How Nature Can Help Guide Us Out of Lockdown to a New Future

Created: Monday, June 8, 2020, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Rosie Tomkins, author of ‘N-stinctive’

Humankind has benefited immensely from technology but as we move towards an ease in the COVID-19 lockdown constraints in some parts of the world we need to ask ourselves: is our modern way of operating what we really want? Will the long-term effect on our way of living be a positive one?

The decisions we make will have a long-lasting effect – particularly on our younger generation and the leaders of tomorrow.

Image: Pickit

In order to make the right choices, we need to reconnect with our own natural and intuitive knowledge. Our reliance on “expert advice” is ever-present in all aspects of our lives and careers. Although there is a place for this, there is also a downside; we’re in danger of losing our initiative and our natural flair. We no longer trust our own judgment.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents us with an opportunity to rethink our approach, to reconnect with nature and our inner ‘gut feelings’. Maybe it is time to allow nature to guide us down the right path?

Nature can reconnect us to ourselves, the comfort of birdsong, a view of the vast sky and its changing canvas, or the wind on our cheek – each can bring an element of peace. The main powerful ingredient is that it takes us into the present moment. It makes us savor the here and now instead of always striving for the goals of tomorrow. By looking towards nature, we can learn new ways of being and thinking. New ways to develop our business and lead our teams; ways that may serve us better in the future and will help us enjoy the present.

Let me share the life and business navigational tools we can learn from nature. The Five Cs:

1. Constancy

Let nature anchor you in the eye of this storm. Consider that penguins throughout the Antarctic are forced into a situation of lockdown for their survival – every year! Their natural cycle is to maximize energy intake in the easier times, foreseeing the challenging months ahead with a well-designed plan for survival. Let’s not forget as well, that penguins survive their harsh winters by huddling together in unity and support. Those animals on the outside who brunt the biting winds are quickly rotated back into the middle of the pack to make sure that no individual alone has to bear all of the burden. They endure, they survive, they thrive.

The lesson: Hard times don’t last forever and together we can bear the brunt of the worst of it for the benefit of all. Don’t dwell on the bad, rather look to the future, and while we travel the road to a post-COVID world look at how you can help others and share the burden of travel.

2. Consistency

We’ve all heard the analogy of the ‘tortoise and the hare’. Take one step at a time, be surefooted, do not race to fake conclusions based on false information – about your work, relationships, or the future.

The lesson: Now is the time to be more like the tortoise. Trust in the path that you are on and that you will reach your goal, no matter how long it takes. There is no need to rush back and forth, no need to panic and make rash decisions. Stop. Take stock. Think. Trust your instincts.

3. Congruency

Nature has the incredible ability to keep itself in balance, adapting to new conditions in order to thrive. Think of the ‘urban fox’, that is, a regular fox that has learned to thrive in a city environment. Naturally speaking, these animals are better suited to the countryside, yet they have learned to balance ‘need and survival’ to make the most of living outside their chosen comfort zone. Mankind can learn from this by seeking alignment, unity, and harmony with the world around us. Whether that’s keeping our business afloat, or connecting with family, or even learning to live with the constraints of lockdown.

The lesson: Seek to embrace the world and situations around you. Don’t fight them or wallow in the apparent unfairness of a situation. Instead find ways to adapt and inevitably you will learn to thrive in that new environment, no matter how ‘unnatural’ it may feel.

4. Courage

This is embodied by the hatchling that flings itself off a mountaintop with the hope that it will fly. This tacit knowledge is passed down through generations. The young bird doesn’t need to be told it can fly, or taught how to fly, it just has the courage to leap with the inherent confidence that everything will be ok. Imagine having the courage to trust our natural instincts more often, instead of always seeking external validation?

The lesson: Take inspiration from nature to build your courage and trust your natural instincts. By all means, take baby steps first (rather than flinging yourself off the cliff) and trust that your confidence will grow with every step.

5. Collaboration

That is to say, collaboration over competition. There is of course a great amount of competition in nature, whether it be for food, security, or a mate. Yet nature’s ability to collaborate, even between species that would naturally be at odds with one another, is one of its greatest assets. Imagine the classic mutualistic relationship of a plover eating leftover food scraps from inside the mouth of a crocodile. The competitive food chain dictates that the crocodile should eat the bird at the expense of any other benefit, yet it doesn’t. Instead, it allows the plover to clean its teeth and reduce the chance of infection. A truly natural form of oral hygiene!

The lesson: Consider the value of collaboration for mutual benefit. This is particularly important through the current global economic downturn when we are all seeking the same goals. Collaboration over competition will often help us find a sustainable solution for the future of our business.

Nature can be our compass and inspire us as we navigate our way out of lockdown. As leaders, we must help to create a future that will serve everyone better, both in business and our daily lives.  There will undoubtedly be some bumps along the way, but ultimately if we model the tortoise and stay the course,  focus on helping others like the penguins and the plovers, and show the courage of the fledglings then we will emerge stronger and with a future that will be better for all of us.

Rosie Tomkins
Rosie Tomkins is founder of the Natural Capital Consultancy and author of ‘N-stinctive’, an inspirational book that introduces an alternative to traditional leadership training by unlocking the power of the natural world to provide strength and confidence to people who are shouldering huge responsibility.

Rosie’s clients include the GB Olympic hockey and England rugby teams, the NHS, and multi-national companies in the airline, engineering, and pharmaceutical industries.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

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