After having succumbed — as a lot of 40-something — to the revival of the good old vinyl record, my husband recently came home with an original record of Sting’s named “Russians”. For those of you who don’t know this song (really?), it starts like this : “in Europe and America there’s a growing feeling of hysteria…”
What this song is about is the nuclear threat posed by the Cold War but still, these words resonates more than ever when one looks at what the world is going through right now…the nuclear threat is possibly (just about) less acute today but new challenges and threats have emerged.
I believe that what we are going through at the moment is not a single chain of events but several. There are a number of intersection points where they meet but they also have their own paths. Still the consequence is ultimately the same… this growing feeling of hysteria that Sting sung as early as 1985.
Our world is on fire. Literally, as it’s been in Australia some weeks ago. Metaphorically, if you think of what’s going on in places like Idlib or Lesbos. And now, this virus which is spreading death and panic all over the world.
The stock markets have gone head over heels as you would expect and as theorized by Keynes in the 1st part of the 20th century. Let’s recall that according to Keynes’ theory of “animal spirits”, the decisions of business leaders are based on intuition and the behavior of their competitors rather than on solid analysis.
So where does that take us ?
1. Drink a lot of water and breathe !— this was a mantra used a long time ago by a facilitator of a work offsite. As weird as this may seem, these words now resonate differently as it is indeed a very simple but powerful thing to do when a sense of panic takes hold of us.
2. Take a couple of steps back and remember that as long as there is life, there is hope.
3. The current events serve as a brutal but powerful reminder that we are humans. In our world of over-busyness and over-achievement, we tend to lose sight of our simple human conditions. Today, we have no choice but to look at this bare truth. We are all fragile (another one of Sting that comes to mind) and should remember this.
4. Finally, and more importantly, somehow there is a sense in all of this. If we have the will and unity, we could make this turning point a positive game-changer for our world: an opportunity to finally move towards a sustainable growth, the possibility to finally do some good for the planet and hopefully a reshaping of our business models towards more fairness for all stakeholders.“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Vaclav Havel