Don’t call the Coronavirus the China Flu

Let’s look at the term Coronavirus for a minute. It has been reported that 38% of beer drinkers would not drink a Corona beer since this pandemic began. Why? Corona beer has nothing to do with Coronavirus.

It’s because of the story we tell ourselves.

There is too much information in the world to process. In order to make sense of it, we have to create shortcuts. And so, we cherry-pick information to amplify a narrative we already have.

We don’t look for information to change our minds. No, we create shortcuts to amplify our narrative—we sort information, lump things together, put it in a box and label it.

The problem is with these shortcuts is, overtime, we continue to lump things together that shouldn’t. That is why some beer drinkers will not touch a Corona beer. Consumers have let their biases and prejudices get in the way of their fears. As a result, we lump Corona beer with Coronavirus.

“I’ll go with the Heineken this time, just in case.”

We are just not that good at taxonomy.

The truth is, all labels are a human invention. If one isn’t working then we can drop it and pick up a new one. Just call it Covid-19 and quit lumping all of China into one box. The people in China are just…people, not a virus. And they don’t want to be associated with this just like Corona Beer. It’s spreading unnecessary fear and violence.

Generosity is a choice

The generous things we can do:

  • Stay inside
  • Work from home
  • Embrace inconvenience
  • Take less than what you think you need
  • Don’t shake hands
  • Check-in on your neighbors (via phone)
  • Wash your hands
  • Remind others to wash their hands
  • Cough in your elbow
  • Be honest about your health
  • Shop local
  • Leave a larger tip
  • Wait to cancel memberships or ask for refunds if you can
  • Be informed
  • Don’t obsess about what you can’t control
  • Pick up a book
  • Learn a new skill
  • Write a blog
  • Share something new
  • Build something
  • Start something
  • Spend quality times with your kids, talk to them about their dreams
  • Spend quality time with your partner, look them in the eye
  • Meditate
  • Turn off Netflix (or video games)
  • Breathe
  • Relax
  • Be patient
  • Pray
  • Be grateful for what you have

Generosity is actually a posture. A posture each of us can develop.

The thing is with social distancing, being quarantined or temporarily inconvenienced is: this isn’t about you right now.

Glass ceilings

Glass ceilings are enough to create envy.

We no longer need to imagine the life we had always dreamed of, we can see it.

We see it when we blow an opportunity (especially with our social media-driven world).

Here’s the good news about glass ceilings though, you can smash them.

It feels risky to quit your job and to say goodbye to a paycheck. It feels risky to leave the security of home for the first time.

Saying goodbye to safety nets are never easy. But it also might be what you need to breakthrough.

“I am a cage, in search of a bird.” — Franz Kafka

Permission

Did you ask for it?

Or

Did you go on without it?

It seems ironic really, to go ask a boss for their blessing on something that might not work.

And if you fail, what does that say about them?

I think we are better off more times than not to ask for forgiveness later.

Our Rock Hudson moment

Rock Hudson played a pivotal role in bringing the AIDS epidemic into the spotlight. Before that time, Congress really had not taken the epidemic seriously. It wasn’t until rumors began to surface that Rock Hudson wasn’t actually sick from liver cancer, that his long time friend Ronald Regan called to see what was going on. Not long after, Rock Hudson died Congress allocated $190 million dollars for AIDS research (October 2, 1985). The amazing thing is, and I am not making this up, AIDS had been around for 5 years before Rock Hudson died.

It’s easier to change behavior when we know someone we care about is in danger. Otherwise, they are just another statistic.

Fast forward to today:

On March 6th, Governor Herbert announces a state of emergency. Utahn’s then raid the grocery stores (subsequently lead the nation in panic buying).  By March 11, Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with Covid-19 and the NBA shuts down. I think Rudy Govert was a tipping point where people in Utah were not onboard up to that point started to get stressed.

Yet…

I’m still not seeing people taking social distancing seriously. Why? Because it’s difficult to sustain a change in behavior. Indeed, human beings are great at misbehaving because with our narrative, we can justify anything.

The thing is, there is no cure for Novel (New) Coronavirus. Social distancing is the best mode of prevention and protection. It works to flatten curve so that we don’t overrun hospitals.

So, here’s the question: Are you going to wait around for a Rock Hudson moment before you change or are you going to act now?

HT The Daily – Confronting a Pandemic

Two boat metaphors

According to Wikipedia:

Those aboard Titanic were ill-prepared for such an emergency. In accordance with accepted practices of the time, where ships were seen as largely unsinkable and lifeboats were intended to transfer passengers to nearby rescue vessels,[164][l] Titanic only had enough lifeboats to carry about half of those on board; if the ship had carried her full complement of about 3,339 passengers and crew, only about a third could have been accommodated in the lifeboats.[166] The crew had not been trained adequately in carrying out an evacuation. The officers did not know how many they could safely put aboard the lifeboats and launched many of them barely half-full.[167] Third-class passengers were largely left to fend for themselves, causing many of them to become trapped below decks as the ship filled with water.[168] The “women and children first” protocol was generally followed when loading the lifeboats,[168] and most of the male passengers and crew were left aboard.

I assume, some people believed that the Titanic could not sink. As a result, they failed to act and suffered the consequences because their worldview didn’t match reality.

I’m still seeing social distancing not taken seriously.

And hopefully, those few will see that the ship is taking in water before it’s too late.

The good news is, we are not abandoning ship. Social distancing is the number one form of prevention and does work.

One more boat metaphor to think about:

The boats rise and fall with the tide. We are in this together. The longer we wait to change our behavior, the more it’s going to hurt.

In the Time of Pandemic

And the people stayed home. And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live, and they healed the earth fully, as they had been healed.

A great poem to match the feeling of the moment. The only problem is that many people are mistaking the author with deceased Irish Author, Kathleen O’Mara with the real author, Kitty O’Meara, who wrote this piece just this past week.

As you can see, that hasn’t stopped the poem from spreading even if the author is wrongly cited. (Note the picture that is supposedly from the Spanish Flu era.)

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It’s worth pointing out here: Memes are sticky. They stick so well because they are short, digestible and there are so many, all it takes is for one to strike a chord.

In the age of streaming endless information, it’s even more important to stop and ask, “Where did this source come from?”

Playing Telephone in elementary school was already difficult enough. Now try playing it with the world.

All humans seek now more than ever is clarity. While we can’t predict what happens next, we can accurately report what is happening now.

Do you remember what we even talked about before the pandemic?

As the Covid-19 narrative continues to dominate the conversation, it’s worth reminding everyone that it’s okay to talk about something else.

It’s important to not let our fears, anxiety and doubts take the driver’s seat. If we don’t talk about the other stuff (the more important stuff actually), we are blowing an amazing opportunity here to reconnect. To recognize what is most important.

There are things that are out of our control. Talking about them, obsessing about them, won’t change that.

Your best art is next

Bob Dylan’s first album wasn’t a greatest hits record.

And neither were the Stones.

Nor Zepplin.

All of the greatest hits came after a large body of work was produced.

This means, your best art is still waiting to be made.

Even in social distancing, keep making a ruckus.

Doubt versus apprehension

It is always much worse to stand on the edge of something.

The trick then is to decide before you look down what you are going to do. Because deciding afterward is much more difficult to do.

It’s easy to mistake doubt as apprehension.

Apprehension is normal. It’s okay to assume that this next step might be scary to take.

Doubt your fears before your faith.