Many of you will be familiar with the Kübler Ross Change Curve - seven stages that can help people adapt to change. It is not intended to suggest that we move through the stages in a linear direction or step by step but reversing this in to what we have seen in the last week is quite stark.
What could typically take months and years has been accelerated through seven days and we have certainly seen some significant peaks when it comes to the denial stage. What we have also seen is that, whether through adrenalin, urgency or need, we have moved quickly to the experiment stage and haven't done too bad if we are honest with ourselves. It will be interesting to see how, through continued experimentation, we will turn the way we work completely on its head and more so than any revolution that has gone before.
When I was thinking about this, it also prompted me to reflect on the last seven days in a slightly different way and specifically, the trend, trajectory and speed in which we have experienced compassion, generosity and kindness - all of these are traits that will be absolutely critical as we navigate the next few weeks and months. Some may argue that I have been over-generous in how I have represented stupidity, ignorance and denial but hopefully the trend resonates and even if it doesn't, it will have to very soon.
A few examples that we will have all seen or heard about that brings this to life:
- over 405,000 people signing up to be NHS volunteers in the first 24 hours
- Dyson refocusing their business to produce c.10,000 ventilators in weeks
- doctors, nurses and police officers coming back from retirement to fill an ever-increasing gap in capacity
- teachers offering support remotely to children they have never taught (or met)
- shops that have been forced to close giving away food to people who will have never spent a penny there
- strangers picking up prescriptions and shopping for the vulnerable and those in need
- supermarket workers still turning up for work despite everything go on and the personal commitments that they will have
The list continues and will continue.
From a personal perspective, I hadn't even heard of Joe Wicks a few days ago but he momentarily drew a small crowd with my family on Monday having done his bit to be generous and kind in keeping people (and specifically children) active. That said, yesterday it was only my wife who was still persevering to 'shoot aliens and reach for the stars' as she was doing the spotty dog but we will explore the increasing number of ways that people are doing their bit to look after and support others.
Alongside the generosity and 'giving back', it also feels like people have more time or are making an effort to have conversations with others. This includes having conversations with neighbours as you both stand across the road from each other and talk about everything and anything when only last week you may have only indulged in a cursory hello or nod. It also includes friends that you may have only seen infrequently over the last few months but through technology (that was always there anyway) are able to connect together and have conversations as if you were in the same room.
When it comes to compassion, we are learning quickly and finding ourselves forgiving each other quickly as well. I am sure that I am not alone in finding that being together as a family 24x7 in the same space for a prolonged period of time (it has only been a few days so far) is very different to being on holiday together. Trying to remain calm as I sat on a video call to see my two boys set up to play cricket in the garden (which is not a big garden I hasten to add), with a real cricket ball and neighbours doing their thing in their own gardens (one in the greenhouse that I had convinced myself would be a magnet for the ball) prompted an out of body experience as the bat swung backwards and the ball was bowled at speed. A pretty hostile atmosphere ensued for a while but we are back to the ever evolving state of normal now.
As I think ahead to the need for further and accelerated experimentation, it brings with it some good learns and what will become funny memories for us as a family. For example the preparation of dinner resembling an episode of Ready, Steady, Cook as we think about what we can make with what we have in the fridge; and recognising that you can’t all be online at the same time especially if it involves Netflix, Fortnite and Zoom (on more devices than I ever realised connected to the internet). This will undoubtedly be just the tip of the iceberg.
Whatever happens, we can adapt, we can respond and we can be positive in the face of challenge, adversity and uncertainty. Change is an inevitable part and truth of life, and there is no running away from it. In closing, I thought I would share this quote from Vladimir Lenin which sums up quote nicely where we are.
Take care, stay safe and keep well.
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