In the world of sales and influence trainers highlight one thing over and over. Contribute to the person you are trying to influence before you ask for something in return.
In today’s world I am wondering, however, are demanders winning over contributors?
In the 1960’s, when my family travelled, everyone came out to the plane and waved goodbye and watched, from the tarmac, as the plane taxied and took off. As we lived in Seoul, the airport we visited most often was Kimpo. We would often wait on the tarmac to watch as the military’s Sabre jets take off from the same runway. Even with an international flight, this was normal behaviour. With the impact of terrorism, the world changed. Today, no one would even consider getting on a plane without going through security.
I have watched with interest the social media debate around the right to refuse to wear a mask during the current pandemic.
Can you imagine what would have happened, if during the London Blitz, a neighbour insisted on their rights to keep their lights on during a blackout?
Or today, on an extreme fire danger day, someone insisted on their right to have an open fire in a public park?
It is easy to get carried away with the emotion and negativity of the situation. Unfortunately, too many people have died of COVID-19, including my father.
There is also the ‘uncounted’ toll of just as many suicides as a direct result of the mental health challenges a lock-down brings. Along with the family & relationship breakdowns.
No one can deny the critical health issue facing the world. In fact, there are many just as challenging issues we are facing. They are just hidden in the background while we deal with this crisis.
My observation, as with the change to requiring security at airports, the world is changing, and people are struggling to cope with that change.
Is there a better question to ask?
So perhaps the better question to ask is “What can I (we) do to create positive memories from the time we are locked away?”
My wife and I decided, rather than spending six weeks binge-watching Netflix, we will recreate the home office (it is likely to become a more permanent feature) and craft some of the most amazing masks for family members.
We spent time on YouTube learning how to plaster, hang doors, paint and cut odd corners on timber. The fabric stash came in handy for the masks with Harry Potter ‘Marauders Map’ and football team colours fabric featuring. If you look the internet is full of amazingly creative things people are doing to help them through this change.
The best part of this process was raiding the 40-year-old stash of fabric and timber offcuts in the garage to create new things from old.
Has the world really changed?
Of course it has. The questions one needs to continue to ask, however, are the human questions.
My father wrote me a letter before I was born asking questions like “What will the world look like when you grow up”. In this letter he says one of the key issues facing his generation in the 1950’s was “What to do with their spare time?”
When the lock-down finishes and the pandemic is under control (and it will be) the world will be a new place where masks are likely to be commonplace (like security at airports). The question will be “What did you do with your spare time?”
Are you a contributor or are you a demander?
Did you invest your energy in ranting and raving about what you were not allowed to do OR did you take the global view and ask “What can I do to make the most of this spare time I have been given?”
If you like this article please share it and share a story of what you did to make this time a time of contribution.