What’s a silver lining?
There’s an old saying ‘even the darkest cloud has a silver lining’ or to use another metaphor, ‘it’s an ill wind indeed that blows no man no good’. In other words, however bad things are there’s usually a plus side, at least for some people. In Risk Management, you have to look out for opportunities as well as risks, for benefits as well as costs. It is rare to find a situation or an event that is totally one-sided. For more about managing risk, read my book, Load the Dice.
Is Covid-19 the exceptional cloud without a silver lining?
For some, there will be, can be, no plus side. Nothing I am going to write here or anywhere is meant to deny that or imply I don’t care. Neither do I intend to defend the shortcomings of this and previous governments in leaving us so unprepared nor do I defend the mistakes they made in the handling of the crisis. But I want to look at the opportunities and benefits the crisis has created. You don’t need me to tell you of the darkness of the cloud.
When did I see a silver lining?
I have seen several, but I was reminded a couple of weeks ago by checking my car’s petrol consumption. Yes – I have been making regular short trips. I go to a park to exercise among trees and wildlife, although it’s in the town. Although I haven’t made a long trip for weeks, the car was achieving more miles per gallon than before. Why? I can guess it’s because I spent less time in traffic jams or waiting in a queue. I am aware that air quality generally improved because there was less traffic on the roads and in the air. There is also less industrial production. All this may reduce global warming. Of course, some of these indicators, including my petrol consumption, have begun heading back to ‘normal’ now Lockdown is easing, but will all the gains be lost?
Is that the only silver lining?
Many people find Lockdown stressful and/or depressing, and others can’t get the medical treatment they need because the NHS is so focused on Covid-19. However, some people are healthier.
- They are free from the stress of work or school and/or the commute to work.
- Some get more sleep.
- Others are eating better, having more time to cook healthy meals.
- Some enjoy being with their partners and children.
- Many prefer working from home.
- There are those who have found exercising out of doors healthier than the gym.
Will we lose the silver lining when we get rid of the cloud?
It is obvious that some of these benefits will reduce or disappear once we get over this pandemic. But must they? Can we learn the right lessons and apply them?
- Can we change the way we work and travel?
- Will we make more time to eat healthy?
- Shall we make more time for our families?
- Will we exercise more?
Are there ironic silver linings?
This crisis has highlighted some things that were wrong in our society before. Will we take the opportunity to put them right? .
- It has taught us to value the NHS
- We have seen the state of care for the elderly
- It has highlighted the social inequality of class, race and region
- Perhaps we have come to value the environment
- Some of us have questioned our priorities. What did you really miss?
I have written about managing the risks of returning to work and elsewhere several posts about coping with Lockdown. But beyond coping, this could be an opportunity to change things that needed changing.