Let’s see humanity go viral

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Let’s see humanity go viral

How many of you can remember swimming at the beach with rough waves? Having grown up in Sydney, Australia I can recall many an occasion where I’d be swimming in the sea and the waves would be so rough, so big, so tumultuous that it felt like all my effort was just in the act of keeping my head above water. Each time I’d come up for air and another huge wave would be upon me. If I didn’t take a quick breath then dive back down quickly I knew I was going to get dumped. I can even remember gripping onto the sand bed on the ocean floor as large waves swept over the top of me. When you do finally get out of the water you’re exhausted, panting, hair full of sand, eyes red with salt water and your heart pumping fast. It’s exhilarating!

To me this kind of feeling is the sensation a lot of people seem to be experiencing currently. It feels like just as we start to get used to or somewhat desensitized to one tragic event, another hits us – like a giant wave – and we scramble to take a breath before the next one is upon us. It’s testing and relentless and, at times, totally exhausting.

So much of the news lately has been about the global spread of the Covid-19 virus – stories of the deserted streets of mass-quarantined cities, of empty shelves in supermarkets, of graphs hockey-sticking to the right as numbers climb and videos of expert this or that sharing what to do or not to do. And we’re seeing huge pressure placed on our largest institutions, leaders as well as our frontline staff to try to keep this at bay.

From what the exerts say it looks like this is just the start and it’s going to be with us for a while. So, it presents not just a physical but also a mental challenge for us all. It’s going to put pressure on us all as humans. And when we’re under pressure as humans our nervous system releases stress hormones and we have a “fight-or-flight” response where fear kicks in. My hope is that at the same time we seek to self-preserve and self-protect, that we also seek to minimise the spread of fear, to connect to our humanity, and find our ‘me’ in ‘we’.

Our humanity is what will make the difference as we navigate through the times ahead. It is humanity that sees the residents of Italy singing together out of their balconies in solidarity. It is humanity that sees people across Spain applauding the valiant efforts of their healthcare workers. It is humanity that sees children buying toilet paper for old or sick people. It is humanity that sees people sending supplies to people more in need. It is humanity that sees us self-quarantine even if we think ‘we’ll be fine’. It is humanity that sees us just checking in with our friends, family and community and asking “how are you doing?”

We can choose to put compassion at the heart, leading with kindness, patience and understanding. We can choose to humanise our workplaces, our schools, our communities, our governments. We can choose to seek out true connection even without physical connection.

If this virus has taught us anything at all it’s that small droplets can spread and create giant waves of impact. Small ripples on the water with a strong breeze can easily become huge waves at shore. Small actions have meaning.

Here are just some examples of many small things we can all do that would make a material difference during these times of uncertainty:

  • If you’re a leader of a business or community – people are undoubtedly afraid and during times of fear understandably our productivity levels can dip. Reach out, find ways to connect, huddle up and find virtual opportunities to stay in touch

  • If you’re sick – stay home and self-isolate – if not for you, for the immunocompromised, elderly or other members of the community

  • Buy local – small businesses and the gig economy are going to be hit hard from this, finding ways to help support them could be the difference between them staying afloat or having to shut up shop

  • Tap out of the overwhelming media, sensationalized stories or rumour-filled conversations. Be kind to yourself and recognise when you need to step away from all the information overload

  • Thank the frontline workers – the healthcare staff, the cleaners, the bus drivers, etc… – they are working hard so that the system can survive, so it’s the least we can do to show our gratitude

What is one small thing you can do today to choose humanity?

All it will take is for us to each of us to make the choice and choose humanity.

Let’s see if we can really make humanity go viral!

#meforwe #humanitygoesviral

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