Though we have started to see some tiny glimmers of hope here in Australia, it still can be scary when you read the headlines and remind yourself of how early on in this journey we are.
I don’t think anyone is finding this easy; I know I’m not.
When I have struggled at other moments in my life, I have tried to motivate myself by figuring out what I can take out of that moment in time. For this particular pandemic — my only pandemic, in fact — I want to use it to enjoy the suburb I live in a bit more.
This started me thinking about the various companies that have been born out of global crises. Who has had much bigger sparks of inspiration and made game-changing decisions?
Quite a few people, it turns out.
Take, for instance, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. In December 2008, the two were standing on a snowy sidewalk in Paris, trying to hail a cab — or so the story goes.
They developed a smartphone app that let people tap a button and get a ride, called it Uber, and launched it in San Francisco. Last year, Uber went public at a valuation of US$82 billion.
Then there’s a guy called Walt Disney, who along with his brother, Roy, started an animation studio in 1923. In 1928, they premiered “Steamboat Willie,” the cartoon that introduced Mickey Mouse to the world, and Mickey’s adventures helped keep Disney afloat and lift the spirits of Americans through the Great Depression, which started the following year.
And there’s Microsoft, which officially launched on 4 April 1975.
There’s nothing particularly special about this date, other than it was just a few weeks after the 1970s recession was declared over. Through that 16-month recession, America’s GDP felt its worst hit in almost 20 years, but it wasn’t enough to stop Bill Gates and Paul Allen from toiling away at their fledgling computer software business!
I could go on; there are actually plenty of big names if you look for them!
On the back of this search, I decided I’d try to avoid thinking about how my plans seem as though they’re suspended indefinitely.
Instead, I’m trying to think about what we can get out of this, as individuals and as a society, both big and small, and this made me think about a saying I enjoy: “adapt or die.”
It’s a little rough, especially when people are actually dying, but at its heart, it’s a saying that inspires us to use the tough times to dig into our reserves, draw on our resilience, change the way we think, and figure out how we can move forward.
Maybe even be better than ever.
Just a few thoughts to end the week.