opening new doors to make these interactions possible. I’ve been teleworking for years and now enjoy connecting with friends and networking online with people who are doing it for the first time.

The opportunity for accomplishment and even achieving our self-actualization needs is there, even in this time of crisis. I’m certainly not trying to lessen the significance of the situation; it’s having very damaging effects. Despite that, I am choosing to focus on the positive that even this very negative situation brings. I believe that our world will adapt and thrive once this is over. Our job as humans is to focus on the needs that you as an individual require; there is nothing selfish about that if your needs are basic. As you fulfill those needs, “move up” and look for ways to do more. It warms my heart to hear of the many acts of kindness that are happening all over the world and even in my own Nextdoor community app. Amidst all of the bad news, make sure that you look for the good too, because it’s there. History has shown this.

The Future is Bright

Once this passes, because it eventually will, people will focus once again on the ultimate need of self-fulfillment. They will lead businesses that have adapted and now provide more work-life balance opportunities for their employees. Managers will learn the skills necessary to support their teleworkers so that they can be high contributors. A whole host of new products and services will likely emerge as a result of this that we haven’t even thought about yet. Yes, life as we know it has changed – but that’s OKAY. This is the human factor that no virus can take from us. We adapt, we evolve, and we grow as we look to the future. Stay positive my friends.

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