The year 2020 began badly, there were forest fires in Australia that ended up causing the death of approximately 500 million animals, COVID-19 was already lurking, and by March it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and had reached more than 1.5 million deaths. Several celebrities died including Kobee Bryant, Eddie Van Halen, Sean Connery, Alex Trebek and Chadwick Boseman, there was a terrible explosion in Beirut, George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed polarized the United States even more reaching November with was possibly the most controversial elections in the country’s history.
In Panama things are not going well either. The economy, which was already slowing down, has seen a drastic drop in its GDP. It is projected that the GDP for 2020 will be 14% less than the previous year. Debt is growing at a tremendous rate, the landslides that affected the Chiriqui highlands, the increase in domestic violence cases, the daily acts of corruption and unemployment which is projected to reach 25% by the end of the year, possibly without taking into account those with suspended contracts.
Physically and emotionally we have faced many challenges, so many have had to face the loss of a loved one, others got sick and are left with side effects which mean they will have to manage their health with greater care going forward. Not being able to see our families and friends as we would like makes us sad. ¿Who doesn´t miss hugs and live conversations without a mask?
Everything I’ve mentioned above has something in common, that it is all out of our control. Maybe we can influence some, but we cannot control the results completely. That is why I suggest that in 2021 we accept the things we cannot control and strive to improve the things that we can.
Businessmen cannot control COVID-19 regulations or restrictions, nor the changes in consumption patterns, but they can assess the possibility of adjusting their business models to adapt. We cannot control every member of our family and guarantee that no one is going to get sick, but we can create awareness, ease the implementation of preventive measures in our surroundings and prevent the spread at a personal level. Someone looking for a job or a promotion, cannot control the decisions of others but, they can work on their curriculum and look for opportunities to increase their visibility in front of decision makers. We cannot control the weather, but we can have an umbrella in our cars. When we are confined to our homes, we cannot go out, but we can plan to make it more entertaining; we can’t see our friends, but we can call them or arrange virtual meetings. We cannot control unemployment and hunger, but maybe we can help.
I hope that the things that are out of our control are not as hard as 2020, but even if 2021 hits us again, as the saying goes… “if life gives you lemons, learn to how to make lemonade”. If we have a problem, ¿isn’t it better to focus on how to improve the situation, instead of waiting for something out of our control to change? And, if we want to change our destiny, ¿isn’t it better to look for what we can do to change it instead of dreaming of someone to miraculously help us?
Taking control of our attitude and our actions and with awareness of what we can and cannot control, we can take away the satisfaction of having done everything possible to improve our circumstances and maybe of the people around us. In 2021, which will probably won’t be easy, my wish is that we take control of our attitude, that we choose to be happier and that we have the wisdom to accept what we cannot control and the strength to fight for what is really important. ¡Merry Christmas and Happy 2021!