Making Sense of 2020 and Opportunities for 2021

Dawna Jones
4 min readJan 7, 2021

Most would agree that 2020 was a year no one wants to repeat anytime soon yet not everyone experienced it as a difficult year. Different yes, but not difficult. Overall people who had been through a lot of adversity weren’t much phased unless a relative was directly impacted. A measure of resilience and self-efficacy is developed through the experience of rising above (transcending) adverse conditions. In that sense, if you’ve made it through a difficult time and become more at peace within yourself, the Covid interruption has had less of an impact.

Collectively we learned a lot from last year. Everything from how well people respond to uncertainty and what kinds of decisions business makes when survival is threatened. The prevailing estimate is that more got done in seven months than would have in seven years without crisis shining in the mirror. Yet humanity faces the crisis of climate change, loss of biodiversity which has a direct impact on resiliency, food and energy security, on everything. A looming crisis hasn’t done much to bring out the best in people. Covid, because it was and is immediate (unless you don’t believe in it as if death by a virus was a religion), got our collective attention.

What have we learned from the response to a Covid surprise? Strengthening resilience is grounded in learning from what we experience personally and collectively. A few observations come to mind.

  1. Who to blame. The Chinese? Nature? Deep state conspiracy? Scientists with a leaky lab? Blaming is easy. It divides and fails to take advantage of the chance to work together to become better through responsible action.
  2. To Wear or Not to Wear a Mask. Health officials were and are dealing with an unknown entity that morphed as it went along yet everyone expected the officials to know. The Edelman Health Barometer noted a shift toward trusting in government to lead the way for the first time in seventeen years. ‘The government will look after us’ is where hope for a vaccine rests. I’d offer that the hope lies within us all and in personal and collective capacity to self-heal, be respectful of others. Instead, the notion that wearing a mask deprives an individual of their freedom was taught to children with parents demonstrating. If freedom is that fragile perhaps the restrictions lie within.
  3. Denial. Denial naturally accompanies early days when watching a virus humble humanity worldwide. Frankly, humanity needed humbling…

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Dawna Jones

Collectively designing a better world through conscious decision-making leadership. Adaptive Decision-making, Strategic Insights, Inspirational Insights Podcast