Nothing stands still. The world has changed since I wrote the letter to my reps one week ago.

  • Coronavirus continues to spread. As of this minute 4,361 deaths in the USA, 45,371 in the world. Confirmed cases: 905,279 in world; 199,092 in USA — the highest in the world.
  • Our vital caregivers – first-responders in hospitals, clinics, police and fire departments – are dying in alarming numbers because they do not have protective masks and personal protective equipment.
  • Our children and grandchildren are asking us deeper questions. See my Zoom conversation with Oasis in the Overwhelm trainer Anne-Marie Knight and her three grandchildren.

In my ThriveGlobal story yesterday (link), I invited us to view our national budget with fresh eyes. I did not include these facts:

  • President Trump’s discretionary budget for 2020 is $1.3 trillion. More than half (57% – $718 billion) goes towards Defense.
  • The balance of 43% must pay for all other domestic programs. The largest of these programs are Health and Human Services (7% – $90 billion), Education (5% – $62 billion), and Housing and Urban Development (4% – $44 billion).
  • Additional amounts in this 43% include Veterans Affairs (7% – $93 billion) and Homeland Security (4% – $52 billion). These two programs could be said to push “Defense” up to 63%. Source

I talked about the two characters that Chinese use to express crisis: danger + opportunity and asked if it was time to turn our swords into plowshares.

I posed the questions:
Outlandish to think of re-training people and industries? 
Huge initial effort and expense? 
Impossible to do? 

This week’s news lets me know that individuals and businesses are already recognizing more keenly our common humanity, our interdependence – and, yes, the vital needs of today’s market. 

Some Examples of Fast Teamwork

Even before the President invoked the Defense Production Act, Connecticut-based General Electric Corporation and Michigan-based Ford Motor Company voluntarily acted to work together to speed production of healthcare ventilators. (link)

Mercedes Formula 1 engineers teamed up with clinicians and university engineers in London to design – in less than 100 hours – a breathing aid for coronavirus patients that can be quickly mass produced. (link)

Fashion designer Christian Siriano’s team is making hundreds of masks a day and is encouraging other designers to produce masks and protective garments. Siriano says, “Fashion could really change everything in a week. Look, we have nothing else to do right now. Nobody is buying clothes so what can we do? I hope that everybody can pitch in.” (link)

When competitive sports came to a halt, hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer faced the possibility of closing its plant in Blainville, Quebec. Instead, engineers there brainstormed: how can we produce medical shields to protect doctors and nurses? Mary Kay Messier, VP of global marketing said, “There’s a real shortage, a dire shortage of medical devices and gear that’s needed to keep people on the front lines safer. We all want to figure out how we can make a difference.”  Already more than 100,000 devices have been produced. (link)

Clayton and Crume, a small leatherworking outfit in my home town of Louisville, KY, announces: HOW WE’RE HELPING: Producing surgical shields to protect our medical community. They add, “It is our mission to create goods that, like a barrel of good Kentucky bourbon, only get better with time.” (link)

Not to be outdone by leatherworkers, distilleries in Kentucky and Indiana are pivoting from bourbon to sanitizers. (link)

Fanatics, a company that manufactures uniforms for baseball teams is partnering with Major League Baseball to support emergency personnel who are fighting against COVID-19. “We’re utilizing our manufacturing plant in Easton, PA to make masks and gowns out of the same jersey fabric that the players wear.”   (link)

Questions for today:

For the cost of one submarine, how many surgical masks could be produced?
How many ventilators for one Blackhawk helicopter?
How many bridges repaired for one nuclear-powered ship?
How many hospitals, health clinics, schools built for the cost of one military base in the US or abroad?
Impossible to make the mega-shift?

I clearly recognize that transforming Electric Boat or Pratt-Whitney into life-protecting/eco-friendly manufacturing is not as simple as fashion designers shifting to make protective garments. However, more unimaginable things have happened.  

We got to the moon.

Perhaps the more difficult question for our nation today is:
 How can we come to a saner meaning of “national security”?of “world peace”? 

As Michelle Maneevese, the Yale–New Haven Health professional whose department photo was featured yesterday (link), said, I cannot stress enough the importance of this being a group effort. We’re all in this together, no matter our age, our income, our education, our place of birth.

We did figure out how to get to the moon. Landing date: July 20, 1969.

This current unprecedented crisis might bring us to an earth that is healthier, safer, more caring.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

United Nations Chief António Guterres said last week:
“It’s time to silence guns, stop artillery, end airstrikes and create corridors for life-saving aid and open windows for diplomacy. It is time to put armed conflict on lock-down and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
He adds, “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

Maybe our beloved nation can transform itself. 

Maybe we can become the nation known for true pursuit of life, liberty, happiness – for us and for the world.

If not now, when?

What do we want our grandchildren to remember us for?

Oasis Sanity Tip for today. Pause to hang out with these questions:

  1. What do I truly value about my life?
  2. What legacy do I most want to leave for my children and grandchildren?
  3. What action can I take today to add power to my legacy?

Written by Millie Grenough — Feel free to comment/share


  • Millie Grenough

    Author of Oasis in the Overwhelm, Life Coach, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry

    Yale University School of Medicine

    Millie Grenough is known for her ability to inspire people to do what they thought was impossible. Millie walks her talk: ex-shy Kentuckian turned Yale Instructor and life coach, ex-nun turned nightclub singer, she has taught non-swimmers to swim, non-singers to sing, burnt-out CEOS to re-boot, frazzled parents to chill, warring parties to work together. She is also a Certified Rubenfeld Synergist and Clinical Social Worker. Her book, Oasis in the Overwhelm - 60-second Strategies for Balance in a Busy World, has helped thousands of people live healthier, happier, more meaningful lives. D. Murali of The Hindu Business Line calls Millie's Oasis Strategies "A whiff of fresh air...a clear stream of reason in the dreary desert sand of dead habit."