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Post-COVID-19 life Post-COVID-19 life
by Joseph Gatt
2020-05-07 08:44:08
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COVID-19 for most of us is a time-out. So I'll briefly discuss different ways you can make the most out of this crisis.

Example 1: the badminton doubles game I lost.

Bad use of a time-out:

In a 2007 badminton tournament I played, I was paired up with someone. In the first round, our opponents were very weak players who rarely played the sport. My partner and I were “occasional” players of the sport meaning we knew how to get around the game.

But we got surprised by our weak opponents. Our opponents kept playing very close to the net, and tipping the birdie so softly that it would fall right at the bottom of the net, making it impossible for us to hit the ball back.

posconv001_400In badminton, the rules back then (I don't think they changed) were you were allowed one time-out per set. I urged my partner to take a time out in the first set, be he smiled and looked away. In the second set, we were losing, and I was sure there was a way we could win. All I wanted was a time-out so my partner and I could coordinate a “long ball” game, that is agree that we “aim for the baseline” so our opponents don't strike back at the net.

My partner being South Korean, he refused to chat things out, and we were humiliated and lost to our very weak opponents. We had a “repechage” round, that is two other games we could play for a shot at entering the semi-finals. But just because my South Korean partner was humiliated by the loss, without informing me, he dropped both of us out of the tournament. The tournament organizers did not inform me either, and only after I complained my team was not on the repechage slot, was I informed that my partner forfeited our team.

So time-outs and communication is important, unless you want to lose at life the South Korean way.

Example 2:

Let's say you have a job or own a business. During this time-out phase, you could think of restructuring plans for the short-term.

Just like in basketball where both teams are 101-101 and there are 4.4 seconds left on the clock, one team calls the time-out and tries to figure out what winning shot to take. Should LeBron take a jump shot, or should Shaq attempt a layup, or should we give the ball to Stephen to try a winning three-pointer. Where are the opponent's defenders, what is their defense's weakness?

So you could plan your next move. Your next move could be applying for a new job, where you have sufficient time to work on your resume.

If you own a business, your next move could be preparing partnerships with other businesses, searching for potential clients, or networking online to find potential clients.

Example 3:

You are a basketball team, have 10 minutes left in the game, and are trailing by 20 points. You have to figure out a middle-term strategy to overcome the 20 point deficit. You have to play rough defense and rough offense.

You are a business and have to change your business model completely. Perhaps you own a restaurant and want to radically redesign the restaurant, look for new menu options, re-decorate the restaurant, change a lot of stuff in your business model.

Or you realize you don't love your job as much as you should, and start contemplating applying for a completely different trade. Perhaps you were a teacher and realize that teaching never was your thing, and that perhaps you should try a career in sales or administration.

Plan your career move or business model move wisely, take all the time you need to contemplate it. I bet the peace and quiet and silence outside helps meditate things a bit.

Example 4

Final example. You are a basketball team, it's the first quarter, and you've had a rough start and trail by 20 with 3 quarters to go. You take a time-out, and have to come up with a completely different game plan.

Perhaps your career never really took off. Or your business never really took off. Or you had been “searching” for yourself all along.

This is a great time to think things through. Take the time to look at career options and life options. Maybe you need to spend more time with your family, thus need a job with below average pay but lots of free time. Or maybe you realize that you need to start making those sacrifices to go debt-free in the next five years.

Either way, use this time to be more self-conscious about what you do. Lay out your game plan, your life plan.

The great thing about COVID-19 is that it makes us conscious about a lot of things we took for granted.

Kind of reminds me of when the Jean-Marie Le Pen came second in the 2002 French presidential election and a lot of French people were saying “we had always taken democracy for granted; now we realize how fragile it is.”

You have always taken going out, partying, shopping, spending, living the good life for granted, and now perhaps, during this time out, you might realize that you need to be more self-conscious about all the partying and spending and shopping, to calculate more, to budget more, and to think more deeply about life and career choices.

Either way, I suggest you make good use of this time-out.

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