As 2020 rolls into 2021 I’ve noticed essentially two points of view being expressed, especially on social media.
One is that 2020 was an ‘annus horribilis’ – a terrible year that should be buried in landfill and never spoken of again.
But another is that while 2020 had its challenges, it also presented some opportunities for those who were able – and willing – to rise to the challenge.
While I don’t believe many people expect 2021 to be an ‘annus mirabilis’ or wonderful year, I think that for some the year is a blank canvas on which they fully intend to paint their future.
I was reflecting on that as I went for a walk on new year’s morning at my local shopping centre. (The centre is so large that if I pass every business to my left and then return, it’s a 5km stroll.)
In that 5km this morning I noticed a sign that said “The Blue Mountains of the island of Jamaica are 14,000 km north east of (this coffee shop)”
I also noticed an empty store being used as a snow field for children … ‘real snow’ (by which they mean finely crushed ice) where kids can make snowmen, and snowballs, and ice castles. In the height of summer, in a sub-tropical city that has never seen an actual snowfall.
I also noticed a basketball court set up ‘just around the corner from PappaRich’.
What’s the connection there? All of those are examples of how we simply ignore distance or cultural difference to take what we want and make it our own.
Consider – coffee only really became a widely popular drink in my lifetime in Australia. Prior to 1960, tea was the beverage of choice – but now we consume 96 million kilograms of coffee beans each year, or about 10 kilos per adult. And most of those beans are shipped from half a world away.
As for the Snow4Kids event, Brisbane never gets snow. Every two or three years, there’s a light snowfall on the Granite Belt three hours drive away – but only in the depths of winter, not the heat of December. And yet children in the capital of Australia’s most tropical state are able to play in the snow (for $20 per 45 minutes!)
And Basketball? That’s an American import, of course – but more interesting to me was the sign saying “… around the corner from PappaRich.”
Who would ever have expected Malaysian hawker food to be one of the most popular restaurants in a major Australian shopping centre?
In fact in that same restaurant strip / ‘Town Center’ there’s Malaysian food, a cafe, a burger store, Portuguese chicken, Vietnamese food, a Mexican cantina, a steak restaurant, pancakes, Japanese cuisine, Yum Cha, Italian, a Hawaiian Poke restaurant, and a pub.
And wherever you are in the world, the same sort of ‘border-blurring’ may be occurring.
I suspect that 2021 will belong to those who are able to do a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – and plan accordingly.
There will be threats in 2021. We all know that. But there will also be opportunities.
And those that minimise their weaknesses while playing to their strengths stand the best chance of making 2021, the year where “what we knew will no longer be true,” a year of growth and fulfilment.
I hope that you are one of those people – and if we can help, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year!
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