When I watch how people are behaving now that the Corona-related lockdown restrictions are beginning to be eased, what they think and how they’re making decisions, I can see a phenomenon that will probably keep us busy for a long time. And in a form that goes far beyond what we saw previously: namely a culture of ‘avoidance’ and ‘control’.
Only today I heard a discussion, that it would make sense to maintain a general obligation to wear masks in public spaces because it reduces the risk of infections – not just for Corona. I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to be the judge on this, but it shows in which direction people are thinking. And herein lies a danger that gives me pause for thought.
This is a trend I’ve been observing in the political and economic context for some time now. Regulators, politicians and business leaders tend to prioritize issues which promise security and the maintenance of their status. In this context we’re quick to jump aboard. But when it comes to taking risks – albeit calculated – which might at first appear less focused on security in order to promote new ways of thinking, solutions, innovations or even something like freedom, it quickly turns into a fight between those who are willing to take a risk in the name of progress and those who are guided by the fear of losing control, property or comfort. The great achievements and milestones in our world have always been driven by people who had the courage to break out of the circle of security.
Every leader in charge of an organization should keep this aspect firmly in mind and has, in my view, the obligation to create an environment in which fear and risk avoidance doesn’t prevail, but rather which fosters a healthy relationship between security and creational growth. People who are willing to do this inspire and encourage me – no matter from which areas of life they come.
For me, the title of John Ortberg’s book ‘If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat’ is one of my guiding principles in life. I recently read about the young British student, Lucy Hughes, who from my perspective, has dared to get out of the boat ‘to walk on water’. She overcame convention and was willing to break through the paradigm, that there is no alternative to polymer-based plastics. By combining this willingness with her values to develop something sustainable, ecological and of value for all concerned, she created an innovation that has the potential to change the world. (Take a look at her incredible innovative and motivating idea to solve our global plastic problem: https://www.marinatex.co.uk)
If this young woman, with her groundbreaking solution Marinatex, meets industrial leaders, who are willing to ignore the voices in their heads or cultures, which tell them why this can’t possibly work, or why this poses a threat to their own status, then there is hope for a better world. Then there is hope that man-made problems, such as the Corona-Crisis, the unbelievable ecological destruction or even the sick, fear-driven patterns such as racism or anti-Semitism can also be overcome.
One single person can make a difference and the good news is, that every single person is capable of deciding, whether to allow fear to rule or to overcome their ‘why not?’ stories in their head so they can grow or enable growth in others. That’s how transformation, no matter how big or small, begins. I believe that this was the original intention of the one who created humans. By deciding to give humanity this freedom, he was obviously also ready to take a risk.
In this sense I wish us all the courage that it will take to come out of the Corona-Crisis and to actively contribute to creating a better reality.