I think we all felt it, that surreal feeling when we heard from the President that we were officially in a state of emergency and things were about to get worse before better. In the hours and days following that feeling only becoming deeper as schools, businesses and all around life was shut down. Chaos is upon us in a form that is completely foreign to all current living generations.
The human mind is a scary and powerful thing. Our individual natures and characters coming forward in raw, honest truth in the midst of chaos and stress. Some resorting to paranoia, others frozen in time, many opportunists (good and evil), maybe hyper planning/scheduling (that’s me) when it comes to life, be it personal or professional.
When most think of the term “survival of the fittest” we immediately go to the physical/biological nature, however, I challenge us to think of this term in another way, something more modern. In the current moment where we are currently living with a virus that was as a result of nature mutating an animal born virus to impact humans, the outcome of “survival of the fittest” is preying on those with weakened immune systems and causing little to no impact on those with strong immune systems. In decades past there would be very little knowledge or science to prevent a virus like this from wiping out the great majority of those with weakened immune systems on the planet. Today, thankfully, we do in fact have the knowledge, science and medicine to significantly reduce the impact.
So, with that now established I raise the question of, “How is “survival of the fittest” re-defined today?” Is it strictly physical/biological or in fact is it something so much more, especially when it comes to business?
I’ve debated with many over the years that the true next level evolution for humanity is not physical, it is emotional. Call it emotional iQ, or simply the ability to not only choose control over our emotions but more importantly to be emotionally accurate. To express and feel the right emotion based on the situation. If you’re sad be sad. If you’re happy be happy. If you’re joyful, confused, frustrated, calm, melancholy, be it and communicate it. Unfortunately, still today there are many that boil down their emotions into three categories: happy, angry, withdrawn/void. The lack of being in touch with our emotions and more over, our inability to communicate them in an effective way creates huge limitations when it comes to stress, or worse chaotic situations.
Take for example the chaos created in business by Covid-19 and correlate that back to the three primitive emotions of happy, angry, withdrawn. I have witnessed, first hand, where leadership and employees of companies experience all three of these emotions/reactions in very similar ways. Some are happy, even elated, because their business is now booming and thriving like never before. For example, Zoom- they’re literally in a state of celebration everyday. They’re hiring and everyone on their team is benefitting from winning. They didn’t slow down, not even for a second. Some businesses are damn ANGRY! Extremely vocal, looking to blame anyone who will take the hit for not only the virus but their lack of being prepared for crisis. Their anger driving leadership and investors to become more greedy and hoard every penny they can no matter the cost of the people depending on them for a paycheck. Sadly, the most predominant reaction has been to push the pause button, lay down staring at the sky with an emotionless tear dripping down their face, numb and silently dying instead hoping the pain will end some how some way. Some of these folks may actually still have a chance of getting up and finding their way back to life again, but many will just lay there and starve to death– metaphorically speaking of course.
Imagine if business was not only physically strong, but mentally. Imagine if people, when it comes to their work life, could experience a wide array of accurate emotions. Could control themselves from falling prey to all the negatives ones, but instead feel through it and use them as motivation to push through, do more, overcome weaknesses and problem solve. What if they could use emotions like empathy to see beyond their own needs and help others? Now you may say, “I’ve seen that! I’ve seen people empathize and help. I’ve seen people experience a variety of emotions and find the good.” If you have, think about where those people are right this second in life. Where those businesses are right now. The people and businesses may not be jumping for joy, but they’re still thriving.
So folks, there you have it. Our NEW “survival of the fittest” in 2020. It’s not limited to our physical/biological state, it’s also and maybe even more so, emotional. Beyond science and medicine it will ultimately be a human’s and as a result, business’ ability to emotionally see themselves through this crisis and to quickly recover on the other side.