Life lessons from Corona Virus Pandemic

Corona Virus Pandemic has created a never before situation in our lives. No other crisis in our lifetime had been this severe, this widespread and this scary. We've seen 9/11, we've seen SARS/H1N1 scare, we have seen wars, riots, civil uprisings, wild fires but most of them were localized to an area unlike Corona Virus.
Besides the original scare of Virus spread, the preventive measures such as travel bans, lock-downs have created a situation unprecedented so far. Under these situations, many would suffer because of job/income loss, stress and other issues besides the risk of actual viral infection. What do we take away from all these?

1. Don't postpone your dreams
Many individuals work hard day in and day out, spending all their adulthood earning money for their families, making their employers rich and sacrificing their personal wishes, dreams for later. Many think they will fulfill their wish-list post retirement and spend all their income on EMIs, raising kids and other expenses. What Corona teaches us is don't keep everything for post retirement. Spend a bit of time, money on yourself. Fulfill some of your dreams when you are young and able. If you feel like taking a break, take it. if you feel like going on a cruise, go.

2. Live within your means
Consumerism has got most of us. We have more liabilities than assets. Youngsters are encouraged to buy a home, car, start a family as soon as they start earning. Soon EMIs and expenses exceed their income. This approach is not sustainable when economy comes down crashing. Always have at least one years worth of savings, live a simple life or spend less than what you earn. Identify what is a liability and stay away from it as much as possible.

3. Survival skills are no joke.
There're hundreds of movies showcasing how to survive various emergencies. Watch them and take note. Once in a while you will face such situations and will have to make tough choices. No one is invincible. As the world moves from one crisis to another, there will be a few that comes crashing towards you.

4. Every job has its importance
Jobs you'd always undermined- maids, delivery boys, cleaning staff- everyone have a role to play in society. Thus it is important to treat each other with respect and empathy.

5. Govts will have other priorities
If you think your government will take care of you, be realistic. Consider these:

  • Govts work on "Acceptable Casualty rate" principle- which means they know there will be some deaths- efforts are only to reduce the impact. Most of the things are just numbers for the govt- as long as numbers look good, they feel they have won. Doesn't matter what happens to you at an individual level.
  • Govts will have other priorities- like they need to balance economy vs health. Or safety of few passengers vs larger public. Hundreds of inbound passengers though healthy would have got infected while they waited for several hours in airports in packed conditions. Even if a Govt knows a bank is going down, they won't announce "Yes bank is in crisis, withdraw your money"- Govt will give business a chance to recover, which could cause loss and inconvenience to you at an individual level.
  • Govt is also run by humans: They also act based on information available to them at the time of taking a decision, they can also make mistakes. Do not expect them to be perfect.
  • No govt has unlimited resource or money. Whatever they offer should eventually come from its people, direct or indirect.
In essence, your situation awareness, preparedness and ability to anticipate and plan ahead will save your life during a crisis.

6. Most of us are more privileged than others.
You have a roof over head, food & money to survive for few months- you're better off than lots of people out there. It is Ok to dream big in life and aspire more, but be also thankful for what you have. A bit of giving away probably come back many fold when you are in crisis.

What is your biggest take away from current Corona Virus crisis?

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