Dave Lukas - Lessons for Hannah
195: Lessons for Hannah - Chronicling the Wuhan Coronavirus and Lessons Learned Part 2
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
It’s been 5 weeks since I gave the background and my first status update of the Wuhan Coronavirus and its impact throughout the world. And it is incredible what can happen in 5 weeks. I wish I could say things are much better now, but we have not yet turned the corner.
First, let me review some of the biggest things that have happened over the last 5 weeks so they are on the record. I am probably going to miss some, but here is my best list of them:
Now, Hannah, at this point in your life, you are 7 years old and you probably don’t care much about unemployment numbers or what the price of oil is or what that even means. I know that, but I also know that you will listen to this when you are much older and understanding what happened in the past will help you in determining things that will happen in your future.
I think, it is also important that I share my thoughts, feelings, and opinion on our current state. First off, I can say, and I thank God every day, that your mother and I’s businesses have weathered the storm to this point. While my largest business is in the travel space, because of the diverse markets we serve, we have been able to hold steady. We are seeing some major impact across travel and I think we have a ways to go. We haven’t gotten the full brunt of it yet. At this point, we have been able to keep our employees and benefits in place for them and plan to continue to do so as long as we can. There are some government programs/assistance that have been created over the last few weeks that will help us in being able to keep people employed. We have applied for them and been approved but have not yet gotten any relief.
At home, we have settled into a pretty good routine with your schooling. You mother, like so many other parents that have been thrust into having to teach and school their children, is an angel for taking on the bulk of this while I work to keep things going across the different businesses. As you’ll someday remember, she has created lesson plans, works with you every day, and is fully immersed in making sure you thrive in your learning.
Each Sunday, we have been doing a family video conference with all our family and your cousins where we play games, share updates and eat around the table together.
The spring has warmed up outside so you now can go play outside and enjoy things like going on bike rides and playing in the yard. And we have set it up so you can Facetime and have virtual play dates with your friends. I know it is not the same as seeing them and doing the things you used to do, but it is the closest we can get for now. And you’ve adapted amazingly. Your resilience and ability to adapt to whatever life throws at you is amazing and has been evident ever since the day you were put into our arms in China.
Ok, so up and until this point, I know I sound pretty gloomy, but to tell you the truth, I’m not. We just must understand and face the reality we live in. Once, we do that, we can then see the opportunity and good things all around us. For example, in business – some of the best opportunities of my lifetime are showing themselves and I’m not wasting any time on actioning on them. More millionaires are created during recessions and economic downturns than at any other times. That is because those that are willing to go after opportunities and do what is necessary to seize them will get them. This is a great lesson that people can learn right now.
On the other side, because life has “slowed” down, I believe we are finding as people, how to get back to truly connecting and caring for one another. There are so many examples of this from people helping go get groceries for older people stuck in their homes to people giving and donating to provide medical gear to first responders and on and on. As families, we no longer have the go-go-go of work, organized sports, after-school activities, etc., so we have more time to spend with each other and become closer. We have found innovative ways to still do things and participate. For example, you are currently having your Tae Kwan Do lessons virtually on Zoom with your entire class all learning and practicing with your instructors from our living room. 3 days a week, you are dressed in your full gear and go at it. It’s great.
As they say, when life gives you lemons…or maybe its better stated, when the Wuhan Coronavirus gives you lemons – you make lemonade!
There are some things that I am watching that are important and will be into the future. First, I am watching and concerned about how states and governments are suspending rights and liberties, in our case, given to us by our Constitution. They are doing this in the name of keeping people safe, but there is no reason for you to be arrested for going for a drive in your car like they have done in states like Michigan. This concerns me because when things do get back to some normalcy, will these governments give up this power? It’s been shown through history that they typically don’t or at least not all of it.
The other thing I have been doing over the last 5 weeks is studying epidemiology and reading and listening to the thoughts of the top epidemiologists from places like Standford, Yale, Rockefeller University, and others. And ironically, most have been saying the same things, which concerns me. First, it is important to note in the U.S. that people in charge of the response to the pandemic are not epidemiologists, whose job it is to study and understand how viruses spread and how we handle them as human beings. Don’t get me wrong, the people in charge as some of the greatest medical minds in the world. But, in listening to what top epidemiologists are saying, there are some important things I think we have missed. First, we do not have and may never have a vaccine for the coronavirus. There are some treatments that are showing promise, but nothing on a grand scale.
I found it interesting that almost every epidemiologist has stated that the absolute best way to fight the virus is herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a large majority of the population has gotten the virus, overcome it, and development antibodies as an internal defense. Their argument is that this is what naturally stops the virus because it makes it very hard to spread it once this level is reached. Logically to me this makes sense. If you have 100 people in a room and 80 of them have had the disease and there is herd immunity, it makes it a lot harder for the virus to jump from one person to the next because there are essentially 80 barriers in the way. The next thing they’ve almost unanimously said is that closing schools was the worst thing we could do. Wait, what? Yes, and the explanation is that children are designed specifically as part of their growth and immune system development to be able to get and overcome viruses and diseases as they grow to build up the immunity for when they are adults. The epidemiologists argue that in closing schools, we have hurt our best vehicle for creating the herd immunity that ultimately slows the spread of the virus. They are stating that all we are doing is delaying what inevitably has to happen in nature to overcome a virus. Until we reach herd immunity, it will continue to have its impact and come and go. Again, this logically makes sense to me and why we keep being told that even when we are allowed to come back out of quarantine, that this can come back. It still needs to work its way through. The last point they have made was that we should have focused on the most susceptible groups like the elderly and people with existing conditions and let the healthy go through the process of herd immunity.
Now, whether you agree or not with that, in studying past outbreaks like this, even Swine Fu about 10 years ago, it killed almost 20,000 and infected about 60 million in the U.S. in the span of a year and then essentially disappeared. It didn’t go away. It’s still out there. But, in less than a year, herd immunity took place. The government did essentially nothing. Nothing was shut down. No quarantine was done. In fact, it was hardly mentioned in the news. So, this is something I will continue to monitor and watch in the coming months.
There are few other lessons I’ve take away over the 5 weeks that are important for me to share.
First, I believe that we must prepare for a “new normal” after things begin to come back online and restrictions on our lives are removed. We will not go back to the way of life we were used to before this pandemic. Wearing masks will become a part of everyday life. Distancing ourselves will become the norm. Testing for the virus will become an annual event. Things like going to restaurants will change and tables will be spaced much further apart. They may only allow a certain number of people to sit together. Travel will change dramatically. It already is. I read an article this past week that Emirates Airlines is now requiring a blood test to be able to fly. Can you imagine giving your blood to fly on a plane? Professional and Collegiate sports and organized sports for kids will change. We may not be able to have crowds at events. Close contact sports may be more limited or in the interim be stopped all together. (think football, wrestling, etc.). I could go on with example, but the important thing is that we have to prepare for the changes in our lives and mentally to be able to accept and manage these changes in our lives and adapt to the new normal. The ability and willingness to adapt will be one of the most important skills we can possess coming out of this.
Second, there will be huge opportunities for innovation and new industries as a result of the “new normal.” As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And with people working from and staying at or closer to home for the foreseeable future, there will be an explosion of new services for you at your home. Many of them will be innovations on what have already existed, but even a small innovation can create a whole new industry. For, example, in home haircuts existed prior to the virus, when a stylist came to your house and cut your hair. Was it a huge industry? Was it something that was reserved for the wealthier? Yes. But coming out of this, there will be a higher demand for such services and thus the prices will come down and the market will grow. Innovation will take place and a whole new version of that industry will take place. Same thing for things like massages, etc. Could Massage Envy pivot to having their people do house calls? Things like this are possible and thus, for those that are innovative and willing to look at things differently, whole new business verticals could be created. AirBnb was a great example of this pre-virus. But, to show you how fast things can change. Post-virus, who knows if AirBnb will be able to thrive at the level they once did. They will have to innovate and pivot I would expect. So, the lessons, innovators will thrive in the coming years.
Lastly, parents have learned that they can school their kids at home supported by the local school districts, so I think we can expect to have more of a blend of schooling with virtual at home classes and going to an actual classroom. People may now be given the choice out of safety concerns and parents will have more involvement in their children’s schooling than previously. I think this is a great thing and I think it will lead to better learning experiences and better overall results for student learning. The lesson for me is that while parents have always been encouraged to be active in their child’s learning, it is now going to be more part of our everyday routine and we as parents have gotten used to it, making it easier for us to be more active in learning. The lesson I am taking is that we should embrace it as it will usher in a new renaissance of learning and development of our children and lead to what I believe is a brighter future.
Hannah, it is clear that we are going through another shift in the way of life of the human race. This has happened many times throughout history and each time has led to the betterment of the society and our lives. Whether it was early man learning to create and use tools and harnessing fire, to the Renaissance, to the American Revolution unleashing the power of the individual and it’s capability, to the industrial and technological revolutions sending us to space and leading to the technological capability we have today – each time our lives changed for the better. The changes that are happening will lead to a different way of life, but one that will ultimately lead to a better one as we innovate and grow into it. Maybe that is the biggest lesson of all.
I love you, Daddy.
Belief is a double-edged sword that can be used for positive and negative. Make sure you use it for the positive as much as possible.
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