“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”, said world champion boxing champion Mike Tyson. Very wise words, not only in the ring.
Corona has struck us in the face. And the new variants of the corona virus may well do the trick and finally teach the world how to deal more effectively with exceedingly prolonged ambiguity as an ongoing state of affairs.
For the middle east and third world, this is nothing new. There simply is no clarity in the middle east. Everything is up in the air and unknown. Leaders are fickle; geopolitics are like volcanos which rumble and spit out periodic lava, and there is no rhyme and even less reason. It is what it is-unknown.
As a result of this, Israelis for example see planning as a waste of time or a ritual one has to go though to please those who come from more stable environments, in which planning is the staple of life, as in-“shall we book a trip to Tenerife this summer?”
- “Will the bus I am travelling on explode?”-let’s hope not.
- “Is the guy who just got on the minibus a terrorist?”-let’s not think about that.
- “Is it safe to take Road 6 or is it being targeted from Gaza?”-drive to road 6; you cannot let terror guide your everyday decisions.
- “Can we book a room in Jerusalem?”-is it ever safe to go anywhere?
In many third world countries as well, people know better than to plan all that much. You miss a train-maybe the next one is in a day or two-or next week. Maybe. Or-a typhon puts the internet service out of service, for a month or two, or six. And that apartment I just rented in that new building-will it be ready in 2 weeks, or perhaps two years? Is that a real cop at the intersection, or a crook?
So my western friends, join the club. Life is now one big unknown. The world health crisis has not caused a bad case of disruption as much as it has replaced order with constant and ongoing, endless disruption playing havoc with our adaptive mechanisms. And put this is your pipe and smoke it: Planning is counter indicated when the semblance of order has vanished.
It makes much more sense to focus on now, the next 100 meters ahead of us, the next few days. Less vision-more bread and potatoes. More fun-less anxiety. More que sera, sera-and less tight-ass attempts to stay young, healthy forever, and “ahead of the curve”.
All of this has a huge impact on the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of OD, in terms of our focus upon changing, as opposed to adapting to, reality. We have far less control that OD as a profession would leave us to believe.
But that’s another post-although I would love to read your comments about that.