The OWL Despatch

Rewiring Our Lives

There is a story that I want to share in the midst of a reality that lies beyond adjectives like “unbelievable”! Even as the long tail of the ‘ways of working’ from last week is having its furious last wag this week, we are in for some fundamental change. The next few weeks will see us rewiring our lives. 

But first for the story that you might have heard. There was a cardiologist who drove his Mercedes to a mechanic. They got talking and the mechanic said with an air of powdery nonchalance, “We both do the same job. Fix something that is broken and get it back to a workable condition. You do it with the human body and I do it with your car”. 

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The cardiologist agreed. “Indeed”, he said. And then added, “The only difference being, you shut down the car and repair it. I have to repair the heart while keeping it going. Now, don’t you try attempting to fix my car’s engine that way”

The Shutdown and the opportunity

Assume you are working on an important presentation. Suddenly a message flashes on your screen. It reads “Your system is infected and needs to shut down. Restart if it doesn’t automatically.”  Any shutdown without the time and courtesy to save what it was working on causes many a skipping heartbeat and breathless wait. Say hello to Covid 19! 

Let’s stay with the presentation that was lost as the computer shut down.  Between the time the systems shut down and restarts, what are our choices? Are we going to wail about the lost presentation or the time spent that’s been chewed up by a bug? Call a colleague and complain about how bad IT systems are in the organisation? Tweet out to Bill Gates? All are valid, possible, have been done and will continue to be done as well. 

What else is possible? 

Perhaps the shutting down is an opportunity to reimagine the presentation. Maybe come to the conclusion that you don’t need the presentation. Perhaps it requires a video. Maybe a word document would be good. Why not an impromptu speech? If it is indeed the presentation that needs to be redone, it offers a moment to pause, ponder and reflect. Catch a breath and re-energise. Rebuilding the presentation will require oodles of energy.  

That is an opportunity every shutdown provides. 

I have been in that presentation situation several times. Where my computer shut down without notice taking along with it hours of work! I have cried buckets into a bottomless pit often and on occasion, I have used the time to pause and ponder. Guess what, Covid 19 provides us with that opportunity. An opportunity for rewiring our lives and bring forth changes! 

Rewiring our lives

Whatever your profession is, whoever you work for and vote for, whichever nationality you belong to, well the time is now. The Coronavirus unites us all and provides us with an opportunity to rewire our lives.  A friend tweeted, “Life on the fast lane suddenly slowed down”. For some weeks ahead, the normal fast lane is closed.   

Gaping holes in the ozone layer, melting glaciers, rising inequality in the world and much more point to an unsustainable life that we have lived. Rewiring our lives is an opportunity the virus has provided. 

Tom Brokaw in a memorable commencement speech at Stanford said something that has stayed with me. 

“it is important to remember that it will do us little good to wire the world if we short-circuit our souls”. 

All these passing decades humankind has been busy wiring the world, cutting deals and crisscrossing the world. It is time to examine the price we have paid. Both the known ones and the hidden ones. 

Incredibly busy

Much of the world seems to be thinking that this is status quo and the only change is that work has shifted home. I beg to differ. This is a huge disruption that is beyond comprehension. 

It has kept me incredibly busy as we work with leaders and organisations navigate this time. Remember this is a transition that is happening with a world whose heart is still beating! Sample this dilemma that a Chief Operating Officer had and my response to his question.

In this time, here are three questions that you can ask yourself. 

1. What new habits and ways of working are important for me and my family to adjust to this time? 

2. What can I do to help other people strike new rhythm and live well? 

3. How am I going to use the opportunity to rewire myself? 

I will do my best to keep up the writing and sharing. I have resolved to write more and get ahead with audio and video modes as well. 

The OWL Despatch – Edition 53

The OWL Despatch for every edition carries five pieces. I am delayed for this edition and seek your understanding. Even as I rewire my life, I realise that there things to do now as the world navigates Covid19. I am at it. Both on reimagining life and The OWL Despatch. For now, here are the five pieces of content for you to chew on.

1. If someone spends 27 years in solitary confinement, I reckon the person has much to offer as insights to the world that is getting locked down at home. This was a fascinating piece to read. I loved the last paragraph. Riveting stuff that fits perfectly into the mould of rewiring our lives. Read here.

2. Yuval Harari has managed to string together thought-provoking strands for some time now. This piece had me nodding away. He writes, “The real antidote to the epidemic is not segregation, but rather cooperation.” Hold that close to you for the coming days. Read here.

3. Did you know that Isaac Newton was very productive in the days of his quarantine? Well, that grounding makes me feel better. Perhaps we will do some gravity-defying stunts at the end of it all.  Read here.

4. My colleagues at Founding Fuel have a Work From Home Daily that is well crafted by Ramnath. Take a look. I think it is brilliant.

5.  15 things you should experience in sport: A brilliant assortment that will keep you looking forward to life and sport. Also because the Olympics has moved. 

Stay calm and positive

These are tough times. Times that have no precedence. And most importantly a time the gives us a never before opportunity. An opportunity to mend our ways, reimagine possibilities for the future in rich sustainable ways. This is the opportunity to pause, ponder and go about rewiring our lives. 

Curated reads for the 53rd edition of OWL

Image credits Pixabay

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