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13 APRIL 2020

written by Mike

Rethinking

your position

It would be quite obvious to say that we are now in the middle of an extraordinary episode. The global pandemic caught everyone by surprise, and also it was a catalyst for an overdue market correction.

It is easy to be smart after the events and discuss what we should and would have done; however, nobody could predict the turn of the events. Not only we are facing unprecedented safety measures set by the governments, but also, the business stopped.

We are stuck at home, not earning, not spending. Many people will lose their jobs, and many companies will fail.

At this moment, I’m one of the lucky ones, as I’ve set up my life to be able to work from home years ago. It was after I read the book called Antifragile by Nicholas Nassim Taleb that prompted me to rethink my position in the world.

The one-story that stuck out to me (and I will probably butcher it) was about the global market crash of 2008 and two brothers. One brother was a taxi driver and the other a banker with a highly paid position.

Because taxi drivers must be able to adjust and due to constant change after the 2008 economic collapse, the taxi driver was able to navigate during difficult times.

The other brother lost his job and was unprepared for what happened next.

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My takeaway was to be always prepared but also to challenge myself during good times, get out of my comfort zone, change and pivot so when something unexpected happens, I will be ready.

Well, nothing could prepare me for what is happening now, and it will take a bit longer to see the effects the events had on everyone, but the lessons from Taleb’s book helped.

Which also brings me to a second point which is, now I think is an excellent time to rethink and ponder our position in this world. Is the chase worth it when the unexpected can and often will throw the plans into the bin?

Is there a way to simplify things?

To make events like this more manageable?

Something else did trigger that thought and rethinking my position again.

Just before the pandemic happened and countries around the world shut their borders, for the first time in my life, I travelled to Australia. 

Australia is almost the furthest you can go from the UK, and after a very long flight, it dawned on me how far from home I am and how incredibly lucky I am to be able to travel half the world in such a short time (and relative comfort).

The trip was a success, we were able to do a lot of work, and the flight back went without a hitch. Only just as a couple of weeks later the borders were shut tight.

It was only after when I sat at home and pondered about the whole trip, that two things stayed on my mind and prompted me to rethink my position again.

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One was how detached, during that time, I was from my everyday problems and small issues.

Family stuff, anxieties, stress were gone thousands of miles behind me, and for the first time in my life, I felt free and egoistically happy.

I could see myself staying in this far away country, separating my life from the past and everyone else and just having it for myself. 

The vastness of Australia offered the feeling that I’ve never had experienced in my life.

Was it only because I knew I would be coming back? 

Would that feeling go away after a month, two, six?

Who knows, but it left a mark.

The second thought was about the work. For the past few years, I’ve been lucky to be able to work from home, which has its pros and cons. I have friends and family nearby, but my work is a lonely endeavour. It is just me in front of the computer screen.

The project in Australia involved renting a studio with staff and working with a lot of different people.

I haven’t done something like that in a very long time, and the experience reminded me why we are social creatures and why the best ideas often happen in a group where there is diverse thinking involved.

Every day was a long day, but we were energised and exhilarated at the end of each session.

The project made me rethink my position again. I love my everyday work; however, I think I need to include more people or at least a couple of projects like this during the year.

To keep myself, not only on my toes but also engaged and inspired by others.

Rethinking the position in life, at work, in the world is something that I often do, however thinking itself doesn’t change anything. It is the actions that cause a change in life. Unfortunately, the most recent events will force this on a lot of people, but it is a reminder that we shouldn’t get too comfortable with our ways of life and that it can all change in a matter of seconds.

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