At the time of writing, the headlines were awash with announcements about promising vaccine trials – some claiming to be 95% successful – which have caused a spike in both the FTSE 100 and national optimism.
Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of medicine at University of Oxford, told MPs that there could be two or three vaccines by the new year and said he was “quite optimistic” that most of the country’s vulnerable people could have jabs by spring – heralding a resumption of normal life.
The availability of a vaccine will clearly be a watershed moment in the fight against Covid-19, as well as transformative for key workers and those who are shielding. It is tempting to think that if we wait three or four months then it will be the silver bullet that allows us to switch back to the ‘old normal’.
This is understandable, but it is a classic mistake. In fact, our fixation on a summit that is just out of reach, rather than the situation or challenge immediately in front of us, is indicative of a broader way of thinking that limits us in business and makes coping with the difficult circumstances of lockdown harder: outcome over process.
Having a goal can be important and productive, but it is critical to understand the immediate and granular steps that are necessary to achieving it.
In the instance of the vaccine, our goal is normality – a life without masks and restrictions among our loved ones. Yet, in the flurry of headlines about a potential vaccine, we have lost the urgent need to focus on the role of mass testing, as this would enable more people to attain a sense of normality in the immediate term.
Immediate action needed
For the sake of so many who can’t afford to wait for a vaccine or a new, or old, ‘normal’ – from the four in 10 British office workers who fear their mental health and wellbeing will suffer if they have to spend another six months working from home, to the 41% of 2,000 employees surveyed who said they felt more anxious and isolated than ever before, and the 20% who found their physical health had suffered as a result of rarely leaving the house – we need an immediate framework to live by now, rather than waiting for a vaccine.
I make this point not because I am a medical expert, but because I know that waiting for ideal circumstances is not the route to success. Moreover, adopting that ‘perfect day’ mindset prevents us from taking the actions that will help us achieve what we are looking for through a goal.
In business and in life, we need to go out and find those opportunities and reasons to hope
Fitness has been an indispensable tool to me and has been crucial in the past few months, given the proven benefits to physical and mental health while also offering clear goals.
We need to be able to look for opportunities in any market and learn how to maximise them – simply waiting and hoping for the best is not a viable way to do business, regardless of the conditions and how challenging they may be. In business and in life, we need to go out and find those opportunities and reasons to hope.
As we come to the close of an extraordinary year, navigating what lies ahead might feel like a harder path than battening down the hatches, but it will give us a surer footing as we move forward from the pandemic.
Keith Breslauer is managing director of Patron Capital