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Message of inspiration during uncertain times
- Monday July 6, 2020
By James Houghton IEng FIHE
My perception is that we are seeing some amazing resilience through this time of COVID-19. It is a commendation on the professionalism and dedication that exists. We all have the opportunity to do our part to help and sometimes it’s the small things we all do that can make the biggest difference and ensure that we look after the health and wellbeing of others.
While the numbers of deaths are huge, it is the personal stories of people who have suffered themselves or have lost family members/friends that brings home the very real and awful impact of this pandemic. There will be a time when this is all over when we will stand and remember all of those who have suffered or died because of this virus.
We seem to be into a ‘new normal’ and getting used to virtual meetings and exploring the advantages and disadvantages this brings. Notwithstanding this, I believe this is also an opportunity to challenge ourselves to work smarter and to find innovative ways to move the IHE forward into the future. There are always solutions, and as Albert Einstein once said: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.’ And: ‘Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere!’
This pandemic has seen us make a significant change to the way we work – most are very accepting of the fact that it works, and that there are some very real benefits. Some who were fearful of
technology and were grasping for paper (I haven’t printed anything in 10 weeks), have now welcomed the technology and are consistently utilising it. Amazing!
What I have seen is that we are managing matters in a far more dynamic and collaborative way. I seem to find I am spending more time focused on the things that matter rather than on travelling.
It has seen many operational benefits and improvements to consistency and approach.
However, with the benefits there are also disadvantages, such as the advice about sitting too long in one position and the need to do stretch exercises, and general health and wellbeing. Nevertheless, the future may present us with an even greater challenge than the current pandemic, and we will need to be ready to meet those challenges head on.
These times make you appreciate every day, and that we need to make the most of every moment. I was reading an article recently that stated ‘happiness’ provides a better guide on culture and wellbeing. While income is clearly part of the foundation of this, work is actually seen as a great tonic for gloominess or stress. The key factor in this, however, is ‘not the work itself but how it is done, with whom, and in what circumstances, that creates or destroys happiness’.
Remember that building connections is important. Adversity helps all of us to focus on what really matters and building the positives is more important than identifying and curing the negatives. Getting the right environment and encouraging people to change their perspective is the main thing – it’s ‘one saw mud, one saw stars’. Perceptions do colour the way we see the world.