Yesterday I saw a homemade Whatsapp video of coronavirus carnage in China. There was nothing about when it was or which stage of the contagion. Just one horrible picture after another. Nothing constructive; only one person spreading fear through video.
I’m annoyed, rather than frightened, but I have a small support network at home. I have my partner and my dog. The same video could cause someone who is locked inside and isolated to be terrified.
Beyond the horrible thought of someone being alone and frightened is the impact that stress and anxiety have on the body, including the immune system. Look again to an over-capacitated health service with limited resources and medical staff who are at high risk of infection, pushing themselves to exhaustion to look after us.
We need to avoid these situations and think of the impact our messaging has on others right now. We could do even more to create opportunities to enable significant change.
Net Positive is a new way of doing business which puts back more into society, the environment and the global economy than it takes out. (www.forumforthefuture.org)
It’s time, and time we have, to grab the reigns of this process ourselves and take personal actions that will drive a more positive future. We can do this while we’ve got the headspace, while we’ve got visibility of the effects of the class divide and the vulnerable and while we’re in a reflective space.
A return to business as usual right now, when we have time to rethink ourselves, would be disappointing.
So here are seven ideas; some tangible and other mindset based for taking on the challenge of driving net positive.
1. Constructive social media and messaging
We’re all losing business right now, and there’s uncertainty everywhere, but maybe control was always an illusion. Rather than focusing what we think is being taken from us; let’s focus on what we can do to create more positive spaces.
Do you really need to post another infographic on washing hands or showing someone 2 meters away? Let’s move onto another phase.
Share the good stories; share your tips on focusing.
Constructive messaging is:
- Messaging your friends who are home alone to make sure they’re okay
- Sharing cute animal pictures (I can’t believe I just said that)
- Sharing the content of people who are voicing their ideas for a better future
Destructive messaging is:
- Sharing ridiculous advice about the virus.
- Sharing conspiracy theories
- Talking about the end of the world
- Sharing panic.
2. Adopting A Solution Mindset
Say you’ve got a PM who kind of cares about people’s health but not nearly enough to swallow some pride and talk to people who could help him access badly needed medical equipment. It’s shit but is sharing articles commenting on it a good use of everyone’s energy?
What about spending an hour in the sun thinking of a potential solution. What if everyone healthy gave a fiver, what if someone could get in touch with the manufacturers of necessary equipment and what if someone could mobilise logistical support to distribute the equipment?
Something like this…a solution.
Have you got an idea for a solution rather than focusing on repeating the problem?
Have you got an idea to help your neighbours, or your friends across the world or the city? This is a good use of your energy, and it doesn’t matter how small it feels
3. Become An Action Leader
Do we need another thought leader right now? I’m a thought leader in my little world 24–7, does it change anything? Nope, I don’t even get through my to-do-list.
Lead through action and integrity. That’s what will be remembered when we come out of this, and what will drive us towards Net Positive.
Get active, share solutions, share the actions that you’re taking around your house or in the park.
Who came up with the great idea of applauding the NHS staff? An action leader. Who got it moving? Another action leader.
4. Cut Down On Household Energy Waste
When I worked at a large oil and gas company, a friend or two used to ask how I could live with myself for working with them. ‘Erm, excuse me, you live and work in a city that is driven by oil and gas.’ We are all part of the system in which we consume. Like if you use cocaine, which I’m not judging as an act on its own, but then you are part of gang violence in Mexico.
If you’re buying, which, we all are with energy, then it’s also your responsibility to drive change.
Let’s change our consumption habits and start consuming less. It’s better for the environment as the household contribution to global emissions is huge but also who wants to give away their money to an energy provider? There are some excellent tips below.
5. Cut Down on Food Waste
As if it wasn’t bad enough that here in the UK, 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted every year alongside a sharp rise in people forced to use food banks to feed their families. But with cases of empty shelves and more people going without it is critical that we stop food waste.
We can’t call ourselves a civilised and robust society when we’re operating like this. In a net positive future we don’t buy food that we throw away. We buy enough and there’s more to go around.
Start writing down everything you throw away; do some shelf auditing.
If you’re a foodie start publishing some zero waste food recipes.
6. Share positive information
Use this time to connect with people who are doing positive things and share their stories. Create a page on your website, use Facebook or whatever. You might be helping someone else to get through a tough time.
7. Work on your Health, including Mental Health
Remember that working on self-improvement at the moment is not just helping you; it’s helping everyone. It’s helping them now as you stay out of the health system, and it will help them when the lockdown finishes by adding to a collective self of wellbeing.
I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but there is plenty of good advice on the internet. I have my most productive days when I haven’t been snacking on biscuits and when I do an internet exercise class.
In terms of your mental fortitude, starting a creative project can help ward off anxiety and a loss of control.
This could be cooking, planting seeds to put on your window, writing your memoirs, writing your family memoirs, creating a new app, painting a picture, designing a holiday or a house, making a comic strip. It is anything that engages your creative brain and takes you away from the virus maelstrom will improve your ability to thrive.
I hope you found this positive and my heart goes out to those who have been directly affected by the virus. To the rest of us, let’s start acting for a better, net positive future.