Monthly Archives: March 2021

COVID19 & the Stockdale Paradox

A year ago, when this all started, I saw a post on twitter (and of course I did not bookmark it, so no chance of finding it now).

In it was a great piece of advice to “not think about the date when this would be over”, but that “it would, someday, be over”.

I have since learnt that this is called the Stockdale paradox

The core quote, for me, being;

Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be

For the last year, I have been sharing this advice, and the thought that I see all of us as having lived in three time periods; the pre- times, the during- times and the post- times.

I am writing this now, as it could all go horribly wrong in the next few months.

  • vaccines are starting to get rolled out, but the supplies are limited for now, and how long will immunity last for?
  • people are remembering how the numbers went right down last summer, but have started going out even though it barely even spring
  • new, more infectious variants are popping up every few weeks, and far too many people are still moving around, helping spread them
  • far too few governments have been willing to take the very hard boarder and quarantine rules that have allowed New Zealand and others to remain virtually virus free

If all these factors combine, we could be in a similar place in 2022, but now with a massive spike in mental health issues and rising civil unrest, due to people’s fatigue over multiple failed promises of when this will all be over.

So stay safe, and, remember…

At some point this will be over, and we will meet in the post-COVID times!

And for some context, this pair of tweets shows how we can’t predict the future

Categories: interesting conversation, learning | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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