Things We Cannot Allow Ourselves to Forget About 2020

2020 goes into history books as the year of the pandemic. Adjectives as “horrible”, “terrible”, “unprecedented” have been used frequently for last year. As I wrote in my previous article, of course, the year had so much more to offer.

It revealed a lot that was not so obvious to so many. What we already knew came to face us so up close and personal, we cannot ignore them anymore. This is an opportunity given to humanity and we need to take it seriously.

  1. In the first few months of the lockdown, the air quality improved when we were in our homes. We know how much is at stake when we commute when we travel when we go about our daily lives. Scientists were able to save some of this data to work on it even further.
  • We cannot ignore the impact of climate change on the whole world and our part in it. The world does not need the human species; we need it to survive. Would you blow up your house? It is the same with the “home” that belongs not only to us but to all living things.

2. We saw how what happens in a faraway land can impact us all in the world. We cannot ignore people, events, cultures, uprisings, protests, diseases, injustice because they are out of sight. We have to take care of everyone so that we can all get better as a species. These artificial walls and borders we built do not contain it all when things do not go well. Just like we can not stop the spread of a virus when we are so interconnected.

  • We cannot stop the spread of the impact of many social and economic events in the world either. It affects each one of us even if we act like it doesn’t.

3. It became apparent that in the United States (and everywhere in the world) everyone needs health insurance. If they don’t, they can lack the healthcare they need and spread the virus to the whole population. We cannot tie health insurance to employment. Everyone needs to have affordable health care.

  • We cannot ignore people who cannot afford health insurance. Everyone deserves to be taken care of and it is in the best interest of all of us.

4. Although social injustice has been going on for centuries for African Americans, George Floyd’s death caught everyone’s attention more than ever before. More people are awakened and saw the truth for the first time. We started educating ourselves.

  • We cannot stop paying attention and supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement. No country can be better off or call itself a civilized western democracy if they keep diminishing a race and when there is so much injustice to prove it.

5. Organizations that were caught off guard to switch to working remotely were surprised to see their employees are adults who can work without supervision. I am so glad organizations had to go through this without any other choice to understand it is possible. For those organizations that were already caught up with our times, it was no big deal. They were already trusting their people who can work anywhere they like. Their transition was smooth.

  • It was way overdue to treat people like adults who can make decisions on their own at work; when to work, how to schedule their times between personal stuff and professional obligations. So let’s never go back to command control ever again.

6. As I am writing this, the death toll passed 2 Million people in the world. We know this is not just a number; we cannot numb ourselves. They are somebody’s precious child, sibling, parent. We all know someone who died from the pandemic even if it was not a close relative if we were lucky.

  • We always say health comes first but this time it was so obvious. Watching the numbers every day from a pandemic made us feel grateful when we stayed healthy or recovered from Covid. Let’s always take care of our and others’ health first.

7. Our actions have implications on others. People can die when we don’t. When it is too hard not to socialize, not to go about our daily lives; we can think about others who may suffer because of us. Health workers die or suffer just because we had to have some fun and spread the disease in some instances. It is not fair that some group of people had to go through such a rough time. Some lives are lost due to the indifference and selfish acts of others.

  • We need to remember our freedom ends where we risk the wellbeing of someone else. This time it also causes death. Let’s remember to again act like One and have empathy for others as we go about our lives.

8. When life gets slow, we notice small things more. In our family relationships, in nature, with our coworkers. We feel more grateful for smaller things in life.

  • We cannot forget it is the small things in life that make our life richer which we do not even notice when we create never-ending, super busy lives. This pandemic year taught us how slowing down is good for self-care and counting our blessings in life.

I wish a better year for our humanity making sure we get the messages above never to forget them again.


Brooke O. Erol
Brooke O. Erol
Brooke O. Erol started her career at IBM following the traditional path she was given to be "successful". She quit her "great job" on paper after 11 years, feeling she is not aligned with it. She started her journey to find her purpose in life. She started her first business in 2003; Your Best Life to help professionals who don’t like their jobs and want to find more meaning at work. After being around so many unhappy people at work as her clients, she decided to help the organizations and leaders who employed them. She started her second business; Purposeful Business to help leaders catch up with our times and grow their businesses without sacrificing the well-being of their people; where profit becomes a by-product rather than the main goal. She believes life is too precious to live only for weekends and retirement. She is the author of Create a Life You Love. She is also the co-author of "From Hierarchy to High Performance: Unleashing the Hidden Superpowers of Ordinary People to Realize Extraordinary Results" that became an International Best Seller in 2018. She speaks and writes about Leadership, Purpose-Driven Life and Organizations, Future of Work in the US, and abroad.

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