Do fish know they are wet? Well, when you don’t know anything but swimming and being immersed, you are wet all the time. You don’t know what being dry is like. Wetness doesn’t even become a thing. It just is.
There’s a saying: “If you’re a fish, you don’t know you’re wet.” Although there is an ambiguity of who initially said this quote the phrase still holds meaning in many ways.
I have a new grandson. Ace was born right before the virus took off. He sleeps, eats, secretes. It’s been a while since I hung with a newborn and I am amazed at how quickly he changes. Every day he notices more. He reacts. He smiles. He’s adding inches and pounds. I haven’t noticed if he understands fear yet. I haven’t seen his head furrow with concern.
For adults, learning in real-time is more difficult than it is for Ace. We have a perspective. We’ve seen good and bad. We have experienced joy and pain. We know when things are well for us and when they are on the decline. In times like this, our perspective gets a jolt. We see impacts on our suppliers we didn’t know to think about. We see impacts on our customers we didn’t know to think about. Some are good and some are bad.
My mom was born in 1930. She was a post-Great Depression baby. She didn’t know the Great Depression was a thing until she learned about it in history class. She lived through World War II, where friends and neighbors shipped off to war and battled for freedom. Her brother-in-law was a prisoner of war. He rarely described the experience. If it defined him, he kept the description of the definition to himself. This Pandemic of 2020 will be historic. It will have implications on how we go forward, the things we regard to be important. It will shift our priorities. It will affect our approach to matters. It will become our reality, our new normal. But we are resilient.
Remember…we will gather as families, communities, enterprises….and we will figure it out. As the new day dawns, we will learn the rules, adjust the strategies, and begin to swim in the water. We won’t even know we are wet.