In the pursuit of happiness (a principal theme of this blog), I am sometimes having to focus on “distress”. Now is such a time.
There is a fine line between alleviating distress and profiting from it. We all know of the opportunities that exist at this time to make hay by exploiting the vulnerability of others. And yet the vast majority of the un-vulnerable (not invulnerable), choose to step up and be counted as helping.
We see this in the 750,000 who have volunteered to give of their time to help the NHS. And we see this in the behaviour of our colleagues, our customers and our suppliers. There is a wish to play fair and – so far as we can- to alleviate distress in others.
I am very grateful in my business dealings to those who are being patient and understanding, including my staff, shareholders and those who are giving freely so we can build our business to provide support for millions looking to turn their pension pots into retirement plans.
The determination to meet a societal need, often called “purpose” has now focussed on alleviating distress as much as pursuing happiness, but the fundamental commodity is that gift of the human spirit called love.
Love is the positive in our make-up that wants us to assist rather than exploit. Without love we are nothing.
Yesterday , we saw numbers from the Office of Budget Responsibility that spell-out financial misery for millions by way of unemployment, indebtedness and a loss of help for the future. These numbers are deeply distressing.
On the same day, we saw the numbers of the Office of National Statistics of the total numbers dying in week 14 of this year. These numbers are considerably higher than hospital deaths and point to the suffering of thousands who are dying in the care of others – or in no-one’s care. These numbers are deeply distressing.
Being fit and strong in heart and mind, I consider my fortunate position. I do not have to go to a hospital or care home – administering to the sick. I do not have to put myself at risk carrying out essential public services, nor do I have care for others. I listen at night to callers to the radio and I admire that fortitude of others – including the presenters who listen and support – alleviating others distress.
This blog is a personal diary and I hope I will be able to look back at the posts that I place on here over the next few weeks with pride, that they did support others and provide an opportunity to consider the future in a positive way. I am focussing on the work we can do, not just now – but in the months ahead, when we will be helping our country to recover financially and each other – emotionally.
The OBR numbers are just a prediction of what is to come, how we spread the pain of recovery is important financially – it’s a second flattening of the curve.
But how we support each other as we lose those we know and love in the weeks to come is more important.
Rebuilding our financial resilience is an important part of creating immunisation from the emotional and physical impact of the pandemic.
Those of us who are strong, can alleviate distress – both in the business we conduct and in the support we show each other. These two themes intertwine in alleviating distress.
But the drive for our determination, the rocket-fuel for recovery is love.
No matter what you do the principal needs to start with Primum non nocere