“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” – Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States
New Year Eve 2019 -2020 is clearly etched in my mind. It was my first New Year away from home, at Bangalore – the city that is famous for its grandiose New Year celebrations. I could see that everyone around me were happy and excited to celebrate the bygone 365 days and welcome what lies ahead. People were in good spirits and optimistic about the future. As the mid night hit, wishes from families and friends came pouring in and people in the neighborhood were welcoming the New Year with loud cheers and fireworks. Well, it just began like every other new year in a jolly good mood but after a couple of months, came COVID and the entire country went under lockdown. This flipped our life upside down just like that in a moment. Little did we know what 2020 would actually look like.
Now as we all gear up to welcome the New Year 2021, that’s just around the corner, let’s take a reflective journey and look at the lessons that we can learn from an indelible year like 2020. Of course, it has been a difficult year, but every cloud has a silver lining so let’s look at the few positive takeaways from the year 2020. Below, I’m sharing few of the lessons that I’ve learnt over the last 12 months.
- Resilience: If there’s one important thing that we all have learnt from 2020, it’s the importance of being resilient. The events of 2020 have created a tidal wave of adversities for us to overcome. We had to address myriad of issues overnight as we have been forced to move all our business processes virtual. We were not prepared for this and the entire world seemed to stop and go on standstill but it did not stop at all.
Despite the emotional stress because of isolation, uncertainty, sudden and drastic change, people charged ahead with their lives, people continued to work hard, passionate than ever, still dreaming big, standing strong for their families and organizations. We must always remember – it’s not the tough that survive, but the resilient. We all will experience trauma and hardships in our lives, so what’s important is learning how to overcome that adversity and succeed.
- Creativity: I bet after switching to work from home we had to come up with creative ways to thrive and hustle in our work life. The pandemic has forced us to get out of our comfort zone and come up with new creative ways to carry out our normal work responsibilities in an entirely remote environment. This may have been finding new ways to reach out to customers, engage employees, constructing new routines and way of working etc. We all have developed the muscle to be innovative and creative to get things done differently and effectively as well. By getting out of our comfort zone, we have unlocked new, exciting transformations that we would have never done if it weren’t for 2020.
- Never take things for granted: We are all living lives that we could not have imagined few months ago. What was unimportant or taken for granted in January is a lot more important to us now. Being locked up inside our houses for months have taught us so. The early morning walks, commuting to work, having a dedicated work space, raiding the snacks supplies and helping yourself to coffee machine refills at the office, chit chatting with colleagues, meeting friends, roaming around freely, nothing is trivial any more. We have come to realize that these are important tasks that keep us well balanced and sensible.
Moreover, with over 1.76 million lives lost due to the pandemic over the world, has made us re-think our priorities and remember how precious life is. With so many lives lost each day, we should be grateful for our life and to have our family and friends with us. With so many people losing jobs and becoming homeless, we should be grateful for the food on our plate and for having a roof over our head. The pandemic has taught us to be happy and content with the small things that we have taken for granted in our lives.
We do not know what the future holds for us but each year brings its own set of blessings, challenges and lessons to learn from. All we can do is lean forward by taking the valuable lessons learnt from this year to prepare ourselves better for the next crisis that comes our way!
Hopefully my list has helped you to reflect on the things you have learnt during this unusual and challenging time. Mention the biggest lessons that you have learnt so far from the year 2020 in the comments below!