Five key lessons that 2020 taught us

Published On: January 7, 2021 08:01 AM NPT By: Sudarshan Neupane

We have managed to pass probably the most terrible year 2020 with several learnings and pragmatic strategies. All this will be very important for 2021.

2020 is undoubtedly one of the worst years due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The past nine months have been a rollercoaster for our economy as well as education, health and all other systems. With the entire world still going upside down, it is certain that things will likely never be quite the same in 2021. What is interesting is that while this pandemic hit hard on all businesses around the world, some of the changes taking place ultimately forced people, institutions and dealings to be more resilient, adaptive and innovative, which has been the silver lining in the chaotic situation. In this article, I am sharing some great lessons we have learnt from this difficult and unprecedented times that maybe beneficial for anyone willing to reflect on their journey and make planning for 2021.

Lesson 1

Embrace ambiguity and vagueness that life presents to us. For most of 2020, there was a lot of mayhem around how to deal with this global epidemic. It made people interrogate their belief system, question the role of technological advancement, relook at the distribution of wealth and more importantly, the functionality of our political system to protect and serve vulnerable people. There are several aspects of ‘vagueness’ that still exist in the aftermath of Covid vaccination breakthrough in the Western world owing to its efficiency and efficacy dispute. This reminds us that there is no better time than now to have open and transparent communication about steps that governments and every organization are putting in place to protect everyone which will ultimately generate trust from all people in the fight against Covid-19. Every institution needs to continuously reinforce that trust by continually making sure you do what you have promised to keep everyone safe.

Lesson 2

 Be proficient in different means of communication. Another striking learning as a result of Covid-19 is on the ‘virtual’ mode of working, learning and doing things. Who would have thought that it would be possible to operate from distance with the use of technology for large majority of services? Those people who had better proficiency and were used to working online felt quite easy in this shift. It was certainly easier for some jobs than others, but it is fair to say that having proficiency and technical understanding is proven worthwhile in this era of globalization. Even in post-Covid situation, our children, youth, and adults need to be technology literate and be able to make use of that to thrive in any business or tasks.

Lesson 3

Selfcare is the biggest priority. In the history of humankind, meeting another normal human was perhaps never felt this scary before. While the countries around the world were imposing endless ‘lockdowns’ to prevent mass spread and encouraging people to stay at work and work from home as much as they can, studies have shown significant impact of these on the mental and physical wellbeing of the person. One of the most important takeaways from 2020 is that selfcare is always extremely important to maintain it in any circumstance. People and families have learnt to take care of oneself in isolation, quarantine or while distancing from others by doing some mindfulness exercises, getting in touch with friends and families through social media and most importantly listing selfcare over everything. Prioritizing self is a key to managing positive attitude which has a strong direct connection with better performance. This is the most useful learning for 2021 and beyond.

Lesson 4

Embrace innovation and adaptability as key to any successful business. While Covid-19 had detrimental impact on all major businesses, industries and work, there were some that did extremely well due to the nature of the support but also due to their ability to innovate and adapt quickly. One of the stark reminders for any work in this global pandemic is that we need to be better when it comes to adapting it to the new changes and take appropriate measures to think beyond the box to adapt into the new situation and deal with the new environment.

We have successful examples in all the sectors starting from online retail services to e-learning to providing all essential services using internet. Few companies went through transforming their services and products and gained very good fortune for their companies leading the way for others.

Lesson 5

Create a culture that promotes courage and resilience. In the past months, many of us have had our beloved ones affected by this virus and some even lost their lives, millions have lost their jobs and businesses, all important planning for the year got distorted which left us deserted, helpless and furious. In this dark time of the history, there were several individuals and institutions who stood up and brought some lights into the lives of people by providing authentic care, useful information and ensuring the safety of all people. While the loss is truly enormous, it really warms up our heart to see endurance of healthcare professionals and all others who dared to keep working in this extremely changing environment. Now that we have passed this horrific year, there is a stark reminder that we all as humans have abundance of resilience and that we need to look back and seek for it intentionally whenever necessary.

To conclude, we have managed to pass probably the most terrible year 2020 with several learnings and pragmatic strategies. All this will be very important for 2021. We all need to be courageous to keep the ball rolling and make 2021 a successful year through our collective resilience.

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