Be Open-Minded. Stay Strong. Embrace Resilience to ‘Bounce Forward’

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Are we running out of adjectives yet? In a time of crisis (or crises?), as we are all still coming through the pandemic of 2020 and gazing ahead to the New Year, there are a litany of words to describe what we’ve been through, what we’re still going through.

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic challenges, cultural and social changes, too, have brought so much to light. I still like the words we used in the title of Vision Monday’s Global Leadership Summit this fall, which were ‘AFTERSHOCKS: Remaking Healthcare’s Future, Vision Beyond 2020.” Our program and speakers talked about the “seismic” changes impacting our world and I still think that’s a really good description of what is unfolding before our eyes in so many arenas.

But I’m going to steal, frankly, or be inspired, to be nice, from a great communicator for this post, my last column of the year. It’s Arianna Huffington, author and founder of Thrive Global (https://thriveglobal.com/). She wrote this month about how the arbiters on language from Merriam-Webster proclaimed the “word of the year” this year was “pandemic,” with runners-up “quarantine” and “asymptomatic.”

And, she also noted that the influential Oxford English Dictionary, instead of choosing a single word for this year, issued a 38-page report analyzing the use of dozens of words, including “coronavirus,” “doomscrolling,” “social distancing” and “systemic racism.” Their report stated, “Given the phenomenal breadth of language change and development during 2020, Oxford Languages concluded that this is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single word.”

But Huffington disagreed and has found the one word for this year and I agree with it: “Resilience.” She called it “the single word that sums up 2020 and does encapsulate, in a deeper sense, the shared experience of billions of people this year.” She added, “Resilience is the word that will be just as relevant when the pandemic is over. It’s the quality that was summoned in us by all the challenges of 2020. And it’s also the quality that’s going to carry us forward into 2021.”

Here’s the smart conclusion. Huffington writes, “Resilience is what allows us not just to bounce back, but to bounce forward.” I like that, and hope you all do, too. I think it speaks to the best in all of us that showed up this year—and that it sums up how to frame our look ahead to 2021.

Finally, to all of our readers of Vision Monday and VMAIL, we appreciate you. From all of us on the Vision Monday team, we wish you a Happy, Safe and Healthy Holiday Season and New Year.

maxelrad@jobson.com