Well 2020 isn’t turning out to be the year everyone thought it would be. Tweny-twenty may well be a metaphor for perfect vision, yet no one saw the current challenge or consequences coming.
That said, the current situation of coronavirus being compared to the bubonic plague is somewhat xenophobic and mis informative.
COVID19 is caused by a virus, a tiny nuclei and protein requiring a living host, whereas the plague is bacteria.
The sensationalism comes from the fact both were traced with origins to the Far East and both have a path of transmission from animal to human.
In the case of the bubonic plague there is an ironic similarity that the rat (the Chinese symbolic animal for this year of vision, 2020, specifically the metal rat) was associated with the path of transmission of the plague in the middle ages that had a mortality rate of closer to 50%!
The bubonic plague wiped out between 30 – 60% per cent of Europe’s population. In addition to the significant fatalities the plague caused economic upheaval that took almost 200 years for countries to make full recovery from.
So here we can paint a different picture of our nimble, symbolic lunar symbol in a more favourable light.
Traits of the metal rat you might consider to replicate in these times of social distance, isolation and an unprecedented requirement for adaptability.
Making he most of the remainder of 2020 will be better achieved honing several skills of perception and simultaneously steady your confidence like metal.
The first is to invest in yourself.
Whilst it’s great to keep a cool wardrobe of fundamentals and trending pieces, or gathering the toys or trappings of success remember one thing. Fashion and all things flashy and fancy can be a little like the skin of the snake.
Like snakes we shed our own skins in a sense every season. Especially true when you think about seasonal fashions.
As fabulous as we may feel we look due to a collection of lovely belongings we all know deep down it is the character and mind beneath that is most important.
Any investment into this year’s trends, like that collection of pants cut off to show your mankles will pass (thank goodness).
And we are already seeing that many belongings become redundant when one is house bound. We are beginning to accept the importance of the simpler things in life through necessity. Whereas any investment into ones personal growth and developed skills, especially now in this fallow time, will sustain you for a lifetime.
Cary Grant, an icon from the Golden Age of Hollywood even said it well. ‘Let them see you first. The suit is secondary.’
So this beckons the question. If one is to sniff out personal proactive healthy expansion rather than hoarding popular garments or stuff what should we focus on first?
There is an obvious contender, a clue from our furry little symbolic friends. The nature of rats is very social; so find ways to focus on how to become more personable and relatable.
The key is to target the nuances of people, behavior and real human connection.
You might not be able to scurry off to see your friends, fitfam or work buddies face to face as much. Yet you can master a greater level of social ability by creating greater depth in connection with your closest pack.
Curious enough that a pack of rats tribe is called a mischief as even remotely you’ll no doubt still be able to get up to much!
The second trait to adopt is to better understand those around you.
The internet has turned into such disarray that the world wide webs founder, Tim Berners, announced last year he was working on an open source project to claim back some semblance of civility: less inauthenticity, fake news, trolls and other seedy slating’s that make people realise the real world is better than the virtual one.
We’ve also known for the longest time that technology continues advancing at rapid pace into arenas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, the internet of things and robotic process automation.
It’s not slowing up. In fact, 2020, the year of vision, was already slated to ramp this up. What with the greatest work from home experiment on the planet now well and truly on the way the cliché for 20-20 vision will likely ramp up further.
As more tasks and responsibilities are adopted by technology the essential skills of behavior will become highly sought. The essential skills you’ll need for future careers (that may not currently exist) will be skills relating to human behavior.
This is the stuff that cannot be automated or replicated. You’ll make the most out of 2020 when you take your nose out of our phone, for the fear of missing out, and begin to take greater notice of those in your world.
You can use technology for it’s greatest gift, as a true connector. It’s a n even greater priority to be truly present rather than getting distracted or lost amidst the noise of it all.
Be a leader not a follower and learn to pick up on the subtle clues of personalities of others. Be fully present and listen to pick up on the variations in how people may like to function or communicate. Then learn how to reframe, pivot or adapt whilst maintaining a composed authentic disposition.
Use your ears and your eyes more than your apps.
Rats are very social creatures. So, if you’re going to invest in getting to know people make 2020 a year to consciously network and participate in the real world. Yes, you can even do that remotely perhaps even better than many people have been pretending to do it live.
Those who are confident and adept in dealing with people authentically and personally will be the ones who stand out ahead of others in all fields as we emerge on the other side of it all.
Embrace the occasion and experience it, don’t coerce the opportunity.
See the person, not their title, position or appearance.
Be willing to give generously, add value before sniffing out self-serving opportunities or leaping on dropped crumbs.
Ask questions, listen with genuine interest, and truly get to know the people you connect with and the people in your world.
Another trait of our curiously natured icons has to do with their general demeanor and ethos. Rats are well known for being smart, diligent, enterprising and hard working. Yet they do it all subtly, under the radar.
Becoming a class act means a little less peacocking, bragging or feeling the need for so many selfies.
There’s a mantra that suits our outgoing, observant and adaptable class acts to a tee. The best way to tell the people or the world what you’re doing in 2020 is to show them when it’s done.
There is a story in Chinese mythology. The order in which the animals were to be featured on the Zodiac had the unlikely rat coming in first place in a race.
You may well win the race and challenges of 2020 too demonstrating traits of the metal rat: be curious, observant, meticulous and with an underlying nature of under the radar over bragging.
You ‘ve probably noticed those considered truly essential right now aren’t the insta famous brigade recycling tired hashtags or quotes. And it’s not the thousand dollar suits for hire either.
It’s the authentic people finding ways to adapt at home and on the front line. Grafters and workers in professions so often usually otherwise overlooked.
With the current challenge and concerns around COVID19 significantly impacting 2020, it might be worth thinking about one final trait.
Rats operate well in packs.
We may be amidst periods right now requiring a greater awareness around social distancing. Short-term pain for a long-term gain. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still be a connected pack.
Make sure to think about others and the broader community: less hoarding, less panicking, stay connected, for a period where requested and check in with others.
We already know the significant economic impact in mortality rates (especially the risk to certain demographics). We also know we are facing economic upheaval and stress It’s going to take true collaboration, not selfish opportunism, to get things back on track.
If we all do that then perhaps we can all get our full social scurry on quicker than otherwise. Because, just like rats, running around in the real world is where we operate best.