Covid-19 is revealing some uncomfortable truths to us.
We have built an incredibly fragile economy based on things of fleeting and peripheral value.
What is left of any value when we have consumed:
- The £3 coffee that contains around twenty five pence worth of coffee?
- The £3,000 holiday that we spent checking our phones and worrying about what was happening whilst we were away?
- The initial ego satisfaction of the expensive car in the drive that is costing us a fortune in running costs and depreciation?
- The expensive gym membership that we use to substitute for real exercise, for free, outdoors?
- Leadership consulting, the wellness industry, personal development gurus.
- Add your own favourite here.
Each of us has a unique ability to add value to other people’s lives. We might be a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, an engineer, an architect, a careworker, or a variety of other roles that make the world a better place for others. People in the generative economy.
Then, there is the extractive economy – those who effectively privatise the generative economy. The high priests of scale who add complexity, from marketing and PR to finance, consulting and various shades of commercial law in a headlong pursuit of self interest.
We have got the balance wrong, and become hooked on complexity. We end up working harder and putting up with more impositions and restrictions and then anaesthatise ourselves with those coffees, holidays, gym memberships and cars and outplacing blame.
Covid has shown us that:
- You can be your own Barista, and enjoy it.
- That spending the time that you would normally commute walking in nature removes much of the need for an expensive holiday, and kills the gym membership stone dead.
- That when it comes to functionality and moving us around, a Mini is every bit as good as a Maserati.
- That unless we’re careful, what we own ends up owning us.
- That a good chunk of what we spend our money on is skilfully marketed bullshit, and we’re up to our necks in it.
- We all matter. How we spend the brief time we have here demands respect and reflection.
Time spent with family, people who value you for who you are more than your role or spending power, and appreciating the absolute joy and privilege of being alive at all is irreplaceable.
The real pleasure derived from banging your head against a brick wall is the absolute pleasure when you stop.
Complexity is a fact of life and nature. It is constantly evolving faster than we understand it. Complexity has no desire to be solved.
We can choose how much of our lives we it we want to spend wrestling with and why, compared to enjoying it and the pleasure of allowing more simplicity into our lives.
It’s hardly an instant solution and will take generations, but if not now, when?
Covid-19 is not our enemy. We are unless we take note of what’s in front of us.
We are enough as we are. We just need to avoid the bullshit.