Pandemics come and go (the Black Death, 1346-1353; the Spanish Flu, 1918-1920; Asian Flu, 1957-1998).
The key question is: how will this pandemic leave us? Will we be dead, debilitated, weak, weary, or, ready and rearing to go?
Only the anti-fragile will survive and thrive in the post-pandemic era. The essence of being anti-fragile, according to Nassim Taleb, is the ability not only to survive, but to THRIVE, through the pandemic. The essence of anti-fragility is the ability to grow stronger, not in spite of, or as a result of, the pandemic, but BECAUSE of the pandemic. In other words, to be stronger as a result of the pandemic. According to the motto, ‘what does not kill, fattens’.
Here’s what you need to do to be anti-fragile; to ensure that you survive, thrive and be fattened (NOT flattened), by this Covid-19 Pandemic.
Yes, Travel! Get your Vaccine and Pack your bags! Take the plane, train, bus, car, ship or even a space ship. Just Go! Take that trip that you’ve been planning for the longest while. Make that epic trip; experience something new – swim with the whales, attend a festival or event, hike, bike, kite, dive. Just do it!. Make that trip of discovery, so that you can find yourself.
There is no better time to travel than NOW. Imagine that places are twice as clean; costs half as much; half as crowded; and TEN times more welcoming. Thanks to COVID 19, we can finally say goodbye to ‘tourism fatigue’ (workers tired of smiling), to ‘old tourism’, to over-used environments, as well as to over-tourism.
Consider that some destinations are even banning or limiting cruise megaships for good. Venice, Italy is a great example. Overtourism boils down to the simple fact of too many people visit the same place at the same time and Venice is, sadly, Europe’s worst case of overtourism. Some 20 million visitors flood in each year; on its busiest days, around 120,000 people visit this city which is home to just 55,000 permanent residents, according to The Independent and Responsible Travel. This July, the Italian government banned large cruise ships from passing through the centre of Venice, declaring the surrounding lagoon a national monument. The government’s decision came just days before UNESCO, the United Nations heritage body, was poised to consider putting Venice on its ‘endangered list’ at its plenary session on July 16 to 31.
The Pandemic showed us that once we have high-speed Internet, we can work from anywhere – from home, a café, a train, a car or van; from a tree; a beach, a forest, a mountain; a boat; an airplane; literally anywhere! This realisation is transforming both work and the location of work. Many are realising that they do not need to be close to their offices; live in expensive, remote and impersonal high-rise apartments in the city; or even take the trek to the office every day.
This realisation has opened up a whole new world of personal choices and REAL estate. Quality of life and quality family life are taking precedence over physical presence at work.
With the realisation that you can work for anywhere, and at any place in the world, why not become a digital nomad – a type of person who travels and work in remote locations of their choosing.
Countries such as Portugal and Spain have developed special locations and spaces specially targeted to digital nomads. Caribbean islands such as Barbados have introduced the year-long renewable visas to allow travellers to work from the island and stay longer. Even deeper, islands such as Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia are offering the opportunity to live, work and become a permanent passported citizen of these islands with an investment of as little as US$100,000, the cost of your apartment or villa that you and your family will own. Becoming Nomadic has never been better.
Digital nomads are a fast growing (49% per year) group of mainly young people (mid-30s) who are single (63%), educated (75% have a university degree and 33% have a masters), high-income-earners (16% earn over 75,000 US$ per year) that can work from anywhere in the world. Studies show 19 million Americans plan on becoming a digital nomad in the next 2 to 3 years.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home; still in business; have a job or some ‘gigs’; and money in the bank, NOW is the time to invest. During the Pandemic, you have been travelling less, dining out less, spending less on concerts and theatre tickets, festivals and events; and popping fewer bottles of champagne. So your savings are probably growing. Interest rates are so low that banks have started charging you to keep your money safe.
There is no better time than NOW to make that money work for you. THINKING BIG, consider that the pandemic has disrupted many processes and business models. Ensure that your investments reflect the new, permanently disruptive and paradigmatic futures – clean industries, renewable energies, digitalisation, creative industries, environment protection, and more. Most importantly, for the long term, ensure that investments are in products, services and experiences that customers don´t yet know what they want.
Just in Time (Ford)
It’s Not Mine (Airbnb, Uber)
Produce What Customers Want
Produce What customer don’t even know they want
Mass and Standardised
Authentic and Individual
Influencing (Assets + Communities)
Firm, Product, Plant
Vertical and Horizontal Integration
Diagonal and Functional Integration
Suppliers in Control
Customers ‘calling the shots’
With your investments, you do not want to be caught ‘off-side’. After all, who would want to purchase the best well-made, gold-plated type-writer, or a super-performing, gas-guzzling Mercedes Benz, when it is no longer ‘in’ and no one wants to buy it, or worse, you are not even allowed to buy it after 2035. Who are lining up to buy tape recorders and CD ROMS today when digital music outfits like Apple, Deezer and Spotify have disrupted them?
And you don’t just have to think about the stock market, bitcoins or high-tech industries. Buy another property (God has stopped making land, so prices will increase with increased demand); invest in your own ideas and businesses; what about the kid next door that needs some funding for her business idea; or the football club that could do with a boost; or the farmer or micro business that can use a partner/investor/advisor to become more green and more innovative. In investing, also THINK SMALL – the rewards in terms of returns, will be more than just cash. Also consider that investment is not only about dollars and cents, but also TIME. Invest in both well!
We all know that the world is changing; that it is changing rapidly and radically; that it is changing for good; that there is no going back; and most importantly, that our skill sets may no longer be those required for the NEXT Normal.
One of the resources that COVID-19 has given us is TIME. It is critical to use this time effectively and efficiently. Learn a new skill; learn about things you did not know before, reinvent yourself.
And the greatest gift now is that so many of the courses are now available on-line and FREE. We really have no excuse to LEARN more, to discover more, to be excited more.
So, learn a new language; learn a new skill; take up a new hobby; write a book; become an author; a teacher; a care-giver; start an NGO; become proficient in something new. What are you waiting for?
Consider that most problems in the world are multi-faceted and complicated, and they normally require a combination of skills to solve them. Being great at one thing is necessary, but no longer sufficient. The more capable you are, the better.
And as I am always reminded, they can take away your house, your car, or other personal possessions, but they can never take away what’s in your mind.
You need to get started quickly because online learning is taking off fast. And you can get left behind in terms of your skills-set and marketability in an increasingly competitive world. Consider that e-learning is projected to grow at a compounded rate of 20% per year, from $101 billion in 2019 to $370 billion by 2026. So you need to act now.
The most popular online course since the pandemic have been well-being courses, IT-related courses such as programming and artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, and learning a new language (English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French) and business skills such as finance, accounting, and Excel, according to ClassCentral.com.
Social Media cannot be ignored. For some, social media wreaks of privacy invasion, and even looked upon negatively in some quarters, especially among the older generations. But social media is not only here to stay, it is slowly becoming the ‘keys’ to business successes. And one of the underlying keys is data – access to your digital footprint provides amazing ‘big’ data that just cannot be ignored. Just ask the Influencers, the Instagrammers and the ‘TikTokers’.
Consider that there are 2.85 billion active users on Facebook alone, according to Stastista.com and 4.3 billion overall social media users worldwide according to DataReportal.com. One year into the global pandemic lockdowns (May 2020-April 2021) there were 521 million new social media users added to the social media rank and file (DataReportal.com).
Does all of this sound selfish and just thinking about yourself. Well, that’s correct! You can only change the world if you are in a different space. In addition, happiness breeds kindness. So, BE HAPPY!
Dr. Auliana Poon
Dr. Auliana Poon is the founder and Managing Director of Leve Global and Exceptional Caribbean.
Auliana loves the Caribbean and believes in its people. Her personal mission is to change the world; to transform our societies. And this is precisely why she has spearheaded Exceptional Caribbean – a continuing mission to elevate tourism, trade and lives.