Our Symbiotic World
Amidst the chatter, the questions, and the concerns of recent global events, my mind has been distracted with a new level of awareness regarding the symbiotic relationship shared by all of humanity. This relationship spans all reaches of the globe. It includes all races, all cultures, all ages and all levels of political influence, business prowess and personal financial status.
Humans have an unfortunate tendency to crave division. Division about politics, race, gender, religion, language, physical appearance, anything from the grandest differences to the tritest topics. Humans love to divide ourselves down to the most granular level. We very rarely are reminded that WE, the collective and global WE, are all completely dependent upon each other in this new world of business globalization and vast global travel.
There has not been a time in recent history to remind us of this till now. Countries all over the world have faced epic hardships from catastrophic events induced by mother nature, to human initiated wars and racial or religious clashes, but we have not anytime in modern history ALL collectively been hit hard, this hard. It is a very important thing to take a step back and just say “Wow! Look at how connected we are, look at how hard we all fall, when one falls”.
I admit I am guilty of it. When I first heard about COVID-19 in Wuhan, I spent maybe a few minutes thinking about it. I looked up a few surface level articles, but in my head, it felt so far away. I figured there had been a lot of viruses in the past that had some hype in the media for a brief moment: SARS, MERS, H1N1 to name a few. The viruses would get press. People in the states would get a little uncomfortable and concerned, but it would quickly pass and not affect us directly. I thought that COVID-19 was going to shake out the same way.
I think many Americans felt that we are untouchable here in the states and these issues can’t affect us. As we slowly watched cases spread through Europe and make their way via cruise ship and air travel to our “neck of the global woods” the “wow” factor hit. Rapidly watching the economy shut down, schools and businesses close, and our world, as we know it, shrink down to quarantining with those closest to you or alone, is still totally unimaginable.
After the denial went away and the reality soaked in, I started paying more attention to not just what is going on in America, but what is going on around the globe. I started realizing the direct effects it had on the States.
It started with the recognition that China, our “frenemy”, is who we get a multitude of items from- essential medical supplies, for example. We don’t just depend on them for cheap widgets, we need them for the real deal items. It’s curious how a country who seems to always be in the headlines regarding political battles with the US relating to topics of division, tension and competition, ends up being the same one who we are massively dependent on during times of need. It’s important to recognize that we have a true symbiotic relationship with China – we all fall, when one falls.
Next, I thought about the travel ban that has temporarily halted the wildly successful tourism businesses and created incredible global impact. Think about this – the global Tourism and Travel sector contributed $8.8 trillion and 319M jobs to the world’s economy in 2018. Just think about that for a minute. Think of all the people coming and going around the globe daily.
Did you know there is an average of 102,465 flights daily worldwide? Did you know that United States is number one on the list of the top ten countries with the largest tourism industries generating $488 Billion? We have a multitude of people coming to visit us from around the world and vice versa. Remember – we all fall, when one falls.
From the financial industry to the real estate market, and from the hospitality industry to retail sales, everyone is hit hard. The collective, global WE, depend on each other. Each other’s goods, services, imports and exports, the list is endless. When one falls, we all fall.
So, what does this mean when we come out of it? What does this mean when this virus is under control and we can start rebuilding? Will we see the world in a different light? Will we see divisions differently? Will they not matter anymore? Will racism, gender, ageism, culture wars not matter anyone? When you step back and look at this event and the entirely of it all, it makes you wonder how could we not go through a massive global mindset shift.
Every country has value, every person has value. We are all collectively in this together – we are all part of a global symbiotic relationship. It’s time to focus on the similarities, the mutual needs, and step away from the divisions. We can come out of this stronger, smarter, more unified and prepared. Spread the message and open your mindset. Be above the trite, the small and the basic. We are better than this! Let’s aim high, let’s level up our minds and focus on moving forward and letting old ways go.