A Global Pandemic is like…Breast Milk

If you have kids, you will know about the blur that happens in the first few weeks/months/years of a child’s life. You’re not really sure what day it is, where you are or how you got here. You are kind of surviving on auto pilot. Kids can have that effect. You will also probably have an understanding on how challenging breast feeding can be. Now, I can’t speak of this firsthand, but I have witnessed it and have seen the brutality of the feeding, burping, sleeping, changing, expressing regime.

The most frustrating experience that a woman can face in that time is when breast milk has been spilled. All that effort and discomfort for nothing. What a waste. It’s a waste because breast milk is limited, you have to work hard to increase supply and it is valuable because it has the ability to bring growth if it’s used properly. 

It’s the same as a global pandemic. It is limited, you have to work hard to survive, but it is also valuable because it has the ability to bring growth if it is used properly.

The face of work has changed – thousands, maybe millions of people are working from home in Australia who have never had the chance to previously. Commutes have been slashed, down to just seconds as we walk from one room to another in our home, work attire is drastically different (sometimes pants are ‘optional’), and never before has the word ‘Zoom’ got so many mentions.

All that aside, we have a rare opportunity before us. One which encourages us to think creatively, embrace change, try new things and implement strategies that a few weeks ago seemed impossible. Everyone seems to be looking to find a way to do things differently, because at the moment, it is necessary to find other ways of doing business.

If we are lucky, we will soon begin to return to some form of normality, perhaps a new normal. Now is the time to think about what we want to change – what are the things that we used to do that are unnecessary? How can we create more stable industries, businesses and governments in light of this experience? What are new ways we can use to achieve results quicker? We have done the hard work of living through it, let’s not waste it and throw it away, we may never get this opportunity again.

Tunnel Vision

Do you remember the last time you were really hungry? Not just peckish, but actually ‘missed out on lunch, breakfast was small and now dinner is late’ type of hunger. It is painful, but probably the hardest thing is that the only thing that you can think about in that moment is food. You can smell it, taste it and imagine how it would feel just being close to a meal that is ready to eat. Sure, you try to distract yourself and think about something else, but when the image of the perfect hamburger pops up in your mind then it’s all over. It’s food and nothing else that has your attention.

If you have experienced that, or something like it, then you are not alone. It is the psychological phenomenon of scarcity. There was a study that was done on the impact on people when they live on a starvation diet. Over time they grew so weak and thin, as you would imagine, but the impact on the mind was what caught researchers by surprise. They discovered that all the participants could talk about was food. They memorised recipes, compared food prices and shared about their favourite meals. So they decided to distract them with a movie but all they could focus on was the meals that the characters in the movie were eating. They were so consumed by what they didn’t have, their lack, that they couldn’t focus on anything else. They couldn’t see the big picture.

Not having enough of what you need can become the only thing that matters to you.

That is why the work of Opportunity International is so powerful. Providing a small loan to mothers who can start a business and create an income overcomes the scarcity problem, allowing people to shift their focus to other important things and make wise decisions.