From 510 million km2 to 0,01. What did i learn?

6th April 2020


Earth’s surface is 510 Million km2. I am confined in 0,01 km2 now: Lessons learned.

For the ones who know me, the world has been my playground for the past 20 years, with a peak since I quit corporate life in 2013: 71 countries and counting, out of 199 (but depends on how you count them also). I have seen only” a third of the planet, but now … I have been spending a month in 0,01 km2, and – of course – I already feel lucky I have some space. The difference though is staggering.

There will be a before and an after this pandemic, and I am not even talking about the economy, which will probably take years to recover (yesterday, talking with a good friend of mine, he told me it took 2 years to recover from 2008, assuming you invested in Jan 2008 and lost 40% by the end of the year), as a side note.

I am talking about what type of fucks people will start giving. Very different, IMO, from before COVID. At all levels, and unfortunately in both positive and negative directions.

What did I learn on myself (and keep doing so) during this quarantine?

  1. Family above all. It has been a while I wasn’t facetiming with my parents every day and wondered why we all tend to take them for granted, especially at my age where you should simply consider yourself lucky to still have them in a good shape.
  2. Leapfrogging digital inclusion in this forced way might change forever a lot of behaviors at all ages, from my parents using Netflix to students learning online to useless meetings finally avoided or simply moved online. To this purpose, please check what my friend Stefan has done with MeWired
  3. Explicit gratitude practicing will become a wider habit, because you must be very insensitive not to appreciate all the simple things you give for granted when we will be able to do them again
  4. It sounds too much out of a motivational book, but if you can afford to look at this time not only with worry, but also with curiosity and an open mind, you might be forced by life to take directions that you would not have dared to pursue if things had remained still. (And I am TOTALLY conscious of the fact that for many this will be a total luxury, with way less priority than put food on the table or pay the rent at the end of the month)
  5. I have been working fully remotely for the past 7 years, so the change is not dramatic, but of course the whole world has slowed down, and it put all of us equal. Granted, being confined like Neymar in a villa with beach volley court and a private beach is not the same than a studio with a small window and no balcony in beautiful Paris, but you are still confined, and you also pick the people you get confined with and you are stuck with them. The “we are all equal” is a learning per se, but I would add also that this is a time, for me, to reconnect with the people who matter to me and never had a chance to catch up properly with. Sounds trivial, but I made a list and a proper exercise, because I ALSO won’t let this happen again.
  6. The meaning of the word Resilience, on humans. And what this word means to me. Your nerves are challenged daily with all the ghosts from the professional future  (or lack of), but also the fear to lose people you love, or again the uncertainty of the future of your kids. At the same time, you have an incredible demonstration of cohesiveness, love, trust, dedication, creativity, selflessness, and – ultimate – resilience. One example that comes to mind (and I already recorded a short video about it) is Mozambique, where spontaneously the tech and corporate community came together and from a what’s app group came out with a bunch of solutions and platforms and services to bring awareness and raise the capability to support confinement in a country (and the whole Africa will be pretty much the same) where infrastructure would not cope with a heavy-hitting of this virus.
  7. I already embraced minimalist life before this, and this isolation time comforted me further in this choice, with an added spin: I want the absolute majority of my work, from now on, to be meaningful and impactful, with enough revenue only to guarantee my freedom to choose what to do and to give back. Again, I am writing this more as a reminder for my future self because it’s something I was already strongly committing to, going forward.

What did you learn on yourself so far from this time with yourself?

Stay tuned