10 Positive Things COVID-19 Is Doing To The World
Before we jump in, I want to start by doing three very important things, because this is a very serious crisis:
I want to take this moment to give my sincere thanks to the frontline fighters. I’m grateful for:
- public health specialists;
- healthcare workers;
- delivery services;
- local restaurants;
- grocery stores;
- humanitarian help;
- warehouse workers;
- truck drivers;
- WHO, CDC, John Hopkins;
- good media;
- public services like the police and firefighters;
- anyone who’s helping any way they can; and
- anyone else I may have unintentionally missed.
I want to give my sincere condolences those who lost/are losing people dear to them.
My best wishes to your family, friends, neighbours, and everyone in between.
I want to acknowledge all the skilled workers who are now struggling for employment.
I know times are not easy right now and I send you best wishes. You can get through this!
But I want to give you hope because all is not hopeless. The situation sucks right now, there’s no denying it. But it’s a catalyst for much-needed change in many areas. We took things for granted. We were complacent, accepting things we probably should never have.
Action we take today will have an impact on the rest of history. This is no exaggeration — we are making history right this very second! We have the power to make positive change. Some positive things will happen on their own, for others, we’ll have to fight for. But the opportunity is greater than ever for positive change. Bill Gates has great insights here.
Now, let’s evaluate 10 positive things COVID-19 is doing or will be doing for the world:
1. Greener planet
Look at this:
Doesn’t it feel like Mother Earth is breathing again?
Not convinced yet? How about we look at China:
Now, I know this won’t last. But now people see the impact. That was always the problem with climate change. People didn’t take it seriously because they saw nothing. This is quite revealing and will be a great tool to convince the right people to take action.
2. Moving education forward
I’ve been fighting for a revolution in education for over two years. Nothing could have slapped it harder than COVID-19. Before it was moving at a snail’s pace, today, the deadlines are insane. The state of Massachusetts asked all schools to have an online presence within the next week! Even 30 days from now would have been crazy!
But that’s a necessary evil. Moving schools online is the first step in the grander scheme of things. What’s more important is that it moves the needle and increases the momentum. Once people start to see the benefits of changing a few things, they’ll start to realize there’s a lot more to be done.
Project-Based Learning (PBL) and Flipped Classrooms will rise. These are good steps. In higher education, they’ll have to adapt to skill-based learning. 4-year programs will feel like an eternity and now that people realize their diploma doesn’t secure them employment for life (see below), I’m hoping fewer people will fork ridiculous sums of money to a failed system.
Overall, I hope this will help the backbone of the education system: teachers. Jessica Wildfire detailed everything that’s wrong with universities and I believe a lot of this might get fixed going forward:
3. Opening up new opportunities for making money
I feel for people who are losing their jobs and can’t see a way out. I really do. Many believed that having a degree would assure them of employment for life. This mindset was being reinforced every year of our lives. People say you have to go to school to get a job.
It ain’t so, and will never be again. Thankfully.
The 21st century’s top currency isn’t money, it’s skills.
It’s easier than ever to work remotely (more on that later). People in the Philippines and India work for people and companies in the western world. And the opposite is true too. The freelancing business was booming, now it will explode.
Services like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Airtasker are more important than ever, and it’s a great thing. More opportunities for all, no matter the background or geographical location. No more need to waste 4+ years getting a diploma. Continuously skill up and you’ll find work for life!
Delivery services are busier than ever and don’t require high education.
The industrial revolution changed the work and education landscape for its needs at the time. COVID-19 has the potential to do the same here. The adaptation is going to be hard, but once we’re used to it, we’ll see the positive side and more jobs will be created than ever before.
For more information on how to make money differently, check this guide out.
4. Unifying countries and people
We’re all in this together and more than ever, we’re ready to set our differences aside and work together to fight a common enemy. Bill Gates said it very well:
“It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport.” — Bill Gates
I’ve travelled to over 60 countries and experienced a wide variety of cultures. What I’ve learned was that we’re fundamentally the same, no matter where we live. We have the same needs and the same desires.
Let’s hope we stay united for the rest of history. Wishful thinking, I know. But I choose to believe it’s possible.
5. Tons of technological innovations
Big Data can be scary, but it might just save us much faster than anything else before. With the help of IBM’s Summit supercomputer, we can identify potential treatment millions of times faster than any human could. And that’s only one example.
In China, they started tracking measures using electronic devices that can detect symptoms of a virus earlier than you even feel them. You could be treated before you even start to be contagious. Now, I won’t go into the ethical implications of that, but if used correctly, this could do a lot of good to the world. Yuval Noah Harari does a great analysis of this in the Financial Times.
I’ve been trying to raise awareness for virtual coworking spaces for two years. My fight was in vain. Today, there’s a new one popping up every day. I update this page daily with resources for remote working.
And for day-to-day life, having lunch over Zoom is already normal. Bars are going virtual. Museums can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. Schools are going online.
There will be great advancements in biotechnologies. Some of it will be scary, some of it will help us thrive even more. I highly recommend you read Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari.
6. Reduce things we take for granted
It’s when you don’t have something that you realize that you took it for granted. This can be something meaningless like toilet paper and milk all the way to a loved one.
I strongly encourage people to take note of things they’re grateful for. Things they don’t have access to now, or do but realize more than ever how important they are in their lives.
My gratefulness section at the top, I seriously mean it. My life would not be the same without them and I realize this now more than ever.
Share your thanks to the people you are grateful for. When people thank me for what I write, it pushes to keep going and improve my craft for them. The same is true of anyone. Thanking someone goes a long way.
7. Remote working
I’ve been working from home for a year now. But I’ve been working remotely as a nomad for 4 years. While it takes some adaptations, there are many benefits.
With social distancing, you can see how this makes you less prone to catching illnesses from others. It gives you more time in your day because there’s less commuting to do. You get to spend more time with your family. You have full access to your kitchen, so you can cook healthy meals.
And while it’s harder on parents who have kids at home, I believe this is great for children overall. With my wife and I working from home, we’ll be able to better take care of our baby and teach him exactly how we want to teach him.
For more information about remote working, including how to do it effectively, what tools to use, etc, check out this guide.
8. Global online events
I’ve been organizing online events for the past year or so, trying different tools to make it possible. The one thing I like most about online events is that you get to connect with people you wouldn’t geographically be able to normally. And that’s a very underrated advantage!
Sure, you’re missing the human contact. Some have this harder than others and that’s fine. Offline events will resume and are not going anywhere. They will exist for at least a few more decades, likely centuries.
But through online events, you have a rare chance to interact with people you admire. You get to learn from the best of the best, from the comfort of your couch. Same with entertainment events.
I tried to organize a big event in Montreal I called the Montreal Personal Growth Summit. The logistics and marketing were a nightmare. Now, I’m working on a new skill development event I call the Global SkillUp Summit, hosted on Hopin. I’m putting together a team of experts from all over the world to give talks and workshops. And because my costs are very low, I charge 5x less than I would an offline event. Everyone wins.
9. Giving time for self-reflection
I frequently attend events that deal with procrastination, habit-building and anything within the personal growth space. I’m baffled every time at how people never take the time to self-reflect. I was guilty of that too until I picked up a journaling habit back in January 2018.
I thought it would be a dumb and pointless exercise. I scheduled 30 minutes to just dump my brain on paper. Three hours later, I realized there was so much on my mind that I didn’t even know! I went to the beach and journaled for two more hours. I wrote 50 pages of notes about anything and everything.
Today, I know that self-awareness is at the core of every good decision I make.
Why do you do what you do?
This is the hardest 7-word question to answer. Most people answer on the surface level: I do this job to pay the bills. But why this job? Because I went to school for it. Why did you choose this field? Because it’s my passion? Why is it your passion? *Blocked*.
What is your passion? What is your vocation? What does the world need that you can provide?
Here’s what life is about for most people: Go to school -> find employment -> meet someone -> have kids -> buy property -> work most of your life -> retire.
You can choose to accept it and that’s fine. But does it fulfill you? You have only one life. Mae West said it best:
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West
More people will find the right purpose thanks to this crazy pandemic.
10. Reinforces the importance of adaptability
I’ve been telling everyone about this for a few years. Adaptability is THE skill of the 21st century. I wrote a few articles on the subject:
The 3 Most Important Skills to Learn Now to Thrive in 2019
The faster your learn these, the faster you’ll thrive
The 3 Most Important Skills to Learn Now to Thrive in 2020
Do you feel like you’re going nowhere? Learn these to thrive like you never have before!
That last one shows you how to become more adaptable. Some of the points need adjustment during social distancing times, but the point remains — adaptability is underrated.
COVID-19 is only one event that changed history. More will happen in your lifetime. And every time, those who will survive and thrive are those who can adapt to the new realities of today.
I want to reiterate my gratefulness from above. I want to once again offer my sincere condolences to families of people who didn’t or won’t make it. These people deserve that we make this world a better place. And it’s entirely possible.
I’m going to live for today, and hope for the future. I’m going to fight the best I can to offer a better world to my unborn child and all the children of this world. I have not lost hope and neither should anyone, no matter how gloom the situation is.
Together, we can do this. Together, we WILL do this!
For more inspiration, check out dannyforest.com.