The Mindset We’ll Need to Get Through the Coronavirus
A ‘flux mindset’ can help us navigate the future of work — or a global pandemic
Under normal circumstances, an American citizen on a month-long business trip across several countries in Asia would be no news whatsoever. But the coronavirus chaos is anything but normal, and — I’m beginning to realize — my experiences here are giving me a unique perspective.
So far, I’ve been in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. To get here, I flew via Korea (several days before the country was deemed risky territory). Is coronavirus a big deal? Of course it is: Its disruption of health, the economy, travel, education, and supply chains are already significant and possibly of unprecedented magnitude in the 21st century. Still, the astounding amount of fear and hype I’m seeing daily isn’t bred here, the supposed “eye of the storm.” Rather, it’s driven by the news feeds from the United States and Europe.
If I were at home in the Pacific Northwest, I would think Asia was one giant apocalypse. But on the ground, life is quite different — the mood is sort of “keep calm, wash your hands, wash them again, and carry on.” I’m wearing a face mask and steering clear of big public crowds, but I’m not quarantining myself, and — so far — have had only one meeting and one keynote cancellation.
A couple months ago, I delivered a TEDx talk titled “How to Navigate Our Uncertain Future,” in which I shared how to develop what I call a flux mindset: an ability to thrive amidst constant change. I have been working on this concept primarily in the context of the future of work and unknowns related to automation, business models, and the sheer pace of change. I hadn’t thought it would encompass potential pandemics, yet the longer the Covid-19 situation persists, the clearer I see the overlaps.
Getting to the other side of the current situation will be smoother, saner, and more effective without fear-driven hype and catastrophizing. Here are…