Getting Better

Curves flatten. People recover. We mourn our many losses and eventually restart our lives. It is not a case of ‘this too shall pass’ for each of those outcomes requires human action. We want better. We have to act to achieve it.

The nature of the human spirit is to seek to realise our potential. We will get better. Our drive for improvement occurs unless we (or others) quash it. The only question is when and at what scale. The answer to that question depends on our actions.

Start Small. Start Now.

In the heart of our troubles, now is the time for action step-by-step.

We can sustain what we can of our lives. We can stay at home. We can wash our hands. We can support those in need. We can reach out to others to make sure that they are OK. We can offer to help. We can start planning the recovery and what will be different. All of these critical actions make life better, for us and for others.

Our losses are obvious now. Lives upended. Jobs lost. Incomes cut. Health threatened. Our gains from these actions are diffuse, but they are still there. Every physical contact cut is one less pathway for the crisis to spread. We are saving others. We just don’t know who. We are making it better now.

We will make it better together

We can’t predict the future. What we can predict is the human spirit. We will get better. Where there is life, there is the will to not simply exist, but to become something more. Something better.

We are beginning that recovery process now. We are thinking about what needs to change. We have tidied our homes, changed our diets and our habits. We are now debating changes to the role of social safety nets, our corporations and government in times of crisis. As we move forward we need to ensure we don’t get in our own way.

I saw a tweet on the weekend about a Consulting thoracic surgeon in the NHS who has volunteered to work as an ICU nurse to allow tired nurses a rest. Stories like this one are everywhere as retirees return to the healthcare system, people add shifts, solve for shortages, invent new devices and work in new & creative ways. It is not a heroic story. It is a small story about one gesture in a large crisis, but is an example of someone focusing on their potential and not role, or status, or power, or income. In all kinds of ways, people are discovering what they are capable of doing and doing it. Answering the question ‘What can I do now?’ is a powerful guide to the next step in any realisation of our potential.

The next step of our recovery is changing lives. First the lives of those who must recover from their losses. Then all our lives as our society works to make things better. That’s a lot of work. We will only achieve it together. It will take us all to focus on our own potential and the potential of others. We will need to ask ourselves ‘What can I do now? What can we do now together?’

What can you do now?

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

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