The Chinese word for ‘crisis’ is ‘weiji’ and is made up of two Chinese characters – ‘wei’ which means ‘danger’ and ‘ji’ which means ‘a point where things happen, change’. ‘ji’ can also mean ‘opportunity’.
There is opportunity in every crisis. Not just for the bold and brash few, but for everyone who moves beyond fear and survival and takes the time to look for it.
National opportunity emerges from COVID-19 crisis
The Australian National Crisis Cabinet has done an effective job in ensuring our nation has been largely protected from the ravages of the Corona Virus. At great economic cost, people have been prioritised before profit. The whole population has worked together to minimise the impact of the virus. Now the spread of the virus is largely under control, the cabinet faces the even trickier task of lifting restrictions and restarting the economy. It was obvious in early April that our leaders were starting to think post COVID-19.
What excites me is that as they, and their advisors, have lifted their vision to the future, several ideas for major structural change have emerged. Australian productivity has been largely stagnant since around the year 2000. There is great need for structural changes to the tax system, industrial relations and to other parts of the economy. There is also need for a cohesive climate change and energy policy. All these matters have been in the ‘too hard’ basket as our politicians have dithered in their own little bubble for the last 10 years. Now, this crisis has required a more bi-partisan approach to decision making. This crisis is now enabling an opportunity for significant reforms to be finally put on the table. Reforms that will be in the long-term interest of our nation.
Fear makes you blind to opportunity
This model (source unknown) has appeared on various social media platforms. It helps us understand why some people become paralysed in with fear during a crisis. The Fear Zone is all about surviving the danger. People feel like victims and want someone else to fix it all for them. Fear is an appropriate response to the initial danger of this crisis. All of us may have been in this zone for a few days. It is critical that you stop scrolling, begin to get over yourself and start to move into the Learning Zone.
People who enter the Learning Zone start to ask questions about how to do things differently. They work out how to structure their lives in new ways to make the most of their situation. They begin to feel a little more in control. They start to look beyond survival to the opportunities that are available to them.
It is not long before people in the Learning Zone move into the Growth Zone. They realise that this extended period of isolation is an opportunity to rebuild their website, or to create that online program they have been talking about. My daughter is a PT and when classes of more than 1 client were banned, she was ready to do her PT classes online LIVE. She has actually grown her client base during this period when gyms are shut and group classes cannot operate.
Crisis means danger (‘wei’) but it also means opportunity (‘ji’). If you are going to see your opportunity in this crisis it requires you to move beyond the fear and learning to survive, in order to become curious and eventually more confident that you can actually grow through and out of this crisis in good shape. Who knows, if you are curious enough, you could possibly move into the most productive and profitable season of your life.