From a Tragedy to Prosperity

From a Tragedy to Prosperity

From a Tragedy to Prosperity

Right now I have friends and family who I have been having discussions with regarding their fears and concerns that this pandemic could possibly change things for the worse forever.  These conversations has had me ponder the possible outcomes of what is happening today.  But history shows that we will persevere, sure it will take time and hard work but the time frame of recovery is entirely up to us.  Let’s take the current conditions for a quick thought experiment;

Worst Case Scenario:

If the pandemic continues there could be a collapse of our socioeconomic system as we know it and after a few years of chaos a small group of people will want to build our society back up.  Think The Walking Dead or Falling Skies without the Zombies or Aliens.

Best Case Scenario:

This is a speedbump in the road of life.  Jobs will be lost, companies may downsize, national debt will skyrocket.  But the wheels will continue to turn we will be more prepared for future tragedies and we will work off this incident, build new companies, rebuild business and slowly pay off the debts by growing our economy larger and faster than the debt.

For this discussion I will focus on this Best Case Scenario.

This moment in time will definitely be in the history books.  I hope it will be remembered for several things; one a time where the World came together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, two the great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, and third and most important this was the beginning of the most prosperous time of the history of the world.  So why in a time that people are feeling even more isolated then ever and stores are scarce for supplies do I think that Great Prosperity is going to follow?  Because from difficulty springs perseverance, innovation and focus to improve our situation.

I remember back in 2006 my friend Jamie convinced me to go see the sixth installment of the Rocky film series.  I say convinced because I’ll be honest, I was thinking, what the heck would be good about this film at this point isn’t this Hollywood milking a classic franchise for one more payday.  Well I was wrong, by far this quickly became one of my most favorite films ever.  Mostly for one particular scene where Rocky Balboa’s whole life philosophy is summarized into a 45 second monologue.  The scene is where to Rocky’s disbelief sees that his son is blaming his problems and shame on Rocky.  Rocky then rightfully lectures his son, 

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!” – Rocky Balboa

Here is a clip of the scene:

I optimistically hope that this philosophy is true of the human race in general, sure we are flawed but we do strive to move forward.  From this pandemic we will continue to get up and move forward.  Yes, this is a movie but humanity has recovered and moved forward countless times.  Here are three examples, in three sizes World Wide, Corporate and Personal

  • The Golden Age of Capitalism: World War II was a horrific war and the worst atrocities were performed by the human race in history.  Thankfully after the Allied Forces defeated the Axis Powers the world had to pick up the pieces and the hard work had only just begun.  As soldiers returned home and were driven to have a more normal life and leave the war behind them, the world began to take the innovations from necessity during the war and convert them for peace-time applications.  Many call it the second industrial revolution and in many ways it is true, new manufacturing methods and automation lowered the costs of goods.  Efficiencies created by rationing during the war reduced material usage and costs.  The drive of people around the world to want a new lifestyle drove them to work hard to obtain their dreams, after all they lived through Worldwide destruction, they survived so they can build a prosperous future.
  • Return of the “Mac”: The year was 1997 and Apple Inc. was in its second year of net loss profits, but this time a loss in over $1Bil.  That year Apple would see the return of Steve Jobs as their interim CEO after Apple’s purchase of Job’s company NeXT.  Apple was on the verge of closing so Jobs decided to reorganize and refocus on the company’s core strength, design, technology, marketing and quality.  Needless to say the turnaround of Apple Inc will forever be in the history books as an example of corporate for success.
  • A Hand Up: It starts with each other.  Next we have David Vobora, a former NFL player and Brian Aft, a wounded veteran and their story of how when we work together we can change lives.  David is a former NFL player who started a gym after a shoulder injury and how he worked with Brian who after being severely wounded recover from his pain and drug addictions turn their lives and many others around.  To hear more of their story see the short video below:

The Current State (from a US perspective):

Right now to slow the spread of this virus we have chosen self-isolation with the intent that the virus will “burn out” without further fuel.  I believe we all hope that this will work and we can all continue with life.  So essential we are pressing Pause on our way of life.  Businesses have all shutdown or at least operated at a minimum level, hospitals, grocery stories and pharmacies are running at capacity and all of us are either working from home or at least taking an involuntary break from work.  Many are worried if we will have a job to return to or will our businesses return to its former output when we reopen.  Afterall when we pause a videogame or a movie it takes a little while to get back into the groove, first we need to reacclimate ourselves into the current situation and start getting back to work.  So what if things change and jobs are eliminated and workloads and customers have decreased?  Time to set a plan B, plan B is the plan we develop right now as we have time to work on details.

Do we need a Plan B?

With these concerns we should prepare.  I like the idea of being a prepper optimist, the old “hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”  To determine if you need a Plan B then you must know what is your starting position, so check in with your boss, your customers and reassure yourself and them of the future.  Check in with your boss and tell them that you look forward to getting back to work and being uber productive, this will help the thought process of growth expansion from the bottom upward.  Do you have people who report under you, reassure them that you are excited to getting back to work and working with them when this is over.  Do you own your own business go out and contact your customers, reassure them that you are there for them and their success through these tough times. Communicate with everyone, you will get a feel of how things will be when this is over and you can help attitudes change by being optimistic and by collaborating on the future.  Then for yourself plan!  Plan for new innovations for your job or business, or something completely new we have the time right now!  

Potential Trends to Innovate On:

Not sure where to start?  Here are a few areas that I believe are trends that people will innovate on to boost the prosperity:

  • Online Services: Online services have already been growing exponentially since the start of the digital age.  But now there are more opportunities as people have acclimated more than ever the past few weeks to delivery services, video entertainment, teleconferencing tools, collaboration cloud services, etc.  To seek opportunities here ask yourself what was missing from your experience the last few weeks, what areas need to be improved upon and with your experience and skills can you add value to these services or create a new one?
  • Working from Home Products and Tools: Some companies will find value from having their workforce operate remotely.  Some will see higher productivity and determine that they can minimize their physical workspace and have more people work remotely.  This will enable their businesses to reduce operating cost by using less office space and utilities, then increase some costs for online collaboration tools.  Next will be professional products for people to more efficiently work from home from office furniture, VOIP and telepresence devices, cloud services catering to remote workers, etc.  What shortfalls have you found in your work from home setup and if nothing exists to fill that void do you have a solution?
  • Baby Products and Services: Funny things happen when people are isolated and kept in a single location for long periods of time.  Many have speculated with this self-isolation event that in 9 months we may have another Baby Boom on our hands.  Therefore we have 9 months to create, develop and release new baby products and services for all these new bundles of joy!
  • New Ways of Life: From working from home, eating in, having groceries delivered and everything available to you at the push of the button this new way of life on demand will continue from this situation.  See more convenience products and services, watch as the independent contractor space for companies like Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Task Rabbit expand and new services will arise as people find new ways to streamline their lives.
  • Social Evolution: We will see more people isolate themselves physically with social media and later feel the need to commune with others so social event planning may grow to get people to physically socialize.  There may be growth in local spaces for gatherings, unplugged restaurants and bars where people can get face to face time without devices.
  • New Restaurants: Sadly some local establishments and large companies may close or reduce their locations because of this shutdown.  But this will yield the opportunity for new restaurants to take their place.  With a flood in the market of locations and used professional kitchen equipment coupled with people who in the last few weeks may have found a new love of cooking and inspired to share their creations we will see a boom of new restaurants and resulting new chains emerge from the ashes of other establishments.  Not to mention the growth of restaurants with zero storefronts, these will be restaurants that only offer ordering online straight to your door.  They will be lean operations with less square footage and offer convenience.
  • Virtual Shopping: If social distancing becomes a bit of a norm for a while we will see the trend of shrinking retail spaces.  That coupled with newer technology based on time of flight optics for augmented reality apps in our mobile devices we will see the continued emergence of online stores that allow you to try on clothes virtually, decorate your house virtually and deliver it to your door.
  • Prepping Products and Solutions: Again with the Toilet Paper!  People will not want to be caught off guard like this again.  We will see innovative product offerings of preparedness kits for food, medical supplies, etc.  We will also see innovative storage solutions for your 52 cases of Costco Toilet Paper.  As I joke a bit, I foresee people storing at the three levels of preparedness, 3/30/90; 3 days of supplies on the go, 30 days of supplies for miniature disasters and the 90 day supplies for longer term problems.  People will start with the 3 and 30 and build up from there.  Preparation and planning will be sold to alleviate fear.
  • But Wait There’s More: Much, much more: as this is a short list of areas that I see may possibly grow there are likely hundreds of new ventures and industries that may be created from this situation.  So go chase it!

The Path Forward to Prosperity: So where to start on your Plan B?  Here is a quick outline for you to get started and be a part of this next leap of prosperity:

  1. Personal Responsibility, take personally responsibility of your current situation and that you need to direct from here on.  Do this by:
    1. Reflect, reflect on where you have been and where you are now in life.
    2. Plan, plan on where you want to be; in 3 months, 9 months and 18 months.
    3. Execute, take your plan and start working on it!
  2. Vision, Where do you want to see your life and success?
  3. Research, What have others done to get where you want to be?
  4. Plan, Take your vision and break it down into a step by step recipe for success.
    1. Goals, Make goals based on your vision.
    2. Tasks, Break down your goals into tasks, reduce your large tasks into smaller daily tasks.
  5. Work
    1. Get to Work! Diligently work on each task every day.
    2. Review, As your work on each task moves forward, review your progress periodically and document what is working and what is not.
    3. Tweak, Modify what is not working for you and modify your plans.

Finally, be faithful, Like the Biblical story of Job, bad things happen in life and are inevitable, but have faith that you will make it through, don’t give up and remember that God loves you, what loving parent doesn’t want the best final outcome for their children.  So Get Up and Move Forward!

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