All spiritual masters as well as all psychologists can tell you that suffering is just another word for transformation. Without suffering there is no psychological growth, no innovation, no progress and no human endeavor. If we would all sit happily on a mountaintop we would never step off. We would never do anything. Why would we? After all, we are simply happy! You can try to reject suffering or blame it for your unhappiness. Or you can look it in the eye, embrace it and learn from it. If you see suffering as a fantastic opportunity for learning and transformation, life will become one transcending journey.
What most people don’t know is that Western Renaissance was preceded by the plague. A terrible disease, probably much worse than the current coronavirus. The effect of that suffering was the rise of western civilization as we know it. The French word ‘renaissance’ literally means ‘rebirth’. A rebirth of western civilization, felt in art, architecture, philosophy, literature, music, science and technology, politics, religion, and other major aspects of intellectual endeavor. And it was all the direct result of the suffering caused by this terrible disease: the plague. Because that is the beauty of human nature. We are hit by suffering and death and hit back with resilience, determination, passion, purpose and great intellectual and creative force. From the rubble of misery we rise up with the flag of hope in our hands to build a better, more humane, more innovative and more prosperous future.
So I urge you not to see the current coronacrisis with pessimism and fear, but with optimism and resilience. See it as a fantastic opportunity for rebirth. See it as a unique chance for transformation. Because that is exactly what it is. It is like when you hold a ball under water and you suddenly release it. It will jump out of the water with force and strength. Use that force!
To all our clients and others I say: don’t dwell in defense-mechanisms. Don’t dwell in pessimism. Don’t stop your creativity. When Apple was confronted with the enormous financial crisis of 2008, literally all Apple’s competitors cut their R&D spending. And more! For years they were busy cutting costs to create cheaper organizations. Steve Jobs did it differently. When asked by a reporter in 2008 he responded: “We will double our R&D efforts. We will innovate our way out of here.” That was the Renaissance Man at work. That is true leadership. That is operating from optimism, creativity, resilience and courage instead of dwelling in fear and pessimism. The iPhone and it’s enormous success was the direct result of Steve’s mindset, thinking and actions. That is what truly great leaders do.
In my humble opinion, pessimism, often disguised as ‘realism’, is the ultimate human weakness. It is easy. Because when you are pessimistic you can never be hurt. Life can never be disappointing. Because you already predicted the disappointment. It is covering your bases, playing it safe, taking no responsibility whatsoever for your future. Don’t do it, is my advice. At least when you want to live a great and fulfilling life and create great value for this world.
So my advice to our clients and all other people, companies and brands is: innovate your way out of here. Sit down together and create great new plans. See what you can learn from this crisis and apply this to get a new way of thinking and better behavior. See it as a great opportunity. See it for what it really is: time for true transformation. As the world is in lockdown anyway, most of you have time on your hands. It’s a gift! Use that gift! Now is the time to further optimize your company, your brand, your own leadership and more. To transform your value propositon to a true purpose-driven entity creating a true purpose economy together. With more value, more fun, more fulfillment and more sustainability acrosss the planet.
In all our WhyToWork Programs and Courses time is always the biggest enemy. People are so tangled up in day-to-day operations that they think their day-to-day reality is the only reality. They are always too busy to change. And want to do everything as quickly as possible. Seldom taking enough time to really transform. Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry! It always makes me think of a great quote by Siddhartha Gautama, the world’s first neuropsychologist, we have come to know as ‘the Buddha’: “If you are in a hurry, take a detour!” Well a detour we’ve got! It’s called the coronacrisis. Use that detour!
We have been working hard to make all our WhyToWork Programs and Courses, as well as our renowned business coaching, available and possible through video conferencing. We have informed all our clients that we are ready to continue the programs and courses through our high-tech video conferencing platform. We use 4K cameras and professional audio and lighting. We have created a special Programs and Courses Task Force you can contact for any inquiries about your existing WhyToWork Program, your existing WhyToWork Course or any new WhyToWork program or course you want to start. We strongly believe this is the perfect moment to use the time you have on your hands to innovate your way out of here. And we are here to help.
And last but not least, to all of our clients we say this: if any of you as an individual needs any psychological or behavioral assistance, we are more than willing to see if we can help you for free through a personal coachingsession. Just let us know!
Eric H.J. Bartels
Chief Executive Officer