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COVID-19: Seize the moment

BY: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Thanks to COVID-19, now we know that we must have a considerable tolerance for uncertainty.

THERE is an old saying which goes like this: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. This statement, and others of similar meaning came to mind when we had to endure a period of complete lockdown in some parts of the country, and globally, as part of the containment measures introduced to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The loss of freedom to go outside to see friends and family or to get a haircut, for example, made me realise some of the basic things that I have taken for granted.

In fact, generally, we don’t value some things for the simple reason that we have always had them! It is when they are no longer “freely” available that we realise the value of what is lost.

COVID-19 certainly brought new perspectives to many things, and many useful lessons too. It has reminded us all about the need for preparation, and resilience to life risks. It is a stark reminder of the many “hidden” risks that we face in life.

Business world
In the business world, many are trained to deal with financial losses emanating from financial risks and other non-financial sources, but undoubtedly, not at the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a typical case of low probability but high impact situation; for the coronavirus pandemic has distorted commerce and all economic activities.
Significantly, the new normal brought about by COVID-19 is expected to shape the way we do things for many years to come. Yes, talk about

the new economy, driven by changes in technology, demographics and environment has raged for many years, but many have not paid attention.

Then comes the coronavirus pandemic and businesses that had failed to deploy and adopt effective technology to improve their operations and processes have had to find a fast way to adapt.

Online payment channels
The lockdown, in particular, made it difficult for shop visits, so online sales had to be adopted, and other online payment channels had to be adopted in order for initiated transactions to be settled and completed.

In fact, just as the steam engine transformed manufacturing in the First Industrial Revolution, today, in this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technology-enabled tools have made it possible for mankind to effectively deal with crisis of monumental social and economic effects.

For instance, if technology had not made online sales and payments possible; made it possible for people to interact with one other on mobile phones; made it possible for businessmen, academics and policymakers to hold virtual meetings to plan on effective ways of controlling the pandemic; made it possible for applications to be developed to make contact tracing seamless and effective; and made it possible for students to continue with their studies online, can you imagine what the state of the global economy would have been by now?

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud-based technologies are transforming service delivery. You must take advantage of these available tools to transform your life too! Don’t wait to realise its value when it is too late.

Thanks to COVID-19, now we know that we must have a considerable tolerance for uncertainty. And, within periods of uncertainty, try and find the opportunities that lie hidden in there.

All parts of human activities involve creativity and innovation, and it is for this reason that some few bright young ones have managed to make a good living out of the intense growth in technology this century.

There is no need to wait for the “perfect conditions” to make the move. Those that have managed to bring meaning and happiness to their lives have done so because they have the right interpretation to the events of the time

As l have repeated several times in this column, Fortune Magazine, and CNN were founded by entrepreneurs who did not wait for the perfect conditions to act; they got right into it, and succeeded.

You must confront the negatives in order for you to make the right move and secure the life that you want for yourself and your family. And to do this, you must change the way that you think about given situations so that your thoughts will not paralyse your actions. In so doing, you wouldn’t see COVID-19 as all negative, despite the lives and the millions of economic value lost.

Look at this simple analogy: If you are inside a big building, it is always difficult to have a clear idea about the dimensions of the building, if you did not build it or have any inputs in its construction.

So, if you can’t leave the building to see what it looks like from the outside, your thoughts will be influenced by where you stand and what you see. Your perspective would be influenced by the inside of the building.

This means that if you stay in the building for a very long time you may not be aware that you are enclosed by the building, and everything you do is limited by the way the building is constructed.

Break that chain
In fact, to the extreme, you may even think of experiencing the whole world and not just the interior of a building! Break that chain! This century presents the best opportunities for everyone.

You choose what you want to become because there is no limit to what you can do, and no one can set a limit for you.

Hence, your framework must see the possibilities in every situation, and not become pessimistic about everything.

If it is raining for example, it could be bad for some, but for others, it could be the right opportunity to sell umbrellas. And if there is COVID-19 too, it could be the best time to change and adapt news ways of doing things.

Build the right mental framework so that you can develop a stubborn attitude against negative thoughts and toxic ideas.

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