It is difficult to see past the negative headlines and constant stream of bad news. Yet, there is another world and timeline that is not often highlighted enough. That is the overwhelming generosity of spirit that individuals and businesses are showing during these hard times.
The doctor who posts an informative health YouTube video, the landlords who cut tenants a break, the CEOs who forego pay to avoid laying off workers, the academic colleague who helps another with Zoom, and the marketing consultant who gives a client free advice that leads to sales. These are examples of folks helping one another through our shared difficulties.
I’m hoping these acts of kindness accomplish two things. First, that they instill a reminder that fundamentally we are social beings that rely on one another’s generosity of spirit to thrive. The Scottish Enlightenment philosophers tried to address this but their views were subsumed by hyper-economic rationalism.
Second, that these intrinsically good and socially-beneficial acts get amply rewarded when the hard times pass. My sense is that the tenant, customer, colleague, and patient loyalty generated by these acts will add value above-and-beyond what was provided.
It is good to do right by those who need help at the moment. Pragmatically, this will be remembered when times are good and thus offer a powerful source of enduring value. By the same token, decisions motivated by short-sighted opportunism will likely have negative long-term effects.
Businesses in particular should note that the decisions taken today will have an impact felt long into the future. So, carpe diem!