2020, oh boy! The Silver-lining

Every cloud has a silver lining… or so they say!
In many places, at least the places where I have lived and grown, there is excitement at the end of the year, and the beginning of another. Often, well wishers tell each other that they hope that the coming year will not be like the past one and will bring prosperity and better times. I also recall some comments at the beginning of 2020 and how it was here and real and very much unlike the science fiction dreams of flying cars and intergalactic travel. To these, my standard response is that we already have all those things, only that humans are not ready to use their personal robots – we are sophisticated primates anyway!

Upgrades are now mandatory

In the world of computers, things are often optional while they are in early stages, but it gets to a point where being on the old system has so many inefficiencies and bugs (inherent errors) that an upgrade becomes mandatory. This is where we may have gotten as a society. I will steer clear of the human toll that the current COVID-19 crisis is having on us and only focus on the silver-lining. I will also create a base for future hindsight that could see this apocalyptic experience differently.

We are all stuck at home, and the physical world as we have thus far known it has changed; and I contend that it is not going back to what it was a mere 2 months ago. Those who are waiting for business as usual will be surprised and left behind when new shoots sprout from the stump of that old tree. Those new shoots will bring new and more interesting things to life. One day (I hope and pray), we will look back to this fondly: as the moment when humanity brought its best game to the table. My perspective is that this is the great disruption that will mark our civilization and catapult us into a different kind of civilization. Like any crisis, it will clean out inefficiencies and make-normal some bleeding edge and fringe experiences (think of online anything, and virtual things).
I will briefly touch on some examples to illustrate this; with the plan to do a deeper dive on each in a dedicated article. Doctors and physical therapists are now seeing patients virtually. School-teachers are now instructing parents and students on how to learn and then monitoring them self-teach. If anyone had tried to make these changes to our civilization under different circumstances, it would have required several generations for minds and laws to change. But in 60 days, the insurance companies have allowed telemedicine, schools are online, and not to forget… all virtualizable jobs have continued to exist with little disruption.

Excuses and reasons are easy to come by

I cannot do X because of Y…
X could be the smallest task or goal, and Y could be any unrelated factor that is happening somewhere else in the milky way. In cases much closer to me, I have have seen people and also been part of the group of humans that find a reason or excuse for not doing things; even in situations where the reason is not a viable blocker.

I am focusing on this today because I just completed something that I previously imagined, planned, and choreographed on paper and in my mind without thinking that it would be practical: I had designed a situation where I could spend an open 5-day period (Friday 9am – Wednesday 6pm) to do something grand. In the past, and even when I had more support systems, like many others, I said that I could not expand my area of operation to cross borders and distance… here it goes:

  • I cannot take that job because I have children
  • I am too old and have real obligations; have a young employee without attachments do that task
  • I need to be home every weekend (even when those weekends are spent watching TV and cleaning yards)
  • [I will write more of these as they come to mind]

So, late last year, I decided that I do not want to be the guy who regrets for being ineffective. So I scheduled to conduct training sessions in Prague on the second week of January, and another set in Barcelona two weeks thereafter.

Last Friday, I caught a flight for Prague (I still cannot speak the language) and scheduled a very nice AirBnB so that I can live like a local. I arrived there on Saturday afternoon, did some food shopping at Tesco and stocked my kitchen. I related and got ready for the week (forcing jetlag). On Monday and Tuesday, I conducted training to a pleased audience that was asking to schedule future sessions for the future. Today (Wednesday) at 4am (GMT+1), Martin (yes, the same guy with a black Passat) came to my apartment and drove me to the airport. Between then and 12.35pm (GMT-5), I was in aircraft and at airports. I was able to keep track of my work as well as my upcoming home obligations.

I made it home having spent the 5 days far away and accomplished way more than I would previously have accomplished in 5 weeks. This made it clear to me that I can do even more than this, I just have to keep improving – that is why I love Kaizen