Imagine a situation where any of the decisions you make will hurt you, which one would you make? Something like: what do you prefer, sticking a fork in your eye or thigh? A long time ago, there were these TV shows that became fashionable in which participants had to choose between disgusting situations and it was surprising to see that people made the worst decisions, and when they were asked why, they didn't know what to answer. The reality was that they had decided in the heat of the moment without taking a minute to justify what was worse. Thus, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic confronts us with decisions that represent for us paths we do not want to walk, it would be good to take a few minutes to reflect.
As if it were always debating about the obvious, we insist that the challenges of the pandemic are great and that the decisions that have been made are those that we would never want to face, however, it is until we put ourselves in perspective when we manage to give a just dimension to the subject we are talking about. Doctors in Italy and Spain have had to decide whether sick people will have access to a respirator and which do not, the world's representatives have had to decide between the absolute confinement of their population or not to stop the economic flow; entrepreneurs face bitter options: close and anticipate a possible bankruptcy or send their employees home to prevent the virus from continuing to spread.
The complexity we face is leading us to make decisions between alternatives that we neither like nor suit us. Looks like the pendulum goes between values like being a heartless or being a fool. Some have chosen to act quickly and have closed curtains to avoid worse health outcomes and those who have decided to continue as far as possible to avoid a worse economic consequence. And, it is a fact that there does not seem to be much to choose from: on the one hand there are those who say that we must take care of the economy because if we do not die of the virus we are going to starve and on the other there are those who say and what serves the economy to a person who died.
Fortunately, not everything is as black as it is perceived or as white that naivety wins us all. These intermediate colors begin to be perceived when we take a few moments to reflect and, at the moment, we all have time to think and justify our priorities. Today, as never before, it is invaluable to understand what our goal is, what vision we have, what values we are going to face this global misfortune. We must be clear about what is most important to us and act accordingly in order to communicate it efficiently. So are nations and leaders around the world doing.
For example, Russia took a hard road to address this crisis: it contacted its people and firmly and simply called on its people to follow health measures to prevent contagion, so did Singapore and Taiwan. Donald Trump has said the remedy may be worse than the disease. He has argued that stried the economy altogether can cause irreparable damage. They have decided that it is better to take care of those who become infected than to stop completely. Of course, America is fortunate to be a rich nation. Of course, there are different ways to deal with the situation: New York and Florida have followed different policies.
Truth be told, the results that come from decision-making are not guaranteed. We know, the decision-making process reduces the risk but doesn't eliminate it. In times of widespread crisis, leaders should be aware of the costs of their decisions and from them, opt for those that are less costly. That's right, and that's the way it should be. Therefore, measuring, justifying, assessing must be done on a perfectly verifiable basis. I mean, we must rely on facts, not opinions.
To decide, we must be empathetic. We know that there will be people who will be affected by our decisions, and to the extent of our possibilities we have to show solidarity with them. Find ways to help make the impact to those who are left vulnerable, less, and, if that is not possible, then explain honestly and to the face the reasons that led to making those decisions. These explanations cannot be delegated to third parties, we must give them personally.
We also have to understand that in order to survive, we have to show adaptability. Darwin was right. In this sense, the nations we have seen as the COVID-19 wave have risen in other nations, we have the valuable opportunity to anticipate and protect ourselves. Closing your eyes, gritting your teeth and denying that something is going on to stay in the warmth of our comfort zone will only sharpen the consequences.
Many will try to shift the impact to others and that those others may be us. We have to be prepared to negotiate better conditions to help us get around the storm. Be ready to listen to proposals and renegotiate in our favor. This is what it means to prepare wise decisions in difficult times.
Sadly, on stage you see people who go happily thinking that nothing is going to happen and that innocence is expensive; I see those who criticize and try to hinder those who, without harming them, are making decisions to move forward, and they are running out of time to get to work; there are those who have already received the impactand, because they had not been prepared, came out with an impact that had it been less if negotiated.
These are thought-to-mind time. We have to think fast, but we have to take our time to value what is best for us, to understand what is favorable to us and where we should be placed to absorb fewer impacts and have better consequences. We are like a ship captain who sees on the radar the stain of a fierce storm and decides that the damage of deflecting the course and entering the periphery will be less than followed head-on. It is preferable to go out with some dents on the helmet than to lose the mast.
Of course, that can only be better decided if we take a few moments to assess and then act. There will be costs that we have to pay, there is no way to evade them, but we can choose how to do it, especially in these difficult times. That is precisely what righteousness in difficult times is about.