What are you thankful for?
NOTE: I want to thank a guest writer, G.W., for offering up his "Take" for this week's post. Very much appreciated.
It would be hard to author MY take the Sunday after Thanksgiving without noting some. I’m going to start with the strangest one. I’m thankful for having had a mild case of the Covid virus because I was able to board a plane and fly to a different State. I went to visit my 82-year-old Mom, my sisters and some extended family last week seemingly without much risk of infecting anyone. I hadn’t seen them in almost a year.
I am thankful for Covid shutting down my local pubs for a little while because I gained an appreciation for and like of the taste of bourbon. Not that I needed any further drinking habits or excuses for imbibing, but hey, that stuff is pretty good. I hope you all got some new “thanks” during this Covid time.
Do relationships lead to happiness? Or at least thankfulness?
Looking at that graph, I see relationships playing a major role in at least the following items: #1 Family, #3 Friends, #4 Memories, #6 Fun experiences. I’m sure if I wanted to be creative, I could put forth some arguments about relationships contributing to Stability, Opportunities, Achievements and Wealth. Most of those things are hard to do by yourself. Health and Personal freedom might be the only two that would be more of a stretch to tie to a relationship cause-effect.
I think I might link most of my thanks in life to the relationships that I have. Family, friends, mentors, colleagues, teammates, customers. My daughter got me started on the bourbon. Those relationships bring me different perspectives, innovation, experience, enjoyment, history, partnerships. The strength of those relationships is the differentiator between people who are close to me and a mere acquaintance. The foundation of that strength was established through face-to-face interaction.
I feel bad for people whose primary relationship building is founded on digital interaction. Sarcasm, body language, voice intonation, those little moments, sharing the physical environment are things you simply don’t experience in the digital world. They miss out on so much.
How is a concert, sporting event, smile, shoulder shrug, scream, observation or sarcastic remark experienced with all the same potential impact on relationships in the digital world? How do you share your thoughts on that particularly attractive person you see walking to get your hot dog at the soccer game in a digital world? What do you learn about your friend based on their comments about the same view of a sunset or crazy behavior of your significant other? Those experiences are difference makers that allow you to really understand someone.
Return to normalcy?
I am very optimistic that things will eventually return to normal travel, use of the hospitality industry and face-to-face interaction. Maybe it will only be 95% the same, but I definitely don’t think it will be the dramatic change (<50%) some seem to predict for the manner in which people, businesses and family interact.
I don’t think I am an outlier in terms of being a social animal. I believe humans are social animals and need that facetime. Look at the failure rates of students in remote learning environments. Sooner or later, the scientists, psychiatrists and counselors are going to say, “we need to get back to normal face-to-face interaction.”
I believe the business world, if it remains capitalistic and competitive, will also drive a return to normal travel, office occupancy and face-to-face meetings. The reason: strength of relationships creating a better product, sales environment or winning way. Businesses all must innovate and close business to stay sustainable. I have noticed a significant difference between the relationships I have developed in the last 8 months. They are different, typically less developed, than the ones that were initiated only 12 months ago with an initial face-to-face meeting.
Those relationships involve colleagues, customers and business partners. I can’t even say that I have developed a new relationship with a non-business-oriented person since the world went almost 100% digital. While we must deal with the world as it exists, I am convinced it is only some matter of time before we will return to normal.
Adios, be safe, it’s just MY take, pay it forward and have a Funday Sunday!!