Hindsight is Always 2020

The beginning of a new year, no matter which marker is used to take the measurement ( Lunar New Year, Persian New Year, etc.). The end of the unit provides an opportunity to reflect on the previous four seasons — and these were undoubtedly an outlier. Yet with as much turmoil, economic destruction, and death that has been experienced by so many, there were more than a few silver linings to appreciate and have gratitude towards:

  • Nearly all of us dressed more comfortably in shorter commutes as we indulged in the culinary arts.
  • Business travelers were able to spend more quality time with their families and parents became highly involved in their children’s education.
  • Relationships with neighbors developed or were enhanced and art was both created and experienced that may never have otherwise.
  • Creativity, agility, and adaptation elevated as highly desirable business skills.
  • Industries accelerated digitization, especially in health care, education, and entertainment.

Yet, the most obvious and striking reflection over the last twelve months is that as humans, we need each other and fair far better as a collective than in isolation. The perplexing irony of this past trip around the sun is that this trait of togetherness is exactly what was needed to be suppressed. A few millenniums ago, Aristotle, in Politics, rightly described humans as “social animals” — that they cannot be fulfilled without people and their character.

Zoom meetings helped provide some semblance of these critically missing interactions, but this past year highlighted how spontaneous and unpredictable networking, near water coolers, on conference floors, and barstools are essential to our mental well-being. Online learning will absolutely be transformative to developing countries and have shown their overall utility as a tool, however, any parent can attest that personal interaction is a necessity for a child’s rounded growth. This reality also exists with new hires and those venturing into new positions and careers, both voluntarily and out of necessity — it is a very difficult time to build that trusted internal support network to thrive.

As the counter of a new time period begins, the past year’s challenges did not magically dissipate. As with all endeavors, the final 20% of work takes 80% of the effort and this pandemic still has an exhausting stretch ahead of us. We put away our Holiday decorations, are slowly weaning off of our streaming services, and are heading back to the proverbial “salt mines”. We also have an opportunity to examine and refine our perspectives as we enter into our now-accustomed-to-modified routines of school and/or work.

Humans may no longer have the same analytical skills as many advanced artificially intelligent systems that are in place today, but they have certain qualities that will always be valued more: bravery, passion, generosity, empathy, and love. It is well researched that employees who feel appreciated are more productive and loyal, yet there is a widespread assumption that setting tough goals and pushing people is the only way to improve productivity. We must resist the tendency to overemphasize numbers, figures, and trends, while overly dismissing emotions such as faith, trust, and inspiration.

As a community, we need to remain steadfast, focused, and diligent in reaching the light that we all see at the end of this pandemic tunnel while valuing and emphasizing the qualities that make us, well . . . human.

Published By Robi Papp

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.



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Robi Papp

Robi Papp


Wake up, work like mad, try to make tomorrow a little better than today, be kind to family - what else?